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NEW MOVIE TUESDAY:  A DISEASE YOU CAN SHARE WITH OTHERS
WITHOUT GETTING INTO TROUBLE!

 

        PICK(s) OF THE WEEK:   BAADSHAHO, DARK TOWER

 Valerian and the City of 1000 Planets.  The tale starts in the 21st Century with the International Space Station.  The opening continues through to the 28th Century and the space station has grown so large with beings from all over the galaxy sharing their knowledge and culture protected from danger by humanoids.   The station had grown so large it had to be pushed away from Earth's gravity in order to survive.  Cut to a planet of beings who embrace paradise and the idyllic life being destroyed by a battle outside their atmosphere.  The planet is destroyed, careers are made, lies are told, two peacekeepers are tasked with protecting a priceless artifact, then things get really interesting.  Heavy on the CGI, beautifully filmed, interesting characters, fairly derivative narrative.
Worth watching once, it is Luc Besson directed after all.

NETFLIX - Punisher.  Excellent, brutal and a bit repetitive 13 episode series following Frank Castle AKA Punisher in his quest for vengeance against the people who murdered his family, his incarceration and supposed death, his teaming with Micro, a former CIA IT guy who was supposedly killed a year prior, who has proof of American wrong doing in Kandahar of which Frank was a part, Frank's former soldier brothers who have been committing crimes under the guise of private security and cover of the CIA.  Tangled webs are woven to bring the season to a reasonable close.  No real need to continue.  Punisher finally gets the filmic treatment he has needed.
All monkey thumbs up.

  AMAZON - LORE. 6 simple tales explaining the things that frightened us through the ages. Interesting casting of one known actor to lead the tales. Everything has a basis in fact.
1. They Made a Tonic-Campbell Scott as a man who loses his entire family to consumption in a bizarre tale of making sure the dead are dead and not people buried alive.  Saved by the Bell.
2. Echoes -Colm Feore as the father of modern lobotomy. What an altruistic creep.  The close up and personal needle in the eye is exceptionally cringe-worthy!
3. Black Stockings - John Byner whose daughter is accused of being a fairy changeling by her disgruntled husband because she earns more money than he and has decided to wear black stockings.
4. Passing Notes - Robert Patrick as a man of logic, haunted by notes dropping from his ceiling foretelling death and destruction to his family until it all comes true.
5. Beast Within - Adam Goldberg in an origin story for Little Red Riding Hood.  Missing children end up being dismembered. One little girl has dreams about it and the beast perpetrator.  Turns out it's not an animal afterall.
7. Unboxed -  Kristin Bauer van Straten is the mother of a lonely odd child.  He is given a creepy cloth doll to make up for his lack of friends.  Thus begins the urban legend of creepy dolls performing awful acts against humanity.  Hope they produce more episodes.

  NETFLIX: Alias Grace.  Oh Canada.  A young Irish woman fresh off the boat is thrown out by her father, taken in by a house-maid, given a job, clothes and a pittance.  Grace is then bartered to the home of a known rapscallion (played beautifully by our Canadian favorite Paul Gross) by his overly creepy housekeeper/lover.  Murder ensues and Grace's story is played out in her recollections to an alienist who is trying to get her released from prison at the behest of a group of wealthy patrons who think she got a raw deal.  Did she or didn't she.  The feeling you are left with is Grace is a manipulative bitch who did not deserve freedom at the hands of a man who condemned her in the first place.  Dark, rich, creepy and very well done.  A must see.

  Undercover Grandpa.  Wow.  James Caan and his own cast of dependable expendables come out of retirement to save his grandson's girlfriend from bad spies.  Each geezer brings his own set of skills though somewhat rusty on an adventure of a lifetime.  Kind of special and kind of painful to watch.

  Atomic Blonde.  Could have/should have been kick-ass.  Instead this was a lame melange of Salt/Wanted/Lara Croft/ (anyone sensing a theme here?)  It's 1989 just before the Berlin Wall comes down.  Theron is said Atomic Blonde thrust into a spy vs spy caper between East and West not knowing who to trust/thrust//lust or just kill in this at time lame/stale/sorry excuse for an action/spy movie.  There are a few scenes of action and some recognizable faces that take the sting out of the extraordinary badness of it all.  Was really hoping for something fun and all TA got was rehash.  So sad.

  1922.  Based on a Steven King novella, 1922 is a derivative tale of a man doing a bad thing and being tormented for it the rest of his life. Terrible performances by Thomas Jane  and Molly Parker make this nearly unwatchable.  For some unknown reason the movie people thought it would be good for Jane to use a nearly unintelligible way of speaking.  Man murders his wife with the help of his son because he covets her acres of farm land and she won't give them to him.  Then he kills a cow to cover up the murder, then his son knocks up his teenage girlfriend, they go on lam as the Kissing bandits and die horrible frozen deaths after a robbery gone wrong.  Man then goes to a hotel in town to write his confession and rats and the spirits of his dead family come to kill him.  The end.  Nothing new, nothing inventive, nothing creepy.  Basically nothing.

 Megan Leavey.  Megan has a shitty life and joins the Marines to escape.  She becomes a bomb dog handler and is sent to IRAQ to look for IEDs.  After serving with distinction she is sent home and is discharged after an explosion, her dog is deployed to Afghanistan.  The movie is a chronicle of her legal battle to be allowed to adopt him after he is retired.  Based on her true story.

 SECURITY.  A jobless war veteran takes a security guard job at a shopping mall to get himself back into civilian life after a rough patch where he had to leave his wife and child in an attempt to get over his war experiences.  The guards are all doofuses and effect a knowledge of tactics.  Enter a scared little girl.  Enter an evil man and his henchmen who will do anything to kill her.  Child gets into mall.  Security guards want to help her.  Bad guys offer guards money to let them kill her.  Not going to happen on his watch.  Organizing the guards into a makeshift team they proceed to barricade the mall.  Bad guys blow the crap out of everything.  Vet kills them all with some help from the guards and the kid.  Entertaining.

  The TICK.  This Amazon version of my beloved blue dim superhero is wonderful.  The Tick is a goof with a big heart.  Too much Arthur though.  He's mostly annoying.  6 episodes give us a taste of justice the Tick way.  Looking forward to season 2.

MURDERLAND. A dead prostitute, her young daughter, the cop on the scene, years of mental issues, bad decisions, broken dreams.  On the eve of her wedding the now grown daughter runs back to the cop to find out how her mother died.  A huge conspiracy unravels until the bittersweet end.  Well done.

 ARROWHEAD.  Interesting Aussie film about the Earth divided into two factions and tearing itself apart. A prisoner of war is given an opportunity to gain his freedom by performing a rescue mission on a far off moon.  After crash landing and being eaten by a bug then transformed into a crazy hybrid, Kye continues his mission to rescue the girl and get back to Earth.  Now he has the power to kill the bad guys as a killer bug-man.  Loads of fun.
 

 Rocky Handsome.  A  lonely pawnbroker with a dark and noble past does what he can to save the next door drug addict mom's young daughter when drug thugs kidnap her.  He kills many thugs until he gets the girl back, then gives himself up to police for his wrong doings.  He asks the shop keeper to watch over here until he can come back from prison.  Lots of action and bloodshed.

  Force 2. A good cop with a dark and noble past and a RAW agent must work together to discover the mole within RAW that is killing their agents in China without provoking a major international incident. Action and bloodshed ensue when the cop follows his gut while waiting for the RAW agent to follow her protocols.

  Asoka.  Story of a prince who wants to rule his country with only his corrupt brothers at his side.  The good brother goes out into the world and pretends to be an average guy, meets a girl (who happens to be a princess in exile with her little brother the new king of their country), dancing and singing ensues.  He is called home by his queen mother, his brother's plot to kill him, he becomes a monster on the battlefield after killing his brothers, ascends the throne and goes to conquer the kingdom of the girl he loved. Though he doesn't know it.  When death comes for the boy king Asoka becomes a man of faith and writes immutable laws of behavior that have stood the test of time.

  Bodyguard.  A silly trifle that starts with a young boy reading a journal written by his mother about a rich man who kills the son of a gangster and must hire a bodyguard to protect his spoiled daughter at college.  The daughter makes fun of the guard and plots to make his life miserable by pretending to be someone else on the phone who says she loves him.  Action, singing, dancing and wackiness ensues when she falls in love with him for real and he falls in love with the made up girl.  After the singing and dancing several attempts are made on her life but the bodyguard thwarts them at every turn.  In a final fight with the bad guys the girl's father accuses him of wanting to elope with his daughter and the bodyguard says that he's meeting his love at the train station.  The daughter has sent her best friend there to meet him so her father won't kill him. Of course the friend lies, marries him and gives him the son reading the journal.  In the end a bittersweet happy ending.

  Singham.  A small town police officer well-loved and respected by his village with a theme song all his own, is transferred to the big city after a confrontation with a gangster brought to town for a bail hearing.  Singham finds himself at first alone fighting corruption, then with the help of his men and the woman who loves him, he crushes the criminals, saves the town and gets the girl.  Singing and dancing happens between police work and chasing bad-guys. Highly entertaining> Watch out for the lion paw swat.  It's a knock out.

  Baabul.  A full Hindi movie that could have been made at the Hallmark Channel.  A real tear jerker. A son returns home after many years away and goes to work for his Father.  When golfing he meets a lovely artist and does what he can to win her over.  Lots of customs are adhered to.  They fall in love, get married, have a kid then in a freak accident he is killed crossing a street.  the father-in-law feels so bad for his daughter0in-law that he brings home her childhood friend who has coincidentally loved her all his life and convinces them that it is in everyone's interests that they ignore Hindi custom and marry.  Lots of singing and dancing.

  Madras Cafe.  A soldier with a dark and noble past recounts his days in Sri Lanka trying to kill a rebel leader and save the prime minister from assassination.  The movie follows his efforts, the backstabbing bureaucracy he must contend with every day and the reporter who helps uncover the conspiracy of traitors. Lots of action and bloodshed.

  Bahubali 1: the beginning.  A dramatic beginning...older woman of obvious import is fleeing some enemy with a swaddled baby.  In a dramatic plea to God she drowns in a river while saving the baby who is then saved by villagers of some import.  The baby grows into super-stud-hood and does whatever he can to make his mother's life easier.  Tradition has it that if you climb the water mountain you'll find a magical place.  Fantasy, love, music, dancing, fights, flashbacks, family history and epic battle abound in this Hindi production of a young man's journey toward destiny.  Bahubali 2 the Continuation.  Mehendra Bahubali learns who he is and who is father was and who his mother is and that she must be rescued.  Epic battles, wind-blown hair, shooting arrows together, singing and dancing, familial obligations, and the ultimate defeat of the evil doers.  This is Hindi movie making on an epic scale.  Freaking AWESOME!!!!!

Rudhramadevi Warrior Queen.  Born to the king a girl, raised as a boy to be Prince, then ultimately king of the greatest kingdom in India.  Epic battles, singing, dancing, love stories, bad guys, bandits, rival kings, court intrigue to dethrone him/her.  Family squabbles.  Ultimate sacrifice to save the kingdom.  AWESOME!!!

  The Hollow Point.  Small towns along the US Mexico border are caught in a battle between Anglo law enforcement and the Mexican drug cartels.  Los Reyes in one such town where poor folk buy up ammo and sell it across the border to make a living.  The no-nonsense sheriff stops one such fellow and all hell breaks loose.  The old guy is out on suspension pending trial and a home town boy comes back to take his place.  "I thought you were dead...asshole" are a recurring theme when townsfolk see that he is back and in uniform as the new sheriff.  During the investigation a Mexican hitman with a list of people to kill is discovered, the new sheriff loses his hand to a machete, the new sheriff's ex-girlfriend is mixed up with all the players and is on the list.  Wackiness ensues as they all try to find out what's going on and survive.  Entertaining.

  John Wick Chapter 2.  What won't this assassin do for love?  This is the best Valentine anyone ever gave Team Apeonaut.  True, we said that about Dead Pool last year, but this time we mean it. No, we really mean it.  John Wick is a guy who un-retired himself to avenge the death of the puppy his dead wife sent him and to get the guy who stole his car.  He doesn't get his car back until Chapter 2.  And not just any car.  The car holds in its glove box as it turns out a lovely card from his now dead wife and photo of her with him in  happier times.  How Hallmark is that!!!  Did Team Apeonaut mention the crazy hyper-action sequences that went with getting his car back?  Peace at last.  Or is it.  A marker held against Wick is called in.  Wick doesn't want to pay it.  All hell breaks loose and Wick is forced to do a job he doesn't want and then pile up the bodies so high the Spartan 300 would be proud of him.  Wick literally punches people to death with bullets.  Freaking awesome!  We get a little more humor in this movie with the scene with the Weapons sommelier and the tactical tailor that give Wick some of his best accessories and let us not forget the scene back in New York where the Bowery King gives Wick a beautiful 1911 .45 hand gun with only 7 rounds.  Seven rounds.  Really.  I think the movie death count trackers had a difficult time counting the bodies in this whack-fest.  What joyous fun.  The viewer gets insights into the criminal organization that Wick was once a part and how intricate and well connected that organization is.  So many questions answered and so many more asked.  W2 leaves the door wide wide open for Wick 3 Loves Labors Lost or some such.  We can't wait!!!  All monkey thumbs up enthusiastically.  We're glad you're back Mr. Wick.  As always it is a pleasure.
 

Paradox Season 1.  Manchester police deal with a series of crimes that haven't happened yet.  A scientist is receiving images from a wormhole or elsewhere of future crimes/disasters/events that go so wrong and gets the police involved to interpret the images and solve the issues.  Of course everyone they save/solve leads to some as yet undisclosed butterfly effect.  Not sure why all these serialized police shows need some lead officer to be damaged in some way so that they must overcome some issue in order to move on.  The lead in this one starts to  have a god-complex while trying to solve the mysterious happenings that are coinciding with sunspot activities.   Very similar to Frequency.

  Marcella Season 1.  A woman cop takes 12 years off the force to keep her family together.  Her husband leaves her anyway for a younger, blonder model.  She is reinstated at the police in time to investigate a series of brutal murders that are very similar to the ones she left behind.  Every major character is then snared in each other's bullshit and the whole season comes crashing down on Marcella, who in reality is a pretty lousy cop.

  Deep Water Season 1.  Bondi Beach, Australia.  Tori comes home to be a cop in her own backyard.  In between heinous crimes, she discovers a tie between gay murders now and 20 years ago.  No one believes her until a disgraced cop obsessed with the old murders shows her evidence from those cases that links the same players to the present killings.  Entertaining show. 

 JO.  this is a weird entry into foreign police procedurals.  Jo is an old volatile heart problem plagued police lieutenant in the elite violent crime squad of the Paris police.  The show is in English, odd in itself as the French only want French spoken or written.  The mix of actors is peculiar as well; Jill Hennessey, Sam Waterston, Jean Reno, Miryam D'Abo, to name a few.  So many familiar faces such a mediocre show.  The police investigate violent crimes while Jo tries to reconnect with his daughter.
Meh.
 

  Witnesses season 2.  The French police in this season try to discover the connection between a woman who returns after 3 years with no memory of her family and who has just given birth to a missing baby and a creepy orphanage, a creepy guy who wanted the orphans to live their potentials without rules, several missing women who have babies that are taken from their dead bodies.  The babies grow up in a cult stealing, killing, existing.  The police in this drama are mediocre at best.  The lead cop is troubled, divorced and pretty stupid for a lead cop.  No happy endings.

  The Island.  Bizarre Russian movie that begins near the end of WWII when German U-Boat sailors force a Russian coal-tending seaman kill his captain.  30 years pass and the Russian is old, bent and still shoveling coal from a wrecked boat to heat his cabin on the island across the inlet.  He works in a small community of monks out in the frozen wastes of Russia.  Villagers think he can heal the sick, exorcise demons and foretell the future.  The movie has no subtitles so you have to get the gist of insanity by everyone's actions.  Totally crazy and awesomely beautiful in its desolation and desperation.

  Jericho of Scotland Yard.  1950's London.  People are living it up post-war with loose morals, interracial couplings, cover-ups, gang violence and in the middle is Jericho, an upstanding, no-nonsense inspector who busts heads first and asks questions later.  What drives him?  Possibly the fact that his father was murdered by a shady business man and everyone knows it but they can't prove it.

Renegade.  At least actors get paychecks with movies like these. Eclectic cast of actors come together to be taught the mystic arts by Native Americans, own large ranches worked by Mexicans, be an evil German treasure hunter who will stop at nothing to get the prize, be a whacked gunslinger who wants to steal the native's shamanistic spells so he can rule the world, be a wild child sent to live with a cruel uncle, who then has his first love (a whore) killed by the whacked gunslinger, or so he thinks.  This movie is so off-kilter and poorly acted that it is interesting to see what happens.

  Autumn Blood.  Weird ass nearly devoid of dialogue foreign film about a family living on a hill far from town gets torn apart when the mayor murders the father, the young son grows up mute after witnessing it, the mother and kids live on subsistence until the mother dies so the daughter collects the checks starting in motion a chain reaction of raping and violence that shatters their innocent lives on the hill.  A social worker comes to investigate and finds all manner of creepy human scum roaming around.  Maybe 10 words are utters in 90 minutes.  Had it been more compelling it might have been excellent.

  Lucid Dreams.  An investigative reporter loses his kid at the amusement park.  He uses new science called Lucid Dreams to relive the moment and remember things he might not have remembered.  Turns out the kid has been missing three years.  The police are no help.  The reporter has the candy man, the doctor, a cripple and all sorts of people dream to help him find his son.  Nice twist at the end.
 

  War on Everyone.  Two crooked cops blazing through life ripping off lowlifes, lining their own pockets with ill gotten gains.  No real point to it.  One cop tries to be the thinker, the other is the muscle.  Wackiness ensues.  And a black man goes to Iceland.

 Devil's Violinist.  The story of how Paganini became the greatest violinist of all time.  Was a deal with the devil involved?  The guy was a jerk (as rock stars are normally perceived), women threw themselves at him yet the one he wants refuses.  Very smart.  The stunt violinist is amazing but for the most part the moving is boring.

  LOGAN.  A heartwarming swan song for our favorite mutant.  It's 2029 and all the mutants have been destroyed (or have they Dr. Rice?).  Logan is caretaking a demented Charles Xavier with the help of mutant hunter Caliban in Mexico.  The Reavers find them and all hell breaks loose.  Laura (Mutant X-23)  is the real target and Logan reluctantly does what he can to save her from the really bad men.  Lots of head skewering and limb slicing ensue.  Maybe loosely based on the Old Man Logan comic series, Wolverine is older than he has ever been and feeling his age.  He doesn't heal, his blades get stuck as they are ejecting through his flesh, and he's crankier than usual.  Some nice touches...original X-Men comics show up prominently, trade-mark Logan mutton chops are trimmed into Logan's scraggly facial hair by the New Mutants, the movie Shane is watched as a set up for a final moving epilogue.  Overall this is a much better movie than the previous Wolverine movies.  A little long, but tells a story without revealing too much.  Are all the timelines culminating in this movie.  One can only hope.

  SPLIT.  Could have been so much better, but 3 weak actresses as victims, Betty Buckley as a whiny therapist and slow direction make it mostly a drudge to watch.  McAvoy is compelling in his portrayal of some personalities and caricature of others.  This is too bad because he might have been compelling.  Quite frankly the best part of the movie is the post credit scene with dumb chicks talking about the other serial killer with a crazy name and Bruce Willis pipes up...Mr. Glass
Meh.

  Stakeland II.  Several years after Martin goes to New Eden to start a life and family and Mister has wandered off, the unthinkable happens.  A new Vamp leader reactivates the hordes and in true Outlaw Josey Wales style heads out for revenge falling prey to humans who want to eat him in stew or see him fight catch matches against vamps.  Lame...DON"T trust anyone in the apocalypse.  Mister is found and he is found wanting.  Turns out Mister has a past with the new Vamp leader too. They all come together in a final battle where the Vamps nearly win and the last humans must flee to safety. So unsatisfactory.  Ah well, it was a decent effort.

  Train to Busan.  Korea's first foray into the zombie genre.  And what a fun train ride it is!  A fast acting something contaminates the entire country turning the people into snarling, drooling, ravenous, flesh eating zombies.  A divorced, self-centered investment banker is at the center of the tale as he tries to get his shitty little whiny ass daughter to her mother and the safety of Busan.  Things go from bad to worse and everyone dies except the whiny kid and the pregnant lady.  Lots of gore, tense moments and human nature crash into a satisfying addition to the zombie hordes!
All monkey thumbs up

  Hacksaw Ridge.  Mel Gibson is one hell of a great director.  This fine movie based on Medal of Honor winner Desmond Doss's WWII actions on the island of Okinawa is something vivid, thoughtful, brutal and wonderful without being preachy.  We start with a little background on Desmond and his family, the nurse he meets that will become his wife, his trials in boot camp to become a combat medic to serve his country the best way he knows how, and then centers squarely on Hacksaw Ridge where he bravely saved at least 75 soldiers from certain death.  Breathtakingly filmed battle sequences will have you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next.  Mr. Doss was one amazing man serving his country with honor, faith, dignity and bravery.  All monkey thumbs up.  this movie is a keeper.  The oddity of having a mostly Australian and British leading cast is underscored by their fine performances.  All monkey thumbs up.

  Assassin's Creed.  Based (very loosely) on the video game.  For all practical and cinematic purposes, Prince of Persia was better than this crappy movie even with all it's faults.  Thought these guys were descended from Italian renaissance Assassins.  In the movie they are from Torquemada's Spain in 1492...no one expects the Spanish Inquisition...spoiler alert...Columbus is involved. The movie's weakest links are the modern day scenes where the modern day scientific Templars are trying to regress Assassin antecedents into reliving the actions and memories of their forefathers through DNA manipulation while attached to a machine called Animus.  Really.  What a dumb name.  The Templars want to control the world by removing violent tendencies from mankind by using the piece of Eden hidden from them in the 15th century by Assassins. The best parts of the movie are the 1492 scenes and 15th century parkour that happens.  In the video game maybe, but realistically, no.  Fassbender is the most believable at his character, Irons, Cottilard and Rampling are nearly somnambulant in their performances.  It was nice to see Brendan Gleeson for a minute.  Lots of action, not much sense.  Wait for cable.  OR better yet, just play the games.

  SHERLOCK season 4.  Not dreadful, but certainly lacking the likeable and fun formula of season 1.  Sherlock discovers he has a sister that is more maniacal the Moriarty ever could have imagined.  A series of events are set into motion and Sherlock is brought back from exile to solve them.  Many insights into the Holmes family dynamic.

  ARRIVAL.  how is this even being considered for any type of awards?  Tedious, drawn out and absolutely boring.  If they gave awards for those categories, maybe.  A life flashes before one's eyes.  The world is on the bring of self-destruction.  Aliens planning ahead, no really far ahead visit Earth to get help to save them in 3000 years!  3000!  Is this some nod to Battlefield Earth?  A linguist and a scientist get drafted by the military to communicate with aliens in an oddly shaped spacecraft hovering over a field.  The linguist seems to not be coping well with the death of her daughter and we see the aliens filling her mind with images of things that have happened, may happen and might not happen.  The only interesting thing is the smoky language of the aliens that look like Cousin Thing on steroids.  Lame.


 DEVIL'S PASS.  Present day film students head to the Russian Ural mountains to film a documentary while following in the 1959 doomed footsteps of the real life Dyatlov party of 9 experienced hikers who are still to this day the biggest unsolved disappearance mystery.  The students are whiny and irritating and as they progress along the trail, the weather turns against them, mysterious footprints appear in the snow and a severed human tongue appears in the radio communication tower they stumble upon.  They accidently find a bunker door in the side of the mountain that locks from the outside, during an avalanche one student gets a compound fracture and is then shot in the head by Russian soldiers.  A couple of other students disappear.  They find high levels of radiation and inside the bunker they find disturbing things such as a torture lab, papers that explain some of the missing people, pictures of the USS Eldridge which then leads to the inevitable discussion of the Philadelphia Experiment, weird looking humanoids flash in and out of the time space continuum and the 2 remaining students think that by going through the wormhole in the bunker will be better than being eaten alive, trapped alive or shot to death.  Not a great idea.  They mutate upon being found outside the bunker and are taken back outside and hung up on meat hooks.  The real 1959 hikers probably did not get sucked into a wormhole.  Read the book Dead Mountain by Donnie Eicher.  Far superior to this movie.
    

 NEON DEMON:  holy crap what a WTF kind of movie.  This is classified as a horror movie.  The horror is how it could mesmerize the viewer into watching it until the end when the true horror appears.  This director's Valhalla Rising was a total WTF movie too, but it began with a bang and continued through to its blood soaked and demented ending and riveted the voyeur...viewer.  Neon Demon is about a 16 year old runaway who wants to be a model while living in a skeezey motel run by Keanu Reeves in an extremely unflattering role.  The movie is about our obsession with "beauty" natural and otherwise and what we will do to own it.  The kid supposedly has what everyone in the business wants...looks, innocence, raw talent.  The kid then gets what she desires when a top photographer paints her in gold and shoots provocative photos of her, then she gets the coveted closing spot in a popular clothier's show.  She ends up with a mountain lion in her apartment, the young man who wanted to help her is tossed aside, the make-up artist claiming to be her friend isn't.  This movie has everything, necrophelia, cannibalism, haute couture, psychotic visions and hallucinations.  Something for everyone!  The "horror" at the end is cliched and rather comical and in the end the viewer might be thinking why didn't I turn off the TV?  I know Team Apeonaut did.  One always hopes it will get better.
    

 Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism.  Precocious orphans, mean housemothers, bank robbers, runaways, a book that teaches you to hypnotize people into doing anything you desire.  Molly Moon wants more out of life and runs away from her orphanage to London where she thinks she can make her fortune and get everything her heart desires by hypnotizing the people around her.  Making friends and enemies along the way Molly and her dog realize in the end there's no place like home.

 THE CHEF, THE ACTOR AND THE SCOUNDREL.  During the second Sino-Japanese War, Japan uses Cholera against the Chinese.  4 Chinese students/government operatives make an elaborate plan to get the cure for this particular strain to save their people.  Using the ancient art of Chinese Opera they capture a Japanese scientist and attempt to rendition the cure out of him.  This is a crazy martial arts filled black comedy of sorts as the operatives get more desperate to get the cure.  Sleight of hand, play-acting, high drama and the drive to save their people allow these players to triumph.  Wackiness ensues.
  

 SKIPTRACE:  Wow.  Another Jackie Chan-miscellaneous buddy movie.  This time the buddy is Johnny Knoxville. Directed by Renny Harlin a seriously hit and miss director.  This is a definite "miss".  Chinese cop needs to avenge his partner's murder becoming obsessed with a Chinese business man whom he thinks is the bad guy.  American jerk on the run from Russians meets a Chinese girl with proof as to who the bad guy is.  Wackiness ensues when East meets West running across the Gobi Desert.  The best part of the movie is their encounter with Mongolians.  That part could be a travelogue.  Over all it is a trite and tired old story with too much staging and choreography that look exactly like that.  So sad.

  SHETLAND SEASON 3:  an altercation on the ferry, a missing person report and uncooperative witnesses lead the Shetland police force into the world of witness protection, the Irish mob, the Russian mob, drug traders and political cover-ups.  Things don't go well for anyone in this series.  It is still beautifully filmed and well acted.  Very entertaining.

