Kandahar Movie Review

“Kandahar” is a not really a war movie. It is more like a movie set in a war zone. The main action is set in Afghanistan, near the border with Iran. And then you throw in a little background action in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and you have an entire U.N. of hostile groups ready to rumble. Put a CIA operative into the mix and see what hits the fan…


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Madres Movie Review

Streaming on Amazon Prime starting Oct. 8, 2021


“Madres” is a Blumhouse Television movie that deals with mothers (madres), but with a twist of fear and uncertainty. Mothers, and mothers-to-be, are placed into a deadly place – a place where a curse might be leading to death. When the little farming community in rural California has mostly Mexican immigrants, the women are afraid to become pregnant. There is something in the water, or something in the evil intentions of certain people in the town.


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The Manor Movie Review

Streaming on Amazon Prime starting October 8, 2021


“The Manor” is a Blumhouse Television production that mixes a story of an old-folks home with the supernatural spookiness of “The Wicker Man”, but without the bees.  When an elderly lady suffers a stroke, she finds a place of rest and peace living at the Golden Sun Manor. But then she uncovers a world enveloped in ancient rituals that threaten her very existence. She might not be able to tell reality from her own vivid dreams, and those dreams turn into nightmares.


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The Night House Movie Review

“The Night House” is a spooky drama with few real scares, but a slow burn of a thriller to see if ghosts exist in the main character’s mind — or in real life. Due to her husband’s recent suicide, a woman deals with supernatural troubles in her house, where things tend to go bump (or worse) in the night. Rather than do the normal thing, and LEAVE, she sticks around to unfold the mystery.


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A Quiet Place Part II Movie Review

Opens in theaters May 28


“A Quiet Place Part II” is both a short prequel and immediate follow-up to the 2018 hit movie “A Quiet Place”. Since it centers on the same family as in the first movie, the best thing is to see that movie first. In that way, you can see how seamlessly they have made the transition to “Part II”. When the Earth is invaded by alien creatures that hunt based on sound and not by sight – you will want to silently cheer for the Abbott family.


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The Girl in the Spider’s Web Movie Review

“The Girl in the Spider’s Web” is a movie adaptation of the novel of the same name. The main characters are from the “Dragon Tattoo” franchise. This relates to the book series, and then turned into movies, written by Stieg Larsson. Since he passed away, his creation has continued to grow. The main ‘girl’ is Lisbeth Salander, and now she is played by a different actress and tells a different story. But she still keeps her cool and curt attitude, and her special computer hacking skills. This story goes into the past, and it plays with the current time in Sweden.

Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) is a stealth protector of women in need, and the champion of small children in distress. Her methods of vengeance are swift and very costly, if you are a man who abuses a woman. She helps a wife of a famous businessman who has just been released from a trial after roughing up some prostitutes. He takes out his anger on his wife’s face. But Salander is an avenging angel to give this bad dude some rough treatment of his own. There is a new person who asks Salander for help. It is Frans Balder (Stephen Merchant), a computer scientist from America, who has created a special program that can take over any military nuclear computer system. He hires Salander to hack into the NSA, and move the program her own laptop.

Edwin Neeham (LaKeith Stanfield) who is an NSA employee discovers the program is missing, and it was transferred to Sweden. He goes to Sweden to track it down, and he learns of Salander. Salander has also been targeted by a shadowy group, called the Spiders, has also targeted Salander. They steal her laptop and destroy her apartment, and she barely survives. But between Needham and the Spider thugs, Salander is being chased from all sides. Plus the National Swedish Security group is after her. Balder, the computer scientist is killed, and Salander gets his young son to take care of him. Salander will need some help, so she contacts an old friend Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason), the journalist who had helped her in previous adventures.

