Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation – Review

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation – Review

Tom Cruise sets out again to save the world as super-agent Ethan Hunt in the fifth installment of the “Mission Impossible” franchise, with the latest title being “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation”. And with his usually cadre of supporting IMF agents in tow to help the ever versatile Hunt bring order to the world, we once again go on a whirlwind adventure of shadowy bad guys and bad girls who want to rain down terror on the world.

In this installment, because of a mishap that occurred in the field the CIA Director played by Alec Baldwin has decided to inform a Senate over sight committee that it’s time for IMF covert operations to be permanently disbanded, essentially leaving Agent Ethan out in the cold. But before Ethan can come in he is apprehended by a dark network of highly skilled special agents, referred to as the Syndicate. These highly trained operatives are singularly focused on their mission of creating a new world order through being a kind of “anti IMF force” as the global catalyst of escalating terrorist attacks anywhere and anytime. Ethan gathers his team together along with the help of a skillful intelligent British agent named Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who may or may not be a member of the same rogue nation Syndicate to face off this challenge and thusly giving the IMF team a truly impossible mission; solve the mystery of who and what the Syndicate is and being hunted by both the CIA and Syndicate at the same time.

PROS: As far as plot structure goes, this MI5 film is basically like the other MI films with Cruise again being both the smartest and most versatile person in the room, which is not a bad thing; it works well. Cruise wears his Hunts character like an old pair of comfortable shoes that are well broken in. He seems to know just what this character needs to do to be entertaining without being too over the top. And with the help of Director Christopher McQuarrie whose previous work was “Jack Reacher” we find a healthy infusion of a little more levity and light hearted banter between cast in this effort especially in the first hour. McQuarrie also manages to fill the screen with some excellent choreographed scenes that teetered on being both stimulating and thrilling and a bit of what I would describe as “cinematic action ballet”.  All of the action scenes are super hard charging, super clever, super smart and super executed at every turn.

CONS: Minor details, with the first being the story itself. It’s a little light on the dramatic intrigue and intensity Richter scale. Don’t get me wrong the plot is easy to understand and makes basic sense, it just felt like it was the least strong thing in a film that otherwise was so very imaginative in weaving so much dramatic action together. Typically, a good plot makes the action more credible, in this effort it’s the action that holds up the plot somewhat.  

The last thing is Jeremy Renner who plays IMF agent William Brandt. Renner is generally a fine actor, but for me he is a bit of drag on the charisma factor and with that I am not sure what if anything he specifically adds to this film franchise that could not be a done by another actor who delivers the same lines with a bit more “life”.

CONCLUSION: Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, in the first hour is a compilation of many things fast and furious fun, filled with lots of action while borrowing a bit from other well know entertainment characters to make it all work. You see some Jason Bourne, James Bond, Claude Van Damme, and John McClane. It also borrows on some entertainment pairings as well in the forms of Crocket and Tubbs and Ivan Drago and Rocky (trust me you will see the comparison rather easily). In the second hour the film starts to settle down a bit to take its plot more seriously by returning to a more dramatic pace and for me an unanticipated smart conclusion.

Ultimately, “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” feels both like watching artist Jackson Pollock during the creative process and a well-designed amusement ride. We get a good splatter of action here and a good dripping of intrigue there, all the while being taken up, down and all around in a fun filled dizzying cornucopia break neck action ride that includes Hunt on the side of a flying plane, Hunt investigating at an Opera, Hunt diving deep under water, Hunt in a car chase on a narrow street and Hunt on a hot motorcycle pursuit. You then add these attributes with some smartly conceived hand to hand fight scenes and a “sexy” knife fight, you will discover as I did that this latest Mission Impossible effort to be a highly entertaining mission to watch.


3 - 3/4 Stars    

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Southpaw – Review

Southpaw – Review

Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer and Tears of the Sun) and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams and Forest Whitaker, along with noted screenwriters Kurt Sutter ("Sons of Anarchy) and Richard Wenk, Southpaw is a boxing film about Billy Hope (Gyllenhaal), the undefeated reigning Junior Middleweight Boxing Champion of the World.

