REVIEW: THE MULE

Starring

Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby)
Bradley Cooper (The Hangover)
Laurence Fishburne (Ant-man and The Wasp)
Michael Peña (American Hustle)
Dianne Wiest (Sisters)
Ignacio Serricchio (Lost in Space)
Andy García (Ghostbusters)
Taissa Farmiga (The Nun)
Alison Eastwood (They Are Among Us)
Richard Herd (Get Out)
Manny Montana (Conviction)
Clifton Collins Jr. (Westworld)
Robert LaSardo (Nip/Tuck)
Noel Gugliemi (The Fast and The Furious)

Clint Eastwood in The Mule (2018)Earl Stone, in his 80s, is an award-winning horticulturist and Korean War veteran in Peoria, Illinois. He is facing financial ruin and is estranged from his ex-wife Mary and daughter Iris for always putting work before family. He is still on friendly terms with his granddaughter Ginny and attends her wedding rehearsal. Desperate for money, he takes up an offer from the friend of one of Ginny’s bridesmaids and becomes a “mule” transporting cocaine through Illinois for a Mexican drug cartel. Facing little suspicion due to his age, race, spotless criminal history, and strict adherence to driving laws, Earl is soon trusted with huge amounts of drugs and is paid large amounts of cash. With the money he buys a new truck, settles his financial problems, and pays for renovations of the local VFW Post, as well as his granddaughter’s wedding and education. He becomes friendly with the cartel members, who call him “Tata” (grandfather).Bradley Cooper in The Mule (2018)Meanwhile, with details from an informant, a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) task force is narrowing in on the cartel’s deliveries to Chicago. Tensions within the cartel erupt when Gustavo, a power-hungry cartel lieutenant, assassinates cartel boss Laton, and subsequently demands Earl be kept under tighter control.In the middle of a $12 million cocaine shipment, Earl learns that Mary is gravely ill. After Ginny talks some sense into him, he postpones the drug delivery to make peace with Mary and stays by her side until she dies peacefully days later. After the funeral and after finally reconciling with his family, Earl resumes the delivery as both the DEA and the cartel close in on him.Clint Eastwood and Ignacio Serricchio in The Mule (2018)The cartel’s enforcers catch him and, upon discovering he was away to attend his wife’s death and funeral (which they respect), call the cartel leader to request leniency. The cartel underboss allows him to continue, with the caveat that if anything went wrong it would be on the enforcer’s head. Next we see Earl driving with a head injury and blood on his face. As he makes his way towards the drop point, almost resignedly as a helicopter is circling overhead, he slows to a halt to allow the DEA agents to arrest him. In court, disregarding his age as an excuse and guilt-ridden over his crimes and for failing his family, Earl pleads guilty to all charges and is sent to federal prison with his family showing him their support. In prison, he returns to horticulture.Clint Eastwood in The Mule (2018)Dont expect action packed. This is raw and real crime drama. There are some beautiful moments and always a strong moral. Definitely a must see!

REVIEW: SECRET IN THEIR EYES (2015)

Starring

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity)
Nicole Kidman (To Die For)
Julia Roberts (Mirror Mirror)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Michael Kelly (Now You See Me)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Zoe Graham (Boyhood)
Lyndon Smith (The Forger)
Joe Cole (Green Room)
Donald Patrick Harvey (Taken 3)
Mark Famiglietti (Flashforward)
Ross Partridge (Amityville: A New Generation)
Noel Gugliemi (The Fast and The Furious)

