We Review: #Tag “Quite possibly the funniest movie ever made. I couldn’t recommend it more.” – MR

Tag (2018 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tag
Tag (2018 film).png

Teaser poster
Directed by Jeff Tomsic
Produced by Todd Garner
Mark Steilen
Screenplay by Rob McKittrick
Mark Steilen
Story by Mark Steilen
Starring Ed Helms
Jake Johnson
Annabelle Wallis
Hannibal Buress
Isla Fisher
Rashida Jones
Leslie Bibb
Jon Hamm
Jeremy Renner
Music by Germaine Franco
Cinematography Larry Blanford
Edited by Josh Crockett
Production
company
New Line Cinema
Broken Road Productions
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • June 15, 2018 (United States)
Running time
100 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Tag is an upcoming American comedy film directed by Jeff Tomsic in his directorial debut, and written by Rob McKittrick and Mark Steilen. The film is based on a story that was published in The Wall Street Journal.[1][2] It is due for release on June 15, 2018, by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Premise

A group of ex-classmates meet up and organize a game of tag that finds them traveling across the country.

Cast

Production

The film is based on a real-life group of friends known for playing a month-long game of tag. The group was profiled in The Wall Street Journal in January 2013,[3] after which the group began receiving offers to adapt their story into a movie. They sold the rights to their story the next month.[3] It was initially developed with Will Ferrell and Jack Black in mind;[4] however, both would eventually leave the project.

Jeremy Renner fractured his right elbow and his left wrist during filming.

Our Thoughts

Tag is quite possibly the funniest movie ever made. At the very least it is the funniest movie since the original Hangover. The entire packed crowd at our pre-screening laughed from start to finish. I did too. This is a must see, but don’t go if you have stitches, because you’ll bust them for sure. Funny! Funny! Funny! I couldn’t recommend it more. – MR

Find Tag and see the new trailer here.

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We Review: #Solo: A #StarWars Story “Worth the price of a premium ticket and recommended.” – MR

Solo: A Star Wars Story

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Solo: A Star Wars Story
A group of people standing in a row, in the middle stands Han Solo pointing his blaster. The background is divided into blocks resembling a cockpit window.

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ron Howard[a]
Produced by
Written by
Based on Characters
by George Lucas
Starring
Music by
Cinematography Bradford Young
Edited by Pietro Scalia[b]
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • May 10, 2018 (Los Angeles)
  • May 25, 2018 (United States)
Running time
135 minutes[8]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $250 million[9][10]
Box office $271.3 million[11]

Solo: A Star Wars Story, or simply Solo, is a 2018 American space Western film based on the Star Warscharacter Han Solo. Directed by Ron Howard, it was produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the second Star Wars anthology film following 2016’s Rogue One. The plot takes place prior to the events of A New Hope, and explores the early adventures of Han Solo and Chewbacca, as the pair are involved in a heist within the criminal underworld and meet a young Lando Calrissian. The film stars Alden Ehrenreich as Solo, alongside Woody HarrelsonEmilia ClarkeDonald GloverThandie NewtonPhoebe Waller-BridgeJoonas Suotamo, and Paul Bettany.

George Lucas began development on the film in 2012. He commissioned Lawrence Kasdan to write the screenplay, which was completed by his son Jonathan after Kasdan was hired to write Star Wars: The Force AwakensPrincipal photography began in January 2017 at Pinewood Studios, under the direction of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. The pair left the project in June 2017 after reportedly being fired over “creative differences” with Lucasfilm, and Howard took over directing.

The film had its world premiere in Los Angeles on May 10, 2018, and also screened on May 15 at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, before its United States release on May 25, 2018 in RealD 3D and IMAX 3D. It received generally favorable reviews from critics and audiences, with praise for the cast (particularly Ehrenreich and Glover), visuals and action sequences, although many criticized the pacing and noted that the film added “nothing new” to the Star Wars franchise.[12][13] The film has grossed $271 million worldwide, and will need to gross at least $500 million in order to break even.

Plot

On the shipbuilding world of Corellia, orphaned children are made to steal in order to survive. Han and his lover Qi’ra make an escape from the clutches of a local criminal gang. They bribe an Imperial officer with a stolen sample of coaxium, a powerful hyperspace fuel, in exchange for passage on an outgoing transport, but Qi’ra is apprehended by their pursuers before she can board. Han vows to return for her and joins the Imperial Navy as a flight cadet. When the recruiting officer asks for his family name, Han says he is alone, so the recruiter gives him the surname “Solo” in his documents.

Three years later, Han has been expelled from the Imperial Flight Academy for insubordination. While serving as an infantryman during a battle on the planet Mimban, he encounters a gang of criminals posing as Imperial soldiers led by Tobias Beckett. He tries to blackmail them into taking him with them, but Beckett has him arrested for desertion and thrown into a pit to be fed to a beast – a Wookiee named Chewbacca. Able to understand Chewbacca’s language, Han persuades him to work together to escape their confinement. In need of extra hands, Beckett rescues them and enlists them in the gang’s plot to steal a shipment of coaxium on the planet Vandor. The plan goes awry when the Cloud Riders show up with their leader Enfys Nest, resulting in the deaths of two crew members, Rio Durant and Beckett’s wife, Val, and the destruction of the coaxium.

Beckett reveals he was ordered to steal the shipment for Dryden Vos, a high-ranking crime boss in the Crimson Dawn syndicate. Han and Chewbacca volunteer to help him steal another shipment to repay the debt. They travel to Vos’s yacht where Han finds Qi’ra, who has joined Crimson Dawn and become Vos’s top lieutenant. Han suggests a risky plan to steal unrefined coaxium from the mines on the planet Kessel; Vos approves but insists that Qi’ra accompany the team. She leads them to Lando Calrissian, an accomplished smuggler and pilot who she hopes will lend them his ship. Han challenges Lando to a game of sabacc, with the wager being Lando’s ship. Lando cheats to win but agrees to join the mission in exchange for a share of the profits.

The team boards his ship, the Millennium Falcon, and heads for Kessel. After reaching the planet and infiltrating the mine, Lando’s droid co-pilot L3-37 instigates a slave revolt. They use the confusion to steal a consignment of coaxium, but L3 is severely damaged and Lando is injured during the escape. With the help of L3’s navigational computer, freshly hotwired into the ship’s systems, Han pilots the ship along a dangerous route through an uncharted maelstrom to elude an Imperial blockade.

 

Our Thoughts:

I liked Solo. It is a solid movie, but it wasn’t great. It could have been so much more, but I’m not a hater, and I will buy this when it is available for purchase, and I will probably watch it half a dozen more times. I can only give it 4 stars, because of the short comings, and the fact that the exciting parts are not so engaging since we know who is going to live. Despite the few negatives, Solo is worth the price of a premium ticket and recommended. – MR

Find Solo: A Star Wars story and see the new trailer here.