Billy Hope, a former felon in his youth, has turned his life around as we see he is now at the pinnacle of his boxing career with huge financial success, an attractive and adoring wife (McAdams), a well-adjusted adorable daughter (Oona Laurence) and a beautiful home. Shortly after a recent bout, tragedy strikes out of the blue causing his wonderful world to come spiraling crashing down, leaving Billy emotionally destroyed, friends abandoning him and virtually falling fast to the lowest of lows rock bottom. With nowhere to go Billy looks for someone to get him back on his feet and finds him in the form of retired fighter Tick Willis (Forest Whitaker) who now manages and trains one of the toughest gyms but only works with amateur boxers only. But seeing something in Billy’s sincerity, Tick decides to train Billy with a new guidance and a new focused tenacity that Billy clearly had lacked before. And now with Ticks direction we see the possibility that Billy will struggle to get back at the top again by battling pass the one person who has been his biggest source of failure; himself. In the end it is Billy’s goal he can win back the love and trust of those he has let down in his past by recommitting himself to the one things he knows best and that is to fight.

PROS: Jake Gyllenhaal is one of my favorite actors of his generation and he puts everything into this film both emotionally and physically as it is clear he has shaped his body to both perfect the movements of a professional fighter as well as get his body physically rock hard to round out the overall look. Also, Forest Whitaker predictably brings instant gravitas to any character his portrays and does not disappoint here in his role as the avuncular “Boxer Whisperer” trainer Tick Willis. And finally, while not a specific skill, I could not help notice that Rachel McAdams is fine as hell; but I digress.

CONS: “Southpaw” tries to be both “Rocky” and another older boxing film called “The Champ” that starred John Voight and a very, very young Ricky Schroeder. But this is where the films similarities end, as under the vision of Director Fuqua, while the boxing scenes were lively and realistic the overall structure of the film is mostly corny, riddle with clich├ęs’ and seems not to take the time to try develop Billy beyond being a one dimensional figure. Both Fuqua and the screenplay throughout the film struggles to make Billy and his story seem earnest enough to appreciate if he truly deserved a chance for redemption.  Ultimately, I didn’t really care if Billy got his act together mostly because he was by and large a bit of Neanderthal knuckle head who doesn’t endear the audience for any sympathy to his plight. Again, it’s not Gyllenhaal’s fault, the problem is mostly with the film itself with its “paint the colors by numbers” approach and feel and with a screenplay that just seemed to be at times not very sophisticated. It was literally like watching someone broadcast each scene aloud to the viewing audience shouting out ……”we’re getting ready to do this now in the movie”.

CONCLUSION: “Southpaw” is about unbridled anger manager and ego, and this film is steep in both, especially as to what happens when someone relies solely on those qualities one too many times. Gyllenhaal and McAdams for the first 15 minutes of the movie make that narrative of the film initially work and for a while I believed “Southpaw” film offered up some real promise it would be a bit better than it was advertised and reviewed. But by the first 30 minutes of this 2 hour effort I found myself chuckling at scenes that simply were not designed to be funny, largely because they were poorly developed, not believable and essentially not very well execute.

I take my hat off to the 3 big stars of this film as they carry this effort about as far as they possibly could with the many limitations embedded in the written material they had to work with. And while I know some will find this film genuinely entertaining, for me it was like watching a great Olympian (AKA Gyllenhaal) trying to keep the fateful cruise liner Titanic from sinking by swimming with a chain wrapped around both the propeller of the ship and the other end of the chain tied to the swimmers ankle. You applaud and appreciate the herculean effort but obviously it's to no one’s avail.


2–1/4 Stars     

Friday, July 17, 2015

Trainwreck - Review


Trainwreck - Review
If you have ever taken the time to see comedienne and actress Any Schumer’s half hour situation comedy on the Comedy Channel called “Inside Amy Schumer”, the first thing that jumps out about her is she is completely and utterly fearless in making either herself, the situation and others the focal point of a no holds barred joke; sometimes even managing to take a biting jab at all three simultaneously in that uniquely quick witty way she has about her. And along with an ever increasing national profile from her successful stand up shows, as well as the many appearances on those “star making” late night TV shows, it was only a matter time before some “studio executive head” could see her talent as something easily transferable and marketable to a much broader national audience by starring her in a featured role on the big movie screen. And why not, I mean the fact is it’s very easy to see that Amy Schumer is very talented and is also very original in her comic perceptions about modern life, both from a observational point of view (i.e. George Carlin) and as well as from the perspective of a self-assured, very confident and very millennially liberated woman who is in total charge of her own destiny, mind, spirit, body and soul.  Bottom line, she’s the hot comic right now.

