The Accountant

I love watching a film I know hardly anything about that has mediocre scores on Rotten Tomatoes and that surprises the hell out of me to be on my best films of the year list. Watching the Accountant was like that for me.

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The rest of this review may contain spoilers

This is a film of two worlds: 1) a history and upbringing of an autistic boy and 2) The path of adulthood and a career for that boy after becoming a man. As it turns out, high functioning autistic people make ingenious accountants. Ben Affleck is this man and he is so good, many underground crime bosses use him to “uncook” their books. Let me reiterate, he is really good at it.

We are catapulted from stories of his youth where his father mercilessly trains him to fight a exist alone to his life as a criminal accountant who’s cool as a cucumber. If you heard he was doing well and not getting caught year after year, you might think to yourself, “Ok, so what’s the problem. This guy has it made.” Wrong. There are some real issues that would prevent the average person from being happy in his shoes. First, he can’t have relationships. His autism gives him tunnel vision and he is literally unable to walk away from projects. He attempts a relationship with Anna Kendrick but it never really pans out because of his disorder. In more than one way, it gets in the way.

In this film we see what Affleck’s character can do as a result of his father’s horrifying training. He is a machine when it comes to fighting. He is able to see details no one else does and this makes him not only an accounting weapon but also what we might call a para-military soldier and killer.

So, these are just some if the amazingly creative particulars written into this gem of a film. Affleck is at the top of his game. There are many shoot-em-ups from which he generally emerges victorious. I loved every minute of this film. They say people with autism are on a different level than the rest of us. This film shows that shouldn’t be looked down on. Someone with autism, trained in this way, could save the world. Would he be happy though? The jury’s still out.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

This Jerry Bruckheimer production truly “brings it.” On the heels of Pirates of the Carribean, this mega-producer was able to produce another highly entertaining Summer swashbuckler for Disney. It is partially based on the popular video game of the same name.

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Jake Gyllenhaal (Jake from here on out) plays Dastan, a street rat who becomes a prince. Sound familiar? No, actually other than that there are no parallels to Alladin. He obtains a dagger that is able to rewind time one minute in duration. Naturally everyone wants this dagger so he must keep it safe. Gemma Arterton is the beautiful princess who is charged with the task of getting it back from him. Dastan wrongly believes she wants HIM and not the dagger, as every prince probably would, but he is mistaken. Their romantic comedy banter back and forth is some of my favorite stuff from this film.

There are a couple of actor heavyweights in the film as: Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina. They bring a stoic feeling to the film. Both are very physical in the film, along with Jake. They appear to do many of their own stunts including Alfred Molina’s harrowing scene when he kisses an ostrich. I understand these are mean animals and yet, they manage to be ridden in the film without the use of CGI. Quite amazing if you asked me.

The film looks like a sword and sandal epic but feels just short of it at times. It isn’t a bad movie but it’s not as good as The Gods of Egypt or The 300. The story is a bit complex and I think could have been more engaging if it were whittled down and simplified a bit. Despite poor reviews and some stale audience periods, It did gross over 300 million dollars so something definitely is there that kept people swiping their cards and slapping down bills at the box office. I would recommend this film for fans of Jake or possibly the video game (I’ve never played it) but ony after you’ve seen everything else he’s done. I think you’ll find it a lot of fun in a branched off performance for him.

The Revenant

Director Alejandro González Iñárritu, known most recently for directing “Birdman,” has created a visually stunning movie of survival and revenge. It’s clearly the fruit of much labor on behalf of the director and all the actors. It shows and works in the movie. Unfortunately the audience has to labor as well through a lot of slow scenes, some of which are probably unnecessary.

The two main roles are played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. Their characters are rough, gritty, and at times difficult to watch. There are some scenes in this film that made even me feel like hiding my eyes. Is this any surprise since this movie is about frontiersmen surviving in sub zero temperatures. There are Indians, hatchets, musket type rifles, buffalo, and bears. Aside: This film contains the most frightening bear maul I’ve ever seen on film. Even Paul Bunyan would recoil.

