Review for Face/Off

FaceOff_(1997_film)_poster

Synopsis: A police captain goes undercover to stop the terrorists who murdered his son many years before.

Cast: John Travolta as Sean Archer, Nicolas Cage as Castor Troy, Joan Allen as Dr. Eve Archer

I guess I have a soft spot and/or occasional interest in thrillers from the 1990s. I was…..too young to be seeing any of these movies in theaters. My parents only let me watch an R-rated movie maybe once or twice. I don’t know. There’s just something about movies from that era. Fast-paced, crazy, over-the-top movies that also make you think. This time, I’m talking about Face/Off. Let’s get into the review.

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It’s difficult to say who gave the better performance in Face/Off—Travolta or Cage. Both of them are very good actors.  Even though at least one of them has fallen from grace, somewhat. I think they both did great jobs playing both villains and good guys.  Well, good but frazzled, overworked guys.  But they were at their best when they had scenes together.  and there were plenty of those.  I wondered if they were/are friends in real life.  Probably not, but bravo gentlemen.  The other actors did a good job in their roles too.  But they weren’t particularly memorable.

It’s pretty rare to see actors play both the good guy and the bad in the same movie.  But…. read above paragraph.  I kinda wish that this kind of thing could be shown in movies more.  I guess they don’t because it’s too challenging?  Maybe?  The execution of the movie was very over-the-top, crazy and maybe a little nonsensical.  But none of that really matters because it works so well onscreen.  John Woo did an exceptional job directing this movie.  The writing was mostly very good too.  The action scenes are among the best I’ve seen in a movie.  So many breathtaking ones, it’s hard to choose which ones.  The very last scene?  The hangar scene?  Ugh!  So many good ones!  Fan nerd’s dream! I’d see a movie by this team again.

Over-the-top, insane but ultimately very entertaining, this was one action-packed, cling-on-the-edge-of-your-seat thrill ride.  It was never dull for one second, and it’s worth a million rewatches.  It never gets old.  I give Face/Off  a 8.5 out of 10.  I’d highly recommend it, and it’s available on Netflix or on online stores.

Review for “Nerve”

Nerve movie posterSynopsis:  A high school graduate plays an online reality game that changes her life forever.

 

Cast:  Emma Roberts as Vee, Dave Franco as Ian, Miles Heizer as Tommy

 

Venus–known mostly here as V– isn’t one to walk on the wild side.  A watcher in game speak.  She envies her best friend, Sydney, who is a self-described adrenalin junkie.   A player.  Sydney is popular on this online-reality game called “Nerve”.  Which is basically a game where you have to do a lot of dares, in front of an online audience.  After V gets rejected by a boy she likes, she impulsively decides to join “Nerve” as a player.  Will this be a major game changer for her?  Let’s find out.

 

Emma Roberts did a fantastic job as V.  She had the shy, never-taking-a-risk thing down pat.  I will say that I miss watching her be evil on Scream Queens.  I also liked her chemistry with Dave Franco.  Ian was a fun character to watch.  He’s great in his scenes without her, but their scenes together are the best.  Miles Heizer did a believable job as the computer nerd who worried about his best friend.  No other performances really stood out for me.

 

Oftentimes, teen movies are boring and predictable and, worst of all, very forgettable.  This one wasn’t.  I guess it’s because the whole take-a-risk thing is something people of all ages can relate to.  But it also reminds us that taking a risk isn’t always the best thing for us.  It can be foolish, too risky and even dangerous.  Nerve also showed many scenes of people in cliques, people who had a severe case of mob mentality.  We all know that conformity and being a sheep can be very, very bad.  It seems to be about becoming your own person, away from the crowd.  Good job, Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost.

 

The film certain had its imperfections, but overall, I thought it was good.  Intentionally or not, Nerve taught some good lessons.  I’d give it a 7 out of 10.  It’s on Hulu right now.

