Army of Thieves, A Story About Robbery

A reclusive bank teller joins a motley group of Interpol’s most wanted, with the goal of breaking into a series of uncrackable safes across Europe. People suppose this is the quasi-prequel movie that no one asked for, but there are going to be consequences when you married uber-geek god Zack Snyder to a streaming powerhouse like Netflix. The past of Ludwig Dieter, the skilled safecracker shown in the zombie heist film released a few months earlier, is explored in this second installment of the Army of the Dead universe.

Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer), whose true name is Sebastian Schlencht-Wöhnert, is a shy small-town bank teller in Potsdam who has a not-so-secret hobby of safecracking that he gleefully uploads on YouTube. A unknown stranger approaches Dieter through it, inviting him to an underground safecracking championship in Berlin. Dieter finally meets the intriguing Gwendoline (Nathalie Emmanuel), who exposes our shy bean-counter to the world of high-stakes heists, following his comfortable victory in the competition. Dieter’s team also includes wunderkind hacker Korina (Ruby O. Fee), getaway driver and all-around drifter Rolph (Guz Khan), and douchey strongman Brad (Stuart Martin). While the ladies of the gang are getting used to their new arrival, Brad and Rolph aren’t so sure about Gwendoline’s decision. Dieter, on the other hand, swiftly disproves them when their heist in Paris goes off without a hitch, but their problems rapidly escalate with each subsequent robbery, leading to unpredictable endings.

Because I’m unfamiliar with Schweighöfer’s past work, I can’t say whether his style is there or absent in this movie, but one thing is certain: Snyder’s signature visual flair is evident. Think of Army of Thieves with a less serious, more comedic Zack Snyder film, because that’s exactly what it is. But in this case, it works in the movie’s favor because it’s supposed to be a prequel to Army of the Dead, so there’s some visual consistency there. Looking past Schweighöfer’s Snyder impersonation talents, he does a great job with some of the characters, but not all, and Shay Hatten’s formulaic writing bears some of the burden. While the parts with Emmanuel, O. Fee, and Schweighöfer are quite entertaining, the scenes with the other actors, particularly Jonathan Cohen’s Delacroix, just make you cringe. These bland caricature characters are thinly written and generally forgettable, threatening to sink the entire film, but Schweighöfer’s fish-out-of-water schtick and Emmanuel’s effortless charm keep the ship afloat. Onscreen, the sexy Game of Thrones vet is so compelling that she almost takes Schweighöfer’s thunder each time she appears.

As befitting a heist action comedy, Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro’s score is infectious and breezy, while DOP Bernard Jasper’s photography is equally on spot, visually connecting to Snyder’s Army of the Dead. Finally, a particular mention goes to Christian Eisele, the film’s production designer, who was responsible for acquainting three inanimate safes with a great heritage and their own individual character. You’ve really exceeded yourself, man.

Army of Thieves is a pastiche of better heist movies from the past, but it doesn’t stop it from being enjoyable and engaging in the best possible ways. So turn off your intellect, embrace the absurdity, and have a good time.

Night Raiders, So Much Values of Brotherhood

The melancholy Canadian sci-fi thriller “Night Raiders” hardly stands out among other terrible dystopian dreams. The year is 2043, and the setting is a (in theory) united North America. Warmongering “Jingos” promote a dismal military-based culture, while disenfranchised Indigenous peoples are patrolled by massive, low-flying drones. Nobody talks about the enigmatic Meekaw Virus or the similarly enigmatic conflict, both of which have exacerbated racial tensions and class disparities. Assimilation is an unachievable goal, as the pledge of loyalty at the Academy, a military school for a sadly homogeneous society, proclaims: “One country, one language, one flag.”

Given how so much time Goulet and her partners spend implying rather than building their nightmare scenario, the all-purpose authoritarian motto stands out in “Night Raiders.” It’s always clear who we’re supposed to support for and against thanks to the bland speech and dreary images. Given the film’s defining counter-cultural thrust, the tidy, inert, and unoriginal nature of the film’s style is also rather unfortunate: should Niska (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers), a resourceful single mother, let her easily influenced teenage daughter Waseese (Brooklyn Letexier-Hart) be raised by the Academy?

