Welcome Home

‘Welcome Home’ is a 2018 thriller starring Emily Ratajkowski (Gone Girl), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Riccardo Scamarcio (John Wick: Chapter 2), and Francesco Acquaroli (Fargo). A couple (Ratajkowski, Paul) whose relationship is on the rocks spend a week in the Italian Countryside in an attempt to fix their relationship. They won’t be left alone by the overfriendly neighbor, and they soon find out his sinister plans.

This movie is basically ‘The Intruder’ with Dennis Quaid mixed with ’13 Cameras’. Instead of the overly nice creepy seller, you have the overly nice creepy neighbor. Then like ’13 Cameras’ you have cameras set up all over the house, with the creepy guy sitting there watching the couple. The best way to describe this movie is, it’s the perfect mashup of those two. I haven’t heard of ‘Welcome Home’, but it just came to Netflix, and I like Aaron Paul, so I figured I would watch it. Honestly it’s a pretty solid movie. It doesn’t have as many twists and turns as I would prefer in a thriller and it was a little predictable, but the acting is really good. Scamarcio plays the creeper part perfect. He reminds me a lot of Javier Bardem’s character in ‘No Country for Old Men’. I was surprised how well Ratajkowski does, she is mostly a model, not a whole lot under her belt as far as acting, but she plays a good part. Overall I give it a 7.5/10.

Wrath of Man

‘Wrath of Man’ is 2021 action/thriller starring Jason Statham (The Transporter), Holt McCallany (Mindhunter), Josh Hartnett (30 Days of Night), Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice), Niamh Algar (Raised by Wolves), Babs Olusanmokun (Black Mirror), and Post Malone.

A Mafia boss’s son is killed in an armored car heist by being at the wrong place at the wrong time. The mafia boss finds out it’s an inside job, and poses as a security officer to get a job with the armored car company. He now must figure out who killed his son, and settle the score.

This movie is more of a slow burn than expected of a Statham film. There’s literally zero hand to hand combat, and doesn’t have a ton of action until about the last twenty/thirty minutes. Then there is a huge gun fight scene. I kept waiting for Jason to do his thing but it never happened, if your looking for him to beat up a bunch of people, watch ‘The Transporter’ series, because this one won’t be for you. McCallany plays a great second role to Statham, I really like him in ‘Mindhunter’, and I was happy to see him playing a big role in this film. Post Malone even has a small part in it. Though, there isn’t a lot of action and it is a bit on the slow side, the story is good and the acting is as well. It’s different than what I was expecting but it is still good. Who’s not going to like Statham and McCallany in the same movie? I give it a 7/10

A Quiet Place Part II

‘A Quiet Place Part II’ is the sequel to 2018 Sci-Fi/Horror movie ‘A Quiet Place’. It brings back the original cast of Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada), Noah Jupe (Honey Boy), Millicent Simmonds (Wonderstruck), and John Krasinski (The Office). While adding heavy hitters Cillian Murphy (Peaky Blinders), and Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy).

The Abbot Family must face a new challenge by leaving their home. They run into an old family friend (Murphy) who helps the family as they look for a utopia in order to survive.

So the first one is extremely good, so the question is how good is this one. It starts out as a little bit of a prequel as it shows the day they aliens arrived, after that it jumps into the sequel and picks back up where the first one left off. So Krasinski is only in it for about ten minutes or so then Murphy takes over as the male lead, honestly I would rather have Murphy, who doesn’t want Tommy Shelby over Jim? It starts out a little bit slow but the movie does take off and is full of action. We are left in the end of the first one that Simmonds is our main heroine as she as figured out how to stop the aliens, and the second one still goes that direction. It isn’t resolved in this one but is set up for another, so we’re looking at a trilogy possibly more. I honestly liked this one better than the first. I give it an 8/10. I’m excited to check out part III.

Hunted

‘Hunted’ is a 2020 horror film by Shudder, starring Lucie Debay (LA Confession), Ciaran O’ Brien (Ripper Street), and Simone Milsdochter (Wolf). A woman is working out of town and goes to a local bar to relax, she is tricked and picked up by two men who plan to torture and rape her on film. She manages to escape into the woods with the two men in close pursuit.

This is your classic cat and mouse type horror, it’s one that’s been done over and over but yet people still love it. The scary thing is something like this could really happen, picking up a young girl and planning on doing something atrocious like this. With a movie however, we can see the victim fight back, and maybe that’s why we love these types of movies so much.

The acting and story are actually pretty good. The main bad guy plays a great part, he’s a mix between a crazy Bradley Cooper and the crazy wide smile of Joaquin Phoenix’s joker. He makes a great bad guy, where this movie goes wrong however, is towards the end. It’s almost like the writers didn’t know how to end it. I don’t like to give spoilers so I’ll try not too, but all of a sudden there’s a team of paintballer’s in the woods and she gets shot in the head and starts running around with blue paint on her face like she’s from ‘Braveheart’, which they never address by the way. A dead lady who has an arrow through her ear is brought back to life because she is accidentally tased, that was probably one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen in a movie. The last twenty minuets or so became comical. My wife and I were literally cracking up. It didn’t necessarily make it bad, but it definitely dropped it down a little bit, up to that point it’s a pretty solid horror movie. It’s still worth a watch, I give it a 6.5/10.