We Review: #Deadpool 2 “5 shining stars. I can’t recommend this movie enough.” – MR

Deadpool 2

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Deadpool 2
Deadpool 2 poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Leitch
Produced by
Written by
Based on
Starring
Music by Tyler Bates
Cinematography Jonathan Sela
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
Running time
119 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $110 million[2]
Box office $363.9 million[2]

Deadpool 2 is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Deadpool, distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is the eleventh installment in the X-Men film series, and a sequel to the 2016 film Deadpool. The film is directed by David Leitch from a script by Rhett ReesePaul Wernick, and Ryan Reynolds, with Reynolds starring in the title role alongside Josh BrolinMorena BaccarinJulian DennisonZazie BeetzT. J. MillerBrianna Hildebrand, and Jack Kesy. In the film, Deadpool forms the team X-Force to protect a young mutant from Cable.

Plans for a sequel to Deadpool began before that film’s release, and were confirmed in February 2016. Though the original creative team of Reynolds, Reese, Wernick, and director Tim Miller were quickly set to return for the second film, Miller left the project in October 2016 due to creative differences with Reynolds, and was soon replaced by Leitch. An extensive casting search took place to fill the role of Cable, with Brolin ultimately cast. Filming took place in British Columbia, Canada, from June to October 2017. During filming, stunt woman Joi “SJ” Harris died in a motorcycle accident; the film is dedicated to her memory.

Deadpool 2 was released in the United States on May 18, 2018 and has grossed $363 million worldwide, making it the eighth highest-grossing film of 2018. It received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised its humor, performances (particularly Reynolds, Brolin and Beetz), and action sequences, with some calling it better than the first film, although the perceived ethnic stereotyping of supporting characters and a feeling of cynicism drew some criticism.[3][4] An extended cut of the film is in the works, and a sequel, Deadpool 3, is in development.

Plot

After successfully working as the mercenary Deadpool for two years, Wade Wilson fails to kill one of his targets on his anniversary with his girlfriend Vanessa. That night, after the pair decides to start a family together, the target tracks them down and kills Vanessa. Wilson kills the man in revenge. He blames himself for her death and attempts to commit suicide six weeks later by blowing himself up. Wilson has a vision of Vanessa in the afterlife, but the pieces of his body remain alive and are put back together by Colossus. Wilson is left with only a Skee-Ball token, an anniversary gift, as a final memento of Vanessa.

Recovering at the X-Mansion, Wilson agrees to join the X-Men as a form of healing. He, Colossus, and Negasonic Teenage Warhead respond to a standoff between authorities and the unstable young mutant Russell Collins / Firefist at an orphanage, labeled a “Mutant Reeducation Center”. Wilson realizes that Collins has been abused by the orphanage staff, and kills one of the staff members. Colossus stops him from killing anyone else, and both Wilson and Collins are arrested. Restrained with collars that suppress their powers, they are taken to the “Icebox”, an isolated prison for mutant criminals. Meanwhile, a cybernetic soldier from the future, Cable, whose family an older Collins murdered, travels back in time to kill the boy before Collins ever becomes a killer.

Cable breaks into the Icebox and attacks Collins. Wilson, whose collar has broken in the melee, attempts to defend Collins. After Cable takes Vanessa’s token, Wilson forces himself and Cable out of the prison, but not before Collins overhears Wilson deny that he cares for the young mutant. Near death again, Wilson has another vision of Vanessa in which she convinces him to help Collins. Wilson organizes a team called X-Force to break Collins out of a prison-transfer convoy and defend him from Cable. The team launches its assault on the convoy by parachuting from a helicopter, but all of the members except for Wilson and the lucky Domino die in the landing. While the pair fight Cable, Collins frees fellow inmate Juggernaut, who repays Collins by agreeing to help him kill the abusive orphanage headmaster. Juggernaut destroys the truck he and Collins are in and they escape.

Cable offers to work with Wilson and Domino to stop Collins’ first murder, which will lead to more. He agrees to give Wilson a chance to talk Collins down before attempting to kill the boy again. They arrive at the orphanage and are overpowered by Juggernaut while Collins attacks the headmaster.

Cast

  • Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson / Deadpool:
    A wisecracking mercenary with accelerated healing but severe scarring over his body after undergoing an experimental regenerative mutation.[5] He forms the X-Force, a team of mutants,[6] after finding himself at his “lowest point” at the beginning of the film.[7] The film makes several references to Deadpool’s pansexuality after the first film was criticized for ignoring it.[8] As a co-writer on the film, Reynolds ad-libbed much of dialogue throughout the production process.[9] For the film’s mid-credits sequence, archive footage of Reynolds portraying Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine is used, and Reynolds also portrays himself before he acted in the film Green Lantern.[10]
  • Josh Brolin as Cable:
    time-traveling cybernetic soldier, “in many ways the opposite of Deadpool”.[11] Director David Leitch called the dynamic between Cable and Deadpool “sort of classic buddy-cop fare”, and compared them to the characters portrayed by Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy, respectively, in 48 Hrs. (1982).[12] Leitch added that the character as written in the script was mostly just an “action character”, and he relied on Brolin to add nuance to the role and explore the character’s internal pain to avoid it becoming a caricature.[13] Brolin signed a four-film deal to play the character,[11] and described his appearance here as just the introduction for the character, with “three more movies to reveal more.”[14]
  • Morena Baccarin as Vanessa:
    Wilson’s fiancée.[15] The character is killed at the beginning of the film in an example of “fridging“—the killing of a female character solely to forward the development of a male character. This happens to Cable’s wife and daughter as motivation for his story arc as well. Leitch and the writers admitted that they were unaware of the term “fridging”, and said they were not being “consciously sexist”. Earlier versions of the film simply had Vanessa breaking up with Wilson, but the writers wanted to use the opportunity to “engender great suffering for him by having his line of work be the thing that costs Vanessa her life”. They were also more comfortable with the deaths due to the increased number of strong female characters in the film overall, and because those deaths are all reversed by the end of the film through time travel; Reese stated, “We ran with that. And maybe that’s a sexist thing. I don’t know. And maybe some women will have an issue with that. I don’t know. I don’t think that that’ll be a large concern, but it didn’t even really occur to us.”[7] Baccarin said she trusted the storyline was necessary for the film, and emphasized the fact that Vanessa is saved at the end of the film.[16]
  • Julian Dennison as Russell Collins / Firefist:
    A young mutant with pyrokinesis who is being hunted by Cable.[17][18] Dennison was the only actor that the creative team considered for the role, with Russell “sort of a tailor-made character” for the actor,[12]with Reynolds insisting on casting Dennison after seeing him in Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016).[18] The character is considered a villain for much of the film,[19] which Leitch thought was an “interesting take on the whole angle of the villain”.[12] Sala Baker portays an older Firefist, in Cable’s future.[20]
  • Zazie Beetz as Domino:
    A mercenary with the mutant ability to manipulate luck,[21][22] who joins Deadpool’s X-Force team.[23] Leitch described the film’s version of the character as Beetz’ own “real fun interesting take”,[12] with the actress interpreting the character as an only child who forms a “sibling sort of relationship” with Deadpool, with “that back-and-forth banter where she is not dealing with his.”[24] Beetz began “working out everyday” when she got the role, which required her to shoot guns and use “full body” physicality.[25]
  • T. J. Miller as Weasel: Wilson’s best friend and the owner of a bar frequented by mercenaries.[26]
  • Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead:
    A teenage X-Man with the mutant power to detonate atomic bursts from her body,[27] she is now a “new level of X-Men” after being a trainee in the first film.[28] Hildebrand felt that “it’s cool that she’s grown and matured and she still has so much of this essence of a punk kid” from the first film, and added that the character would have a “cooler” costume in the sequel.[29] The filmmakers intended to have Hildebrand shave her head to indicate that her abilities burned off her hair, but she was unable to do so due to a television series commitment.[30] The film also reveals that Negasonic is in a same-sex relationship, which is the first openly LGBTQ relationship depicted in a Marvel film.[8] When Reynolds asked Hildebrand how she felt about the potential storyline during development, the actress—a member of the LGBTQ community herself—responded positively with the stipulation that the film not make “a big deal” about the relationship.[31] In a statement, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis praised the relationship as “a milestone in a genre that too often renders LGBTQ people invisible, and should send a message to other studios to follow this example of inclusive and smart storytelling.”[32]
  • Jack Kesy as Black Tom Cassidy:
    A mutant who is incarcerated with Deadpool and Firefist.[33] His role was reduced from being the main antagonist, who would have acted as a “devil on Firefist’s shoulder”, when the writers felt there were too many antagonists and they would rather spend the money needed to portray his abilities on a character such as Juggernaut.[34]

