REVIEW: POINT BLANK (2019)

Frank Grillo and Anthony Mackie in Point Blank (2019)

Starring

Anthony Mackie (Pain & Gain)
Frank Grillo (The Purge: Election Year)
Marcia Gay Harden (The Mist)
Christian Cooke (Love, Rosie)
Teyonah Parris (Empire)
Boris McGiver (Taxi)

It’s hard not to like Point Blank, the new Netflix movie starring MCU foes Anthony Mackie and Frank Grillo as a mismatched pair who take on a group of crooked cops led by Marcia Gay Harden. It’s the kind of guilty pleasure you watch on a Sunday afternoon with your brother or your roommate or whoever, and no one complains afterwards. Does it break any new ground? Well, no, but Mackie and Grillo share a certain chemistry that makes this an appealing action movie, especially at 80 minutes. And yes, that brief running time (sans credits) tells you all you really need to know. This is a modest time investment, and for action junkies and fans of buddy movies, its rewards are modest as well.Frank Grillo and Anthony Mackie in Point Blank (2019)The film opens with a solid chase scene that ends with a painful surprise before we’re quickly introduced to Paul (Mackie), an ER nurse, and his pregnant wife, Taryn (Teyonah Parris). Within a span of 10 minutes, Paul is beaten up twice, and Taryn is kidnapped. If Paul wants her back, he’ll have to free an injured criminal named Abe (Grillo), who is under his care. This lovable tough guy is wanted for murder by the same corrupt cops he’s been trying to expose. In classic buddy movie fashion, the odd couple of Paul and Abe are forced to team up and fight for their lives, as well as those of their loved ones. What little plot there is besides that is doled out via quick flashbacks that hint at Abe’s backstory and why he’s in such trouble at the start of the film. I mean, if you’ve ever seen a movie before, you pretty much know what you’re getting here. So, how’s the action, you’re wondering?Frank Grillo and Anthony Mackie in Point Blank (2019)While there are some cool fight scenes in Point Blank, including one set inside of a car wash, and an effective ‘escape the hospital’ sequence, the action wasn’t quite as inventive as what director Joe Lynch pulled off with Everly, his 2014 movie starring Salma Hayek that was largely set inside of a single apartment. Again, the script by Adam G. Simon allows for some fun shootouts and car chases, but nothing you’ll really remember a few weeks later. The other issue I had was that the tone of these action sequences varies from scene to scene. At times, it feels like Point Blank is struggling to choose whether to be a fun buddy film or a gritty action movie. Even its soundtrack is a bit schizophrenic like that, ranging from punk bands like Black Flag and The Dead Kennedys to rap legends like Grandmaster Flash and Eazy E, all the way to classic rock, courtesy of Whitesnake. That’s a fun group of artists, no doubt, but they don’t exactly seem to be of a piece, if you catch my drift.point-blank-frank-grillo-anthony-mackie-netflix-trailerPoint Blank is Mackie’s fourth Netflix project this year following IO, the Black Mirror episode Striking Vipers, and the upcoming second season of Altered Carbon. He’s a solid attraction for the streaming service, and I understand why he’d want to topline his own action movie after playing a supporting role in the MCU. But, to be honest, he’s kind of coasting here. I think Mackie is a