ANGEL HAS FALLEN
Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is back for the third action flick in the franchise, following “Olympus Has Fallen” (2013) and “London Has Fallen” (2016). Now, Banning serves new Prez, Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), and Banning’s wife Leah is played by Piper Pirabo instead of Radha Mitchell. In a familiar cinematic development, good guy Banning is falsely arrested for carrying out a deadly attack on his fellow Secret Service agents in an attempt to assassinate Trumbull.
Utilizing his military training and Superman-like skills, Banning eludes the FBI, the Secret Service and every cop in Washington. Although the movie lacks credulity as it strings together bloody setpieces and can’t seem to stop blowing things up, the intricacies of Banning’s seemingly impossible escapes remain intriguing. This guy has to elude law enforcement and find the actual assassins/terrorists along with a government mole.
With unremitting assault rifles shots taking out scores of people throughout the film, its timing seems offensive and in poor taste so soon after the horrific recent shootings in the U.S.
Rated R 2 and 1/2 Stars
READY OR NOT
“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” merges with “The Most Dangerous Game” in a very dark comedy thriller about a bride who tries to keep from getting killed on her wedding night.
After the ceremony at the magnificent Le Domas estate, groom Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien) tells his bride Grace (Samara Weaving) about a quirky family tradition which requires each new family member to play a game. The game of “Hide and Seek” sounds like an innocent bit of fun: instead it turns deadly with Grace struggling to survive as her in-laws (Henry Czerzy and Andie MacDowell) and various Le Domas family members track her with antique weapons, including ancient rifles, a cross bow and a massive hatchet.
Despite its bucket o’ blood concept, the movie has more than gore to recommend it. The clever script by Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy, strong direction and editing by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillet and star-making performance by Weaving make “Ready or Not” scary and funny enough to earn instant cult classic status.
Rated R 3 Stars
AFTER THE WEDDING
American Isabel (Michelle Williams), who runs an orphanage in India, gets an offer for a huge charitable donation for her needy children. But the offer hinges on Isabel traveling to New York in order to meet with the potential benefactor, wealthy CEO Theresa Young (Julianne Moore).
This English language version of “After the Wedding” is a remake of a 2006 Danish Oscar-nominated film. Written and directed by Bart Freundlich, the new movie might seem far-fetched and overly melodramatic to some, but it does keep the audience’s attention with its doozy of an unexpected twist. In addition, it boasts stunning performances from four-time Oscar nominee Williams as well as from Oscar winner Moore. Genders are reversed in this film; the two main characters are women instead of men as in the Danish feature. Also, Theresa’s sculptor husband Oscar’s (Billy Crudup) role was played by a woman in the Danish film. Abbe Quinn is a standout as Oscar and Theresa’s daughter, Grace.
Rated PG-13 3 Stars