The Good Liar is a crime thriller directed and produced by Bill Condon and written by Jeffrey Hatcher, based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Searle. A career con artist meets a wealthy widow online and discovers that his plan to steal her fortune has unexpected complications. The trailers made me think that someone was going to be taken advantage of in a big way. While The Good Liar was a tad bit predictable it was a good movie with a good twist.
Using a dating service, Betty Mcleish (Helen Mirren) meets Roy Courtnay (Ian McKellen), a long-time con artist who, along with his business partner Vincent (Jim Carter), manipulates people into giving him access to their finances through a string of deceptions and false identities. Ignorant of Roy’s agenda, the two hit it off right away and started dating frequently. Betty has a grandson, Steven (Russell Tovey) who is very protective of her. When he learns Roy is going to move in with Betty, he tries to talk her out of it. Of course, she doesn’t listen. Roy has cooked up a fake leg injury in order to get an invitation to recover at Betty’s house. Their arrangement has Roy and Betty sleeping in separate rooms and without benefits. Betty, a former history teacher at Oxford lost her husband a year ago and has savings in excess of two million pounds.
This being a good place to stop, I must confess there is a whole lot of story left to tell. I’m a huge fan of Helen Mirren, her performance in this movie is brilliant. The good Liar is like a cloak and dagger movie with grifter like maneuvers. Somewhere in the background of the Good Liar, you get the feeling that Helen’s character is a grifter, so during the entire movie, you’re not sure if she is or if she isn’t. Before it’s all over, we finally get the answer we’ve been waiting for. It’s a doozy of an ending, as most situations are not as they appear. I think you’ll love The Good Liar, I certainly did. The film received mixed reviews from critics and has grossed over $25.5 million worldwide. I recommend The Good Liar — Check It Out!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS, STREAMING
Tagged Annalise, Betty McLeish, Bryn, Celine Buckens, Hans Taub, helen mirren, ian mckellen, jim carter, Laurie Davidson, Mark Lewis Jones, Roy Courtnay, Russell Tovey, steven, The Good Liar, Vincent
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (also known as Hobbs & Shaw) is an action film and a spin-off of The Fast and the Furious franchise. The plot follows the unlikely marriage of the Hobbs & Shaw characters introduced in the main series, as they are forced to team up with Shaw’s sister when a genetically-enhanced terrorist and his organization threaten the world with a deadly virus. The film is directed by David Leitch and written by Chris Morgan and Drew Pearce, from a story by Morgan. For me, this was a must-see but soon became more of the same despite one of my favorite actors at the helm.
A crew of MI6 agents from the terrorist organization, Eteon, attempts to retrieve a virus labeled Snowflake, which can be programmed to decimate millions of people. Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), an Eteon operative with advanced cybernetic implants that allow him to perform superhuman feats, arrives and kills all agents except for their leader, Hattie Shaw, (Vanessa Kirby) who injects Snowflake into herself as a dormant carrier and escapes. Brixton frames Hattie as a traitor who killed her team and stole Snowflake, forcing her to go on the run.
Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), Hattie’s brother, are both informed of the missing virus by the CIA and are assigned to work together, against their better judgment, to track it down. Shaw leaves and goes to Hattie’s house, while Hobbs manages to find Hattie; after a brief scuffle, he brings her to the CIA office. Just as Shaw then returns, the office is attacked and Hattie is taken by Brixton, who Shaw recognizes as an old colleague he previously shot and killed before he was resurrected by Eteon. Hobbs and Shaw pursue and rescue Hattie during an ensuing car chase. They manage to escape from Brixton, who falls off his motorcycle and crashes through the second level of a double-decker bus, creating an opportunity for Brixton to frame the three agents. Hobbs, Shaw and Hattie manage to locate Professor Andreiko (Eddie Marsan) Snowflake’s creator, who informs them that to prevent Snowflake from eradicating humanity, Hattie has to either be killed or use an extraction device, which is located within the Eteon factory in Ukraine, an almost impossible mission.
