Marty, Tony and I all give Ben Affleck and “The Accountant” a solid A for Action, Dialogue, Subtle Humor, Supporting Cast, Surprising Plot Twists, Realistic and Justified Violence and especially The Film’s theme and message.
Ben Affleck was fully in “character” as Christian Wolff – an adult living the story of a child who was born with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of high functioning Autism. This developmental disorder is characterized in people who are high functioning, driven, exhibit a strong personal moral code, are mathematically inclined, become anxious when a task is not completed, avoid social interaction, struggle with non-verbal communication – yet they desire to be in relationships but often lack the skills to do so. Ben never broke character – even when I really wanted him to.
At this point you may be thinking of “Rain Man” and what a wonderful and liberal movie of redemption this might be. Guess again theater goer! This film uses a technique that I usually don’t care for – Flashbacks – to effectively piece together the story of how an odd kid wound up being a Forensic Accountant dealing with some of the world’s most dangerous characters – with exceptionally high compensation. In part because of his disorder – but primarily because of the extreme methods his Father used to help Chris learn to deal with the real world – Chris became a super efficient instrument of violence and death when his moral code was violated.
The film moves back and forth between the story of a US Treasury Agent (J.K. Simmons) and his dedicated and emotionally complicated Assistant (Cynthia Robinson) hunting down The Accountant – Chris’s work for a corporation whose Junior Accountant (Anna Kendrick) uncovered some discrepancies – and a significant amount of bad guys who violated Chris’s moral code and or threatened his almost new friend Anna having their bodies beaten, broken and quite often their lives very realistically terminated. Arnold would have been proud! But some of you will find the violence too much. Tony and I enjoyed seeing the bad guys get what they deserved and often accompanied by some subtle and clever one liner – executed with good timing by Affleck.
Throw in a small but well acted part as a mentor by Jeffrey Tambor – non stop action and at least two plot twists I never saw coming we strongly recommend you see The Accountant. We are looking forward to buying it when it comes out on DVR so we can listen more carefully to the dialogue and cynical humor during much of the violence. That said will you miss a lot if you wait for home viewing? No – just delayed enjoyment – but there are very few special effects, if any, that must be seen on the big screen.
How lucky can one couple get? Marty and I saw Denzel bring down the bad guys in The Magnificent Seven and in the very same week we are treated to the best American Buddy Cop TV Show since Tubbs and Crocket in Miami Vice! This is the most fun Marty has had since our honeymoon! OK – maybe I had you up to there but you know I crossed the line with that weak reference.
Fox’s rip off of Mel and Danny’s Lethal Weapon movies does not disappoint. I will state unequivocally this is the best Buddy Cop Procedural on TV. My ex-news anchor friend Kurt Fonger taught me that a Procedural is a TV production that begins and ends the plot each show. Unlike “24” and so many of today’s TV shows that leave you on the edge of frustration – Fox’s Lethal Weapon does not leave you “hangin bro.”
This show is a fast paced hour of entertainment combining Black and White – action and violence – definitely good and bad guys – great one liners – stirred with four cups of Sarcastic Humor – Partners – Family and deep rooted heart ache.
Daman Wayans (Murtaugh) is probably the only “face” you will know but in this role he plays the straight guy to Clane Crawford (Riggs) and Riggs steals the show. If possible I strongly encourage you to use your Xfinity On Demand or what ever TV provider you use and watch the premier episode first. The show builds on Murtaugh’s family dynamic and Riggs PTSD and other deep seated emotional issues from the tragic loss of his pregnant wife. As a sub plot the writers do an excellent job of dealing with the subject of suicide.
Well enough of me droning on – by the way did I mention Murtaugh’s successful and hot Defense Attorney wife played by Kesha Sharp – the ever present and necessary authority figure Captain Brooks (Kevin Rahm) and the beautiful and charming Police Psychologist Maureen (Jordana Brewster)?
The Cinematographers presented the landscapes as a pallet upon which the writers and actors paint a gritty, rich and colorful film that will some day be known as a classic Western.
