REVIEW: “STAR TREK: BEYOND” (2016) Paramount Pictures

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The storyline… well let’s face it.. you know the story line. We all do as it is after all, a Star Trek movie. In case you don’t, bascially a Space ship is roaming the galaxy, runs into problems, has battles, etc etc.. BUT it is how well done these same plots can be that can make all the difference in the world.

While starting off on a bit slower pace, it picks right up with our usual crew: Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Bones McCoy (Karl Urban), Lt. Urhua (Zoe Saldana), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Sulu (John Cho), & Chekov (Anton Yelchin).
Add in a minor villian in Kalara (Lydia Wilson) who then of course, leads them to a major villian, Krall (Idris Elba). Throw in the requisie new character ‘star fleet member’ Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) and you have rounded out the cast all of whom work well enough together. As I’ve stated before, an important part of these films are the villians and for me, you are only as good as your villian. While neither one excels here, it’s mainly because I think it’s hard to really come off as a villian you love to hate with such dramatic costuming & make-up, so taking that into note, I will say both Elba & Wilson did well.

Ostar trek 1n a technical level, the film is stunning visually with brilliant CG and I didn’t mind the 3D as much as I usually do, though I will say, there are a lot of shaky-cam moments, which I was not expecting and which is not very appealing to me motion-wise. One of my favourite personal highlights is the Enterprise fighting scene with Beastie Boys – Sabotage underlaid. An amazing score once again composed by the brilliant Michael Giacchino does bring some brilliant moments back.
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Two things to finish this up as first: I simply loved the fact they went ‘old school here and brought it all back around to what we all remember was just a simpler time in space!! hahahaha
Second: My guest hadn’t seen any previous Star Trek films, though knows the jist of it and whom the characters are. He did like it and noted that he felt that wasn’t necessary for someone to watch or enjoy the film. Good thing! though he did question the doubles of each character when they went ‘old school. Ahh..well..you can’t explain it all to them. 😀

Grade: B-
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This review is dedicated to Anton Yelchin..one of our best and brightest young actors..one of my personal favourites, who passed all too soon. Rest in Peace Anton.

Review Screening: Wednesday, July 20, 2016 ~ Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Release Date: Completely worldwide ~ Friday, July 22, 2016

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REVIEW ~ “THE GUNMAN” (2015)

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The-Gunman

So does Sean Penn want to be Liam Neeson… or does Liam Neeson wish he was Sean Penn.. either way, this film is the sadly the first one. “The Gunman” is from the same Director as ‘Taken’ & ‘From Paris With Love’(Pierre Morel) could easily have almost been called “Taken in Barcelona via the Congo” or “From Barcelona With Love.” Clearly the guy has a certain directing style. Too bad it didn’t work here with this stellar cast that puts Sean Penn as “Martin Terrier” a sniper on a mercenary assassination team in the Congo pretending to work for an NGO, who is forced to go into hiding after a successful kill shot puts him on a hit list.
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Though Sean Penn does a really capable job of doing the action hero thingy here as his physicality is dammed impressive and he’s definitely believable in the part. It also helps that he’s in absolutely amazing shape for a man his age and definitely seems like he has skills built up over his career which works for him here. His story is somewhat convoluted though..told in that tortured soul way that sometimes just doesn’t make sense even though he’s somewhat straight to the point kinda guy, which I liked. There is also a decent enough subplot going on a medical condition Terrier has which plays off in a pretty cool way throughout the film, most especially at the end but all in all, this is not a particularly good film or even an entertaining one.
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While I am a huge fan of some of the co-stars here..though none of them with the exception of Jasmine Trinca as the love interest “Annie” of first Terrier, then with Javier Bardem’s character of “Felix”, have much to do. Felix, whom I guess we could say is a ‘co-worker’ of Terrier, is really wasted in this role as he plays it in such a manner you just want to cringe and not in a good way. The one final scene between the characters is almost flat out silly.
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Both Mark Rylance “Cox” & Ray Winstone “Stanley” are satisfying enough in their respective roles as they interact well with Penn and hold their own – though I would have liked a bit more of a back story on their characters and when it does come, it’s almost as if it’s too late in the game for it. And let’s be truthful, no one does that bad-assed, grizzled, no BS English tough guy like Ray Winstone does.. It’s just never wrong. Sadly Idris Elba as “DuPont” an Interpol agent who wants Terrier to do a tell-all, is just basically a if-you-blink-you-miss-him character at the very end.