After surrendering Waseese to the Jingos, Niska attempts to accept the Academy narrative by reuniting with estranged friend of the family Roberta (Amanda Plummer) and her son Pierre (Eric Osborne), both of whom now acts as a Jingo spokesman. When our options are to cheer for Niska and her fellow Indigenous underdogs or hiss at the blatantly wicked Academy, defined as they are by generic violence and pseudo-universal indoctrination, there isn’t much of a dramatic tension for viewers. “Night Raiders” may occasionally represent America’s current somber mood, but it fails to convince as either a feel-good film or a foreboding prophecy.

Because “Night Raiders” isn’t firmly rooted in its characters’ fears, it’s often difficult to understand what motherhood and citizenship mean to Niska beyond essential ideals that are instinctively defended and worried about. Even members of Indigenous communities have a superficial sense of brotherhood. The Academy, which is distinguished by military drills (how fast can you assemble a rifle?) and patronizing administrators who insist that the Cree “can’t take care of their own families,” is contrasted with an informal yet friendly Cree bonfire meeting. The bond between Niska and Waseese allegedly disproves that assertion.

Because Niska spends the whole of the film attempting to reconnect with her daughter, whose secret Academy sponsors are always shown (or gossiped about) as brainwashed villains, their motives are always plainly nasty and self-serving. Based on an initial scene where an anti-Academy swastika graffiti is properly tagged: “Peacekeepers or occupiers?” we know exactly how we’re supposed to feel about the Academy. In ambiguous rhetoric like “As long as we have one piece of land, they will always come for us,” we can sense Goulet’s unmitigated hatred for these straw men fascists.

It’ll only be a matter of time before Victoria (Birva Pandya), a fellow Academy applicant, demonstrates to Waseese why even evil individuals who look like you can’t be trusted. Given how little we know about Victoria outside her status as a person of color, that’s a loaded and simply insulting concept. However, a scapegoat is unavoidably required to progress the film’s flimsy plot, so a few supporting characters step up to the plate. Most of the trouble stems from the fact that you probably already know who they are.

Because so much of “Night Raiders” is based on quick assumptions, it’s all too easy to nod along with the obvious connotations without ever actually connecting with the symbolism. Through a series of drab chases and set pieces, we lurch from one insipid fight to the next, the majority of which look and sound like they were put together by the film’s tired on-camera subjects. While this type of faint revolt yarn appears to have been written with a broad readership in mind, there’s nothing here that’s culturally or emotionally particular enough to merit our emotional engagement.

Given how empathetic Niska and Waseese appear to be, Niska and Waseese’s yearning for acceptance is especially distressing. It’s difficult to envision anyone feeling fully at ease in a world where everyone looks, talks, and acts the same way—even mistaken viewers who sympathize with the Jingos. But that’s exactly the kind of grim, cookie-cutter future that “Night Raiders” foreshadows: heroes are heroic because they go after the correct bad guys (mainly drones), and villains are terrible because they’re either too weak or insensitive to fight the true enemy. I wanted to be invested in the world of “Night Raiders,” but Niska and her daughter never seemed to reveal more about themselves than their typical conduct suggested.

Clifford the Big Red Dog, Everybody Love Him

Clifford’s silence makes everybody so delighted. You can imagined the version of this narrative that was undoubtedly sold in an elevator, in which Clifford slings pop culture references like Poochie on “The Simpsons,” while watching the wonderfully sweet and hard-to-hate “Clifford the Big Red Dog.” It reminded us that the method taken here—empowering and heartwarming—was wiser than trying to cash in on a current pop culture fad, as many modern family films do.

In fact, Walt Becker’s interpretation of the famous children’s book reminded me of the Disney clamshell VHS tapes that were so prevalent in my childhood in the 1980s. It doesn’t feel unduly deliberate or cynical, like those films, which makes its imperfections easy to overlook. Clifford himself is awkward and difficult to control, so it’s understandable that the movie about him has some of the same flaws, and most kids won’t think twice about it (or ponder how much worse it would have been if the big red guy talked).

Emily Elizabeth (Darby Camp), a bright and kind student, is an outsider at her new prestigious New York private school. The 12-year-old is teased by cruel girls who refer to her as “food stamps,” yet she and her single mother Maggie have a lovely, rent-controlled apartment to return to (Sienna Guillory). When Emily’s mother travels out of town on some unspecified paralegal business, she begs her ne’er-do-well brother Casey (a hilarious Jack Whitehall) to keep a watch on her, keep her out of trouble and keep watch the movie at 123Movies.