The Woman in the Window

‘The Woman in the Window’ is a 2021 Netflix original psychological mystery/thriller based off the book by A.J. Finn. It stars Amy Adams (Hillbilly Elegy), Fred Hechinger (News of the World), Gary Oldman (Crisis), Wyatt Russell (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier), and Brian Tyree Henry (Widows).

An agoraphobic shut in (Adams) starts spying on her neighbors, and witnesses a grisly murder of the wife. Everyone thinks she’s crazy, and now she must convince them, even herself, that what she saw, really happened.

This story has been told a thousand times. ‘The Simpsons’ even did an episode about it, Bart breaks his leg and he starts spying on his neighbors and witnesses a murder. I read a book when I was a kid, a pg version of course, but a kid is sitting in his cherry tree and witnesses his neighbor get killed. In both instances no one believes Bart, or the kid. Same as this movie, only this one puts a few small twists on the classic story. Adding booze, and psychotics, so you began questioning what is real and what isn’t. I give ‘The Woman in the Window’ this, it has a great twist at the end, and it is possibly all that saves this movie. Up to that point it’s a very slow burn with little action. Amy Adams is a great actress and she plays a good role, but not a lot happens till the end. It’s one of those that the trailer is more exciting than the movie. It’s not a bad movie but it’s not as good as what I thought it would be. I give it a 6.5/10

Jiu Jitsu

‘Jiu Jitsu’ is a 2020 action/martial arts movie starring Nicholas Cage (Willy’s Wonderland), Alain Moussi (Kickboxer: Retaliation), Eddie Steeples (My Name is Earl), Tony Jaa (Ong Bak 2), JuJu Chan Szeto (Wu Assassins). When an Alien race invades earth it’s up to a team of Jiu Jitsu fighters to stop them.

This movie is as bad as it sounds, painfully bad, I’m talking ‘Bad Batch’ bad. The main lead is Alain Moussi, if you look at his IMDb, the only thing this guy has done, and I’m talking his entire career, is be a stunt double. So his first big role is this movie, his acting is about as good as you would expect from a stuntman… not good. Like I stated in my review of ‘Willy’s Wonderland’ I don’t think there’s a role Cage won’t turn down at this point, he’s definitely fallen to the B actor category. Outside of Moussi’s bad acting, the acting in general across the board is bad. It comes across forced, and cheesy. The story has a ‘Mortal Kombat’ rip off feel, the Jiu Jitsu warriors are the chosen one’s just like earth’s chosen warriors in ‘Mortal Kombat’, and like ‘Mortal Kombat’ they must defend earth. I’m not saying ‘Mortal Kombat’ is the best written movie, but it does circles around ‘Jiu Jitsu’. The writing is bad, very cheesy, the lines are forced, and it randomly switches point of views. Just avoid this one all together, I’m sure the actors wish they had. I came close to throwing in the towel and not finishing this one, but I don’t think it’s a fair review if I give up watching the movie. I give it a 2.5/10. Only reason it even gets a 2.5 is because Tony Jaa is in it, and I like his other stuff.

News of the World

‘News of the World’ was one of the last movies to round out 2020, it’s an action/drama starring Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump), and Helena Zengel (System Crasher). A civil war veteran who makes his money travelling town to town reading the news, stumbles across a little girl who was kidnapped by a Kiowa tribe. With no family and no other choice he agrees to take her four hundred miles to her next of kin. There are plenty of dangers and obstacles that await them ahead.

So we all know that anything with Tom Hanks in it is going to be good, he’s one of the greatest actors to date. He hasn’t been in a bad movie, and he can play any role. So the real question is how good is this movie? There’s honestly not a whole lot of action in this movie, just a couple of scenes where on their journey things hit the fan but that’s about it. The rest relies on the story and character development, nothing wrong with that it’s just a bit of a slow burn. Big props to Zengel, she plays a young girl who is scarred from everything she has been through and doesn’t understand English, just Kiowa. For being so young, she’s a good actress and holds her own alongside Hanks. I’m sure, and I hope we see more of her in the future. Overall, I was hoping for more out of it, but it’s still a great movie. It reminds me of a Disney film, a feel good movie. I give it a 8/10.

The Virtuoso

‘The Virtuoso’ is 2021 Action Crime/Thriller starring Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs), Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels), Abbie Cornish (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), and David Morse (The Green Mile). A hitman (Mount) is hired for a job, but the only details he is given is a time and place with vague details of the hit. He must now figure out who he’s hired to kill before things go sideways.