brilliant actor, and the truth is, he’s just better than this material, which probably wouldn’t have been greenlit at other studios because it isn’t quite ‘big’ enough. When you get right down to it, this is a seven-person cast (I almost forgot the film buff gangster played by Markice Moore). It’s shot to feel bigger than it really is, which is a testament to Lynch’s ability to accomplish a lot with a little. Point Blank is based on a 2010 French film of the same name, and as Mackie knows all too well with Miss Bala, sometimes these English-language remakes are easier said than done.Point-Blank-Netflix-PreviewGrillo is great at playing a certain type, and fortunately, it’s the type of guy he plays in Point Blank. A take-no-shit kind of guy. He does exactly what is asked of him in this role, but the writing doesn’t exactly help make his character more memorable. Fans of Grillo’s other Netflix action movie Wheelman will love Point Blank, which represents a step up from that film. But I believe Grillo is a more soulful actor — see Warrior and The Grey as proof — and I do wish he was allowed to imbue some of these tough-guy characters with an softer side, though obviously, Abe’s bond with his brother Mateo (Christian Cooke) is what drives his character in this film. So while I’m pumped to see Grillo’s upcoming macho movies Boss Level and Black and Blue, I’m also looking forward to his coming-of-age drama Once Upon a Time in Staten Island, which was produced by Blumhouse in a departure from their horror brand.Point-Blank-2019-Netflix-Movie-Download-Full-Hindi-English-Dubbed-Dual-Audio-720p-HD-WEB-DL-x264-DD5.1-MSubs-1Speaking of Grillo’s brother, he’s played by Christian Cooke, an actor who has been working steadily for the past 20 years, but who has never really broken through as far as U.S. audiences are concerned. The closest he’s come was a lead role in the Starz series Magic City, but not many people actually watched that show. He’s actually pretty good as Grillo’s kid brother, and I liked his somewhat manic work here. Hopefully, it leads to more opportunities for the young English actor. Cooke spends the majority of his scenes working with up-and-coming actress Teyonah Parris from Mad Men and If Beale Street Could Talk, who plays Mackie’s pregnant wife. Again, there’s not a whole lot for her to do here besides act pregnant and give Mackie someone to fight for, but as such, she gets the job done.00698ddaAs for the bad guys, Oscar winner Harden is clearly slumming it here, but she seems to be enjoying every minute of it, hamming it up as the most crooked of all the cops. She’s working in ‘big’ mode here, like The Mist and the Fifty Shades franchise, and I suppose it suits her at this stage of her career. She’s aided by Boris McGiver, who happens to be one of my favorite character actors, having played Tom Hammerschmidt on Netflix’s own House of Cards. I’m a huge personal fan of both Mackie and Grillo, both of whom I’d watch in just about anything, but I won’t lie and say this movie is awesome, because it’s not. It’s a little generic, and at 80 minutes, thin on both story and character development. But, as I wrote above, it gets the job done if you’re an action junkie looking for a quick fix. Point Blank offers likable leads, an Oscar-winning villain, and no shortage of bad words, which may just be enough to liven up a sleepy streaming sessio

