Apr 19 2024

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

Before the United States entered the European Theatre of World War II, Nazi Germany controlled the Atlantic Ocean with a fierce presence of U-boats, and, with England on the brink of collapse to Hitler’s demands, Churchill (Rory Kinnear) would task Brigadier Gubbins (Cary Elwes) to assemble a team of unlikely military personnel with a do or die mission that could turn the tides for the allies. Now, Gus March-Phillips (Henry Cavill), Anders Lassen (Alan Ritchson), Geoffrey Appleyard (Alex Pettyfer), Marjorie Stewart (Eiza Gonzalez), Heron (Babs Olusanmokun), Henry Hayes (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) and Freddy Alvarez (Henry Golding) will have to find their way to the secret and remote islands used by the Nazi’s for refueling the U-boat fleet, sabotage the support, and reclaim the Atlantic– after all, the world depends on their success. Written by Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Arash Amel, and Guy Ritchie and Directed by Ritchie with Jerry Bruckheimer slated as one of the Producers, this amped up war story features many of the signature elements for a Guy Ritchie film, witty dialogue, bare knuckle and brutal fights, testosterone driven mania, a smoke show femme fatal, cartoonish bad guys, corruption, the whole lot, yet all somehow softened. A move that seems to strip the story of its amphetamine driven rage and instead aims for a wider audience with more Hollywood glitz and combat razzmatazz approach; which, one might speculate is the Bruckheimer influence. Which isn’t to say the film is bad, but rather, less sharp, less edgy, and ultimately less Ritchie. Instead of the bottled lightning of previous works such as Snatch or even Sherlock Holmes, this go round the spark feels out of sync within the cylinder and the piston. On the positive, score provided by Christopher Benstead is catchy and sufficiently paints a whimsical Morricone inspired Spaghetti Western cap to the project. Not Bad for a matinee that almost overstays its welcome at two hours of runtime. The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is rated R.

Apr 19 2024


A group of criminals are tasked with the kidnapping of a 12 year old ballerina, Abigail (Alisha Weir), and holding her for ransom in a fortified mansion in the woods; but, as details regarding who her father is come to light, it’s very clear the gang has bitten off more than they can chew. Worse yet, Abigail herself may be more than they bargained for as well.Written by Stephen Shields and Guy Busick and Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett this splatter and spatter fest of a dark ride brings the proper amount of gore to a modern day vampire film with just the right amount of whimsy and lore to keep horror enthusiasts entertained for a jumpy spooky time. Re-treading some previous ground from their earlier work Directors Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett lean in to their successes of Ready or Not and double down on the same, that’s not to say we’re looking at the same film, rather, we’re beginning to see what might be their signature moves, also not bad. Meanwhile, work from the ensemble appears to be stout, ripe with irrationality, and overacting as appropriate, stand outs from Dan Stevens and Melissa Barrera are notable. End result, we’re not breaking new ground in horror or vampire lore but the slick and polished feel, plus the buckets of blood that were required for the journey more than seal the deal in giving this gem a nod. Fun for fans of the genre, running an hour and forty nine minutes, Abigail is rated R.

Apr 12 2024

Civil War

In the not so distant future, the United States is fractured by succession and split ideologies. Now, as Civil war has raged on with significant casualties on both sides, a group of embedded reporters embark on a journey to Washington D.C. to conduct what could be the President’s last interview, conversely it could also be their own last interview attempt. Navigating complex lands and hostile locals might be too much for this intrepid crew. Written and Directed by Alex Garland this high tension piece effectively puts the audience on notice and edge from the outset holding the viewer in what can best be described as an effective cinematic jujitsu arm bar applying and releasing pressure snaring the victim deeper with each turn. Meanwhile solid acting from the entire ensemble including Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Cailee Spaeny, and Stephen McKinley Henderson sells the illusion with an intentionally bipartisan screenplay. Of note, Jesse Plemons appearance at a particularly fevered pitch leaves a haunting impression of the horrors of war, questioning “what’s American, and who’s to say?” The end result is a win for Garland in one respect which is a solid mirroring of what could be, but also comes up glaringly thin and exposing with the specifically non-political stance; scratching beneath the superficial there are way too many unanswered questions, harrumph, more subtext please. Beautifully assembled none the less, and with election season just around the bend, Civil War is poised to serve as a warning conveniently packaged into a one hour and forty nine minutes of runtime. Civil War is rated R.