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12 Strong

12 Strong

Everyone who was alive on September 11th, 2001 knows exactly where they were and what they were doing that morning. It’s one of those moments that gets captured in time like a chrysalis and from that pupal stage we were all born anew as students of a new reality. So many of us had wild fantasies about directly confronting the enemy, head on, and making “the shot” – the shot that would end the life of our persistent tormentor, Osama Bin Laden. He famously said that we would lose, because we love life, where his troops loved death. Well, ODA 595 with the help of the “Northern Alliance” decided to send as many of those fuckers to “paradise” as the Pentagon would allow. 12 Strong tells their story, or at least the best that Hollywood can.

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Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island

Growing up, I use to watch all the old monster movies like King Kong, Godzilla, Gamera, etc. They were cool to watch as a kid, you had big monsters, but not scary, throwing down with each other and smashing up cities. It wasn’t until I got older that I started to notice things like special effects and what it took to make these monsters move.

Here’s what Kong: Skull Island is about. A team of scientists and military personnel are sent to the Pacific to explore an uncharted island. Once they get there, the scientists use explosives, developed by a seismologist, to map out the island. Unfortunately, once the bombings start, the team quickly realize that some of the inhabitants of the island may not be so keen on them being there.

The story that the writers (Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly, and John Gatins) came up with seemed pretty simple at first glance. They came up with a believable explanation as to why everyone winds up on the island, but once everyone gets there the story really takes off and turns into something far from a simple monster movie.

Overall, I got old-school feels from a new school film, which was seriously cool. If you haven’t seen Kong: Skull Island yet… you should!

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Attack of the Killer Donuts

I wasn’t really sure what to expect going into screening this one. I remember watching Attack of the Killer Tomatoes in middle school and being underwhelmed, other than one scene where this old guy is on a rocking chair and casually comments that he’s watching the tomatoes eat a kid or some shit. So, I kept an open mind and was hopeful that I would at least be mildly entertained. Gotta admit, for a low-budget farce film, this one had a couple of nice moments.

Ultimately, unless you go in for the zany screwball, farce films like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes creature feature films, you are probably not going to wait in line to order up a dozen of these little bastards, but if that is your thing, you might just add this quirky little flick to your cult-classic collection. I mean, it is what it is, the filmmakers know exactly what you want to see, and they don’t disappoint.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

All anyone really wants to know is, “Was it as good as the first one?” Well, in some ways it was better, and in some ways it wasn’t quite as good. If you are heavy into story and aren’t bothered by real dramatic themes, Vol. 2 is likely to impress. If you want tons of action and don’t really like drama, especially family drama (the worst kind), then “the first one” is probably more your speed. But, it’s still a terrific Guardians of the Galaxy film, full of the things we all love . . . and plenty of Baby Groot!

While the shooting wasn’t as prevalent as “the first one,” Rocket did manage to showcase some really inventive new weapons. Vol. 2 was much darker than Vol. 1, given the inherent nature of the conflicts and the lack of mercy shown in certain scenes. Your kids might be asking you some uncomfortable questions after this one, so be prepared to discuss serious stuff with them.

As I left the theater I was still marinating on the film, was it as good as the first one? It wasn’t the first one, in Vol. 1 we got to meet the characters, in Vol. 2 we got to know the characters and they become family. So, it is something different than Vol. 1, no more, no less. And there is plenty of Baby Groot!

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Free Fire

Free Fire

Swift shot: I didn’t think they could make a 90 minute shoot-out film, but pretty much that is what you get with Free Fire. Things escalate quickly and an abandoned factory in the ’70s becomes the perfect setting for a gun deal with the Irish Republican Army (IRA) gone magnificently awry. And, for some weird reason, John Denver music is prevalent.

In the end, we all win, as this group of jackasses end up doing the work of ridding the world of a few brainless buffoons with automatic weapons. I am sure this was a film about the dangers of guns or some shit, but as a Marine veteran, all I kept thinking was, what a bunch of fuck-ups. They’d be dead in less than two minutes if my friends had shown up, especially in the ’70s. My major take away from Free Fire is that I should get in some range time, just in case there are some jokers like this out in my neighborhood someday.

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