REVIEW: ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER

ABRAHAM LINCOLN 1

CAST

Benjamin Walker (The War Boys)
Dominic Cooper (Dracula Untold)
Anthony Mackie (Captain America: Civil War)
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Swiss Army Man)
Rufus Sewell (Hercules)
Marton Csokas (The Bourne Supremacy)
Jimmi Simpson (Westworld)
Joseph Mawle (Game of Thrones)
Alan Tudyk (Powerless)

In 1818, Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) lives in Indiana with his parents, Nancy (Robin McLeavy) and Thomas (Joseph Mawle), who works at a plantation owned by Jack Barts (Marton Csokas). There, Lincoln rushes to the aid of his friend, a young African American boy, William Johnson (Anthony Mackie), being beaten by a slaver. Because of his son’s actions, Thomas is fired. That night, Lincoln sees Barts break into his house and attack Nancy. She falls ill the following day, and dies shortly afterwards. Thomas tells Lincoln that Barts poisoned Nancy.
Nine years later in 1827, a vengeful Lincoln tries to kill Barts at the docks, but Barts, who is actually a vampire, overpowers him. However, before Barts can kill him, Lincoln is rescued by Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper). Sturgess explains that vampires exist, and offers to teach Lincoln to be a vampire hunter. Lincoln accepts and, after a decade of training, travels to Springfield, Illinois. During his training, Sturgess tells Lincoln that the vampires in America descend from Adam (Rufus Sewell), a vampire who owns a plantation in New Orleans with his sister, Vadoma (Erin Wasson). Sturgess also tells Lincoln of the vampires’ weakness, silver, and presents him with a silver pocket watch.
In Springfield, Lincoln befriends shopkeeper Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson), and meets Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Though Sturgess warned him not to form any close relationships, Lincoln develops romantic feelings for Mary. Lincoln successfully finds and defeats Barts. Before dying, Barts reveals that Sturgess is also a vampire. Lincoln confronts Sturgess, who reveals that, several years ago, he was attacked and bitten by Adam. Because Sturgess’ soul was impure, he became a vampire, and that prevented him from harming Adam or any other vampire (since “Only the living can kill the dead”). Sturgess has since been training vampire hunters, hoping to destroy Adam.
Disappointed, Lincoln decides to abandon his mission. However, Adam learns of his activities and kidnaps Johnson to lure Lincoln into a trap at his plantation. Adam captures Lincoln and tries to recruit him, revealing his plans to turn the United States into a nation of the undead. Speed rescues his friends, and they escape to Ohio. Lincoln marries Mary and begins his political career, campaigning to abolish slavery. It is at this time in the movie Lincoln symbolically puts on the top hat which he dons the rest of the movie. Sturgess warns Lincoln that the slave trade keeps vampires under control, as vampires use slaves for food, and if Lincoln interferes, the vampires will retaliate. After Lincoln’s election as President of the United States of America, he moves to the White House with Mary, where they have a son, William Wallace Lincoln (Cameron M. Brown). William is later bitten by Vadoma and dies.Confederate President Jefferson Davis (John Rothman) convinces Adam to deploy his vampires on the front lines. Lincoln orders the confiscation of all the silverware in the area and has it melted to produce silver weapons. Speed, believing that Lincoln is tearing the nation apart, defects and informs Adam that Lincoln will transport the silver by train. On the train, Adam and Vadoma, who have set fire to the upcoming trestle, attack Lincoln, Sturgess, and Johnson. During the fight, in which Speed is killed, Adam learns that the train holds only rocks. Lincoln reveals that Speed’s betrayal was a ruse to lure Adam into a trap. Lincoln uses his watch to stab Adam, killing him, and the three escape the train before it explodes. Meanwhile, Mary and the ex-slaves have transported the silver to Gettysburg through the Underground Railroad.The now leaderless Confederate vampires stage a final, massive assault and are met head on by the Union. Armed with their silver weapons, the Union soldiers destroy the vampires and eventually win the battle. During that battle, Mary confronts Vadoma, the vampire that killed her son, and kills her. Nearly two years later, on April 14, 1865, Sturgess tells Lincoln that the remaining vampires have fled the country. Sturgess tries to convince Lincoln to allow him to turn Lincoln into a vampire, so that he can become immortal and continue to fight vampires, but Lincoln declines. In modern times, Sturgess approaches a man at a bar in Washington, D.C. as he once approached Lincoln.This is a surprising, clever story that includes just enough historical facts to make it almost plausible. A lot of blood, but still recommended.

REVIEW: MILLION DOLLAR BABY

Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, and Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby (2004)