On a recent episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s successful on line show “Comediennes in Cars Getting Coffee” (you should see, it’s very funny) Amy Schumer responded jokingly to a question Jerry asked her about dating in which she responded, “Yeah I wonder what it’s like is to date me?” Well, fictional or not, you can get a bit of answer to Jerry’s question in Schumer’s first starring movie role that she co-wrote and was directed and co-written by Hollywood’s go to “de-jure”  comic director these day and former stand up himself, Judd Apatow in the delightfully funny “Trainwreck”.
The movie’s plot starts out with Amy getting an early life lesson about relationships as a child from her father who is laying down the law to her and her sister that “monogamy doesn’t work”. With this facts of life moment in tow we are quickly swooped away to an adult Amy somewhat resolute by that advice in both her professional and personal life as a writer at a “Variety”-ish magazine company who is headed by a strange and slightly unorthodox eccentric editor played by the always versatile Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton.

One day her editor gives Amy an assignment to profile a local NY surgeon named Aaron Conner (Bill Hader) who has a rich clientele of famous athletes with the story delving into his medical career and mostly what’s it like to work on such high price and high profile “knees” and “ligaments”. Problem is Amy doesn’t know a thing about sports and also she could almost care less; so she‘s just going to wing it.
We also see early on when Amy is not working she sleeps around a lot because again as told by her father “monogamy doesn’t work” and with that, Amy’s philosophical focus on life is laid out in full. Whether it’s with her relationships at work, the relationship with her sister and her family or her own personal life relationships, she practices Daddy’s advice to the tee by always putting it to confident ephemeral use, especially when it comes to sex “monogamy doesn’t work”. And whether it’s a new boyfriend or some fly by sexual encounter again “monogamy still doesn’t work”. That is the case until she interviews the steadfast “good” Doctor Connor.

PROS: There are some drop down to your knees very funny moments in the film, but what surprised me greatly was as much as this is film is advertised and marketed as a comedy, it’s more of a sweet drama that has real life situations that just naturally turned very funny. And while some of these scenes were structurally set up to be pushed comedically outside the norm of reality, they were still very funny nonetheless. But even with plenty laughs to go around for almost two hours,  “Trainwreck” is going for something grander and loftier in its goal and that is it wants to tell a sweet romantic more dramatic tale that just so happens along its way has some laughs in it.
CONS: While it didn’t bother me, for those that it does, there are some jokes that are crude and vulgar with its R rating, but nevertheless still funny. In addition there was a couple of scenes that seem somewhat clunky and added marginally to the story. Some of those involved NBA all-star LeBron James with Bill Hader which did have its moment of genuine humor as James is basically playing the romantic advisory to his friend Dr. Connor. James puts a good heartfelt effort to his screen time, but to no fault of his own his scenes (story wise) felt kind of misplaced. I applaud Lebron’s acting skills as he was actually pretty good though essentially playing himself. Still I felt James’s character’s role seemed more as a throw in to the film to make it more marketable to a wider audience rather than having James actually adding something to the film’s story essential or meaningful to the plot. They could have done more with him as he clearly could have carried his own weight.
Finally there were two scenes that seem to range from odd to silly.  One involving NBA announcer Marv Albert, Chris Evert, Matthew Broderick and Lebron that I felt was completely stupid and needless. The other scene was a cheer leading routine that for me while cute could have been written differently or better or just simply cut out altogether which would of made the natural continuation to the films conclusion more connected to the film overall. 

CONCLUSION: “Trainwreck” kind of touches on the old adage “the sins of the father are passed on to the son”, only in this case it is with a girl named Amy which in the form of fatherly advice was misguided and hurtful. A larger point of the film is its paradigm shift on the way we will probably be seeing future stories of romantic tales as part of our entertainment. The fact is 30 years, ago this same movie’s plot would have had the sexual promiscuous lead, with the same foibles and mishaps as the man, while the “I want to settle down” loving well-adjusted co-star good doctor surgeon in the gender form of a woman.
Role reversals is basically what “Trainwreck” is working with at its core, but more importantly the larger story examines how we are just changing in the way we engage in intimacy as a whole as we parallel try to promote human and gender equality. The fact is we are impatient for most things now and are constantly trying to find even faster quicker ways to interact with one another in less and less spans of time even to the point of 140 characters (Tweeter) or less. Trainwreck is just a new modern narrative of how we interact differently in matters of love than our parents when they were growing up. Is that good? Is that bad? Is it neither? I don’t know. Is it funnier? Probably yes.

