L’Immortel

Foreign movie – French (2012).

L’Immortel (22 Bullets is the English title) begins with Charly Mattei (Jean Reno) with one of his children and after letting his son off to view a street vendor, Charly, a former French crime boss enters the underground garage. It is here that his childhood friend, Tony Zakia, has ordered a hit on him.

After taking 22 bullets, Charly is on the mend and has revenge on his mind for those that started this. The movie is entertaining in it’s own right but the reason I chose this was because I’m a fan of Jean Reno. Although it is not his best performance, it is good nonetheless. This does have a pretty good supporting cast and the actors play their respective roles well.

I realized after three-fourths of the way through that I had seen this before. Even with this I still enjoyed the movie – need I say more? Go ahead and have butter on the popcorn…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bang Bang Club

Based on a true story of a group of combat photojournalists as they capture images of the final days of apartheid in South Africa from the period 1990-1994. This Canadian-South African 2010 drama/documentary style film grips you from the very beginning in many edge of your seat clips as well as graphic scenes of the violence.

From the opening frame to the last portrays the frustrations of four photographers and their friends as they snap photos of the inhumanity of civil strife as it tears apart a country. Although the violence is upsetting it is a film worth watching. The Bang-Bang Club members star Ryan Phillipe as Greg Marinovich,  Taylor Kitsch as Kevin Carter, Neels Van Jaarsveld as João Silva and Frank Rautenbach as Ken Oosterbroek as a tightly knit group to get the story of country caught in turmoil through the lens of a camera.

Grab the popcorn, put some butter on it and pick out another snack that suits your fancy although I will warn you that watching the compelling scenes you may just forget you have any snacks at all.

Intelligence Seasons 1 & 2

Foreign TV series – Canada (2005-2007).

Jimmy Reardon, a Canadian gangster hanging out in the city of Vancouver, BC is the main character in this Canadian TV crime drama. Unlike most crime dramas where you can’t wait for the “bad” guy to get caught in the end, this one you can’t help but rooting for the bad guys and you immediately like Jimmy. He’s a likable guy played to a “T” by Ian Tracey.

Jimmy has a strange connection to Mary Spalding, head of the Organized Crime Unit stationed in Vancouver in a nemesis-colleague type relationship. You’ll find you are wishing them both well.

Jimmy has a lot of people on his side and the characters are well played by the cast. Chris Haddock, the TV series creator did an excellent job casting the crew for this series.

Throughout the series, it was tough to tell if certain characters were good guys or bad guys on both sides of the law. The bad guys had some good qualities, they also had some bad qualities. The good guys had some good qualities, they also had some bad qualities.

Storytelling was top notch beginning with the first episode till the last one. It kept me spellbound at the end of each episode wanting the next episode to start right away. I’ll have to warn you, watching this is like reading a good book – it’s tough to put down.

Have butter on the popcorn, but make sure you get the refillable box of popcorn as you’re going to need it for all these episodes. You may want to get a few boxes of Goobers, Dots, Jujubes, Sno-Caps, Juicy Fruits, Junior Mints, Milk Duds, Raisinets, and Good & Plenty – yeah, the whole candy case. Oh, did I forget the licorice?

Haywire

In this 2011 thriller, a member of a black ops mission is set up and she’s on a quest to seek revenge on those responsible for setting her up. She has to use all her skills to stay alive. It took me awhile to figure out who the good guys were and who the bad guys were.

After a covert operation in Barcelona, Mallory Kane is sent on another mission to Ireland where she is earmarked for elimination. Realizing she has been double crossed, she embarks on a mission to uncover the culprits. There’s a lot of intrigue in this movie with good performances by Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Ewan McGregor, and Bill Paxton among others.

 

Max Manus: Man of War

Foreign film – Norwegian (2008).

Two things amazed me about this film: great directing and great acting. Max Manus was probably Norway’s greatest war hero.

Upon his return from Finland after doing battle with the Russians he became one of the best saboteurs of World War II when he joined the Norwegian resistance. His specialty was blowing up warships and the most notable was the sinking of the “Donau” as she was headed out of Oslo Harbor.

Throughout the film, Max not only battles the enemy but with his own inner demons and he feels responsible for the deaths of his friends and wonders why he is being spared.

You almost feel as if you are part of the film as this was a truly incredible story. Don’t miss this one and go ahead and put butter on the pop corn. The only thing I would have liked was to see this film on the big screen.

Echelon Conspiracy

A conspiracy thriller (2009) starring Martin Sheen, Shane West, Edward Burns, Tamara Feldman, Jonathan Pryce, and Ving Rhames starts out with Max Peterson, a techno-whiz who travels wherever he is needed. He gets an anonymous gift which happens to be a new phone unlike any other he has seen before.