CAST
Hilary Swank (The Reaping)
Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight)
Jay Baruchel (Robocop 2014)
Mike Colter (Jessica Jones)
Brian F. O’Byrne (Flashforward)
Anthony Mackie (Ant-Man)
Margo Martindale (Mike & Molly)
Riki Lindhome (The Muppets)
Michael Pena (American Hustle)
Benito Martinez (Sons of Anarchy)
Tom McCleister (Twins)
Spice Williams-Crosby (Star Trek V)
Kim Strauss (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
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Margaret “Maggie” Fitzgerald, a waitress from a Missouri town in the Ozarks, shows up in the Hit Pit, a run-down Los Angeles gym owned and operated by Frankie Dunn, an old, cantankerous boxing trainer. Maggie asks Frankie to train her, but he initially refuses. Maggie works out tirelessly each day in his gym, even after Frankie tells her she’s “too old” to begin a boxing career at her age. Eddie “Scrap-Iron” Dupris, Frankie’s friend and employee (as well as the film’s narrator), encourages and helps her.
Frankie’s prize prospect, “Big” Willie Little, signs with successful manager Mickey Mack after becoming impatient with Dunn’s rejecting offers for a championship bout. With prodding from Scrap and impressed with her persistence, Frankie reluctantly agrees to train Maggie. He warns her that he will teach her only the basics and then find her a manager. Other than Maggie and his employees, the only person Frankie has contact with is a local pastor, with whom he spars verbally at daily Mass.
Before her first fight, Frankie leaves Maggie with a random manager in his gym, much to her dismay; upon being told by Scrap that said manager deliberately put her up against his best girl (coaching the novice to lose) to give her an easy win, Frankie rejoins Maggie in the middle of the bout and coaches her instead to an unforeseen victory. A natural, she fights her way up in the women’s amateur boxing division with Frankie’s coaching, winning many of her lightweight bouts with first-round knockouts. Earning a reputation for her KOs, Frankie must resort to bribery to get other managers to put their trainee fighters up against her.
Eventually, Frankie risks putting her in the junior welterweight class, where her nose is broken in her first match. Frankie comes to establish a paternal bond with Maggie, who substitutes for his estranged daughter. Scrap, concerned when Frankie rejects several offers for big fights, arranges a meeting for her with Mickey Mack at a diner on her 33rd birthday. Out of loyalty, she declines. Frankie begrudgingly accepts a fight for her against a top-ranked opponent in the UK, where he bestows a Gaelic nickname on her. The two travel Europe as she continues to win; Maggie eventually saves up enough of her winnings to buy her mother a house, but she berates Maggie for endangering her government aid, claiming that everyone back home is laughing at her.
Frankie is finally willing to arrange a title fight. He secures Maggie a $1 million match in Las Vegas, Nevada against the WBA women’s welterweight champion, Billie “The Blue Bear”, a German ex-prostitute who has a reputation as a dirty fighter. Overcoming a shaky start, Maggie begins to dominate the fight, but after a round has ended, Billie knocks her out with an illegal sucker punch from behind after the bell has sounded to indicate the end of the round. Before Frankie can pull the corner stool out of the way which was inappropriately placed on its side by Frankie’s assistant, Maggie lands hard on it, breaking her neck and leaving her a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic.
Frankie is shown experiencing the first three of the five stages of grief: first seeking multiple doctors’ opinions in denial, then blaming Scrap in anger and later trying to bargain with God through prayer. In a medical rehabilitation facility, Maggie looks forward to a visit from her family, but they arrive accompanied by an attorney and only after having first visited Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood; their only concern is to transfer Maggie’s assets to them. She orders them to leave, threatening to sell the house and inform the IRS of her mother’s welfare fraud if they ever show their faces again.
As the days pass, however, Maggie develops bedsores and undergoes an amputation for an infected leg. She asks a favor of Frankie: to help her die, declaring that she got everything she wanted out of life. A horrified Frankie refuses, and Maggie later bites her tongue repeatedly in an attempt to bleed to death, but the medical staff saves her and takes measures to prevent further suicide attempts. The pastor Frankie has harassed for 23 years, Father Horvak, warns him that he would never find himself again if he were to go through with Maggie’s wishes.
Frankie sneaks in one night, unaware that Scrap is watching from the shadows. Just before administering a fatal injection of adrenaline, he finally tells Maggie the meaning of a nickname he gave her, Mo Chuisle (spelled incorrectly in the film as “mo cuishle”): Irish for “my darling, and my blood” (literally, “my pulse”). He never returns to the gym. Scrap’s narration is revealed to be a letter to Frankie’s daughter, informing her of her father’s true character. The last shot of the film shows Frankie sitting at the counter of a diner where Maggie once took him.
The ending was haunting but incredibly poignant. This film was impressive, excellently crafted and definately worthwhile seeing, not least for the excellent performances of the cast