  Swept Under.  Crime scene cleaner, rookie homicide detective, serial killer, what happens when their worlds collide. A mostly harmless movie.  When the "twist" becomes evident you just wonder how everyone can be so stupid.  Pleasant cast with an ending that is to be as expected.  Half a monkey thumb up and some poop.

 Lured.  Serial killer in London is tricked and trapped by the police using the American friend of a slain woman as bait.  Mistaken identity, murder frame-ups, madcap love interest, interesting casting.  An old-timers noir gem.  Quite entertaining.

  The Wailing.  Oh those wacky Koreans!  What is the nature of the devil?  In Korea it is evidently a Japanese man with designs on all the sinners in Korea.  Weird weird movie.  A lazy cop investigates peculiar happenings in and around his small village.  Aggressive illness seems to be taking over the population and causing people to go insane and kill their entire families.  When the cop's daughter turns ill, the mother insists on a shaman.  Then things get really out of hand.  Fresh and violent this movie makes you ponder the nature of evil, environment, who to trust and the meaning of family. 
So deep.

 Magnificent Seven.  Hollywood are you truly this stupid?  This movie was not magnificent by any stretch of the imagination.  If a brain aneurism could leak out of one's nose, Team Apeonaut would have died in excruciating agony the moment the theater darkened and the movie began.  Team Apeonaut waited 14 whole days before writing this review.  Some of the delay was in hoping retrospection would help with the review process, some of the delay was because the movie truly sucked ass through a straw and what fun is that?  Nothing can possibly redeem this movie.  Using the idiocracy checklist let's point out some of the lowlights of this movie:  impossibly diverse cast, incredibly lame dialogue, cartoonish bad guy, no characters to enjoy, stupid, stupid and more stupid.  Saying this movie is a stench in the nostrils of movie goers everywhere is being kind.  Bad Hollywood Bad!  Save your money and your brain.  Just say no.

 The Secret Life of Pets.  Cute but overly long tale of a rescued terrier named Max devoted to his human who then brings home a large, rude, loud rescue mutt named Duke.  What ensues is a convoluted tale of Max and Duke getting loose from their dog-walker, getting attacked by alley cats, getting tossed into the sewer with the sewer pets (the unloved, unwanted, disposable pets) and their fight for survival on the streets until they can get back home to their human all in one day.  They meet many characters, get advice, both good and bad from friends and see things that cannot be unseen.  A few scenes involving Chloe the cat and Snowball the evil fluffy bunny are laugh out loud funny, but the movie on the whole is neither sweet, nor truly funny.  It certainly doesn't give us any insight at length as to what our pets do at home alone all day.  Bargain hour.

  Angry Birds.  Leave it as a game.  Mean spirited, not funny, not even cute. Not worth watching.

  Traded.  Wow, the Westerns are sure making a comeback on the VOD trail. It's nice to see Michael Pare working.  This movie is so bad however it is not really worth seeing.   Former gunfighter and his ex-whore wife are raising their kids on a lonely homestead.  An accident starts a chain of events that brings out every cliche ever invented for the tale of revenge, retribution, redemption.  Bar tender who's had enough with the way his town is run, whore-former love interest of ex-gunfighter does her part to help him rescue his kidnapped daughter who was traded for a big brass bell, final showdown with everyone getting shot, innocent townsfolk who try to help are killed violently.  This movie has something for everyone.  Was it directed by Uwe Boll...sadly no.

  Mechanic Resurrection.  Jason Statham what the hell were you thinking?  What a horribly acted, directed, scripted, CGI'd movie.  The best scenes are the pool death, Statham high diving out of the prison.  The most ludicrous is jumping off the top of a sky tram gondola onto the top of a parasail conveniently flying by.  Statham removing his shirt more than once makes up for quite a few inadequacies. Terrible movie.

  In a Valley of Violence.  Not the most ridiculous movie ever made, but close.  This is a mix of Open Range, Outlaw Josey Wales, John Wick, Rambo and a few others mooshed together with total disregard for credulity or originality.  A drifter and his dog run afoul of a small town demagogue and his callously stupid son and his buddies.  There is a young woman, scared townsfolk, the dog is murdered, revenge, redemption. This movie has EVERYTHING!  Ethan Hawke must have wanted to redeem himself after his Magnificent Seven death.  Travolta never removed his hat...having a bad hair day are we?  The credits are better than the movie, though one scene where Drifter shoots at bad guys through the body of another bad guy is rather entertaining.

 Dough.  A sweet, easy to watch story of cultural and religious tolerance.  An elderly Jewish baker on the verge of losing everything hires a young African Muslim boy as his apprentice.  Wackiness ensues when the boy sells pot through the bakery then one day accidently drops pot into the dough hence setting up the double entendre as the bakery makes more dough than it has in a really long time with the sales of pot dough.  A series of events dealing with the owner of a retail chain that wants to take over the neighborhood teams the Jew and the Muslim together to solve a problem and save the bakery.  It's all rather simple, silly and fairly unbelievable, but it makes a nice moral tale of tolerating each other's differences.

True Memoirs of an International Assassin.  A mostly harmless tale of an everyday Joe wanting to become a published author.  Pressured into self-publishing online Sam soon finds himself under fire, kidnapped by rebels, gangsters and Venezuela's president who all believe he is an assassin believed to have been killed years before.  Wackiness ensues in a series of impossible events that lead to the deaths of the rebel leader, the gangster boss and the President.  Not great cinema by any stretch of the imagination, but easy to watch if there is nothing else on to watch.
   

  KillZone 2.  An undercover cop thrown in jail works with one of his guards to get himself out of jail and to stop a trafficker of human organs.  Coincidentally the guard's daughter needs a bone marrow transplant and the undercover cop is the only match in Southeast Asia.  Lots of martial arts and Tony Jaa doing what he does best, kicking people in the head with his knees muay thai style.  Not a great movie as things happen all too coincidentally, but it is fun.

  Jane Got  A Gun.  Slowly paced almost to the point of catatonia but if you can stick with it, you find out why one man's wife looks to her former fiancee for help when said husband comes home riddled with bullets...in his back.  As the preparation for battle begins the tale unfolds as to how and why Jane finds herself in the current predicament.  Homemade roadside explosives are a rather desperate and innovative way to reduce the number of attackers.  Lonely scenery, decent horsemanship, passable dialects and a solid cast of known actors make it worthwhile taking the slow coach to the west.

  Star Trek Beyond.  Team Apeonaut gives Simon Pegg, co-writer an A for effort in trying to insert some OST history and some Galaxy Quest sized humor into a story that is both familiar and tiresome.  Doesn't anyone realize they are just remaking the movies from the 80s with a few twists? Pretty good special effects right up to the motorcycle diversion.  So bad CGI, so bad.  We start with a pointless peace talks meeting with Kirk and some tiny angry aliens then we segue into Kirk's whining narration about how tedious it is in space and they all need a break.  Enter a giant space station at the edge of the universe, some short-lived R&R and the rush to saving a crew captured by nasty "aliens" in the Nebula...uncharted of course.  Then double crosses, disaster, death and danger rear their collective asses and the crew of the Enterprise faces its demise along with the Enterprise.  Fortunately the core group comes up with a clever and deviously OST plot to foil the baddies.  Bones has some of the best lines during the entire adventure.
Worth seeing for the picture in Spock Prime's possessions of the OST crew from The Wrath of Khan incident.  Well played JJ, well played.

  Glitch Season 1-NETFLIX...entertaining 6 part Australian series about 6 people who dig their way out of their respective graves in the small town of Yoorana.  They are not zombies.  They are alive.  The series is about how they cope with coming back to life, why they have amnesia, how do they fit into the lives of their loved ones after various years dead.  One is the first mayor of Yoorana dead over 100 years, one is a murder victim, cancer victim, an Italian POW, Gay Galipoli vet, overly religious wife and mother who killed her kid in the same accident that killed her, John Doe whose death mask is in the museum.  The doctor who is keeping an eye on them is a little off herself.  The constable who was a first responder learns his wife is back much to the chagrin of his pregnant second wife.  And there is a force field around the town that kills the risen if they try to pass through.  All in all it is a thoughtful little show with good acting.  Maybe a season 2 in the works.

  Swiss Army Man.  A truly original story played out by 2 pretty good young actors.  Farts are always funny and now we know they can be life savers.  A shipwrecked man decides to kill himself.  As he is hanging he sees a corpse wash ashore.  What ensues is a whacky journey into insanity or miracles.  Hank discovers that Manny's farts can jet propel them back to the mainland.  Riding him like a jet ski gets him to a deserted beach bordered by a dense forest.  The long trek through the forest carrying the talking corpse turns out to be cathartic for Hank in that he talks about his disinterested parents, masturbation, and confides that the girl he loves is a stranger on a bus that he snuck taking pictures.  The winding journey from living in the forest off the trash of America to ending up in the backyard of the girl he loves who happens to be married with child and totally freaked out by Hank's apparent lunacy.  But when Manny farts his way off shore and out to sea, Hank doesn't seem so crazy after all.  Weird on so many levels.

  Marauders.  What could be a brutal heist perpetrated by a shady bank owner and his high paying clients turns out to be a simple tale of bloody revenge for the murder of a soldier and the betrayal of his unit.  Anyone viewing security footage at the banks should have been able to tell the robbers were military trained.  It wouldn't take much to come up with a list of suspects especially when prints and DNA keep turning up as those of a dead man.  The FBI takes charge of the case and during the investigation good people go rogue (case in point---throw in a terminal cancer wife that you can't afford to care for), bad people get worse and those caught in the middle just keep blazing away.  Bruce Willis phones in his performance and looks as though he is reading his dialogue from cue cards, Chris Maloni shouts his way through every scene.  What could have been a simple tale of bloody retribution turns into a mediocre tale of aging actors getting paychecks.  Boo.

  Siege at Jadotville - NETFLIX:  Based on a true story.  The UN's virgin army is sent to South Africa in 1961 to maintain the peace when a rebel general starts a coup and wants to start his own country.  The UN sends in the Irish, 150 strong to keep control of a way station out in the middle of nowhere.  The rebel general hires Belgian and French legionnaires to crush the UN. To their surprise  the Irish hold out for 5 days before surrendering and not a single Irish soldier died.  Due to the machinations of one political officer in the UN a bad situation was made worse and the soldiers were branded cowards until 2005 when the Irish government reviewed the battle and cleared everyone of misconduct and awarded the unit a Presidential Citation.  Up the Irish.  150 men fighting upward of 5000 men for 5 days kicked major butt.  Excellent movie.  Well acted by 50 shades of gray Jamie Dornan.  Who knew.  All monkey thumbs up.

  Luke Cage season 1 NETFLIX:   Mediocre "don't want to be a superhero" show.  Perpetuating stereotypes and everything bad about everyone Luke Cage offers up murder, lying, treachery, ambition and backstabbing as life choices.   About 4 episodes too long LC is at times boring, weak and repetitive.  each episode has a couple of moments that are worth the effort but overall it's a bore.  Meh---

  Blue Ruin.  The movie opens with a vagrant and ends in a bloodbath.  Dwight, estranged from his family after disappearing after high school, must go home to exact some type of bloody revenge on the family that wronged his family.  Thinking he is some type of amateur assassin Dwight starts down the long bloody road by knifing to death the recent parolee Dwight thinks is responsible for all his past family woes.  A knife through the eye and into the brain can ruin a convict's whole day and so can losing your car keys next to the body.  That and your own car brings the evil family to his sister's house and arrows start to fly.  Removing a deeply embedded arrow isn't as easy as the westerns make it out to be.  Then Dwight gets an old High School ROTC buddy to help him kill another and then the bloodletting really begins when Dwight sets up an ambush at the family's house.  An unrecognizable Eve Plumb (Jan Brady) is the evil sister eagerly promoting murder of Dwight and his family.  You have to let this movie proceed at its own pace.  The suspense builds with every poorly thought out plan of Dwight's until the end.

  Suicide.  So it turns out the Israeli film industry is just as twisted as America's.  A man who owns a video store cannot repay a ruthless "loan-shark" who plucked out the eye of his own son with a spoon for being late on a payment.  If you can't repay your loan you must kill yourself or the shark kills people you love.  The story goes round and round with the police investigating an apparent murder, the man's wife telling everyone she wants a divorce so the debt doesn't fall on her.  Her mother telling her she can have all the money she wants if she gets divorced from the loser.  A convoluted Jewish court of divorce puts everyone in a position of strength then things get really crazy when the loan-shark's lawyer gets the wife involved in a plot to kill the loan-shark.  Twisted, dirty, mean and greedy.

 Lost River.  Holy shit.  This is one weird and pointless film.  Some wonderfully peculiar set pieces almost make it worth sitting through.  The mother of two children finds herself in the position of losing her home.  Lost River is a depressed and depressing town filled with denizens swimming in their own depraved, deprived and indifferent circles.  The mother is offered a job in a club for freaks who want to watch performers getting stabbed, or peeling off their own faces and locking the performers in plastic shells to keep them safe from the really special clientele who want to say or do anything in the presence of a woman...like creepy dance guy.  Her oldest son steals copper from the inside of abandoned buildings to sell for his own ragged purposes.  Bully, the town bully threatens to cut off his head but instead cuts the head off the son's girlfriend's pet rat.  Boo.  The girlfriend begs the son to find a way to end the curse of Lost River and he does so by cutting off the concrete head of the town's dinosaur and hurling it through Bully's windshield.  There is so much more that makes no sense but tries to be important in its senselessness.  Don't think Team Apeonaut would recommend this to anyone.
  

 The Doctor Blake Mysteries.  1950s Australia.  Doctor Blake returns home to take over his father's long time practice.  He works as the Police Surgeon going out solving murders and mayhem all the while drinking hard, being alone and searching for his lost Chinese wife and daughter.  He is the Quincy of the simpler days.  Humorous and at times gruesome DBM is entertaining in a procedural kind of way.  Simmering tensions and unrequited feelings of course underlie all the stories.

  Weiner Dog.  Unpleasant movie about 4 separate families that take the Weiner dog into their lives and how Weiner dog effects them.  This is supposed to be a dark comedy and there is nothing comedic about it and the people are all so unlikeable that you feel sorry for the dog.  This could  have been a fun and interesting movie...but alas it is not.  Not recommended.

  The Man in the Wall.  Another Israeli movie that is sick and twisted.  A man takes his dog for a walk one night and disappears the dog does not.  The wife calls the police and inexplicably lies about their family bliss.  The police don't take her seriously.  Then friends come over, they eat and drink.  Then a friend of the husband comes over and demands they look for him.  His father shows up wanting to be repaid the money his son borrowed. She has her current lover come over.  No one's actions are of those worrying about a missing man.  While the wife is listening to some of the husband's audio files she hears familiar sounds of her lovemaking.  The man shows up acting like nothing has happened until he shows her the bugs he has placed around the apartment because he gets bored and wants to know what she does during the day just to liven up his own dull existence.  She says she's leaving him.  He takes pills, she saves him and end sup staying while he recovers and takes the dog for another walk.  Pointless, petty people.

Keanu.  What a hoot.  Hate to say it but Team Apeonaut laughed through the whole movie.  What's not to like about two easy going likable guys who get caught up in thug life to rescue a cute little kitten.  Much wackiness ensues as the duo try to fit in and scam their way into the gang that stole the kitty.  At one point the kitty named Keanu speaks with Keanu Reeves' voice.  Too funny.  Using George Michael music to start conversations about stepping up and being real men was almost too much to handle.  The kitty is cute too.  With a great beginning ripped from the pages of any good action movie this story cascades from one cliche to the next with great comedic effect.

  Scenic Route.  Two buddies on a road trip have car trouble.  What ensues is a brutal reevaluation of their friendship and their lives.  It does not go well.  The main characters are at times whiny, truthful, liars, pathetic, heroic and sad.  After arguing about the best way to survive and drinking radiator water their psychosis grows and they beat the crap out of each other.  Do they both survive?  Does one die out in the middle of nowhere from blunt force trauma?  Believable performances enhance this two-man show.  Lesson learned:  don't take the scenic route.

  Get Hard.  Tried not to laugh at this horrible movie but sometimes Team Apeonaut just can't help it.  A white financier is sentenced to prison for fraud.  He enlists a young black man he thinks would know about prison life to train him.  Wackiness ensues as they figure out near the end what actually happened and who is guilty.  More wackiness ensues.

  Mojin (Ghouls).  This wacky movie about relic hunters has about 20 movies at once going on from Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones, Goonies, and National Treasure to name a few.  The big budget effects and set pieces are pretty awesome visually.  The dialogue is run of the mill silly adventure-speak.  Overall the movie is a wacky story of grave-robbing adventurers who get sucked into one last adventure to discover how and why a former lover died 20 years ago.  Has it's fair share of WTF moments but is overall watchable in a MST3K kind of way.

  The Last Heist.  This is a fun little movie out of left field shot on a shoestring in a rundown location giving it a simple homemade feel.  A bank is closing.  A couple of people are in making their last withdrawals.  In walks Bernard with his battered briefcase asking to go to the safety deposit area to collect his belongings.  In walks a gang of bank robbers, one of whom turns out to be the brother of a bank employee.  Cue family dynamics.  Hostages are taken.  Then one by one everyone starts dying at the hands of Bernard, a wanted serial killer who slices up his victims then scoops out their eyes for keepsakes.  The police arrive, the the DOD arrives because they know the "perps".  Wackiness ensues as Bernard takes everyone's windows to the soul and the money.

 Hyena Road.  Written, directed by and starring our favorite Canadian Paul Gross, Hyena Road follows 3 stories of Canada's involvement in Afghanistan.  Story 1...a sniper and his crew. Story 2...military intelligence trying to win hearts and minds spreading US dollars, Story 3...the Lion of the desert comes in from exile and attempts to regain his power.  The stories intersect, get tangled up in culture clashes and end violently.  A loving tribute to Canada's involvement in a war that can never be won by any single side.  All monkey thumbs up.

  Kilo Two Bravo.  based on a true story.  Private Ryan's D-Day landing has nothing on this concise tale of how FUBAR'd you can get in war time even when you are not actively engaged in combat.  A British outpost in Afghanistan sends 3 lads to break up Taliban activity near the Kajaki Dam.  The radios don't work, the lads just bound off to do their business when they come to a dry river bed and one gets blown up by a land mine.  The other two staunch his free flowing blood and stabilize him.  One guy runs for help.  More lads show up.  More blow up.  They realize too late that the entire river bed is salted with Russian landmines from their occupation 25 years earlier.  What ensues is disaster heaped upon disaster and Murphy's Law rewrites itself as an immutable fact of life.  After 8 hours the first rescue chopper shows up and is the wrong kind for their situation.  It also inadvertently sets off more landmines maiming several other members of the unit.  The movie focuses on the bond between soldiers, the inability for leadership to get things right, the sad fact that all the soldiers have to carry one shot of morphine and one tourniquet in their kit.  The make-up is outstandingly grotesque as each soldier has limbs blown off and one poor fellow has a whole chunk of his torso blown away.  Waiting for rescue is bad enough but waiting while your life seeps out a gaping hole where a limb used to be is eternity.  Such a pointless way to be injured in wartime.  All monkey thumbs up.
 

  Stranger Things.  Highly entertaining Netflix series with some recognizable stars, an awesome 80s vibe and pop culture to spare.  Kids on bikes, evil government scientists experimenting on young stolen children, black helicopters, surveillance vans disguised as the power company, oblivious parents, sensory deprivation tanks, eggos,  dimension hopping creatures attracted by blood, mysterious inter-dimensional dead zones, walkie talkies.  Everyone does exactly what you would expect them to do in a situation like this because we have seen every single iteration of the plot over the last 30 years.  Still this is a marvelous series and a quick binge watch.  Highly enjoyable.  Lots of mayhem, death, angst, puppy-love and paranoia.

 Open Grave.  You know you die in Eastern Europe!!!  Just say no.  The opening is rather fun as a man awakens at the bottom of a pit filled with rotting corpses.  As he awakens his bones pop from stiffness and he has no memory of anything.  He is rescued but the behavior of the rescuers is far from sweetness and light and the man has to decide if they are the killers or he is.  The rest of the story is getting their memories back, remembering what they were all doing there in the secluded house, not dying at the hands of angry, hungry people aimlessly wandering the perimeter.  Good thing he finds a video camera explaining everything, BAM...too late to do anything the military arrives to kill everyone.  Back into the pit.  A few striking visuals.  Mostly an interesting original story.  One recognizable actor to lend gravitas.  Worth a peek.

  Woman in Black 2 Angel of Death.  This sequel takes place in WWII and a bunch of orphaned British kids are taken to the house on Eel Island and unfortunately awaken the murderous Woman in Black.  There is no real point to the children being taken there and they start dying one by one.  There are no real stars in the movie to make it worthwhile watching and the movie is not even a gem in the rough to make you interested in why things are happening the way they are.  Everything ends up in the watery grave by the side of the road where the WIB's kid died so many years ago.  What is the point really.  Plodding, boring and we don't even get a recap for the new generation as to why the place is haunted..


 The Wave.  Oh Norway...you so funny!  A geologist/hydrologist quitting his old job in a sleepy little lakeside town sees dangerous tsunami portents in the rapidly disappearing ground water and sensor disruption on the side of a mountain being monitored for activity.  If it falls into the lake below the 80 foot wave will destroy everything in its path, everything that is except the guy's family who he saves against all odds.  Only a 10 minute warning and people with their hand on the tsunami button act like they are launching nuclear missiles.

  Convergence.  Heaven and Hell meet in a creepy hospital after an explosion.  A cop, who takes awhile to understand that he is dead tries to take down a messenger of evil who who thinks he's doing God's work by killing people from both sides of the temporal plain.  Ghost-hunters are checking into strange things going on in the abandoned hospital and coincidentally one of the hunters is the grown up version of a little girl saved by the cop years before.  She helps him vanquish evil.

  TMNT Out of the Shadows.  Silly fun for a sequel and yet following the same tired pattern of angst, arguments and ennui.  OOTS finds the TMNTs getting back to their normal routines of pizza eating, martial arts practicing, sports watching, protecting the city good guy stuff.  Enter Shredder's escape from police custody with the help of scientist Baxter Stockman (it doesn't end well for him) via a teleportation device that takes Shredder to Commander Krang's (evil brain in a robot body) dimension.  Deals are made to open a rift in the space time continuum so Krang and Shredder can control the Earth.  TMNTs with the help of April O'Neill, Casey Jones and of course Vern Fenwick, save the day and the planet.  YAY Turtles!  There is no "I" in TEAM...except in the "A hole" if you use the correct font.
   

 Hardcore Henry.  Ah Russia.  You so funny!  Though the trick has been used to great effect in Robocop, Doom, Blair Witch Project, Manic and Cloverfield to name a few first person POV movies Hardcore Henry takes the trick to new and bloody heights.  What a hoot.  Totally enjoyable in a manic, bloody and surprisingly humorous way.  Henry, our mute protagonist begins the movie by gaining new prosthetic limbs, losing his scientist wife and chasing lots of bad guys.  Throw in comic relief Jimmy, some AK47s, a Russian tank or two, an homage to the Magnificent Seven and some camera work so frenetic one might be tempted to hurl.  Bravo Russia.  The big reveal is well worth the build-up.  Small budget with big results.  Go Go-Pro!  All monkey thumbs up.  And with Timur Bekimbatov (The Fall, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter) producing how can you go wrong!

  Death Race 2 & 3.  Prequel and prequel-sequel to Jason Statham's Death Race made 7 years prior.  Carl Lucas is a bad man but he prided himself during his long criminal career not to have used a gun.  A bank robbery gone wrong finds him killing a guard.  He is sent to prison where he fights and drives to stay alive.  Prisons are run by corporations so anything goes.  This is the tale of the invention of Frankenstein and the Death Race.  Win 5 races and get set free.  Frankenstein wins 4 then is badly burned.  Then the crew is transported to the Kalahari desert for Death Race Inferno.  During an elaborate bait and switch Frankenstein, his navigator and his pit boss escape the prison system to live a happy happy joy joy life in a non-extradition country.  Thumbs akimbo

  Southpaw.  Love , loss and redemption.  All come with a heavy price.  After losing everything he held important the former light heavyweight champ trains with a former fighter to show the courts he wants his daughter returned to him and he can be a good father.  Of course we have a training montage and the fight goes 12 rounds and the ultimate sacrifices pay off.  Yay.  JG gives an amazing performance.

 Pandemic.  Another in a long line of virulent disease that cause zombies movies.  The world is destroyed.  One compound in Los Angeles finds that level 1 zombies can be cured.  Levels 2-5 must be destroyed. A doctor is sent out with a team to rescue clean survivors.  What is really going on is that everyone is looking for family members thought lost.  Things go horribly awry.  Too much whining and a lack of clear vision as to what the objective is.  Survival of the fittest or eradication of the zombie hordes. Meh.

  Terminus.  Nice idea but another WTF movie.  War is raging in Iran.  Young veterans are coming home with more amputations than usual. The world is close to nuclear winter.  The government is after some extraterrestrial thingy that may be the answer to everything.   A widower after losing his job crashes his car on the side of a lonely road. Something happens.  The government has been tracking things from space with rumors of being able to heal people.  The thing heals the widower who then proceeds to heal a Vet and save his daughter from the end of the world.  Slowly paced with a pinch of farfetched the movie's ending with worldwide nuclear destruction awakening the Vet and the widower's daughter many years later to a destroyed planet.  Meh.  Could have been worse.

  10 Cloverfield Lane.  Oh conspiracy theories, you so funny.  Everyone thinks you are a sequel to Cloverfield, a movie with much potential but little follow through.  Here a pathetic young woman runs away from her boyfriend.  After gassing up her car she crashes on a dark and stormy road only to wake up in a cinderblock room chained to a wall. She wonders...WTF?  What unfolds is something akin to a cat and mouse thriller. Did the man who claims he saved her from the wreck really do it on purpose for his own twisted reasons?  Was there really a chemical attack rendering the Earth uninhabitable?  Who is the hapless dipshit down there with them? What does she have to do to get out of her predicament?  Why make a homemade NBC suit out of the ducky shower curtain and trip the man into the vat of acid he so handily has available.   The "twisty reveal" is a total let down as the girl is so unremarkable and unbelievable in her disbelief you want to smack her.  Why is she so resourceful now?  You are a cheater Mr. Abrams.  Shame on you for such limited creativity.

 Standoff.  Fairly tidy tale of a young orphan girl taken to the cemetery to visit her parents' graves.  A funeral service across the property ends in 3 deaths by contract killer.  The girl has been taking pictures. Uh oh!  Unwittingly the guy who drove the girl to the cemetery happens upon the killer without his mask while he's burying the 3 stiffs and is killed also.  The girl on her own runs for her life to a nearby house that looks deserted but is inhabited by an alcoholic suicidal Veteran who was indirectly for the death of his own son and his wife's leaving him.  Killer engages them both at the house and what ensues is a verbal joust with intermittent gunplay.  It takes awhile for the Vet to get on his game to save the day.  Brutal and profane.  Worth a peak.