Julia Roberts in Secret in Their Eyes (2015)In 2002, shortly after 9/11, Ray Kasten (Ejiofor), a counterterrorism agent for the FBI, and his friend Jessica “Jess” Cobb (Roberts), an investigator for the Los Angeles district attorney’s office, meet new ADA Claire Sloan (Kidman). Jess and Ray receive a call about an unknown female body found in a dumpster near a local mosque, which Ray has been investigating for possible terrorist links. At the crime scene, both are devastated to discover that the victim is Jess’s 18-year-old daughter, Carolyn (Zoe Graham), whose body has been bleached inside and out to destroy DNA evidence of both rape and murder.Chiwetel Ejiofor and Dean Norris in Secret in Their Eyes (2015)Ray, who was supposed to meet Carolyn to plan a surprise party for Jess, feels responsible for what happened to her, while Jess feels the increasing need to move out of the city. While helping Jess pack, Ray notices pictures from a picnic thrown for law enforcement in which a young man is seen staring at Carolyn. Ray scans the photo and matches it to Anzor Marzin (Cole), who is an informant in the terrorism probe. D.A. Martin Morales (Molina) is reluctant to go after Marzin, fearing it would compromise the terrorism investigation. Officer Reggie Siefert (Kelly) brings in a suspect named Aban Ghazala (Amir Malaklou), who Ray realizes is not the killer.Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Kelly in Secret in Their Eyes (2015)Ray forces Siefert to admit that he set up Ghazala as a patsy to protect Marzin. Ray and Detective Bumpy Willis (Norris) track down and arrest Marzin at Dodger Stadium. Claire argues with Ray over his methods while seemingly defending Marzin, saying he wasn’t capable of the crime. Claire taunts Marzin, provoking him to expose himself and punch her, saying he’s going to give Claire what Carolyn got. Ray beats Marzin, which leads to Morales ordering Marzin released. As Marzin gloats, an enraged Ray suggests they kill him before he gets away, but Jess refuses to go that route, saying death would be too easy on him. After his release, the police find Marzin’s van, but Siefert burns it to destroy the evidence against Marzin.Chiwetel Ejiofor in Secret in Their Eyes (2015)Thirteen years later, Ray, now head of security for the New York Mets, returns to Los Angeles and reunites with Claire, now the D.A. Jess, who has been asocial since the loss of her daughter, is Claire’s top investigator. Ray has found a man named Clay Beckwith (Cole), who he believes is Marzin living under an alias. The investigation eventually leads to a shootout with Beckwith in which Siefert is killed. Beckwith and his men are arrested, but Jess insists that Beckwith is not Marzin. When Ray and Claire pay a visit to Jess’s isolated farmhouse, she confesses that she found and killed Marzin thirteen years previously, shortly after Ray left Los Angeles. Later, Ray follows Jess into her barn and discovers that Marzin is actually alive, having been imprisoned in a cage for over a decade. Marzin begs Ray to ask Jess to talk to him. Ray pulls out his gun and leaves it with Jess as he goes outside and starts digging a grave. Ray hears Jess shooting Marzin. The two meet each other with a sense of relief while Claire officially closes Carolyn’s case.Nicole Kidman in Secret in Their Eyes (2015)I am certainly not saying that the original might not be much better. I have it on my list to watch but in my opinion, if you like thrillers and movies with some twists and turns and want to be entertained I recommend giving it a chance.

 

REVIEW: 3 FROM HELL

Starring

Bill Moseley (Texas Chainsaw)
Sheri Moon Zombie (Halloween)
Sid Haig (The Lords of Salem)
Richard Brake (Mandy)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Dee Wallace (ET)
Daniel Roebuck (Lost)
Jeff Daniel Phillips (Faster)
Bill Oberst (Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies)
Austin Stoker (Battle For TPOTA)
Emilio Rivera (Venom)
Clint Howard (Solo: A Star Wars Story)
David Ury (Powers)
Wade Williams (Prison Break)
Sean Whalen (Superstore)
Richard Riehle (The Fan)
Lucinda Jenney (Rain Man)
Jan Hoag (Scream Queens)
Noel Gugliemi (Gamer)
Barry Bostwick (Spy Hard)
Christopher B. Duncan (Black Lightning)

