Monday, May 21, 2018

American Made

Bored airline pilot Barry Seal (Tom Cruise) finds himself running top secret missions for the CIA, in bed with the drug cartels, and swimming in cash until a fallout proves potentially deadly. Doug Liman's American Made patterns too closely to Goodfellas and whatever knockoff that classic has spawned (Blow comes to mind here). The narrative is messy, marred by undercharacterization, and almost too fast paced but is still watchable thanks to a typically charismatic Cruise.
** 1/2 out of ****

Sunday, May 20, 2018


A rigid, hotshot detective (Steve McQueen) whose star is on the rise is tapped by a shrewd senator (Robert Vaughn) to protect a key witness before a federal mob trial. What begins as a simple, somewhat irritating task turns into a perilous chess game as the officer must chase the perpetrators through the sloping streets of San Francisco, contend with the increasingly irritated politico, and unravel the peculiarities at the heart of the plight. From Robert L. Pike's novel Mute WitnessBullitt is best known today for its esteemed car chase sequence, and rightly so, but Peter Yates' film is really just a measured, solidly made procedural. While not really functioning as a character study (Jacqueline Bissett's scenes where she tries to make McQueen come to terms with his occupation only really succeed in showing off her great beauty), the movie is absolutely dynamic as a connect the dots mystery and an actioner, even if the plot is somewhat murky. And in the role that defined his career, McQueen clearly demonstrates why he earned his King of Cool moniker.
*** 1/2 out of ****

Thursday, May 17, 2018

A Quiet Place

In the near future hyper aural and predatory extraterrestrials have wiped out most of humanity as a man (John Krasinski), his pregnant wife (Emily Blunt), and their two children (one of whom is hearing challenged) struggle to survive on their deserted rural farm. Krasinski's A Quiet Place is a well-made wholesome horror thriller with an interesting premise that turns silly and is littered with plot holes. The creatures are nothing more that uninspired Alien replicas.
*** out of ****

Monday, May 14, 2018


Following the 1972 Olympic Massacre which claimed the lives of eleven Israeli athletes at the hand of Black September, a PLO sect, Israel's government sanctions a Mossad agent (Eric Bana) and his heterogeneous team to carry out retaliatory hits on nine of the involved planners of the mass murder. Steven Spielberg's Munich, with a thoughtful screenplay by Eric Roth and Tony Kushner from a book by George Jonas, is intense and relevant, and unlike most thrillers doesn't settle for the easy road out.
*** 1/2 out of ****