Movie Menagerie 5

Hitman: Agent 47– A middle of the road action movie based on a video game franchise. Not a bad movie, it just doesn’t do anything new or very interesting. I’ll give it good marks for casting Rupert Friend as Agent 47 (he looks just like the game character) and Zachary Quinto makes a good turn as a bad guy. Super soldiers made via genetic alterations, a scientist regrets his work and his daughter with all the answers hidden in her mind. Sandwich that in between good action set pieces (additional good marks for the elaborate assassination set-ups the franchise is known for) that are often marred by stuntmen turning into obvious CG ragdolls.

The Monuments Men– A team of men head into wartorn Europe to help secure as much of mankind’s greatest artwork as they can from the Nazi’s and return it to the rightful owners. It  was a staggering amount of art, in the millions of pieces. Just the amount of man power to move it all is staggering to think about. An interesting movie directed and led by George Clooney. The ensemble cast gets a fair amount of screen time as they spread out to chase leads and cover more ground. The risk was great as the went into active war zones. They were under a time limit as the Nazi’s were pushed back and got more desperate, often destroying caches as they retreated. The movie is largely upbeat (often oddly so with surprisingly goofy moments…the tone of the movie is rather disjointed) but also carries the weight of human sacrifice in the face of a terrible evil. An aspect of WWII that is I think often skipped over, Monuments Men is a story worth watching.

Keanu– If you’ve watched Key & Peele on Comedy Central, you have a good idea how this movie plays out. Taking the spin from John Wick of a man losing his dog to some very rude criminals, Keanu is about a dork who gets his cat taken and he goes with his cousin to find her.  It’s got it’s moments but the big laughs are few and far in between. Oddly enough my favorite moment is a complete throwaway line near the end of the movie. It’s a bring back from a character introduction and it’s there and gone in about 3 seconds. give them credit for finding enough material to spin into a full length movie that stays interesting and mixes things up as it goes (the crazy factor gets ramped up with just about every scene). Worth watching on a rainy day, especially if you’re a K&P fan.

ARQ– I saw this Netflix Original pop up on the service a few weeks ago and just got around to watching it. I thought it was going to be an outer space sci-fi movie but it’s all about time travel. Set in the not too distant future, Renton is hiding out with his girlfriend Hannah in an abandoned house. Seconds into the movie masked men barge into the room and drag him to the basement. Things get worse from there and he gets killed, only to wake up back in bed at 6:16am next to Hannah moments before the men come charging in again. As the time loops repeat, we watch as Renton and Hannah put the puzzle together of what’s happening to them. What starts out as a home invasion for money turns out to be much more. To tell any more would give away too much of what makes ARQ so great. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a movie like this so much since Primer. Time travel stories can get really messy but writer/director Tony Elliot keeps the story very tight and easy to understand (props to the editing and production design as well). Each added wrinkle is spaced out just right to keep away any monotony and expands the world that these characters live in to be much bigger than you think at the start. The production is kept small with everything happening in just a few rooms of the house. I really liked the cast too which helped make everything play believable. Great special effects when called for as well. Nice surprise, I recommend it to any sci-fi fan.

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