Honestly, a better movie than I expected. Ben Affleck played the poker faced autistic genius who does forensic accounting for very bad people for very large amounts of money. In some ways, this movie has a similar theme to Revenge of the Nerds, i.e. don’t piss off the really smart people. Except in this case, messing with the smart kid with the nerd glasses can get you killed. Raised by his father (Army Intelligence spook) not to be a victim, the Accountant is deadly dangerous, and will feel no remorse as he shoots you through the head. The movie actually tells a good story, in which people are not what they appear to be on the surface, but face it, it’s the fight scenes that you are going to rewatch it for. Fast, in close fighting and CQB Gun Fu. Plus some nice long range Barrett Fu. One of the bad guys pulls a knife, the Accountant pulls out his study leather belt. I’ve been practicing martial arts for a long time, trust me, the guy with the knife was deep trouble. Even Anna Kendrick, who also plays an accountant (she wanted to study art, but her dad said that wouldn’t pay the mortgage), gets some good hits in, including bashing a bad guy’s arm with toilet lid. Remember kids, a true warrior uses the weapons at hand (bonus nerd points for identifying the Chuck Norris movie that is from). Kendrick’s character isn’t a dark accountant, she’s just a regular nerd accountant doing cost accounting. I’ve also taken some graduate accounting courses, so if you are going to do accounting, cost accounting is the most fun. Trust me on this one. Trust me on The Accountant too. Fire up the popcorn and enjoy.
A New Leaf
We’re venturing back to 1971 for this interesting twist on the RomCom genre. Walther Matthau plays a New City City socialite who finds himself in the horrible position of being poor. It’s not some evil twist of fate that caused this, he just lived beyond his means at a rapid pace. His butler suggests an alternative solution to honorable suicide, find a rich woman and marry her. Matthau’s character takes this a step further and plans to murder his wife so he go back to his life of a rich bachelor. Enter Henrietta Lowell, played by Elaine May (who also wrote and directed the movie), a very rich, and socially clueless, young woman with no living family. This film has fine acting, but May’s over the top portrayal of the nearly helpless (except in her chosen field of biology) is a comedic high point. Matthau’s character, Henry, quickly wins her heart, gets married, goes on the honeymoon, and secures his financial security. All that is left is to kill Henrietta. When moving into his new wife’s mansion and estate, Henry finds the staff has been robbing his nearsighted wife blind, all with the help of her lawyer. This offends Henry’s principles, and fires the staff (at gunpoint when needed), and replaces with with a honest and reliable staff. Shortly after that, when Henrietta is about to drown and make his dreams come true, Henry finds that he would miss his wife, who truly loves him, and saves her. A delightful comedy with really first rate acting.
The Legend of Tarzan
I was expecting yet another Tarzan origin story, so I was pleasantly surprised by this film. Chronologically, it takes place after the first two books. Tarzan is living in London, he has his title, lands, and is married to the love of his life, Jane Porter. Meanwhile, bad things are happening in the Belgian Congo (which is historically accurate), and Tarzan goes to investigate. Jane is not being left behind, so adventure follows. Really good cast on this. Margo Robbie as Jane, Samuel L. Jackson as an actual historical figure (who kicked ass, and took names), and Christoph Waltz being excellent as the bad guy.
Best of the ‘B’s.
It’s the Last Friday of the Year, so I’m going to to back and pick a film from each year that aspires to be a B Movie.
2008 Gotta go with Oblivion, winner of the 1994 Best Fantasy/Horror film at the Houston International Film Festival.
2009 Bubba Ho-Tep, Bruce Campbell seals the deal for this pick.
2010 Tough choice, but I’m going with Confessions Of An Action Star
2011 Black Belt Jones staring the late, great Jim Kelly
2012 Digital Assassin. The low budget, poorly written Turkey dreams of being a “B” movie.
2013 National Lampoon’s The Legend of Awesomest Maximus. Another tough choice.
2014 Sands of Oblivion
2015 The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
The Muppets: A Christmas Carol
It’s Christmas, so let’s go with a humorous take on a classic. Kermit plays Bob Cratchet and, of course, Miss Piggy plays Emily Cratchet. Complete with two Pig girls and two Frog boys as children. Gonzo the Great plays the narrator, Charles Dickens. He actually plays it straight for the most part. What really makes this movie though is an excellent performance by Michael Caine as Scrooge. Rizzo the Rat as Dicken’s sidekick is pure value add, from a Muppet perspective.