One day, Emily and Uncle Casey are out walking when they come across an animal carnival run by the enigmatic Mr. Bridwell (John Cleese), a tribute to the source material’s creator, Norman Bridwell. Emily is led by the Wizard of Oz through his tent of magical creatures to a room where she meets Clifford, who is depicted as a little, charming, and slightly creepily portrayed puppy. Clifford as a puppy appears to be more realistic than Clifford as a giant for some reason. Perhaps it’s because we have a better understanding of what puppies should look like than dogs the size of small buildings, but the puppy Clifford is an odd choice, a cartoonish construct that never appears to be sharing space with Emily. He’s about as convincing as Roger Rabbit in terms of movie creatures.

Casey tells Emily that she must return the tiny red fellow the next day after Clifford sneaks home with her, leaving the poor girl to bed wondering that something would change. Clifford, the huge, expressive, joyful red dog that librarians know and love, greets her as she wakes up. Casey panics, and the plot of “Clifford the Big Red Dog” revolves around “Clifford shenanigans,” as one might imagine. They try to keep him hidden from the grumpy super (David Alan Grier); he winds up at school, where he kisses the cruel girl into future trauma; and he even saves a life. Nothing about it is particularly memorable, but it isn’t quite as irritating as it could have been. Even the scenes with huge dog slobber have a light touch. I’ve seen more lengthy family films as a parent of three than most non-parents are probably aware of, and Becker keeps “Clifford the Big Red Dog” moving.

It’s also reflective of the film’s great heart. Yes, some of it appears to be crudely done, and a few of the gags will be too much for parents and children, but it’s such a big-hearted film in every moment. “Clifford the Big Red Dog” is a classic story about how people react to differences, yet it has a kind heart that shines through when it matters. “He doesn’t hurt anybody—he loves,” Emily says. And it’s simple to adore him back.

‘The Novice’ Movie Review, A College Drama

This is a movie about a gay college student joins her university’s rowing team and embarks on an obsessive physical and mental struggle to make it to the top varsity boat at all costs. In writer and director Lauren Hadaway’s narrative feature debut, The Novice, an overachieving attitude is depicted via the perspective of a psychological thriller movie, yielding propulsively dramatic effects and a fiery, obsessive performance by Isabelle Fuhrman. Surprisingly, the obsessive demand for achievement is transferred to collegiate rowing, a sport that emphasizes teamwork above individual accomplishments. One may argue that pushing their bodies to their limits and focusing on personal improvement, times, and growth are insignificant in the great scheme of things, given that the most effective approach to win races is to work as a unified unit in synchronization.

Alex Dall (Isabelle Fuhrman, who is unquestionably driven to the role and is breaking herself psychologically and physically in it) isn’t your typical student-athlete. She gets captivated with rowing physics, training, and achieving individual times impressive enough to secure a position on the varsity team, to the point where the student portion of the equation appears to be slipping away. Except it doesn’t, because Alex (a physics major despite having difficulty with the topic) studies excessively and frequently double- and triple-takes examinations until she is certain she has received a top-tier grade.

Alex manages to squeeze in time for a social life now and again, though she’s mostly pressing herself to try new things out of a sense of self-imposed obligation. That much is clear as she engages in a one-night encounter merely for the sake of it, seemingly undisturbed by the insensitive jock who disregards her pleas for something less raunchy. Fortunately for Alex, he isn’t a good fuck and is out in 15 seconds (and nearly loses his condom), so it’s all chalked up to college exploits before returning to the rowing grind.

There’s also something much darker brewing inside The Novice, as Alex pushes her training regimen to the limit (with the blood and scars on clear display), often with covered in sweat close-ups emphasizing every stressful body movements set to a ritually voice inside her head, trying to burn the workout program into her mind (set to one of the year’s best scores from Alex Weston). She also pays no attention to her coaches’ advise to ease up during the off-season, preferring to keep pushing herself.

Lauren Hadaway takes advantage of the fact that the team mascot is also a raven to give the self-inflicted psychological torture an Edgar Allen Poe-like flavor, complete with loud heartbeats and hallucinations of ravens themselves. Take Edgar Allen Poe and mix it with the tone of a Darren Aranofsky horror mind-fuck, and swap out Whiplash’s drumming with rowing, and you’ve got a good idea of what The Novice is.

