Author: Knuckles

SPECTRE

If “Diamonds Are Forever”(the 7th film in the franchise), then James Bond has undeniably become a crown jewel; in the U.S., as well as Great Britain. For over half a century the British superspy has entertained millions of rabid fans, and adapted to every social, political, and economic zeitgeist, to become the longest running film series in cinematic history. And, so far, does not show any signs of slowing down, or stopping. As long as there are actors to play the role, James Bond may be around for another fifty years. Daniel Craig is the sixth to inhabit the iconic role, and like his predecessors, has brought a certain uniqueness to Bond’s personality. Craig tailored Bond to rely less on Q’s gadgets (other than a pistol programmed to his palm print), and more on his instinctive wits. He exudes this novelty in his fourth outing as 007 in Spectre. Bond 24 opens in the way all Bond fans expect, with a viscerally staged action sequence. This time our British spy is undercover, sans costume, in Mexico City, partaking in the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) fes-tivities. Once he breaks free of the celebration, it’s all out chaos in the streets, and in the air, as Bond attempts to exercise his license to kill on a man named Sciarra who plans to commit an extremely dangerous act....

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Bridge of Spies

Tensions during the infamous Cold War were always in the red in both the United States and the former Soviet Union. From the early “Baby Boom” 50’s to the early turbulent 60’s, apprehensions of atomic war be-tween the two super powers was a social constant, as well as an unfortunate reality. During this time both sides were engaged in active espionage to ac-quire nuclear secrets. Based upon the true story, faithfully adapted by sibling scribes Joel and Ethan Coen, Bridge of Spies kicks off in 1957 Brooklyn. Quiet, mild mannered Russian immigrant Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) spends most of his time canvassing the city and in his relatively unkempt apartment, painting New York scenery and portraits. He also happens to be a Russian spy. When the FBI crashes his abode and arrests him for espionage, insurance attorney, James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) of a prestigious law firm , is practically forced into the unenviable task of defending him. Meanwhile, our own government is not exactly avoiding undercover operations, sending Air Force pilot Francis G. Powers (Austin Stowell) into harms way by flying a U-2 Reconnaissance plane over Russia to take photos. Regrettably, his “under cover” aircraft, despite it’s aerial capability, does not escape Russian missiles. He is shot down and captured. So they have one of ours, and vice versa. Notwithstanding the movie trailer’s reveal, it really doesn’t take...

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Woodlawn

As with War Room, it’s a bit difficult to be completely objective with a Christian faith based film when you are a believer. Especially when the film just happens to be a true story of faith and not fiction. Woodlawn is a true story. It is a genuine tale of the miraculous spiritual transformation of a high school football team still suffering from the ungodly malignancy of racism. After a brief historical prologue of racial protests and violence, we fade in on the recently desegregated Woodlawn High School where Coach Tandy Gerelds (Nic Bishop) struggles to keep the peace between his Black and White football players. He’s not exactly thrilled, or enforcing either. The ivory skinned players insist that playing together and showering together with their Black counterparts are two different things. Our main focus is on promising young Running Back, Tony Nathan, the very first African American to play football for Woodlawn. He is quite talented, and the coach knows it. Tony is eventually joined by other Black players, much to the chagrin of the Caucasian group who at times during practice try to inflict as much physical hurt on them as possible. Just when Coach Gerelds may feel it’s a hopeless case, in walks Hank (Lord of the Rings alum Sean Astin). He humbly introduces himself as a Sports Chaplain and asks the coach if he could...

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War Room

War Room opened in theaters across America on 28 August 2015. As of this writing it is still in theaters and apparently, despite the usual detractors and numerous scathing reviews, the film is resonating with people across the nation. The faith based pic managed to garner a 97% Audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, one of the most popular movie rating sites in the country. Some critics may think it’s cheesy, but this film must be doing something right. Having been a born again Christian for 35 years now, it’s difficult even as an amateur film critic to be completely objective about a film like this. It made me cry. And any movie that makes me cry, instantly receives a 10 for 10 rating,whether Christian or secular. Many Christians, as well as other believers pray regularly, and War Room focuses on prayer, that extremely important aspect in our daily lives. The “cheesy” War Room opens with a solemn elderly MissClara (Karen Abercrombie) standing before the grave of her late husband. Her grief is obvious, and you automatically assume she makes frequent visits. Despite the mourning, there is still a certain resolve that she manages to convey. Her personal loss is naturally tragic, but her inner strength compensates for it. In another part of town, there’s another tragedy in the making. A family is falling apart, beginning with one of the...

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Black Mass

Peabody award winning film maker Joe Berlinger’s high profile documentary, “Whitey: United States of America vs. James J. Bulger”, kicks off with a frightening tale of extortion. South Bostoner, “Southie”, Stephen Rakes recounts the ominous visit from Bulger and his henchman, Kevin Weeks, and their murderous threats against him and his family. Weeks and his wife had just opened a liquor store that Whitey Bulger “insisted” be-coming a “partner” in. With the life of his family, particularly his two young daughters at stake, Weeks had no choice but to comply. It’s so unfortunate that despite Whitey Bulger’s savage, merciless actions, not to mention money laundering, racketeering, and drug trafficking, our own FBI forged an “alliance” with a gangster so notorious, he moved up second to Osama Bin Laden on their most wanted list. Prayerfully they have learned that making a deal with the devil has tragic consequences. In any case, Bulger and the FBI was more than ready for big screen treatment. After a few cinematic missfires i.e. Transcendence, but especially Mortdecai, the incredibly versatile Johnny Depp is back in superb form as the titular Irish gangster James “Whitey” Bulger in director Scott Cooper”s “Black Mass.” Indeed, according to Entertainment Weekly, Depp’s makeup was so impeccable, that some on the film set who knew Bulger intimately could not even look at him. Maybe it was like looking at a...

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