As well as portraying Deadpool and himself in the film, Reynolds also provides the voice for Juggernaut. The character is credited as being voiced by “himself”. Juggernaut was previously portrayed by Vinnie Jones in the 2006 film X-Men: The Last Stand, but according to Reese the creative team on Deadpool 2 felt that appearance did not do justice to the character. Wanting an additional villain for the film to support Firefist for the final fight with X-Force, the writers considered Juggernaut because he is “a force of nature [who] was probably the coolest character never to be used as of yet in the right way.”

Our Thoughts

This is one of the few movies where the second in the series is just as good, if not better, than the first. I laughed and laughed at the antics in this film. There are not many movies that blend action, special effects, and comedy this well, and I applaud the audacity of the people who created this film, for their ability to pull it off. I have no choice but to give Deadpool 2, 5 shining stars. I highly recommend this one. – MR

Find Deadpool 2 and see the new trailer here.


We Review: #Avengers #InfinityWar “4.5 stars. If you like the Avengers franchise this is a must see.” – MR

Avengers: Infinity War
Avengers Infinity War poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Anthony Russo
Joe Russo
Produced by Kevin Feige
Screenplay by Christopher Markus
Stephen McFeely
Based on
Starring
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Trent Opaloch
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date
  • April 23, 2018 (Dolby Theatre)
  • April 27, 2018 (United States)
Running time
149 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $316–400 million[3][4][5]
Box office $1.843 billion[6]

Avengers: Infinity War is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team the Avengers, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2012’s The Avengers and 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the nineteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and features an ensemble cast including Robert Downey Jr.Chris HemsworthMark RuffaloChris EvansScarlett JohanssonBenedict CumberbatchDon CheadleTom HollandChadwick BosemanPaul BettanyElizabeth OlsenAnthony MackieSebastian StanDanai GuriraLetitia WrightDave BautistaZoe SaldanaJosh Brolin, and Chris Pratt. In Avengers: Infinity War, the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy attempt to stop Thanos from amassing the all-powerful Infinity Stones.

The film was announced in October 2014 as Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1. The Russo brothers came on board to direct in April 2015 and by May, Markus and McFeely had signed on to write the script for the film, which drew inspiration from Jim Starlin‘s 1991 The Infinity Gauntlet comic and Jonathan Hickman‘s 2013 Infinity comic. In 2016, Marvel shortened the title to Avengers: Infinity War. Filming began in January 2017 at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayette County, Georgia, and lasted until July 2017, shooting back-to-back with a direct sequel. Additional filming took place in Scotland, England, the Downtown Atlanta area, and New York City. With an estimated budget in the range of $316–400 million, it is one of the most expensive films ever made.

Avengers: Infinity War held its world premiere on April 23, 2018 in Los Angeles and was released in the United States on April 27, 2018, in IMAX and 3D. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the cast, visual effects, emotional weight of the story, and action scenes. It has grossed over $1.8 billion worldwide, making it the fourth highest-grossing film of all time, as well as the highest-grossing film of 2018, the highest-grossing superhero film, and the eighth highest-grossing film in the United States and Canada. In its opening weekend, it grossed $641 million worldwide and $258 million domestically, setting the records for the highest-grossing openings for both. It also became the fastest film in history to reach a worldwide gross of $1 billion, doing so in 11 days. The untitled sequel is set to be released on May 3, 2019.

Plot (Spoiler Alert!)

Having acquired the Power Stone from the planet XandarThanos and his lieutenants—Ebony MawCull ObsidianProxima Midnight, and Corvus Glaive—intercept the spaceship carrying the survivors of Asgard‘s destruction.[N 1] As they extract the Space Stone from the Tesseract, Thanos subdues Thor, overpowers Hulk, and kills LokiHeimdall sends Hulk to Earth using the Bifröst before being killed. Thanos departs with his lieutenants and obliterates the spaceship.

Hulk crash-lands at the Sanctum Sanctorum in New York City, reverting to Bruce Banner. He warns Stephen Strange and Wong about Thanos’ plan to kill half of all life in the universe; in response, Strange recruits Tony Stark. Maw and Obsidian arrive to retrieve the Time Stone from Strange, drawing the attention of Peter Parker. Maw captures Strange, but fails to take the Time Stone due to an enchantment. Stark and Parker pursue Maw’s spaceship, Banner contacts Steve Rogers, and Wong stays behind to guard the Sanctum.