While all of this is punishing Alex in ways that are becoming increasingly difficult to watch (and will undoubtedly be triggering for some), she does develop two fascinating relationships. The first is with Jamie Brill (Amy Forsyth, who just had a brief but endearing supporting role in the excellent CODA), who is almost the and the only girl giving the sport her all since she really needs the scholarships up for grabs. Naturally, the issue arises as to how much of this is true friendship and how much of this is Alex’s delight at the prospect of genuine competition inside the squad. Also, in one of the weaker subplots, Alex develops an unclear love relationship with Dani (Dilone), her teacher’s assistant, which only serves as a vehicle for Alex to give out exposition about her history and what motivates her to excruciating excellence.

Watching movie online for ‘The Novice’ primarily provides explanations rather than answers. There’s a reason Alex is doing this, and while it may not be relatable, it’s enough to connect with her and hope she receives mental assistance in tandem with her accomplishment. It’s a gloomy story about unfathomable levels of ambition and determination, one that progressively turns from drama to nightmarish terror. There are some missing pieces and undercooked elements in the story, but Isabelle Furman is a constant lightning bolt of energy, ensuring The Novice finishes as a confident, rattling debut.

Review of ‘Eternals’, Another MCU’s Flagship Movie

Director Chloé Zhao imbues “Eternals” with her particular aesthetic fingerprint, but she can only bend the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far. As a result, we have a blockbuster movie with an unusually soft beauty that also tries to meet the tremendous demands of a massive action extravaganza.

In a nutshell, it’s a shambles. It’s also 2 hours and 37 minutes long, which I can’t emphasize enough. Despite this, “Eternals” feels rushed and disappointing due of the large, diverse cast and the extensive world-building required. The mythology is complicated and frequently ridiculous, and the film comes to a stand around the one-hour mark for a lengthy information dump. You may still be unsure of what’s going on by the end, but you may not care.

Zhao, the latest Academy Award winner for Best Picture and Director for the sparse and intimate “Nomadland,” does, however, show off a lot of her trademark style. Those of you who were intrigued by Zhao’s pick and wondered what her take on the MCU would be would be pleased to see that she can find magic hour everywhere she goes, from a breezy sunset on the shores of ancient Babylon to foreboding storm clouds forming on the plains of modern-day South Dakota. She frequently finds moments to let us slow down, take a breath, and savor a moment of naturalism and calm, working with cinematographer Ben Davis, who also photographed “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Doctor Strange,” and “Captain Marvel.” The windy Australian outback’s sun-baked heat is palpable. A nighttime action scene set in a torch-lit woodland is particularly spectacular.

They don’t survive long, unfortunately. Because there’s a raging comic book monster to feed.

Zhao and her co-writers Patrick Burleigh and Ryan Firpo & Kaz Firpo rush around in time in an unwieldy manner to portray the story of a tribe of eternal creatures who live covertly on Earth. Each has their own special talents, but they also share the witty comedy that has been so common in Marvel films. The cast and features on display here are revolutionary, and they give us hope that we’re about to see something completely different. In ways we haven’t seen from the Avengers, for example, there is a natural diversity at work. The inclusive nature of “Eternals” feels both exhilarating and seamless, from Salma Hayek’s Ajak and Gemma Chan’s Sersi’s leadership to Brian Tyree Henry and Haaz Sleiman as a homosexual couple with a young boy to Lauren Ridloff’s Makkari, whose hearing handicap is her superpower. Thena, played by Angelina Jolie, is a ferocious warrior who also suffers from mental illness, which is handled sympathetically in the film. Lia McHugh, on the other hand, brings life to the show as the androgynous, eternally young Sprite.

The fact that two people have genuine intercourse, which is unique and long overdue in a movie universe where everyone is super-hot and muscular and clad in form-fitting clothes, is maybe the most startling aspect. The moment is quick, but it does a lot in terms of indicating that these comic book characters have a deeper and more sensitive sense of humanity. Tony Stark and Pepper Potts are the most likely suspects. Clint Barton most certainly did because he was a father. However, most other romantic relationships have consisted of harmless flirting at most, thus seeing these characters act like adults in this way is simply another illustration of the potential hidden inside “Eternals.”

