Robbing Mussolini (Rapiniamo il Duce) – Movie Review

TL;DR – It might not stick the landing, but it was an interesting romp through Italy at the end of WW2.   

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film

The crew in cartoon form.

Robbing Mussolini Review

If there is one genre I adore when it is done well, it is a Heist film. The setup, the betrayals, the secret moments that impact all, and then the suspense. Add to that a true story, well as the film admits a true-ish story, a location that is impossible to enter, and a looming end to the war with a seven-day countdown. Well, you have a good foundation for a Heist.

So to set the scene, we are in Milano (Milan) in 1945 at the tail end of WW2. Chaos abounds at fascist checkpoints in the city, as the Allies have already taken the south, and the march north has begun. It is a difficult time, with the Italian Fascists and Nazis on edge. In a movie theatre as Mussolini’s propaganda blares Isola (Pietro Castellitto), one of the last black marketers and Yvonne (Matilda de Angelis), a noted singer plot. For you see, there are riches in Milan that are about to be looted from the city, well, not if they have anything to say about it. I mean, it was not for entirely altruistic reasons, but altruistic adjacent.

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Andor (Star Wars: Andor): Aldhani – TV Review

TL;DR – Perfectly balances tension and story while flying ahead at light speed.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed this series.

Coruscant from space.

Andor Review

When they said there was going to be a prequel series based on the Rogue One film, I wondered where they would take a story where we already know 100% how it will end. However, the opening trilogy of episodes [Kassa, That Would Be Me & Reckoning]  worked together like three acts of a film, and it captivated me. Now I can’t wait to see how they expand on this world.

So to set the scene, there are debacles, and there is what happened on Ferrix, with multiple dead Corpos, chaos on the streets, and a mess so bad it makes its way all the way back to Coruscant and the Imperial Security Bureau, where Major Partagaz (Anton Lesser) was less than pleased. Meanwhile, Andor (Diego Luna) escaped the trap set for him thanks to Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) and has been given a new opportunity. Get dropped off somewhere and run for all this life, or do something to strike at the heart of the Empire. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.     

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Ambulance – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is non-stop action from the word go, which can get existing at times, but it is a riot to watch when Michael Bay is on his game.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film

Ambulance. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Ambulance Review –

For a long time, Michael Bay has been derided for his films, and I think that is both fair and a little bit unfair. Because Michael Bay has a particular style of filmmaking that does not work with every script, however, when a story and cast line up with his filmmaking strengths, well, you can get something special. Today we are looking at a film that does just that as we romp across LA County, one explosion after another.

So to set the scene, Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is a war veteran. Still, he is getting shafted by the Department of Veteran Affairs because they won’t pay for his wife Amy’s (Moses Ingram) experimental surgery, and there is no way Will can come up with the $231,000 himself. Well, there is one way, but it means getting in contact with his estranged brother Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal), who followed their father’s footsteps into the world of illicit money. This is good news for Danny because he needs an extra man in his crew to take down one of the biggest bank hauls, and Will has five minutes to pick if he is in or not. The robbery was going well, right up until Officer Zach (Jackson White) comes up to the bank to ask out one of the tellers on a date, and things fall apart from there, including Zach getting shot. Well, the police are surrounding the bank, and there is no way out, or maybe because EMT Cam Thompson (Eiza González) has arrived on the scene to save Zach’s life and that big ambulance looks like the perfect opportunity to slip past a police cordon.  

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The Bad Guys – Movie Review

TL;DR –  While it is not doing anything ground-breaking, strong animation and voice casting means that this was a blast from start to finish.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film

The Bad Guys. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

The Bad Guys Review

If there is one genre of film that I typically enjoy, it is a good heist film. I love the setup, the planning, the twists, the betrayals, and the score at the end. I don’t mind if you are going for a hard heist film or a more loosey-goosey affair. So, I like my Ocean’s 11 and my Ocean’s 13. Well, when I was invited to a screening of a new animated heist film based on a beloved children’s book, I had a feeling I was going to have a good time, and I was right.

So to set the scene, we open with a heist in progress as Mr Wolf (Sam Rockwell) introduces us to himself, and as the car chase continues, the rest of the crew. We have Mr Snake (Marc Maron), a safecracker. Mr Piranha (Anthony Ramos), the muscle. Mr Shark (Craig Robinson), a master of disguise, and Ms Tarantula (Awkwafina), the tech wizard. As they celebrate Mr Snake’s birthday, they wonder what their next heist could be? Maybe the Golden Dolphin, the most un-stealable treasure in the city.

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Red Notice – Movie Review

TL;DR – Personality can only go so far in covering over narrative shortcomings   

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this film

Red Notice. Image Credit: Netflix.

Red Notice Review

Heists, betrayals, double-crosses, and more. Look, these films are usually my jam. Watching two groups try to outmanoeuvre each other, not knowing if a plan will succeed or fail, is a lot of fun. When you get a film that fails on that front, it can be more disappointing than usual.   

So to set the scene, apparently, when Cleopatra and Mark Anthony married, Marc presented her with three ornate eggs. With their deaths, the eggs were thought a myth until two were found by accident. Today, one of the eggs is held in the museum in Rome … or is it. For FBI profiler on art crime John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) has had a tip-off that notorious thief Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds) is about to steal it. Insert action scene here.

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Army of the Dead – Movie Review

TL;DR – This film is like a shotgun of ideas slapped up on the screen, and none of it lands. 

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this film

Army of the Dead. Image Credit: Netflix.

