Saturday, February 15, 2020

Movie Reviews: Angel Has Fallen

Angel Has Fallen
directed by Ric Roman Waugh
This is the third installment in an action adventure series that centers around men who try to kidnap or kill the President and the Secret Service agents who try to stop them. The movie is not boring. It is comfortable in the same way that wrapping yourself in a favorite old blanket is comfortable. As long as you don't care about the frayed ends, questionable spots, and rips where the stuffing is falling out, no one else will either. 

The quality of the acting and the cinematography are all what you would expect from work that involves A-list actors. The writing? Well like I said it is a comfortable sequel. The bad guys are way too obvious. People who don't even like or watch movies like this would be able to tell you who the bad guys are and what they want in the first ten minutes of the film.
That's not really a good thing.

Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is a Secret Service agent who is getting up there in age. He suffers from migraines, concussions and other pains from his Secret Service work and military experiences. It's about time for Banning to move out of the direct field work and take a promotion to head of the Secret Service. It's Washington D.C.'s worst kept secret that Banning will get the spot after the current Secret Service Director David Gentry (Lance Reddick) retires. 

But Banning doesn't want to do that, because among other reasons, he still enjoys the frontline experience of being on President Trumbull's (Morgan Freeman) security detail. He doesn't want to sit behind a desk and do fake battle with corpulent staffers, Senators, and lobbyists for his budget each year.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Trump Acquitted in Senate: Now What?

WASHINGTON — After five months of hearings, investigations and revelations about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, a divided United States Senate acquitted him on Wednesday of charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress to aid his own re-election, bringing an acrimonious impeachment trial to its expected end.

In a pair of votes whose outcome was never in doubt, the Senate fell well short of the two-thirds margin that would have been needed to remove the 45th president. 


The verdicts came down — after three weeks of debate — almost entirely along party lines, with every Democrat voting “guilty” on both charges and Republicans uniformly voting “not guilty” on the obstruction of Congress charge.

Only one Republican, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, broke with his party to judge Mr. Trump guilty of abuse of power. Democratic leaders immediately insisted the result was illegitimate, the product of a self-interested cover-up by Republicans, and promised to continue their investigations of Mr. Trump.


“The verdict of this kangaroo court will be meaningless,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said moments before the vote. “By refusing the facts — by refusing witnesses and documents — the Republican majority has placed a giant asterisk, the asterisk of a sham trial, next to the acquittal of President Trump, written in permanent ink.”


Saturday, February 1, 2020

Movie Reviews: Countdown

Countdown
directed by Justin Dec
This is a predictable PG-13 horror movie where attractive young people do stupid things to keep the story moving. There are jump scares every other frame. But at least the Black guy doesn't die first. So there's that. These movies all have a certain rhythm. 

Someone does something questionable, like buying an ancient lamp from an elderly Roma lady, desecrating a grave, or partying at a wicked family's deserted ancestral home. Bad things happen. Someone with more brain cells than your average door knob realizes that something isn't right. This person, usually with some skeptical friends or supportive strangers, tracks down a paranormal expert.

Sometimes the expert is an incompetent clown. Sometimes the expert has lost faith and must be cajoled back into action. Sometimes the expert is retired.Sometimes the expert is eager to assist and kick a$$ for the Lord!. Sometimes malevolent forces eliminate the expert before he can share critical knowledge. Sometimes the expert is secretly working for malevolent forces. 

The friends and/or last survivor make their final stand against the forces of evil.  Maybe there's a disbelieving cop or other authority figure who once arrested or otherwise hindered the heroes/heroines. At the end that person usually helps. He (or she) validates the group's story, gets busy with the attractive lead character, or sacrifices himself for the attractive lead character. Countdown didn't break any new ground. I thought the 90 minute run time was too long. The movie touches some interesting points about fate and predestination.