Okay, I’ll admit Edis Elba’s character was a little different but the rest of the film was pretty much the same old stuff. The special effects and acting were brilliant as was the flow of the story. But how long can Hollywood keep making these types of movies and keep them fresh and interesting? While they continue to be entertaining, the clock is ticking, something new has got to give. Series star and producer Vin Diesel first said in 2015 that possible spin-offs were in early development. Hobbs & Shaw was officially announced in October 2017. Hobbs & Shaw has grossed $437 million worldwide and received praise for “the charisma of Johnson, Statham, and Kirby”, as well as its “visual style and action choreography finesse”, though some critics “had trouble getting past just how much the film was attempting to fit into its two-hour-and-15-minute runtime”. Personally, if you are still thrilled by the Fast and Furious franchise, you will not be disappointed by Hobbs & Shaw. The very least I can say is that it’s similar to other movies of this type. I still recommend it — Check It Out!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged Brixton Lore, CIA agent Locke, CIA agent Loeb, David Leitch, deckard shaw, Dinkley, Dwayne Johnson, eddie marsan, Eteon, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Hattie Shaw, helen mirren, Idris Elba, jason statham, Kevin hart, Lori Pelenise Tuisano, luke hobbs, M16, Magdalene "Queenie" Shaw, Professor Andreiko, Rob Delaney, ryan reynolds, Sefina Hobbs, Snowflake, vanessa kirby
I honestly don’t know how they do it. After seven Fast and Furious movies, they managed to make an eighth one even better than the others. Dom turns bad? Now there’s an interesting concept — the main character not only turns bad, he turns his back on the love of his life and the team he calls “family”. That’s enough, if you’re a follower of the series, to hurry to your local theater and purchase a ticket to see it for yourself.
Director, F. Gary Gray has tied every scene together, giving every character a purpose. Known for speed, excitement and fast and furious cars, this eighth installment is actually bigger, faster and features a barrage of fast, beautiful, slickly designed cars that would cause the likes of Mario Andretti to blush with envy. So far The Fate of the Furious has grossed $690 million worldwide, making it the second highest-grossing film of 2017. An untitled sequel is scheduled to be released on April 19, 2019.
The film opens with Dominic “Dom” Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Letty Ortiz (Michell Rodriguez) on their honeymoon in Havana. Dom gets involved with his cousin’s spat at an auto show and is challenged to a street race by a local racer named Fernando (Janmarco Santiago). This turns out to be one of the most spectacular races I’ve seen because Dom is using his cousin’s beaten up, ancient, piece of car to race in. I can only say by the end of the race, even I had new respect for Dom’s driving skills. The next day, Dom encounters elusive cyber-terrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron), who appears to be a damsel in distress. He tries to give her a hand with her car but her conversation lets him know that she knows him and is not very friendly. She shows him a device right after telling him that he will now be working for her. Cipher leaves after giving Dom full instructions as he fully accepts his new role.
SOME SPOILERS BELOW!
Dom and Letty along with team members Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), Tej Parker (Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), are recruited by Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) to help him retrieve an EMP device from a military outpost in Berlin. During the getaway, Dom goes rogue, forcing Hobbs off the road and stealing the device for Cipher. Hobbs is arrested and locked up in the same high-security prison where he helped imprisoned Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). After escaping, both are recruited by intelligence operative Mr. Nobody (Kurk Russell) and his protégé, Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood), to help the team find Dom and capture Cipher. FYI: Helen Mirren makes an uncredited cameo appearance as Magdalene Shaw, the mother of Deckard and Owen Shaw.
The whole cast moves to Russia where a long chase, war and shoot out takes place among the teams, which includes the Russians. Here, there is a lot going on and the fate of the world, the movie and the plot depends on the outcome. This lengthy scene was a bit much and a little hard to follow because it was easy to lose track of who was who. The environment was extremely cold and the fight was cumbersome. This may have shaved a few points off of an otherwise exciting thriller movie. Charlize will blow your mind — you will probably want to blow hers right out of her head. I highly recommend The Fate of the Furious. If you’re looking for a thriller, you’ve come to the right movie!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged "Mr. NoBody", charlize theron, chris ludacris bridges, cipher, deckard shaw, dominic dom toretto, dss, Dwayne Johnson, f gary gray, fernando, havana, helen mirren, janmarco santiago, jason statham, kurk russell, letty ortiz, little nobody, luke hobbs, magdalene shaw, michell rodriguez, ramsey nathalie emmanuel, roman pearce, scott eastwood, tej parker, the fate of the furious, tyrese givson, vin diesel
Based on a true story, Trumbo is about an era in Hollywood that referred to “The Hollywood Blacklist” or the “Entertainment Black List”. This list was dedicated to Hollywood producers, directors, screenwriters, actors, musicians and other entertainment professionals who were suspected of belonging to or politically sympathizing with the American Communist Party. The House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) was created in 1938 to investigate and carry out the elimination of Communist sympathizers in America. The first Hollywood Blacklist was created in November of 1947, immediately after ten writers and directors refused to give testimony to the HUAC. These ten were called the “Hollywood Ten”. Senator Joseph McCathy conducted the “Witch Hunt” on all those suspected. His paranoia and over zealousness became known as “McCarthyism”. Many lives were destroyed during that time. One of the Hollywood Ten was Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) known for Breaking Bad, who gives a fantastic performance as a brilliant Hollywood writer, husband and father. Diane Lane plays as Cleo Fincher Trumbo, Bryan’s understanding and patient wife. You also wouldn’t want to miss John Goodman as Frank King, the B rated movie producer who mysteriously manages to save the day or Helen Mirren as Hedda Hoppa the newspaper columnist who’s poison pen pulled many strings.