The Nice Guys
Los Angles. The 1970’s. Cars, the porn industry, “Big Oil”, government corruption, and two working stiffs trying to make a living. One beats people up for a living, the other is a cheap detective trying to earn a living for him and his 13 year old daughter. The daughter ends up driving him around a lot, which is safer than letting her drunk dad drive. You are going to have some L.A. Confidential flashbacks here. Mainly because of Russell Crowe (he beats people up in both movies, mostly people who deserve a good beating), and Kim Basinger. In all, a fun movie with humor mixed with violence. Worth the rental and the popcorn.
It’s almost Halloween again, so we’re going with some of the classics. This 1984 classic remade and flopped big time.
Personally, didn’t think they could capture the spirit of the film, pun intended. They completely missed the Libertarian theme to the movie, which the director admits was intentional.
The Last Legion
Yet another historical fantasy on the Arthurian legend. When I say fantasy, there is a wizard, but he is limited to slight of hand. It’s more alternate history. Start with a historical fact. The Goths invaded Rome, and the last Caesar, a teenager named Romulus, ended up in exile for the rest of his life on an island. In this movie, Romulus (Thomas Sangster, the kid from Love Actually), is rescued by a Roman general (Colin Firth), and advised by is tutor, the before mentioned wizard (Ben Kingsley). They travel to Britain, fight a major battle, defeat the bad guys, and set the stage for King Arthur to show up later. Throw in Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as an Indian warrior in the service of the Eastern Roman Empire (work with me on this), and Kevin McKidd as one nasty Goth, and you have a B-Movie worthy of the rental and popcorn. Movie nerd note, Colin Firth is in Love Actually as well. He doesn’t share any screen time with Thomas Sangster. Sangster does share a lot of screen time with Kevin McKidd in the HBO series Rome. If you are interested, the movie was based on the book by Valerio Massimo Manfredi.
The Cohen Brothers managed to produce a particularly subversive movie. A very well made movie, but subversive. Frankly, I’m surprised this movie made it out of Hollywood. It’s a story about movie industry in the early 1950s. It was the era of big studios. When the stars worked for the studios and did what they were told, and the studio took care of them. The protagonist is the studio boss, who runs the Hollywood end for the owner in New York. He is dedicated to his job, loves his family, is devoted to his wife, takes care of his stars, and is a devout Roman Catholic. Like I said, this movie is subversive to the Hollywood culture. To fight the current Hollywood culture even more, the bad guys are actual communists. To be fair, they aren’t very competent, mostly whiny writers who are pissed that they are not running the studios and making the big money. I really enjoyed this movie, it was very rich in detail, and provided good insight into the time. The studio didn’t care if you were homosexual, or Hispanic, or had poor taste in husbands (“He was a minor crime figure.” “He was not minor!”). You were part of the studio family and the studio took care of you. Loyalty was expected in return, but that was part of the studio culture of the time. Fire up the popcorn, lean back, and enjoy this well crafted bit of film work. Excellent work by a excellent cast that includes Scarlet Johansson, Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum (singing and dancing), Alden Ehrenreich, and Veronica Osorio.
Filed under: American History, History, Humor, Movies, Musical
1776 and An American Carol
Once again, I’m going with an Independence Day double header. Starting with the 1972 film version of the Broadway musical 1776. It tells the tale of getting the resolution on Independence passed through the Continental Congress in the summer of 1776. William Daniels is quite good as John Adams, but it is Howard Da Silva as Benjamin Franklin who steals the show. The second film was the 4th of July weekend pick for 2009. It is the story of Crocumentary filmmaker Michael Malone (name slightly changed so you will be sure which fat communist bastard it is supposed to be), who wants to ban the “4th of July” and is visited by the Ghost of John F. Kennedy, who tells that he will be visited by three spirits in order to cure him of his un-American ways. Very funny, with a great cast of actors who put their careers at risk by outing themselves as Conservatives in the far left extremist moonbat haven of Hollywood.