Sheri Moon Zombie and Pancho Moler in 3 from Hell (2019)The film opens with several news reports covering the events of the prior film. Through the reports, it is revealed that Baby, Otis, and Captain Spaulding miraculously survived their shootout with the police and that they will be tried for their crimes. The trial is widely covered nationwide and becomes a cause célèbre, resulting in the organization of protests that insist the trio’s innocence. Numerous fanatics also adopt the chant “Free the Three”, claiming that their crimes were committed as a means to fight against the system. Despite this, all three are found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. In addition to the final verdict, Captain Spaulding is executed via lethal injection. Otis’ half-brother, Winslow Foxworth “Foxy” Coltrane, shows up to help Otis escape from prison while he is outside doing work on a chain gang. In the process, Otis kills Rondo, who was also on the chain gang after having been arrested some time after the end of the previous film and been sent to the same prison, but did not recognized Otis. Meanwhile, Baby unsuccessfully seeks parole, as her mental state has further deteriorated since her incarceration.Richard Brake and Bill Moseley in 3 from Hell (2019)Once free, Otis and Foxy begin planning to free Baby from prison. To accomplish this, they kidnap the family and friends of the prison’s warden, Virgil Dallas Harper. Otis and Foxy demand that Harper help Baby sneak out of prison or they will murder everyone they hold hostage. Harper follows their commands and sneaks Baby out of prison by disguising her as a guard. However, once Baby is freed, Otis and Foxy decide to eliminate the loose ends and kill all the hostages, as well as Harper. Now united, the three are undecided as to what to do next but eventually decide to flee to Mexico, a decision that is made more pressing due to Baby’s growing instability.Sheri Moon Zombie and Dee Wallace in 3 from Hell (2019)Otis, Baby, and Foxy manage to successfully cross the border and flee to a small town in Mexico that is celebrating the Day of the Dead and hole up in the town’s lone hotel. They briefly worry about being recognized but dismiss these concerns, unaware that the hotel’s owner has in fact recognized them and has alerted Rondo’s son, Aquarius, to their location. The owner keeps them occupied with both the celebration and local prostitutes, while Aquarius heads out to the location with several henchmen in tow. The following morning, Baby bonds with a local worker, Sebastian, who notices Aquarius’s arrival. He warns Baby of the danger before running to warn Otis, just as Aquarius’s men break into the whorehouse. Otis and Sebastian hold off the attackers until Foxy arrives and rescues them both. Otis separates from them, managing to successfully find the hotel owner and kill him. During this time, Baby manages to kill several of Aquarius’s men using a bow and arrow set she took from Harper’s house. Eventually, Foxy and Baby are outmatched by Aquarius and taken prisoner. During this, Aquarius tells Sebastian he’s not worth the bullet and leaves him for dead. Aquarius and his remaining goons use Baby and Foxy to draw Otis out into the open.Sheri Moon Zombie in 3 from Hell (2019)Otis appears, and squares off against one of Aquarius’s men in a knife fight while Sebastian sneaks up and silently frees both Foxy and Baby. This enrages Aquarius, distracting his man in the knife fight and allowing Otis to gain the upper hand. He, Baby, and Foxy manage to overpower Aquarius, however Sebastian is shot and killed in the process. The film ends with the trio immolating Aquarius before walking off into the Mexican town.Richard Brake, Sheri Moon Zombie, and Bill Moseley in 3 from Hell (2019)With House Of 1000 Corpses we have a retro, grindhouse throwback set in a house of a haunted nightmare world. With Devil’s Rejects we are shifted into a western revenge movie with an “angel” (Officer Wydell) facing the devil’s (The Fireflies). With this latest chapter, we are in shifted in the direction of a self-aware subsequent blend of the first two movies. Rob combined the brutality, and grittiness of Rejects, with the wacky, Retro stylish throwback of Corpses and thus summoned 3 From Hell. If you enjoy self-aware, brutal, grindhouse, action horror then you will love this addition. Everyone else will despise it for not being a serious follow up.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: 7 MUMMIES

 

CAST

Matt Schulze (The Fast and The Furious)
Cerina Vincent (Power Rangers Lost Galaxy)
Billy Wirth (The Lost Boys)
Billy Drago (Children of The Corn: Genesis)
Andrew Bryniarski (Any Given Sunday)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Martin Kove (Savage)
Noel Gugliemi (Training Day)
Max Perlich (Blow)
Adrianne Palicki (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