  A Young Doctor's Notebook.  What a fun episodic series set in Mother Russia 1917-1934.  The 1917 young doctor is assigned to a podunk hospital for two years in the middle of nowhere Russia where it snows all the time.  He's young, short, inexperienced, recently graduated from Moscow University with 5 stars, treats everyone with a mild disdain and can't get a sharp bone saw to save his soul.  Much of the humor comes from the situations in which the young doctor finds himself regarding his knowledge of medical practices, sex, drug use, addiction.  Amputations, syphilis, chain smoking, chamber pots and old equipment are the order of the day.  The young doctor is mentored by his old doctor self.  The 1934 old doctor himself being in trouble with the police for writing morphine prescriptions for dead people and using the drug himself.  Throughout the 2 year rotation the young doctor learns nothing about compassion or humanity falling deeper and deeper under Morphine's siren song.  Old doctor is arrested and imprisoned until rehabilitation when he embarks on a real journey to apologize for some of his wrongs.  Fast and easy to watch. Well acted and written.  Great characters.

 Final Girl.  Pointless and non-sensical.  4 high school boys entice blond women into the woods in order to hunt and kill them for sport.  Veronica is trained by a mysterious older man to kill these boys. The training montage is lame and weak.  Abigail Breslin is impossible to believe as an assassin in training.   The action scenes and fighting choreography is weak and embarrassing.  The only positive thing according to the plot is that Veronica revenges herself on all 4 boys for the countless dead women in the woods.  RuuRogh.

  Woman in Gold.  A tale of love, loss, right and wrong and standing up for those long dead who cannot stand up for themselves.  Maria flees to America during WWII.  Her family is killed by NAZIs and her home looted.  Tales of the past and present are comingled in her legal battles with Austria for the return of a portrait of her aunt as well as other valuable family portraits illegally taken by NAZIs and displayed for years in one of Austria's premier galleries without consideration of proper ownership or due process.  Well played.

  Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.  A self-centered high school boy and his friend spend their time making movie parodies. Boy's mother forces him to befriend a girl he knew in Jewish school when she is diagnosed with cancer.  What ensues is a tale of bonding, anguish, humor and death as told by the narrator (boy).  Worth a peak.

  Hail Caesar!  Hollywood...1950s...Commies have infiltrated all walks of life.  The head of the studio tries to keep everyone on an even keel, keep production rolling, solve problems.  Circus ringmaster if you will.  During filming of his prestige religious epic picture, the star is kidnapped for $100000 ransom.  At the suggestion of the singing cowboy, the ringmaster looks at the extras on set until he tracks down the idiots that did the deed.  Several stories weave in and out until the problem is solved in a very humorous way and everything goes back to normal at the studio.  Many sacred Hollywood cows are BBQd with gusto and a nice supporting cast of seldom seen actors is put to effective use. There are several laugh out loud scenes, a few slapstick scenes, some synchronized swimming scenes and some tap dancing in a diner scene.  Pretty darn funny.  Worth a bargain hour ticket.

 Goosebumps.  Never having read any of the books Team Apeonaut did not know what to expect.  The premise is pretty sweet.  R.L. Stine writes his darkest, meanest characters on a magic typewriter putting the pages  into separate locked books so they don't hurt anyone.  A few books are accidentally opened releasing the beasties, then a crabby ventriloquist dummy is released and steals the rest of the books in order to open them, release the monsters, destroy the city and set up their own little world.  Bad Dummy!  Stine and some high school kids reluctantly join forces to defeat the monsters and set the town back to normal.  The movie is a bit of a downer though as none of the characters are really likeable.  There is no room to build up sympathy or understanding for their behavior.  IF you can get past that flaw, it's mostly a fun movie.

  Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.  Highly enjoyable take on yet another zombie apocalypse.  You know it will be silly fun from the opening credits when Paramount studios logo is morphed into a scout merit patch.  Then a dopey janitor mopping the floor in a scientist's lab releases a zombie. Cue zombie apocalypse beginning.  The janitor goes down, the scientist goes down, a white tail deer goes down, the Scout Leader goes down and it gets sillier from there.  The scout recruitment drive is again unsuccessful leading two of the three scouts wanting to quite after the last camp out.  Zombies and friendship however, bond them together stronger than ever to save each other and their town.  They also get help from a stripper.  Monkey thumbs up in a prepared, helpful and courteous manner.  To those who pay attention, you might notice the Pavunga patch on Ben's khaki shirt.  Funny to those of you who know.

  PPZAh love.  What is love if not a struggle to say and show how you truly feel to the object of your affection?  Throw in some station in life pride, some haughty attitude prejudice and a countryside swarming with brain eating zombies and you have the makings of an epic love story.  Jane Austen's classic story is spiced up a bit with the added bodice ripping excitement of the zombie apocalypse.  Liz Bennett and Mr. Darcy meet at cross purposes and beat the crap out of each other.  Not exactly what Miss Austen had in mind.  Darcy goes for a swim in the pond, white shirt and all (actually very funny).  After many verbal duels and zombie clashes the two realize they are each other's "love of my life" partner.  The movie was a great adaptation of Graham Seth-Green's mash-up with the classic.  Quite enjoyable.  Nice use of pop-up books and travel by map too.  All thumbs up.

 Keeping Room.  Set in the Civil War.  Could have been much better.  Dramatic and well acted, but so plodding that the thread of the story is lost in the dismal slowness.  Southern deserters go on a raping and killing spree.  They end up at the run down farm inhabited by 2 sisters and their black servant.  The girls don't have a mind to be raped and killed so in true "Beguiled" fashion they trick, trap and kill the marauders, bury them in the back yard and escape advancing forces by dressing as men and walking away.  Could have been so dramatic.

  Rogue.  Giant Australian croc feasts on a boatload of tourists.  Tourists display proudly how stupid they can be and only the strong survive.  Croc looks real.  The dog does not survive, instead giving his life for his mistress.  Good dog.  Bad croc.

  Let's Be Cops.  Actually better than Team Apeonaut thought it would be.  A chance encounter with police uniforms leads to friends to pretend they are police officers.  Things get convoluted when drug dealers, crooked cops, frightened shop keepers and love interests collide in a wild yet fairly reasonable fashion.  Funny, intense and implausible but loads of fun.  Who knew?

  The Captive.  Child fetishists/pornographers kidnap a young girl from the backseat of her father's truck when he stops for pie after ice skating practice.  For 8 years the police have treated the father as a suspect and the strain of that and the belief by the mother that it was the father's fault have caused depression, failed jobs and mistrust.  A series of events and actions taken by the anti child porn division lead everyone to the possible location of the bad people. Heroic, desperate actions by the father lead to the release of his now grown daughter, the deaths of the perps and the reunion with his wife.  Well done and understated.

  A Walk in the Woods.  Based on the true story by Bill Bryson, successful author, who after 10 years abroad thinks it's time to reconnect with his homeland.  He decides to walk the Appalachian Trail.  His wife won't let him go alone.  An old friend from his hometown in Iowa on the run from some old bench warrants agrees to go with him.  What ensues is life.  A sweet tale of 2 old men trying to walk the entire trail.  Adventures and misadventures cause them to quit halfway and 3 months into the trail but life lessons and all kinds of weather forge a bond with each other and Mother Nature that result in an anecdotal tale for the ages.  Entertaining though at times hard to watch as Redford and Nolte dodder onward to glory.

  Run Boy Run.  True story of a Jewish Polish boy from the Warsaw Ghetto told to run by his father and do whatever he must to survive the Nazi invasion and subsequent annihilation of the Jews.  Many people on the boy's journey help him hide, work for food and work for a place to sleep.  He endures many trials during the 3 years he moves across Europe.  At the war's end he is tracked down by the Jewish Orphan group and offered the opportunity to go to Israel and help keep the people alive.  The end of the movie is the boy, now an old man with many grandchildren living and thriving in the Jewish homeland.  Moving and brutal.
 

  Hinterland Season 2.  Tom Mathias and team solve more murders in Wales.  Tom's wife visits and tells him she is moving to Canada and wants a divorce.  Bad people do bad things to each other.  Naive people do bad things and get themselves screwed over even more.  Bleak, depressing and absolutely gorgeous.  Everyone should take a trip to Wales.  Well written, acted and directed.  The actors are all world weary looking and grasping at straws to keep their heads above water.  Politics, mysteries and back room deals make for fine drama.

  Happy Valley Season 2.  This is not a Happy Valley.  18 months after the events of season 1 Catherine is again at odds with her bosses and must prove that she is not the serial killer of prostitutes.  Tommy Lee gets a groupie who makes things creepy for Catherine and Tommy Lee's 10 year old son, her grandson. Catherine's son gets divorced, her alcoholic sister falls of the wagon spectacularly and the mob traffics foreign women causing Catherine to lose her grip on control.  Well written and acted.
 

  Bosch Season 2.  Harry is off suspension and back in fighting shape.  His ex and his daughter move in with him when 2 cases collide violently and they need protection.  The police chief's son is working under cover then dies massively.  Politicians stab each other and everyone else in the back and Harry's name is finally cleared in an escaped criminal case from season 1.  Well acted.  Team Apeonaut loves Titus.  Harry also discovers the identity of his mother's murderer.

 Whitechapel Season 4.  The team deals with cannibals, OCD, new babies, and more murders than they can shake a stick at.  But they manage to solve the bulk of the mystery and bring the group even closer together.  Louise Iver...come on fellas...Lucifer causes trouble around the station and many people die. Highly entertaining.

  HALO the Fall of Reach.  The animation is a little creepy but the story is spot on to the graphic novel.  This is a tale of the directive to kidnap special children, enhance them physically and mentally, develop their own natural abilities, give them Mjolner technology armored exoskeletons and send them into the universe to fight the Covenant and the Flood.  Primarily the story revolves around John, Spartan 117 and his transformation into Master Chief.  All in all a great tale of what man must do to survive.
All monkey thumbs up.

 Crimson Peak.  An old chestnut of a tale to be sure about a Victorian girl who wants to be more than a wife pushed by circumstances into a creepy marriage in a far off land.   Lovingly filmed and directed the exquisitely nice set pieces, CGI and practical effects propel the story relying on the imagination of the viewer to drive the terror and the haunting quality of the story. Nice performances by known actors make the somewhat shallow characterizations seem believable. The most striking character of the movie is the house.  Rotting with the decay of depravity and deviance the house breaths with the ill winds blowing through is rotted walls and open roof.  Sitting alone in the middle of a large tract of land the house may be a metaphor for the curses visited upon the Sharpe family.  The blood red landscaping around the house is a telling portent of bad things.  The movie evokes Dragonwyck, The Haunting, Rebecca and several other great old Hollywood movies.  One cool scene is brother and sister fighting and sister stabs brother in the cheek under his left eye with a kitchen knife.  The look of surprise, disappointment and forgiveness on brother's face is touching.  Overall, if Team Apeonaut were the new bride, we'd run screaming off into the night to get away the moment we saw the house.  A good Halloween movie.

  Bone Tomahawk.  Cool trailer.  Cool movie title.  Cool instrument of death and destruction.  How many times is the word troglodyte used in everyday conversation?  Great cast makes for interesting characters.  Sean Young is nearly unrecognizable in her cameo as the mayor's wife. Zhan McClarnon (Mathias from Longmire) has a miniscule yet informative role when asked to explain the strange happening in town.  Kurt Russell is well, Kurt Russell.  His role as the sheriff is steadfast and true. His facial hair tells its own tale.  A woman, a deputy and a drifter are abducted in the middle of the night.  4 men ride out on an impossible quest and for different reasons.  Things go so horribly awry it makes you wonder why they don't tuck tail and run home.  Visceral, creepy and erudite this movie has something for everyone.  It's almost innovative with elements of been there and done that in a movie before but not exactly.  Well worth watching for the dialogue, acting and interactions of the characters.  All monkey thumbs up

  Sword of Destiny.  No heart.  No story.  No Chinese. No music.  A horrible disappointment to say the least.  18 years after the events of CTHD, the teacher visits old friends for a funeral and the Sword of Destiny is once again much sought after.  Bad dialogue, bad martial arts and bad make-up ensue.  Jason Scott Lee looks terrible and much of the cast is not Chinese making the feel of the movie all wrong.  So sad that a wonderful idea was made as crap.  Thumbs down Apeonauts.  Don't even bother.
  

 Victor Frankenstein.  The story we all know and love told from Igor's point of view.  Igor is a circus hunchback brutalized and humiliated every moment of his existence.  Victor saves him one day, drains the abscess on his back, puts him in a back brace and calls him Igor.  Turns out Igor is brilliant and helps Victor create his first and second live experiments.  Things go horribly awry for Victor.  Igor finds love and Victor flees to create another day.  A zealot police officer chases them both in hopes of proving Victor is the culprit behind dead animal body parts going missing.  Quite lively and entertaining.  Probably James McAvoy's best role to date.  All thumbs up.

  Yakuza Apocalypse.  Gangsters, vampires, gangster vampires, vampire gangsters.  A young hoodlum avenges his master's murder by becoming the thing everyone fears most.  A Yakuza vampire out to kill everyone.  Crazy mix of martial arts, gunplay, gang violence.  Entertaining.
 

 The Judge.  Old judge is accused of murder after the victim's blood is found on his car.  His estranged son comes home to find out what happened, to reconnect with his estranged family and to defend his unyielding father.  Powerful performances make this a good film to watch.

 The Last Survivors.  Oregon never looked so parched.  Water has ceased falling from the sky.  The last well at a camp for wayward children has just dried up.  The last 3 inhabitants have to decide whether to stay and try to survive, be killed by the water baron or escape.  Intense fighting occurs and one young woman has to find the strength to fight the water baron and his clan in order to save her younger brother and a friend.  Death and mayhem run rampant in these apocalyptic times and it's kill or be killed.  Intense and well acted.

  Minority Report the Series.  Mostly fun to watch.  Well written, decent acting.  A few plot devices get old after the first 12 times they are used, but it is watchable and follows the idea of the movie pretty well.  Pre-crime detection at its best.

The Intern.  Team Apeonaut did not go to the theater to see this.  Though it gave humorous trailer, Anne Hathaway is strident at best and cloying at worst and pretty much convinced TA to not see the movie.  The Intern is surprisingly heartwarming and highly entertaining.  DeNiro gives a subdued and hilarious performance as the senior Intern.  Harried executive is given an Intern to lighten her work load.  Turns out the Intern has a butt-load of life and work experience and ends up helping everyone in the company.  Lighthearted, sensitive and totally feel-good movie.  Lots of cliches but that's ok it's fairly satisfying.  Two monkey thumbs up.

 Lady SnowBlood.  1973 was a very good year for over the top red paint used as spurting arterial blood.  Born of rape in a women's prison, SnowBlood is trained and raised as a demon of vengeance.  She sets out to take revenge on everyone no matter how insignificant to her mother's circumstance.  This leads to becoming an assassin for hire. Many people die and yet nothing gets resolved.  Mayhem, plague, corrupt politicians, poor rabble and blood spurts mingle and blur the lines between living and living hard.  Fun.  All monkey thumbs up.

  Blunt Force Trauma.  The world of underground dueling.  Pistols of any type and bulletproof vests.  Every country has its version of the game.  Big money is to be had if you win.  Reasons to live or to die.  Revenge, money, who is the best.  John wants to feel something.  Colt wants revenge for her brother's death at the hands of an unscrupulous duelist.  They meet up/team up after a match and start a journey to gain these things.  They are sort of in love.  He wants a match with the "best" ever who has nothing to lose.  (Mickey Rourke in a small role is so ugly and disfigured he looks like he duels in real life...eeewwww). This is actually a very quiet and subtle movie with soul.  Powerful performances and a well written story make this quite enjoyable.

  Ex Machina.  Oh AI you so funny. If you are a programmer and work for a wealthy recluse genius and are told you've won a contest so you get to meet said recluse...don't believe it.  It's a set up.  If the helicopter taking you to meet your boss flies over miles and miles of empty landscape, drops you off in the middle of a field and says he can't go any further, get back in the helicopter and fly away.  If your boss is a freak and a drunk, run away.  If he wants you to test his AI girl Run Away.  If the AI girl is too good to be true. Run Away.  If you start putting the pieces together and don't know who to trust, human or machine, Run Away!  You are already screwed and there is nothing you can do as things end badly for your boss and for you and the AI girl merrily flies away in your helicopter.  Pointless, yet hard to turn off.  Creepy yet scientifically plausible.  Meh...

 Everly.  the RAID Redemption with boobs.  Everly is held captive by Japanese Yakuza guys for four years, abused in every conceivable fashion.  One day her opportunity arises and she kills many of her captors in a crazy rampage.  She must kill even more when her mother and daughter show up.  A building full of hookers servicing mob guys is just one of many obstacles Everly must endure and surpass to free herself and get to her family.  Mayhem ensues, grenades blow up many things.  Everly finds a couple of allies with a heavy dose of betrayal and viciousness.  Many people die, many grievous wounds are sustained.  Is there a silver lining to all this brutality?  Not really.  Mostly enjoyable.  Probably one of Salma Hayek's most entertaining roles since Desperado.

  Seventh Son.  STINKER!  Jeff Bridges' character is unintelligible but what Team Apeonaut can tell is he is the 7th son and tasked with keeping the countryside safe from witches and other bad things.  He needs help so he kidnaps and trains a farmer's 7th son of a 7th son to help him recapture Mother Malkin (bad witch) intent on ruling the world with dark magic.  The apprentice is useless until the very end.  Passable effects and costuming. Mediocre acting from a cast of mostly decent actors.  Soft storytelling underlies what could have been a fun adventure into the world of witches, demons and dragons.  Meh.   Monkey thumbs down.

 Transporter Refueled.  Oh man.  Why.  At least this was created by the Originator.  Besson knows best.  This Transporter is Frank Jr., a former special ops guy.  The Punisher is Frank Sr., not a spy but a man who sold Evian for a living.  Bad guys and hookers make their lives miserable.  One hooker with an elaborate scheme to set some of her sister hookers free from the creep they were stolen by or sold to gets Frank and his Father involved.  Through a series of stupid happenstances, the Transporter chases, fights and loves his would be tormentors.  It all makes a perfect kind of sense in the universe of let's remake everything for no good reason.  You can tell this new transporter did not do any of his driving and his fighting skills are sub-par.

  The Martian.  Well played science well played.  Astronauts are exploring Mars.  Big storm hits so the crew is forced to evacuate before their space ship tips over.  One astronaut is blown away from the rest by huge winds.  Feared dead they all leave for home.  Astro is declared dead back home.  Crew kept in the dark.  Astro is alive, makes it back to hab, contemplates his lot and grows potatoes and a creepy beard.  Then by retrieving Rover (who still works after a battery charge after 18 years) Astro communicates with home and all types of scientific and bureaucratic hoops are jumped through.  Astro blows up hab so any rescue must be accelerated from 4 years to several months.  Original crew slingshots around the Earth and heads back to Mars and in a crazy, neat and tidy plot rescue said Astro so he can become a teacher at NASA.  Damon holds the screen just as well as Castaway Tom Hanks, Moon Sam Rockwell, though he does have more people in the cast.  The drama unfolding at NASA regarding a "rescue" was well acted, for we all know NASA has no plans to rescue anyone in space.  But our good friends the Red Chinese help us save the day.  Highly entertaining dialogue.  Well photographed.  Some things you just have to let be for the sake of the plot and story.  All monkey thumbs up.

  The Man from U.N.C.L.E.  1963 and the Cold War is about to heat up.
An American and a Soviet loosely team up to deter a worldwide nuclear threat.  Team Apeonaut grew up on the original series and the 60s were a loooooooong freaking time ago and not many people today have any frame of reference for the time period.  The movie is slick and if you let the lead actors just breeze along the movie is light, fluffy and mostly harmless.  After mulling it over for a few hours it is truly fun and does capture the essence of the original show and the time period.  Light on plot points, steady direction, decent acting it's worth a peak on a hot summer day if you need air conditioning.

 

 The Man in the High Castle.  (Amazon series).   America lost WWII.  Germany and Japan rule the world and the USA is divided between the two.  A neutral zone exists as a safety buffer between NAZIs and Japanese.  Operatives and the resistance on both sides spend their lives trying to get these mysterious "films" into the hands of the man in the High Castle.  The films show the world as it might have been (USA wins WWII).  10 episodes cover main action in New York, NAZI operative posing as a resistance operator and his SS handler and San Francisco where a Japanese trade minister helps the half sister of a dead resistance operative find out more about her world.  The effects are very well done.  The feel of 60s America under the jackboot of NAZI Germany is pretty realistic feeling.  The main actress is annoying as hell and some of the characters seem to be obliviously stupid where common sense is important but overall the quality of writing, acting and cinematography are quite good.  Enjoyable and comes to a seemingly satisfactory conclusion if it isn't renewed.  Thumbs up.
 

  Danger 5...season 1-2.  Australian wackiness designed to explode your brain.  Season 1 covers Danger 5 during WWII.  Season 2 moves us into the big-haired 80s.  The mission of Danger 5 has not changed over time however...kill Hitler.  NAZI dinosaurs roam the Earth.  Everyone speaks their native language and is understood as if they are speaking the same language.  Hitler gets involved in all types of zany scenarios. People with animal mask heads...Eagle, shark, tiger.  Angry prawns with guns disrupt a dinner party.  An odd mix of Thunderbirds sensibility, Land of the Lost, The Prisoner, Danger Man, Kung Fury, Dragnet, Clutch Cargo, Johnny Quest and Lancelot Link.  So many genres are smooshed together that when you can stop laughing you actually see how smart it is.  The sets are cheesey, the effects are dolls, models, out of scale miniatures.  All monkey thumbs up.  Best way to handle Danger 5...BINGE IT BABY!

 IZombie.  Med Student gets scratched at a boat party and turns into a zombie.  However she has retained most of humanity and drops out of med school to get a job with the coroner so she gets a supply of dead brains.  These brains give her flashes of insight into the cause of death and she helps the police solve crimes with he "inside" information.  Fun, entertaining and well written.  Maybe there will be a season 2

  The Lazarus Effect.  Scientists perform experiments on dogs that have not been sanctioned by their fund source.  During one experiment a doctor is killed in an accident so her boyfriend performs the experiment on her and unleashes an unholy terror.  The doctor goes into a recurring dream of a family burned to death in an apartment building...spoiler...as a child she killed her family and set them ablaze.  She brings the devil back a live people plane of existence and all hell breaks loose.  A little bit Flatliners, Pet Semetery, any other open a portal to the other side and bring back evil movie.  Derivative and boring.

 Let us Prey.   Oh those wacky Scots.  Demented and sick they are.  This tale of sinners meeting their just fates on a lonely, empty night in a backwater town that seems oddly devoid of people yet has a million crows flapping around.  A perverted teacher, a drunkard hit and run driver, a lunatic doctor, a police sergeant off his religious nut all converge at the behest of a mysterious stranger (not unlike Limoge in Storm of the Century) to display their baser traits and pay for their sins.  A rookie cop on her fist night becomes witness to some very strange goings on.  Could be her connection to the fellow in cell 6 because of her past filled with brutality and vengeance.  Together they make a great pair.  Fun.

  Cooties.  A comedic send up of all things viral.  A substitute teacher arrives at school just in time for an epidemic of epic proportions.  The includes the wimpish, the jockish, the cuteish, the gayish. the overly smartish, the really annoyingish and the fatish. Insider jokes from who's the smallest to fit in the air ducts, no you're not a Hobbit, to a kid on a tricycle like the SAW puppet add subtle yet over the top humor. The kids are infected with cooties through the chicken nuggets they get served at school.  Fighting and scratching lead to mayhem and carnage as the kids eat everyone in authority.  Heads are used in tetherball, arms and legs are piled like cordwood.  The science teacher through rigorous and hilarious examination discerns that the virus is only mutated in those who have not yet hit puberty.  Madcap antics and close calls keep the teachers on their toes and the cooties at bay.  Entertaining.  One monkey thumb up.

    Jurassic World.  Oh boy.  Sure, it's making a fortune for the movie studio.  Sure, it has some fun Easter Eggs from all previous JP movies.  Sure, Chris Pratt is a fine hero/good guy/action figure.  Sure, Bryce Dallas Howard is one of the worst actresses on the planet, but she gets kudos for making it through the entire movie wearing insensible shoes and a white suit.  Sure, the dinos are cool.  Sure, some of the cinematography is beautiful.  Overall the movie is a pale echo of JP the original.  Too long and too stupid for words.  Velociraptors bonding with the hero, Velociraptor, T-Rex and giant Crocosaurus working together to vanquish Indominous Rex.  Still, it was fun to see 21000+ tourists get attacked by pterodactyls, some with T-Rex heads, and the I-Rex.  How is it possible that it made so much money???

 Big Game.  During this season of disappointing remakes, sequels, and reimaginings, this movie has it all and then some tongue in cheek.  It has some great speeches narrated in the beautiful wilderness with heartfelt   The opening scene sets the entire stage.  Man shaving touches the scar on his chest.  Air Force one gets blown out of the sky.  President escapes in pod and crashes in a dense Finland forest.  On the ground 13 year old Oskari is about to uphold tradition by going into the woods, killing some type of game and returning to the village a "man".  He witnesses the crash and comes across the pod.  Fortunately for the President,  Oskari speaks English.  He leads the President to safety while bad guys are in hot pursuit.  Meanwhile back at the Pentagon, the oldest living CIA agent EVER tries to help recover the President all the while furthering his own agenda which becomes painfully clear.  Welcome to Finland!  Lots of fun, action, drama and jingoism.  hail to the Chief.  All monkey thumbs up!

  Survivor.  Oh what to say about Survivor?!  Three Days of the Condor rehash?  Bourne Identity mish-mash?  To be fair Brosnan is fun as the terrorist/assassin/shitheel.  Milla is fun portraying a top government agent (minus Resident Evil abilities).  Robert Forster is a tasty turncoat and it's nice that finally Dylan McDermott is a good guy.  Giving away too much?  Traitors at the State Department allow people of questionable backgrounds into the US.  A huge bomb is then set to explode on New Year's Eve in times Square killing millions.  Agent vs. assassin as the clock ticks down to the inevitable show down.  Who will triumph, the agent framed for murder and treachery or the assassin who framed her?  Run run, bang bang, highly improbable but very possible. Good enough for passing the afternoon.

  Dragon Blade.  Oh my fellow Apeonauts.  What can one say about this movie?  Runaway Romans in China trying to escape a royal usurper.  A Chinese protector wanting everyone to get along and make the Silk Road a great place to live and trade.  An evil empire usurper wants to kill everyone involved and have the Silk Road to himself and Rome.  Maybe this looked good on paper when Jackie Chan decided to produce it.  Chan himself looked mostly comfortable in costume and doing stunts.  John Cusack is aging horribly and looked mostly uncomfortable in his Roman garb.  Adrian Brody...holy crap...an Oscar winner.  Bad acting, direction, stunts, sub-standard plot even by Team Apeonaut standards.  Just say no to making movies for a paycheck.  Live on your other movie residuals guys. Pheeeww stinker.

  St. Vincent.  A disenchanted war vet, a street walker, a discombobulated ex-wife, a divorce case and a precocious 12 year old at the heart of the story make up a fine movie about the boy and the man his mom chooses as his babysitter.  Everyone grows emotionally and learns something about life.  Entertaining and heart wrenching.  Worth a peek.  Bill Murray is great, the kid precocious and MM isn't too annoying.