REVIEW: THE HURT LOCKER

CAST
Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy)
Anthony Mackie (Million Dollar Baby)
Brian Geraghty (When A Stranger Calls)
Guy Pearce (Prometheus)
Ralph Fiennes (Red Dragon)
David Morse (The Rock)
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man)
The Hurt Locker opens with a quotation from War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, a best-selling 2002 book by Chris Hedges, a New York Times war correspondent and journalist: “The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug.”
Sergeant First Class William James (Jeremy Renner), a battle-tested veteran, arrives as a new team leader of a U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit in the Iraq War,replacing Staff Sergeant Matthew Thompson (Guy Pearce), who was killed by a radio-controlled 155mm improvised explosive device (IED) in Baghdad. His team includes Sergeant J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty).
James’ maverick methods and attitude lead Sanborn and Eldridge to consider him reckless, and tensions mount. When they are assigned to destroy some explosives in a remote desert area, James returns to the detonation site to pick up his gloves. Sanborn openly contemplates killing James by “accidentally” triggering the explosion, making Eldridge very uncomfortable, but Sanborn does nothing.
Returning to Camp Victory in their Humvee, the team encounters five armed men in traditional Arab garb standing near the men’s Ford Excursion, which has a flat tire. After a tense encounter, the men reveal themselves to be private military contractors and British mercenaries. They have captured two prisoners featured on the most-wanted Iraqi playing cards. The entire group suddenly comes under fire, and when the prisoners attempt to escape in the confusion, the leader of the mercenaries (Ralph Fiennes) remembers the bounty for them is “dead or alive” and shoots them. Enemy snipers kill three of the mercenaries, including the leader. Sanborn and James borrow a Barrett .50 cal to dispatch three attackers, while Eldridge kills a fourth.
During a raid on a warehouse, James discovers the body of a young boy, in which a live bomb has been surgically implanted. James believes it to be “Beckham” (Christopher Sayegh), an Iraqi youth he had previously befriended. During evacuation, Lieutenant Colonel John Cambridge (Christian Camargo), the camp’s psychiatrist and a friend of Eldridge’s, is killed in an explosion; Eldridge blames himself for the Colonel’s death. Later, James leaves the military compound seeking revenge for Beckham and breaks into the house of an Iraqi professor, but his search reveals nothing and he leaves.
Called to a petrol tanker detonation, James decides on his own to hunt for the insurgents responsible, guessing they are still in the immediate area. Sanborn protests, but when James heads out, he and Eldridge reluctantly follow. After they split up, insurgents capture Eldridge. James and Sanborn rescue him, but accidentally shoot him in the leg. The following morning, James is approached by Beckham, who James believed was dead. The young boy tries to play soccer with James and sell him more DVDs, but the soldier walks by without saying a word. Before being airlifted for surgery elsewhere, Eldridge angrily blames James for his injury.
James and Sanborn’s unit is called to another mission in their last two days of their rotation. An innocent Iraqi civilian man has had a bomb vest strapped to his chest. James tries to cut off the locks to remove the vest, but there are too many to undo in the time available before the bomb will detonate. He has to abandon the man, who is killed when the bomb explodes. Sanborn is left distraught by the man’s death. He confesses to James that he can no longer cope with the pressure, and he wants to return home and have a son.
After Bravo Company’s rotation ends, James returns home to his ex-wife, Connie (Evangeline Lilly) and their infant son who both still live with him in his house. However, he is bored and disconnected from routine civilian life, with its ordinary tasks of shopping at the supermarket and family dinners. One night, James confesses to his son that there is only one thing that he knows he loves. Shortly thereafter, he starts another tour of duty serving with Delta Company, U.S. Army EOD unit as they are starting their 365-day rotation.
Fully deserving of its Oscar and BAFTA awards Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker is an ambitious, intelligent, unsentimental attempt to present the experience of war from the perspective of ordinary soldiers.

REVIEW: ANT-MAN

CAST

Paul Rudd (The Shape of Things)
Michael Douglas (Traffic)
Evangeline Lilly (Real Steel)
Corey Stoll (The Bourney Legacy)
Bobby Cannavale (Paul Mart Mall Cop)
Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker)
Judy Greer (Dawn of The Planet of The Apes)
Michael Pena (American Hustle)
Hayley Atwell (Cinderella)
John Slattery (Ted 2)
Martin Donovan (Insomnia)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Chris Evans (The Losers)
Sebastian Stan (Spread)
Hayley Lovitt (The Gifted)
Garrett Morris (2 Broke Girls)
Johnny Pemberton (Son of Zorn)
Tom Kenny (Super Squad Show)

