Gringo

Posted on March 8, 2018 at 12:39 pm

B +
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, violence and sexual content
Profanity: Constant very strong and crude language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Drugs and drug dealing, alcohol
Violence/ Scariness: Constant peril and violence with many graphic and disturbing images, characters injured and killed, guns, car chases and crashes, torture, kidnapping
Diversity Issues: Diverse characters
Date Released to Theaters: March 9, 2018
Copyright Amazon 2018

“Gringo” is the story of a hapless dupe named Harold (David Oyelowo, showing deft comic timing) who gets stuck in the middle of a lot of bad people and bad decisions.

Harold is an immigrant from Nigeria, married to Bonnie (Thandie Newton, criminally underused), and in financial trouble. “Are you saying I’m cash poor?” Harold asks his accountant. “No, I’m saying you’re poor poor, ,” he replies.

The accountant also tells Harold that his company may be merging, and he could lose his job. But Harold reassures himself that his boss Rich (Joel Edgerton) is an old friend, who has even hired Bonnie to decorate his apartment, and will not let him down. Rich reassures him as well, reminding him that he promised Harold’s life would look like a rap video if he stayed at the company. It’s obvious to us that Rich is a crook and a liar, but Harold has no clue.

Rich’s co-president of the company is Elaine (Charlize Theron, having a lot of fun as a ruthless executive whose self-pep talk includes “Who’s Daddy’s Blue Ribbon girl?”). They come along on Harold’s business trip to Mexico, where the company’s marijuana-based pills are manufactured. That merger means the end of lucrative off-the-books sales to a powerful drug dealer. And that leads to mayhem involving a fake kidnapping, a real kidnapping, a toe sent by international mail, a murder for failing to give the right answer to a question about which Beatles album is the best, a mercenary, and many betrayals.

Nash Edgerton (Joel’s brother) directs with high energy and clearly relishes very dark humor of the story, with many twists and turns as the various bad guys collide with each other. Paris Jackson (Michael’s daughter) has an impressive cameo as a girl enticing a hapless guitar salesman into helping her steal some of those marijuana pills. If you like your crime stories to be nicely nasty, this one does the trick.

Parents should know that this film includes extensive and graphic violence, chases, shootouts, torture, disturbing images, many characters injured and killed, drugs and drug dealing, alcohol, very explicit sexual references and situations, and very strong and crude language.

Family discussion: Was Harold’s father wrong? Why was it hard for him to see what was happening? What is the point of the banana/carrot story?

If you like this, try: “Big Trouble” and “Midnight Run” and, also from the Edgerton brothers, “The Square” (not the recent Cannes award-winner, the Australian crime drama)

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Comedy Crime Drama DVD/Blu-Ray movie review Movies -- format Movies -- Reviews

The A-Team

Posted on December 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm

I love it when a plan comes together.

And I love it when a summer movie delivers all of the chases, crashes, explosions, wisecracks, and sheer exuberant fun that we have a right to expect when the weather gets warm. “The A-Team,” based on the television series of the mid-1980’s, may be silly but it is purely enjoyable.

We get to see how the fearsome foursome first met. That’s Hannibal (Liam Neeson), the cigar-chomping leader, driver and fighting powerhouse B.A. Baracus (Ultimate Fighting Champion Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson), mentally unstable pilot Murdock (District 9‘s Sharlto Copley), and social engineer (okay, con man) Face (Bradley Cooper). As frustrated Lt. Sosa (Jessica Biel) says, eight years and 80 successful missions later, they specialize in the ridiculous. Characters hang from a helicopter. They slalom down a skyscraper. They crash many vehicles and they blow many things up. This is a movie with a flying tank. Well, technically, as one character says, not flying. It’s actually hurtling to the ground after the plane that was carrying it exploded. Why? Could that really work? Don’t ask. This is not that kind of movie. Just pass the popcorn.

There are some understated shout-outs to the original, including a clever disposition of the beloved van and BA’s knuckle tattoos — “PITY” on one hand and “FOOL” on the other. And be sure to stay to the very end of the credits for one last salute.

After the prologue, we are brought up to date. Our team has completed 80 missions in eight years, all successful. Now, American troops are packing up to leave Iraq. One piece of unfinished business is a briefcase filled with engraving plates for U.S. currency. If they get into the wrong hands, our enemies could print money and destroy our economy. And there are a lot of wrong hands out there, possibly including the mercenaries/government contractors who think they’re all that and who are assigned to the retrieval operation.

This provides opportunities for many stunts, ably directed by Joe Carnahan, who co-wrote. Co-screenwriter Brian Bloom is electrifying as Pike, the leader of the contractor team. Biel does her job: fuming or melting, she is very pretty. And the quartet of actors in the lead roles are an A-Team of their own, bringing their own screen chemistry and sense of fun to the characters they play. Neeson chomps on his cigar with panache. Copley makes Murdoch’s proficiency with accents and languages both evidence of his instability and his mastery. Jackson makes BA’s soul-searching feel real without throwing the entire movie off-kilter by making it too serious. Early on, when Face gets punched in the jaw, Cooper’s eyes widen in delight and he says, “Now it’s a party!” Yes, it is.

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Action/Adventure Based on a television show Remake
Karate20Kid20Poster.jpg

Opening this Week: ‘The Karate Kid’ and ‘The A-Team’

Posted on June 9, 2010 at 8:00 am

Karate Kid Poster.jpgIt’s “I Love the 80’s Week” as the summer kicks off into high gear. I call these “Lunchbox Movies” because I believe the only reason remakes like this get made is that the now-grown-up studio executives were such fans as kids that they carried the lunchboxes. That’s why we have “The Karate Kid,” more a re-imagining than a remake of the 1984 original, with Jaden Smith (son of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith) as an American kid in China who learns Kung Fu (so maybe it should be called “The Kung Fu Kid,” but oh, well). Instead of Japanese Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) in the original, this one has martial arts superstar Jackie Chan as the handyman who happens to be a kung fu master.
a-team-lunch-box.jpgAnd then there’s “The A-Team,” based on the 1983-87 television series starring George Peppard, Mr. T, Dirk Benedict, and Dwight Schultz as members of a ragtag team of former military operatives, wrongfully accused and dishonorably discharged, who go around righting wrongs and kicking butts — and blowing things up, big time. The movie version stars Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, District 9‘s Sharlto Copley, and Ultimate Fighting Champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Reviews coming soon — stay tuned!

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Opening This Week
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