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"IF IT'S CRAP, WE WILL TELL YOU!!!

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE - MATINEE!!!

THE HITMAN'S BODYGUARD - HIGH FULL PRICE!!

ATAOMIC BLONDE - LOW MATINEE!!!

DUNKIRK IMAX - FULL PRICE!!!

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES - HIGH FULL PRICE!!!

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING 3D - HIGH FULL PRICE!!!

BAYWATCH - SOME OL' BULLS@#T!!!

TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT IMAX 3D - LOW MATINEE!!!

BOSS BABY - FULL PRICE!!!

ALL EYEZ ON ME - LOW MATINEE!!!

WONDER WOMAN 3D - HIGH MATINEE!!!

CHIPS - F@#K YOU!!!

ALIEN: COVENANT -  LOW RENTAL!!!

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2 IMAX 3D - BETTER THAN SEX!!!

FATE OF THE FURIOUS IMAX - FULL PRICE!!!


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The Hitman's Bodyguard: Red Band Trailer

THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD

For your consideration... for Best Titled Film of 2017 (an award category I just now made up), I give you... "The Hitman's Bodyguard" That title says it all in three words - the story is about a hitman and his bodyguard. More importantly, the juxtaposition of character archetypes (the hitman who takes life and the bodyguard who preserves it) is intriguing enough to interest many a Movie Fan - especially with the advertising highlighting co-stars Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson - in their first film together.

Plus, there are the cinematic memories the title brings to mind. There have been numerous movies with the word "hitman" in their titles (including in 2015, 2014, 2012, 2008, 2007, 1998, 1997, 1991, 1982 and 1972) and others with a hitman or two as main characters (some of the best: the "John Wick" series, "Run All Night", "The Iceman", "In Bruges", "Mr. & Mrs. Smith", "Collateral", "Road to Perdition", "The Jackal", "Assassins", "Léon: The Professional ", "Pulp Fiction" and "Point of No Return"). All of those contribute pretty well to the images that come to mind when we hear the first part of this film's title.

When we get to "bodyguard", there are also many movies with that word in the title (for example, in 2016, 2012, 2009, 1998, 1992, 1980, 1979, 1966, 1948 and 1933 - one of those years, by the way, being the year of my birth) - along with some about secret service agents (e.g. "Olympus Has Fallen", "In the Line of Fire" and "Guarding Tess") - and one futuristic bodyguard - in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day". The one bodyguard movie that seems to have the most to do with this film is that one from '92, because of the plot and because one of the movie posters for this one features a blue-tinted image of one of the stars carrying the other, like Kevin Costner carrying Whitney Houston in the poster for "The Bodyguard". So, is this one as much fun as that tongue-in-cheek marketing homage implies? For the most part, yes!

Michael Bryce (Reynolds) used to be one of the most sought-after bodyguards on the planet, with a reputation second to none. That is, until he lost a high-profile client. Now the only work he can get is protecting relative unknowns like Richard E. Grant's coked-up businessman-on-the-run. Bryce is still one of the best at what he does, but few will go so far as to trust him with their lives - or with the life of someone important who really needs protecting - unless they're really desperate. INTERPOL agent Amelia Roussel (Élodie Yung) is just that desperate. When her efforts to get jailed hitman Darius Kincaid (Jackson) from London to the Netherlands are compromised, she calls the only person whom she can trust - at least, with this situation. Complicating matters, she hates him, because she used to date him.

Actually, no one in this high-stakes threesome really wants to be around the others, but they need each other. Amelia was dumped by Bryce two years earlier because he believed she betrayed a confidence, leading him to lose that client. She claims she didn't do anything of the sort, so she has hard feelings. When Bryce sees Amelia, he is reminded of his professional fall from grace - and of the love he lost. But he's willing to endure the painful memories and put his life on the line in exchange for Amelia's promise to help him get his AAA executive protection rating back. For his part, Kincaid doesn't think Amelia and her INTERPOL buddies are capable of protecting him, but he has to play by their rules in order to get his beloved, tough-as-nails wife, Sonia (Salma Hayek), out of prison. That's part of a deal he made in exchange for his testimony against the President of the former Soviet Republic of Belarus, Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman), in his war crimes trial. But when Bryce arrives at the INTERPOL safe house, he and Kincaid recognize each other as long-time rivals, two sides of the same dirty coin, and they almost kill each other right then and there. They can hardly abide each other, but each kind of needs the other.

Amelia leaves Bryce to the task of getting Kincaid to the International Criminal Court in time for his testimony (in about 24 hours), while she goes back to INTERPOL to try to find and plug that leak. Dukhovich's henchmen, led by the brutally determined Ivan (Yuri Kolokolnikov), catch up with Bryce and Kincaid - early and often. As this lethal odd couple (two men with similar skills but very different approaches to life and love) make their way to the Hague, they use (and ruin) multiple vehicles and get into gun battles and close quarters combat... on city streets, down country roads and through the avenues and waterways of Amsterdam, leaving a high body count behind, but never far from danger.