HTGAWM: Things We Know….

htgawm-718540758.jpgLast week’s episode was phenomenal. It was probably the best one in quite a while. I think it’s safe to say that Annalise won her class action suit. But no one on this show can be happy for more than two seconds.  So we’re back to usual….stuff.  And it’s not good. Drama ensues.  The expected happened.  And we’re left wondering,  “Will Annalise get her mojo back?”  Like completely?   Let’s take a look.

  1. Who Killed Wes?: Seeing Wes again made me happy. Then it made me sad because you realize that he’s still dead. The show just doesn’t work as well without him. Anyway, it turns out that Laurel’s parents were in cahoots the entire time. I was actually willing to give Sandrine the benefit of the doubt at first. They bombarded us with “Laurel’s mommy is bad” clues. Whenever they do something like that, it usually means that the person is innocent. A red herring. But not this time. I had a brief theory that they did together, and I was right. And I was the last to know. Now that Laurel knows everything for sure, what is she going to do about it?
  2. Not Bonnie!: I must admit that I was never really a fan of Bonnie. She certainly has her moments, but for the most part, I don’t like her. That being said, I don’t think she should die. I don’t believe she is dead. It would be way too easy. Plus, we heard no screaming or crash. If Bonnie was involved in this accident, she probably has just some scraps and bruises. Plus, Annalise has the whole solar system on her shoulders, and Bonnie dying is the last thing she needs right now. Who is the dead person? Laurel’s mom? Denver? Tegan? Some random person? Even though it could be Bonnie, I’m 95% certain that it’s not.
  3. Masher’s future: Cheating is very common on this show. Asher is probably the only person on here who hasn’t cheated. Why did they turn Michaela into a cheater?! It’s so unlike her. I guess the whole Caleb situation doesn’t really count because he was using her. I liked Asher and Michaela together, but I’m not surprised they split. It’s one of the many pitfalls of being in Murder Club.  You’ll never have a normal, happy life again.  Not even with fellow Murder Club members…..
  4. Annalise: For goodness sake, Norwalk! Give the woman a break!

 

The promo for the finale said:  “Mother of a twist”.  Is that Laurel’s mother?  More than likely, it does!

 

Until next time……

HTGAWM: The Big Custody Battle

htgawm-718540758.jpgI hate to love this show…or I love to hate it.  Maybe both.  But the point is that I still watch.  How to Get Away with Murder still keeps the motors upstairs running, despite my opinions on it.  This week’s episode was pretty good.  There were some memorable moments.

 