 In 1989, scientist Hank Pym resigns from S.H.I.E.L.D. after discovering their attempt to replicate his Ant-Man shrinking technology. Believing the technology is dangerous, Pym vows to hide it as long as he lives.In the present day, Pym’s estranged daughter, Hope van Dyne, and former protégé, Darren Cross, have forced him out of his company, Pym Technologies. Cross is close to perfecting a shrinking suit of his own, the Yellowjacket, which horrifies Pym. Upon his release from prison, well-meaning thief Scott Lang moves in with his old cellmate, Luis. While visiting his daughter Cassie unannounced, Lang is rebuked by his former wife Maggie and her police-detective fiancé, Paxton, for not providing child support. Unable to hold a job because of his criminal record, Lang agrees to join Luis’ crew and commit a burglary. Lang breaks into a house and cracks its safe, but only finds what he believes to be an old motorcycle suit, which he takes home. After trying the suit on, Lang accidentally shrinks himself to the size of an insect. Terrified by the experience, he returns the suit to the house, but is arrested on the way out. Pym, the homeowner, visits Lang in jail and smuggles the suit into his cell to help him break out.At his home, Pym, who manipulated Lang through an unknowing Luis into stealing the suit as a test, wants Lang to become the new Ant-Man to steal the Yellowjacket from Cross. Having been spying on Cross after discovering his intentions, van Dyne helps Pym train Lang to fight and to control ants. While van Dyne harbors resentment towards Pym about her mother Janet’s death, he reveals that Janet, known as the Wasp, disappeared into a subatomic quantum realm to disable a Soviet nuclear missile. Pym warns Lang that he could suffer a similar fate if he overrides his suit’s regulator. They send him to steal a device that will aid their heist from the Avengers’ headquarters, where he briefly fights Sam Wilson.Cross perfects the Yellowjacket and hosts an unveiling ceremony at Pym Technologies’ headquarters. Lang, along with his crew and a swarm of flying ants, infiltrates the building during the event, sabotages the company’s servers, and plants explosives. When he attempts to steal the Yellowjacket, he, along with Pym and Hope, are captured by Cross, who intends to sell both the Yellowjacket and Ant-Man suits to Hydra, led by former S.H.I.E.L.D officer Mitchell Carson. Lang breaks free and he and Hope dispatch most of the Hydra agents, though Carson is able to flee with a vial of Cross’ particles. Lang pursues Cross as he escapes, while the explosives detonate, imploding the building.Cross dons the Yellowjacket and attacks Lang before Lang is arrested by Paxton. His mind addled by the imperfect shrinking technology, Cross takes Cassie hostage to lure Lang into another fight. Lang overrides the regulator and shrinks to subatomic size to penetrate Cross’ suit and sabotage it to shrink uncontrollably, killing Cross. Lang disappears into the quantum realm but manages to reverse the effects and returns to the macroscopic world. In gratitude for Lang’s heroism, Paxton covers for Lang to keep him out of prison. Seeing that Lang survived and returned from the quantum realm, Pym wonders if his wife is alive as well. Later, Lang meets up with Luis, who tells him that Wilson is looking for him.

In a mid-credits scene, Pym shows van Dyne a new Wasp prototype suit and offers it to her. In a post-credits scene, Wilson and Steve Rogers have Bucky Barnes in their custody. Unable to contact Tony Stark because of “the accords”, Wilson mentions that he knows someone who could help.One of my favorite Marvel films. But in reality, one of my favorite films, period! It’s laugh out loud funny, with heart, and with good special effects! It is a film I definitely recommend! I really hope a second film is green lit as long as they make it fresh as this film was fresh
One of my favorite Marvel films. But in reality, one of my favorite films, period! It’s got great humor, with heart, and with good special effects!

 

REVIEW: GANGSTER SQUAD

CAST

Sean Penn (Mystic River)
Josh Borlin (Men In Black 3)
Ryan Gosling (Drive)
Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-man 1 & 2)
Holt McCallany (The Losers)
Wade Williams (The Dark Knight Rises)
Lucy Davenport (Alice In Wonderland)
Nick Nolte (Cape fear)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Michael Pena (American Hustle)
Giovanni Ribisi (Some Girl)
Anthony Mackie (Captain America 2)

John Aylward (Armageddon)
Michael Papajohn (Spider-Man)
Jack McGee (The Fighter)
Mireille Enos (Hanna TV)
Jack Conley (Angel)
Josh Pence (The Dark Knight Rises)
Jon Polito (The Crow)
Lance Barber (Young Sheldon)
Michael Bacall (Death Proof)
Anthony De Longis (Masters of The Universe)
Derek Mears (The Flash)
Frank Grillo (Mother’s Day)