 

 SPY.  There is only so much of MM's whiny self loathing character you can take.  She is a CIA analyst in love with her spy played by Jude Law.  Law looks like he had Meg Ryan's lips attached.  Creepy.  A nuke is on sale by bad guys.  The CIA needs to stop the sale.  The bad guys know who all the spies are so in goes MM to save the day. Run of the mill plot, directing, acting and gimmicks.  The best part of the movie is a surprisingly funny Jason Statham performance.  Whenever he shows up he is portraying Jason Statham triple strength.  Over-sized driving cap, blue slippers, turtle neck that is 3 times the normal height and his vocabulary is three times as profane.  Not much to recommend this drivel.  Team Apeonaut will admit to having laughed a few times.
 

  Dimensions.  Time travel for good reasons and not for greed or other gain?  Possibly.  3 childhood friends in 1920's England have their relationship come to a screeching halt one sunny afternoon when after a day of playing a childish display of temper leads to death.  Before the accident an old man shows up at the picnic and tells the children about string theory, dimensional travel and the probability of all things existing at once on the same plane.  The next 10 years of the story covers the period of the 2 remaining friends building a time travel machine so they can go back and save their friend.  the idea of threads and loops and seeing the past on a machine made up of an old piano and some dresser drawers is ingenious.  After many setbacks the ending gives us a reasonable and logical ending on a sunny day at a picnic where 3 childhood friends play innocently.

  Infini.  Bloodbath...thy name is slipstream travel to another planet.  Think Stargate without the gate...an incident occurs on a distant mining colony in the farthest reaches of the galaxy.  An incident happens at a military base sending a recruit to the mining colony.  How much time has really passed?  A search and rescue team is sent to the mining colony to rescue anyone alive and uninfected.  In a twisted "Event Horizon/Valhalla Rising" kind of way the team cracks up and the survivor seems to have bizarre powers of controlling the infection on the planet.  Cue the creepiest X-Files music.  When everyone makes it back to base alive there are tense moments when no one knows if they are infected or not...

  Frequencies.  Everyone is a genius.  Everyone has a different frequency.  Like frequencies recognize each other and can live in harmony.  If people of different frequencies come into proximity of each other bizarre and unlucky things happen.  Should you try to change your frequency to be with the one you love?  What would happen if you did?  Would the government get involved and screw up everything?  Doe sit even matter.  this story takes place over a series of years as two young children meet, cause havoc and grow into adulthood causing havoc when they meet.  Until one day...    All very psychological.  Monkey thumbs up.

  Mad Max Furry Road.  Of all the pointless remakes out there, this one takes most of the cake.  What was the point?  Paycheck?  Special effects?  Practical effects?  It sure wasn't acting, story or directing.   Miller took elements from the original Mad Max trilogy and mashed them into a barely palatable plate of pablum.  The best part of the movie is Immorten Joe's guitar player.  He rides suspended on giant rubber bands in front of several large speakers playing a double-necked guitar that shoots flames.  Riding on the back of the speaker car are 4 drummers banging the hell out of large taiko-type drums.
Doom metal on steroids.  Pretty funny!  The rest of the movie is Max pretending to be helpful, women escaping a hellish existence, desert chases, you can't go home again, sand storms, and oh gee can't we begin again in this old destroyed world.  Blah!!!  No monkey thumbs up.

  Legend of Longwood.  A family returns to Ireland after a serious family accident.  The daughter starts having visions of the infamous Black Knight.  There are some suspicious deaths, real estate shenanigans and a family curse to break.  Sweet family tale.  enjoyable to watch.

 My Old Lady.  A guy travels to France to claim his inheritance after his father's death.  Turns out the house comes with his father's ancient paramour and her almost equally ancient daughter.  One would think with a cast of this caliber, the movie would be a wonderful journey of discovery, family ties, wonderment.  Instead it's an alcohol fueled argument about life, love and family ties.  Disturbing and gross.  Not recommended.

 

  Kill Me Three Times.  Silly murder for hire tale of a husband wanting to kill his wife. A sister wanting to killer her sister-in-law, loads of money, ownership of a hotel, an exploding car, and three points of view.  The hitman is rather ineffectual and ends up with garden stake through his torso.  Minimal thought was put into this movie but it's harmless entertainment with a pleasing cast.

  The Pirates.  Pirates and seafaring Bandits (isn't that the same thing?) chase after the great whale that ate the royal seal (governmental, not fur).  Lots of backstabbing, intrigue and crazy Asian martial arts.  Great shipwrecks too.  Most dramatic was the harpooning of the mother whale and the shot from below when her baby swims to be with her.  Actually rather sad.  Easy to watch.

  Child 44.  Child murderer in Stalin's Soviet Union.  No murderer's in paradise so he says.  This movie based on a best selling book is oddly deja vu-like and very similar in nature to Citizen X.  Tom Hardy is yet another character who is nearly unintelligable as the war hero turned secret police officer tasked with finding traitors to execute.  As Soviet rule would have it, he is supposed to denounce his wife, refuses and they are sent to a collective way up the rail line.  Turns out the killer lives near the collective.  All hell breaks loose and many people die horribly painful deaths.  One positive factor is the wife is one hell of a scrappy Soviet woman gouging eyes, stabbing necks, punching and all manner of violence in her efforts to survive. It was quite a ride and in the end, he is reinstated in Moscow in a higher position.  the end.  Not bad.

 Outcasts...season 1 (no more seasons).  A community of Earth evacuees on the far off planet Carpathia (named for the ship that rescued Titanic survivors) eagerly waits for supplies and new people from Earth.  10 years later a ship appears with the last humans as Earth has pretty much destroyed itself.  The community deals with clones, low reproduction rates, white-outs, rebels, fanatics and all manner of security issues, plus a planet that doesn't even want them there.  Rather enjoyable in a moderately soap opera fashion.
 

 Love.  Can man survive eternity without love and connection to other humans?  This is a bizarre and quirky tale with an aftertaste of 2001 and Moon thrown in for good measure.  The movie begins in the Civil War with a  Union soldier sent out to examine an object of unknown origin.  Fast forward to 2049 and a lone astronaut is sent to the International Space Station to prep it for one last mission but before the new crew arrives, Earth has ceased to exist. What follows is the long tortuous disintegration of the the man all alone in the universe.  He spends 6 years puttering around the station alternately exercising, covering himself in tattoos, covering the portholes with odd drawings.  Without any communication or connection to other living beings his mind goes and when he discovers the journal of the Civil War soldier hidden on the ship he discovers all is not as it seems.  At the end aliens let him know he is the last man standing and all his memories are like a giant quilt they are making to acknowledge human existence.  Pretty freaking weird in a can't quite turn it off kind of way.

 The Giver.  Possibly the first YA dystopian story written and the last to be given cinematic treatment.  Earth has been ruined and a circle of surviving humanity has bleached out all the color and memory from life.  No war, no disease, no famine, no strife, no love, no jealously, no last names, no passion.  At the end of the school year the older children are given jobs and must forget their childhoods.    Jonas is to be the Receiver of Memories.  Memories of the past of how life on Earth used to be.  Inquisitive and full of more courage than he thought possible, Jonas kidnaps his baby brother unit and heads toward the edge of the community with the hope of releasing the memories of the planet so his people will know what it is to really live.  Meh...

  Parallels.  Not a bad concept in jumping from one Earth to another in multiple universes.  The earths are all basically following the same time construct, but events, such as nuclear holocaust, death of family member and various other things make each Earth a little more special.  The only thing exactly the same on every Earth is the "Building".  What is the Building?  Estranged siblings and a geeky friend follow instructions to meet the father at the Building. Upon entering lights and sirens go off and upon exiting they are on Nuked Earth.  As the story unfolds things may or may not be what they seem concerning the father.  A guy from Nuked Earth follows them into the building and ends up summoning the father with his building zapping machine.  There is also a ditzy Asian chick that mysteriously shows up and gives them bits of information useful to their journey.  A bit like Sliders. Entertaining and leaves you with a cliffhanger ending.  Some say it is a TV series...who's to say.  recommended with one monkey thumb up.

  Monsters: Dark Continent.  You'd think the movie was based in Africa with that title.  10 years after Monsters the infected zones cover the planet.  American soldiers in Iraqistan are fighting natives and monsters.  This movie is truly pointless in that the storyline of 4 friends joining the Army to save the planet and 3 of them are killed during the first mission. The Sergeant leading them goes a little off the deep end.  The wimpiest friend must stick with the Sergeant or die in the desert wastelands.  The mission must be accomplished but that becomes impossible when after being captured by natives the Sergeant goes off his nut and the wimp has to kill him.  The best part of this messy movie is the END SCENE when the GINORMOUS monster bursts forth from Mother Earth's guts.  the wimp escaping on a helicopter screams in vain.  Very disappointing as a whole and so not as fun or good as Monsters.  No monkey thumbs up.

 Zero Theorem.  A bizarre tale of a man living a solitary life in a run down church wanting to find the meaning to his life and his employer, Management, wants him to hack Zero Theorem to prove life means nothing.  Too much naked Christophe Waltz. 
Director Terry Gilliam hammers incessantly home the point of people being too attached to their smart phones, tablets, computers. When you have shills trying to get you to go to the Church of Batman the Redeemer, you know you're in trouble.   In the end Q is happy on his own in his own skin.  Creepy in its own way.  Don't think Team Apeonaut would recommend this movie.

 
  The Salvation.   Wow.  Pointless and stark in a beautifully sepia-toned way.  A Dutchman living in America for 7 years greets is long absent wife and son.  On the stagecoach ride to their homestead the man is kicked out of the coach, his son is shot in the head and tossed from the coach, his wife is raped and murdered in the coach.  He kills the perpetrators thus beginning a trail of bloodshed through two towns by the brother of the rapist who kills townsfolk until the Dutchman is turned in.  Then the real mayhem begins.  Everyone kills everyone else.  The bad brother's henchmen are all killed until finally in the last showdown the bad brother, the Dutchman and the wife of the now dead rapist meet in a trifecta of bullets.  Was the Dutchman her salvation, was she his...hard to say.  Pretty good movie.

  Still Life.  John May works for the government finding friends or relatives of people who die alone and getting them to attend the funeral.  He's a man who likes his job, is good at his job and is happy in his own lonely skin.  Tuna and toast for dinner every night and a photo album of dead people who he failed to find kin.  His last assignment before he is fired is to find anyone that knows Billy Stoke.  What he finds is an adventure that takes him far out of his comfort zone.  The end of the movie is a revelation in movie endings. Wonderful and highly recommended with all opposable monkey thumbs up.   Eddie Marsan is the king of "everyman" characters.
 

  SpongeBob the Movie...Sponge Out of Water.  The first SpongeBob was cute.  This movie not so much.  The recipe to Krabby Patties is stolen and Bob and Plankton have to work together as a team to get it back before chaos ruins Bikini Bottom. Burger Pirate has stolen it and tries to make his fortune.  SpongeBob and friends go on an epic adventure on land to set things right.  It just didn't have the innocence of the first movie.

  Man with the Iron Fists 2.  Truly, the first one was pretty awful.  This one was worse.  Thaddeus is wounded and floats down the river for days until he comes to a mining village ruled by evil Master Ho.  The miners are mistreated, the women are murdered and the mayor does nothing. Of course there are rabble rousers among the miners and the village leader has a dark past of his own.  After Thaddeus heals from his wounds and starts working in the blacksmith's shop all hell breaks loose toward the final conclusion when the mayor turns out to be the even eviler Lord Pi who wanted to devour the chi fountain at the monastery.  Careful what you wish for.

   Project Almanac.  Oh temporal distortion you so funny. A teenager trying to get a scholarship to MIT discovers his older self in a video from his 7th birthday party.  Through a series of experiments with his core group of childhood friends, his sister and a girl he likes, they travel through time passing chemistry exams, visiting Lalapalooza, getting the best of bullies, win the lottery, get mom a job then everything turns to shit when Dave doesn't follow his own rules and messes up the fun.  Now he has to follow the crossed timelines to set things right.  Problem is if you correct one thing something else gets changed until you go back to the very beginning, if you haven't been there already.   Not bad as time travel movies go.  They use the best time travel ideas from Time Cop, Time Tunnel, Time Bandits, Time after Time.  A little too "teenage"  but watchable.

  Murder on the Home Front.  A fun little British one off during the Blitz 1940 London.  During the Raids and blackouts people do their worst.  The Medical Examiner and his pluckey reporter cum medical assistant try to solve a series of brutal prostitute murders that occur in a certain district during air raids.  An innocent man is arrested.  Prejudices are exposed and the Government sets into motion a cover up. 
Loads of fun.

  No Tears for the Dead.  A South Korean abandoned in Michigan as a small boy is raised by the Mob and becomes a deadly assassin.  After fulfilling a hit but inadvertently killing a small girl he is sent to Korea to kill the girl's mother to keep her from going to the police with evidence of theft on a grand scale by a "respected" business man.  She learns that her husband too, was corrupt and was the target of a hit.  The assassin tries to tell her the tormenting truth about her daughter's death instead opting to make it seem someone else did.  Lots of blood, death, violence and mayhem.  Loads of fun.

 Top of the Lake.  Wow, even in the beautiful, idyllic small town of Laketop, New Zealand there are bloody and perverted secrets.  A modern story played out in 7 episodes with oddly rampant male abusiveness, child rape, family loss, economic hard times and just some downright bizarre family trees and the fruits and nuts that inhabit them.  A female officer from Sydney child protective services, who was raped at 15 in Laketop and forced to give up her child tries to get to the bottom of some truly convoluted goings on regarding a missing and very pregnant 12 year old.  Holly Hunter in one of the most pointless and and bizarre monosyllabic rolls ever foisted on an Oscar winner is a nut job living in shipping containers near a lake with a gaggle of freakazoid useless women from all walks of life.  There are no happy endings in this beautifully filmed and well acted passion play or Greek tragedy...however you choose to interpret it.

 If I Stay.  Car accident leads a Juilliard applicant trapped between worlds into reevaluating her life.  As she goes back into her past and then relives the most recent events in her life.  Maudlin tale with a predictable ending that is really less than satisfying.

  Railway Man.  A rather well done based on a true story of a Burma train war vet unable to move on with his life, until his loving wife sets in motion a series of events that causes him to relive his internment and torture at the hands of the Japanese.  Vividly seen in flashbacks Eric's travails lead him on a path of redemption and possibly forgiveness.  Would have been a great movie if they has cast someone other than Nicole Kidman as the long suffering wife.  Monkey thumbs up for this thoughtful and reverent piece.

  Vampire Academy.  A YA movie about teenagers, crushes, bad grades, living dead creatures, psi-wolves and cliques that doesn't suck!?  Wait, what?  It's vampires, again.  This one is dare we say different?  Rose, a dhampir Guardian of the last princess of the royal bloodline...see what we did there...and her princess Lissa are involved in an horrific car accident that claims the lives of Lissa's parents and causes Lissa to use her magic powers to save Rose's life.  Then all hell breaks loose at the VA when rumors fly, the Queen of the good vampires intervenes and a cruel plot surfaces.  For whatever reason, TA enjoyed the movie and the ending.  Go figure.

 American Sniper.  A well directed Hollywood vision of Chris Kyle's memoir about his time in Iraq in the early years of the war right after 9/11.  Eastwood directed a thoughtful piece that touched on the highlights.  Cooper gave a heck of a performance as a man who wanted to be a cowboy and ended up a maverick.  It's not really a "war" movie but a look into the life of a patriot and what he and his family went through.  Told with humor, brutality and consideration this is an important movie to see.  Things that came out after his death and rumors of his overstating certain things notwithstanding, the man was good at his craft, did it well, and saved a lot of American lives in the process.  He was a man of valor and should be valued as a hero.  All patriotic monkey appendages up!  Many people say negative things about Eastwood's direction and Kyle's sugar coating and trumpet blowing of his own accomplishments as depicted in his memoir.  He's not the first patriot to be crucified by people who don't get anything.  The man did a job and was good at it.  Get over it.  It was during a time of war regardless of what anyone thinks about that war. 

  Black Sea.  Various redundant men released from their various jobs after many years of service.  One man in particular is given the opportunity of a lifetime if he can pull it off using the various skills of these other men, some his friends, other former co-workers and others known by community reputations.  They get a rich business man to buy a rusting hulk of a Russian Foxtrot class submarine for them and then venture into the depths of the Black Sea in search of sunken NAZI gold.  4.5 tons to be exact sitting on a ridge 90 meters from the surface on a convenient ridge in a beautifully preserved U Boat.  As Robinson is selecting the men to go along you find out through some minor exposition that one is a psycho, one's sickly, one's a kid, half are Russian and half are UK.   Always remember NOT to recruit men who are worse off than you are as they will get greedy, stupid or both. You know something is hinky from the get go but you let it slide because overall this is a nice little drama enacted within the confines of an aging Russian Foxtrot submarine.  The men start agitating each other, deaths occur, some accidental some purposeful.  Some men don't even realize they are the one's causing the tension and blames everyone else.  Would have been better to have a totally bleak ending, but sometimes redemption is valid and brings things to a satisfactory close.  Submerged monkey thumbs up.

 Kingsman The Secret Service.  A clever little spy movie with tried and true gimmicks and an annoying villain (very much like Silva in Skyfall) .  A very used looking Mark Hamill plays a professor worried about Mother Earth and the damage people are doing to her.  Enter colorful villain Valentine with a plan to control the world by killing everyone not of value to him.  Thus begins the training montage of an dead agent's son into the world of the Kingsmen.  A super secret intelligence agency outside the grasp of politicians, governments or other bureaucratic red tape, Kingsmen do what no one else can and pass along the intelligence.  Michael Caine, Mark Strong and Colin Firth are the main Kingsmen.  Colin Firth is exquisite as the gentlemanly spy-mentor and has one great scene of dementedly delightful mayhem.  Choreographed like a lovely dance of death he dispatches the citizenry with elegant aplomb.  What a hoot.  All in all the movie is a bit scattered in scope but teaches us that one can be a gentleman regardless of one's birth circumstances.  Manners maketh man. A happy silly scene when the chosen group of people have their heads blow off in a cloud of special effects sparkles and brain matter is almost over the top but not quite!  Let the movie just unwind and be fun.  All monkey thumbs up.

  Tusk.  Not your typical serial killer movie.  The tale of an obnoxious internet blogger out for a new, disgusting, stupid or banal story to make fun of on his show.  On his trip to Canada to interview and make fun of the viral video sensation samurai kid who cut off his own leg.  The kid dies of his injuries leaving Wally to find another story.  While having a piss in a local bar Wally happens upon a letter on a bulletin board that reads like the best story he could ever come across.  Traveling deep into the woods he finds a huge old mansion perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean.  Wackiness ensues.  An old man in a wheelchair welcomes him in and serves him tea.  The tea of course is drugged and Wally wakes up sans legs and into a nightmare he could never have imagined.  A nightmare involving surgery and walruses.  Ultimately this is a movie of revenge and redemption and some crazy-ass shit you never see coming.  Plus it has Johnny Depp in some of the worst make-up speaking with the worst ever French-Canadian accent.  You don't see the ending coming either.  What a nice surprise!  Well worth watching!!!

  Rover.  The movie isn't even remotely about what you might assume.  When you know then ending you'll understand how simply beautiful the title is and how it pertains to humanity.  It's 10 years after the end in Australia.  A man trying to survive has his car stolen.  He chases after the thieves and asks for his car.  They refuse thus beginning a crazy chase of murder, mayhem, gratuitous violence, truth, sadness, remorse, and more pointless, relentless death.  Well acted with some surprisingly good performances from people one wouldn't think could act.  Worth the time spent sitting through it.

 

  The Code.  A 6 episode arc about a journalist and his hacker/savant-like brother who come across a government cover-up.  Two kids are injured/killed in a collision with a truck carrying poisonous gas.  It's made to look like a simple traffic accident.  The toxins seep into the water supply in a small town.  People are murdered for the code that explains everything that is happening...Australia can make their own Uranium.  The hacker brother finds the key to decrypting the code while the journalist brother uses insider info to try to entrap the government stooge.  Pretty well done thriller with good old Lucy Lawless as a small town teacher.  Frumpy Zena.  Pretty good show.  Worth checking out.
 

  Wolf Cop.  The name says it all and more.  A drunken Deputy Sheriff is turned into a werewolf by a cult of lizard men from another planet.  Embracing his inner wolf and with the help of a friend (who turns out to not be) Wolf Cop solves the mystery of several missing people during a solar eclipse 25 years earlier and gets the girl.  All in all, just as bad as any SYFY Channel movie and highly satisfactory in the cheese department.  Wolf Cop also does a great job of pimpin' his police ride.

  The Vertical Ray of the Sun.  A touching film about a middle-class family in classless Viet Nam.  This is a tale of 3 sisters and their corresponding relationships.  One sister thinks she is happily married, pregnant and her husband, though tempted to stray sticks with her.  One sister is married to a man with another wife and child in town and by agreeing to stay with him pretends she is happy.  The youngest sister, who is in love with her brother (eewww) just flits through life while doing her morning calisthenics.  Everyone has affairs as a coping mechanism. Bad acting, bad dialogue and fairly bad directing highlight this movie.  The only thing that makes the movie tolerable is the lush and lovely cinematography.  Viet Nam is a beautiful country with lush jungles, beautiful downpours and jagged rock islands where they visit for a holiday.  The movie is best watched with the sound muted and some of your own sweeping music playing in the background.  Otherwise, it is barely tolerable.

  Catch Hell.  RP co-wrote, directed and starred in this interesting bit of Hollywood mockery.  RP is a washed up actor.  His twitter account is hacked, he is kidnapped, tortured, molested and threatened with blackmail as all of this chicanery was filmed.  Oh, there is a hungry hungry alligator too.  Some creepy twists and a career resurgence are the end game.  Well acted.  Gritty and pathetic.  Ironic and funny in a Deliverance kind of way.   Oh Hollywood, you so funny.  Thumbs up.
 

  Into the Woods.  Fairy tale mash ups, spontaneous singing, likable cast, several deaths, and premeditated murder.  All in a day's storytelling!  Yeah Disney, murder and mayhem.  Wonderful cast and a great version of "Agony" performed by Chris Pine channeling William Shatner (not even kidding) at his best.  Holy crap it is funny.  In the end family is what you make of it.  Monkey thumbs up.

 



 

 


 


 


 



 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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RELEASED JULY 2017




Released 6/13/17


release 5/10/17





 






JANUARY 2017





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Released November 2016









Released October 2016






RELEASED SEPTEMBER 2016








RELEASED AUGUST 2016






JULY RELEASES





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  Free Fire.  A pointless 70s era gun running caper gone extremely and horribly wrong.  Eclectic recognizable cast without any real stand-out performances show up in an abandoned warehouse to buy and sell weapons.  A comment is made, a gunshot rings out and all hell breaks loose as a bazillion bullets zing through the air hitting but not killing their intended targets.  The movie is 90 minutes of gunfight without purpose.  The dialogue is supposed to be witty and gritty yet mostly comes up short. The trailer for this disaster is so much better.

 The Wall.  A two-man sniper recon team is out in the blazing Iraqi desert 20 plus hours reviewing a scene of death at a pipeline station.  Against his spotter's better judgment, the sniper heads down to the scene for a closer look.  He gets close and is shot by the sniper they have been hunting.  The spotter heads down and is shot in the water bottle, radio antennae and knee.  Really small moving targets for an exceptionally good sniper.  The rest of the story revolves around the two men trading shots and stories.  What the spotter doesn't get until it is way too late and his rescuers are on the way is that the sniper has been there for days killing everyone who has come to the rescue.  Kill the oil workers, call contractors, kill them, call the military, kill them call more military, and so on.  This is cat and mouse played so well depending on which side of the wall you are on determines if you are cat or mouse.  War is hell and only won by the ones who live there.

  Baadshaho.  A classic tale of love, treachery, governmental injustice, highway robbery set during the 70's Emergency in India when the government dissolves the privy purse of its princely states. A Maharani convinces her bodyguard to steal it before her government rival can in order to safeguard it for the people.  Her bodyguard knows first hand of her distaste for the people after an incident at a dirt farm. Wackiness ensues as tables are turned and the gold ends up in the people's hands and not the Maharani's.  Rip-roaring Indian adventure filled with every tried and true "Hollywood" style action and adventure tale.

 Dark Tower.  Better than anticipated telling of Stephen King's epic tale of Roland and the Dark Man.  The last gunslinger joins with a kid from Earth in a classic tale of good versus evil to stop the Man in Black from destroying the Dark Tower, thus destroying the universe itself.  Nice nods to Children of the Corn, 1919, 1408, The Shining, Dr. Sleep, Christine, Firestarter, Cujo, Silver Bullet, Pennywise the Clown, there is a photo of the Overlook Hotel, the gunslinger shoots with a gun forged from Excalibur.  Nice visuals, a pleasing cast. One monkey thumb up.

 Black Butterfly.  A so-so tale set in a small mountain town.  A nearly washed-up writer is given a deadline to come up with something new.  He uses a dirty old typewriter to create his tales.  He drinks too much.  Then the story gets interesting when he invites a brusque drifter into his home after an altercation in town.  What ensues is murderous intent, unexpected violence and a whole lot of confusion.  Oh wait...is this Dark Window or The Dark Half?  Keep on typing, just keep on typing.

  Wonder Woman.  Team Apeonaut isn't quite sure what all the fuss is about.  Sure, a strong female character is always nice to have in a movie.  Action, humor, fish out of water storylines are good too.  This movie seems to have it all when Diana, princess of the Amazons rescues an American pilot and goes back to Europe with him to help in the battle against an evil entity who is keeping the war bloody.  The movie lacks any version of a soul, there is little or no wit, the "banter" seems stilted and Diana is really full of herself thinking she's the only one who can save the world from evil.  The best part of the movie is when Steve Trevor gives his own life to save the planet.  Bombastic and boring this movie is an enigma in that it earned so much money and accolades and is yet so derivative.  Where are you when we need you Lynda Carter?

  Baby Driver.  Hellaciously enjoyable movie about Baby, a driver of getaway cars in the employ of an oddly powerful man who keeps 90% of Baby's share.  As the movie progresses we learn most of Baby's backstory and how he came to work for the bad guy.  Filled with great music, fast driving and the desire to do the right thing this love story with a hint of tinnitus is marvelous fun.  Monkey thumbs up.

  The Hitman's Bodyguard.  Entertaining bit of action fluff that is worth watching.  A tidy if predictable mix of Lethal Weapon, Two Guns, 48 Hours, Last Boy Scout, Bulletproof, Loaded Weapon 1 to name a few.  A Triple A rated protection operative loses a high value client and loses his job, rating, confidence.  He is given one last shot at redemption by former flame and Interpol agent who wants him to protect an international hitman and get him to the Hague in time to give proof against a very bad president.  Through a series of mishaps they bond and grow on their journey to do the right thing for whatever reason.  Some genuine laugh out loud funny moments.  Some tiring Samuel L Jackson schtick.
Overall, a fun couple of hours at the movies.