In Scotland, Midnight and Glaive ambush Wanda Maximoff and Vision in order to retrieve the Mind Stone in Vision’s forehead. Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, and Sam Wilson rescue them and take shelter with James Rhodes and Banner at the Avengers Compound. Vision offers to sacrifice himself by having Maximoff destroy the Mind Stone to keep Thanos from retrieving it. Rogers suggests they travel to Wakanda, which he believes has the resources to remove the stone without destroying Vision.

The Guardians of the Galaxy respond to a distress call from the Asgardian ship and rescue Thor, who surmises Thanos seeks the Reality Stone, which is in the possession of the Collector on KnowhereRocket and Groot accompany Thor to Nidavellir, where they and Eitri create a battle-axe capable of killing Thanos. On Knowhere, Peter QuillGamoraDrax, and Mantis find Thanos with the Reality Stone already in his possession. Thanos kidnaps Gamora, his adoptive daughter, who reveals the location of the Soul Stone to save her captive adoptive sister Nebula from torture. Thanos and Gamora travel to Vormir, where Red Skull, keeper of the Soul Stone, informs him the stone can only be retrieved by sacrificing someone he loves. Thanos reluctantly kills Gamora, earning the stone.

Nebula escapes captivity and asks the remaining Guardians to meet her on Thanos’ destroyed homeworld, Titan. Stark and Parker kill Maw and rescue Strange. Landing on Titan, they meet Quill, Drax, and Mantis. The group forms a plan to remove Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet after Strange uses the Time Stone to view millions of possible futures, seeing only one in which Thanos loses. Thanos arrives, justifying his plans as necessary to ensure the survival of a universe threatened by overpopulation. The group subdues him until Nebula deduces that Thanos has killed Gamora. Enraged, Quill attacks him, allowing Thanos to break the group’s hold and overpower them. Stark is seriously wounded by Thanos, but is spared after Strange surrenders the Time Stone to Thanos.

In Wakanda, Rogers reunites with Bucky Barnes before Thanos’ army invades. The Avengers, alongside T’Challa and the Wakandan forces, mount a defense while Shuri works to extract the Mind Stone from Vision. Banner, unable to transform into the Hulk, fights in Stark’s Hulkbuster armor. Thor, Rocket, and Groot arrive to reinforce the Avengers; Midnight, Obsidian, and Glaive are killed and their army is routed. Thanos arrives and despite Maximoff’s attempt to destroy the Mind Stone, removes it from Vision, killing him.

Thor severely wounds Thanos, but Thanos activates the completed Infinity Gauntlet and teleports away. Half of all life across the universe disintegrates, including Barnes, T’Challa, Groot, Maximoff, Wilson, Mantis, Drax, Quill, Strange, and Parker. Stark and Nebula remain on Titan while Banner, M’BakuOkoye, Rhodes, Rocket, Rogers, Romanoff, and Thor are left on the Wakandan battlefield. Meanwhile, Thanos recovers on another planet.

In a post-credits sceneNick Fury transmits a signal as he, Maria Hill, and others disintegrate. The transmitter displays a starburst insignia on a red-and-blue background.

Our Thoughts

I liked most of this film but the ending left me very disappointed.  It is very entertaining, and I can’t give it less than 4.5 stars despite my gripes about the conclusion, (or maybe cliffhanger ending.) It is definitely worth the price of a premium ticket. If you like the Avengers movies this one is a must see. – MR

Find Avengers: Infinity Wars and see the new trailer here.


We Review: Ready Player One “5 stars. As good as it gets. A must see!” – MR

Ready Player One

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ready Player One
Ready Player One (film).png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
Starring
Music by Alan Silvestri[1]
Cinematography Janusz Kamiński
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • March 11, 2018 (SXSW)[3]
  • March 29, 2018 (United States)
Running time
140 minutes[4]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $175 million[5][6]

Ready Player One is a 2018 American science fictionadventure film produced and directed by Steven Spielbergand written by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline, based on Cline’s 2011 novel of the same name. The film stars Tye SheridanOlivia CookeBen MendelsohnT.J. MillerSimon Pegg, and Mark Rylance.

The film is set in the year 2045 where much of humanity, to escape the desolation of the real-world, use the virtual reality software OASIS to engage in work and play. Wade Watts (Sheridan) discovers clues to a hidden game within the program that promises the winner full ownership of the OASIS, and joins several allies to try to complete the game before indentured players working for a large company, run by Nolan Sorrento (Mendelsohn), can do so.

Ready Player One premiered at South by Southwest on March 11, 2018, and was released by Warner Bros. in the United States on March 29, 2018. The film received generally positive reviews, with critics praising its visuals and brisk pacing, noting it as improvement over the book, but criticized the lack of character development and “achingly regressive” view of pop culture fans.[7][8]

Plot *Spoilers

In 2045, much of Earth’s population centers have become slum-like cities due to overpopulation, pollution, corruption, and climate change. To escape their desolation, people engage in the virtual reality world of the OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation), where they can engage in numerous activities for work, education, and entertainment. Users have discovered “Anorak’s Quest” hidden within OASIS, a game created by the late James Halliday, the creator of OASIS. The first to find the Easter eggs within Anorak’s Quest is promised full ownership of OASIS among other gifts. This has attracted a number of Gunters (“egg hunters”) to play the game. Innovative Online Industries (IOI), a video game conglomerate and manufacturer of most the virtual reality equipment used to access the OASIS, also seeks ownership of virtual reality world, and its CEO, Nolan Sorrento has amassed an army of debtindentured players, known as Sixers (due to their six-digit identification), to seek the prize. However, to date, no one has been able to complete the first quest, finishing a vehicle race across an ever-shifting dangerous cityscape.

Wade Watts, an 18 year-old Gunter from Columbus, Ohio, lives in a slum with his aunt. In the OASIS, Wade goes by his avatar Parzival, and has partnered with Aech, a male avatar that serves as a virtual mechanic. He later befriends well-known player Art3mis after saving her from being “zeroed out”, which would wipe their avatar from the OASIS itself. Wade decides to study the virtual OASIS library to learn about Halliday’s personal life in hopes of finding a hint to finish the race. Wade learns that Halliday felt regret when he had to accept the resignation of his partner, Ogden Morrow, over a personal falling-out, with Halliday expressing his desire to “go back and fix this.” At the next race, Wade reverses from the start line, finding a hidden, safe path to the finish line of the race. He gains the first of three keys and a clue to the next quest. Aech, Art3mis, and brothers Daito and Shoto follow Wade to finish the quest, and the five appear atop the global scoreboards, becoming known as the “High Five”.