Max begins to have good fortunes via a genie-like cell phone that sends him messages. The first is a tip on what card games and slot machines to play where he wins tons of money (where do I get one of these phones?). Here’s where the thriller part comes in. Max is chased by the authorities to find out who is killing recipient’s of the “free phones”. Ahhh, did I mention that there were others that received the “free phones” and are no longer among the living? That’s the caveat, the “free phone” people live exciting but short lives.

Max intends to beat this trend and live a long and prosperous life. I should mention here that there’s more than meets the eye in this espionage thriller – is there really a Dr. Evil?? Only one way to find that out. This movie is similar to “WarGames” where a computer is the ultimate Dr. Evil. Oops, I may have given away too much. It’s enjoyable anyway!

Ironclad

A 2011 British Medieval yarn where King John is being unruly and the Barons’ of England force him to sign the Magna Carta in the year 1215. The Magna Carta is suppose to uphold the free men of England. Oh, but the king is not one for being told what to do, so he enlists the help of Norwegian Vikings to be his brawn in his plan to return to the throne – lock, stock, and barrel so to speak in. The key to England lies at Rochester Castle. This has some real drag ’em down fight scenes you’ll not want to miss

This is what many of us believe a true Medieval setting as we wish for and this is true to its surroundings complete with castles, swords, and warriors in chain mail on leather armored horses. Beware though, this is a quite bloody and gory flick not for the faint of heart – BTW, you’ll want to hold onto yours. By all means have popcorn but skip the butter and yield on the chocolate morsels for this movie at least.

I Am Number Four

Based on the 2010 novel, John Smith is one of nine Lorics (aliens) living on planet Earth. Each of the nine aliens also have a guardian called a Cepan to protect them as best they can. Each of the nine members of the Garde have special powers called Legacies which are mentored by their respective Cepan.

Enter the Mogadorians, hideous creatures with really sharp teeth, out to annihilate the Lorics but the caveat is the nine aliens have to be terminated in numerical order. There’s something to be said about being Number Nine.

The movie (2011) opens with Number Three getting done in by the guys in the black capes and it pans to Daniel Jones (aka, Number Four) leaving the State of Florida en-route to Paradise, OH. Now known as John Smith, Number Four decides he wants to stay put and not run anymore. Did I mention he met the cute girl?

The Lorics all have different special powers called “Legacies” and combined they can be a powerful lot to contend with. Number Four and Number Six “find” each other through telekinesis (they all have this power) and defeat the Moga-bad doers. Four and Six head out on a journey to gather up the other Lorics in their attempt to settle down. This has the makings of a sequel, so Sci-Fi followers, stay tuned.

Z

Foreign film – French (1969).

I first watched this film for a high school World Civilization class and was the first foreign film I had seen and as it turned out not my last as I have become an avid foreign film watcher. I didn’t think as a teenager I would be able to really enjoy a foreign film, French no less, seeing as I took three years of Spanish.

I found it fairly easy to follow along watching the action and reading the sub-titles. It wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined. Nowadays when I watch a foreign film and it has dubbed English, I can’t watch it so I make sure I choose sub-titles instead of dubbed English.

My first viewing of this film was in 1969 when it was released. This film is based on the 1966 novel and the plot focuses on the cover up murder of a Greek politician. Outraged by military dictatorship, the Deputy of an anti-military group plans a speech about nuclear disarmament. The Deputy is run over in a drunken driver scenario but due to the efforts of a journalist, the audience is led to believe it was murder and an eventual cover up of the event. This movie was just as enjoyable now as it was back in 1969.

Oh yeah, get out the popcorn, add the butter and get a bag of licorice, a box of Raisinets, and a box of Sno-Caps.

Blackthorn

Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid; The Magnificent Seven; the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly; The Outlaw Josey Wales; The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance; Dances With Wolves; Red River; Tombstone; Wyatt Earp; Unforgiven; The Searchers; True Grit (the original with John Wayne); and High Noon are classic Westerns. Blackthorn doesn’t even come close to being a classic Western.

Set some years after the encounter with the Mexican army, this story lets us believe the two famous outlaws didn’t die in the last scene when Butch & the Kid come out from behind that wall guns a blazing with the look of surprise when they are looking down the barrels of thousands of rifles. But lo and behold we find they survive and the film tells the story after that fateful day.

I love a good western but this film is worse than a B western, heck even a spaghetti western was better than this. The film looks twenty years into the future and reveals the whereabouts of the two outlaws in Bolivia. That’s about it, I won’t recommend you watch this as not only is the story line dull it drags in many spots and it’s so predictable I could write the script. Buy some popcorn though as this would be the highlight of the film in the event you really want to watch this.