Overall, “Trainswreck” is fun to watch as it takes a smart, somewhat sly moral approach to discussing current gender sexuality through a balanced examination via an old romantic story formula told many times before. But in Director Apatow case he manages to push this old format with just enough of the right key board strokes to keep it fresh and unpredictable. And while the film is an unapologetic effort of how people today (especially in regards to sex) are just honest with each other, even sometimes brutally so, there are other times we are brutally honest and hilariously so.
Schumer and Hader worked well together as the love interest. Also there are some great lines of humor performed by a homeless man on a street corner that I wished they had included more of him in the film. But the real strength of this film is Schumer who is sharp, sensitive and even effectively dramatic in ways that surprised me. She is a woman in her own time with all the fantasy doting “Stepford wife” illusions completely stripped away. And while Trainswreck is far from great, Schumer carried this film from beginning to end and would not surprise me if she gets an Oscar Nomination for Best Actress next year.

“Trainwreck”, as a film is definitely worth your money and your time even though I feel it is far more somber than you may think going it. You won’t be short changed on the comic meter, but you will probably remember less the various clever biting edgy jokes and more the life lessons it tries to teach.
 3 – 1/2 Stars

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Amy - Review

Amy – Review

Amy is a 2015 British documentary film that tells the life story of singer-songwriter superstar Amy Winehouse who rocketed to stardom and by the age of 27 was dead due to alcohol intoxication and the long term effects of drugs and bulimia.

Directed by Asif Kapadia, the film starts with a 1998 home movie of the 14-year-old precocious Winehouse singing along with her long-time friend, Juliette Ashby, at the birthday party of their mutual friend, Lauren Gilbert, at a home in Southgate, London.  From there on the film is a very entertaining, informative and pleasant paced effort  showing the songwriter's life from her infant childhood to her established music career that quickly attained commercial success through her debut album, “Frank” (2003), the number one album of the 21st century and her critically acclaimed multiple Grammy winning “Back to Black” (2006). The film also delves into to her troubled intimate relationships, those who (in my estimation) selfishly leeched on her success, her relationship with her divorced parents, her hidden secret of bulimia nervosa and her eventual slow spiraling downfall from addictive drugs and alcohol addiction that lead her death on a Saturday July 23, 2011 in Camden, London, England.

Overall the film provided some superb footage of Winehouse many performances and songs, as well as her insights about music, her early music influences, how she felt about love and what she wanted to accomplish, especially her desire to make music without all of the kinetic energy of fame itself that typically comes along with being a success in the music entertainment industry.

PROS: Amy (documentary) is as mesmerizing of a cinematic effort of a real life story you will ever see. And if you like music as I am certain all humans do in some form, you can see early on that Miss Winehouse was born with a truly rare gift of musical interpretation that set her apart from a generation of other singers like no other. Aptly described in the film, Amy Winehouse was a “genius old soul in a young woman’s body”. The film “Amy” took me down a path of lush musical vocal richness that had me wondering where she came up with her phrasing in that instinctive moment; a gift from the gods I guess one would say. 

“Amy” is a powerful punch to your musical gut and soul as we watch this great talent move perilously to the sadness that awaits us the viewer of her shorten life. And with each progression of the film’s march to her faithful conclusion you wonder almost aloud in the theater why someone didn’t just grab her physically to save her. Some did try, but as you will discover watching this film you wonder if sometimes if destiny is just bigger than someone’s ability of just saying “no” to a friend.

CONS: None.

CONCLUSION: “Amy” shows the dual effects of how fame not unlike for so many other entertainers that proceeded her (Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin & Kurt Kobain) can have an oxymoronic effect on a talented life allowing some to achieve both incredible financial and critical success and almost simultaneously a cryptic irreversible damaged personal life. While I felt like most people going in to see “Amy” that this would be a confirming tale of how she had wasted her talent; I was wrong.  Instead the film with the steady hand of its Director moved away from that morbid idea towards a more enduring belief that along with an incredible talent she was also a warm, funny, personable, smart, self-assured, sweet, attractive, sexy and overall a very lovely human being.

Amy is something both highly entertaining and other times powerfully hard to watch. And while it has the feeling of a slow moving unraveling devastating train wreck, the film manages nonetheless to emotionally keep you focus much less on the notoriety of her death and more on the incredible vocal talent she possessed.  