IOI takes keen interest in them, desiring to learn their real-life identities. Bounty hunter i-R0k overhears Wade tell Art3mis his real name, disclosing it to Sorrento, who approaches Wade in an attempt to convince him to join IOI to solve Anorak’s Quest, but Wade refuses. In retaliation, Sorrento has Zandor attack Wade’s slum, killing Wade’s aunt and her boyfriend. Wade is rescued by Art3mis’ real-life friends and is taken to a Gunter hideout in Columbus, where he meets Art3mis’ player, Samantha. The two discover that Halliday had once dated Kira, who later became Morrow’s wife, and was the source of their falling out. In the virtual OASIS archives, Wade wins a bet with its Curator regarding whether Kira’s memory remains anywhere within the archives, and the Curator grants him access to Halliday’s memories of Kira, which turns out to be the entrance to the second quest. By surviving a recreation of The Shining while searching for Kira, the High Five team each gain the second key and the clue that the last quest is in Castle Anorak on Planet Doom.

Zandor discovers the Gunter hideout and kidnaps Samantha. Meanwhile, Wade is rescued by the real-life players of Aech, Daito, and Shoto, who have taken to hiding in Aech’s van; Wade learns that Aech is really a lesbian, hiding her identity from her homophobic parents. In the OASIS, they learn that IOI has erected a field blocking access to the castle, maintained by IOI and the Sixers, including Art3mis, who is being forced to work for IOI. Wade sends a message to all OASIS players about IOI’s activities, and convinces many to join their side to fight against IOI and the Sixers. With Aech, Daito, and Shoto leading the army of players, Art3mis is able to use the distraction to weaken the field and allow Wade access inside Castle Anorak. Wade finds that several Sixers have found the Atari room, trying to determine which Atari 2600 game was Halliday’s favorite; choosing and completing the wrong one leads to being zeroed out. Wade recognizes the right game as Adventure, but even successfully completing it causes the Sixer to be zeroed out.

With Wade now alone in the Atari room, Sorrento desperately decides to activate the Catalyst, which zeroes out all players on Planet Doom. However, for winning the Curator’s bet, Wade’s avatar is resurrected, and he continues the quest.

Our Thoughts

Ready Player One was simply BAD ASS! It was much much more than I expected. The trip through pop-culture goes far beyond the realm of video games. This is a movie for anyone born in the 60s, 70s, or 80s, as much as it is for the millennial, xbox/playstation generations. From a Back to the Future, DeLorean resurrection, to the crazy star/knife thing from Krull, as well as the magical words to the spell Merlin spoke in Excalibur. And of course the Atari… These are found sprinkled throughout in little tid-bits from the life of the guy who created the Oasis, (the virtual world where a lot of the movie takes place.)  The music was awesome, and we saw it in IMAX 3D so the full effect of the virtual “Oasis” was mind blowing. This is a movie I will buy so I can watch it again and again. I know there are some saying this is not a ‘new’ story, and comparing it to older video/virtual reality books/films, but this is the best “video game” movie ever made. Sort of like Jurassic Park is the best dinosaur movie, Jaws is the best shark move, and Star Wars, the best space movies. 5 stars. As good as it gets. A must see! – MR

Find Ready Player One and see the new trailer, here.


We Review: Tomb Raider “A good, but slow starting adventure. 4 stars.” -MR

Tomb Raider

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider (2018 film).png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Roar Uthaug
Produced by Graham King
Screenplay by
  • Geneva Robertson-Dworet
  • Alastair Siddons
Story by
Based on Tomb Raider
by Crystal Dynamics
Starring
Music by Tom Holkenborg
Cinematography George Richmond
Edited by
Production
companies
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures[1]
Release date
  • March 2, 2018 (Berlin)[2][3]
  • March 14, 2018 (United Kingdom)
  • March 16, 2018 (United States)
Running time
118 minutes[4]
Country
  • United Kingdom[5]
  • United States[5]
Language English
Budget $94 million[6]
Box office $14.2 million[6]

Tomb Raider is a 2018 actionadventure film directed by Roar Uthaug and written by Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons, from a story by Evan Daugherty and Robertson-Dworet. It is based on the 2013 video game of the same name, with some elements of its sequel by Crystal Dynamics, and is a reboot of the Tomb Raider film series. The film stars Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft, in which she embarks on a perilous journey to her father’s last-known destination, hoping to solve the mystery of his disappearance. Dominic WestWalton GogginsDaniel Wu and Kristin Scott Thomas appear in supporting roles.

Principal photography took place from January to June 2017 at the Warner Bros. Studios in the United Kingdomand in Cape Town, South Africa. The first Tomb Raider film not to be distributed by Paramount Pictures, it was released in the United Kingdom on March 14, 2018 and is scheduled to be released in the United States on March 16, 2018, by Warner Bros. Pictures in RealD 3DIMAX 3D and IMAX. The film met with mixed reviews from critics. Vikander’s performance as Lara Croft drew a polarized response, with some describing her as a “capable, powerful and unobjectified heroine” and others calling her character bland and a “punching bag and onlooker.”

Plot

Following the disappearance of her father Richard, Lara Croft lives a reckless and carefree life. When she is arrested after an accident involving a police car, Richard’s business partner Ana Miller posts her bail and warns her that if she does not claim her inheritance, her father’s estate will be sold off. Lara reluctantly accepts and comes into possession of the key to her father’s office. There she finds a pre-recorded message from Richard detailing his research into Himiko, the mythical Queen of Yamatai who was said to command the power over life and death. According to the myth, Himiko was capable of killing people by simply touching them, and one day, her generals chained her up and sent her to a remote island to be buried alive, so that she could harm no one anymore. Richard warns Lara to destroy all of his research but Lara decides to investigate further.

Lara travels to Hong Kong where she bribes Lu Ren, captain of the ship Endurance, to sail to an island believed to have once been Yamatai. The ship capsizes in a violent storm and Lara is washed ashore where she is knocked unconscious. She is revived by Mathias Vogel, the leader of an expedition to locate Himiko’s tomb. The expedition has been funded by a shadowy organisation called Trinity that seeks to harness and weaponise Himiko’s power. Vogel takes Lara prisoner, claiming that he killed her father and intends to use Richard’s research to continue his expedition. Lara escapes with the help of Lu Ren, who survived the storm and has been put to work with the local fishermen digging for Himiko’s tomb. She evades capture but is seriously wounded in the process and passes out from her injuries.

Lara regains consciousness after nightfall and is forced to kill a Trinity guard when she is nearly discovered. She follows a mysterious figure wandering the island and discovers that the figure is her father, who has himself been held captive on Yamatai. After convincing him that she is real, Richard treats her injuries and despite his protests, Lara sets off to recover his research from Vogel’s camp. Lara makes contact with Lu Ren and he, along with the fishermen, stage distractions, allowing Lara to infiltrate the Trinity camp and recover her father’s research. In the ensuing chaos, Richard makes his way to the tomb and is captured by Vogel, who persuades Lara to open Himiko’s tomb.