  Spiderman: Homecoming.  Sweet but overly nerdy, this version of Peter Parker is by far the most likeable of the last 7 iterations.  Amped up by his appearance in Avengers: Civil War, Spiderman wants to do more, be more, be an Avenger.  His life conspires against him to keep him a friendly neighborhood spiderman and when Tony Stark tells him he's not an Avenger and not a superhero until he can learn to be one without his suit, Pete has to learn some hard lessons when dealing with family and friends.  Nice effects, a little too much teen whining, but enjoyable nonetheless.  Nice to see Michael Keaton relish the role of a bad guy.

 Wind River.  A death on the reservation brings in the FBI.  The FBI in the form of a young, inexperienced lady agent who asks for help from the fish and game hunter, the epitome of Cowboy.  Together they investigate the trail of death to the ultimate perpetrators.  Things go badly for the bad guys.  No real happy ending, but justice was served.  Bargain Hour.  Love Jeremy Renner.  Wish he could get real movies.

  Mindhunter Season 1.  A chronicle of the FBI's development of the Behavioral Science Unit in the 1970s.  The series follows two agents, one old and one new and their efforts to interview some of the serial killers in custody to find out why they did what they did in an effort to build a profile database to recognize serial killers in the future. Along the way they use some of these insights to help solve some heinous crimes in the vicinity of the prisons they visit.  Well acted, written and directed.  Fascinating tale of how things might have developed at the Bureau.  Easy to binge watch.

  Bbuddah Haaga Terra Baap.   This is one AWESOME Hindi movie.  An aging hitman comes home to Mumbai to do one last job.  Kill the ACP at the behest of an evil gangster.  Through a comedy of errors and love triangles we find out the ACP is the hitman's son.  After the gangsters shoot his boy, the hitman turns on the geezer mojo and wipes them all out.  Some of the best musical numbers seen so far.  Nicely done and highly entertaining.

  HUNTER'S PRAYER.  A junkie assassin is given one job.  Kill a girl whose family was rubbed out by another assassin at the behest of a crooked banker and an even more crooked FBI agent.  Wackiness ensues. The junkie kicks the habit in order to save the girl and get her to her remaining family and so he can go home to his family.  Deaths, shootouts and danger run rampant.  Not bad, but predictable.
   

  THE BAD BATCH.  What a big WTF movie.  America has gone through big changes.  There is a zone marked off with a chain link fence and a big sign...once through the gate you get no help from the government.  The outland is divided into cannibals and drug dealers.  the girl ends up with the cannibals and they eat her arm and leg.  She escapes on a surfboard and his picked up by a shopping cart nomad who delivers her to the drug dealers whose cult-like leader calls them the bad batch.  She gets an artificial leg and decides to wander off for vengeance against the cannibals.  Through a series of unfortunate events she kills a woman, gets a cannibal kid who is then kidnapped by the cult leader and fed spaghetti.  The girl winds up leaving the drug dealers with the kid and her bunny and meets up with the cannibal father figure.  They eat the bunny for lunch in the middle of nowhere.  WTF???  One of Keanu Reeves' most unpleasant roles to date.
 

 Manhunt in the Jungle.  Based on George Dyatt's book about his treks through the Amazon in search of Percy Fawcett...See Lost City of Z.  This documentary style black and white mess of a movie is far more entertaining and realistic than the new movie based on Fawcett's search for Z. Dyatt even presumably came upon the last tribesmen to see Fawcett alive.

  THE LOST CITY OF Z.  Based on the true story of The Lost City of Z  British explorer Percy Fawcett, who journeys into the Amazon in the 1920s and discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization. Ridiculed by the scientific establishment who at the time regard indigenous populations as "savages," Fawcett - supported by his devoted wife, son and aide de camp returns time and again to his beloved jungle in an attempt to prove his case, culminating in his mysterious disappearance in 1925. His wife waited for word of him until her death in 1953.  His last journey he took his oldest son and the two of them were possibly captured and brainwashed by the indigenous peoples.  On the river during the first journey they are confused by fish they cannot catch until they are attacked by natives and fall overboard...oops piranha!  Could have been an amazing adventure movie and yet it was so tedious and boring it was criminal.

  Midnight Special.  An unearthly child is worshipped by a cult, feared by the government and loved by a father who will do anything to rescue him.  The story follows the father on the run trying to save his son and the danger that he poses to everyone on Earth.  The wild chase leads them to an otherworldly gateway that takes the kid back to the stars.  Well acted and poignant this is a must see.

  A Monster Calls.  A young boy bullied and pitied at school with a single sick mother and a grandma who hates him calls on the tree monster to solve his problems.  A series of events force the boy to admit he's angry at his mom for dying and he hates the fact he won't stand up against the bullies at school.  The tree monster wants only the truth in order to help the boy.  A little bombastic but well acted.

  Central Intelligence.  Not so much.  Tries too hard when it didn't need to.  Hart and Johnson are naturally funny.  This movie showed that a bad script can ruin everything.  Former classmates meet after several years apart and very different career paths.  Wackiness ensues.  Red herrings and madcap plans to flush a mole/traitor out of the CIA propel the action and comedy in this movie.  Best part of movie is their high school bully nemesis telling them he's a Scientologist now and has been Thetan free since 2003.

  Alien: Covenant:  HOW did this piece of shite get made?  This movie makes even the worst Alien sequels look like Shakespeare.  Within 5 minutes of the opening credits, Team Apeonaut wanted the entire crew of the Covenant to die horribly painful explosive decompression deaths.  Movies that try to recreate the genius of their progenitors should not be allowed, ever into the cinematic pantheon.  The crew is awakened early.  Of course something goes wrong with the cryotube of the captain.  TA thinks it's called cryotube because everyone cries when it fails.  A new captain rises to the occasion (Dr. Manhattan of the Watchmen).  No one really wants to follow him because he is a man of faith.  No one follows orders, instructions or suggestions.  They go to a planet that seems too good to be true and it is sending out a John Denver song invitation to entice any passing ship to investigate.  Oh no!  Don't go down there it's a trap.  Alien spores contaminate those who step on the pods.  People get contaminated and explode with Xenomorphs.  And not a moment too soon.  A couple of questions from the wretched Prometheus movie are answered when we meet artificial human David.  The fact that this abomination invoked that abomination is in fact abominable.  The shit that David pulls is straight from the pages of the android gone bad playbook.  Only when it's way too late does a survivor realize the trouble they are really in and tries to use reason to get out of a death and death situation.  Reason never works people!  Not here and certainly not in SPACE!!!  Do not watch this movie.
 

  The Living and the Dead Season 1.  Amusing trifle about a psychiatrist and his independent wife returning to his family farm in an isolated community in England during the 1800s.  His family farm isn't doing too well and during the process of improving and modernizing ghosts and bad energies start to materialize bringing with them bad things from the family's past.  Then the trippy stuff starts when a descendent from the future appears trying to warn of bad things after having read a journal left behind by her grandmother.  Trippier still is the season finale when a dinner party from the future uses a Ouija board to summon the doctor and ask him why he killed his wife.  The child possession scenes are truly creepy as is that time period out on the farm.

  Death Note.  Live action compressed version of the Anime of the same name.  Lots of whining and teen angst.  A high schooler finds an old notebook on a strangely windy day.  It's title is ominously Death Note.  After talking to the demon who fulfills the notes the kid murders a couple of people.  He then tells his girlfriend who turns out to be a shitty girlfriend and screws up his Death Note plans.  A convoluted end game kills her, puts him in the clear and keeps the demon in apples.  Willem DaFoe's voice is very compelling as the demon.  Fun, but not for purists who are already decrying the production.

  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.  a bombastic bit of fluff filled with family squabbles, daring rescues, explosions, dancing, Baby Groot, explanations and revelations, new friends and old enemies and some interesting guest stars.  Who knew there was a gold Ben Browder or a greenish Michelle Yeoh.  Interesting casting.  A few genuine laughs, genuine tears and some great inside jokes pull it all together.  30 minutes too long.  Too much yelling.  Too much CGI.  Star Lord's familial questions are finally answered with the appearance of his long lost father.  Will Peter Quill succumb to the lure of absolute power?  Will his friends survive?    Bargain hour

  The Mummy.  Dark Universe did a terrible job at marketing their new idea for revitalizing the classic monsters.  All the monsters have had face-lifts over the years both good and ill-conceived.  This version of the Mummy falls into the grey area in-between.  Uneven parts humor, action, diatribe and exposition the Mummy wants to be something it can never be though it really wants to be.  A digital version of the serials from Hollywood's heydays. The script is dumbed down to the nth degree, there are no surprises, there is no horror and in a few cases there is some really bad acting.  Nice homage to the first monster incarnations: the Monster's brain, the Creature's clawed hand, Dracula's skull and fangs.  Nice touches that should have been played upon.  People don't just go to be entertained anymore.  They need everything spoon-fed in tiny bites. Not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it's not all bad either.

 Land of Mine.  World War II has ended.  Denmark's beaches are filled with over 2 million German landmines.  How do the Danish remove them all, use German POWs of course.  This story focuses on one Danish Sergeant's group of teenaged German POWS, so totally against the Geneva Conventions.  He trains them to diffuse the mines, he takes them to their patch of beach and tells the 14 lads that if they remove 45,000 from their patch in 3 months they can go home.  That is of course, a lie though the sergeant doesn't know it at the time.  The story shows the inhuman treatment of the POWs, the long hours of bomb disposal, no food, no understanding of what happened.  After being betrayed by his own commander, the Danish Sergeant rescues the remaining bomb boys in his unit from another tour on the beaches and sets them free to run back to Germany.  Well done and worth watching.  All monkey thumbs up.

Life.  Oh Martian life, you so funny.  The International Space Station picks up a probe from Mars.  They bring it inside and put it in the lab.  They perform tests on it.  Oh shit, now it wants to survive and starts killing people and gets smart enough to get to Earth.  Oh no, what do the astronauts do to prevent this from happening?  Not much.  The twist at the end isn't much of one as you can see it happen before we enter earth's atmosphere.  The alien named Calvin by school children back home is quite a lovely creature.  He starts out as a slimey tapeworm thing then morphs into a beautiful translucent butterfly thingy with a reptile-like head who wants nothing but oxygen and food.   Poor Ryan Reynolds dies again early on in a movie.  Meh.

 

 King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.  This is total Guy Ritchie movie-making through and through.  Witty repartee, fast-slow-mo action, great cast of actors, creepy crawlies, great visuals, kick-ass soundtrack, eye candy, brothers-in arms, fight for right with might.  Great fun.  Cute cameo by Beckham with his face burned up as the captain of the Blacklegs, Guy Ritchie as the barn owner who doesn't want to be hanged for harboring the resistance and poor Eric Bana now destined to be the new Sean Bean of filmdom dying very early on. This is a great version of the Arthurian legend focusing more on the sword and what it means to the Pendragon family.  Quite enjoyable.  All monkey thumbs up.  Worth seeing a couple of times.  Interesting that "they" are calling it the first bomb of summer.  So rude.  True, it's not a great movie, but it is entertaining and as Maximus said "are we not entertained?"  Yes, yes we are.

  Fortitude Season 2.  Picking up full speed after the end of season 1 Fortitude still has a horribly violent and secretive underbelly.  Even the smallest, remotest, safest places are filled with greedy unscrupulous people.  This season deals with fundamental DNA changes in humans, cannibalism, outright murder, alcoholism, native rituals and Shamanism and self castration reanimation, demons and home brewed mind enhancers.  This series has it all in a place so cold and remote it makes you wonder how anyone survives at all.  Quite entertaining.

KONG: SKULL ISLANDWell monkey boys this was sort of fun.  1973, Viet Nam war has ended.  An air cav unit led by the irascible Samuel L. Jackson,  is assigned one more mission.  Go to Skull Island with the leader of Monarch (cue do do dooo music), get proof of the existence of large, thought to be extinct creatures and let the world know.  Add a former British SAS operative/tracker, a liberal-feminist war photojournalist, some geeky scientists and some soldiers who just want to go home, a fleet of helicopters full of heavy ordnance, island natives living in peace and harmony with nature and Kong and conveniently a WWII pilot who crash-landed 28 years prior and who knows the ins and outs of the island's inhabitants.  The movie does have its obligatory pretty girl touches the giant monkey scene, giant monkey battles dinosaur scene, survivors get off the island by the skin of their teeth scene.  The visuals are well done, Kong is lovely and of course Sammy J. tells us to "hold onto your butts."  This is also a crucial movie to introduce the Godzilla vs. Kong part of the franchise.
  

  Boss Baby. Cute tale of what happens when a baby isn't suited for "family" but sent as an observer to find out why people want more puppies than babies.  Hapless parents and their only son let the black suited baby into their home and the wackiness ensues.  Alec Baldwin is the perfect voice for the baby.  The sight gags and inside jokes are dead-on and laugh out loud funny.  Wizzie the alarm clock in particular giving his best Gandalf advice to the boy with the vivid imagination and penchant for over active story telling. In the end all is sweet and happy.  Worth a bargain hour viewing.

  Sea of Trees.  A man tormented by guilt after his wife dies, travels to Japan to go to the suicide forest below Mount Fuji.  He meets a Japanese man who has slit his wrists but wants to go back to his family.  After a tedious journey and numerous boring flashbacks, the man finds a tent with some supplies including a walkie-talkie.  He finally gets a signal to Japanese park rangers who get him to a hospital.  The doctors tell him there was no one out there with him.  He goes back to America with a new lease on life and a better outlook.   The Forest (horror movie) was better

  The Lava Field.  An Icelandic police procedural.  Troubled cops try to solve the murder of a wealthy and powerful business man.  What they find is a convoluted crime network with ties to Germany and some very smart criminals.  Our lead cop is again troubled, divorced, his kid is a twit and he lets his attitude get everyone in trouble.  Beautiful scenery make up for any plot shortcomings.
   

  Endeavour season 3.  Morse is on suspension and off the force following the shooting of Thursday and his imprisonment for the deed.  Living in a hut owned by an Oxford mate Morse falls in with a crowd of rich young people without direction.  While the police are solving other crimes and Morse helps from the sidelines things go from bad to worse with Thursday health-wise and family-wise.  Morse is back.

 Cell.  Movie adaptation of the Steven King novel horribly acted by John Cusack and Sam Jackson.  Cell phone transmissions start killing people and turning them into raging monsters that kill during the day and sleep at night. So much scenery is chewed up and spit out the thread of the story is lost in a sea of bad acting.  Not even sure how this movie got made.
 

 Lego Batman Movie.  Not as good as the Lego Movie, but entertaining with lots of in-jokes.  Batman thinks he can go it alone to fight villains but in reality he needs Robin. Alfred, BatGirl and all the other lesser villains to capture the big villains.  Lots of action, silliness and moral fiber. 

  CHIPS.  so awful it's funny to watch.  A few belly laughs make it all worth while.  Dax Shephard caught the essence of the cheesey show on which the film is based.  Bad cops are stealing tons of money.  Good cops go undercover to capture them.  Wackiness ensues.

 Tracker.  Nicely done tale of a Dutch Farmer who emigrates to New Zealand at the end of the Boer War.  Trying to start a new life for himself he gets sucked into the hunt for a Maori (falsely) accused of murder by a racist Sergeant.  Lushly filmed in the bush and mountains of New Zealand this "buddy" movie follows the growing understanding and link between the two men both trying to outwit the other through the wilderness.  The ending is satisfying when it comes in a Quigley Down Under kind of way.  Well acted, filmed and directed.

  Sully.  Short and to the point, nicely acted and dramatic.  Sully takes over piloting and lands a stricken passenger jet in the middle of the Hudson River.  During the inquest he proves that pilot training is not enough to prepare people for the totally unexpected loss of 2 engines.   Because there were a ton on images taken of the event, the reenactment is very realistic.
 

  Bokeh.  A total love letter to Iceland.  Filmed all over the country beautifully.  An American couple vacations in Iceland going on all the tourist trips, enjoying themselves.  Waking up one morning after a mountain hike with other tourists they come to the realization that for some twist of fate they are the last two people on Earth.  After a few days of raiding the grocery store, moving into a beautiful house, traveling the countryside we discover that she is a total whining bitch and the poor guy would be better off disappeared himself or killing her.  Interesting take on life after an apocalypse.  Quite enjoyable except for the whining bitch part.

  Deepwater Horizon.  Movie covering the disaster in Louisiana and its aftermath. Filled with action, explosions, dramatic acting, finger pointing, lawsuits, yelling, tears, and heroics.  Worth watching on tv.

  Abattoir.  Silly little story about the Devil collecting the rooms where bad things happen to build his own bloody abattoir in the southern woods of New English, the town that sold its soul for safety.  A reporter goes to the woods after her family is brutally murdered and the murder room disappears from the house in which they were killed.  She's a bit of a whiner and ends up killing her former boyfriend who was only trying to help her.  As bad luck would have it, her very own mother promised her to the Devil.  Meh...not on the Hallmark Channel anymore are we?
 

  Dead West.  Serial killer on the rocky road to finding true love.  Killer with a twisted and strict moral code goes cross country in search of the perfect girl.  Along the way he murders several that aren't up to snuff.  He also slays a father who berates his little daughter and the brother of a murder victim who has chased him across country to get revenge.  That doesn't go so well for him.  Having found a hooker who wants to go straight and open her own beauty salon he thinks she might be the one until in a twist she isn't.  Ah well.

  Shimmer Lake.  A quirky little tale of greed, thievery, redemption, retribution with a likable cast of characters and a familiar plot of telling the tale backward to get to the horrible beginning that started the ball rolling to its bloody conclusion.  A little gem of cinematic silliness.  Worth watching if you can stream it.

  Aftermath.  A thoughtful tale of guilt, sorrow, loss, and revenge based loosely on an actual tragedy.  Air traffic controller doing too many things at once and doing them poorly inadvertently causes two planes to crash killing over 200 people.  Among the victims, the wife and daughter of a man who only wants the airline to apologize, not the money linked to the lawsuit that ensues by the victims' families.  As the years go by and people forget about the tragedy, the man finds the controller now living in a new city under an assumed name and confronts him.  The controller handles it badly and the man loses control and kills the controller.  Good cast and acting makes this a powerful story.  Worth watching.

  The Great Wall.  What's all the fuss?  Westerners traveled to China for gunpowder.  That's what they did in those days.  This is a movie of travelers who happen to kill a mythical beast and then get caught up in the war between man and beast at an outpost on the Great Wall.  Was there such an outcry with 47 Ronin or Last Samurai?  Ok, maybe a little.  The movie was co-written by Max Brooks (World War Z and Mel Brooks' son) which I think explains the feel of the characters.  The soldiers stationed at the wall are color coded according to their jobs which makes for great pageantry.  Lot's of action and innovative fire power is directed towards nasty mythical beasts created by a meteor strike and controlled by a queen beast.  The story elements are not dissimilar to other Chinese-based period pieces.  There is no denying that the plot is ludicrous or that everyone is too pretty or that the guy who has been imprisoned at the garrison for 25 years will cheat the two travelers.  Even the queen beast has a lovely scroll-work forehead.  If you just let it go, the cinematography and effects are lovely to watch.  The story...eh...it's entertaining in a not awful way.

 Resident Evil 5 Final Chapter.  Is it or isn't it?  Alice survives and hits the open road again because it is what she does...loosely hinting at the fact that this is not the final chapter.  DC has been destroyed.  Alice alone fights hordes of undead and the Umbrella Corp to get to the last bastion of human endeavor and find a cure for the T virus.  Everyone's hair and make-up is too perfect in this movie for all the dirt, blood and world-weariness they should be wearing.  Alice has 48 hours to save the last 400 humans on the planet from annihilation and of course telling everyone we have to hurry about 90 times waits until the last 57 seconds to drop the vial of cure so the air can waft it away to the far corners of the earth in a couple of years to kill the infected and save the humans.  Really!  57 seconds.  Lots of zombie killing action, but nothing new.  Mostly a rehash of the previous 4 movies that gathers everyone for the final act where it all began, Raccoon City.  Meh.

  The Red Turtle.  A beautiful tale of survival, loneliness, hope, love, humor, disaster, renewal all told without words.  A shipwrecked man lands on an Eden-like island with no hope of rescue.  Several times he builds a raft in an effort to escape only to be stopped by a giant red turtle.  The story unfolds in an unexpected way and in the end the lovely tale ends with the man dying of old age having had a full and unexpectedly rich life.  Worth seeing.

 Underworld: Blood Wars.  Stinky thy name is Selene and your lame movie.  Underworld was fun and invigorating in the Vampire genre.  This 4th entry is boring. Selene has lost are her fighting skills and seems to have turned into an idiot.  The effects are bad, the acting is worse. Charles Dance however, does get around in the monster world quite a bit.  Good for him.  Don't bother with this tripe.

  Oh Russia!  You so funny.  Sniffer, a 2 season police procedural about a guy with an acute sense of smell that helps police catch criminals and solve crimes by smelling the crime scenes and the suspects.  So very Russian it's almost a parody.  They are advanced, yet some things are still in the Cold War.  The Sniffer has a bitch of an ex-wife that is so unlikeable you cheer when she dies.  His son is a twit.  His best friend the Colonel of police sometimes does not know what to do with him but sticks by him nonetheless.
Quite enjoyable.  With scenes of a dog licking the open, bloody neck hole of a decapitation victim, how can you go wrong!
 

  SING.  A crazy theater loving koala tries to save his old theater by hosting a reality talent contest.  Auditions are held and a wide variety of singing animals are chosen to participate.  There are laughs, cries, inside jokes and some very funny visuals.  Things go pear-shaped, the theater is destroyed, the koala falls into a funk. Then the talent cleans up the rubble, and sings for nothing.  The show is a hit, the theater is reborn and everyone wins.  Cute.  The voice talent is amazing.

  Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies.  3 hapless, jerky snow-boarders in the Alps are left behind after a prank gone wrong and end up at an all-night party.  An entrepreneur releases bad stuff that creates zombies and mutant killer animals.  What ensues is total wacky mayhem and some totally gross zombie and human eviscerations.  And let's not forget the crazy German woman with WWII weaponry in her basement with which to fight the zombies.  And let's not forget the dancing under the disco moon while the room of zombies sways mindlessly to the music.  Total classic.

  Passengers.  Oh tedious.  What could have been an interesting space opera about man's last attempt to save humanity turned into a plodding, tiring, boring journey into things not going according to plan in a major way.  Awakened way too early in the journey, a mechanic goes about living the high life until after a year or more he is so lonely he awakens a young woman who loves him then hates him then loves him after he saves the space ship.  The two best things about the movie are the anti-gravity swimming pool bubble and the end when the ship is overgrown with plants.

 DR. STRANGE.  Visually stunning, intellectually dumbing.  A good and varied cast play the roles given to them as well as can be expected.  The movie is so effects heavy the actors haven't anything to do but react to green screen mayhem.  Strange's cape is cool.  The library of ancient texts is cool and Strange's ability to open portals to grab books is fun.  The idea of utilizing the metaphysical world to travel through the space time continuum to keep an eye on magical happenings is awesome.  The dialogue is terrible, trite and tepid.  Bad guys want to control the world and give it to the ultimate evil so they can become immortal.  Good guys with emotional conflicts have to put differences aside to save the planet.

 MANCHESTER BY THE SEA.  Slow moving tale of a tormented  lonely man having to go home to deal with his 16 year old nephew after his brother dies of heart failure.  Old animosities, loves and hates resurface in town.  Full of flashbacks to fill in and flesh out character development is lazy storytelling and rather tiresome.  Nothing likable about this movie.  The only smart thing is that the man is smart enough in the end to know he should not be the nephew's guardian.

  Rogue One...a Star Wars story.  Wow.  It only took 39 years to come up with a Star Wars story that may become nearly as iconic as Chapter IV a New Hope.  The biggest thing this story had going for it is that it really has nothing to do with the storylines of the SW Empire.  It is a side mission if you will.  It is a fleshing out of the rebel tale to steal the plans to the Death Star (mentioned briefly in New Hope) and get the information on how to destroy it before it can destroy the galaxy into Alliance hands.  Some nice nods to New Hope are inserted randomly making this feel like it is a true precursor to that adventure.  While we'll never care about these characters like Luke, Han and Leia are cared for, we can enjoy the the sense of vague familiarity with the characters and their roles played in setting the stage for the Rebellion to put up one hell of a fight against Imperial rule. Some blending in and fleshing out the tale with archival footage from Episode IV gives it a depth it might not otherwise have.  CGI Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher are slightly off-putting but all in all the effect of their involvement is worth it to the storyline.  As usual the CGI space ships in battle are pretty good.  Overall far better than expected.  A monkey thumb up.

  Shin Godzilla.  So, our Godzilla (2014) is ridiculed for being American fat.  This Godzilla is shaped just as weird with tiny T-Rex arms.  The best part is TOHO Studios used the normally accepted Godzilla roar and awesome theme music from the 60's movies.  The Japanese in this movie are so earnest in their acquiescence to their culture of being polite, having a committee to decide anything and everything and their efficiency that by the end of the tail, they are willing to let the USA use a nuclear bomb on Tokyo to rid themselves of the beast.  The only reason they are willing to do that, their government cannot make a fast decision.  In Team Apeonaut's opinion most of the movie is gently deriding the Japanese on how slowly they accomplish anything and how quick the USA is to bomb stuff.  It's a rather humorous view of the USA through Godzilla eyes.  And speaking of eyes, they made G's eyes look like tiny plastic doll eyes.  WTH???  A coalition is built between the Japanese and the French to use science to defeat the peril.  The USA uses "post-war" pressure to get the Japanese to bomb the beast, Russia and China want G captured and studied so it can be weaponized. Silly translation in the subtitles make this movie even more ludicrous.  Team Apeonaut will agree however, that this G is pretty awesome in its self-protection abilities.  Lighting up its dorsal fins and shooting out hundreds of laser beams to destroy incoming cruise missile and drone strikes and cut buildings in half is pretty amazing.  G can also shot atomic power out the end of its grossly bulbous tail.  All in all, this version was more jokey, hokey than any previous TOHO version.  The theater was packed, the audience was hushed and at the end no one cheered.  It was however another epic to add to the Godzilla pantheon.  Monkey thumbs up.

 The Witch, a New England folktale.  If ever there was a story to prove the existence of witches in 1620 colonial America, this is the movie to do it.  Naturally lit during the filming, no Hollywood trickery, dirty and atmospheric the story follows a family of 7 that leaves the safety and comfort of the "Plantation" to believe and live the Gospels of Christ on their own terms...isn't that why they left England in the first place?  First the baby goes missing, then the crops wilt and die, then the son has inappropriate feelings for his sister, then the twins start talking to Black William the Billy Goat Gruff of the livestock (a perfectly cast goat with curled horns and a long goatee), then the goats give blood instead of milk, then the mother lets a crow peck at her milk heavy breasts, then the son is attacked in the woods by a woman in a red hooded cloak and returns to the farm days later naked, delirious and speaking to God and spitting up apples before he dies a gruesome death, the twins just disappear from the barn where the father locks them up, Black William kills the father by butting him intot he wood pile which falls upon him and crushes him, mother goes crazy and tries to kill her daughter who kills mother with a handy tanning blade, Black William assumes human form, tells her to strip and follow him into the woods to join the rest of the coven.  All very believable and ultimately creepy.  All monkey thumbs up.