Amy will certainly be nominated for an Academy Award Best Documentary and if my pass success in predictions holds true I believe it is now the favorite to win. I will also say unless some eight better films come along for the remainder of the year, it “Amy” will be hard pressed not to be in my personal top 10 films for 2015. It gets inside your head with so much raw and real intimacy I felt Miss Winehouse was in the theater just to sing to me.

This is a must see film for 2015. A great story, a great talent, a tragic ending and some great music to both spirit you emotionally away and to remind you of her unique gifted spirit.


4 Stars

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Inside Out - Review

Inside Out - Review

From the geniuses at Pixar Studio who brought to the big screen such financially successful and notably acclaimed animated feature films as “Toy Story”, “Monsters, Inc.”,  “Finding Nemo”, “Ratatouille”, and “Wall – E”, they now offer up their latest imaginative effort called “Inside Out”.

The story begins with the telling of an infant girl born to loving parents in Minnesota who they name “Riley”. Riley is typical of new born infants; that being outside of crying, she like most new born infants are somewhat devoid of any real outward expressive emotions until eventually over a short period of time they start to recognize the faces and voices of their parents which helps them learn their very first expressive emotion in the form of a loving smile. And it is with that first emotional spark in Riley’s early life and expressive growth we see her lifelong emotional development in the forms of 5 basic emotional “worker-bees” who live inside of her maturity headquarters (so to speak). They’re job is to be ever diligent in working to add and or subtracted the right balance of range of emotions with the ultimate goal of helping Riley have a long, happy, joyous and loving life.  Sounds complicated? It’s not.

But as we all know in real life, as I am certain we can recall our own emotional experiences and journeys the growing up part and managing emotions can be a tough road that is filled with bumps along the way. With Riley we see early on there are no exceptions for her either when she finds out about age 10 or so she is being uprooted from her Midwest comfortable life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco.

“Riley’s headquarter emotional worker-bees” know what is at stake and begin to work especially hard “inside of her” to make sure her “outside” emotions remain generally happy and upbeat. So guided by her core emotions, Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) they all begin to try to guide her in this new transition of life of having to leave her friends, team mates and the natural environment of Minnesota to help navigate her emotions in a new city, a new house, a new school and new friends. Got it? Sure you did.

PROS: The conceptualization of this film by attempting to explore adolescence emotions and emotional maturity is nothing short of genius here, especially in how young children learn to balance out the maturity pendulum swings of life in the form of either pure joy and or pure crisis. “Inside Out” is not an animated drama as it is very funny throughout, but its real creative genius lies in how they were able to tell this story so effectively by not making it into some animated dramatic episode on the Dr. Phil Show. Instead I left the theater wondering who the incredible minds were that mange to conceived this fantastic film idea and then take the meticulous effort of putting it all together in the form of a wonderfully warm, funny, joyous, educational and informative script of how we all grow up as children.

CONS: None really other than I saw some infant children in the ages of 5 - 7 years old in the theater that in my estimation won’t get the gist of the plot about maturing human emotions. However for kids 8 -15 this is a cinematic treasure to all parents and should be required viewing for those with kids this age.

CONCLUSIONS: “Inside Out” is one of the most imaginative and inventive films whether animation or not I have ever seen. With its highly visual expressive rich colors, the real strength of this film is in the details of showcasing the joys, the pitfalls and the eventual joys again of emotional growth. “Inside Out” is uniquely adroit in its navigation for 90 minutes in delving into child psychology of how we learn to developed friendships, how we manage the complexity of family dynamics,  the vibrancy and effects of basic human joy and the range of emotions we may have from anxiety to anger that are sometimes associated with sadness.

Words and expressions like master piece, impeccably made, cinematically entertaining, humorous beyond what it should have been (given the subject), outright silly and funny, directorially unpredictable, delightful and exciting to watch easily come to my mind and in the end emotionally resonated for me. It reached well beyond the simply task of getting me to go see an entertaining movie. Instead it surprised me big time, by challenged me which ultimately delighted me the entire way through.

Finally, two points. Point one, I have to say how much this entire cast put so much expressive verbal energy into this film, especially Amy Poehler who if you should see this in the theater she is in fact the star in the form of the emotion “Joy”. It takes real talent to read lines and make them sound like sounds we associate daily when we hear what we think are the sounds of someone actually being happy and filled with joy, She was nothing short of superb here and while the Academy will never nominate her for doing animation voice over, I think her performance is truly worthy of an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. She is that good.