The party navigate a series of booby traps before locating Himiko’s sarcophagus. Two Trinity soldiers attempt to remove her corpse but become infected by Himiko’s “power over death”, so potent that mere physical contact instigates immediate bodily disintegration. It turns out that Himiko was not actually a witch who could kill people with a touch according to myth, but rather a carrier of such deadly disease that was spread by touch. On the contrary, she chose to be buried alive in order to save her people from certain death.

Our Thoughts

Angelina played the part better, but the modern effects and slower, more thorough beginning, give this version of Lara Croft a little more character depth, which will no doubt come into play in the two or three sequels this one will demand. This was pretty good, and for a moment or two, it even had the “Raiders of the Lost Ark” vibe that I love so much. The island jungle sets, thugs, and slave folks were cliche, but it is still worth the price of a premium ticket, and I can recommend it for a fun night out. An exciting, but slow starting adventure. 4 stars.” -MR

Find Tomb Raider and see the new trailer here.


We Review: Death Wish “About as good as the original. 3.5 stars” -MR

Death Wish (2018 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Death Wish
Death wish 2017 poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Eli Roth
Produced by Roger Birnbaum
Screenplay by Joe Carnahan
Based on
Starring
Music by Ludwig Göransson
Cinematography Rogier Stoffers
Edited by Mark Goldblatt
Production
companies
Distributed by
Release date
  • March 2, 2018
Running time
107 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $30 million[2]
Box office $19 million[2]

Death Wish is a 2018 American vigilanteaction film directed by Eli Roth and written by Joe Carnahan. It is the sixth installment of the Death Wish series and a remake of the 1974 film of the same name starring Charles Bronson, based on Brian Garfield‘s 1972 novel. The film stars Bruce Willis as Paul Kersey, a Chicagodoctor who sets out to get revenge on the men who attacked his family. Vincent D’OnofrioElisabeth ShueDean Norris, and Kimberly Elise also star.

The film was released in the United States by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and in international markets by Annapurna Pictures on March 2, 2018. It received generally negative reviews, with criticism aimed at it for not adding anything new to previous installments, as well the unfortunate timing of its release just 16 days after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

Plot

Paul Kersey, who lives with his wife Lucy and college-bound daughter Jordan, works as a trauma surgeon at a Chicago hospital. During the Kerseys’ lunch, Paul’s brother, Frank, asks him to lend some money to pay off a debt, to which Paul reluctantly agrees. As the Kerseys leave, Frank gives the valet, Miguel, the keys to their car and joyfully tells him that Paul has “got the money”. Miguel goes to pick the car up, but also take pictures of Paul’s address from their car. On the night the Kerseys are to have a birthday dinner, three masked men invade the Kerseys’ home while Paul is at work. Both Jordan and Lucy are shot; Paul is informed at the hospital that Lucy died and Jordan fell into a coma. Police Detective Kevin Raines is one of the officers tasked with the investigation.

Outraged that the police are unable to solve the crime, Paul becomes a vigilante stalking the city streets to deliver his own brand of justice and to find the men who ambushed his family. When a gang member is brought in to the hospital after getting shot, Paul steals his weapon after it falls off the table. He proceeds to prevent a carjacking, a video of which goes viral; Paul is dubbed Chicago’s “Grim Reaper“. Later, Paul finds his watch on Miguel’s wrist when the latter is hospitalized. Paul orders one of the doctors to defibrillate Miguel’s heart three times, killing him. Paul discovers a photograph on Miguel’s phone with his address. The phone receives a text, telling him to meet at a bar in the suburbs. At the bar, Paul talks to the owner, Ponytail, and says that he was sent by Miguel. A suspicious Ponytail secretly messages Fish, his partner in crime.

Ponytail reaches for his gun, but Paul stabs his hand with a dart and forces him to return the goods he stole from Paul’s house. Fish arrives and accidentally shoots Ponytail. After shooting Fish in the leg during a shootout, Paul steps on his wound for information. Fish then divulges that Lucy’s shooter is Joe, a car mechanic who works in an auto body shop. He kicks Paul in the groin and gains the upper hand, but is accidentally killed by a falling bowling ball. At the auto body shop, Paul ambushes Joe while he is working under a car. He tortures Joe for information by cutting his sciatic nerve with a scalpel and pouring brake fluid into the wound. Joe divulges that their leader, Knox, shot Lucy. Paul then removes the jack lifting the car up, causing it to crush Joe’s head.

The hospital informs Paul that Jordan has regained consciousness. At the hospital, Paul tells Jordan what happened to Lucy. After he rejects a phone call from an unknown contact, a message warns Paul that the police will be informed about his actions unless he answers the next call. The contact, Knox, orders Paul to meet him in a bathroom at a nightclub. Paul calls Knox’s phone number to see it ringing in a stall. He shoots the stall, only to find that it was a ruse. Knox confirms the gunshot to be Paul’s, and the two engage in a shootout, which ends when Knox escapes. When Paul returns home, Frank discovers Paul’s gun collection and confronts him, but Paul insists on continuing to protect the city.

Knox and two other thugs prepare to invade Paul’s home; Paul hides Jordan in a closet under the stairs.

Our Thoughts

Death Wish was entertaining, and okay, but if you’ve seen the original then there is nothing new here. No cool Bruce Willis one liners, no extreme special effects. This is simple modernized remake, and sadly only worth 3.5 stars. – MR

Find Death Wish and see the new trailer here.


We Review: Red Sparrow “A generic spy film. Well acted and written, but lacking…” – MR

Red Sparrow

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Red Sparrow
Red Sparrow.png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Francis Lawrence
Produced by
Screenplay by Justin Haythe
Based on Red Sparrow
by Jason Matthews
Starring
Music by James Newton Howard
Cinematography Jo Willems
Edited by Alan Edward Bell
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • February 15, 2018(Newseum)
  • March 2, 2018 (United States)
Running time
140 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $69 million[2]
Box office $57.1 million[2]

Red Sparrow is a 2018 American spythriller film directed by Francis Lawrence and written by Justin Haythe, based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Jason Matthews. The film stars an ensemble cast made up of Jennifer LawrenceJoel EdgertonMatthias SchoenaertsCharlotte RamplingMary-Louise Parker, and Jeremy Irons. It tells the story of a Russian intelligence officer who is sent to make contact with a CIA agent in the hope of discovering the identity of a mole.

