Bill I’s Rating – 3.5 out of 5
I enjoyed this film greatly, better than Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq, which covers the same territory – how to slow down the gang violence in Chicago. It has a perfect mix of comedy and seriousness. I remember almost nothing from the prior Barbershop films, but Ice Cube remains as the owner and spiritual leader of the crew, with Cedric the Entertainer and a great crew of character actors cutting heads among other things. The shop has a female side now, which gives great balance to the macho bullshit being slung around. Nikki Minaj is delightful and proves she’s more than just an awesome butt. The threat of violence gets personal when Cube’s 14 year old son, and his buddy, son of Common’s character, get drawn into the gangster life. The movie avoids simplistic logic of who is to blame, and they conclude that only the South Side community can save themselves and stop the escalating gun deaths. It’s ultimately an uplifting movie, while raising very topical issues. Oh, and I can’t end without mentioning one of my favorite comic actors, JB Smoove, who does his thing, as “One-Stop”, the barber who has a bunch of side businesses.
Bill I’s Review – 4 out of 5
Portraying a couple of the most genuine family arguments scenes I can remember, with every character perfectly cast and believable. Summary: two 20-something brothers, Rahul (little older, successful novelist, entrepreneur, lady killer type looks) and Arjun (aspiring/unsuccessful novelist, restaurant worker, scruffy and lacking the self-assured confidence of his bro, but also super good looking), are called to their family home in India from their lives in London and New Jersey respectively to show respect to their ailing grandfather, Dadu. Dadu is the real star of this film, while in his sickbed due to an ailing heart he hasn’t lost any of his lust for life (emphasis on lust) and is the glue that tries (emphasis on tries) to hold his family together as husband and wife, brother and brother, son and father, son and mother, all have their conflicts over the course of this 2 and a half hour Bollywood film, all contained within mostly a few weeks. Rahul explains his secret to a good novel: give the people the happy ending they want. Does this movie do the same? Go see it to find out, I’m not telling. It’s a lot of fun amid the drama, and especially note the charismatic and beautiful but hyper charmer, Tia (played by Alia Bhat), who quickly captivates the interest of both of the young dudes.
Bill I’s Rating – 3.5 out of 5
Very good thriller, which is conducted in real time, of a British coordinated drone surveillance of a couple of highly wanted British ex-pats turned terrorists arming themselves in a house in the middle of a village, preparing for a suicide attack in Kenya. Helen Mirren is the Colonel running the operation, which turns urgent into a kill mission once they realize that they can prevent a massacre in a populated area. Her General, played by Alan Rickman in his last role, is risk averse, for both political reasons as well as humanitarian reasons to avoid collateral damage to innocent villagers. The Americans are consulted, because there’s an American citizen/terrorist also in the house, and because the actual drone is piloted remotely by US forces in Nevada. Tense throughout, with realistic portrayals of advanced surveillance technology and techniques and very topical decisions that have to be made and the protocol that has to be followed where the wrong decision could result in massive negative PR repercussions. I would rate this movie higher except when comparing it to Zero Dark Thirty it falls a little short.
Bill C’s Review – 4 out of 5
I liked this a lot as well. There’s good tension throughout. The movie does a good job of showing the military options and perspectives as well as the political considerations from a lot of different sides and levels. Not only does this show the tough moral choices from the higher up military leaders but also the lower level operatives as all want to do the right thing under tough circumstances. This applies not just to those on the ground potentially risking their lives but also from those thousands of miles away. The director also did a good job of getting us to know the potential collateral damage as the decision makers debated the legality/urgency/morality of trading a high probability of small collateral damage caused by their actions vs high casualties that could be attributed to the terrorists.
This is definitely worth seeing.
Bill C’s Review – 3 out of 5
Think of Hardcore Henry as a first person point of view shooter video game made into a movie. The film makers used Go Pro cameras to achieve the first person effect. Until the very end (due to a reflective shot) you never even see Henry – just what he is looking at. He doesn’t speak either!
When deciding whether to see this movie, forget my rating and just consider the following:
- If you think you’ll get nauseous due to the herky jerky action due to filming from cameras attached to peoples heads then skip this movie.
- If you don’t like tons of violence skip this movie.
- If you care about a plot or interesting characters skip this movie.
- If you want 90 minutes of non-stop action with an incredibly high body count then go!
- If you want some laughs (I’m not sure they were all intended) then go.
- If you want a very unique movie that you’ll probably remember for a while then go.
For me, this turned out to be a good movie for a snowy afternoon in April while visiting relatives in Pennsylvania.