In 1949 Los Angeles, gangster Mickey Cohen wants to control all organized crime and argues with local mobster Jack Dragna that they should not allow the East coast mafia to run the town. Meanwhile, LAPD Detective Sergeant John “Sarge” O’Mara raids a Cohen-owned brothel to save a woman from being raped, gaining the attention of Police Chief Bill Parker. Parker believes that more drastic measures need to be taken against men like Cohen, and tasks O’Mara to begin waging a guerrilla campaign against the mobsters. He tells O’Mara (a former OSS commando during World War II) to use his special operations training, learned at Camp X during World War II, and to select a small team that will work without badges or official support from the police.
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O’Mara’s pregnant wife Connie suggests choosing unorthodox veterans like himself, as young high-performers would likely already be on Cohen’s payroll. With Connie’s help, O’Mara selects a small squad of cops: black street officer Coleman Harris, wiretap expert Conwell Keeler, gunslinger and sharpshooter Max Kennard, and Kennard’s Hispanic partner Navidad “Christmas” Ramirez. O’Mara also attempts to recruit his partner Sergeant Jerry Wooters, but Wooters has become lazy and complacent in his job and refuses. Wooters keeps in touch with childhood friend Jack Whalen, who provides him with information on Cohen. Wooters also meets and begins a secret relationship with Cohen’s etiquette tutor Grace Faraday.
gangster-squad
The squad’s first mission is to bust up an illegal Cohen casino in Burbank, California, but things quickly go bad as O’Mara and Harris are captured by corrupt Burbank police who were guarding the casino. Wooters has a change of heart after witnessing the death of a young boy he had been helping out and attempts to shoot Cohen. Whalen stops him and tells him that O’Mara is going to be turned over to Cohen, prompting Wooters to rescue the men from the Burbank jail. Deciding that they need more information on Cohen’s operations, Wooters and Keeler break into Cohen’s house and place an illegal wiretap inside his TV. The men are seen sneaking out by Grace, who agrees to keep their secret. Using the information from the wiretap, the group conducts several successful raids on Cohen operations. After a particularly violent raid on a Cohen drug shipment, Keeler begins to question what they are doing but is re-assured by O’Mara. The media begins referring to the men as “The Gangster Squad”, and Cohen pushes his men to find out who they are. Keeler deduces that Cohen is building a large wire gambling business somewhere in town, and warns O’Mara that if they don’t take it out before it becomes operational Cohen will become too big for even them to stop. Keeler uses wire transmissions to locate the building, and the squad wipes it out. An enraged Cohen realizes that the Gangster Squad must be honest cops when he discovers that none of his money was stolen.
Cohen suspects that his house is bugged and begins searching for the tap. Grace overhears Cohen and fears that he knows about her relationship with Wooters. With the help of a maid, Grace escapes Cohen’s house and meets Wooters, who takes her to Whalen and tasks him with getting her out of town. Cohen finds the bug and begins feeding false information to Keeler. Cohen lures the Gangster Squad into a trap in Chinatown, but Wooters arrives in time to alert the men to the trap. While the men are distracted in Chinatown, Cohen hits several targets himself. Cohen’s bodyguard Karl Lockwood finds Keeler’s listening post and kills him while Cohen goes to Whalen’s looking for Grace. Cohen murders Whalen in front of Grace, who hides from him. O’Mara’s house is hit by a drive-by shooting, the stress of which causes Connie to give birth to their son in their bathtub.
Grace agrees to testify against Cohen for the murder of Whalen, and O’Mara uses her testimony to get a warrant for Cohen’s arrest. The squad arrives at Cohen’s hotel to arrest him and an intense firefight breaks out. Wooters and Kennard are wounded, while Cohen and Lockwood escape. O’Mara pursues them down the block, assisted by a mortally wounded Kennard and his sharpshooting skill. Kennard, with Ramirez’ help, shoots Lockwood just before he dies and O’Mara and Cohen engage in a brutal fistfight that ends with O’Mara eventually beating Cohen to his knees. As a crowd gathers, a bloodied O’Mara walks away and Cohen is arrested for Whalen’s murder.
As Chief Parker had told them, the Gangster Squad is never credited in taking down Cohen. Grace’s testimony ensures Cohen is sentenced to 25 to life at Alcatraz, where he is welcomed violently by Whalen’s friends. Grace and Wooters stay together and he stays on the force, while Ramirez and Harris become partners on the beat. Ramirez is shown patrolling with Kennard’s signature Colt Single Action Army on his hip. O’Mara quits to live a quiet life in Los Angeles with Connie and their son.
This is great fun, it isn’t the greatest film ever made, the most original or anything like that but it doesn’t waste a second and that’s the way I like it.

REVIEW: EAGLE EYE

CAST

Shia LaBeouf (Transformers)
Michelle Monaghan (Mission Impossible 2)
Rosario Dawson (Sin City)
Michael Chiklis (Gotham)
Anthony Mackie (Ant-Man)
Ethan Embry (Vacancy)
Billy Bob Thornton (Bad Santa)
Anthony Azizi (Priest)
Bill Smitrovich (Ted)
William Sadler (Iron Man 3)
Eric Christian Olsen (Tru Calling)
Marc Singer (V)
Brittany Ishibashi (Runaways)
Enver Gjokaj (Dollhouse)
Stacey Scowley (Young Warlocks)
Julianne Moore (Carrie)

