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The Infiltrator (2016)

The Infiltrator (2016)

Here's a pretty serious movie, and a true movie, about a U.S. Customs official uncovering a money-laundering scheme involving Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

That Customs official was Robert Mazur, and he wrote a book about it too, which then became this movie. Bryan Cranston plays him, and Diane Kruger and Benjamin Bratt the two other most notable... and then that other guy I've seen in so many movies but can never recall the name of.

It's a dramatic movie, with charismatic actors, and it probably does the true story more than justice. Of course, there are differences between the movie and the reality, but reading up on them it feels like they hit pretty close to home still, and don't glorify it too much. I'm happy Roberto Alacaino in particular is portrayed in a more positive light, and in the end I'm as sad as the main character seems to be to see him be put in cuffs.

What a fascinating story it was, and filmed well, with vehicles and clothes and styles all reminiscent of old and better times (even the drugs they had back then were at least organic).

Here's some actual news footage of the actual bust, way back in the day, though for lack of spoiler you might want to watch the movie first.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

The Boss Baby (2017)

The Boss Baby (2017)

At a first glance I thought this would be a feelbad movie a la Despicable Me, but... they turn it around, and the main character's an impressively good main character! So optimistic even when he's depressed. So imaginative. So kind. You never get the impression he's just spoiled. Well, rarely ever. Maybe you do at first impressions, but it's good it's there a while or you really wouldn't like how the movie starts out.

The story's one of a suit-wearing, briefcase-carrying baby, [that] pairs up with his 7-year old brother to stop the dastardly plot of the CEO of Puppy Co, but it takes a while before they really start getting along.

The creative imagination at the beginning is probably a big hint, but I didn't get it then. I took the movie visually, and the great thing about it is that you can take it both ways. It's made to be that way, and as the characters grow on you, and go on their entertaining but serious adventure you keep getting surprised by the creative angles, changes in style, and perception, and the overall so very light tone of humor, even when they're in a real pickle jar.

They even managed to fit in the triangle is the strongest shape in nature in a way you won't ever forget it. Illuminati or no, that was pretty awesome! Awesome because it's a fact that correlates to design, and uneven numbers, and is much-forgotten in the flat designs of modern responsive web... but that's probably something most people don't get the same awe from. Maybe it'll affect people subconsciously and the 3.0 web trend will start changing hmm...

But this movie was lovely, and what the world needs now, is love sweet love. Great watch. Refreshingly creative, and different, and familiar all the same. For all ages.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

3:10 To Yuma (1957)

3:10 to Yuma (1957)

The old, original version of 3:10 To Yuma was just that: old. At least that's what I thought first, but the more it goes on... the more you start to live into it.

It doesn't matter that it's black and white. It's good. It's exiting. The characters may walk and talk strange, and act slowly because that was just the way to act back then if you wanted to act tough, but even if they seem a bit strange to me I miss those times. Everything was so simple. So personal. The characters confident and honest - or dishonest, but always true to their nature, and the hats were so classy. Their dialog had an air of refreshing naivety to them, too, before the world was cruel and crazy. Though still... kind of crazy. Cruel too, come to think of it - it's the wild west after all. Yet at the same time it feels right. Grounded. It's a time where life is hard work, but simple choices. Like it should be lived - whichever side of the law you choose.

I don't recall how the new version ended (which means it was probably worse), but I liked the ending in this one. I was really expecting a bit more gunfire and havoc, but it went well. The music lifts the mood. Sometimes the setting's almost like that of a horror story, and in one scene indoors - with the thunder crackling outside, it almost seems like... well, think Dracula or Frankenstein.

When they're outside, in the dusty wilds, those impressions fade away though and make way for a great and gritty Western, with a bit more philosophical approach than most. Feels like a classic.

 rated 3/5: not bad

All About The Money (2017)

All About The Money (2017)

Three buddies go to Colombia to take down a kingpin, and then crazy shit starts happening!

The whole concept of the movie is crazy though, so maybe that shouldn't surprise you too much. It's a good movie, with infrequent but bad-ass bouts of action, Danny Trejo (only a minor role), Eddie Griffin, Jon Gries, Casper Van Dien and... other guys. It's not always entertaining to the laughing point, but a fine balance between entertaining and exciting, and just plain crazy (the amount of times I'm saying this will probably make you expect more crazy than there is: it's moderately crazy).

The main trio are a suitably naive bunch of guys, and, well, it's a good movie! Crazy but not too crazy. Serious. Simple fun.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Rings (2017)

Rings (2017)

If you've seen the earlier Ring movies, you've seen this... is what I was planning to say, but it turns out the new one really was something new.

The basic premises is still the same (someone watches a videotape and dies within seven days), but it has a few surprises along the way, and though it's not directly scary (you know Hollywood - they exaggerate), it builds up a pretty eerie atmosphere. Out of all Ring movies so far, except for maybe the original Ringu (Japanese), this one hits closest to real horror.

The big twist here is how the video's found by a professor, who tries to decipher its secrets by having his students watch it, and pass on the curse to someone else before 7 days are up. Then a boyfriend to this one girl happens to get it, and it turns to a familiar chase after that girl in the video, Samara, and vanquishing an evil that may be just that: really evil. Not wanting peace, but wanting others to feel her pain. Not that it really matters if she's good or bad with this kind of franchise as long as there's a twist.

So what's the conclusion? What's the way out? Does this one succeed where the others failed; does the main character grow to understand the girl? It's not a flawless search, and as usual the focus on visual scares takes away a bit of the scariness, but watching this on a dark night, alone at home... it wasn't impossible to live into. The sceneries are atmospheric and full of symbolism and story, and the script is senseful, albeit jumpy, and I had a hard time liking Alex Roe's character, but Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz is alright. Not perfect, but not bad.

From what I recall: this one was better than before.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Monster Trucks (2016)

Monster Trucks (2016)

This was like a hybrid of Herbie (the Love Bug) and E.T. A fun twist on two old classics, and though it has a somewhat childish feel to it: explosive effects and car chases made it something else entirely.

Lucas Till and Jane Levy play the main characters Tripp and Meredith, who by chance get aquatinted with a strange sea-living creature who eats oil and takes refuge in the junkyard where Tripp works. An oil company is hot on its tail however, already having captured two of it's kin, and after Tripp manages to get the creature working as a motor in his truck (thereof the title!) they proceed to bust out the two other captives and attempt to return them to their home, in a hidden pipeline deep under our Earthen shell aforementioned company seeks to exploit.

It's a feelgood film, with well-done CGI and plenty of car chase. The characters are likable albeit a bit shallow. There's humor. Action. A little bit of love. Growing up. Bonding. Experiencing adventures together. You know the drill. It's a Disney-like movie with good stunts and plenty of moral on the side. A movie for all ages.

 rated 3/5: not bad
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