Friday, April 19, 2024

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

My ViewThe Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare (2024) PG-13   The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is the story of the first-ever special forces organization formed by Britain during WWII. Gus March-Phillips (Henry Cavill), a man with a bad reputation, is given the job of recruiting a rag-tag group of misfits, whose job will be destroying as much of the German U-boat forces as possible. And we do mean any means necessary. It is safe to say that while this film is based on a true story, the words ‘loosely based’ should be used. A lot of film critics are comparing this film to Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 film Inglourious Basterds, but I think it’s more of a 2024 version of all those war films of the 60s/70s like The Dirty Dozen, Kelly’s Heroes, or even Where Eagles Dare, where an unlikely group of not so innocent killers go on an impossible mission and kick some German butt. I haven’t been a fan of Guy Ritchie’s films lately, but this is a fun ride that never takes itself too seriously. The entire cast is a lot of fun, with Cavill leading the group with a devil-may-care attitude and an eye for expensive alcohol and cigars. Fans of Alan Ritchson, hot off his Reacher TV series, will love his off-the-wall character who loves to kill in very interesting ways. Eiza Gonz├ílez has a lot of fun with the part of the sexy American who is sent in to seduce the evil German commander. The action is fast-paced (I would love to know the final kill count), and the story will keep you on the edge of your seat. There is a lot of humor in the film, as our heroes seem to enjoy that they can do just about anything they want, as long as it kills a few Germans along the way.   My Rating: Full Price  The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: Abigail (2024) R  A group of kidnappers abduct a 12-year-old girl named Abigail (Alisha Weir) and are instructed to hold her hostage overnight in an old, luxurious manor until her father pays the ransom of 50 million dollars. Watch a little girl overnight for such a big payday? No problem, right? The kidnappers think they have trapped Abigail in the manor; instead, they are trapped with Abigail, who turns out to be a vampire. I liked the first 45 minutes of this film. It’s fun getting to know all the kidnappers and how they deal with the little girl. But the film starts to fall apart when they discover they are trapped with a vampire. Abigail wants to be a horror film with some humor thrown in, but I got very tired of the ballerina vampire who thinks she is smarter than her victims (she’s right about half of them). Alisha Weir, as Abigail, doesn’t consistently deliver her lines in the right way, never finding the right tone, making her vampire feel less threatening. I did enjoy Melissa Barrera’s performance as the one kidnapper, Joey, who tries to be nice to Abigail before she turns all vampy. Still, we are asked to see Joey as a badass, and when we find out she was in the army as a medic, it just doesn’t translate. Fans of the late Angus Cloud will enjoy his performance as a not-so-bright wheelman who wants to have a good time. Abigail gets very gory and tries too hard to make every death seem like the world is coming to an end. I was ok with the ending, but man, it took a long time (an hour and fifty minutes) to get there.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Abigail Website  Now playing in theatres. 

My View: Rebel Moon - Part Two: The Scargiver (2024) PG-13  The saga of Korea (Sofia Boutella) and her surviving warriors, as they prepare to fight alongside the brave people of Veldt to defend their village against the invaders of the Motherworld. In this rebellion, bonds will be forged, heroes will emerge, and legends will be made. Rebel Moon - Part One was a disappointment for me, as I felt that it was all set up with little actual storyline. Furthermore, I didn't care about what happened to any of the characters. So, what does Zach Snyder do? Give us more of the same, but at least this time, we have a big battle that has a victor. To explain how much time is wasted in this film, we get an incredibly long sequence where each of the gang of heroes explains why they were wrong and how it went down. I've only seen Part One once, but shouldn't that have been part of that film? Or maybe it was, and I just wanted to forget it? You have the usual Snyder action sequences where our heroes fight in slow motion, and you have an enemy army with such poorly designed transportation ships that they blow up incredibly easily. The film ends with the promise of more, but I think we all hope that there won’t be. And by the way, Snyder has a ‘director’s cut’ coming for both films. Oh boy, more sitting around and recounting war stories. I can’t wait. My Rating: Cable   Rebel Moon - Part Two Website Now playing on Netflix.