7_Mummies_5

We open with two greedy gravediggers who get sliced up by an unseen presence before delving into the 5-minute credits sequence. Then we witness a tipped-over van, out of which fall a collection of slimy convicts and one extra-jiggly female guard. The group promptly decides to wander off into a surprisingly verdant desert wasteland, whereupon they come across a mumbling Danny Trejo. Vulgarities are exchanged, and then the convict crew (and busty broad) wanders off into the desert again, only to arrive at an authentic-style Old West town, complete with booze, whores, and  a bunch of lame-looking zombies who pop out once the sun goes down.And then it’s just a bunch of aimless meandering and tons of insipid dialogue before the flick winds down with an amusingly inept finale. A movie that wanted to be a From Dusk Till Dawn-style genre stew is, instead, a painfully inert, agressively silly, and absolutely dreary concoction. It’s a dumb story populated by obnoxious characters who do moronic things. Often.Noel-in-7-Mummies-noel-gugliemi-24693975-853-480First-time director Nick Quested makes all sorts of embarrassing mistakes: He allows his annoyingly incongruous rock & rap tunes to simply blare over the dialogue, the lighting on the flick is consistently insufficient, and there’s way too many redundant (not to mention pointless) fade-ins, fade-overs, and stutter-step editing gimmicks. And don’t even get me started on the horrific screenplay.B-movie fanatics will no doubt see a cast list that includes Cerina Vincent, Danny Trejo, Martin Kove, and Billy Drago, and get a few charitable thoughts in their head. Ignore those feelings and simply rent something else. Trust me. Cerina Vincent was the only reason I bought this, being a fan of hers ever since her Lost Galaxy days.

 

REVIEW: BONES – SEASON 10

Starring

Emily Deschanel (Boogeyman)
David Boreanaz (Angel)
Michaela Conlin (Yellowstone)
Tamara Taylor (Lost)
T. J. Thyne (Ghost World)
John Francis Daley (Game Night)
John Boyd (Argo)

David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)
Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Patricia Belcher (Jeepers Creepers)
Carla Gallo (Superbad)
JD Cullum (The Lone Ranger)
Sam Anderson (Lost)
Rance Howard (Far and Away)
Ignacio Serricchio (Lost In Space)
Laura Spencer (The Big Bang Theory)
John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Sean Gunn (Super)
Nora Dunn (Bruce Almighty)
Pej Vahdat (Shameless)
Amy Davidson (Girl on The Edge)
Danny Woodburn (Watchmen)
François Chau (The Tick)
Brian Klugman (Cloverfield)
Gil Bellows (Sanctuary)
McKaley Miller (Hart of Dixie)
Charlene Amoia (How I Met Your Mother)
Sean Marquette (The Goldbergs)
Chastity Dotson (Veronica Mars)
Billy Gibbons (Two and a Half Men)
Andrew Leeds (Office Christmas Party)
Mather Zickel (Mike & Molly)
Michael Grant Terry (Grimm)
Ryan O’Neal (Love Story)
Cyndi Lauper (Vibes)
Steven Williams (Jason Goes To Hell)
Nathaniel Buzolic (The Originals)
Jason Gray-Stanford (Stargate SG.1)
Shalita Grant (Santa Clarita Diet)
Arden Myrin (Insatiable)
Eric Allan Kramer (The Incredible Hulk Returns)
Todd Williams (The Vampire Diaries)
Vito D’Ambrosio (The Flash)
Jeremy Ratchford (Cold Case)
Eugene Byrd (Arrow)
Mike Starr (Ed Wood)
Noel Gugliemi (The Fast and The Furious)
Kurt Fuller (Ghostbusters II)
China Anne McClain (Black Lightning)
Jessica Camacho (The Flash)
Linda Lavin (The Good Wife)
Taylor Spreitler (Melissa & Joey)
Michael Cram (Flashpoint)
Alex MacNicoll (13 Reasons Why)
Rick Overton (Eught Legged Freaks)
Amanda Brooks (Aquarius)
Lindsey Kraft (The Big Bang Theory)

