There is one individual I still have heated debates with that rarely end in mutual agreement. That person would be me; I am my own harshest critic. I doubt I am totally alone in this regard. There are times where I have gone back and forth about something before acting upon it. I have to look at the pluses and minuses for each option available to me; this is why it has been hard for me to immediately reply yes when someone asks me if I want to do something. The time where I really beat myself up is when I react quickly before thinking things out. This past weekend I was out with a group of people. There was a lot of people coming and going where someone in one group knew someone in another, so there was a lot of introductions going on. Two people unfamiliar to me joined our group. Things went at a pleasant pace with laughter and jokes. At the end of the evening these two individuals started saying their goodbyes to everyone. There was something about one of them that looked familiar to me and before I could drop my filter in place to process my thoughts before uttering them, I said something to them I intended to be a compliment. The look on their face told me it was not received that way. I wanted to kick myself for even saying anything; I should have kept quiet. At least I only beat myself up mentally, nothing like what was done in this science fiction adventure. GROWN-UP resistance leader John Connor, played by Jason Clarke (The Great Gatsby, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), had a plan to save his mother Sarah, played by Emilia Clark (Game of Thrones-TV, Dom Hemingway). He would send Kyle Reese, played by Jai Courtney (Divergent franchise, The Water Diviner), back in time to protect her. However Kyle was not prepared for what he found when he got there. This addition to the earlier Terminator films was all about the special effects. An older Arnold Schwarzenegger (Escape Plan, The Expendables franchise) played the Guardian and in what was to be an epic scene had to fight his younger self. Sound confusing doesn’t it; well do not worry you are not alone. The script became tedious as it kept using time jumping for an excuse to move the story along. It made me lose interest in this picture. Since Arnold could not do all the action stunts, his character had to use parody for comic relief. In an odd way I felt the writers were counting on viewers to be nostalgic about the story, so they spent less time thinking things through before writing them down. They could have used my mulling over abilities. There was an extra scene in the middle of the ending credits.
2 1/3 stars
Something must happen to one’s senses when they become a parent. All of a sudden it seems like their hearing stretches out for several blocks and their eyesight is akin to an eagle. I do not know how it happens but I can remember during the summer months parents and their children from the neighborhood would always be down at the beach and no matter where a child went their parent would always know their whereabouts. Even if there was a group of kids playing in the water; if one stepped on a rock and gave out a yelp, their parent back on shore sunning themselves would immediately sit up and scan for their child. I used to feel like I was surrounded by these superhuman mothers with special powers. That unique connection must get turned on from the love one has for their child. It is a bond that gets twisted, bent and squeezed yet never breaks. In fact you may have seen on the news that mother from Baltimore who, though her son had a hoodie pulled over his masked face, spotted him in a crowd and made a beeline from him. I heard an interview with her where she said she could not tell it was her son by his face; but just his stance and the way the sweatpants were hanging on him, she knew it was him. It is amazing what parents will do for their children. WITH their death weighing heavy on him Australian farmer Connor, played by Russell Crowe (Winter’s Tale, State of Play), was determined to travel all the way to Turkey to find his sons’ corpses and return them back home so they could have a proper burial. This award winning drama was Russell’s first foray behind the camera as director. I have to say I was impressed with his first attempt. The story was big regarding the 1915 Battle of Gallipoli, so there were a lot of scenes and a large cast. Besides Russell taking the title role there was Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace, Hitman) as Ayshe and Jai Courtney (Divergent franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard) as Lt. Colonel Hughes. Now there were some parts of this war film that could have been cut back, especially the love interest story line; I found it to be unnecessary. There was also a melodramatic sweep through this picture, where things were predictable and seemed as if they were tweaked with the viewer in mind. In addition there were a couple of parts that did not make much sense; however, with the expansive landscapes, the international locations and the pure story line about a parent’s love, I felt I was seeing an old-fashioned Hollywood period piece. There were several scenes with violence and blood.
2 3/4 stars
At the age of 90 my uncle decided to give up driving. He told us he was not as fast as he used to be. Look at Jerry Seinfeld, he decided to end his television show while it was still getting top ratings and not sliding into mediocrity. As I am aging I know there will come a time when I will have to dial back from teaching my classes. If I cannot provide what the members want for their workout, I am realistic enough to know it is time for me to step aside. Look at the movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The time between this film and the previous one in the franchise was 19 years. It should never have been made; it was a black mark for the franchise. Let us now focus on this latest installment of the Die Hard franchise. Six years since the last one, Bruce Willis (Looper, Moonrise Kingdom) is now a 57 year old John McClane in this action film. Discovering his estranged son Jack, played by Jai Courtney (Stone Bros., Spartacus: War of the Damned-TV), was sitting in a Russian prison waiting to go to trial, John decided to fly out to see what he could do to save his son. Once in Russia, John soon discovered his son was really a CIA operative assigned to protect Russian underworld kingpin Komarov, played by Sebastian Koch (The Lives of Others, Unknown). If this is not making sense to you, no need to worry because nothing really made sense. I found it amazing that the guns used in this film never ran out of bullets or one of the top henchmen talked about his love of tap dancing. I am not making this crazy stuff up. This idiotic movie was one loud fight scene after another, filled with crashes and explosions. And poor John McClane stuck in a time warp from the 1980’s, repeating his catchphrases over and over to the point the jokes were pulverized into dullness. This movie was the perfect example of what happens when you stay past your prime; you remind everyone how much better you used to be.
1 2/3 stars