Though Annie is Penn’s AND Bardem’s love interest here.. Terrier had to leave her behind when he had to go into hiding per the ‘rules’ of the assassin’s creed they had. But truly, she has very little to her character and only seems to exist to be one of those helpless way-to-young for either guy, woman characters with a pretty face. She and Penn don’t really have all that great chemistry and I doubt the film would change much or you would even notice if her character wasn’t in it. the gunman 4

Structurally the film was a little strange and again as noted, convoluted. For the longest time it seemed like it was going to be a thriller but then turned into an action film about halfway through. The two halves of the film don’t really seem to add up or connect together so any scenes not building up to an action sequence feel a little like they are just killing time for the sake of the films run time. At times the plot seemed lost and overly complicated for what ultimately amounts to just a series of shoot outs.

The action scenes were impressive enough and had some good diversity to them in terms of location. The ending action scene in a bullfighting arena is pretty damn awesome if not a bit gruesome. I really don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it before and might be the films only redeeming point to make it worth a watch…on VOD or DVD that is..

Grade: C-
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(See grading scale)

REVIEW: “NO GOOD DEED” (2014 ~ SONY PICTURES)

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Ohhhhh Idris Idris Idris… I knew walking in to this movie that I wasn’t going to get an Oscar winner..just in case you’re wondering, I was right. 😀  What you do get though, is a mildly entertaining, but pretty much feeling like straight out of a Telenovela, series of events.  I’m a big fan of both Idris Elba & Taraji P. Henson and both do a decent job here in at least trying to make this plot believable.  I mean let’s face it..what do you think of when you hear Idris Elba’s name ~ handsome, talented, gritty and a bit funny at times to name a few. The same could be said for Taraji.  Here Elba is just flat out villainous & Taraji somewhat empowering.

Before I go on here ~ I want everyone who reads this review to know that everything I am about to describe takes place in the trailer, so is no way a spoiler as I hate big spoilers in reviews and try to NEVER do them!! (end note)

The film starts off introducing the audience to Elba’s character, “Colin Evans”, at his parole hearing. Colin is an extremely violent and dangerous felon, who is denied parole and escapes  during his transfer back to prison. Taraji P. Henson’s character, “Terri”, is a former career women, a District Attorney turned stay-at-home mom with a toddler and a baby. Colin arrives at Terri’s home, while her husband “Jeffrey” (Henry Simmons) is of course, conveniently away on a golf weekend for his fathers birthday, and Colin runs his vehicle off the road in a big storm, and proceeds to ask to use her telephone. – This is of course when all the chaos begins.. While there are many many..and I mean MANY predictable moments including the ever so stereo-typed, single, ‘in heat’ best friend “Meg” (Leslie Bibb) coming over for a ‘girls night’ and coming on to Colin etc etc.. You really do see it all coming right at you and no offense to the actors, as they have the power to elevate this film and make do as best they can.

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Elba handles Colin’s psychotic breakdowns in a unique manner. Most films just show a villainous character in their murderous rage, but “NO GOOD DEED” will take you through Colin’s mind for a few seconds before he snaps. Elba, being the talented man that he is, does an incredible job showing Colin’s ‘normality’ versus his more well… ‘psycho stage’.

For the most part, the screenplay, coming from Aimee Lagos, is completely predictable though probably not meant to be that way.  There are very few twists and turns that you won’t see coming or that will have you on the edge of your seat, except for maybe one singular twist.  And for me at least, laughing at scenes that maybe weren’t meant to be funny, I can’t help it, if something is bad, I tend to laugh, especially when it just seems like Idris takes a licking and keeps on ticking. I mean ouch! ouch! and ouch! but let’s hear it for #GirlPower here from Taraji!

My summation: Even though Colin is every person’s character to hate, Idris does him justice and yes, Idris Elba is still my choice to be the next James Bond 😀 I mean everyone gets a bad movie here and there right. Though there are more plot holes than a slice of swiss cheese..and yes, it’s also cheesy, lacks complete and total believability and though neither Elba nor Henson can save this mess of a film, as I noted before, it’s cheap thrills plot IS mildly entertaining. And it did sweep last weekend’s box office though I’m guessing that won’t last. Sadly ‘No Good Deed’ is just that..No good..and I’m probably giving it a much higher grade than it deserves just based on the fact that I adore Idris & Taraji. #sillyme  oh and if  “No Good Deed” teaches you anything..it’s the same old cliche, for crimeny sakes, don’t let strangers in your house on a stormy night when you’re home alone. *sigh*

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Grade: C-   (below average)

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