Eugene Byrd, Michaela Conlin, Emily Deschanel, and T.J. Thyne in Bones (2005)In the 10th season of Bones, suspense is at an all-time high as Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) is framed and jailed for the murder of three FBI agents while Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) considers committing blackmail to get him out of prison.David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)The new season brings some changes. The team will lose a key player at a dramatic moment early in the season, and have to work in a replacement after an emotional farewell. Another primary character will develop a emotional bond with one of the rotational lab interns, one that threatens their official relationship. Still another will strike it rich, a couple of season after having been cleaned out by a particularly nasty serial killer.David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)Yet another character will revisit a gambling habit that threatens a job and a relationship. And, one key character will become pregnant. And those events are just character development. There is a fresh lot of challenging cases that will need solving.Those week to week cases continue to be innovative and interesting, challenging the team and the viewer to keep up. At the same time, the series hasn’t lost its sense of humor, or its willingness to experiment. Bones is still good fun and recommended to its loyal fans in its tenth season.

REVIEW: BULLET (2014)

CAST

Danny Trejo (Machete)
Joanthan Banks (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
John Savage (Dark Angel)
Julia Dietze (Iron Sky)
Eva Mauro (Crepitus)
Seri De Young (Laid to Rest)
Max Perlich (Blow)
Torsten Voges (Funny People)
Emilio Rivera (Traffic)
Noel Gugliemi (The Fast and The Furious)
Isaac C. Singleton Jr. (Planets of The Apes)

movie-bullet-thumb4Nearing retirement, maverick Los Angeles-based detective Frank “Bullet” Marasco is assigned to hunt down the notorious drug baron Carlito Kane, following a tipoff from Leroy, who is later whacked to death with a golf club due to interrupting Kane’s golf game. Bullet and his team storm one of Kane’s hideouts but fail to capture him.Bo22_U_00_53_49_00007The plot thickens when Governor Johnson’s daughter is kidnapped by Kane along with her boyfriend, in a bid to save his son Manuel from execution via lethal injection. Kane streams the execution of the boyfriend on a phone to the Governor and says that his daughter is next if they don’t stop the execution of his son. Thereafter, Bullet send his grandson Mario to a community park where Kane exacts revenge on Bullet by kidnapping his grandson. Eventually Bullet himself is abducted too, but only for a brief period of time, as he is able to escape. After a lengthy car chase, Bullet successfully evades Kane and his men but gets ambushed by them once again the next day.Bullet-DIFinally, Bullet calls it quits as a civil servant and resigns, secretly becoming a vigilante and goes to his cousin for weaponry to take Kane down. He proceeds to interrogate one of Kane’s aides, killing her in her bathtub after she fails to fully cooperate. Panicking, Kane and his closest subordinates retreat to a desert where Bullet starts to kill Kane’s henchmen one by one, including his grandson’s four kidnappers. The final showdown between Kane and Bullet has the latter emerge as victor. Bullet reunites with his grandson and rescues Johnson’s daughter. The victory is sweetened when Manuel Kane is publicly executed. Bullet, his daughter and his grandson savour the evening at the beach, just as the credits begin to roll.Danny Trejo as BulletThis movie will keep you interested only if you are the action lover. There’s actually nothing new in the story. But one can always watch it as a time pass action flick.

 

REVIEW: TRAINING DAY (2001)

CAST

Denzel Washington (The Taking of Pelham 123)
Ethan Hawke (The Purge)
Scott Glenn (Daredevil)
Tom Berenger (Platoon)
Harris Yulin (Ghostbusters 2)
Raymond J. Barry (Alias)
Cliff Curtis (Jubilee)
Snoop Dogg (Scary Movie V)
Eva Mendes (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Raymond Cruz (My Name Is Earl)
Fran Kranz (Dollhouse)
Terry Crews (Get Smart)
Denzel Whitaker (The Purge TV)
Macy Gray (Fuller House)
Nick Chinlund (Con Air)
Noel Gugliemi (The Fast and The Furious)
Peter Greene (The Mask)

