With the Holiday Season just beginning, sometimes what you need to escape the stress and madness of a house full of kids and relatives you really don’t like is a good flick…luckily, Netflix has you covered this month.
Sabotage (3 out of 5)
Yes, Arnold “I’ll Be Back” Schwartzenegger is back with another shoot first, think later, action flick that features (among other things) several close-ups of human heads exploding like cantaloupes when shot with high-powered sniper rifles and my personal favorite, a human body nailed to a ceiling. But, unlike Arnold’s last couple of offerings in this genre, namely Expendables 3 and The Last Stand, this one, as you might have already guessed from the vivid descriptions above, is a bit darker and grittier. This may be because of the duo of Chip Woods as screenwriter (Swordfish, The A-Team) and David Ayer as Director. Ayer was the same dude who did Training Day, End of Watch, Street Kings and the new WW2 Tank Drama, Fury with Brad Pitt. Still, all in all, a decent action movie with a nice twist at the end, but still, don’t go into it expecting too much, like all modern action flicks, the one constant theme in this one remains REVENGE.
The Saratov Approach (2 out of 5)
Based on a true story of two Mormon Missionaries who were kidnapped in Russia and held for ransom. This movie moved waaay too slow for me, but the story is OK and the acting is decent. Be warned: the only actor I recognized in this movie was one of the Russian Bad Guys…he was in We Own the Night (where he also played a Russian Gangster) and Act of Valor (Where he also played, SURPRISE! a Russian/ Eastern European Gangster, so go figure!)
Whitey (4 out of 5)
Really well put together documentary on the infamous Boston gangster, Whitey Bulger. If you ever saw Scorcese’s The Departed , this is the character Jack Nicholson portrayed. This guy was as smart as he was ruthless and had the unique, but dubious honor of being listed second to Osama Bin Laden on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List. But, in the end, you find out our Federal Government (in their infinite wisdom) had been allowing him to rob, steal and murder for over three decades so they could have a top-tier informant in the Boston Underworld. What I liked most about it was it gave you a peek into the world of the victims families, and the satisfaction they got from seeing this asshole caught and finally locked up.
Helix (3 out of 5)
For those of you, like me, who are fans of Post-Apocalyptic series and movies, this TV series is worth a look. The plot in a nutshell is about a virus outbreak in a Antarctic CDC Research Facility, with some unusual dark plot twist thrown in for good measure. Although most TV series lately has been the refuge of unimaginative, piss-poor writing and even worse acting, this one is not a bad attempt at something interesting and worth your time.
Alias (4 out of 5)
OK, OK, I know this is an OLD series (started in 2001, like over a decade ago) but I actually never got around to watching this, although some friends of mine had told me that it was pretty good. I know, it basically is a female version of the Bourne Supremacy, but the writing in this series is superb (JJ Abrams) and the acting, with a very young Jennifer Garner and Bradley Cooper is spot on. I have always been a sucker for a good AMERICAN spy flick (or series) and this one fits the bill to a tee..plus, there are 5 Seasons here, and from what I hear, every season is better than the last.
MI-5 (2 out of 5)
Besides James Bond, I personally have never been a fan of British Spy books, movies or series. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was the last brit spy movie (based on Le’ Carre’s book) that I sat through, and I fell asleep 30 minutes into it. Not that the story was bad, but the movie was as dry as a bag of breadcrumbs. Having said that, this is a British TV Spy Series that has run for over 10 seasons on BBC, and if you dig the “British” spy genre, you will like this series without a doubt.
Peaky Blinders (5 out of 5)
I mentioned this series before last go around, but now since Season 2 has been released, I feel I need to re-iterate its greatness. This is an awesome Gangster series; superb writing, and even better acting. Talent wise, it is right up there with HBO’s Broadway Empire. Cillian Murphy, who plays Tommy Shelby, the main character, is superb. If you did not catch his performance in The Wind that Shakes the Barley,(also on Netflix) you need to make a point to do so…the guy is talented. In a nutshell, This is a true “1920’s Period Piece” that captures the British version of the “roaring twenties” like no other movie or series has; with historical elements like early IRA violence, political and police corruption and plenty of bloodshed, explosions and gunfights in between. Definitely DO NOT miss both Seasons of this one!
Nebraska (4 out of 5)
For those of you who have parents who are getting “up there” in age and are having to deal with all the unique challenges that it brings, you will appreciate this movie. Nebraska is a quirky, heartfelt drama/comedy about a man (Bruce Dern) who is in the beginning stages of Dementia/Alzheimer’s and has received a tele-marketing notice in the mail to claim his “Million Dollar Prize”. What follows is a comedy of errors, and self-discovery for all involved. It also stars Will Forte (of Saturday Night Live) as Dern’s Son and Stacy Keach as an old, yet predatory friend. It’s in black and white, but don’t let that scare you away, it adds to the story ambience.
Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!!