"The Hitman's Bodyguard" is indeed a hit - and deservedly so. The plot is far-fetched (one down-on-his-luck protection agent called upon to escort the only man standing between a war criminal's conviction and his freedom - and so much power and so many resources at the disposal of that eastern European strongman), but most Movie Fans won't mind. This film has a great soundtrack - with songs from the 60s-90s - plus a song written and sung by Jackson himself! - And makes fantastic use of those Dutch locations - setting its impressive action against its beautiful countryside and cityscapes. The action is exciting and virtually non-stop, the car chases are creative and thrilling and the two stars really make this film work. Their comedic chemistry is undeniable, even though Jackson is playing his usual bad-ass with a wicked sense of humor and Reynolds gives us his patented smart-ass with a heart, all while Oldman drags out his often-employed Russian accent and shows us a more powerful version of his "Air Force One" terrorist. It's all good - especially if you like action movies, along with a sense of humor. HIGH FULL PRICE, Motha F@#kaz!!!

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle Green Band Trailer

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Red Band Trailer

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE

2014's Kingsman: The Secret Service was a pleasant surprise. It carried all the class and suave of a Bond film whilst boasting a serious potty mouth and a tone of graphic set pieces. One might say that replicating the formula that made the original so delightful is an impossibility, after all; Matthew Vaughn did direct smash-hit Kick-ass which had a not-so-great second instalment (not directed by Vaughn). It's great to see that Kingsman: The Golden Circle mostly manages to maintain its frantic intensity, crass humor and stylished violence from the first film, though it still somewhat suffers from a case of sequel-itis. The film sees the return of Eggsy (Taron Egerton), who, with Merlin (Mark Strong), looks for assistance from their American counterparts the statesmen after the destruction of the Kingsman headquarters at the hands of Poppy (Julianne Moore), the leader of drug cartel The Golden Circle. It's the introduction of the statesmen that gives The Golden Circle a somewhat fresh feeling, opting for whips and revolvers instead of dapper suits and traditional spy-tech, although their presence is not always a win.

Right off the bat the film gives viewers a taste of the action that was such a standout in the first instalment with a heart pounding car-chase and hand-to-hand fight through the streets of London that will have most people very happy. It's unfortunate that the film slows to a crawl for the next 40 or so minutes, choosing to spend that time with characters who seem like a distraction from the action rather than people who you want to see developed further. The majority of the statesmen are enjoyable to watch but you don't have the same history of how they got to where they are that the Kingsman benefit from. When the film does pick back up, it thoroughly entertains for the rest of its runtime. This is where we get to see the ridiculous humor and sweeping fight choreography that made things like the church scene from the first film so memorable. It's important to note that most of the third act is spent solely with the Kingsman, allowing the film to go all out with various gadgets and tech.

The advertising for The Golden Circle scratched a few heads when, *spoilers*, it was revealed that Colin Firth's Agent Galahad would be making his return in the sequel after being shot point-blank in the head towards the end of the original. The way his reappearance is explained is a bit too convenient, and it takes a while before you get to see the dapper spy that he was prior to his "death", but Kingsman isn't a franchise that is meant to be taken seriously (the first saw a base full of celebrities have their heads explode into a fountain of rainbows) and it's good to see a fan favorite character make his return.

The film also bolsters a subplot involving Eggsy's love life, which will completely miss the mark for some. Without saying too much, it takes a joke that was out of the blue and hilarious in the first film and absolutely stretches it to death here. It works with making Eggsy's mission a little more personal this time around but a lot of the screen time given to this part of the narrative seemed wasted. Julianne Moore's villain Poppy is delightfully campy, not quite to the standard of Samuel L. Jackson as Valentine, but effective in her own right. Her master plan is very derivative of Valentine's, even down to the robotic henchman. Being the leader of a group with a monopoly over the narcotics industry, it's only natural that she set up a 50's inspired base of operations in the heart of the Cambodian jungle. We don't get the same level of interaction that was present between Valentine and the Kingsman due to her seclusion which is a shame, Moore's villain is more of a puppeteer than anything else.

If you were a fan of the first film, you'll have a blast with The Golden Circle. It does enough to keep you entertained spare for a lull early on and most of its new additions are a fine fit for the franchise. There's also a multiple-scene stealing celebrity cameo that provides the film with some of its better laughs. Vaughn's spy sequel is a bit predictable at times and some of the choices made later on are questionable, but if you switch off your brain for a couple of hours and accept the ridiculousness of it all then you're sure to have a good time. MATINEE!!!

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