Eddie the Eagle (2016) Taron Egerton – Movie Reviews

Directed by Dexter Fletcher, Eddie the Eagle tells the story of Michael “Eddie” Edwards, who would find fifteen minutes of fame as an Olympic ski jumper for Great Britain at the 1988 Winter Games.  Taron Egerton stars as Edwards, an awkward lad growing up with poor vision and a leg brace who dreamed a seemingly impossible dream of one day representing his country at the Olympics.  Failing to be coordinated enough to master anything to do with track and field without busting up his ill-fitting glasses or nearby windows, Eddie’s eyes would shift from Summer Olympics to Winter, starting as a klutzy downhill skiier, finally settling in on ski jumping as the event he thought he’d have the best chance at, though Great Britain had given up supporting that event since the 1920s.

Starting in his early twenties in a sport that most who compete start when they’re just starting grade school, Eddie’s going to have his work cut out for him if he’s going to make a spot on the Olympic team heading to Calgary for the 1988 Winter Olympics.  Practicing in Garsmisch, Germany, he’s destined for permanent injury on his own until he meets Bronson Peary, an alcoholic American former ski jumper who plows the snow at the German course, who ends up taking ‘the Eagle’ under his wing. However, naysayers and bullies offer little but discouragement, especially from the British Olympic Council that desires Eddie out of the games before he embarrasses not only himself, but the other athletes representing the proud country.

Triple 9 (2016) – Chiwetel Ejiofor – Movie Review

A group of five ex-special ops guys now working in Atlanta as criminals, but most novel about the situation is that some of them are also cops.  The film opens with the group perpetrating an elaborate bank heist in order to get the contents of a specific safety deposit box for a powerful Russian/Israeli mafia.  The men are told that this is the last operation they’re indebted to do, but its apparently not enough for what that mafia needs, and they coerce the men to put their lives on the line one more time to extract some data from highly guarded government building that will be a magnet for all police in the area to respond to once they get a call.  The men know it’s far from a typical smash and grab, so they decide that what they need to do is buy some time to keep the cops at bay, and the surest way to do that is to stage a “triple 9” (officer down), which will shake up the hornets nest of police while they go in and do the heist with some leeway.

Zootopia (2016) Disney Zootropolis – Movie Reviews

Judy Hopps is a bunny rabbit from farm country who always wanted to be a police officer in the big mammal-filled metropolis of Zootopia, where all of the animals have given up their predator/prey ways in order to live in harmony and can be what they really dram to be in life — at least, that’s the ideal they strive to achieve.  She ends up getting her wish when she’s hired as the first rabbit in the new-look ZPD (Zootropia Police Department).  Not being a large or sturdy mammal, she isn’t taken seriously, relegated to the somewhat thankless token role as meter maid. 

Nick Wilde is a sly fox in town who spends all his days working on big cons, including fleecing bleeding-heart Judy from a bit of money he parlays into much more.  Eventually, Judy leans on the highly connected Nick in order to provide information on an actual criminal case she stumbles into, and after a run-in with her tough-as-nails boss, she ends up having to solve within 48 hours, involving a missing otter.  The investigation leads to uncovering a much bigger story involving predators going back to their old ways and causing a state of fear once again among the overwhelming majority populace of prey that leads to an increasing level of mistrust toward whole groups of animals who’ve done nothing wrong.

Race (2016) Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis – Movie Reviews

Jesse Owens, son of a sharecropper and grandson of a slave, became a track star at his alma mater of Ohio State University, where Larry Snyder, a former promising track star himself, is head coach of the track team.  Coach Snyder sees raw talent in the young man, and knowing that the 1936 Olympics isn’t too far in the distance, he thinks that Owens is just the diamond in the rough the country needs to win Olympic Gold, showing him how to work on a proper start to the race, and adding the long jump to his repertoire.  However, the Olympics is to be held in the lions’ den of racial intolerance, Berlin under Hitler’s regime, and the intent of the games under the leadership of Joseph Goebbels is to show that the Aryan race is the supreme race in the world.  With the International Olympic Committee conflicted about whether to boycott the games, and the NAACP requesting Owens also sit it out in protest, it’s looking bleak for what might be the fastest runner in the world to find his claim to fame.