 

  Santa Clarita Diet.  Just go with it.  It's funny if you watch all the way through.  These folks deal with family drama/trauma far better than most evening soaps.  The Hammonds a regular family living the life in Santa Clarita.  One day the wife vomits horrendously on the job and finds herself feeling full of vim and vigor and the need to eat fresh human flesh.  How does that family deal with this change?  They try to act normally of course.  The nerd next door with a crush on the Hammond daughter has the info regarding the undead they need so he becomes the go-to guy regarding possible treatments.  It's a silly ride into the realm of living with zombies.  Attractive sweet cast and easy-going acting make it fun to watch.  Will they resolve the flesh fetish in season 2? 

  Jack Reacher, Never Go Back.  Too much Jack and not enough Reacher in this second go-round.  The action centers on a conspiracy surrounding the new commander of Reacher's old post and the deaths of two of her investigators in Afghanistan.  A government contractor is at the core doing nefarious things and cheating the system.  Reacher's involvement gets him accused of murder and paternity.  Cute Lee Child cameo as a TSA agent.  Cobie Smulders would make a better Wonder Woman.  Too much action and too many fight scenes center around her and Reacher's reactions to her.  The inclusion of a "daughter" is a lame gimmick to pull Reacher out of his comfort zone.  Overall it wanted to be a good movie but was lazy and tired filmmaking at best.  Maybe next time.  Bargain hour.

  In Order of Disappearance.  Gotta love those Norwegians!  This is a simple tale of familial relationships and what fathers will do for their sons.  It's also about a quiet, polite, hard working snowplow operator who sets in motion a crazy chain of events that creates the premise of the movie.  Those who die are shown on screen with their religious affiliation and their name in the order in which they die.  The tale follows 3 families, a Norwegian crime lord, a Serb crime lord and the snowplow man. Sons die, retribution is sought and snowplow man is pretty effective at tracking and killing the men he thinks are responsible for his son's death.  Most effective use of a snowplow as weapon in any movie ever!!!  The movie builds to a satisfying climax after  a close quarters gun battle.  The method of body disposal is quite ingenious and quite logical.  The police are many steps behind.  When a Japanese hitman is hired you know things will go pear-shaped.  Wonderfully entertaining and original.  All monkey thumbs up.  This movie is a keeper!

 

  Ratchet & Clank.  A critter with big ears dreams of being a Ranger so he can be a hero.  Bad guys are going around the galaxy destroying planets for no good reason other than they can.  Ratchet gets into the Rangers by default as the top Ranger goes over to the bad guys leaving a space open that needs to be filled.  Wackiness ensues, Everyone tries to hard to be a hero until they realize just the trying is the important thing...it's not how big but how important.  The animation is more than a little off-putting and the story is fairly juvenile even for a cartoon.  Meh.  Funny though, Sylvester Stallone is the voice of the enforcer robot who dies a horribly rusty death.

 THE REZORT.  A global zombie virus nearly decimates the world again.  The remaining humans round up the zombies they find, put them on an island where anyone with the price of admission can go and kill them in any fashion they choose.  Think Jurassic Park and The Most Dangerous Game all rolled into one.  Needless to say things go poorly.  The zombies get loose, people die and the park is destroyed by the brimstone protocol.  Only one person survives to expose the horrible travesty that was the Rezort.  (the zombies were made from refugees to keep down the refugee population and keep the zombie resort in business)  Hmmm.

  ASSASSINATION:  Japanese controlled Korea 1930s.  Korean rebels plan to retake their homeland by assassinating the two highest ranking Japanese in the country.  A spy in their midst betrays their plans at every turn until a chance encounter at a department store turns the tide in the rebels favor, as long as everyone keeps to the plan and fights to the death.  Well acted, beautifully filmed, filled with lots of great characters.


  THE ACCOUNTANT: fun little movie about a math savant who un-cooks the books for major players in the world of criminal endeavors.  He is also a trained killer with a moral code of sorts.  As the story unfolds we discover the Accountant's back story regarding his Army Psy-ops total jerk father, his quiet but supportive brother, his training, his coping mechanisms for his autistic tendencies, his math brilliance, how he learns to interact with people and why the Treasury Department is interested in his operations.  This fun cat and mouse story brings everyone full circle with blunt force and as the Accountant would write, WOW.  Not a great movie, but entertaining in its choreographed violence.  Ben Affleck has moments.
  

  The Battle for Sevastopol.  This movie chronicles the life of the Soviet-Ukraine sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko with 309 confirmed kills during the German invasion of her homeland during WWII.  It begins with her being accepted to University, going to shooting school then being sent to the Front to fight the Germans.  She falls in love twice with her superior officers, both of whom die, the doctor who grows to love her and helps her evacuate as the city falls turns out to be Russian Jew who probably did not fare well himself.  The tale is told by Eleanor Roosevelt who had the privilege of meeting Lyudmila in America in 1942 when Stalin tried to get the USA involved in a second Front and then 15 years later during Eleanor's trip to Moscow.  Pavlichenko toured the US rallying supporters for the second front.    The back story is told vividly through her reticle.

Touch of Zen.  This is a crazy 1971 movie about a royal woman fighter hiding away in a haunted military fort far from the treachery that killed her family.  Enter a Letter & Couplet writer without prospects who still lives with his mother.  His mother obviously wants him to take the civil service exam, get a wife, produce and heir and support her so she can stop working.  He then gets tangled up in the plot to kill the woman in the fort, so after a night together she disappears, he chases after her to save her as best he can, as bad guys surround them on all sides.  Monks present the writer with a baby and a letter telling this is his heir now run away.  The monks, the woman and her faithful general fight bad guys to the death of everyone.  The Abbot is surprisingly stabbed, bleeds golden blood, climbs up to sit on a hilltop and with the sun behind looks like Buddha pointing the way to a secret sacred temple.  The woman tries to get to it, last scene, writer and baby sitting in the woods out of breath presumably from running away.  Oh 70s, you were crazy in any country.

  Suicide Squad.  Everyone knew this would disappoint and it lived up to the depth of its failure.  The scum of the earth are recruited to save America from all types of bad things.  Their first assignment stop the Enchantress from destroying the world.  We are given small bits of information on each of the members of the suicide squad and why they are chosen for this endeavor.  We see that their boss is a manipulative bitch, their military leader is lovesick and torn in his duties and the team is varied in their reasons for agreeing to do the job.  Mostly special effects and very little story. The Joker is creepy for creepy sake with nothing to redeem him.  Everyone else claims nature or nurture issues.  No thumbs, lots of poop

 Spectre.  Aren't we done with this guy yet?  Sort of a prequel-reimagining of how Blofeld got his bad eye, scar and cat and how he engineered every bad thing that ever happen to James Bond.  Bad writing, bad directing and just a bad taste in the cinematic taste buds.  Ralph Fiennes was the best part.  MI6 is being moved to a new high-tech facility.  The old building will be demolished.  The OO program is being retired and everyone is being sent to new departments.  Bond has gone off on his own to find some bad guy or other and causes destruction and disgrace for the British empire.  Then things go badly and because the movie is so bad you know exactly who the bad guy is and what his motivation is without being told.  Never again.  James used to be a hero.  Daniel Craig makes him less so.  No monkey thumbs up and a lot of poop.

  Jason Bourne.  What do you do when you find out your life is based on a lie and you've been trying to atone for your own perceived misdeeds?  Walk really fast and with dogged determined and speak very few words.  Globe trotting former asset Jason Bourne is on the move again...literally.  The movie is really more about movement than any plot point.  Bourne is like a shark...must keep moving to survive the deadly waters of mean superiors.  Bourne remembers his dad in this outing with the help of Nicky Parsons in a totally unglamorous roll.  One puzzling thing is how could smart people like Bourne and Parsons not know they are being traced, tracked and surveilled?  And why are they so surprised when they end up dead or hurt?  These are supposed to be top professionals.  Vincent Cassalls has arguably one of the longest rolls of his career outside of Brotherhood of the Wolf and Eastern Promises.  Tommy Lee Jones should use cucumbers at night on those eye-bags.  Eeeww.  Mostly this is yet another movie culled from pieces of other movies including the Bourne series.  Team Apeonaut likes Jason Bourne.  Now it's time to get back to the business of patriotic killing for Uncle Sam.  Let's not wait another 9 years.

  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.  Peculiar children have abilities far beyond those of mere mortals.  Strength, invisibility, ability to revive the dead, can start fires with bare hands just to name a few.  Miss Peregrine's children are stuck in a 1942 time loop to keep them safe from creatures that want to kill them and their kind.  A young boy travels to meet them at his dying grandfather's request and his grand adventure begins.  The boy has to do what he can to save the peculiars.  The book was probably better than the movie but the movie does have some striking visual set pieces.  One monkey thumb up.

  Monster Hunter. What can a casual viewer really say about this movie?   Ancient monsters rule the world.  Humans just have a small kingdom in which to live.  Greedy humans want more.  Nice monsters wear human skins to blend in and make homes in the human world.  Pregnant monster queen fleeing for her life gives her unborn baby to a human loser to birth and care for.  Things don't work out as planned.  Monster hunters want the baby monster king to serve up for dinner at the wealthy businessman's feast. The human baby daddy and his monster hunter girlfriend try to even things out and send the monsters to their new home and keep humans from trying to eat them.  Cultures and parenting styles clash and more than wackiness ensues.  Can't believe that Team Apeonaut watched this in its entirety.

  Spectral.  What can one really say?  A Russian experiment to create the perfect soldier goes awry.  American troops clearing a town of rebels is slaughtered by invisible somethings.  An American scientist is brought in to explain the unexplainable.  More people die.  Turns out the "spectrals" are generated by a machine thought to have been shut down long ago but left running and generating killing ghosts from the bodies inside the machine for years.  The ghosts are pissed too.  Iron filings can keep them trapped inside certain designated areas for easier dispersal.  How did this movie get made?  It could have shown on the SYFY Channel as it was made in Bulgaria.

  13 Hours: Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.  What a frightening movie.  Those men were thrown to the wolves while our government watched in safety from afar and did nothing.  Realistic, brutal and harrowing this movie shows how screwed up our Muslim policies are.  Those few soldiers deal with overwhelming forces and can never truly tell who is on their side.  Scary.  Everyone should be required to watch this movie.  The reasons behind so many issues in the Middle East become very clear.  All monkey thumbs up.

  Department Q: Absent One, Keeper of Lost Causes, Matter of Faith.  A wonderful series of Norwegian movies about a morose Norwegian cop and his Muslim partner opening 20 year old cold cases and as it turns out solving them to bring justice to the victims and the verdicts against the guilty.  A violent series of murders at a private school, a politician's supposed suicide turns out to be a vicious case of kidnapping and revenge, a serial killer of zealously religious children are all investigated to successful conclusions though at great personal loss for both officers.  Excellent procedural storytelling.  These actors have all worked together in other projects; Child 44, The Last King to name a couple.  All monkey thumbs up.

   The Last King.  A rip-roaring action tale of the Norwegian's last king to rule the country in the 13th century.  The Danes (Baglers) want to take over the country with the help of the brother of the next in line to the throne after he has killed the sitting king.  Dirty tricks, betrayal, threats, incest, illegitimate baby Hakon Hakkonson born to the king's wench, snow ponies, wild chases across the frozen wastelands, and skiing like you've never seen it all to protect the baby and get him to the capitol and on the throne.  Quite a tale of duty and honor for the men who gave their lives to save the last king.  Monkey thumbs up.

  The Lost Bladesman.  Another tale of China in the year 200 at the destruction of the Han Dynasty. A story of honor, unrequited love, betrayal, and martial arts.  Lots of action, beautiful war choreography, beautiful costumes, better than average subtitles.  Familiar characters from other movies told from a different point of view.  Interesting and brutal.

 Jungle Book.  Mediocre retelling of Mr. Kipling's tale of young boy brought up by wolves and befriended by animals in the jungle.  The kid was too modern.  The CGI was mediocre on all the animals except Kaa, Bagheera and King Louiee.   The voice casting was ok but mostly uninspired and the look of the other animals was a little off.  Not even worth watching.

  Confession of Murder.  A serial killer evades the police and disappears.  The families of the murder victims join forces to kill the killer after he publishes a book covering his crimes once the statute of limitations on those murders expires. The cop who lost the murderer has become an embarrassment to the force and falls apart.  While the murderer goes on his book tour and sells millions of books the cop and the families hatch an intricate scheme to bring down the killer.  It's rather ingenious and original and a breath of fresh air how they do it.  Monkey thumbs up.

  Kubo and the Two Strings.  What a lovely experience.  This was the most enjoyable movie to watch.  It is visually stunning, magical, funny, exciting and sad all at the same time.  The story's premise is simple; a baby and his mother find themselves washed ashore on the lonely side of an island after a harrowing escape from her nasty family and the death of her husband.  Time passes the boy grows up, tells tall tales with his magical origami figures, then has to go on an adventure with a talking macaque and a samurai beetle to find the armor that will set them all free...though he doesn't know that at the time.  The movie is just so full of wonder any other descriptions would be spoiler alerts or pointless.  Highly recommended for everyone to see.  All monkey thumbs up.
  

  Hell or High Water.  What a pleasure to behold.  This is a simple story that jumps right in to the deep end without having to waste time building character.  You know from the start the two brothers' relationship.  You recognize the Texas Ranger's relationship with his Ranger partner.  There is a typical ex-wife and a flirty diner waitress.  You know everyone's story without having it pounded into your face for the first 30 minutes.  The story begins where it does and ends as it must.  Brother's rob particular bank branches to get enough money to save the farm and right a wrong done to their mother as she is dying.  The movie is fast paced, deeply felt and understandable under the circumstances of the story.  It has humor, love, loss and cleaverness.  All monkey thumbs up and then some.

 The Tiger.  In the Kingdom of Korea during the last Japanese Occupation the Japanese general wants all the tigers killed and the best pelts brought to him to take back to Japan.  The Japanese enlist the most experienced Korean hunters.  As the story unfolds forwards and backwards we see how the lives of the hunters and the tigers have intersected over the years.  The tiger after losing his mate and cubs to the hunters working for the Japanese goes on a killing spree to avenge them.  Tiger outwits them all at every turn.  Old hunter who knows tiger's true identity goes after him in the ultimate predator-prey showdown.  Well acted.  Filthy. Beautifully filmed.  CGI tiger not bad either.  Far better than Gladiator's tiger with a much bigger budget.  The movie is cold, brutal and animalistic.  Well worth watching.

 Kung Fu Killer.  A police kung fu trainer in jail for manslaughter is released into police custody to help them track the killer of all the kung fu masters in town.  The trainer knows who it is and must use all his skill and wits to catch the guy before he can kill again.  Things don't always go as planned when egos are involved.  Entertaining.

 Beloved Bodyguard.  Ding, a former Chinese Security Board officer retires to a small town on the China/Russia/North Korea border to live out his days with dementia in peace.  He befriends and is befriended by a school girl named Cherry whose father is a small time crook in trouble with some seriously bad gangsters.  Ding has to dig deep into very long term memories to remember his skills in order to save the life of the girl after her father is killed and the house is blown up.  Things get crazy.  Why is it the small towns can be a mix of 3 countries and everyone gets along?

  Warcraft.  Humans, dwarves, elves, Mages and Orcs, oh my.  One world enjoys peaceful coexistence of inhabitants, one world is destroying itself so its inhabitants go through a portal of evil power to conquer the peaceful world.  The Mage charged with protecting his planet falls under the spell of the evil portal thus helping the Orcs to come and play. A diligent knight, a thoughtful king, a Mage in training, an Orc woman hybrid and an Orc chieftain join forces to combat the evil portal, the evil Mage and the invading Orc hordes.  Things go badly and vital characters die horrible deaths, just as they would in the game. Evil is not dead, just waiting for the sequel.  Not terrible, not great.  An easy way to pass a couple of cinematic hours.

  Trust.  Baddish cop, nut-job cop.  Nonsensical tale of an older cop drawing a younger cop into a plan to steal whatever is in a building used by shady criminal types.  Pertinent questions:  does the older cop know what's really in the building, does he enjoy randomly killing people he deals with?  Is he really a psycho?  The two cops strike a deal, plan a plan, rob a drug dealer for money to pay for the industrial drill from Germany they need to drill into the apartment below that contains whatever loot they think is in there.  The baddish cop has second thoughts after seeing the vault is not filled with cash and after a shootout with the older cop puts everything back like he found it.  The younger cop then tries to make his escape with the young woman from the apartment but meets a bad end at the hands of her cohorts.  Could have been a great heist flick but was nothing more than bad acting and paycheck collecting by Nicolas Cage and confusion on Elijah Wood's most grown-up role to date.
 

  Blood Father.  Mel Gibson is one bad ass.  The story of an ex-con addict, his sponsor, the crappy dirt town they live in and the ex-con's wayward runaway daughter.  The movie jumps right into the shit-storm of murder, drug cartels, assassins, back-stabbers, getting what is yours and family.  The characters are vividly portrayed without having to have an hour of expository back story.  You know right away who is who.  Gibson gives a rock solid performance as Link the tattoo guy without being an older, hairier "Martin Riggs" caricature.  Highly enjoyable.  When things go wrong, they go really wrong.  Monkey thumbs way up.

The Legend of Tarzan.  Tarzan is a character whose story can be told and retold and has been since 1918 to varying degrees of success.  It's now 2016 and the world is so afraid of being seen as unsympathetic that much of history is rewritten to appease even the smallest complainant to injustices real or imagined.  Edger Rice Burroughs wrote a classic adventure tale of the son of an English lord being raised by apes after the untimely and unfortunate deaths of his parents during a period of time with which he was familiar.  It's his story.  ERB didn't stop to think what future generations of idiots would be born and not be able to enjoy a story for the story's sake.  Just because it covers slavery and inhumanity doesn't mean those things never happened.  It's his story.  It doesn't have to be sanitized for today's bleeding heart idiots.  In this version Tarzan and Jane live a quiet life in England in Greystoke Manor until an invitation is received to go back to Africa to endorse the good works of good King Leopold of Belgium (nefarious undertones apply here).  Oh and take along an American investigator who happens to be black and works for the President and did all kinds of inhumane things to Mexicans and Indians after the Civil War just to balance things out.  What ensues is a sadly updated tale told too much in 21st Century vernacular.  There are obligatory flashbacks to explain why Tarzan is Tarzan.  The natives of the Congo are either the happy friendly, colorfully dressed type or the mean and nasty painted type.  The American Jane is so spunky and precocious you know in 1890 she would have been locked away in the family's attic if she wasn't married to Tarzan.  Good thing she was raised in Africa in the wilds so she can be spunky.  Tarzan is lovely to look at but hollow inside.  Too bad.  It could have been great.  Odd thing, the audience clapped at the end.  Shows how far moviegoers have fallen.

  Black Road.  Fairly lame movie about a former soldier (Tim Daly's son Sam) with a plug n play cyborg unit in his brain.  After the wars he hires himself out as a body guard of sorts protecting and sleeping with the wife of a gazillionaire.  During the search for a ton of the gazillionaire's ill-gotten gains things go badly, people die and the hero is pointless.  Nice premise overwhelmed by mediocrity and bad directing.  Meh -----

  Painkillers.  Mercenaries for the government travel the globe in search of alien power sources. This is the story of one such unit of mercs in Afghanistan who find a source in a Taliban cave.  There is trouble in the cave, they wake up in a hospital with collective amnesia, they are drugged, psychoanalyzed and tortured because no one can remember where the power source is.  The mercs begin committing suicide.  Things go badly.  Authority and secret agendas are questioned.  Memories are restored and the powers that be start the cycle over again.  Meh ++
    

  The Good Neighbor.  Not so much.  Things aren't always as they seem on the outside once you have cameras planted on the inside.  Mix a grumpy old widower with frizzy hair and rheumy eyes with the kid whose abusive father the geezer helped put away and a tech savy friend and you have the potential for Rear Window meets Disturbia meets Eye in the Sky high tech surveillance.  The teenagers decide to "experiment" on the geezer to see if he changes his perception if they remotely "haunt" him with high tech gadgets.  Installing cameras and gizmos inside and outside the house the boys film every aspect of the effect of their pranks on the old man.  Without context the effects seem to be making a psycho even creepier and the boys think they are doing something cool.  When the old guy spends his nights in the basement, teen curiosity about the locked door gets the better of them.  Then boys really get themselves in deep when crazy shit hits the fan.  James Caan says about 20 words but looks and acts like a creepy old psycho very realistically.

  Nice Guys.  Silly bit of fluff movie.  An enforcer and a PI start out looking into the "suicide" of a porn star and end up tracking down a senator's wayward daughter who wants to blow the lid on corruption between government and big business.  Set in 1977 this movie has it all.  Witty repartee and silly action/violence fill the awkwardness of the plot holes.  Fun buddy movie that tries too hard in places and not hard enough in others.  Worth a VOD charge.

  Captain America: Civil War.  TRULY BAD MOVIE WITH VERY LITTLE GOING FOR IT.  Too mean, too loud, too political, too un-fun. This being an election year makes this movie even more humorous than one might expect.  It turns out to be a slugfest between Trump and Clinton 2!  Marvel, you so funny. Cap is Trump and Iron Man is Clinton 2.  The parallels in ideologies are so similar that you have to be a moron not to see them.  30 minutes too long and highly bombastic CACW is the tale of right when wrong and vice versa.  Tony doesn't trust Cap's gut regarding Cap's pal Bucky, AKA the Winter Soldier.  A massive disagreement ensues when people die seemingly at the hands of the Winter Soldier. Everyone blames everyone else for the problems in the world and the Avengers tear themselves apart from the inside choosing sides in a war no one can win until they can.  Antman and the rebooted Spiderman (more accurately Spider-tween) have fun roles.  Col. Rhodes gets to fly around as Warhammer.  Black Panther is actually pretty good.  Scarlet Witch is so-so.  The best dialogue and confrontations are between Cap and Tony but they are few and far between.  Lots of pent up anger.  The movie lacks heart and true motivation. The effects are pretty decent and admittedly Ironman's new suit gadgets are awesome.  Stan Lee's cameo is priceless this time.  Thumbs up.  We still have one more superhero slugfest to endure with X-Men Apocalypse.  Come on superheroes.  We need superheroes.  But if we can't have them, Team Apeonaut will take Deadpool everytime.
 

The Lobster.  A big round of WTF for this movie.  In the near future people that are single are sent to a hotel and given 45 days to find a mate or they are turned into an animal.  They can extend their days by hunting and tranking "loners" in the woods and taking them back to the hotel.  As the movie progresses people lie to survive, run away and murder.  The political factions of the "loners" plot to take over the hotel and overthrow the unjust society.  They allow people with similarities become couples. This cause big problems and some creative problem solving.  As the animals are seen more and more often in the background one thing becomes certain...it may be easier to become an animal than to survive the system.  Weird.

 London Has Fallen.  Paycheck movie.  So bad.  Once again the USA has done something to piss of someone with an agenda.  Revenge is a dish best served with turncoats and high explosives.  Agent Banning has to once again save the President while the world watches and prove to everyone he is the baddest badass in town.  Ridiculous.  Some good special effects and the weapons usage is believable.  Plotline not so much.

  Shotgun Stories.  The tale of two sets of half-brothers.  The dirt poor ill-educated set and the more affluent set.  Both sets have differing ideas about their newly deceased father.  An insult is laid and the brothers feud until one of each set is dead.  What happens next is a tale of biblical eye for an eye until one brother deemed cowardly has the guts to stop the feud.  Sad.

 Fortitude season 1.  an island at the top of the world, cut off from the mainland free from the cares of big cities.  Idyllic.  Cold.  Bracing.  Beautiful.  A Foreign Legion of inhabitants from all walks of life all running and hiding from something.  But it's a good place to live.  Nothing ever bad happens in Fortitude.  As the mines close a new venture starts to keep the island viable.  A prehistoric find is made.  Violence this little speck of humanity has never known happens, then happens again and again and again.  High powered investigator is brought in, scientists try to figure out if some pathogen is spreading around.  Murder, mayhem, obsession, jealousy and love swirl around asking more questions than they answer.  Cold and brutal this is a fun show, but it's now wonder it was canceled.  How do you sustain it?

  Shetland Season 1-2.  Like the Welsh series Hinterland this police drama based on the bleakly beautiful Scottish island of Shetland follows the lives a police detective and his team dealing with murder, mayhem, old family secrets, island traditions and spotty cell coverage. Everyone is a suspect and no one ever tells the truth.  You'll want a heavy coat to wear while watching.  Beautiful scenery makes one want to visit.

  Our Vines have Tender Grapes.   Not even sure how or why Team Apeonaut found and watched this gem.  It was wonderful to see Edward G. playing a loving and tender father figure.  O'Brien is sugar overload cute and annoying as usual.  This is just a simple story of farmers with next to nothing helping each other in times of need.  Quite lovely actually considering the way things are now cinematically and realistically.  All monkey thumbs up.

  San Andreas.  This should have been a SYFY Channel movie.  Soooooooooooooooooo bad.  Nothing about the science of earthquakes, the interaction of family, dialogue and acting made any sense.  The Rock is supposed to make bad movies tolerable.  Missed it by that much.  Separated parents join forces to drive, fly and boat to San Fransico to rescue their only remaining child after the "big one" hits California.  Implausible, illogical, idiotic.  The movie stunk on ice.  Where's that grapefruit spoon?  My eyes need gouging out now.

 The American Side.  They say there are 3 sides to everything...right side, wrong side and the American Side.  This could have been a fun little mystery involving Niagara Falls, Nikola Tesla, shady PIs, murderous rich guys and femme fatales.  The idea that Tesla invented a teleportation device and broke his drawings in half so no one ideology could benefit from it, the loss of the halves, the discovery of the halves, the race to complete the drawing and have the infinite power of a Tesla invention in your hands.  As in all mysteries someone is suicides, the PI tries to find out why, he is lied to by a woman he fancies, her brother is a killer, a couple of offbeat scientists want him to find the Tesla papers, the US government does what it does best and a foreign national has all the puzzle pieces.  In the end the PI is shot and has to do the noble thing to safeguard the world.  Heck of a cast...Robert Vaughn, all 90 years old of him, Robert Forster, Matthew Broderick, Harris Yulin, all 2oo years of him.  Crazy.  The cinematography at the falls is gorgeous.  Make the Apeonauts want to go.

 

 Shannara Chronicles.  MTV did a passable stab at creating a fun alternate world story.  A little to much in the vernacular for a story taking place 3000 years after the nuclear destruction of man and the rise of Elves, gnomes, trolls etc.  An elf tree is dying. An elf princess is the only one that can save it.  A Druid sends the last son of Shannara (powerful halfling that can wield the elfstones to destroy demons) to act as her guardian.  Demons start causing terror and taking over souls. Someone's going to have to use magic to halt the demon hord from taking over the world.  Production values are so-so.  The acting is not dreadful.  A couple of well-known character actors have important roles.  The kids are too 21st Century to be believable.  And how can the rusting hulk of an old truck and a swing-set still stand after 3000 years? Hmmm?  Entertaining.

 The Returned.  Fun little single season cancelled show about dead people returning to their home town or the town where they died and basically destroying the lives of their loved ones one more time.  Black water rises up through the drains so you know immediately that something is rotten at the core of the town.  Some of the Returned are changed for the better, some not so much.  The question remains how would you handle a return of someone near and dear to you?

