Tag Archives: action/adventure

Movies: The Gentlemen

I’ve liked many of the Guy Ritchie movies I’ve seen, and this one seems to be typical of his work, particularly akin to such others as Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. It has the same quirky, action-comedy tone and the same kind of ensemble cast designed to light up a marquee. It likewise deals in the world of crime, both underworld and upper class.

And yet.

While I did enjoy it, I didn’t like it as much as I expected to. I think this is largely due to how much slower it was to get moving. The Gentlemen takes quite a bit of setup, which is done via extended dialogue between two characters as one tells the other what he knows. Oh, the scene isn’t just two people talking, of course—we get the actual film version of this background. But it’s a conceit not quite clever enough to make up for the lack of action that occurs early on.

The setup is that Mickey (Matthew McConaughey) is a successful marijuana producer in the UK. But now he wants to sell his business and retire. He offers said business to Matthew (Jeremy Strong), but then things start to go south before the deal can be finalized. Another interested party is Dry Eye (Henry Golding), which throws another wrench into the works. And so on and so forth in a kind of whack-a-mole of squashing all the problems that keep arising.

It isn’t as funny as it maybe could have and should have been? Colin Farrell turns up and is one of the best things about the movie, but he’s not in it much. And it was far too easy, far too early on, to figure out what was at the root of everything. So by the time we got to the reveal… ::shrug::

In short, I’m glad I saw it but also glad I didn’t pay to see it at the cinema. It’s not terrible by any means, but not as entertaining as I’d hoped.

Movies: Jumanji: The Next Level

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Awkwafina
Directed by: Jake Kasdan
Screenplay by: Jake Kasdan, Jeff Pinkner & Scott Rosenberg from the book by Chris Van Allsburg
Sony 2019
PG-13; 123 minutes
4.5 stars (out of 5)

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As far as entertainment goes, this one is entertaining. What more could anyone want really? Except to have an excuse to look at Dwayne Johnson for a couple hours? (Or Karen Gillan if that’s more your thing.)

The story this time around begins as our friends from the previous film, now all off in college, are planning to meet back home for the holiday break. Except Spencer is reluctant. He and Martha are on a “break” and he’s feeling like a loser compared to… her Instagram feed, I guess? Wanting the confidence he felt when being Bravestone in the Jumanji game, Spencer makes the questionable decision to go back in. (Because he apparently went and took the console from the school and secreted it in his basement.)

Of course, the game is broken, so… when his friends go looking for him, it grabs Spencer’s Grandpa Eddie (Danny DeVito) and Eddie’s friend Milo (Danny Glover). The humor then becomes derived from trying to a. find Spencer in the game and b. get two old men through a video game.

I suppose the true fun in watching these movies is watch actors trying to act against type by pretending to be very different personalities. Sometimes it gets a little too close to impersonation (Johnson’s DeVito has some sketchy moments), but overall the entertainment value is consistently present.

While I still enjoyed the first one more, I think that’s surely because it was so surprisingly delightful. Once expectations are set, it’s always more difficult to meet them. I also found the premise for this one—that is, Spencer’s reason for wanting to go back into the game—flimsy at best. Although in the first few minutes of the film we do see that he’s having a hard time in general (lame job, mean boss, it rains on him and his suitcase handle breaks)… The movie fails to earn its catalyst. It’s actually the friendship between Eddie and Milo that begets touching moments, and those are totally merited.

Overall, another fun installment that leaves the door wide open for more to come.