Army of the Dead Review

I need to start this review with a little proviso about filmmaker Zach Snyder, the director, writer, and cinematographer of this film. I do think he can be a great filmmaker because when his particular style lines up with the right narrative, you can get great films like 300. Unfortunately, you need someone to help channel that style, or you get a bloated mess of a film, and I think we are in the latter today y’all.

So to set the scene, we open in as a military convoy with a high-value cargo leaves Area 51, transiting it somewhere safer. However, when a driver on an oncoming car becomes “distracted”, their car crashes into the convoy killing many soldiers. But just as the survivors regroup, something comes out of the cargo and rips them all to pieces. That would be bad, but what is worse is that those once dead come back alive, and Las Vegas waits over the horizon. Sometime later, after the government lost the battle and instead decided to wall off the infected town, a mysterious businessman called Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) enlists the help of Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) and his team to break into the city. Because there is a lot of money left in those casinos, and you might as well take it before the government nukes the place.

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Movie Review – Drive (2019)

TL;DR – Today I have what might be the easiest pitch I have ever heard, its Fast and the Furious but Bollywood. Well, that is if you can get through the very uneven first hour that is and some super clunky CGI.    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Drive (2019). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

I like me a good heist film, where you have shifting loyalties, betrayals, convoluted plans, misdirection, and of course a quick exit. So when I heard that there was a Bollywood heist film with a dash of the Fast and Furious and a sprinkle of well-choreographed dance sequences, I knew I had to give it a watch. Well, let’s dive into a world where you need to screech those tyres and aggressively change gears every half a second.

So to set the scene, the Director of Monetary Restrictions Authority Vibha Singh (Vibha Chibber) and her chief of staff Hamid (Pankaj Tripathi) are going about their days, using less than conventional technics to get businessmen to pay all their taxes when they get an urgent message from President’s office. As his aid Ifran (Boman Irani) explains there is a new thief on the scene called King because they leave a playing card with the location of their next heist at the place they have robed. Well the next place they are going to rob is right there at Rashtrapati Bhavan, India’s Presidential Palace. Their only lead is Tara (Jacqueline Fernandez) who runs an illicit courier business so they sent in a double agent Samar (Sushant Singh Rajput) to see what they can find out.

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TV Review – Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Cinco De Mayo

TL;DR –  After six years, will the annual heist be a dull affair, no of course not.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Cinco De Mayo. Image Credit: NBC.

Review

Throughout Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s history, there have been a number of running jokes and the most recurrent of these is the Halloween heist. For me, the original heist episode all the way back in Season One was one of the episodes that elevated the show from being just fun to something more. However, after six times around is there anything new you can do with this idea, indeed Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz) calls out this very sentiment, but I think the show still has a few surprises left.

So to set the scene, it is Cinco de Mayo and Terry (Terry Crews) is stress eating because it is the day he is taking his lieutenants exam. As a way to help take his mind off it Jake (Andy Samberg) and Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) both suggest that they run their annual heist today as they could not run it on Halloween because of a gas pipe explosion. Soon it is decided that the teams will be Terry and Jake vs Holt and Amy (Melissa Fumero), because Rosa and Charles (Joe Lo Truglio) are over it. All they have to do is get Scully’s (Joel McKinnon Miller) medical alert bracelet by the end of the night, which can’t be too hard … right. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Movie Review – Destroyer

TL;DR – This is a film that holds its cards very close to its chest but that makes the slow burn that much better   

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Destroyer. Image Credit: Madman.

Review

Okay … wow, this is a difficult film to parse because its structure and tone jump all over the place and it is a film guards its biggest conceit at all times. This also makes it a difficult film to review because there are vignettes throughout that I really like and really didn’t and it is hard to conceptualise that without immediately running into spoilers. However, that is what we will attempt to do.

So to set the scene, we open on Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) a detective in the LAPD who has clearly had a tough life, and is clearly worse for wear after a long night of drinking. She is arriving at a murder scene of a John Doe that had been shot multiple times. The police on site were not happy to see Erin, and even less so when she implies she knows who did it because she recognises the tattoo on the back of his neck and the money covered in die spread around the body as a warning. All of this is confirmed when we next see Erin at her office and she gets a letter with one of the dyed bills revealing a past that haunts her to this day.

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Movie Review – Triple Frontier

TL;DR – While it has all the components for a good film, it feels like it is spending more of its time imitating than driving its own course.     

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Triple Frontier. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

This is an interesting time for the action films, there are spaces where it is showing brand new filmmaking techniques, films that build tension as I have never seen, or simply shots where you go, how did they get that? Unfortunately, today I am not looking at a film like that, because today we review one of the most paint-by-numbers films I have seen in a very long time.   

So the set the scene, we open in Colombia where Pope (Oscar Isaac) works as an ‘independent observer’ helping the local police take down one of the local drug cartels. While there he becomes friendly with a local informant Yovanna (Adria Arjona) who lets him know how to get to Gabriel Martin Lorez (Reynaldo Gallegos) the local big bad. This is not a mission that he can pull off alone, nor does he want to involve the locals because they might tip his hand. So instead, he goes back to the States to recruit his old military Special Forces team. Redfly (Ben Affleck) now sells condos … badly and can barely keep his head above water after the divorce, Ironhead (Charlie Hunnam) spends all his time giving talks to military trainees, and his brother Ben (Garrett Hedlund) is now an MMA fighter, and Catfish (Pedro Pascal) can no longer fly planes after an incident. Together they go down to provide expert reconnaissance, and maybe a bit more than just that.    

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