However, there is a plot that will leave your head as swiftly as it came. On the centuries since they came on Earth in a spaceship that like a gigantic, black marble Dorito, the Eternals have dispersed over the world. They’ve been quietly guiding humanity and combating voracious, sinewy beasts known as Deviants all along. However, a potentially cataclysmic incident forces them to abandon the comfortable lifestyles they’ve built for themselves, reassemble (pardon the pun) and use their combined superpowers to avert the apocalypse. Again! To follow “Eternals,” you don’t need to be well-versed in Marvel lore in general or Jack Kirby’s bizarre comic series in particular; aside from a brief mention of Thanos and why these heroes didn’t intervene to stop the events of “Avengers: Infinity War,” this feels more like a standalone film than most in the MCU. However, if you’re a fan, you’ll get more out of the film, and the necessary end-credit scenes will mean far more to you.

Sersi, who has transmutational talents, and Richard Madden’s Ikaris, a versatile, Superman-type figure, star as centuries-old lovers on and off. As charismatic as Madden is, Chan’s chemistry with Kit Harington’s Dane Whitman, her mortal, London-based boyfriend, who shares Sersi’s interest in archaeology, is even hotter. Whatever emotional stakes exist between any of these characters soon fade into the background as they fly around zapping enemies with eye lasers. You can sense the strain of attempting to juggle everything. And the climactic action spectacular is so shiny and cacophonous that it could have been pulled from any number of soulless sci-fi films released in the last decade, suffocating all of the tiny pleasures we’d experienced along the way.

As a pretentious Bollywood star, a freshly buff Kumail Nanjiani provides some chuckles, Don Lee provides a compassionate presence despite his massive size, and Barry Keoghan only has to show there to have us experience his unnerving mood. All of these actors have proven that they are able to the task of establishing complex characters inside the MCU’s frenzy. Regrettably, they—and Zhao—can only function as cogs in the machine. So, waiting this movie show at 123Movies online must be worth, isn’t it?

’13 Minutes’ Review: The Definition of Survival

This movie was directing by Lindsay Gossling. When a tornado strikes a Heartland town, four families are put to the test in a single day, forcing pathways to cross and altering the definition of survival.

A tornado is on its way to Minninnewah, a fictional story of tiny American town. The actual storm in 13 Minutes (courtesy of filmmaker Lindsay Gossling, who scripted a tale with Travis Farncombe), however, is all the facts and drama movie coming to the surface for these inhabitants, in lazy allegorical manner. To no avail, 13 Minutes attempts to make societal commentary on everything from abortion to homophobia, mother-daughter relationships, interracial racism, and immigration. The end result is a dreadful combination of a frontloaded plot that spends around 30 minutes developing characters and an emotionally lifeless 40-minute aftermath of the coming calamity.

That’s a shame, because the picture has laudable intentions and a surprisingly packed cast of well-known performers who provide solid performances. Such characters are divided into four families: a racist and bigoted farmer (Trace Adkins) who is unaware that his son (Will Peltz) is gay and dating one of the migrants they employ, a 19-year-old (Sofia Vassilieva) who learns she is around two months pregnant while breaking up with her older boyfriend (James Austin Kerr) who is unwilling to step up and be supportive if she does choose to raise the child, and Amy Smart’s K.

Anne Heche’s religious nut is a religious nut when it comes to mothers. Tammy is less sympathetic of Luke’s coming out, although Jess (Thora Birch) is supportive of her daughter Maddie when she announces her pregnancy. If there’s one plotline that gets more attention than the others, it’s this one, which is predictable given how interesting it is (which is not necessarily saying much). Maddie runs off to watch Kim’s mute daughter after that heartfelt conversation. As the day progresses, it becomes clear that they will face devastating destruction, and to the film’s credit, this brief burst of pandemonium is wonderfully shot. Characters continue to act like terrible jerks, and some of it makes no sense in terms of the passage of time, yet there is a brief burst of energy and fun.

The same cannot be true for the immediate aftermath of the tornado, which features extensive scenes of folks navigating the wreckage and searching for loved ones. Of course, some relationships are now more shattered than ever (having the tornado itself sparked by Luke coming out to his father is absolutely a choice). Severe injuries are sustained, and lives are forever altered. Although it’s evident that the creators are attempting to demonstrate how community problems may inspire compassion in individuals, the video comes across as hollow. None of it matters since 13 Minutes treats its characters as instruments for conceptual study rather than personalities. When you add in the fact that the story is overloaded with characters, you get a new kind of storm. Although no one is guaranteed to provide a bad performance, 13 Minutes is a substantial waste of 108 minutes. But anyway, watching the movie with pop corn at 123Movies means heaven.

