The Highwaymen 2019 drama crime
This Netflix original film has a terrific adult script—and something to say about setting the historical record straight. In a nutshell, The Highwaymen tells the true story of retired Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, who is pressed back into active duty in 1934 to hunt down Bonnie and Clyde as their bloody crime spree enters its third year. Before reliable two-way radios for police cars and communication between various police departments, Clyde Barrow exploited backroads, state lines, a Ford V8, and plenty of firepower to keep his gang on the road. Frank Hamer, a seasoned manhunter, decided to hit the road just like the Barrow gang and trail them, learning their patterns—and driven by the conviction born of experience that “outlaws and mustangs always return home.” Hamer (Kevin Costner) is joined by his ex-partner and veteran Ranger, Maney Gault (Woody Harrelson). The two lawmen have some of the very best screen chemistry and dialogue I have seen this year. The film attacks the myth of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow as the sexy desperados depicted in the 1967 film. In this version, the criminal duo is kept in the shadows until the end of the movie. Retelling Bonnie and Clyde from the point of view of the actual good guys of the story is a superb idea that took far too long to come to screen. Director John Lee Hancock seems to have cared deeply about restoring Frank Hamer and Maney Gault to their proper place in American history as real life, crime fighting heroes. Hancock’s skill for historical films (Alamo) is well established, and once again highly successful in The Highwaymen. From the beginning to the brutal ending, the film is akin to a time travel machine that brings to life the mostly forgotten days of early 1930’s Prohibition era America.
Midway 2019 war action adventure
This is an epic movie about the time in June 1942 when the Japanese Imperial Navy (JIN) sailed to Midway Island looking for a fight, and expecting another Pearl Harbor surprise attack. Instead, the JIN fleet was hammered by waves of American bombers, torpedo planes and dive bombers. The surface fleets did not engage; the battle was settled by airpower and marked a turning point in the war, as well as, a transition in naval doctrine in favor of larger and larger aircraft carriers. To understand the background and more details about this military history topic read my 2017 article, “Kitty Hawk to Midway: The Genesis of the Modern Aircraft Carrier Era”.
Back to the movie, the trick to making quality Historical Docu-Dramas is trying to balance Historical relevance with Historical accuracy and all the while have believable characters and dialogue that present a good story. The artistic cast and movie makers of “Midway” did just that, and produced one of the best war movies in decades. The success of this film did not (could not) depend on one big star; this historical topic is a bit more complicated with plenty of dynamic, moving parts so the director used one of the best ensemble casts ever that did not depend on one power actor to propel all the key scenes. And let’s not forget the war birds – the American Dauntless Dive Bombers and Japanese Zeros are star-worthy, too.
This movie is ridiculously underrated with a Tomatometer score of 44, indicating a mediocre effort. Film critic Max West invented the term “mind gap” to describe the often deep chasm between the paying audience and the media movie critics. The “Mind Gap” of Midway is astonishing. See snapshot from Rotten Tomatoes below.
If you read the actual reviews, there emerges a particularly harsh tone from several of the Woke-type feminist film critics. Writes Wendy “Windbag” Ide of the Guardian, “All the most enormous, jutting, chiseled chins in Hollywood are called up to do their duty, and armed with lines of dialogue that sink like depth charges… Every tired war movie cliché is unearthed in a film that brings nothing new but will no doubt please fans of men in uniform.” Post-modern fem-Nazis, like Wendy, love the modern style of movie casting that reject white males and replace same by a collection of female heroines, no matter how fake it comes off. I am sure Wendy would have no problem casting Whoopi Goldberg as Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz to “bring something new” whatever the fuck that means. So back to reality, in this case, we have a war story firmly rooted in the real world of the 1940’s, together with a skilled director that stays true to his art and time period accuracy. In real life, and in the movie, the main characters are American or Japanese males. As expected the film is biased in favor of the Americans (DUH!) and quite a bit of screen time is filled by the American carrier pilots, who are two-fisted, masculine heroes, brimming with strength, mastery, honor, and camaraderie. No wonder the anti-male feminists hate this film and thereby, reveal their ignorance about Artistic Integrity.
Finally here is a new WW2 movie with the right balance of high-tech effects, good storytelling, tension and remarkable historical gravitas. I highly recommend seeing this production on the largest screen you can find. All of us Patriots need to support “Midway” and help make it a big success.
Zombieland: Double Tap 2019 comedy, horror, adventure
Hard to believe the original Zombieland premiered ten years ago in 2009. It is way past time to review the famous Rules of Zombieland, so here we go again. Fans of the original Zombieland will be pleased by this sequel – it is a riot. The whole gang (Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock) is back together and, as usual, are well armed and ready for zombie combat. Along the way they pick up Madison (Zoey Deutch) who adds plenty of laughs and gets credit as the top banana in the flake department. True to character, the group travels on a cross country odyssey – this time to Graceland for a retro salute to Elvis Pressley, then on to Babylon – a liberal, hippie-type compound “full of love and understanding! And NO guns allowed.” If the movie has a message, it is this: The story expertly and hilariously trolls the anti-gun crowd, who promptly shit their pants when the Zombie mob arrives in Babylon. Once again the importance of the armed individual and self-defense become painfully obvious. So despite the violent slaughter, the movie delivers a rather wholesome message. Stay for the end credit scene! You won't regret it! This film had the whole cinema laughing throughout the movie! Catch it on the big screen while you still can.
Candyman 1992 horror
This is one of the stand-out horror movies of the decade; frightful, disturbing, intelligently made and without a screaming teen in sight. So just take my word and watch this flick, when in the mood for a scare. Suffice to say, it has a genuinely weird and evil villain, fast pace, jarring shocks, and a moody, dark score. Virginia Madsen is totally convincing as Helen, the damsel in distress. She is so good; in fact, you will remember her performance for days afterward. One reviewer complained that this flick made her kids have nightmares and it "dwells on the nasty things in life." I can think of no greater compliment for an adult horror movie. No dear, this is a film for grown up people. Put the kids to bed. You have been warned, gentle readers.
Written by Ben Clark. Copyright 2016-2023. All rights reserved.