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Once a month, Tom and I have a movie marathon and take-out food (or an extra-special dinner, if I’m in the mood to cook). I’m just getting caught up on my movie reviews.
I’ll only do shrinky-dink reviews of the other movies we’ve seen, borrowed from our wonderful little local library: “The Adventures of Robin Hood” with Errol Flynn in Technicolor, is entertaining but the library disk had a problem after which it quit (that’s an occasional problem with DVDs borrowed from the library, sigh, but they’re free). So we didn’t see two-thirds of the movie. Which was made to be Saturday matinee fare mostly for children and which we’d seen before.
Live By Night”, a fairly recent gangster film written, directed, and acted in by Ben Affleck, from a novel by his fellow Bostonian Dennis Lehane, tries to be poetic among all the gangster violence and thus is very slow-paced. But my biggest problem with this semi-indie film was the sound quality was lousy. We had the sound on the entertainment center turned up all the way, and we still had strain to hear the dialogue. Between the slow pace and sound quality, I can’t recommend this film unless you’re a Ben Affleck fan.
The Glass Key”, based a novel by Dashiell Hammet, a black-and-film filled with glittery costumes, is a reasonably good forties noir detective story (except for the overly long beating scene). But unless you’re into B&W (or Veronica Lake, who is so petite, she looked like a child to me), you may want to skip this.
So that’s it for the shrinky-dink reviews. Now then:
Gemini Man”, with Will Smith, was a box-office flop. A long-time movie critic at The New Yorker, with whom I agree about seventy-percent of the time, really trashed this movie, complaining that Smith wasn’t up to his usual high energy and sassiness. Plus, the producers of “Gemini Man” did a big publicity push for the use of CGI technology to show Will’s character thirty years younger. (So did Scorcese for “The Irishman”, which we haven’t seen yet.)
I suspect the downbeat performance of Will Smith is due to story, which tells of a highly successful hit man who wants to retire. And has profound regrets about his life’s work. But the agency he works for doesn’t want him to retire. And another agency is working on his replacement. How can I say this without a major plot spoiler? I can’t. His replacement is a clone of himself (hence the anti-aging CGI).
The retiree has serious talks with his clone about what it means to be him—a collection of habitual behaviors, a set of attitudes, or more? I thought the issues raised were thought-provoking.
If you’re looking for a reasonably satisfying science fiction thriller with colorful locations, you could do worse than “Gemini Man.”
Inferno”, based on the novel by Dan Brown, stars Tom Hanks as Professor Langdon, the symbols and history expert. I read the book a few years ago and, though I generally like Brown’s writing, this book was terrible. It was as if someone ghost-wrote it for him, or he took six months to crank it out when he usually takes two years writing. I, for example, liked “The Da Vince Code” very much. Quite a few readers on Amazon complained about the poor quality of Inferno, so it wasn’t my imagination. The book reads like a tourist guide to Florence, Italy, Venice, Italy, and Istanbul, Turkey. Plus, the outlandish plot did not end well.
When the movie was released, I didn’t want to see it. But Tom (my Tom) picked it up at our library, so I agreed to watch.
The production was high, since this is an Imagine picture, and Hanks was reasonably good, but the character of the doctor who treats him, played by Felicity Jones, winds up being totally unbelievable. The plot twist that sends her character off in a different direction wasn’t foreshadowed in any way, which makes her new plot arc seem false and far-fetched. Plus, the filmmakers didn’t want the movie to be too much of a downer, so they changed the ending from apocalyptic to feel-good happy.
If you want two hours of puzzle-solving thriller in the Dan Brown style, you may want to watch it. But I can’t whole-heartedly recommend it.
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