What's on at the movies August 3, 2017?
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Atomic Blonde ✪✪✪½ Opened August 3
Fresh from a successful chapter 2 of John Wick, director David Leitch jumps back into the action with a killer female gender spy swamp in Charlize Theron's portrayal of a top-level MI6 operative Lorraine Broughton. If you thought Scarlett Johansson's Avengers' Black Widow was kick-ass, she's a pussycat compared to Broughton.
This film's success is in its relentless action sequences, of which a couple are probably the best I've seen in years. You can't help wonder as you watch if Charlize Theron sustained many injuries during the filming, or the stuntman for that matter. Turns out she cracked two teeth so badly she needed dental surgery, also she suffered a twisted knee, bruised ribs, and didn't stop filming in freezing cold Budapest while she had the flu.
The story is told in flashback with a battered and bruised Broughton being debriefed. From the opening sequence the pace barely stops; only pausing briefly to return to Broughton's interrogation by her superiors before jumping back to Berlin, where clearly something went terribly wrong. What that was is the film's entire premise.
There's also a killer eighties soundtrack, some nice work from Sofia Boutella (The Mummy), James McCoy, Bill Skarsgard, John Goodman and Toby Jones. However, the true stars are the stuntman and makeup artists.
My only complaint is that so much focus was placed on the action and stunts that it was difficult to understand what was going on. Even in the end we are left a little confused. However this is a much better spy film than the last Bourne film, Jason Bourne, and the only okay Wanted and Salt.
Those looking for an action packed thriller will revel in this film. Those looking for an original plot will probably be disappointed, but hey, I still had terrific fun and Theron has never looked more beautiful. She now wears the high heels of the most kick-ass character in film.
A high-stakes, global action-thriller that takes place in the city of Berlin, on the eve of the Wall's collapse and the shifting of superpower alliances. Charlize Theron ("Mad Max: Fury Road") portrays Lorraine Broughton, a top-level spy for MI6, who is dispatched to Berlin to take down a ruthless espionage ring that has just killed an undercover agent for reasons unknown. She is ordered to cooperate with Berlin station chief David Percival (James McAvoy of "X-Men"), and the two form an uneasy alliance, unleashing their full arsenal of skills in pursuing a threat that jeopardizes the West's entire intelligence operation.
The Big Sick ✪✪ Opened August 3
The Big Sick is advertised as a modern rom-com. I think if I'd gone along expecting a slice of life drama with a little humor thrown in I might have enjoyed this. However, I went expecting it to be funny and romantic and I get an unfunny comic courting a not particularly interesting woman, with drawn out monologues. Again not funny monologues. The audience around me didn't seem to laugh much either.
This is based on a true story of the lead actor Najiani meeting his wife, which makes it difficult I imagine for him to decide what should stay and go. Cut thirty minutes from this and the entertainment level would have jumped for me. As it was, at about twenty minutes in I decided it was most unfunny, by the hour mark I was bored and I spent the last thirty minutes checking my watch.
However, it's received rave reviews with most reviewers loving it. My friends thought it was okay but no love fest there either from them, so I can't help you with the decision here. I'm a slapstick comedy person really and Modern Family and early Adam Sandler are more my speed (blame growing up with the Three Stooges and Keystone Cops for my love for this kind of comedy). So intelligent comedies are probably just not my cup of tea.
Based on the real-life courtship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, THE BIG SICK tells the story of Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail (Nanjiani), who connects with grad student Emily (Kazan) after one of his standup sets. However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, which complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents. When Emily is beset with a mystery illness, it forces Kumail to navigate the medical crisis with her parents, Beth and Terry (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) who he's never met, while dealing with the emotional tug-of-war between his family and his heart. THE BIG SICK is directed by Michael Showalter (HELLO MY NAME IS DORIS) and producer by Judd Apatow (TRAINWRECK, THIS IS 40) and Barry Mendel (TRAINWRECK, THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS).
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