No Time To Die, Recent James Bond’s Action of The Year

 

Themes of time, death, the past, and the future repeat throughout this 25th Bond film. It also signifies the end of the Daniel Craig era, which will be a difficult act to follow. Despite this, No Time To Die is far too long, far too confusing, and far too un-Bond-like, with four scriptwriters including the director (True Detective’s Fukunaga), old Bond hands, and much Phoebe Waller-Bridge addition. One assumes that part of the reluctance to conclude sooner has to do with the weight of saying goodbye to the actor who has reimagined a role born in World War II for the twenty-first century, where heroes don’t just have huge hearts, but also heavy ones, and wear them on their sleeves.

Watching the movie, you can see that Craig not only bruises, but he also pains. He doesn’t just shiver with muscle; he shivers with the lines etched on his face by years of witnessing horrible events. And what a face it is – more than his body, which is attractively dressed up in a variety of outfits ranging from brief underwear to tight tuxedos, this Bond’s face is the crowning gem. It has eyes that fire into you, lines that suggest its pain, a grin that warms your heart, a twinkle that few can resist, and tears that flow freely down its cheeks. Craig is inexhaustible for No Time To Die. And it is this that both saves and destroys it.

The Storyline

While we’re still reeling from a pandemic which may or may not have originated in a lab, the plot revolves around genetically modified DNA taken from a “off-the-books” British government laboratory. The project’s massive wickedness (whatever gobbledygook the science) is deafening in its tone deafness. M, played by Ralph Fiennes, even goes so far as to say that “it was never designed to be a weapon of mass destruction.” Do we really want to go?

It’s not just that the film’s geopolitics are poorly thought out. While the UK is desperately clinging to relevance through AUKUS, Britain’s role in saving the globe is more of an absurd hope than anything else. Even as Russia’s influence grows, the film’s presentation of Russia, Japan, and Cuba (and the people who live there) as members of an axis of evil but unimportant in dismantling it is the kind of oversight that better films no longer make.

While Fleabag’s Waller-contribution Bridge’s was intended to elevate Bond to more feminist standards, women remain vital but incomplete in the overall scheme of things. Seydoux reprises her role as Madeline Swann, although her character is reduced to an almost aggravating level of domesticity. The main change in the film is that the new 007 is a woman and is black. Lynch, on the other hand, is dressed awkwardly in pantsuits, his hand tucked uneasily into a pocket, as if trying to fill ‘that man’s’ shoes. Paloma (Aramas) as a lady who is unfettered. In a plunging neckline, a slit-to-thigh dress, and stilettos, the captivating Aramas (alongside Craig, she crackled similarly in Knives Out) floors a Cuba battle sequence, but all you can see is her brilliant smile. No one can stand up to it, not even Bond, who is yearning for love (and he is truly pining here).

Then there’s the insipid villains, such as Malek, who has a malformed visage and wears kimono-like robes, and Waltz, who makes a brief Hannibal Lecter-like cameo. The world was DNA-killed by one of them using the other. It’s one way sometimes, then the other. When Malek’s Lyustifer Safin tries to spin it as though he and Bond are two halves of the same distorted mirror, he merely adds to the incoherence of the concept.

There’s also the climactic set piece, which takes place on an island with endless passageways, mute minions toiling in poisonous water pools, the world’s data at the fingertips of a completely absurd Russian scientist, and so on. After a near-perfect confrontation in a misty woodland and some spectacular vehicle chases, particularly through an ancient Italian city, the action movie unfortunately makes its way there.

Craig, on the other hand, is a unique individual. When the dust settles (and there’s a lot of dust to settle), when the sun sets (it’s a beautiful one), when it’s time to make the call (and he’s had to make a lot of calls), his Bond stands tall and strong, little and defenseless; all-too-knowing, much-too-uncertain — you can call him James, just James.

Another Critical Review on ‘Ron’s Gone Wrong’ Movie

On this “Ron’s Gone Wrong” movie review, it is about a critique of Big Tech’s intrusive and deceitful practices, as well as the ways we give up a little more of our privacy with each click and watch. It highlights social media’s shallow character and how it fosters bullying and insecurity, particularly among young people for whom it serves as a lifeline.

