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Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck co-star in Forces of Nature. Affleck is Ben Holmes and he is on the verge of being married. He needs to travel to Savannah Georgia to get married and gets on board a flight to head down there. A terrible accident causes the plane to derail and is unable to take off. He meets in the process Sarah Lewis (Bullock) and the two rent a car to drive down. The two have quite the chemistry as they begin flirting with each other.
The film then turns out to be like a planes, trains and automobiles like scenario, where every mode of transportation they seem to take has some kind of issue that keeps delaying their trip to Savannah. With each mishap, the two continue to connect. Holmes begins to doubt if he should marry his fiancé Bridget (Maura Tierney). He learns more about Sarah who is twice married and even has a son, but he still feels for her. As the title and all the occurrences that happen to them suggest, the forces of nature seem bound to have these two get together.
Forces of Nature is one of the weaker romantic comedies. Bullock does her best to be this earthy, connectable and sexy force, but Affleck in contrast is all too wooden. The events that keep happening to the two get old and wear thin. It was surprising that the two do not wind up together, and Affleck and his real fiancé do get married. This may have been one of the cases where I feel him ending up with Bullock would have been a better, although cliché ending. Steve Zahn is Affleck's best friend in the film, but is not in it much, and a third character would have given the film a bit more a firm ground in case the audience grows weary of the main couple. Forces of Nature has its moments, but I was ready for this one to be over.
Tina Fey produces and stars in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Fey is Kim Baker who decides to pack up and leave from her rather calm and boring life in the United States. She heads to Afghanistan to report on the war. She puts herself in harm's way to try and get good footage of the terror going on in the Middle East. She befriends a fellow journalist Tanya (Margot Robbie) and a photographer Iain (Martin Freeman).
The three of them by day endure and cover the dangers that are within yards from them at any moment, and at night they party drink to pass the time. As Baker's reputation increases she gets close with the General Massoud Sadiq (Alfred Molina), who could easily become a new power in the country. This cycles goes on for a majority of the film, until at one point Tanya back stabs her into her job, and Iain becomes captured and then rescued by friends Baker has made through all her connections.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a movie that could have used better direction. The movie tries to encompass being this dramatic documentary style war film. Comedy is thrown in mostly though Fey, and just the chemistry and entire film seems somewhat docile. The performances through the film are adequate, but the film just seems predictable and had potential to be much better given the film's scope.
Jackie Chan stars in the Spy Next Door. Chan is Bob Ho who is a secret agent for the Chinese Intelligence and CIA. He works with Colton James (Billy Ray Cyrus) and his boss Glaze (George Lopez). He decides to hang it up and retire so he can live a normal life with a woman he met next door to his undercover house. He does one last job to put together a criminal, and then takes on his toughest job yet, 3 kids.
The three all hate him, but he does their best to earn their love and respect while the mother is on a trip. While he is watching them the criminal he just put away gets out and starts looking out for him and their family. He must keep the kids safe and make everything right again, and regain the trust of everyone.
The Spy Next Door is a sub-par family action film. Chan who is getting older is not expected to do the stunts he did 20 years ago, but this family film is a step down for him. His movies have always had a weird comedic edge to it, but this one feels too much like a bad Disney movie. Many Chan films feature a stunt real during the ending credits, and this one features just lines that he screwed up. The film is quite cookie cutter, and although Chan has some stunts left in him, they are don't make up for the films hammy story.
Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston and Tim Holt star in the Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Bogart is Dobbs and he and his friend Curtin, are two low life's that are laying around Tampico. Dobbs begs fellow Americans for money so he can get a decent meal. They get scammed out of money and have to fight and scrap to make by. They finally get a break when they get some money and decide to try their luck as gold prospectors.
They enlist Howard (Huston) to take them and help them find gold
As they begin to search for gold they become quite successful and start dreaming of how much to take and what they will do with all the money. They decide to split up the gold dust as they find it and each of them hides it in a separate place. When Curtin accidentally stumbles upon Dobb's hiding place Dobbs begins to lose trust in his fellow partners. They still manage to stick together as they fight off rebels, and bandits. There are some great scenes of comradely between the men, and there are many scenes of tension and darkness where I believed any one of them could have been killed. Eventually Dobb's greed and paranoia gets the best of him as he attempts to kill Curtin in cold blood while Howard is off praised for helping some natives.
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is slow drama that gradually unfolds to those who are patient. The characters start off innocent, and you root for them to find fortune. The film depicts what can happen to a man when stricken by greed. Hobbs starts as a good man, but his transition to darkness is the film's best attribute. Huston and Holt are excellent side characters and you feel for them as they try and curtail the wrath and envy of Dobbs. They each share the burden trying to do the right thing despite Dobb's constant objections. Although none of them are completely innocent as they almost decide to kill a man in cold blood to protect their find, they all eventually get what they deserve. Great direction and great performances drive this picture in what has a pretty straight forward story. Treasure of the Sierra Madre runs a little long, but it has quite a payoff and is a great drama/adventure.
Tom Cruise and Paul Newman costar in Martin Scorsese's The Color of Money. Paul Newman is Fast Eddie Nelson, and he old time pool hustler. He does not play anymore but scours the pool halls looking for the next talent. When his current prospect Julian (John Turturro) loses three times straight to a new hot shot Vincent (Tom Cruise) he starts to think he has the next best thing.
He asks Vincent and his girlfriend Carmen (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) to go on the road with him and hustle people all across while training for a nine-ball tournament that is coming up in 6 months. Fast Eddie tries to teach Vincent all the tricks to hustling including of taking a dive, or adding drama to raise the stakes. The two are constantly at odds at first and are constantly fighting. Vincent does not get the concept at first and simply keeps winning and beating the best which scares the rest of the competition. Eventually they get in sync and start making some serious money. Soon Fast Eddie gets inspired starts thinking he can do this on the road himself, and hustle again. The movie of course writes itself in a predictable fashion as its clear the two will play each other in the tournament.
Color of Money is a solid movie that has a relative ceiling to it. The hustler is considered probably to be the best pool movie made, and this film is like a follow up to it. The movie features good talent and of course a great director in Scorsese. Cruise is a young hot shot, and Newman as the seasoned pro, and the two combine for good chemistry. The sexy Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio steals every scene that she is in. The Color of Money follows a pretty predictable script and does not throw too many curves. The Color of Money is by no means a must see unless you are fans of the stars, director, or of course pool.