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Beast is an okay thriller/adventure film. August 16, 2022

Posted by ronannarbor in Uncategorized.
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Idris Elba packs up his two daughters after the death of their mother for a fun-filled African savannah vacation. There is playful banter and “serious talk” as they set off on their adventure. Unfortunately, there is a large lion on the loose in the vicinity of their camp, and its mad and out for blood.

There’s lots of blood.

Nicknamed “Jaws on land” months before opening, the moniker isn’t far from wrong. You will most likely figure out who lives and who survives early in the short 90-minute film.

But it’s a fun ride to the conclusion, with Elba getting to star in another action adventure film and he gets to punch a lion. No really, they have him punching a lion. There’s lots of mumbo jumbo about poachers and how the lion is out for revenge against all people now. But really, he punches the lion.

Directed by Baltasar Kormakur, with a script from Ryan Engle, it’s a zippy hour and a half that is a good run time for this film. Expect it to head to streaming video pretty quickly, although there isn’t much else opening for the next few weeks so that it might cling to the box office for awhile.

If you go, beware it is rated R for language, bloody violence, and heart-pounding thrills. Kind of like riding Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point with blood added. It’s up to you to know your kids and their tolerance level for this type of bloody adventure. It’s scary enough that I’d probably leave my under 13’s at home for sure.

End of summer fun, with Bullet Train and The Gray Man (reviews) August 2, 2022

Posted by ronannarbor in Uncategorized.
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BULLET TRAIN, set aboard a speeding 180 mph train traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto is an action thriller from David Leitch, the director of the John Wick series. It stars Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, and a handful of other racially diverse actors. This is the last of the big new summer movies this season.

Five assassins are out to get a McGuffin briefcase and the film is colorful, funny, and ultra violent, as you would expect from the director of John Wick. It is based on a Japanese novel, and there is some international controversy since Leitch chose to cast the film with a racially diverse mix of primarily Americans, while the original novel and the story itself take place entirely in Japan with Japanese characters. Make of that what you will.

Bullet Train is rated R, and it will appeal to folks who enjoy films like Fast and Furious but secretly wish those films were far more violent. Its showing exclusively in movie theaters.

THE GRAY MAN is an espionage thriller from the Russo Brothers (Avengers:Endgame, Everything Everywhere All At Once) but less creative than their normal fair. It’s clearly meant to be the first in a franchise series for star Ryan Gosling. There are 11 more novels after this one in the series. 

Think of this as Jason-Bourne Lite. The pieces are all there, but they are not as smart, and not as exciting as the Bourne films. Chris Evans plays an outstanding bad guy, and you will have a hard time associating him with any of the hero movies where he has played Captain America. Bravo to Chris Evans.

The Gray Man is rated PG-13 and will appeal to those who like more standard spy thrillers but secretly wish they were far less interesting. Its playing in select theaters and it’s streaming on Netflix.