A rag tag bunch of misfit Cowboys, Indians and Confederates are led by a Black Gunman with an unknown motivation for justice and a burning hatred for The Bad Guy! The Town Folk are led by a spunky young widow whose husband was killed in cold blood in the local Church.
Marty, Tony and I really liked this film. Certainly not because of its originality but because it was BIG – full of action packed scenes that never left me bored – the odd mix of characters bonded – it had interesting dialogue and the big showdown of the Magnificent Seven against an army of bad guys was well planned, chocked full of close up and personal killing of many bad guys – which led to a good ending with a couple of surprises.
Not only are we recommending this film to you but we encourage you to see it on the Big Screen. It was filmed in New Mexico and Louisiana and the scenery is as important as any character. The Costume staff did an excellent job of dressing the actors in what we romanticize as Cowboy attire with vests, boots, shiny Colts and Peacemakers riding magnificent horses.
When the credits rolled we sat in our seats for a couple of minutes reflecting on how well we had been entertained – which I believe is the point of going to a movie.
The Directors of Hell or Highwater give Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and a strong supporting cast the TIME needed to allow you to get to know each of the five central characters as so few movies do any more. This film defies categorization. It’s not a comedy but it’s sometimes not so subtle dialogue had us laughing out loud. Jeff Bridges role as a Texas Ranger defies Political Correctness. It’s not a violent film but people get killed as sometimes happens in life. It’s not a tale of suspense but all along the way little bread crumbs lead you slowly to the ending – which was a comforting surprise to me.
For you ladies you who saw Chris Pine in the recent Startrek release be prepared to see this generations Brad Pitt! Chris pulls his weight, is ruggedly handsome and quietly sexy with his tan and three day beard. Did I really just say that?
All in all we really like this film. That said – will you miss anything if you wait for Home Rental? Absolutely Not – except you won’t get to enjoy it until then. Like the Big Lebowski and many other “Character Development” classics the hundreds of millions of dollars Hell or Highwater will make will be from home viewers. Tony and I can’t wait to have a short one and see this film at home where we can rewind and listen to the lines we really enjoyed and some we probably missed.
Those of you who read movie reviews may wonder how a film that got a 99% rating from “Rotten Tomatoes” and a 90% review by audiences could have opened with a low first weekend “gross.” As I said earlier this movie defies categorization and may not appeal to the Action-Adventure and Computer Generated wizardry crowd. Yet, I believe it will have long legs from word of mouth and years from now people who enjoy getting to know the characters and feel plot development will still be renting Hell or Highwater.
I made my first political contribution today for Brian Mast – also a Combat Wounded Veteran who is running for Congress here where we live in District 18. You are probably too young to appreciate this but sometimes I forget things. My phone rang today and it was Brian, saying he got my number from his wife Brianna and asked if he could talk for a minute about his run for Congress.
While he was talking I had a flashback to one of our favorite servers for years at Palm Beach Grill – his wife – Brianna Mast. Brianna asked Marty and I several times back then to pray for “my husband” when he was shipped to the Middle East and in 2011 she implored us to pray for him as he had both his legs blown off by an IED. Of course we did and then we heard her reports of his long but remarkable healing and then the battle to adjust to his new artificial below the knee legs.
I saw the ads recently they are running on local TV and it dawned on me finally – that is Brianna from The Grill’s husband. Today I got an e mail from some good friends who are seasonal and they asked me if I knew him and told me about Brian being a strong Christian and Family Man – two boys 4 and 6 and a one year old girl – and that Marty and I and our friends at CF should get behind him.
Then just an hour or so ago Brian calls.
I have not met Brian personally but will do that soon when we get together for a local meet and greet. If you are interested in coming let me know. Brian is running against four other Republicans in the Primary later this month. Based on his record of serving our Nation – His remarkable recovery and re-entry into civilian life as a Christian leader of his family – and from what I can read on his website – Mastforcongress.com – he merits my support and I hope yours as well if you live here in District 18.