Salander’s past catches up with her – because her difficulties with the Spiders takes a weird turn. The group is led by someone that she thought was long dead. Camilla Salander (Sylvia Hoeks) is Lisbeth’s sister, but Lizbeth had fled the family home when she was just a young girl. Camilla was trapped with her pervert father, and she grew up with his sick demands. But she learned his devious ways to take over his criminal syndicate and then called it the ‘Spiders’. Needham and Blomkvist team up with Salander to fight against her sister, and her sinister group. They now hold the special program on Salander’s laptop, and they have taken Balder’s son, who is the key to gaining access to the Military hacking program.

This movie has a quick pace and some tense moments of intense action. However, there are sequences that show how far ahead Salander has planned out every potential activity – that it begins to be absurd. Salander has become an indestructible computer genius that can program and hack her way into and out of every situation. She is an emotionless automated fighting and thinking machine, sort of a “Salander Bourne”. Claire Foy does a very precise job making Salander an enigma wrapped in a MMA fighter. LaKeith Stanfield does a very entertaining job as the NSA agent ready to take out anyone in his way. Sverrir Gudnason does not have as much to hold to for his role.

They various locations and setting around Sweden are used to great advantage. They are beautiful to see, and they are used to portray the coldness of the country. The story line gets a bit stretched out, so that people are doing things that would be close to impossible. Salander becomes a martial-art trained fighter, and Needham becomes a high-powered sniper, and so on. However, if you get past that, the story is delivered in a quickly paced manner that gets your pulse racing in some spots.

Mile 22 Movie Review

If you were expecting that “Mile 22” is some type of sequel to Eminem’s “8 Mile”, well, put that idea out of your head. If you are prepared to “Lose Yourself” in an overly complicated movie full of bloody violence and gory death scenes, then you’re in the right place. At least both of these movies feature an ex-rapper in the starring role. But Mark Wahlburg takes the non-musical approach to a tough CIA special operative out to move a valuable asset from the US Embassy to the airport. But for these 22 miles, he and his team are under fire and under duress. They are part of a super-secret operation that only does the dirtiest of dirty jobs for the government.

James Silva (Mark Wahlberg) is part of this unique operation called ‘Overwatch’, and they have a job to do. They are taking down a Russian safe house, located in a beautiful suburb outside of Washington DC. But in the chaos of the operation a teenage Russian boy gets shot and killed. The operatives walk away with a sack full of hard drives and leave a bunch of dead Russians in the house. They don’t give it another thought. But wheels have been set into motion that will come back to haunt them later. But it is time to break to Two Years Later, and to another country…

Silva and some fellow operatives are later located in a (fictitious) Southeastern Asian country. Alice Kerr (Lauren Cohan) and Samantha Snow (Ronda Rousey) work with Silva to retrieve some stolen nuclear material. The Intel is all wrong, and the source is a local Army officer named Li Noor (Iko Uwais). Silva gets all worked up, because his character is prone to long-winded speeches about how everyone around him is dumb. Li Noor comes to the US Embassy and turns himself in. He wants to make a deal — but only if he is taken to America. He has a hard drive with all the details of the missing MacGuffin materials, but it will self-destruct unless he gives them the password.

The ‘Overwatch’ team kicks into high gear, lead by Bishop (John Malkovich). They have only the best tech and the biggest guns, so these guys will never lose, right? Silva and his team must transport Li Noor from the Embassy to the airport for a pickup and a flight to the States. They have it all planned out, until the plan gets shredded by the local country’s secret police and undercover spies. There is an attempt on Li Noor’s life while he is in the Embassy. So you know once they leave, their convoy of vehicles will be under attack for every minute of the trip. One by one, Silva’s team members are shot and or exploded (or worse). Li Noor is in handcuffs, but eventually Silva relents and gives him the freedom to fight back.

After many minutes of non-stop fighting and explosions and high-caliber rounds being shot, Silva gets Li Noor and Alice to the rendezvous point. All is well at that point. But then there are some deeper secrets that are revealed. There are call backs to the first scene with the Russian safe house and some things that are not quite as straightforward as they seem. The plot gets twisted around like a Bavarian pretzel. And there isn’t any good German beer to go with the pretzel…

“Mile 22” is the fourth collaboration between Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg. The other movies were based on a true story, and this is the first that is fictional. But the concept was done before. Think “The Gauntlet”, with Clint Eastwood. And then again see “16 Blocks” with Bruce Willis. The basic plot of somebody needing to get someone else to a particular place is not exactly new. Dressing it up as a secret undercover operation is new, and adding about ten layers of double-cross is somewhat new.