The film follows a day in the life of Los Angeles Police Department officer Jake Hoyt, who is scheduled to be evaluated by Detective Alonzo Harris, a highly decorated LAPD narcotics officer, for a possible promotion. Riding around in Alonzo’s car, they begin the day by catching some college kids buying cannabis from a street gang. Alonzo confiscates the drugs and tells Jake to smoke it – Jake refuses at first, only to comply when Alonzo threatens him at gunpoint, with the explanation that refusing an offer on the street could get him killed. After smoking it, Alonzo informs him that the weed was laced with PCP. They then pay a brief visit to Roger, an old friend of Alonzo’s who is also a drug dealer and former police officer. Back in the car, Jake notices a teenage girl being sexually assaulted and runs out to subdue the attackers while Alonzo watches. Alonzo tells the girl to leave and allows the men to go free, despite Jake’s disapproval. Jake finds the girl’s wallet on the ground and takes it.
Alonzo and Jake later apprehend a wheelchair-bound dealer named Blue, finding crack rocks and a loaded handgun on him. In exchange for his freedom, Blue reveals his associate: Kevin “Sandman” Miller, who is in prison. Alonzo takes Jake to Sandman’s home in Watts, where he uses a fake search warrant to steal $40,000 from the premises. However, Sandman’s wife realizes the scam and calls out to nearby gang members, who open fire. The two officers barely escape.
For lunch, the duo visit Alonzo’s Salvadoran mistress, Sara, and their young son at Baldwin Village. Afterwards, Alonzo meets with a trio of high-ranking police officials dubbed as the “Three Wise Men” – they tell Alonzo that they know the Russian Mafia is hunting him for an incident over the weekend in Las Vegas and suggest that he leave town, but he insists that he has control of the situation and gets permission to “cash in an account”. Alonzo thus gives them Sandman’s drug money for an arrest warrant.
Alonzo takes Jake and four other narcotics officers back to Roger’s house – using the warrant, they seize $4 million from underneath the floor of his kitchen, but Jake refuses to take his share of the cash. Alonzo then kills Roger and arranges for the scene to appear like a justified shooting. Jake refuses to cooperate and after being threatened, seizes Alonzo’s shotgun, prompting a Mexican standoff. However, Alonzo calms his associates and claims that the LAPD will run a blood test on Jake (identifying the PCP he smoked), the result of which he can falsify in exchange for Jake’s cooperation. Jake reluctantly gives in.
Alonzo drives Jake to the home of a Sureño named Smiley, allegedly to run an errand. He furtively abandons Jake as Jake reluctantly plays poker with Smiley and his fellow gang members. A tense conversation ensues in which Smiley reveals Alonzo’s situation: by midnight, Alonzo must pay $1 million to the Russian Mafia for killing one of their men in Las Vegas, or be killed himself. Jake realizes too late that Alonzo had paid Smiley to kill him, and is beaten and dragged to the bathtub for execution. The gang search Jake to find the wallet dropped by the teenage girl, who is revealed to be Smiley’s cousin. Smiley calls her, who confirms that Jake risked his life to defend her. In gratitude, Smiley lets Jake go.
Jake returns to Sara’s apartment and attempts to arrest Alonzo, but a gunfight and chase ensues, which ends with Jake subduing Alonzo in his escape vehicle. The local gang members and residents begin congregating to watch. Alonzo tries to get the crowd on his side by offering a reward to whoever kills Jake; but instead, they allow Jake to walk away with the money. Alonzo attempts to flee via Los Angeles International Airport, but is found and killed by Russian Mafia hitmen in a street shooting. Jake returns home with Alonzo’s money (having said earlier that the money will serve as his evidence corroborating Alonzo’s crimes of the day), and Alonzo’s death is broadcast over the news, touting him as a heroic officer serving a high risk warrant.The end result is nothing less than a brilliant thriller. Hawke and Washington make for a phenomenal double act and the pace only occasionally lets up to allow the characters time to breathe and establish the depth that makes you care for them more. Highly recommended.