If you check his website don’t miss the “Meet the Masts” section. It brought tears to my eyes as I remember Marty and I meeting and getting married right before I shipped out to Vietnam. Our proposals were equally “un-romantic” and we had to make do on my $68 a month and her $80 a week. Who knew I married Marty for her money?
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Uncle Larry
If you are a big fan of the Jason Bourne action series then you will want to see this film now.
Otherwise you can wait for Pay Per View or maybe even free rental on cable a year from now.
Am I saying this is a bad movie? No, not at all. As a home rental Tony, Marty and I give this a solid B. However, when a Film is named after the actor that ought to give you a clue as to what the film is all about – Jason Bourne. It kind of takes some of the suspense out of the plot – hold that thought – knowing that Jason is not going to be killed no matter how many life threatening situations he is in because Jason is the Franchise.
On the plus side if your kids are immune to violence and blood and fight scenes – but you do not want them to see anything sexual they can see this movie. It’s all about the action and the violence.
I saw a review in the paper that said “this plot was ripped from today’s headlines.” That reviewer must have broken into the business working on The National Enquirer because he damn sure did not get a Journalism Degree from Northwestern University in Chicago. This plot was one implausible vinette layed on the top of another.
Tommy Lee Jones play the “Bad Guy” – super wrinkled skin and all – as the Head of the CIA. He portrays this role as someone who planned out the evil plots and is/was actively involved in the details of day to day CIA operations in the field. The last time I checked George H Bush was the Director of the CIA once upon a time and I don’t see George and Barbara getting involved beyond the Political Level of putting on a show for Congress who provides the funding.
OK – enough of this rambling. If you are a Jason Bourne Trilogy fan get out there and see this flick SAP. Otherwise wait for home viewing.
When, oh when I ask you is there going to be a movie I really like – can give a “AAA” review to and tell you to spend your hard earned money is the theater now?
If like Marty and I you were suspicious of a plot based on Superman fighting Batman and decided to wait for home viewing your patience has been rewarded. We rented Superman versus Batman (SvB) last night and really enjoyed it. SvB is an excellent home rental – especially if you have a good big screen TV.
Short version of why you should rent it:
1. The first 30 minutes was really good.
2. The final 30 minutes was really good.
3. You are at home and can get a drink or take a potty break when it gets slow in the middle or just hit the pause button.
4. In context of the script the showdown between Superman and Batman actually makes sense.
5. Ben Affleck was excellent as an aging, cynical, really buff and moody Batman.
Other reasons to spend five bucks for SvB:
6. Spoiler Alert! Amy Adams is so cute in a tub and even modestly dressed she brought Superman’s Lover to life.
7. Jeremy Irons is excellent as Alfred. Very proper those Brits!
8. Spoiler Alert! Wonder Woman makes a surprise appearance – setting her up for her own movie series.
9. Superman’s special effects are excellent but Henry Cavill shows about as much passion as my cat.
10. Diane Lane as Superman’s earthly Mother is timelessly beautiful even in stringy gray hair.
If you are a “Trekkie” you should see this movie. Otherwise you should wait for home rental.
I’m not angry that I paid for a ticket but the “darkness” of the lighting and the rapid eye movement on the screen combined with no original thinking in the plot makes this a wait for home rental.
If there really was a “Tarzan and Jane” we would like them to be what we saw yesterday in “The Legend of Tarzan” (Tarzan). This is by far the best Tarzan movie we have ever seen – really first class!
Marty and Larry give it a solid B+. Marty gives it an A and has already asked when we are going again. Larry gave it a B for the few times in the film that it was a little slow. We both enjoyed the film and as Marty says we plan to see it again to be able to pick up more of the dialogue and enjoy the majesty of the scenery and the interplay between the real human actors and the animals – they seemed so very real its hard to believe they were not. If you are old enough to remember Tarzan forget about everything that follows and see this film on the big screen.
This movie is for mature adults! No, there was no sex, no bad words and only enough violence and killing to clearly define the rolls between the “Good Guys” and the “Bad Guys.” A ten year old could see this film but he would not enjoy it as much as an adult who can relate to the characters, human emotion, loss and understand the lengths that men will go to in order to get what they want. A classic battle between good and evil.