Wahlberg plays a character that is very unlikable, and he commands a tight unit. They are supposed to be the most elite unit. But for this operation, they look like a bunch of buffoons. The movie goes into depth about how special this team is, and how important they are. But what is shown is an orgy of automatic weapons and a whole slew of stupid decisions.

The writing is bi-polar, giving Wahlberg little mini-speeches where his character goes off on vulgar tangents. The overall twist in the plot has way too many holes. The editing and frantic pace gets you feeling very jittery after a while. You never get a clear understanding of the progress to the goal. Have they gone 10 miles, or 15 miles? Who can tell? Plus the actual action of the journey to the airport does not begin until the last third of the movie.

Peter Berg has worked with Mark Wahlberg on other, much better projects. “Lone Survivor”, “Deepwater Horizon” and “Patriot’s Day” are very excellent movies. But now they have teamed up for this one, which you might like, or you might not. With “Mile 22”, your mileage may vary.

Truth or Dare Movie Review

“Truth or Dare” is no longer just a game or a bad Madonna documentary. Now it is an actual movie. It is “Final Destination” for the Snapchat Generation. “Final Destination” (from 18 years ago) was an intriguing look a group of kids who ‘cheated’ death, only to have death come back to take them one by one. Now many years later, this movie says that just playing a silly game in a place possessed by a demon can be bad for your life expectancy. Play the game, or else you DIE. Tell the Truth and lie, then you DIE. Play the Dare and do it wrong, then you DIE. Hey, mind if I live stream your gruesome death?


College student Olivia (Lucy Hale) and her Best Friend Forever Markie (Violett Beane) take a Spring Break trip to Mexico. They are joined by some friends who also come along. Lucas (Tyler Posey) who is Markie’s boyfriend, Brad (Hayden Szeto) the gay Asian friend, and Penelope (Sophia Ali) and her main squeeze Tyson (Nolan Gerard Funk). They are about to leave for home, but that night Olivia meets a guy named Carter (Landon Liboiron) at the bar. He convinces them all to come with min and play a little game. But soon the cat is out of the bag. Carter explains that they are all stuck in the ‘Truth or Dare’ game for life – literally.

Olivia is sort of the goody-goody type, and she wants to see everyone do well. But she is misled by Carter into the game, and now all the people in the group are involved. When they get back home, they are all haunted by an evil demon who forces them to one-by-one take a ‘Truth or Dare’ challenge. But if they refuse, or make a choice and do not deliver, then they are led to tragic end. But because it is a PG-13 movie, the death is not bloody or graphic (or the least bit interesting). But later on, the rules change, er – I guess the demon says they rules get refined. It sounds more like the four writers of this movie just kept coming up with new things to try to stick to the wall.


After a few members of their group get ‘Dared’ to death, they start doing the sleuthing thing, getting into every social media account ever (all on Apple machines, of course). They hunt down the ‘Carter’ guy who got them into this whole mess. They find some information about a ‘Dare’ murder that was in Mexico. It was done by a woman who was earlier possessed by the ‘Truth or Dare’ demon. They work their way down to Mexico and back several times. Olivia even meets with an old ex-sister who claims to know about the abandoned church in Mexico and the demon who took it over. The movie never takes a straight line in any direction. It zips and zigs and then it flips and flops over and over again. 

Seeing a group of ill-defined and uninteresting characters go through the motions of getting killed off in boring ways… what else could a horror movie fan want? There is no purpose behind this movie. There is little motivation to follow anything through. There are no likable characters and you feel no loss if one of them screws up against the evil ‘Truth or Dare’ demon. There is not all that much that makes any sense, except for some Apple product placement. The story goes all over the place, and the dialog is cheesy. But it is not cheesy enough to make it a guilty pleasure. It is just bad enough to make you lose interest.