  Rebirth.  A Tony Robbins approach to self improvement only with violence, seduction, psychoanalysis and the total ruination of one's life if you don't play along.  Really pointless and an overly drawn out infomercial for getting out of your rut in life and becoming wealthier, happier and more connected with life by going through the Rebirth program.  Not worth it.

  Dark Web.  The Most Dangerous Game played out for the internet in the wilds of Eastern Europe.  Millionaires pay for the privilege of hunting and killing innocent farm girls.  Horrible script, horrible acting, horrible costumes, horrible directing, dubbing and sets make this a total waste of space.  To make matters worse, Danny Glover has a cameo as the US distributor for the snuff films.  Need a paycheck that badly Mr. Glover?

 Batman VS Superman: Dawn of Justice.  Bombastic, too long, too angry, too ridiculous, too fat.  Some parts try to be a melding of Batman's past, present and future and have reasonable results.  Superman throws in elements of some of his past movies.  Mash everything together and you have a jumbled leaden filmic crap with the lamest "ah ahhhhh moment" when Bruce finds out that Superman's mother's name is Martha too. Really, it took the entire movie to figure that out?!  Wonder Woman is ok and at least she has a costume befitting her nature.  Is that Chris Pine in her war photo?  Hmmm.  Bargain hour at best.  Lex Luther is an annoying little twit.  Oh DC, why are you trying so hard to beat Marvel?  Just let your characters be themselves.1 monkey thumb held up reluctantly.

  Criminal. If you want a brutal, violent, angry, confused and above all a sweet love story reminiscent of Flowers for Algernon Criminal is the movie for you!  Billy Pope, super CIA agent is killed before he can tell his superiors where a hacker is.  Quaker, the CIA chief recruits mad-scientist Dr.Franks to suck out the agents memories and plop them into Jericho's dysfunctional mind.  YAY!  Mix in Pope's wife and cute daughter and this movie spells Dys-FUN-ctional!  Nice performances, decent story and direction.  Some scenery chewing by the CIA and the Spanish anarchist bad-guy but loads of brutish behavior and non-sensical banter.  All monkey thumbs up!  Don't even think about Face-Off, Transcendence, Matrix, and even the barf-a-rama known as Avatar.  This movie has some soul, heart and humor.
  

  Limitless season 1.  Fun continuation of a so-so movie.  The hero is a loser who has failed at everything and is a big disappointment to his parents.  He takes an illegal drug and turns his brain into an amazing problem solving machine.  He works for the FBI to solve unsolvable cases.  Entertaining.  Monkey thumbs up.

 Remember.  An interesting tale of long awaited justice and retribution.  Two old guys in a retirement home discover the identity of former SS camp staff from Auschwitz and their whereabouts across the US.  Zev, in the ongoing stages of dementia is given a list by his friend and goes on a mission of retribution for the "death of his family".  An often times painful to watch movie, the story is riveting nonetheless.  There are some tense moments when the main character forgets his wife is dead, or where he is and nearly loses everything when a waitress spills coffee on his notes.  The build up to the end is well done with only a few hints given along the way as to what is really going on.  Landau and Plummer are excellent as always.  Dean Norris has a small yet pivotal role and attacks it with zeal.  Worth watching

  Coriolanus.  Shakespeare's play about a Roman soldier victorious and brutal against his country's enemies but betrayed and cast aside by his own government when the battle is won.  Betrayed even by his own mother he defects to the enemy and wages brutal and effective battle against his former countrymen.  After all is said and done he is murdered by his new country.  Well acted, well directed and set in a future time so the Shakespearian-speak is kind of odd.

 We Are What We Are.  Creepy little story of dark family secrets and what happens when the family falls apart.  From mother's opening death to the inevitable discovery that something is wrong with the children everyone involved spirals further into the abyss as the tale unfolds.  Townspeople go missing.  A torrential rain hits the region, bones and teeth start washing up on the banks of the flooding river.  Lots of people die.  The signs are all there but no one figures it out until it is too late to save anyone.  Bon appetite!  One fun tidbit: the young Deputy Sheriff looks so much like Kurt Russell you have to watch the end credits to find out why and sure enough it's Wyatt Russell (son) all grown up.

  The Dependables.  Retired military 70 something grandparents head to Afghanistan to rescue their respective grandsons who have been captured by a drug lord and are being left to their own devices by the US government because a greedy Army officer has dealings with the drug lord.  Wackiness ensues.  Surprising some of these actors are still alive and many are unrecognizable.  Still it's nice to see them limping around and shooting high powered weaponry.  Their military tactics are a bit rusty but they prevail in the end.


 Zootopia.  Funny and sweet story of bunny Judy Hopps who wants to be a cop in the homogenous city of Zootopia.  Starting as a meter maid she proves herself to be a good cop when she breaks up a plot to turn all predator mammals into ravenous killing machines.  She befriends a fox and wins the appreciation of her fellow officers.  Well worth watching just for its furry cuteness.

 

  What We Do In The Shadows.  Outrageous mockumentary that follows three old vampires through their nightly lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  They deal with mundane things like paying the rent, sunlight emergencies and wardrobe challenges to bringing a human friend to a masked vampire party and causing a ruckus, chance meetings with a pack of werewolves who then come to the house for a beer party and reunions with former girlfriends that raise some eyebrows.  Thumbs up.

  Aquarius Season 1.  Manson family building (pre-murders) and musical career, The Young Republicans, Nixon, Viet Nam, LAPD, Black Panthers, LSD, 60s era deviants, free love, communes, strip clubs, mobsters, sexism, music and keeping up appearances.  This show has it all.  Times they have not changed one iota except people are meaner in the 21st century.   Well written and acted each episode is part real flashback to a bygone era and part fictionalized history lesson.  Well played and sometimes mesmerizing. 

  He Never Died.  Jack is an antisocial fellow preferring to spend his days eating, watching TV, sleeping and playing bingo at the local senior center. A waitress at the cafe tries to bring him out of his shell.  Then the unexpected happens, his 19 year old daughter by a woman he hates shows up and chaos erupts.  In one scene we notice 2 long vertical scars on Jack's back between his shoulder blades...that adds a valuable clue to his identity.  He has a trunk at the foot of his bed filled with cash and artifacts from bygone eras.  He says if he needs cash he just sells something.  Many people die after run-ins with Jack.  During a botched up revenge plot against Jack, Jack's daughter is kidnapped.  The waitress is roped into helping Jack save her.  The waitress learns many unbelievable things about Jack, most important of which is that he doesn't die after being shot in the head and he then uses pliers to dig out the slug.  otherwise he gets migraines.  This is an enjoyable little film out of left field.  Henry Rollins is great as the dead-pan Jack.  When asked how old he is Jack says "I don't know but I'm in the bible if that helps."  During the climax of rescuing his daughter, Jack talks to a man in a black hat and tells him he killed all those thousands in Wallachia because he wanted to.  And Abel wasn't that special and deserved to die.  So, is Jack a vampire?  A fallen angel?   A demon?  For you to decide dear movie-goer.  But this is a ride worth riding to find out.

 Dark Was the Night.  Nice premise for a horror movie, but a little too slow burning plot and a quickly thrown together (could have been great) ending bogs it down.  We start in a logging camp.  People are mysteriously turned into blood splats and severed body parts by something, someone, some entity--Jersey Devil, Sasquatch...whatever.  Animals go missing in the next town, crazy not to be believed cloven hoof prints are seen all over town, people die in vicious attacks and bloody bodies are found in the trees.  Law enforcement is slow to act until they have to react to the danger.  What feels like a flaw in the plot is the sheriff brooding over the death of his young son and feeling useless to protect the rest of his family and to blame for the accident.  TA might suppose the screenwriter was trying to round out the movie with substance which would make the sheriff's heroic transformation at the end of the movie understandable and believable. The last shot of the movie makes the tribulations seem worth plodding through.  It is definitely a "No Way Out" kind of twist.  Passable Apeonaut entertainment.

  Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal.  Produced by some big named movie companies this could very well be the biggest WTF Asian mythology movie ever.  The story revolves around Zhong Kui, a demon slayer with tragic past and his love interest the Snow Girl.  Heaven and Hell want the Dark Crystal which acts as a portal of sorts sucking out people's souls and sending them into the great beyond.  Throw in some betrayal from all parties good and bad, some magic tricks, crazy CGI effects, and a mish-mash of Chinese, Japanese and Korean esoterica and you have this movie that does not have a happy ending, everyone dies but looks glorious doing it.  Monkey thumbs have no idea which way to point for this movie

 The Finest Hours.  If you can get through the first twenty minutes of character building or lack thereof what follows is an exciting, gripping and death defying tale of everyday men becoming heroes of the greatest magnitude.  Just doing their job and beating the odds.  An amazing true story.  1952, really bad storm hits the East Coast.  Two tankers break apart in rough seas.  The Coast Guard is sent out.  The movie focuses on one of the two groups.  The Tanker crew trying to survive on the aft half of their tanker.  Fortunately they have the engine room and a man who knows what he's doing though no one likes him.  The Coast Guard rescuers are lead by a Chief no one has any confidence in with some dire back story that makes him appear weak.  What follows is a rip-roaring soaking wet unbelievable tail of men's men.  The effects are great and the actors look sufficiently cold, worried to death and tired.  Very well done and uplifting.  All monkey thumbs up.

  The Revenant.  (Returned from the dead or long journey).  This is the true tale (by Hollywood standards) of one of the American frontier's most intrepid explorer/scout/trapper/hunter Hugh glass.  The story has two important parts that converge into a somewhat less than satisfactory ending.  The gang is out fur trapping when set upon by Native Americans who think they are the group that stole the Chief's daughter.  A firefight erupts, several men get away downriver by boat where Glass suggest they ditch the boat and go over the mountains to get back to the fort alive.  Then things get ugly.  After Glass is mauled nearly to death by a Grizzly the group argues about what to do.  With the promise of money if 2 stay with Glass until he dies and give him a proper burial the group splits up.  John Fitzgerald, a whiner, from the get-go decides to kill Glass's son and Glass so he can be on his way and collect his money with the lie that Glass was properly buried.  A young Jim Bridger has reluctantly gone along with the story.  Fortunately he grew out of that and became an American legend himself.  Glass survives many tribulations while making his way back to the fort to seek his revenge.  Revenge and the Captain's sewing skills after the mauling are really what kept Glass alive during the grueling 100 mile or so crawl he made.  Any thought of revenge was completely wiped from his mind though in the movie he and Fitz have a mighty battle at the end.  You can have your revenge but that won't bring your boy back.  The movie is gritty, the actors dirty and cold looking, eating raw buffalo entrails and sleeping inside a horse carcass don't look like much fun, but if you want to live, you'll do anything.  Well worth seeing.  Very existential like Valhalla Rising but without the bloodlust.
All monkey thumbs up.  The digital bear mauling is pretty impressive.  Far better than the digital tiger in Gladiator.

  DeadPool.   Best Valentine movie ever made.  That's saying something since My Bloody Valentine (original...not remake) is Team Apeonaut's all time favorite.  Ryan Reynolds hits it out of the park with his R-rated comic character slamming everyone from his own Wade Wilson portrayal in Wolverine to his own Green Lantern and all comic book movies in between.  Maybe because he's Canadian and the movie was made in Canada and Reynolds produced it was the key to its raunchy success.  From the "way we'd like to see credits rolling" opening credits to the closing surprise after the credits...way after the credits, this movie has everything and the kitchen sink.  Action, adventure, narration, love interest, decapitations, amputations, blood galore, horror, bad guys with mean attitudes, good guys with sanctimonious attitudes, redemption, vindication, vengeance, you name it, this movie has it in aces. Ragging on the X-Men, Xavier's school, Hugh Jackman, McAvoy vs Stewart, jerking off, and a smoking hot movie soundtrack keep you rolling in the aisles as Deadpool tries to exact revenge, get his old life back and save his girlfriend and ultimately be a hero.  Oh Canada!  All monkey thumbs up.  Worth IMAX 3D prices.  Go see it.  You'll be glad you did.

  Pawn Sacrifice.  Mental illness and chess go hand in hand as this movie follows Bobby Fisher's early chess wins that lead him to the ultimate match with world champion Boris Spasky in Iceland and his inevitable fall into despair and mental illness.  Not unlike Brian Wilson of the Beach Boy's sad tale of mental decline and the need for proper medication, Bobby is handled by a manager and a priest albeit on a more friendly level but the experience leaves Bobby undiagnosed and failing mentally.  Powerful and depressing movie.  Thumbs up.
 

  Beyond the Reach.  Rather pointless tale of a big game hunter bribing the sheriff of a small town to hire the local guide to take the hunter into the wilds so he can shoot a male ram.  The hunter has a crazy one-of-a-kind Mercedes 4 wheel drive complete with microwave oven and espresso machine and a special rifle big enough to kill two elephants standing side by side.  After a short get-to know-each-other period, the hunter shoots an old prospector, then sets out to frame the guide.  Things go from bad to worse until the bitter end. Beautiful scenery filmed  near Shiprock, New Mexico.  1 monkey thumb up for the sheer stupidity and lack of morals held by all.

 Ink.  Bizarre tale of one little girl's journey into the nightmare world of dreams, the deformed creature named INK who has kidnapped her, a beautiful young woman who tags along and tries to redeem INK before it's too late, the warriors out trying to save the little girl from INK and his masters and INK himself who is a tormented soul who ultimately lets love save him and the little girl.  Interesting and fun once you get past the first 20 minutes.

  Regression.  Small town America in the grips of widespread Satanic Cult worship and all bad things pertaining thereto and the police officer embroiled in the case who figures out it's all mass hysteria. Fairly well acted and more than a little creepy.

  Star Wars the Force Awakens.  Dear Fellow Apeonauts, it's been over a week since we've seen SWTFA.  What can one say?  The first trailer spoke volumes and it went from there.  If you know nothing of Star Wars (having lived under a rock all your life) the movie is a frolicking space opera complete with big space ships, blasters, running and fleeing for your life, bad guys, although they are weak in comparison to Darth Vader and his Imperial Storm troopers, fairly lame dialogue, fairly mediocre acting and more than passable directing.  The special effects are probably what saved the movie as they have the look and feel of our beloved Star Wars Chapter 4 A New Hope.  Some visuals are stunning, like the crashed star destroyers on Jacoo.  If however, dear Apeonauts you know a little something about Star Wars you will recognize The Force Awakens for what it really is.  A second-rate remake/reimagining of A New Hope for the new millenials.  So darn sad and so not worth the effort.  Still and all a couple of lines of dialogue between Han and Leia are entertaining as are lines between Han and Chewie.  Not really much to write home about.

  Exposed.  A rather pointless bad cop partner murdered, meh partner needs to find out what happened.  Throw in a young Latina who has visions of bizarre floating people, her soldier boyfriend who gets conveniently killed on duty the same day his beloved dog is run over by a truck at home, a felon relative who never has gone straight, an immaculate conception that turns out to be caused by traumatic rape and familial abuse.  What you have is a movie that you have to watch to the end in the hope that something happens.  Not much does.  Painful Keanu performance and what's up with Mira Sorvino?  No wonder there was no theatrical release.  Come on John Wick 2!!!

 love & mercy.  The story of Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame and his descent into madness from the 60's-80's beautifully portrayed by Paul Dano as a kid and John Cusack as a post-middle aged man.  If any of this movie is true Brian got reamed by everyone and no one knew what to do to help him.  Un-medicated.  Over-medicated.  Medicated for the wrong illness.  What a mess.  He is fortunate he had a few people love him that got him the proper treatment so he could survive and flourish.  All monkey thumbs up.

  PeeWee's Big Holiday.  Have to admit this one had some laugh out loud seconds.  Over all it is a PeeWee movie complete with silliness, oddities and PeeWee.  The basic idea is PeeWee has never gone on vacation and never left his town.  IN comes Joe (playing himself) and invites him to his birthday party in New York City.  Thus begins the road trip of a lifetime ultimately leading PeeWee to the bottom of a well in Central Park and missing Joe's party.  Overall TA thinks it was sweet.

  Memories of the Sword.  Medieval Korea.  treachery, betrayal, murder and revenge.  Crazy costumes, crazy martial arts and revenge.  4 warriors help their king get what he wants.  One warrior betrays all to get what he wants.  Surviving baby is brought up to kill the warrior but a twist of fate and love kills everyone.  Full of action.

  Cop Car.  Oh Kevin Bacon, you so funny.  2 kids find a police car out in the woods.  They steal it and go for a joy ride.  Poor impulse control boys.  The guy locked in the trunk who is supposed to be dead, isn't and causes more trouble for the boys.  To top it off the sheriff who parked his car in the woods knows about the body because he put it there comes after the kids.  After a crazy shoot-out things end badly for everyone including the bystander who thought she could help the boys.  Boot to the head. 

  Heart of the Sea...Size definitely matters Moby Dick.  This is the true story of the whaler Essex and how its tale effected Herman Melville and his writing of his American epic.  The story opens with Melville visiting the home of one of the last survivors of the Essex whaling tragedy in 1850. The survivor is tormented by the events that transpired during his first whaling job at the tender age of 14 on the newly refurbished whaler Essex with an inexperienced Captain and a first mate angry at being assigned to babysit said Captain instead of being given a captaincy of his own.  The rag-tag crew of felons, old salts and whale oil company men are nearly killed during their first months out at sea when their captain sends them full sail into a squall that nearly tears apart the ship.  The first mate tells the captain he is wrong and tries to save the ship.  The captain wants to return to Nantucket for repairs and wants to charge the first mate with reckless endangerment.  Things go downhill from there.  An uneasy truce is struck, very few whales are killed and the lure of rumors of a magical feeding ground in the Pacific keeps the Essex at sea.  What transpires is the stuff of legends.  A pod of 100s of Sperm whales is sighted, chased and no sooner are the boats away than the white whale as large as an island stoves in the bow of the Essex sending her to the bottom.  What few men survive on the open ocean in three small boats for nearly 100 days is truly the stuff of legends.  These men were men's men.  Resorting to cannibalism to survive some of the men make it home.  The captain and the first mate are told by the Company to lie about the whale because they don't want to pay insurance to the men who sail on whalers.  The first mate leaves and becomes a merchant captain.  The Captain grounds another ship and quits the business.  The other men tried to live their lives knowing what really happened.  The book is excellent and Ron Howard did a wonderful job directing the movie based upon the book.  Chris Hemsworth isn't really much of an actor, but in his mate's attire he would be a worthy successor to playing Fletcher Christian or any of Errol's best swashbucklers.  He really should not be allowed to try accents.  We would forgive him if he just spoke with his native Australian.  The whale is a wonder of modern technology and is beautiful in its horrific nature but some of the harpoon chases are as bad as the set pieces from the 50's and 60s. Too bad.

 Forsaken.  A tried and true story of estrangement, vengeance, redemption, loves lost, promises kept and evil doers dispatched with alacrity.  Nicely portrayed characters by the Sutherlands with the help of a strong supporting cast.  Filmed at the Open Range town in Canada the movie has a nice gritty feel with touches of civilization.  You know how it will end, but it's a nice journey getting there.  Thumbs up for a good western.  There can be honor among gunfighters.  Even if they were on opposite sides of the Civil War.

   Age of Adeline.  At the turn of the century 29 year old Adeline is electrocuted and her cells stop aging.  Like the Highlander she lives as one person, setting up bank accounts then at a certain time makes her new identity the signatory.  Realizing that if caught people would want to study h ere she leaves a solitary life with the exception of her daughter who is now old enough to be her grandmother.  At one point after meeting a former lover she realizes that she can now stop running and after another freak accident begins to age again.  Everything happens for a reason. Extra nice movie

  The Last Witch Hunter.  Dark Ages family man is cursed with immortality after killing an evil witch bent on taking over the world with her coven.  In the present day world the Hunter watches over a fragile peace between witches and m an.  Dark portents worry everyone and when his guardian is killed a new guardian is assigned and things go all wonky.  Not bad.  Vin always seems to have fun.  Good for him.  Thumbs up and rumors of LWH 2 are already floating around.
 

  Gone Girl.  Psycho woman frames her husband for her murder then kills and frames an ex boyfriend for her kidnapping and rape.  Distasteful movie, distasteful script and none of the characters have any redeeming qualities.  No one is likeable and while watching the movie you really want everyone to die horribly.  Blech

Minions.  A prequel for the Despicable movies.  The Minions as always are cute, funny and sweet.  The evil leader they must follow is pointless and shallow even for a Minion movie.  They are recruited by Scarlett Overkill to steal the Queen of England's crown.  After a few botched attempts, Minions realize that this is not the way to go and end up saving the day and meeting young Gru to boot.  There are a few hilarious scenes and though the Minions speak gibberish the movie is easily followed and their emotions tell the story anyway.  Bob is the best and he is so cute when Scarlet takes away his stuffed teddy, Tim.  He whines so sadly.  The movie is full of villains, yeti and British.  Quite entertaining.

Imitation Game.  WWII is in full swing.  The Brits are taking it in the shorts.  The folks at Bletchley work feverishly to break Enigma.  Couples are formed, secrets are kept, puzzles are solved and the war is won eventually because of the efforts of the code breakers.  The story is told by Alan Turing (the lead code breaker) after his arrest for lewd acts punishable by law in Britain.  The tale he tells is fascinating yet still gets him chemically castrated by the judicial system.  The hero of his country during its darkest hours struggles with demons inner and outer.  And it just dawned on TA that this is the guy the Turing test is named after regarding the intelligence of machines.  One monkey thumb up.

The Hundred Foot Journey.  The owner of an old French restaurant with one Michelin star that is over 30 years old begrudges the Indian restaurant that opens across the street from her.  Cultures clash, menus explode with flavor and the French lady offers to train the Indian lad in the ways of being a great chef.  So great he earns her restaurant its second Michelin star.  He moves to Paris and works for a chic, fusion restaurant where he becomes unhappy and jaded with the accolades.  He moves back to the village and teams up with his girlfriend and the French lady to earn the third star at her restaurant.  Win Win.  Sweet, funny and moral.  Enjoyable to watch. Several monkey thumbs up.

Orphan Black the Series.  Well written and cohesive storyline about illicit cloning programs, the existence of several clones who meet up and join forces to find out what the hell is going on and why there are so many of them.  Good guys, cult figures, bad guys, turn coats, monitors for the clones and people who out of the necessity for survival have to trust each other.  Some stuff gets old after awhile, but the red herrings and turncoats liven things up nicely.  TA doesn't think the orphan actress is all that, but the overall cast helps make it a tight knit group all trying to get answers.

The Machine.  The need for super soldiers once again pits man against machine.  An altruistic scientist trying to find a cure for his sick daughter develops artificial limbs for wounded soldiers for the government and needs a high tech brain to control them. He holds a contest to find the scientist who can come up with the AI that acts like people and not computer.  Things go well, then go so wrong so fast.  The winner is killed and given her own AI brain and is trained to be a killing machine.  Turns out she loves the scientist and tries to protect him and his dying daughter.  Things go so wrong.  No happy ending here and all the vets with implants are turned off essentially killing them and the base is closed down.  Never trust a machine.

  Ridiculous 6.  God AWFUL.  Even if you could call this movie a farce in the loosest meaning of the word this movie still sucks.  If there had been anything remotely funny about anything then maybe the absolute poor taste of the movie could be forgiven.  It was so bad it wasn't even stupid bad.  A white raised by natives finds out he has 5 half brothers and they go off on an adventure to save their thieving, philandering, absentee father.  Wackiness ensues and it is dusgusting.  Such an eclectic cast would mean some talent would be brought to the table.  Not so Apeonauts.  Not so.  Avoid at all costs.  This movie makes A Million Ways to Die in the West look like Lawrence of Arabia.

Moose The Movie UPDATE:  As hoped Moose the Movie on DVD was received from the frozen North for Christmas.  YAY!  Now the Apeonauts may watch it over and over and over ad infinitum ad nauseum.

MOOSE The Movie.
UAA Wendy Williamson Auditorium, Anchorage, Alaska ~ 6pm, May 14, 2015
The Herbivore your mother warned you about!  A movie made in Alaska, by Alaskans, starring Alaskans!  How many movies can lay claim to this distinction?  Exactly ONE!  MOOSE The Movie is a fast-paced ride through dementia at break neck speeds to an ending no one, with the possible exception of Alaskans, saw coming!  When your young Costco ID checker tells you to go see MOOSE The Movie, RUN!  don't walk to the nearest theater you can find it playing, even if it is 100 miles away or more!  The production values are great!  In many instances far better than any SYFY Channel Original movie!  The cinematography rivals anything presented by that Thin Red Line director.  The Mat-Su area is gorgeous and the inhabitants gamey, I mean down right game for anything thrown at them!  The story is simple, yet effective.  It opens with a stunning graphic novel approach and indigenous sounding voice over telling the tale of an evil beast - half man, half moose terrorizing the local villagers killing everyone in sight!  After many failures the native leader manages to send MOOSE to the underworld using an intricately carved totem pole, thus saving the remainder of his tribe.  Years later two stupid paint-ballers playing in the woods ruin everything for everyone as MOOSE is revived and continues his murderous rampage.  Enter the new Park Ranger for Gangrene Gulch, AK., just in time to investigate the gruesome deaths.  More and more people die, toilet plungers appear from nowhere, food is served by puppet Alphonse, and more than one person appears to be crazy in the crazy mixed up world of Gangrene Gulch, AK.  Laugh out loud funny was the goal and it was certainly achieved.  Some not so subtle sight gags run amok and will be much better appreciated when the DVD is released as they pass rather quickly.  If the viewer is on their toes they will catch most of them.  This movie pokes fun at the business of poking fun of genres and does it so expertly the soft acting skills of the cast is often times appreciated for its in your face simplicity.  All opposable monkey thumbs up and eagerly awaiting the DVD release.

 PAN.  Origin story.  Visually stunning. Emotionally empty.  More than slightly off-putting.  Odd choice of songs to sing.  Odd choice in dressing Blackbeard like Bette Midler.  All in all the entire movie was a peculiar experience not to be endured again.  Team Apeonaut will admit to a certain appreciation for flying pirate ships however.

  Mr. Holmes.   Sherlock is 93 living in self-imposed exile, keeping bees and suffering through the stages of dementia. The 10 year old son of his housekeeper manages to keep him on his toes and keeps his brain active enough so Holmes can finish writing the true account of the Lady in Grey.  An account the Watson embellished in his published story.  This story is of Holmes's last case. A case he failed to resolve successfully.  Dramatic, lively and well acted, this movie is a must see for any fan of well-told stories.  All monkey thumbs up.
 

  Mission Impossible Rogue Nation.  PERFECT SUMMER POPCORN MOVIE.  By far probably the best storyline in the series, though Ghost Protocol was pretty darn fun.  Great stunts, random silliness, thrills and spills fill the screen with wanton joy.  Ethan and his IMF team are tracking the illusive Syndicate so they can bring it down.  McGuffins, Double McGuffins and red herrings flit around like hummingbirds looking for the next sweet drink. Who is playing who, who will survive, who will be the next IMF Secretary?  Loads of fun.  The movie harkens back to the twists, turns and implausibility of the TV series.  Nice treat if you pay attention.  Cruise in top form showing off why he is a billion dollar star in the cinematic heavens.  You may be old school and not like the fact that Mr. Phelps was portrayed as a turncoat in the first movie, but the movie series has grown up, away and out of that mentality.  All monkey thumbs up. And thumbs up of monkey friends.  To be enjoyed and savored again and again.

