Friday, September 06, 2019

Media Notes: Roundup for August 2019

This is a somewhat random selection of the movies and series on DVD and/or online I watched during August 2019.

Movies and films (links to for basic information unless noted otherwise). Some of these I watched via or other online source. The DVDs come from the public library (unless noted otherwise). In addition, I will try to add other trivia notes, such as when a film is based on a book adding the information about the book (at least the WorldCat record if available):

  • 1944 (War. Drama. Historical. International/Foreign, Estonian).  Film description: "In 1944 Estonia, a fratricide war ensues when Estonians of the retreating German forces fight against Estonians conscripted into the advancing Soviet Red Army." The movie description does not quite fully capture this history. When Germany takes Estonia, in breaking its pact with Russia in World War II, it conscripts Estonians into the German army. When the war turns against Hitler and the Germans, the Soviets return to Estonia, and they conscript Estonians into the Red Army. The result is that Estonians fight each other from both sides while caught in the middle. This is a moving drama with some good combat scenes, but the main thrust of the film is the human element. The film does well in portraying both sides and points of view as the conflict progresses in a period of months towards the end of 1944. This is one worth watching, moving at the end; it shows a part of the war that few outside of Eastern Europe may know if at all. Via TubiTv. 
  • Lewis Black: Old Yeller: Live at the Borgata (2013). Lewis Black's 9th comedy special, this was filmed live at The Borgata in Atlantic City. His observations and insights are spot on, specially taking on his own generation that has so much to answer for. He rants on various topics, and he is speaking truth. From a description, "As Mr. Black puts it, 'What are you going to do when the Democrats are dumb, the Republicans are stupid and the Tea Party doesn't even know what day it is?'" And then people wonder why I am all out of fucks to give. Also, another example, he looks at social media just as it is emerging. Given what we know now of things like Facebook and Instagram, again, he was spot on then. Lewis Black, much like George Carlin, is one of those philosopher comedians who bring me a little comfort and affirmation in a world pretty much gone to hell. Always worth watching. Via TubiTv. 
  • Lewis Black: Black to the Future (2017). Lewis Black's 2017 special right before the 2018 election. When it comes to the election, he had it down then, and seeing it now, he was prophetic in many ways. In that sense, a bit painful to watch given what we know now. Still funny, and he also has a few other topics that keep things entertaining. Lewis Black is for me always a good comic to watch. Via TubiTv. On a side note, looking back at my notes, I watched this back in March of 2019. My impressions then were about the same as they are this time.
  • 22 Bullets (2010. French film, with subtitles in English. Also known as L'immortel. Action. Crime. Drama). Jean Reno portrays a retired mobster who thought his life in the mob was behind him. He sold off his interests in mob businesses. When one of his old partners decides to betray him, Charly Mattei, the retired mobster, is shot 22 times, but manages to live. Now he is out for revenge against his old childhood friend who has no respect for any of the old rules. The film is not just a revenge film. It is a good thriller and cat and mouse kind of movie as Mattei is out for revenge while his old friend does his best to get to Mattei including going after Mattei's own family. Meanwhile, the local police force is on the case, though not always totally effective given the police director is indifferent, and a widowed lieutenant is the only one committed to bringing some justice. Overall, a very good film. Definitely worth a watch. One of the better ones I've watched so far. A nice entry in the "guy minding his own business until they mess with him and all hell then breaks loose genre," but definitely better than the usual shoot them up most of those films are. Via TubiTv. 
  • Assault on Wall Street (2013. Drama. Thriller. also known as Bailout: The Age of Greed). Movie description: "Jim, an average New Yorker, lives with a sick but loving wife. Suddenly, everything changes when the economy crashes and causes him to lose everything. Filled with anger and rage, Jim goes to seek revenge for the life taken from him." What is amazing about this movie is that is fiction. That the U.S. people did not rise up against the banks and the financiers and assault Wall Street until it was all ashes is a miracle to be perfectly honest given how many people tragically lost everything due to Wall Street malfeasance along with the U.S. Government basically enabling it. The movie is reminiscent of films like Falling Down (1993) or Law Abiding Citizen (2009), but it really lays it on thick on the build up, and I mean thick. Every possible catastrophe that can happen to the man happens to this guy, and when he finally snaps, he really takes his revenge. The action really happens in the last hour. I want to like this movie more, but for a movie of one hour and 39 minutes, it is an hour and nine minutes too long. Still, somehow you just keep watching because Jim's woes just tug at the heart as we see him decline. Plus, the twist at the end may well make it worth it. In addition, Dominic Purcell does put in a good performance as the tragic antihero, because let us be honest, the common audience is certainly rooting for him and wondering just how much can this guy take. May be worth a look, but as I said, it takes a long time to build up. Via TubiTv.  