Son of Saul (2015) Laszlo Nemes – Movie Reviews

The film showcases a special type of prisoner in the death camps known as the ‘sonderkommandos’, who would, under penalty of death, assist with the rounding up of other prisoners to put into the gas chambers, sift through their clothing for valuables, and also dispose of their bodies, which are subsequently burned into ashes.  We follow one sondercommando called Saul, a Hungarian of Jewish descent, who is tasked with the nightmarish responsibility that will likely only grant him a few extra months of life, as they learned too many secrets to keep alive for long.  During one of the gas chamber sessions, he discovers a young boy who manages to survive the extermination, only to have the Germans make sure it isn’t for long.  The Germans want to study the body further, but Saul decides he won’t let this happen, eventually coming to the determination that the child should have a proper burial with a Rabbi to deliver some final words.  Saul risks his life, as well as of many others, to try to find such a man in the midst of all of the chaos, eventually getting caught up in a potential uprising that might mean an end to the nightmare for many in the camp.

The Witch (2015) Robert Eggers – Horror Movie Reviews

Set in New England in the early 1630s, six decades before the infamous Salem Witch trials, we find a family of devout Puritans vacating the tight-knit community they could not see eye to eye with, relocating to a small farm on the border of the untamed woods. Ralph Ineson plays the patriarch, William, who finds it a struggle to raise crops in the area, forcing him to go out into the woods to hunt with son Caleb for sustenance until they can grow enough to feed themselves, and sell the rest. However, things begin to become ominous when eldest daughter Thomasin loses sight of their youngest, the newborn Samuel, and that’s just the start of many bizarre signs to come.

Where to Invade Next – Michael Moore – Movie reviews

The basic premise involves Michael Moore “invading” other countries, not for oil or to prop up our own dictators, but to steal away ideas that he feels would actually benefit his native United States to be the kind of society that could only exist in his most idealistic of dreams, were we to implement them.  From Italy to Iceland to Tunisia, Moore looks at such things as the educational system, government structure, fight for gender equality, the prison systems, and the treatment of the workers, and suggests that many of the ills of our own country could benefit from the examples set by others, who seemingly do the opposite of how we do things in the U.S. and achieve much better results. 

How to Be Single (2016) Dakota Johnson – Movie Review

Dakota Johnson gets the lead role as Alice, who decides that she and her long-term college boyfriend Josh should break up for a while in order to experience what being single is actually like before they proceed through the rest of their lives together.  She takes up a job as a paralegal in a law firm, where she meets the boisterous Robin, who shows her the ropes of the life of a single girl in New York City — important things like never paying for drinks and not using an Emoji before returning a text (after waiting a day to even do it).  Meanwhile, Alice’s sister Meg, a workaholic in the medical industry with no time for a relationship or starting a family, decides that, perhaps, it’s time to rethink those notions.  Unlike Meg, Lucy is on a gaggle of dating sites trying to find the man with whom she’ll marry and start a family with through a series of algorithms she’s sure will be the path to success.

Zoolander 2 (2016) Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson – Movie Review

Derek Zoolander is back, the eternally daft and narcissistic male supermodel, now retired and reclusive, who has been persuaded by a ‘fashion police’ agent working for Interpol, Valentina Valencia, to help find the killers of a growing list of celebrities who’ve struck what appears to be Zoolander’s signature “Blue Steel” pose for an Instagram selfie done right before their moment of death.  His wife deceased and his child taken away by protective services, Derek has a chance of getting Derek Jr. back by coming out of exile in the mountainous wilderness of northern New Jersey (one of the film’s feeble jokes) and assisting with the investigation in Rome, with former rival-turned-friend Hansel in tow.  The clues lead them back to Zoolander’s incarcerated megalomaniacal nemesis Mugatu in a plot involving the search for the Fountain of Youth.

Deadpool (2016) Ryan Reynolds, Marvel – Movie Review

The origin of Deadpool is told in an extended flashback sequence in the middle of the film, pushing forward a relatively improbable story of a rebellious ex-special ops, mercenary type named Wade Wilson who meets his “soulmate” in the equally deviant spitfire named Vanessa. Just as strongly as their bond of love begins to take hold, it’s all about to come to an end, when Wilson is diagnosed with late-stage cancer. With seemingly no real cure in sight, Wilson reluctantly agrees to be a guinea pig for a shadowy underground company that promises a cure for his condition, though he quickly realizes after it’s too late that their operation isn’t quite on the up and up. Alas, Wilson, known for having almost no filter on voicing his thoughts in the most insulting of ways, antagonizes the company’s mad doctor, Ajax, into paying special attention to him in a series of sadistic experiments that triggers his mutant superpowers of regeneration, but also leaves him horribly disfigured. The rest of the movie deals with the escaped Wilson, now operating as a costumed merc named Deadpool, trying to get his hands on the powerful Ajax to restore his looks back to normal on the hope that his beloved Vanessa can look upon his grotesque appearance with all of the attraction he yearns for.