Short synopsis: Hugh Glass is a frontiersman alongside Jon Fitzgerald and a group of rough ones. They are making their way through the snowy forest terrain. Through a course of events and a bear mauling of Hugh, the story becomes one of survival. Hugh is determined to survive the attack and take revenge on those who abandoned him for dead.

My conclusions: There is a signature drum soundtrack but not as extensive as the one in “Birdman.” The camera pans and zooms are also signature of Iñárritu. It’s a long sit but I can say that fans of “Birdman” and westerns about revenge will probably really enjoy this movie. The cinematography is incredible. My wife and I actually felt cold in some of the scenes even though we had a raging fire going with the heater on. Movie lovers and reviewers especially will enjoy this movie. I foresee Oscar nods. It’s one of the best of 2015 for sure. I did find it overly long and belabored at times though and that made it lose a star with me.

#WeeklyRoundup – See What Films I Reviewed on my #Blog Last Week

I published four reviews on ‘Riley on Film’ last week. My impressions ranged from “This is a character study in evil” to “why was this made?” You’ll find the posters below. click on each one you want to read my review of. the inly one I can’t recommend is ‘Elvis and Nixon.’ Read why. The other 3 are amazing films and I recommend them.

imagevigilante-posterchained-posterEddie-the-Eagle_poster

Happy Death Day 2U, 2019 – ★★

My review of Happy Death Day 2U, 2019 – ★★ http://bit.ly/2H12fkC

Happy Death Day 2u might as well be titled “Goosebumps: Scary baby mask.” #Blumhouse, are you guys for real?

Follow me on Letterboxd https://letterboxd.com/rileyonfilm/film/happy-death-day-2u/

Possum, 2018 – ★★★

My review of Possum, 2018 – ★★★ http://bit.ly/2IMIJdi

I guess we have to consider this a horror but it really wasn’t for me. A marionette spider is the villain and he never does anything. I was disappointed on first watch but the second time I saw something the director tried to do with depth. Honestly, that’s not why I watch horror. It therefore failed with me but I’m giving it a good score in case there is something I missed.

Follow me on Letterboxd https://letterboxd.com/rileyonfilm/film/possum/

Possum, 2018 – ★★★

My review of Possum, 2018 – ★★★ http://bit.ly/2IMIJdi

I guess we have to consider this a horror but it really wasn’t for me. A marionette spider is the villain and he never does anything. I was disappointed on first watch but the second time I saw something the director tried to do with depth. Honestly, that’s not why I watch horror. It therefore failed with me but I’m giving it a good score in case there is something I missed.

Follow me on Letterboxd https://letterboxd.com/rileyonfilm/film/possum/

10 Years, 2011 – ★★★½ (contains spoilers)

My review of 10 Years, 2011 – ★★★½ (contains spoilers) http://bit.ly/2TrQQA8

This review may contain spoilers.

Your basic buddies after high school film. It follows all the basic tropes we all love. My favorite character is played by Chris Pratt: the drunk in penny loafers who hogs the karaoke mic. Everybody out of high school knows these people, we never escape them. It was predictable but the writing wasn’t too bad. It’s a good com, not a rom com though.

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The Ward, 2010 – ★★★

My review of The Ward, 2010 – ★★★ http://bit.ly/2H8SAb3

I really liked this entry in Carpenter’s legacy. He did a great job putting together the plot and ideas. The asylum imagery could be darker and there is a lot of needless dialog in the first half. Ultimately it becomes a fun asylum horror film for fans of the sub genre but not as scary as I would have hoped for. Still worth a watch.

Follow me on Letterboxd https://letterboxd.com/rileyonfilm/film/the-ward/

The Ward, 2010 – ★★★

My review of The Ward, 2010 – ★★★ http://bit.ly/2H8SAb3

I really liked this entry in Carpenter’s legacy. He did a great job putting together the plot and ideas. The asylum imagery could be darker and there is a lot of needless dialog in the first half. Ultimately it becomes a fun asylum horror film for fans of the sub genre but not as scary as I would have hoped for. Still worth a watch.

Follow me on Letterboxd https://letterboxd.com/rileyonfilm/film/the-ward/