Point two, if you think this is still some kiddy movie you would be so wrong. This film worked for me and I encourage you all if you like quality films regardless of the format as I do, to go see it in the theater. I am almost 100% certain it will be nominated for both overall Best Picture and Best Animation film and could be the rare animation film that could seriously challenge to win Oscar gold in both categories.  

To paraphrase a line from the singer Nat King Cole's legendary song “The Christmas Song” (Chestnuts Roasting on An Open Fire), Pixar has executed a masterful film for the kid in all of us “from 1 to 92”. 


4 Stars Plus

Friday, July 3, 2015

Terminator Genisys – Review

Terminator Genisys – Review

Arnold Schwarzenegger reprises one of his most significant roles in what is the fifth installment of the lucrative action packed films called essentially the Terminator films, with this new effort bringing his cyborg leading character to life again, albeit a bit older, a lot grayer, showing signs of aging and overall displaying a tad of sentimentally and humanity in the new effort called “Terminator Genisys”.

Along with Arnold, the supporting cast is eclectically impressive ranging from Emilia Clarke (Sarah Conner) who is probably more well-known from her current role as Daenerys Targaryen in HBO’s “Game of Thrones”; Jason Clarke (John Connor) who’s impressive film resume includes “Public Enemies”, “Zero Dark Thirty”, and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; Jai Courtney (Kyle Reese) who has been seen in “Jack Reacher” and  “The Divergent Series; and finally J.K. Simmons who recently won the Supporting Actor Oscar for his role “Whiplash”.

The story starts pretty much where all the others have in the future where we see the beginning of the end of normal life on earth as an artificial self-serving intelligence called Skynet unleashes an all-out nuclear assault against humanity because it perceives humans as the real threat to the planet. And as in the original 1984 Terminator we see the dreary remains of earth as humans have banded together to fight the machines who have taken control of earth with their flying machines and metal skeleton red eyed cyborgs.

Early in “Terminator Genisys” we see the humans fighting essentially what they see as the final battle to defeat the Skynet cyborgs by an assault to where resistance leader John Connors believes the brain of Skynet is located. Once they captured the facility the cyborgs are in fact defeated for good or maybe not. John Connors realizes before Skynet was shut down it sent back a Terminator (looking like the original Arnold Looking cyborg from 1984) to go back in time to 1984 to kill his mother Sarah Connor which means John Connor is never born and the recent victory never took place.

John Connor decides to send his most trusted lieutenant Kyle Reese to both protect his mother and killed the cyborg which will preserve their recent victory in the future. Got it? Makes sense so far?  Good, because it goes all downhill from here.

PROS: As expected the special effects, the reimagining of the young 1984 Arnold in the film, the updating of the liquid metal alloyed cyborgs and the overall visuals of the film are very tight, state of the art and just very impressive overall.

CONS: The story structure is confusing as hell. First, they start explain stuff in the dialog which means when you have to do that for the viewing audience that is usually a huge neon flashing sign that the film will have huge problems executing it story. Second, there is so much going back and forth about who came back from what time period or what is the future and when someone will be there or not be there I pretty gave up trying to stay connected to that aspect of the plot. Third, I have no clue who is the father of John Connor after watching “Terminator Genisys”. Why? Because the film is all over the place structurally. I mean they literally showed some scenes that were almost visually verbatim and identical from the first two more superior Terminator films, but then they tell you in the dialogue from this Terminator Genisys film that everything that you remember about those two films never ever happened. Got it? Again, similar looking scenes and screenplays from the originals films that never happened. I am not making this up folks. I mean by the time they got through explaining about whose baby mama drama John Connor was or wasn’t I fully thought it was time for Maury Povich to come on the screen to say “the test says…………… you are the father”.

CONCLUSION: As always I never tell anyone not to see a film. I believe there is always some value in all films, as in the case with Terminator Genisys the action was general good enough to keep me in my seat with eyes general fixed to the screen for the 2:00 hour running time. HOWEVER, if you pay good money to see this film in the theater now instead of waiting to view it on basic cable a year from now, I would say that is truly a mistake.  Really, this should be one of those few times you should just trust me to save your money for use on something far more meaningful with a greater prospect of bearing some real tangible benefit to your life, say like buying a $12 dollar ticket for a $500 million dollar Powerball prize.

Terminator Genisys has the Arnold back, it has all of the cyborgs back and it has some decent action scenes back, but it has none of the spine tingling dramatically weighty thrills back that made the first two films really memorable.

2 Stars