“Ron’s Gone Wrong” is also a celebration of technology’s good power, of its potential to link us with others who share our interests, as well as to teach and transport us with a few keystrokes. And, at its core, it’s a lively and at times amusing animated adventure movie as well as a beautiful friendship story. This is a film that wants to have its cake and eat it too, complete with cookies on the side.

Directors Working from a script by Smith and Peter Baynham, Sarah Smith and Jean-Philippe Vine, as well as co-director Octavio E. Rodriguez, don’t give us anything we haven’t already heard or know. Electronic devices are harmful to our health. We’ve become dependent on them at the price of actual human engagement. And the platforms that were supposed to bring us together have rather pushed us apart. Furthermore, “Ron’s Gone Wrong” draws inspiration from a variety of films in portraying the story of a lonely youngster and his adorable but flawed droid companion, ranging from “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” to “Big Hero 6” to “Her” and even that forgotten ’80s comedy “Electric Dreams.”

But darned if the B-character Bot’s design, “Your best friend out of the box,” isn’t charming with its happy face and soft-edged simplicity. Despite his severe literalism and strange turns of speech, he’s just so cheerful and well-intentioned as portrayed by Zach Galifianakis that you can’t help but adore him. But, when you think about it, the muddled messaging on exhibit here is both harmful and unavoidable.

Barney, a misfit grade schooler who fears the isolation of recess, is voiced by Jack Dylan Grazer (“It,” “Shazam!”). Every kid in school receives one when Bubble, an Apple-like big tech company, releases a gleaming new device that follows you about, learns everything you like, and links you with others through your apps. In a reference to participatory games like Roblox, you can even switch up their multicolored skins, which range from bunny rabbits to Mexican wrestlers. His nerdy widower father (Ed Helms) and old-country Bulgarian grandma (Olivia Colman, doing unintelligible voice work) contrive a method to get one for him as a belated birthday present—the only problem is, it slid off the back of a truck, so it’s a teeny bit malfunctioning.

Nonetheless, the minimalist Ron (as Barney refers to him) is eager to please, and the scenes in which he and Barney try to bond despite his technological difficulties are among the best in the film. Ron goes out into the world to exchange images with people and hand out connection request made out of poster board and crayon in one entertaining segment. The tempo is excellent, and the wordplay is consistently amusing. When Ron goes wild on the playground, the B-idealistic, Bot’s hoodie-wearing founder (Justice Smith) and Bubble’s heartless, profit-obsessed CEO (Rob Delaney) both fight to manage the consequences with little damage—albeit for different reasons. Their opposing goals are akin to the film’s attempt to operate on two levels at once: they just cannot work together.

Whether they’re loners like Barney or secretly depressed popular females like Savannah (Kylie Cantrall), who’s constantly fed the beast of social media to enhance her self-esteem, young viewers will certainly see a lot of themselves in these characters. There’s also a great film on the subject: Bo Burnham’s “Eighth Grade.” However, for tweens and younger children, this less complicated model should suffice. Such an interesting movie that worth to wait on 123Movies site isn’t it?

Review of ‘Pig’, What Will Happen When ‘Cage’ Missing It

“Pig” is Nicolas Cage’s latest movie. A drama about an unempathetic former chef named Robin who lives in the forest of the Pacific Northwest with really no friends, phone, or shower, and who leaves his run-down log cabin for the upscale foodie sub – culture of downtown Portland, where he was once a superstar, after his prized truffle pig is stolen. He only has one goal: to find the missing animal. The film’s trailer shows Cage’s character, who is bearded, bloodied, and has long, bedraggled hair, saying, “Who has my pig?” with the actor’s trademark, almost demonic intensity. (Through the computer screen, you can almost smell Robin’s stench.) Could this film follow in the footsteps of so much of Cage’s previous work, going over the top and back again with a flurry of frenzied energy?

Sure, things can go that way, but they don’t. Cage reins in the desire to overdo things in this curiously affecting little picture — director Michael Sarnoski’s feature debut, based on a script he co-wrote with Vanessa Block — producing a heartbreaking performance of unanticipated depth and quiet beauty. It’s his best performance since the underappreciated “Joe” from 2014, and it serves as a reminder of the actor’s abilities.