Red Sparrow premiered at Newseum in Washington, D.C. on February 15, 2018, and was released in the United States on March 2, 2018.[3] The film has grossed $57 million worldwide and received mixed reviews from critics, who called it “more style than substance”, criticizing the film’s length and over-reliance on graphic violence and sex, but praised Jennifer Lawrence’s performance.[4][5]

Plot

In modern-day Russia, Dominika Egorova is a famed Russian ballerina who supports her sick mother. Following a career-ending injury, she is approached by her uncle, Ivan, who works in Russian intelligence. She is tasked with seducing Dimitry Ustinov, a Russian politician, and covertly replacing his phone with a state-provided phone, in exchange for her mother’s medical care. As Dimitry rapes her, he is killed by Simyonov, a Russian operative authorized by Ivan. After they escape, Ivan reveals that he intended to kill Ustinov all along, and Dominka was now under threat as Russian intelligence demands there be no witnesses. Ivan offers Dominika a choice to begin working for Russian intelligence, or be executed.

Nate Nash is a CIA operative working in Moscow. While meeting with an asset in Gorky Park, they are confronted by the police. Nash creates a diversion to ensure his asset, a mole in Russian ranks code-named Marble, escapes detection. Nash is reassigned back to the US but because Marble does not trust anybody else, Marble does not contact any other operatives at the CIA. Nash insists that he is the only individual whom Marble will work with, and is assigned to Budapest (as he can’t go back to Russia) to regain contact with Marble.

Dominika is sent to train to become a Russian operative, known as a ‘Sparrow,’ capable of seducing her targets. Dominika excels in her training, despite resistance to some elements, such as refusing to strip in front of her class, and fighting off a classmate who attempts to rape her. Despite her issues in training, Dominika is assigned to Budapest. Russian SVR has been tracking Nash, and hopes to find out the identity of Marble. Dominika’s assignment is to gain the trust of Nash, and reveal his contact.

Upon her arrival in Budapest, Dominika lives with Marta, another Sparrow. Dominika quickly makes contact with Nash, who correctly determines that she is a Russian intelligence operative. Dominika reveals her true identity to him, as well as her motive to find out Marble’s identity. While Marta is out, Dominika inspects her room, and realizes that she is working to gather information from Stephanie Boucher, a chief of staff for a US Senator. After a surprise visit from Ivan demanding results, Dominika realises she needs more time, and claims she is helping in Marta’s effort to gather information from Boucher; this angers Marta, who believes Dominika is trying to steal her assignment. To gain her confidence Dominika reveals to Marta that she had witnessed Ustinov’s murder and hence is vulnerable to be executed if she’s thought be not useful to the Russian intelligence. Upon returning home one day, Dominika finds Marta brutally tortured and murdered. Simyonov reveals that he carried out the murder as a warning not to betray Russian secrets.

Dominika offers her services to the CIA to work as a double agent. She carries out Marta’s assignment to meet Boucher, and covertly exchanges the supplied information for CIA-supplied floppy disks. However, the CIA operatives are sloppy while monitoring and approaching Boucher, who gets spooked and runs into traffic, getting killed. Realizing that the mission with Boucher had been compromised by Dominika, Russian intelligence returns her to Moscow to be tortured and interrogated. She repeatedly denies compromising Boucher, and convinces Ivan that she is now credible with the Americans, as she has been tortured by her own people and not revealing information. Dominika returns to Budapest, and informs Nash that she wishes to defect with her mother to America.

After spending the night with Nash, Dominika awakes to find him being tortured by Simyonov, who is attempting to find the identity of Marble. Despite initially appearing to work with Simyonov, Dominika attacks and kills the Russian operative. At the hospital, General Vladimir Korchnoi reveals that he is Marble. He explains that he was initially patriotic, but grew to feel that Russia was corrupt. He fears he would be caught soon, and instead of dying in vain, wants Dominika to reveal his identity to Ivan; in return, the promotion she would receive for outing a high-ranking mole would allow her to replace Marble as a mole and further their work by passing information to the CIA.

 

Our Thoughts

Jennifer Lawrence’s performance is amazing, but that is about it. There is no impending doom, or sense of urgency at all, and the movie just lacks anything compelling, unless you just like hearing JLaw’s Russian accent and seeing her naked. I can’t give this more than 3.5 stars. Even though I wanted Red Sparrow to be great, it was just good. -MR

 

Find Red Sparrow and see the new trailer here. 


We Review: Game Night “A funny date movie. Not much more. 3.5 stars.” -MR

Game Night

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Game Night
Game Night (film).png

Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
Written by Mark Perez
Starring
Music by Cliff Martinez
Cinematography Barry Peterson
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • February 23, 2018 (United States)
Running time
100 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $37 million[2]
Box office $55.6 million[2]

Game Night is a 2018 American black comedy film, directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein and written by Mark Perez. The film stars Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, and follows a group of friends whose game night turns into a real-life mystery. The film’s supporting cast includes Billy MagnussenSharon HorganLamorne MorrisKylie BunburyJesse PlemonsMichael C. Hall and Kyle Chandler.

Warner Bros. Pictures released the film on February 23, 2018. It has grossed $55 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews from critics, praising the dark humor and the cast’s performances.

Plot

Competitive gamers Max and Annie meet during trivia night at a bar, quickly fall in love, and get married. They are trying to have a child, but their attempts are unsuccessful due to Max’s stress surrounding his feelings of inadequacy when compared to his vastly more successful, attractive brother Brooks. During Max and Annie’s routine weekend game night with their friends Ryan, Kevin, and his wife Michelle, Brooks shows up and immediately shows Max up by arriving in a Corvette Stingray and sharing an embarrassing childhood story during charades. Annie also finds Brooks extremely obnoxious, and decides to work together with Max to defeat him at the upcoming game night, which Brooks offers to host at a house he’s renting while visiting.

When the guests arrive, including Ryan’s new date, Sarah, Brooks says he’s initiated an interactive role-playing mystery game, promising the winner his Stingray. After a while, an actor playing an FBI agent informs them of the narrative of the mystery, only for two masked men to break in and assault him and Brooks. The guests, believing it to be part of the game, idly watch. After Brooks is dragged out of the house, the couples begin to solve the mystery using the clues left behind by the actor. While Kevin and Michelle play the game fairly, Max and Annie track Brooks down using his phone’s GPS location, while Ryan and Sarah track down the company in charge of managing the game, hoping to find the answer there.

Max and Annie track Brooks down to a seedy bar and, using a pistol left behind by Brooks during the struggle (which they believe to be fake), they manage to take the keys to the storage closet, where Brooks is being held. After Annie mistakenly fires the gun and shoots Max in the arm, confirming the legitimacy of their danger, the three escape, where Brooks admits that he actually makes his living buying and selling things on the black market, in particular a Fabergé egg sought by a man known only as the Bulgarian and is owned by a man using the alias Marlon Freeman. With his captors in pursuit, Brooks exits the moving car to guarantee Max and Annie’s escape.