Trumbo sucks you in right from the beginning and never lets up. The cast is superb, the acting is excellent and the story is captivating. I understand a few award nominations have already been thrown their way. I think this movie has flown way under the radar. There are so many great messages and fabulous scenes. Trumbo is a movie definitely worth seeing.
[TRUMBO is nominated for Best Actor]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged bryan cranston, cleo fincher trumbo, communist sympathizers, dalton trumbo, diane lane, frank king, hedda hopper, helen mirren, hollywood blacklist, hollywood ten, huac, john goodman, mccarthyism, trumbo, witch hunt
What a great story based on true events. Helen Mirren is fantastic as Maria Altmann, the rightful heir to “Woman In Gold”, a portrait of her aunt Adele. The portrait was stolen by the Nazis in Vienna just prior to World War II, during Hitler’s regime. Together, Maria and her lawyer, E. Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds) fought the Austrian government for 10 years to have returned what was rightfully hers. They even took their fight to the United States Supreme Court, who ruled in her favor. Because of the exuberant amount of money it would take to continue her fight, she almost gave up. I found Woman in Gold a little slow at first, however it picked up when the Austrian officials entered the scene. From then on, it got very interesting. Kathie Holmes played Schoenberg’s loving and understanding wife who gave birth during the 10 year process. Also, Tatiana Maslany brilliantly played a younger Maria Altmann. The painting is worth over 100 million dollars. It was revealed that there are thousands of stolen paintings by the Nazis that haven’t been returned to their rightful owners. It is also my understanding Helen Mirren will probably get an Oscar nod for Woman in Gold. I must say, she is an awesome actress who deserves an Oscar and more.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged aunt adele, austria, helen mirren, kathie holmes, maria altmann, portrait, ryan reynolds, schoenberg, tatiana maslany, viennia, woman in gold
This is a feel good movie. Helen Mirren is amazing as a French restaurant owner (Madame Mallory) in France. After years of enjoying no immediate surrounding competition, an East Indian family headed by Papa (Om Puri) with an extraordinary gifted chef, Hassan (Manish Dayal), takes ownership of an old defunct restaurant 100 feet across from her. Sparks start flying as soon as she discovers that the new restaurant was going to be real competition. Anyone who follows Helen Mirren’s career knows she is an outstanding actress and can and does get the very best of her acting abilities from every movie she’s a part of. She comes across exactly as she should in The Hundred- Foot Journey; stubborn, heart felt and classy.
100′ across the walkway is the new family that had to flee their home in India because of dangerous uprisings that wiped out their entire livelihood, including Mama (Juhi Chawla) wife and mother and teacher of the fine culinary art of Indian cooking. The gifted chef is their son, Hassan who becomes smitten with Madame Mallory’s Su-Chef, Marguerite (Charlotte LeBon). It is magic watching these 2 families struggle to make their circumstances work in a world where competition is fierce and winning is everything. I really enjoyed this movie and think is sends life lessons that everyone can benefit from, especially at a time when WW3 seems to be lurking around the corner. It’s definitely worth taking the time out to see.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged charlotte lebon, chef, competition, east indian, france, french, hassan, helen mirren, indian, juhi chawla, madame mallory, mama, manish dayal, marguerite, om puri, papa, restaurant, su-chef, the hundred-foot journey
Movies like this should always be viewed as fantasy. If you do that, you’ll be able to appreciate it for the pure entertainment value. Red 2 has everything from Marshall Arts to gun slinging, car chasing agents from the USA to China to the USSR. May I dare say, it’s a love/hate relationship between all. It seems a lot of today’s movies incorporate massive destruction i.e., Iron Man 3, Pacific Rim, Transformers along with the killing of not 1, not 2, but 100’s of agents and/or personnel. Since Red 2 starred an older group of actors (Hollywood’s finest) you might expect the action would lean toward the slow side. Not Red 2. It was fast moving and basically fun, as well as funny and destruction was kept to a minimum.
I encountered an elderly couple walking to their car after the movie who told me Red 2 was in fact a bit too fast for them to fully process. I could understand because of their age. It got me to thinking, what will I be saying about movies in 20 years from now. I’m used to fast and furious but will I be able to process it. Will the mode change again or will I have to sit it out, due to old age? What movies should I recommend to the elderly now? Well for today, I really enjoyed Red 2. Catherine Zeta-Jones is absolutely gorgeous and Helen Mirren’s body puts all to shame, old and young. I recommend Red 2 for the under 80 crowd. If you love Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and the legendary Anthony Hopkins, take a chance and see it at any age. Excellent sequel — I definitely missed Morgan Freeman.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged agents, anthony hopkins, bruce willis, catherine zeta-jones, comedy, excellent, fantasy world, fast, funny, helen mirren, john malkovich, Red 2