This movie has pretty low scores across the board, including IMDb, which I’ve said it in other reviews IMDb typically lines up with my scores. I typically check the ratings before the movie just to see if I agree with it in the end, with an IMDb score of 4.5/10, I wasn’t expecting much, but the description sounded good so I figured I would give it a shot. The movie is set up a little different than most, Anson Mount doesn’t have much dialogue. Instead he narrates what’s going on throughout most of the movie, which is a bit different, but I personally love Anson Mount, so I got really excited when I saw he was starring in this. He’s the ultimate bad ass in ‘Hell on Wheels’ and his personality is similar in this. I read an article one time saying how Mount doesn’t like talking, so as ‘Hell on Wheels’ progressed he gave himself less and less lines. So him not having many lines in this, I find comical, it’s perfect for Mount.

Outside the narration, the movie is a bit cheesy with the action and what dialogue there is from the other characters. They try twists and turns to keep you guessing, kind of like ‘The Usual Suspects’, just not the same level of depth. My wife found the movie just okay, I personally liked it. I think a lot of it was just because of Anson Mount, and my excitement to see him outside of ‘Hell on Wheels’. So my review may be a bit on the biased side, if another actor played the hitman role, I probably wouldn’t have liked it as much. The cheesiest of the movie was probably Anthony Hopkins character, even said, the story is still pretty good, and has you thinking who’s who and what’s going on. For this movie, IMDb is low in my opinion. I give it a 7/10.

Concrete Cowboy

‘Concrete Cowboy’ is a 2021 Netflix original drama based off the book ‘Ghetto Cowboy’, it stars Idris Elba (Luther), Lorraine Toussaint (Orange is the New Black), Caleb McLaughlin (Stranger Things), Jharrel Jerome (Mr. Mercedes), and Method Man (How High). A troubled youth (McLaughlin) from Detroit is sent to live with his estranged dad in Philly, who is a black cowboy, living in a community of black cowboys. He soon learns to love his dad’s lifestyle, but starts to fall in with the wrong crowd in Philly. He now must choose which path to go down.

The cool thing about this movie is, it’s based on a true story. When you think of Philadelphia, you probably think of Freedom, Rocky, the Philadelphia Eagles, and cheese steaks. One thing you probably don’t think about is horses. Apparently there use to be several communities of black cowboys and horses, and one by one they got shut down, and developed over, until only one remained, the Fletcher Street Stables. This by itself makes the movie worth watching, plus they actually have a couple of the cowboys star in the movie, and you get to hear them talk about it in the credits. Really cool stuff, now let’s talk about the movie itself. McLaughlin is a great up and coming actor, it’s good to see him in stuff, and who doesn’t love Idris Elba? The man is awesome in everything he plays. So much in fact, he’s being casted as the next James Bond. They do a good job starring side by side in this film. Outside of them, Jerome plays a great job as the troubled friend, Smush, who has already ventured down the wrong path. Method Man plays a great part as well, as a cop, which I always find comical when a rapper plays some sort of legal job in a movie or show. It’s a heart touching movie, and isn’t a tear jerker like most dramas. I tend to not like the real sad movies. Overall it’s a must watch. I give it a 9/10.

Mortal Kombat (2021)

‘Mortal Kombat’ is a 2021 action movie starring Lewis Tan (Wu Assassians), Jessica McNamee (The Meg), Josh Lawson (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues), Joe Taslim (Fast & Furious 6), Mehcad Brooks (True Blood), and Hiroyuki Sanada (The Wolverine). So we all know Mortal Kombat is based off the popular video game from the 90’s, and was made into a popular movie from 1995 that has had a cult like following. In this version, Earths greatest warriors, the one’s with the dragon mark, are being hunted by Outworld’s best warrior, Sub-Zero, in order to ensure Outworld wins the Mortal Kombat tournament. Earth’s greatest warriors must now team up and defeat Outworld, and Sub-zero before they’re all killed off.

There is a lot of hype surrounding this movie, I’ve seen memes, video clips, posts, etc.. all hyping this movie on social media. I think the majority of it, is just the nostalgia fact of the 90s. I remember when the 1995 version came out, I saw it when I was about 8 years old, then went around the house kicking and punching and twirling around, like I was next up to compete in the tournament and fight to the death. I’ll never forget that, It wasn’t a quality movie by any means, but we all watched it for the fight scenes. Honestly, it sums up this version as well, I wouldn’t describe it as a quality movie, but the fight scenes are awesome. They did a great job nailing the nostalgia, it has a 90s feel to it the entire film. From the music, to the writing on the opening scene, to the scenery itself. If I didn’t know it was made in 2021, I would have sworn it was a 90’s movie. The acting is good, and it is filled with funny part (mostly from Kanos), the fight scenes are awesome, but overall, the story is a little cheesy and it’s more or less the nostalgia that makes it. If it wasn’t for that, not much would separate it from a fighting/action movie you could find on cable TV. I went and saw it in theaters, if that’s not an option for you, you can watch it on HBO Max. I give it a 6.5/10.