Robin’s mission strips away the layers of a past including bitter loss and a relationship with the pig that goes beyond the animal’s abilities, much like an onion. Let’s call it love, like Robin does. A superb cast assists Sarnoski in portraying this story, which also includes other characters who have suffered loss. Amir, a truffle dealer who arrives in a yellow Camaro once a week to collect the treasure that Robin and his pig have found, is played by Alex Wolff, and Amir’s business adversary, Adam Arkin, is played by Adam Arkin, who has a relationship to Amir that is revealed late in the film.

There are some thriller elements in this story. Robin’s trail leads him to the seedier side of Portland’s bar scene, including a basement fight club where the character picks up the scent of his prey. However, the question of mystery story is never really the point.

Sarnoski and Block ply “Pig’s” stock in trade, which is a form of visual and narrative poetry, with the finesse and light touch of great chefs. The film’s three acts are titled after meals: “Rustic Mushroom Tart,” “Mom’s French Toast and Deconstructed Scallops,” and “A Bird, a Bottle, and a Salted Baguette,” leveraging the allusive power behind the idea of what it means to “feed” someone.

At the center of “Pig,” there’s a paradox that, rather than diminishing the plot, strengthens it. This has everything to do with Cage himself, who has always been at his best when he plays against rather than with the raging emotions that run through his character. The film’s concluding song, which plays over an almost beatific vision of Robin, is Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire,” performed by Cassandra Violet in a charmingly folksy, almost frail performance. It’s smoldering and delicate, like the central character in “Pig” — who, it turns out, isn’t a pig at all, even symbolically.

‘No Future’ Review: A Secret Affair

“No Future” is the type of film that offers a challenge to anyone attempting to review it, because even the most hazy storyline summary will assure that most people will avoid it regardless of praise. This is not the type of drama or family movie that most people would choose to watch as a way to unwind. Those willing to give “No Future” a chance will find it to be a fairly sophisticated and realistic portrayal of two people plagued by grief, remorse, and loss, as well as their misguided attempts to come to terms with those sentiments.

Will’s story become the beginning of this movie review. Will (Charlie Heaton) is a young man and a former musician who is recovering from heroin addiction and is fully aware of all the pain he has caused in the past—when he visits his estranged father (Jackie Earle Haley), he makes Will roll up his sleeves to look for fresh needle tracks—and just how precarious his road to recovery is. Nonetheless, he’s clearly committed to getting clean for good—he attends 12-step meetings on a regular basis and has even started a relationship with girlfriend Becca (Rosa Salazar) that has progressed to the point where he’s considering asking her to move in with him, allowing her even more access to his life.

He also recognizes a potentially disastrous situation when he sees one, such as when Chris (Jefferson White), his estranged best buddy and former band mate, shows up at his place after a recent prison stay. Will doesn’t feel strong enough to aid Chris if he asks or to resist if he is urged to return to his old habits. Chris is plainly in a state of physical and emotional misery that reminds him all too well of what he has put behind him. He eventually turns Chris away, explaining that Becca would be staying the night. He receives a message from Chris’ mother, Claire (Catherine Keener), the next morning, notifying him that he returned home late that night, went into his bedroom, and died of an overdose.

Will attends the funeral, haunted by guilt, and reconnects with Claire, who is devastated not only by the loss of her child after years of trying to help him overcome his addiction, but also by the fact that she will never know whether Chris’ fatal overdose was an accident or if he killed himself on purpose. Will sympathizes with her, but he can’t bring himself to acknowledge that Chris went to visit him the night before he returned home, and that his rejection may have been the final straw for her son. That’s terrible enough, but things get considerably worse when the two enter into a sexual connection that, even in the best of circumstances, cannot possibly end well for anybody involved, largely out of a shared sense of grief and a need for some kind of solace.

This is bleak stuff, and Mark Smoot’s screenplay (which he also co-directs with Andrew Irvine) strives to strike a balance between truth and melodrama, with mixed results. For example, it’s clear from the moment Will fails to inform Claire about Chris’ visit that fateful night that this knowledge will be deployed, almost like clockwork, at the 70-minute mark, and the consequences will be exploited to propel the closing scenes forward. The movie also has a habit of introducing supporting characters and then failing to give them a reason to exist other than to keep the plot going.

So “No Future” isn’t exactly “entertaining,” at least not in the traditional sense. However, the raw intensity the picture generates in its best moments, as it goes to emotional areas few films these days even bother to reach, more than makes up for it. “No Future” may not be a good time, but it is an excellent film that is still worth viewing despite its flaws, and good to be watching on 123Movies online.