As you might expect the “Best Actor” in this film is not the “Leading Actor.” Christoph Waltz (Awards for Inglorious Bastards, Django Unchained, Spectre) brings Leon Rom, an evil schemer, slave trader and all around bad guy to life with deceit, guile, violence and does it all with a smile and a witty sense of humor. He was so good at being bad I liked his character and almost hated to see him die. Speaking of supporting actors Samuel L. Jackson does his usual Samuel L. Jackson and its good enough to have plenty of work.
If you are female it really doesn’t matter who portrayed Tarzan (Alexander Scarsgord) – all you need to do is look at him. Marty mumbled just loud enough for me to hear that I look like that in her mind when the lights go out:) We saw a season of True Blood on HBO but became uncomfortable with the dark spiritual underpinnings so we had not seen much of Mr. Scarsgord’s work. One thing I can tell you for sure: he spent at least a year with professional trainers and body shapers to get in this kind of shape. Very impressive. In addition he was likable, athletic and did a good job interpreting Tarzan.
Margot Robbie is by the widest possible margin the best Jane ever. She played a strong, funny, intelligent and beautiful Jane – fully dressed at all times for the PG-13 rating.
Final Tip: Don’t be late or rush in at the last minute. The film starts right out from the get go so be in your seat to enjoy the development of all the characters!
When I was nineteen (1964 Pre-Vietnam for me) I went to work for Bob VanKampen and Tony Wauterlek in Chicago. They were throwing nickels around like they were man hole covers and I lived in the Oak Park YMCA for months before I could afford an “efficiency” at 5450 North Winthrop. More on that story later. I met Romanians there and I had never heard of Romania. Nobody cares about that story. Bob and Tony were great guys to work for and I say this sincerely – Bob was a Genius. His mind never stopped working. He “created” several types of bond financing and so much more this e-mail will have to stop there. Sadly Bob died in 1999 but gladly our long relationship with his lovely wife Judy and her Daughter Karla and Husband Scott have continued.
This past weekend Bob and Judy’s Grand Daughter/Karla and Scott’s Daughter Jacqueline was Married to a handsome young Jew who was born and lived until recently in Israel and served in combat twice as a Captain in the IDF. Marvelously Amir has accepted Christ as Messiah and Lord. More on that story later. The wedding was like nothing we have ever seen. I mean literally nothing like you have ever seen! More on that story later.
Karla and Scott chose the Four Seasons Resort in Lake Bueno Vista for the wedding and secured a block of rooms for family and old friends at a great rate! If your travels take you to Orlando, Disney and or it’s other theme Parks if you can find a good rate or if you win the Lottery don’t miss the chance to stay at The Four Seasons Resort Orlando.
Here’s my review which is also on Trip Advisor. Larry
The Four Seasons Resort (FSR) Orlando has the appearance, substance and the reality of Florida Style Luxury. In Florida, especially in the warmer seasons, Luxury doesn’t mean jackets, ties and long pants. It’s a difficult balancing act to be a Luxury Resort in Florida – yet maintain a casual ambience – including clothing – with a helpful and friendly staff that are well trained and provide the high level of service one expects at a Four Seasons Property. My wife and I feel FSR Orlando had it all together during our recent three day stay for a wedding of friends in the Grand Ball Room. The wedding by the way and staff service was over the top great!
The Property has a European influence and sits among a developing Disney project with many beautiful homes. Their Common Areas are anything but common. We enjoyed walking around the public areas every day. Yes, there are children there but with the separate Adult Pool and Cabanas – Children’s Pool (plural) and play areas it didn’t feel like we were in the Disney neighborhood. Throw in a Tom Fazio golf course that is featured on the PGA Tour, the quiet full service spa and the roof top bar and dining and it’s hard to feature anyone not enjoying FSR Orlando.
We have seldom met a staff that seems so genuinely happy to serve you and always without any pretense. Though our stay was brief it was intensely relaxing and if our schedules call for a visit to Orlando and or the Theme Parts we will definitely stay at FSR Orlando again!