REVIEW: “AMERICAN MADE” (2017) Universal Pictures

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“American Made” feels like an honest-to-god Tom Cruise movie – like suddenly, his smile means something again. The man who has done truly his share of good and bad work in the past decade or so, (most recently the bad with ‘The Mummy’ ), shines in this film. Like it almost seems unthinkable after watching this film that it could have been done with anybody but Tom Cruise in the lead. These types of film remind us all, that Cruise is a really good actor and is clearly not done yet with bringing us the good stuff.

Cruise plays Barry Seal, a TWA pilot frustrated with the grind of hopping from city to city, flying planes on autopilot and coming home to crash asleep before his wife, Lucy (Sarah Wright), can even put on her welcome-home-honey lingerie. It’s the late Seventies, the era of oil fortunes being made overnight and social turmoil being the norm. Barry has also been doing some minor smuggling on the side, transporting illegal Cuban cigars into the US. Into his life pops Monty Schafer (Domhnall Gleeson), the overly-eager-to-please-his-bosses CIA operative, who’s wanting to recruit Seal’s aerial talents to fly covert missions into Latin American countries and take spy photos of resistance movements. Not exactly telling his wife he’s actually left his job at the airline, he moves forward into his ‘new’ job as the CIA provide him with a sweet twin engine superplane, his own front company, and lots of money. Barry in complete shock as any of us would be, and can’t stop laughing in disbelief. And neither can we once you see the absolute insanity his journey takes him on. But yet, Barry Seals, was a real person and even though this film might be done up some with some dramatics I’m sure, it still really did happen.

You see what went on with Manuel Noriega (Alberto Ospino) (yes, the U.S. supported this man’s power at the time, yet eventually arrested him also – remember Imelda and the shoes 🙂 ), which then leads him to the Contras (again we supported) who it turns out are more interested in porn & alcohol than in being trained for fighting a war. So where do the guns go? Well only to the biggest cartel in the world at the time. The infamous Pablo Escobar (Mauricio Mejia), Jorge Ochoa (Alejandro Edda) & Carlos Ledher (Fredy Yate Escobar), better known as the Medellín Cartel. Sound hard to follow – yeah maybe so – but as it really happened and with cut-aways to video-taped confessions done by Barry himself, we do follow how it went down. And there are points that you just can’t help but laugh with disbelief.

Along the way, you can’t help but feel flashbacks to Top Gun, they way that once again, Cruise handles this whole situation that is unfolding and of course the plane stunts. But it’s a good feeling – one that you makes you want more, a.k.a that Top Gun sequel that they are promising us now gives me hope. One thing is imminently clear here, Director Doug Limon has succeeded in giving us clear-eyed, in-your-face cynicism about this country and all it symbolizes not only then, but now, in bold fashion, all the while pulling Cruise back into being what we really want him to be – a good actor doing good movies.

Grade: B
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Monday, September 25, 2017 ~ Courtesy of Universal Pictures
‘AMERICAN MADE’ is now playing in theaters nationwide

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REVIEW: “DEADPOOL” (2016) 20th Century Fox

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For those of you who, like me, who might not be so familiar with the “DEADPOOL” series of Marvel, just going to give you a heads up ~ this movie is extremely over the top graphic in terms of sex, violence and humor, and that’s exactly what I loved about it! What a breath of fresh Marvel air this movie is. By far the one of the funniest ones from the Marvel Universe I’ve seen since…well Guardians of the Galaxy, and I simply loved that one. But it is also the bloodiest, and well deserving of it’s R rating – take note – this one is not for the kids.

But alas, there are many things I’m not going to tell you in this review because as any true Marvel fan should know.. spoilers are not cool. I will however tell you from moment one of the opening ‘introductions’ of the cast (which you MUST take note of) you will be rolling with laughter in your seats.
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Speaking of that cast of characters, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a skilled special forces operative turned mercenary. And he talks a lot, a whole lot, doesn’t really ever stop! To some this be annoying, while to the rest, myself included, it’s like music to our ears, mainly because of the hilarity of everything he says. But you have to really pay attention to keep up with every innuendo that’s flying at you. And trust me, he breaks all the boundries – meaning he’ll talk to you the audience as if you’re there. But what’s even more epic than that is the fact that he is AWARE of the universe that he’s in and the universe that you’re in, and those two collide in the most epic way possible. And while Reynolds body really is sheer perfection, the fact that yes Ryan Reynolds’ character, Wade Wilson, makes fun of Ryan Reynolds the actor and also mocks Ryan Reynolds’ previous poor decisions like Green Lantern and People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive cover, is just sheer amusement.
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Morena Baccarin is Vanessa, a prostitute who shares his fondness for dark humor steps up to the plate well here as the girl Wade/Deadpool falls in love with. T.J. Miller as Wade’s sometimes side-kick appropriately named Weasel, adds in some good back and forth banter. But once Colossus (v/o Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) show up and the battle between them and Angel Dust (Gina Carano) and Ajax aka Francis (Ed Skrein) is truly the only time the film turns a teensy bit cliché. And by now you know my ‘villain motto’ because yes, “you’re only as good as your villain” ~ well Skrein, who let’s face it, wasn’t so good in the Transporter film, really brings his A-game here as a truly good love-to-hate character showing us that action films really do seem to be his forte.
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I think everyone is going to have blast with this one as it’s smart, brash, fast and a whole lot of fun!  And of course it goes without saying – STAY FOR THE END CREDITS – you won’t regret it as after all, its a Marvel film riiight??!! 😀

Grade: B+
@pegsatthemovies

Review Screening: Thursday, February 4th, 2016 ~ Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Nationwide release: Friday, February 12, 2016