All the actors make a true effort to seem like they are on board with this movie. But everything that need to do or say goes against them. The movie winds up flat and scattered, like a cardboard box run over in the middle of a Mexican dirt back road. The visual effects are goofy and cheap looking. They give the characters who taunt the main person into ‘Truth or Dare’ a weird Snapchat face filter that gives them crazy eyes and a Joker style mouth. There are couple of final scenes that do not even try to hide the fact that the ‘green screen’ technology was broken that day.


If someone gives you a ‘Dare’ to see this movie, tell them the ‘Truth’ – you would rather see a decent movie…


The Commuter Advance Movie Screening

Movie Screening Summary: In this action-packed thriller, Liam Neeson is Michael, an insurance salesman, whose daily commute home quickly becomes anything but routine. After being confronted by a mysterious stranger (Vera Farmiga), Michael is blackmailed into finding the identity of a passenger on his train before the last stop. As he works against the clock to solve the puzzle, Michael is unwittingly caught up in a criminal conspiracy that carries life and death stakes for himself and his fellow passengers.

Lionsgate and StudioCanal present, a The Picture Show Company production, in association with Ombra Films.

Official Site: www.TheCommuter.movie
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheCommuterFilm
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The Foreigner Movie Review

What’s old is new again, sort of. In the movie “The Foreigner”, Jackie Chan is – um – not young, but he can still hold his own against an army of bad guys. And the bad guys are — the IRA? Yes, the defunct Irish Republican Army comes back, but only in cinema, to be the evil doers. And they are led by James B… I mean Pierce Brosnan (who has played Bond in the past). And the movie is directed by Martin Campbell, who has also directed prior Bond movies. So three cheers for the AARP crowd!

In London, a simple noodle shop owner named Quan (Jackie Chan) drops off his beloved daughter at a SOHO dress shop to find a wedding dress. Blink your eyes and will miss the IRA terrorist attack on the street, which destroys the shop. Quan’s daughter is dead. He is heartbroken, but determined to find answers. He finds out about a Northern Ireland deputy minister who is part of the British government. Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan) is a long standing politician in Belfast, and he once was a part of the old IRA.

Quan goes to the police and to Scotland Yard, but gets no answers. He decides to try and get the names of the bombers from Hennessy, but he just shrugs him off. “Surely, I don’t have any knowledge of who did this” Hennessy tells Quan. But Quan is determined, persistent and trained by many years in Special Forces Jungle Ops. So Quan knows a thing or two about making a homemade bomb that will rattle the windows and the rattle the deputy minister. Hennessy is put on notice that Quan is not taking no for an answer. Quan does his best ‘Jason Bourne’ to take control of the situation.

Hennessy keeps having major difficulties with his prior IRA contacts, who hate him for giving up. He has problems with his wife (Orla Brady), and also with his mistress (Charlie Murphy) – who might be deeply involved in the terrorist action. He has a problem with his nephew, who is visiting from New York – but still many connections with the old IRA.

But mostly Hennessy has problems with Quan. Hennessy’s office bathroom gets bombed, and then Quan targets his country estate barn and his car. Then Hennessy loses a few men who try and track Quan. He will not give up until he finds the people who killed his daughter…

Jackie Chan is an actor who can use his physical abilities to comedic or dramatic use. He plays an older character than he usually does, and his age does require that. Quan is smart and noble and dedicated, and he can MacGyver his way into gaining the upper hand. Pierce Brosnan also plays a character who attempts to scrape and claw his way into keeping a good thing that he has going. He does not know that his actions have triggered a relentless time bomb called Quan.

“The Foreigner” has the distinction of raising the specter of IRA terrorism in the modern day and age. It might be straight from the original novel, but that was written well before the peace accords in Northern Ireland. Perhaps not since “Patriot Games” has the IRA been cast as a boogeyman. It does not ruin the story, but it really stretches out the plausibility.


This movie will make you want to allow Jackie Chan to overstay his visa any day!