 

the-perfection1Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) is a Stanford University dropout who learns his identical twin brother Ethan, a first lieutenant in the US Air Force, has been killed. Following the funeral, Jerry is surprised to find $750,000 in his bank account. Later he finds his Chicago apartment filled with weapons, ammonium nitrate, classified DOD documents, and forged passports. He receives a phone call from a woman (Julianne Moore) who warns that the FBI is about to arrest him and he needs to run.The-Perfection-Trailer-700x291Disbelieving, Jerry is caught by the FBI and interrogated by Supervising Agent Tom Morgan (Billy Bob Thornton). While Morgan confers with Air Force OSI Special Agent Zoe Pérez (Rosario Dawson), the woman on the phone arranges for Jerry’s escape and directs him to Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan), a single mother. The woman on the phone is coercing Rachel by threatening her son Sam (Cameron Boyce), who is en route to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. with his school band. The woman on the phone helps the two avoid the Chicago police and FBI, using an ability to control networked devices, including traffic lights, mobile phones, automated cranes, and even power lines.whatif_102_unit_00954rcMeanwhile, the woman on the phone redirects a crystal of powerful DOD explosive—hexamethylene—to a gemcutter, who cuts it and fixes it into a necklace. Another man (Anthony Azizi) steals Sam’s trumpet in Chicago and fits the crystal’s sonic trigger into the tubing, before forwarding it to Sam in Washington, D.C.Agent Perez is summoned by Secretary of Defense George Callister (Michael Chiklis) to be read into Ethan’s job at the Pentagon. Ethan monitored the DOD’s top secret intelligence-gathering supercomputer, the Autonomous Reconnaissance Intelligence Integration Analyst (ARIIA). Callister leaves Perez with Major William Bowman (Anthony Mackie) and ARIIA to investigate Ethan Shaw’s death. Simultaneously, Rachel and Jerry learn that the woman on the phone is actually ARIIA, and that she has “activated” them according to the Constitution’s authorization to recruit civilians for the national defense.

Perez and Bowman find evidence which Ethan Shaw had hidden in ARIIA’s chamber the night he died, and leave to brief Callister. Afterwards, ARIIA smuggles Jerry and Rachel into her observation theater under the Pentagon. Both groups learn that after ARIIA’s recommendation was ignored and a botched operation in Balochistan resulted in the deaths of American citizens, ARIIA concluded that “to prevent more bloodshed, the executive branch must be removed.” Acting on behalf of “We the People”, and citing the Declaration of Independence (“whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it”), ARIIA is acting in compliance with Section 216 of the Patriot Act which “allows us to circumvent probable cause in the face of a national security threat, in this case, the chain of command itself.” MV5BMTUzMjI5Mzc0OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDc5MzUzMw@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_Belatedly, Jerry learns he has been brought to circumvent biometric locks placed by his twin that prevent ARIIA from bringing into effect Operation Guillotine, a military simulation of maintaining government after the loss of all presidential successors. Because Secretary Callister agreed with ARIIA’s abort recommendation regarding Balochistan, he is to be the designated survivor after the hexamethylene detonates at the State of the Union address (SOTU). One of ARIIA’s agents (Nick Searcy) extracts Rachel from the Pentagon and gives her a dress and the explosive necklace to wear to the SOTU. Sam’s school band has also been redirected to the United States Capitol to play for the president, bringing the trigger in Sam’s trumpet and the explosive together. Jerry is recaptured by Agent Morgan, who has become convinced of Jerry’s innocence. Elsewhere, Morgan sacrifices himself to stop an armed MQ-9 Reaper sent by ARIIA, but first gives Jerry his weapon and ID with which to gain entrance to the Capitol. Arriving in the House Chamber, Jerry fires the handgun in the air to disrupt the concert before being shot and wounded by the Secret Service, while ARIIA is destroyed by Perez.MV5BMjE0Mzc1MzA0M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjU5MzUzMw@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_later, Callister reports that ARIIA has been decommissioned and recommends against building another; the Shaw twins and Agents Perez and Morgan receive awards for their actions. Jerry attends Sam’s birthday party, earning Rachel’s gratitude and a kiss. MV5BMTg0MDc2NDI5N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTU5MzUzMw@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_Eagle Eye is very “Enemy of the State”, a real techno-thriller updated for the popcorn generation but I do not say that in a derogatory way. Sit back and enjoy it as I did, it’s an action packed, CGI roller coaster of a ride with a provocative, if far-fetched plot. Good performances all round.