  1.  Wes–dead or alive.  Is he really dead?  That’s what many people want to know.   I wish that he was still alive and I’m not alone in this.  My wish is for Wes to come back in the season finale, grab that baby and take him far away from the madness.  But since that isn’t happening, I will say this.  Killing Wes off was a major mistake.  He should still be alive, and the show just feels empty without him.  I would trade him for Bonnie, Oliver or Frank in an instant.  (Especially Frank.)  But why was Dominic his emergency contact?  Why was he meeting with Laurel’s mom?  I get the feeling that they’re assassinating his character.  And/or Wes (possibly) being alive is the carrot they’re dangling to keep fans interested.  They never should’ve killed him.  Speaking of character assassination….
  2. Let’s talk about Laurel.   She used to be one of my favorites on the show.   She was whip-smart, sassy, intuitive, sneaky etc.  The real mini-Annalise.  Then season 3 happened. They have really, really trashed her character over the past 2 seasons.  To the point where she is nearly irredeemable.  However, since season 4b started, I started feeling sorry for her.  She went into pre-term labor because of Frank, gave birth in a broken elevator.  Both she and little Wes almost died.  Had her baby stolen from her.  Forced to be in a psych ward.  So on and so forth.  So far, there aren’t any shocking secrets about Laurel.  Nothing that would indicate that Dominick’s words about her were true.  Not yet anyway.
  3. The Castillos.  Now Jorge is innocent and her mother is the real mastermind behind Wes’ murder?  Makes sense.  Not really.  Based on what we know about Laurel’s dad, he’s not a good guy.  He’s incredibly manipulative, ruthless, psycho and he will do anything to get what he wants.  Even at the expense of his family.  And even if he is innocent of Wes’ murder, he’s definitely killed before.  He put both his daughter and his then-wife in psych wards just because they were inconveniences.  Definitely not a good person.  Laurel once said that he was just like Frank.  What about Laurel’s mother?  She seemed relatively harmless most of the episode.  Then that picture of her and Wes popped up and it made me wonder.  What if they both wanted him dead?  Why would Sandrine team up with the man who made her life hell?  Why would she want Wes dead?  Or is this just another cheap thrill courtesy of Nowalk and company?  And Laurel’s mother is completely innocent?
  4.   That Defense Attorney.  What a jerk.  I felt sorry for all of his, um, victims.  But none more than Dr. Roa.
  5. Poor Isaac.  I felt so sorry for him this week.  It seems like his life became even more crappy since he met Annalise.  D.A. Jerkwad basically slaughtered Issac on the stand, accusing him of killing his late daughter, Stella.  Because of that, his medical opinion was deemed worthless.  So Laurel lost her custody battle.  That wasn’t the worst of it.  In the last scene, Issac is alone in his office.  It appears that he relapsed, just like his ex-wife feared he would.  Sad…….
  6. Nate’s dad.  We finally get a bit of a background on Nate.  His father had been in prison for most of Nate’s life.  And their relationship is strained because the latter chose to be a cop.  Given the way that Nate Sr. was treated in jail, I can’t really blame him.  I felt sorry for him.

 

Looks like Laurel finally meets her son next week.  And we’ll hopefully learn a little more about her and Mommy.  Until next time……

Review for “Molly’s Game”

Movie poster

Synopsis:  A former Olympic skier becomes a hyper-successful runner of gambling.

Cast:  Jessica Chastain as Molly Bloom, Idris Elba as Charles Jaffrey, Kevin Costner as Larry Bloom

 

Did you know there was such a thing as professional gambling?  I always thought that gambling was just a leisurely thing, not some career.  Apparently, it is possible to gamble professionally.  The movie Molly’s Game is about a very popular game runner, Molly Bloom.  Her rise and fall.

Jessica Chastain was perfect for the role of Molly Bloom.  I’ve seen the real Molly Bloom on YouTube.  The mannerisms, the rapid-fire speech, the voice.  The voice!  Everything was spot-on.  It was a captivating performance from Chastain.  Also very good was Idris Elba, who played Charlie Jaffrey.  He was certainly charming and smart.  He and Chastain played off each other very well.  Interesting how his character had a couple of things in common with Molly’s father.  Speaking of which, great supporting performance by Kevin Costner, who plays Molly’s demanding father.  Especially the scene between the two of them at the end.

Aaron Sorkin is new to directing, but not-so-new to filmmaking. He’s written–or co-written–many of the movies people know and love.  This was a pretty impressive directorial debut.  I liked how he used nonlinear storytelling.  Usually, this is confusing for me.  But in Molly’s Game, it wasn’t.  It actually helped me to understand Molly better.  Her motivations and why she did what she did.  That would’ve happened in a more traditional setup, but this was better.  Also, this could’ve easily been a “glitz and glamor” type of story.  There’s certainly glitz and glamor in this movie.  (It is a movie partly about gambling, after all.).  But I liked how it was more a background thing.  The main focus was on Molly’s story.   But the cinematography was pretty good. Good job, cinematographers!

I think Molly was a very interesting character, but there were a few times where I was annoyed with her.  I tried to understand some of her actions, but it was hard to.  But the movie probably needed those scenes.

 

Ultimately, Molly’s Game is a fun, enjoyable ride.  It takes what could’ve been a drab, paint-by-numbers biopic and made it intriguing.  I’ll have to pick up the book sometime.  In the meantime, take a bet and go see Molly’s Game.  I’d give it an 8 out of 10.

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