  • Delta Force 2: The Columbian Connection (1990. Action. Adventure). The 1990 sequel to the 1986 Delta Force. Film description: "When DEA agents are taken captive by a ruthless South American kingpin, the Delta Force is reunited to rescue them in this sequel to the 1986 film." Chuck Norris returns to lead the Delta Force to rescue the hostages and take down the drug kingpin, portrayed in the film by Billy Drago. Drago made quite the career portraying cold and seriously creepy evil villains, and he pretty much plays that in this film. It is a Chuck Norris action movie, so we all know the hero prevails. Having said that, the film has moments, but it is pretty slow overall. Still entertaining but definitely not like the original. If anything, you may want to go back and watch the original. Via TubiTv.
  • World Trade Center (2006. Drama. Historical). The story of September 11, 2011 from the view of two first responders on that day, Sgt. John McLoughlin and Officer Will Jimeno of the New York Port Authority Police, who are trapped in the rubble of the collapse. Story then focuses on their time surviving, their families, and eventual rescue. Movie can be very slow, but it is also moving and raw in emotion at times. From what I see in reviews, people either really like it or they think it fell way short. I think overall it was OK with a bit of heavy on the melodrama yet captures a bit of what that day must have been like, at least for a very few who were there. And that is part of it, the focus is very limited. Via TubiTv.
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (children and YA. Humor. Animation. Action). The gang of LEGOs is back in their second movie. Movie description: "It's been five years since everything was awesome and the citizens are facing a huge new threat: Lego Duplo invaders from outer space, wrecking everything faster than they can rebuild" Emmet and Lucy along with their friends must save their world once more, with the help of some new friends. Overall, a nice movie still. Definitely one for the kids, but it is still entertaining for children of all ages, and as before, it does have a nice, happy ending. While not as good as the first one, still pretty good. I liked it. Via DVD from Madison County (KY) Public Library.  
  • Centurion (2010. Action. Adventure.Drama). Michael Fassbender portrays Centurion Quintus Dias, a survivor of a garrison in northern Britain where the Picts are successfully resisting the Romans. He manages to rejoin the 9th Legion, only to find himself surviving the decimation of the legion. Now, him and a handful of men must attempt to escape the Picts and rejoin the Romans further south in what will be Hadrian's Wall. Their main problem is a Pict huntress seeking revenge. This is better movie than I thought it would be. Some good drama, a bit of action. I liked it. Worth a look. According to, film  "'is based on a 2000 year-old legend', referring to the mysterious disappearance of the Ninth Hispana or Ninth Spanish Legion in Roman-occupied Britain around 117 CE."Via TubiTv.
  • Triad Underworld (2004. Also known as Gong Woo or Jiang Hu. Action. Crime. Drama). An entry in the Triads films from Hong Kong. The plot is this: Mr. Hung's wife has a baby boy, and he decides it may be time to step down as mob boss. Well, his close friend and second in command figures he should retire and be with his family. So Hung and Lefty, the friend, have a long discussion over dinner as Lefty tries to talk Hung into leaving. Hung does not really want to leave, but he knows he has to keep his family safe. Hung does try to reason with Lefty as they speak as Lefty plans to clean house. Despite their differences, the men do remain close. Meanwhile, word gets out, and rivals hope to take Hung and Lefty down. Meanwhile, two young punks, Yik and Turbo, seeking to make a name for themselves, draw lots to do a killing. We get two parallel stories, and we do not get the real connection until the very end. This is a pretty good drama, with good character development. Definitely worth watching. Via TubiTv.

Television and other series (basic show information links via Wikipedia unless noted otherwise). Some of these come in DVD from the public library. Others may be via YouTube, which, as noted before, I keep finding all sorts of other old shows in it, often full episodes:

  • C.O.P.S. (1988-1989. Animated series. Police. Action. Humor. Children and Young Adult).  See my comment on this in the May 2019 roundup. Watched 16 episodes.

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