Eventually, the others learn of what they’ve become involved in, avoiding police on one of Brook’s warnings. Trying to determine the identities of the Bulgarian and Marlon Freeman, they go to police officer and former friend Gary’s house, under the false pretense of a game night, in order to use his computer. Max finds out that Marlon Freeman is named Donald Anderton and learns of his address, though cannot find information on the Bulgarian. The group leaves Gary’s house and arrives at Anderton’s address, where he is hosting an underground fight club. As the others search the house, Ryan spots the egg in a safe on the wall and is caught trying to steal it. The group escapes with the egg, but accidentally break it. They discover the egg is a worthless fake, but end up finding a list of names that was stored inside of it, realizing this was what the Bulgarian wanted.

The group finds Brooks and his captors on an under-construction bridge and move in to rescue him. Facing execution, Brooks reveals to Max his own insecurities throughout the years as a reason for his life of crime and only wanted to be as successful as Max. Before the group is killed, they are rescued by Gary, who is shot in the chest. Max and Annie, who have repeatedly rebuffed his requests to join them in game night following the separation of his wife Debbie, try to encourage him to pull through by promising to invite him to every future game night. Gary then reveals that he faked the entire scenario with the two captors, felons who agreed to help in exchange for a shortened parole, trying to trick them into letting him join game night again. He is, however, unaware about the egg or Brook’s involvement in it, and they are immediately attacked by the real Bulgarian, who captures Brooks after he swallows the list, revealed to be people in the witness protection program, to keep it out of his hands.

Our Thoughts

This is a funny date movie, or for a group of friends looking for a night out. In fact it would probably be as much fun to stay home and play games. Still, it made me laugh out loud a few times, and was slightly original. 3.5 stars – MR

 

Find Game Night and see the new trailer here.


We Review: Den of Thieves “A 4 star shoot ’em up, bank robbery thriller with grit.” -MR

Den of Thieves

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Den of Thieves
Den of Thieves poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Christian Gudegast
Produced by
Screenplay by Christian Gudegast
Story by
Starring
Music by Cliff Martinez
Cinematography Terry Stacey
Edited by Joel Cox
Production
company
  • Diamond Film Productions
  • Tooley Productions
  • G-BASE
Distributed by STXfilms
Release date
  • January 19, 2018
Running time
140 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $30 million[2]
Box office $70.5 million[1]

Den of Thieves is a 2018 American heist film written, directed and produced by Christian Gudegast and starring Gerard Butler50 CentPablo SchreiberO’Shea Jackson Jr.Evan JonesDawn OlivieriMo McRae and Max Holloway. In the film, an elite group of County Sheriff Deputies look to stop a gang of thieves planning to rob the Federal Reserve in Los Angeles.

The film was released in the United States on January 19, 2018, received mixed reviews and grossed $70 million worldwide. A sequel is currently in development.

Plot

Los Angeles, 2018: A team of robbers led by Ray Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber) make a violent armed attack and hijack an armored truck. A security guard who drops his coffee instigates the shootout accidentally. Police officers arrive on the scene and engage in a shootout with the robbers. Eventually, Merrimen and his crew escape with the empty armored truck, but he reprimands Bosco (Evan Jones) for killing the first guard. In the morning, Detective Nick “Big Nick” O’Brien (Gerard Butler) investigates the crime scene. He has been monitoring Merrimen and his crew for a while. Suspecting a local bartender named Donnie for involvement, Nick finds him at the bar and kidnaps him for interrogation. In a flashback, Merrimen is planning to rob the Federal Reserve on Friday of that week by covertly removing about $30 million in old bills with deleted serial numbers before they are shredded.

Merrimen has Donnie gain access into the Federal Reserve by posing as a Chinese food deliveryman. In the ceiling of the Bank’s bathroom, he stashes an extra bag of food for the day of the big heist. At home, Nick’s wife Debbie (Dawn Olivieri) discovers that Nick has been going behind her back seeing other women. Incensed, she leaves with their daughters and files for divorce. Nick spots Donnie and says hello at a restaurant with Merrimen and his crew. At their hideout, Merrimen has one of his crew, Levi (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson), roughly interrogate Donnie. Donnie convinces him that he hasn’t told him anything about the robbery. Later on, Levi’s daughter has a date arrive to pick her up for a school dance. Levi pulls the boy aside to introduce him to Merrimen and the rest of their crew to intimidate him into being on his best behaviour with Levi’s daughter.

Meanwhile, Nick drunkenly crashes a small get-together at the home of Debbie’s sister. He obnoxiously signs the divorce papers, and gets belligerent with Debbie’s new boyfriend, before he is told to leave. Nick then goes to a strip club and goes home with a stripper, unaware the stripper was hired by Merrimen to examine his phone handset. The next morning, at his daughter’s school, Nick makes a desperate unscheduled effort to see his daughter.

The day of the heist comes. Merrimen and his crew invade a commercial bank branch and take hostages. Nick’s team is outside as the chaos unfolds. The L.A.P.D. Police Chief calls and speaks to Joseph, the bank’s branch manager, on behalf of Merrimen. To discourage further time-wasting communications, Merrimen has one of the crew take a hostage to a back room and shoot her. The police negotiator then agrees not to communicate again until the money and chopper are about to arrive in over an hour’s time. The thieves then blow the vault open and escape through a hole in the floor before Nick’s team come in. They also find that the shooting of the hostage was staged. The thieves needed commercial bank cash, so they can make a cash drop-off at the federal reserve: the only way to get inside the federal reserve building.

Donnie is hidden inside a cash dolly delivered to the Federal Reserve building by Merrimen, and he slips out during a falsely tripped alarm to collect the targeted old bills that have been earmarked for shredding and he stashes them in bags in the refuse. After escaping the cash count-rooms through the air ducts, Donnie retrieves the bag of food from the bathroom ceiling. Appalled by the cold, old food, the unsuspecting Federal Reserve employee who orders Chinese food daily, tries to get security to stop him, but Donnie is gone. The cash is dispatched from the Federal Reserve building in a waste management truck that removes shredded bills. Nick’s team catch up to Donnie and seize him, beating him until he tells them where Merrimen is going.

Our Thoughts

Not your typical bank heist caper. The cops are on the verge of being bad guys, and it is hard to tell which is who in this one. A lot like the 1995 movie “Heat.” But, it held my attention the whole way through, and had just enough of a twist to get that 4th star. All in all, a 4 star shoot ’em up, bank robbery thriller with grit. – MR

 

Find Den of Thieves and see the new trailer here.