Tony’s Movie Thumbnails

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Sabotage (3 OUT OF 5 SWANS): Although you don’t go to an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie like this to watch acting, Olivia Williams gives a good performance, even if she does try to outdo the men in being a tough cop. What’s good is that it has wonderful pace. There’s a mystery that needs to be solved and revenge that needs to be gained. There isn’t anyone contemplating their navels, or anything else that looks like director David Ayers thinks he’s making some sort of artistic statement. It’s just another action picture that’s entertaining enough.

Under the Skin (2 OUT OF 5 SWANS): This is a movie that is as incomprehensible as the classic, Last Year at Marienbad (1961). There is very little dialogue. Most of the film consists of Scarlett Johansson wandering around with a dazed look on her face looking for men to pick up and take to her lair where a bad fate awaits them. Unfortunately the viewer never really gets the picture because this film doesn’t explain itself. As to the rating, while Johansson appears naked, so do several men in a state of sexual excitement, which normally calls for an NC-17 rating.

Rob the Mob (4 OUT OF 5 SWANS): Based on a true story, Michael Pitt and Nina Arianda portray a couple of kids who pick on mobsters by holding them up in clumsy, but effective armed robberies. This is a terrifically-acted, well-paced mob comedy up until about the last 15 minutes when it loses all its pace and slows down to a plodathon, complete with Johnny Mathis wailing Dream, Dream, Dream (a pretty 1964 waltz) under a maudlin montage of shots that almost completely destroys what came before. While this continues the old dismaying Hollywood tradition of picturing the mafia as a bunch of loveable, doddering, laughable codgers, it was anything but.

Divergent (4 OUT OF 5 SWANS): Because science fiction films about teenagers set in a bleak future are not my cup of tea, this was not a film I was eagerly anticipating. So I was pleasantly surprised to find this to be as advertised, an interesting action-adventure film that held my interest to the end with exceptional creation of war-ravaged Chicago 150 years from now and fine performances by the entire cast.

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