Indiefest: Sasquatch Sunset (2024) R The film is a year in the life of a unique family that captures the daily trials and tribulations of a group of Sasquatch. I know what you’re thinking after seeing that Jesse Eisenberg and Riley Keough are starring in the film. Hey, that Eisenberg guy was funny in Zombieland, and Riley was great in that TV show, Daisy Jones and The Six; this should be a blast. Well, what if I tell you that the film is about a family of four Sasquatch that don’t talk (unless you count grunts and hoots), there isn’t any narration, and there are no other actors in the film? We experience up close and very personal a year in the life of these four Sasquatch as they forage for food, look for shelter, and have to deal with a world that is quickly changing around them. I am going to warn you that this is a movie where one of the first scenes we see is the leader of the group having sex with the female as two other Sasquatch look on (patiently waiting for it to stop). Some of the film is funny, and a few times goes a little too far with the gags (they pee and poop a lot). However, the longer I watched the film, the more I got involved with the four as they deal with some rough times. Sasquatch Sunset is a film about survival, family, and the will to keep going, no matter the obstacle. Once you get over the attempts at gross stuff (primarily for humor), the film is full of quiet, tender moments and, at times, sadness. Sasquatch Sunset isn’t a film for everybody, but if you give it a chance, it might surprise you with how you feel at the end.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Sasquatch Sunset Website  Now playing in theaters. 

Indiefest: Girls State (2024)  The documentary Girls State follows 500 adolescent girls from all over Missouri as they gather to learn about the democratic process and tackle some of the most contentious issues of the day. This documentary is from the same directorial team of the Emmy Award-winning 2021 film Boys State. Boys State was one of my favorite films of 2021, and this film is even better. Like the first film, there are some of the girls that, at first, you love and some you are sort of on the fence about. The remarkable thing is that as the film goes on, I started to root for some of the girls I didn’t like initially. Just like politics in the real world, hearts are broken, campaigns are mismanaged, and some candidates who are well-spoken and have great ideas are left behind when better and more passionate speakers appear. What sets this apart from the Boys State documentary is that this one is shot at a perfect time, six days before the Supreme Court overturning the ruling of Roe vs Wade. The other fact that makes this film work better than the boy’s version is that for the first time, both the boys and the girls are gathering on the same campus at the same time, and we get to see how each side treats the issues and how the organization treats the two sides unequally. There is a brilliant scene in which a group of girls passes a group of boys, and some of the boys start flexing their muscles to impress the girls (big-time fail). Girls State is a fascinating film that will keep you on the edge of your seat to see who wins and how the winners and losers deal with the game of politics. Let’s hope that these bright young minds keep their interest in politics. The world will be a better place.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  Girls State Info   Now playing on the Apple TV+ platform.

Sorry I Missed it (A film that has been out a while, and I’m just now seeing it): Hundreds of Beavers (2022)   Set in the 19th century, our hero Jean Kayak ((Rylland Brickson Cole Tews), a drunken applejack brewery owner loses his business (because of sabotage by beavers) and has to become a fur trapper. His biggest problem is that both the beavers and the rabbits are out to get him. While there is no dialogue (except for one word uttered for full comic effect) but you can’t call this a ‘silent film’. I mean, would you call the Looney Tunes films of the Coyote and the Roadrunner silent films? This is a live-action cartoon that piles on the gags so quick and furious that if one doesn’t work, don’t worry; there is another one right behind it that does. For the first hour of the film, our hero, or should I say our idiot, is constantly bested by rabbits, birds, and beavers. By the way, the rabbits and beavers are portrayed by actors in costumes, making the absurdity go beyond the almost believable. Hundreds of Beavers is an absolutely crazy film that has fun with the premise and keeps pushing the boundaries. Does our hero figure out how to defeat the beavers and maybe impress the cute trader’s daughter? You will have to see about a thousand gags to get there, but it’s worth it.   My Rating: Full Price  Hundreds of Beavers Website  Now playing in select theatres. 

Forgotten Film: Purple Noon (1960) PG-13 This is the French version of The Talented Mr. Ripley. Tom Ripley (Alain Delon) is an American who is a mimic, moocher, forger, and all-around bad guy who thinks he can get away with anything through charm and wits. Tom has been sent to Rome to find his longtime friend Philippe (Maurice Ronet) and bring him back to America. Instead, Tom begins a quest to seduce Marge (Maire Laforet), Philippe’s girlfriend. Things start to go bad from there, but Mr. Ripley always thinks he can escape from any trouble. Purple Noon is a thrilling movie where you have a love/hate relationship with Tom. Being 1960, a few things aren’t explored, and the ending is a little weak, even so, it’s a movie that takes the beauty of Italy and, because of one character, almost makes it ugly.   My Rating: Full Price   Purple Noon Info   The film is available to rent/buy on Amazon. 

Weird Credits: From the credits of Abigail: Hair Juniors

Coming Soon a Screen Near You: Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024) As the world falls, a young Furiosa is taken by a biker horde led by the warlord Dementus (Chris Hemsworth). Years later, Furiosa (Anya Taylor-Joy) tries to escape and find her way home as two tyrants wage a war. From filmmaker George Miller, this is the origin story of Furiosa, who Charlize Theron played in the 2015 film Mad Max: Fury Road.  Furiosa Website   The film will be released in theatres on Friday, May 24th. 

Until Next Time!

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