 Hitman Agent 47.  Team Apeonuat still enjoys Timothy Olyphant's version, but this incarnation celebrates its video game origins with chaotic abandon and gory, giddy glee.  Rupert is pretty convincing as Agent 47.  The action is acceptable, though you know Rupert didn't do much live action action.  47 meets his sister and they join forces to save their father who invented the Agent program in the first place.  Violence happens!  Lots of fun!  Monkey thumbs up

 Ant-Man.  A pleasANT surprise.  Good story beginning, middle and end, all in logical fashion.  Paul Rudd is pleasing and well suited to be Ant-Man.  Digital young  Michael Douglas is a little creepy giving off a bit of that Clutch Cargo vibe.  (google that if you don't get the reference kiddies).  Poor Martin Donovan is a bad guy once again.  Part family drama, part history lesson to bring the uninitiated up to speed regarding Ant-Man's pedigree, part launch pad for more Marvel Universe mash-ups.  Good action sequences, nice training montage with the ants, fun dialogue.  Worth a bargain hour.  Monkey thumbs up

  What If.  Comedy of errors in the life of a habitual relationship loser.  He befriends a cute, extroverted girl who is engaged to a nice guy who goes to Europe for work.  During the course of the movie they hang out, have fun and he thinks he is in love with her.  In the meantime his friend gets engaged and offers him terrible advice.  The movie tries to hard to be "cute, hip and current".  Hardly worth the effort.

 

  Winter's Tale.  A tale of early New York and the struggle between the dark and the light with Demons running ever crooked venture in town.  The light in this case is a beautiful winged horse who helps a thief enrich the life of a dying young woman who then through the power of her love allows the thief to live more than 100 years so he can save a dying girl in need of a miracle.  Demons are still after him, but in this sweet case light triumphs and the girls lives and the thief is allowed to go to heaven and become a a bit of starlight and be with his love.  Quite enjoyable.

  Shanghai.  A movie about WWII spies; American, Chinese and Japanese all converging in Shanghai before the invasion by the Japanese. The American spy is in town to find out what happened to his best friend who was gunned down in the seedy streets of Shanghai.  Turns out the missing love of the Japanese spy was last seen with the best friend.  A Chinese mob boss and his Japanese wife mix up the plot with mixed loyalties, bad love and a plot to kill the American after the missing girl is found dead in a warehouse.  Ambushes happen and the American spy and the Japanese wife escape only to return years later to be freedom fighters.  Helluva cast.  Don't think this movie was released anywhere.  Mostly enjoyable.
 

  Zombeavers.  Suck a bag of Dicks!!!  We're looking for beavers.  Well hell, ain't we all?  How does one describe a movie produced by some of today's most successful and prolific producers?  It mostly defies description.  From the opening scene in which a mysterious toxic goo is dropped into the river and transforms those paddle-tailed critters into ZOMBEAVERS.  One by one the 3 women and 3 men staying at the cabin are scratched, bitten, eaten by ZOMBEAVERS.  Even the dog is sacrificed at the lake in a vain attempt to escape aquatic mammal zombeaverfication.  Every horror movie nugget is mined for laughs and groans.  The neighbors and the Hunter are all zombeaverized and in the end the sole survivor is killed by the two idiots who caused the problem in the first place.   The circle of life...half-life...dead-life.  The best part of the movie...the theme song.  Classy!  All opposable monkey thumbs up.  Good for a laugh or twenty.

BEN KINGSLEY TRIFECTA or what?!?!?!?!?!?

  Robot Overlords.  How prophetic the production company named Wasted Talent Films helped produce this horrible bit of digital refuse.  Boasting an Oscar winner and an Emmy winner Robot Overlords comes across as having been made at Asylum Studios for the SYFY Channel.  Big WTF people!!!  It's worse than 3 Headed Shark Attack starring Danny Trejo.  Robots from space (cool) have invaded earth and enslaved mankind for scientific research (not cool).  They promise to leave in peace when finished. (Liars!)  Ben Kingsley (truly horrible acting) is a collaborator (bad) Gillian Anderson (using a wretched excuse of an English accent) is the object of his affection so she and her family are under his protection.  Of course kids will be kids and figuring a means to evade the robots outside the kids go in search of the missing father.  Later as the plot develops (really) and the story gets ridiculous when the kid turns out to have some control over the robots.  Wow!  And in a quick conclusion to a 3 year invasion the kid wipes out the entire Robot Overlord network in space.!  YAY!  No wonder this crap was only in the theaters 1 day.

 Stonehurst Asylum.  Another movie with Oscar Winners this time it's  Ben Kingsley and Michael Caine.  In a rather nice but familiar twist has the lunatics truly running the asylum.  A new doctor arrives to finish his training under a great mental doctor.  Turns out things aren't as they seem in the asylum as is soon borne out when banging heard from deep in the bowels of the asylum turns out to be the real medical professionals and staff locked in basement cells.  How does the new doctor handle things when he is obviously confused and obviously smitten with one of the patients?  Dr. Lamb (Kingsley--chewing the scenery) has unorthodox procedures for treating mental illness and wants the new doctor to participate as things get crazier and crazier.  The dawn of a new century blazes brightly as all things become clear when the inmates are no longer in charge and sanity rules the day?  Fun and entertaining to watch what happens.
   

  The Physician.  Finally a Ben Kingsley movie that is thoughtful and well produced.  A young boy orphaned in the Middle Ages tags along with a Barber (the doctor of his day) and learns the trade of snake oil, trickery, storytelling and healing.  When the Barber has his cataracts removed by a Jewish healer the boy learns of Ishfahan in the Middle East where enlightened Jews and Arabs learn the true art of Medicine and Healing.  In an attempt to hide his Christian faith the boy self-circumcises and makes the long dangerous journey to the famous university.  He learns many things and becomes a great healer until religious fanatics plot the overthrow of the enlightened facility and threaten to drive out the Jews.  No, we can't get along.  The boy tries to do the right things but ends up impregnating a rich Jew's wife and brings down the whole university by dissecting a cadaver in the ice cave to learn its secrets of life and death and illustrating such.  Epic battle ensues and the boy and his lover and child make it back to London where the Barber still alive hears of their wonderful hospital and plans a visit.  Lovely scenery, good storytelling and decent acting make this movie easy to watch.

 Kung Fury.  Oh Faux 80's you so funny!  What can one really say about Kung Fury....the cop from the future who goes back to the past to kill the worst criminal ever in one of the most epic time hacking movies ever!!!  If you thought the full length Wolfcop stunk on ice, Kung Fury is mullets ahead of head and shoulders.  A perfect parody of everything 80s...hair, cloths, colors, acting skill, and ACTION.  Oh, the action!  A true gem.  Kung Fury starts life as an ordinary policeman.  After his partner is sliced in half by a kung fu master, Fury is struck by lightening and bitten by a cobra simultaneously and as if by magic learns he is The Chosen One.  The best Kung Fu martial artist. With the help of a computer hacking co-worker, Fury heads back to the past to kill Kung Fuhrer and stop all the bad in the world.  Fury travels too far and ends up with porn movie reject Viking women and Thor.  There is so much to describe that happens in this 31 minute youtube wonder.  You must see it for yourself to believe it.  So bad it's good?  Probably not remotely possible.  So bad it's bad....until the end credits and the Hoff sings Survivor and rocks the pants off Broomhilde's T-Rex.  watch it.  your brain will explode.
  .

 Last Knights.  Really fellas, really?  So freaking bad.  We mean BAD!  A peculiarly thought out interpretation of 47 Ronin set in medieval times.  A lord is insulted by the requests of his uppers.  The lord's retainer is forced to kill him at the emperor's request.  The lord's men are disavowed and set free to become business men, paupers, rogues.  The retainer sets about being the best drunkard and lecher he can be...but wait...is it all a plot to get back into the now fortified castle to kill the emperor's minion and avenge their lord.  The drunken retainer was just fooling.  Holy shit this was BAD!!!  Did Morgan and Clive really need paychecks that badly?  Was this directed by Uwe Boll?  BRAIN HURT...EXPLODE NOW.  Monkey thumbs down down down.  At least there was no Ray Liotta in gold lamee tighties.
 

 Jupiter Ascending.  What can one really say about this?  It's awful.  Check.  Filled with some of the worst acting from B actors and award winners alike.  Check.  At times interesting visuals and effects. Check. At times awful and cheesey effects.  Check.  A young woman is determined to be the total reincarnation of an alien family that harvests planets for resources.  Turns out she's a whiny, weak unremarkable woman who cleans toilets.  Oh well, give the Wachowski siblings credit for trying.  BOMB>

 Tomorrowland.  A harmless bit of fluff about people who dream of a better world recruited by a precocious robot girl and being sent to the future through It's a Small World at Disneyland.  Some fun action with people wearing jet packs zipping around futuristic monorails and tall spacey buildings.  The movie gets a little preachy in the "can't we do more to save the planet" arena, but overall it's well acted, fun, funny and adventuresome.  One monkey thumb up.

  Wild Card.  Body guard with a gambling problem gets on the wrong side of the mob in Vegas and has to go all in to save himself.  Probably one of the worst Jason movies.  Even worse than Parker with JLO.  Eeeww. The movie's only redeeming feature is his fight to the death against 6  mobsters armed only with a butter knife.  Impressive.

 These Final Hours.  This is a wonderfully made "the world is ending and we are all just selfish assholes" movie.  The movie opens with a guy and his girl, a lonely cabin on the beach and 12 hours until the absolute end of the world.  We never know if it is nuclear or the sun but it is definitely happening.  The guy leaves his girl to go to a friend's end of the world party. Along the way he saves a little girl from creepy guys and on the journey to the party and then ultimately finding the girl's father the guy realizes he needs to get back to his girl before the end.  Well written, realistic and graphic.  Quite enjoyable for an apocalypse.

The Battery.  Quite possibly the BEST zombie plague/end of humanity movie in recent memory since the zombie hordes had their cinematic resurgence.  This movie is about as homemade as you can get...written, directed, starring and financed by all the same people, family members, small businesses around Kent, Connecticut.  Great story.  Some unknown event has happened that has populated the world with the undead.  Two baseball players with very different ideas of survival are wandering aimlessly along New England.  One is embracing the feral lifestyle.  One wants a bed, cooked food and a girlfriend.  Jerking off to the large breasted zombie chick is rather humorous.  The sheer joy in brushing one's teeth with real toothpaste is a delight.  After awhile things do not go well, especially after they make radio contact with a compound of survivors.  Differences of opinion lead to trouble and trouble leads to death and quite possibly the best zombie movie ending in a good long while.  This movie does its best when depicting how the world would really be at the end.  Very nice. All monkey thumbs up.

  Wyrmwood; Road of the Dead.  another name would be zombie whisperer.  Oh those wacky Aussies!  Zombies down under are fast at night and slow during the day.  Zombies give off "deathane" a noxious, combustible fume that can be harnessed to run cars.  Zombie blood is flammable as well.  Whatever caused the zombies renders all petroleum fueled engines inoperative.  A family man must kill his wife and child after they are zombified during a home invasion gone wrong.  The man then goes searching for his sister who has been kidnapped by the military and is experimented on by a crazy doctor.  Turns out people with a certain blood type are not effected by the zombie plague.  She is injected with zombie goo resulting in mental control over zombies even across great distances and to great effect in saving her brother.  A fun interpretation of what happens when the zombie plague occurs.  exuberant monkey thumbs up. 

  The Water Diviner.  Directed by and starring Russell Crowe, the Water Diviner is a tail of one father's determination to bring his 3 soldier sons home from Gallipoli.  Crowe looking totally at peace with himself gives a riveting performance of the father who has lost everything thrown into a culture so different from his own that at times he does the wrong thing thinking he is doing good.  The British military does not care or want to help him and his only assistance comes from the Turkish general who was in charge at Gallipoli during that fateful battle.  Beautifully filmed and directed the tale sweeps from battle field to political field to hopefulness and faith seamlessly.  Lovely storytelling and even the ending is rich and rewarding.  Highly recommended.  All monkey thumbs up.  One interesting note...The actor who played Dewey Crowe on Justified plays a smarmy Irish priest down under.


  Penguins of Madagascar.  A poor attempt to cash in on the coolness of the Penguins by making this their "origins" story.  A few moments of fun but mostly derivative tale of escape, revenge and cuteness.
Poop!

  Alien Outpost.  A tasty Jihadi/Alien vs US soldiers movie.  A "documentary" about a devastating alien invasion of Earth.  After years of defeat, Outpost 37 is one of the last standing and manned defense zones in the Middle East.  Not only do the soldiers have to battle Jihadis but bipedal alien "Heavies" that are able to control dead people, Jihadis and Friendlies alike with an implant in the modula oblongata.  The soldiers of Outpost 37 are being interviewed by the "documentary" crew about events that brought the enemy occupation to an end, mostly.  Once Outpost 37 figures out what is going on, they go on the offensive, losing many fine men. In an explosive climax they bring down an alien communication tower.  Funny, they also bring down their own space defenses allowing alien weapons caches to fall to Earth to rearm the Heavies remaining on the planet.  Far superior to Monsters: Dark Continent.  Well acted and fast paced.  Almost as good or better than most Hollywood sci-fi out there these days.  A monkey thumb up.

 The Barber.  A serial killer arrested and released starts a new life in a small town.  The grown son of the suicide cop who arrested but failed to keep incarcerated the serial killer, finds the guy in Morraine (end) and begins a lame plan to trick him and catch him.  The killer figures it out and bitch slaps him back to reality.  After a series of bad choices, the serial killer finally gets his just desserts and they are best served cold.  Scott Glenn is extremely creepy and convincing as the killer.

  Boxtrolls.  Creepy animation makes this tale nearly unwatchable.  A baby seemingly stolen by monstrous boxtrolls.  As the story unfolds the creepy daughter of the town mayor uncovers the truth and the evil doers are exposed and disposed of.  The boxtrolls are kind of cute in a mutated minions way but overall the story is to creepy.

  The Cobbler.  A morose schlub plods through life working in his family cobble shop.  One day when his high tech stitcher breaks down he uses the old single head stitcher down in the basement.  That's when the magic happens.  If the cobbler wears any shoe fixed on that stitcher, he becomes that person, black, white , man woman, in-between, dead anyone.  After a few adventures trying to do good, a little bad and a few things in between, the Cobbler discovers the real reason behind the magic and has his father returned to him after 30 plus years.  A pretty good movie with a surprisingly good cast.  A little drama, a little comedy, a little heartbreak.  Nice.  Some monkey thumbs up.

  Predestination.  THIS is bar far one of the best time travel/paradox/meet yourself/be yourself movies ever made.  Based on Heinlein's short story All You Zombies the movie follows a temporal Agent who has spent a lifetime time traveling to ensure his own existence.  When a bartender asks a "guy" at the bar his story and the reveals are let free, a wonderful "I am my own grandfather" tale is spun.  Well acted, directed and filmed there are only a few instances of being able to see behind the curtain but the progresses so well that they can be ignored.  For all those time travel nay-sayers, you might be impressed with this simple, yet elegant tale.  Past, present and future monkey thumbs up.

  Bad Asses on the Bayou.  The third in a series of geriatric bad assery movies starring Danny Trejo and Danny Glover.  Humorous on the surface while taking advantage of the Expendables limelight, our old fart asses head to Louisiana to rescue a friend from kidnappers.  Pretty ludicrous.  There are a couple of moments that are truly funny and or bad ass.  Mostly these dudes need more naps. Entertaining.

  The Four.  The Divine Constabulary must prevent corrupt officials from using counterfeit dies to flood the economy with bad money.  Spies, infiltrators, werewolves, zombies, magic, the undead, crazy wuxia and a story line that makes crazy Ivan's every half hour make this movie nearly incomprehensible. Kinetic energy that peters out quickly and several characters are too whiny to like.

  Paddington. What horrible preconceived notion kept Team Apeonaut from seeing this bright-eyed and full of wonderment movie?  Nicole Kidman.  So dear Crappers, TA sat down and watched Paddington with that wide-eyed wonder and mostly ignored NK who has a mostly inconsequential role, Cruella DeVil as it were who is thankfully only in a few short scenes.  One of which is ironically funny when she comes through the skylight a la "Mission Impossible".  Back to the bear...after their  forest home is destroyed in an earthquake and with the urging of his Aunt, Paddington goes to London to find a good home.  No one really looks at him twice...a talking bear...except one family trying too hard to remember what it was like to have fun.  As they try to get him into the hands of the proper authorities, Paddington shows them life is full of wonder.  Sweet, funny and a well done mix of live action and CGI Paddington lets you remember that favorite old story book with fondness.  All opposable monkey thumbs up.

  The Divine Move.  The ultimate revenge movie that's been done many times and many ways before.  This one has a little twist in that is is Korean, centers around the game of GO and involves gamblers, tricksters, masters, martial arts, prison, mystery, and a happy ending though everyone should be dead.  An innocent is framed for the murder of his brother by a ruthless gambler.  During his captivity Tae Sok learns to master GO from a mysterious master in the next cell.  He is taught to fight by a criminal master.  Upon his release he sets in motion a convoluted and grand plan to exact revenge upon the group of men that killed and robbed his brother.  Kind of fun in a Korean kind of way.

  Hector and the Search for Happiness.  Hector the psychiatrist leads a well ordered and tidy life with his girlfriend.  He has a crisis and heads to China, Tibet, Africa and parts unknown in Los Angeles and has adventures that surely change his life for the better.  Fairly pointless drivel about being happy in your own skin and loving the one you're with, but there are moments of brilliance.  Worth a peek.  Nice performances.

  Horns.  An interesting little character study of a young man accused of murdering the woman he loves.  He wakes up one morning with devil horns that no one seems surprised to see.  When people begin to tell him their deep dark secrets he realizes he can find out who really murdered his sweetheart.  After many twists, turns and red herrings in the story  the true killer emerges  and quite frankly, all hell breaks loose.  Fun.
 

  Wolves.  A goofy werewolf movie about an orphan werewolf who inadvertently finds his way home and must fight to the death his biological father for control of the wolves in the town of Lupine Falls.  Silly.  Mostly SYFY Channel silliness and quality.  But it has Stephen McHattie and TA likes him.

 Maggie.  Dad Arnold must protect his zombie daughter from authorities.  A plague has afflicted 3/4 of the population.  Those that show signs of brain eating are put down in official camps.  Arnold wants his daughter to go by his own hands.  Law officers want to take her to the camp.  Arnold fights them off for months.  When she passes up the opportunity to eat his brains and toss herself off the roof he knows how special she is.  Oh Maggie.  Arnold did actually have to act in this movie.  It was actually pretty good.  one and a half monkey thumbs up.

  After.  A man and a woman meet on a bus.  She wants to be left alone, he is an artist.  They grew up in the same small town, but never knew each other.  She then wakes up with hairy armpits thus beginning a journey into nightmares, dreams, charcoal drawings that attack and drag you to the edge of hell and the journey back to life from months long comas.  They must stick together in order to survive the darkness at the edge of their brains.  His drawings are the key to everything.  Not bad.

  Outcast.  Oh Boy.  What drivel. Amazing movies can get made of this caliber with Oscar winners in such minor roles.  One would think it was directed by Uwe Bol! Two Knights Templar disenchanted with their holy mission in Baghdad head East to forget their troubles.  One becomes the White Ghost, a bandit who for years has been a thorn in the side of authority.  The other is an opium head trying to keep his demons at bay.  The daughter and youngest son of a benevolent Eastern ruler  are sent on the run as the king's health deteriorates and he realizes his oldest son is a psychopath bent on war and destruction.  The chase begins.  Opium Head reluctantly saves them and helps them get to the White Ghost with the new king's (bad prince) black guard in hot pursuit.  Treachery and bad dialogue "you have more flies buzzing around you than a goat's farting asshole" run rampant.  One this movie does, or maybe it's two is show that Hayden Christensen has almost shed the horrible Star Wars Anikin Skywalker portrayal, though he did trade in a space princess for a Chinese one and Nic Cage's long warrior hair was just this side of being the best hair he's had in many a bad movie.

  The Homesman.  A bleak tale to be sure, co-written and directed by Tommy Lee Jones.  Three frontier women after having suffered privations most foul -- death of children by disease, rape by spouse, murder of baby -- go utterly insane.  Their husbands totally incapable of caring for them properly pay to have the women transported to Idaho where a preacher's wife will tend the women until their families can retrieve them and bring them home for proper care.  Spinster Mary Bee Cuddy, a better man than most, volunteers to take the women on the journey.  Along the way she comes upon Mr. Briggs tied to his horse with a rope around his neck.  Upon his promise to help her she cuts him down and they begin an arduous journey into hell.  The women are intractable, clawing, screeching, yowling.  Briggs is grumpy.  Cuddy is lonely and tired.  No one has a good time in the old West.  Hardships and relationships often times don't mix.

  Boyhood.  The twelve year journey of a boy from childhood to college and his relationships with his divorced parents and their new families.  Pretty pointless movie idea but gripping and hard to stop watching.  The gimmick of using the same actors through the years is quite clever. Worth the time to watch.

  I'll Follow You Down.  If it wasn't for Gillian Anderson's pretentious self-righteous acting, this would have been a great movie.  25 years earlier a man leaves his family on a "business" trip.  He never returns home.  The boy grows up to be a loner, the mother a depressed teacher.  25 years later the boy's grandfather receives a large package and discovers what might be a time machine built around Einstein's theories.  The boy, who is a certifiable genius helps gramps  figure out how to make it work and see if they can bring the boy's father back.  The mother kills herself, the girlfriend is pregnant, the grandfather despondent.  What is a boy to do?  He goes back in time to...no spoilers here.  It's very well done and worth watching.

  Whiplash.  A musical prodigy wants to be the best drummer ever, of all time, in the world.  He is enrolled in a good music school and tries out for a maniacal, fanatical teacher.  Dramatic, intense, sad, destructive and beautifully acted.
Should be seen.

X-Men Days of Future Past.  Pointless waste of talent, film and money.  Wolverine is sent back through time to prevent Magneto from building the Sentinals that wipe out mutant kind.  Old and new team up to save everyone.  Can Wolverine do it?  Is he strong enough?  Are we strong enough?  No, we are not.  Makes us weak and sick sitting through this drivel.

  Skeleton Twins.  The adult children of a suicide father try to make sense of their small dysfunctional lives.  The brother comes home after many years after a suicide attempt of his own.  Reconnecting with his sister who is in a loving marriage but can't seem to be faithful to her husband.  She also attempts suicide so the bother and sister pack up and head to LA to start over.  Poignant and well acted.  Not what is expected.  Worth watching

  Taken 3.  Better than Taken 2.  Boasting a great Porsche vs private jet stunt Taken 3 revisits some old chestnuts.  this time to drive home the point that this is the last installment, Lenore is killed, Bryan is framed and the current husband wants to get away with millions in insurance money.  So predictable.  The Bryan escape from the police stunt is pretty good.  The moment you see the current husband you just know he's the bad guy.  That's too bad.  It should have been more of a surprise.  The daughter was on again off again annoying and Forest Whitaker reprised his roll as lead investigator from Ahnold's movie Last Stand.  Overall it was fun and active.

  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  Too much movie plays before it gets even remotely interesting.  The premise is a sad sack negative cutter for Life Magazine lives his entire life for going to work, choosing the negative for the cover of the next issue and going home.  He does this for 16 years.  To make humdrum more likable he daydreams about the adventures intimated by the negatives.  Then the digital age happens and the magazine downsizes.  Walter has lost a valuable negative from a reclusive adventure photographer and goes on his own adventure to find him and get the location of the negative.  The last 20 minutes of the movie are enjoyable to watch as Walter goes from jumping out of a helicopter into the ocean to outrunning an exploding volcano to hiking the Himalayas to find the photographer filming snow leopards.  If you can make it to the end it's a nice journey to the final cover of the final print magazine.

 Kings of Summer.  Two boys fed up with their meddling, seemingly domineering and   parental units run away to the woods, build a house, live off the land (and Boston Market), have a deranged and oddball character come live with them, meet a girl who creates a rift among friends, get the police involved, confuse their parents.  Things don't end well.  Ah teen angst...you so funny.  Trailer looked good.  Movie not so much.


  Only Lovers Left Alive.  Adam and Eve, two vampire lovers who come together periodically over the centuries have differing views of humanity and how it has changed over history.  Eve has an uncontrollable younger vampire sister who always throws their world into a tailspin with her erratic behavior.  Adam is artistic and fatalistic.  Eve is a free spirit who is a complement to Adam.  Adam lives in Detroit, a desolate and decayed city.  Dreamy and beautifully filmed at night the film is cold yet warm.  The gift of the mandolin in Tangiers is especially poignant.  Worth the time to sit through it.

  Outlander Season 1.  Bodice ripper with a heroine that is too wishy washy, too whiney and too annoying.  Otherwise not a bad adaptation of the book.

  Divergent.  Another in a long line of YA books to screen adventures in dystopian Earth.  People divided into four classes try to live peacefully, or at least with the absence of war.  The ruling class wants to destroy the helpful class of people and the Divergents (people that don't conform) try to save the system.  Too whiny, too wimpy, too annoying.  The training montages and dialogue are trite and unbelievable.

 Draft Day.  The Cleveland Browns get a whole new team, the team the GM wants on Draft Day thanks to their General Manager all the while dealing with a full plate of family disaster/team disaster/personal disaster.  A pleasing Kevin Costner outing with a fine last minute negotiations for the players they want with the other team's GMs.  All in all good cast of actors making an entertaining movie.

 Night at the Museum Secret of the Tomb.  The magic in the museum is about to run out.  Larry and company travel to the British Museum to talk to Ak's Pharaoh father to learn the secret of the tablet that glows and restore the magic.  Silliness ensues with the usual forced feeling.  Though it is sad to see Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney in their last roles on film, the saddest scene is Dexter's near death scene and the goodbye scene between Larry and Dexter when the magic is left in England.  Not great, not horrid but it should be the end of the series in a tidy and pleasant way.

 John Wick.    WHAM! BAM! THANK YOU! MA'AM!  Beautiful ballet of bloodshed, bullets and bombastic brutality. What great fun this movie is!  Keanu Reeves is pitch perfect as a retired hitman out for personal revenge.  The revenge of a  "my dead wife sent me a cute puppy to keep me company after her death and the puppy is killed by thugs".  Having been retired many years to enjoy a quiet peaceful life, John Wick comes back with a vengeance for vengeance. This time it's personal.  Having his former stunt double and professional stuntman for the director was a stroke of genius as this movie is compact in dialogue and extraneous movement.  It is explosive in realistic and believable action.  Punches hurt, knife wounds are bloody and painful, and gunshots...oh that digital blood sprays so good.  In the business of contract killers there are rules to follow.  When the rules are broken bad things can happen and there are so few friends to be made in the business.  There are very few nudge-wink moments even though you feel in your gut they are nudging and winking at you.  This movie is possibly Reeves' best effort to date.  Too bad he wasn't allowed to make this kind years ago.  But then, maybe he wasn't aged enough to play it this well.  Well worth the IMAX admission price to see several times.  Nice mix of familiar actors and stunt people.  Every opposable monkey appendage up!  Oh, did we mention crashed cars that go over the edge DON'T explode!!!  Nice detail!


 

 

 

 

November 23, 2017