25+ The Rhythm Section Reviews – Portrait Of Story Confusion

The Rhythm Section⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Revenge flick with female protagonist? Drama? Action film? From the trailer it was never very clear what this was about. Apparently, the trailer was more honest than we could ever know.

I also understand there was a miscommunication between Eon and Paramount in regards to what Rhythm Section actually was: Rhythm Section was always pitched as a slow burn, noirish Euro thriller by Eon. Not a female Bond film, even though Paramount won the rights in a competitive bid.

What Went Wrong With ‘The Rhythm Section’? Action Pic Could Lose $30M+ – Deadline

If the producers can’t agree on what this was supposed to be, how will viewers? Despite its many flaws, Kara and I enjoyed the film. But not as a spy thriller. If we went in with that vibe, then our rating would have been much lower. We both considered it to be a revenge flick. A regular woman who has to train and learn how to be a fighter so she can enact revenge on those responsible for her family’s deaths.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the movie that most people saw. It’s from the folks from Eon behind the James Bond movies and it’s like they wanted to make this into being a spy thriller, which seems to be what the novel it is based upon.

I know, it’s weird. How can we give a movie two different ratings? The movie watching experience can change based on perception, I’d argue. Whether or not that’s a fair criteria is open to debate, but for us anyway, we were entertained by this film. Clearly many others were not.

… SPOILERS beyond, you have been warned …

The title sucks

There, said it. What does it mean anyway? Is it a movie based on a song? I can pretty much guarantee nobody seeing that title will guess it has to do with some bizarre reference to training and heartbeat for the main character, but yes, somehow it does.

Numerous movie bloggers couldn’t resist using the “missed a beat” title slam. Soooo easy to make fun of such an esoteric and unnecessary title. Clever, not.

Will admit that initially the title at the preview/first look stage was intriguing, but after seeing the film it was just such a tiny and relatively unnecessary part of the overall story that it didn’t deserve to be the title.

Author does not appear to be skilled screenwriter

Writing a novel and a screenplay are two very different animals. The author of the book series doesn’t seem to have been the right person to write the screenplay. Normally, I’d support the author penning at least the initial screenplay. Beyond that, though, might need to call in some skilled screenwriters that aren’t as close to the source material.

Some book material just doesn’t translate to the screen well. Veteran screenwriters understand what works and doesn’t. This screenplay needed help.

The progression from amateur to skilled spy is too abrupt

Quite a bit of time is spent in the first two acts establishing Stephanie’s weaknesses in being an effective fighter and, ultimately, spy. She needs a ton of training. Maybe the movie would have been better served to not have the third act make her seem so much like James Bond’s sister?

Stephanie romancing the informant, Marc … why?

There was less than zero chemistry between Stephanie and the informant, Marc (Sterling K. Brown). The love scene was some kind of corny kissing and sex. I’d much rather have seen Lively kissing any other female character. Remember this:

Now this is a kiss, but unfortunately it’s from A Simple Favor, not from The Rhythm Section

Was it supposed to be surprising somehow that her character was having an interracial romance? Um, no. Especially when there didn’t seem to be any romantic build-up, period. All of a sudden it’s like they’re just kissing. Kind of like what happened between Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively’s characters in A Simple Favor, only in that scene we actually felt something as viewers.

The twist ending doesn’t provide any real shock factor

Not a fan of the twist ending with Marc Serra being the bad guy, perhaps established and ruined by his faux romance with Stephanie. If we don’t care about this guy, why should we care that he turns out to be the poison pill?

We liked the revenge tale angle, disliked the spy thriller part

After everything I’ve complained, I keep coming back to the one thing about the film both Kara and I liked: how Stephanie deals with revenge. Wish it all would have stayed there instead of straying into the whole spy thriller genre. As stated in my review, the rating I gave this film is for the revenge part of the story, not what I’d rate it as a spy thriller. I’d give it 2 starts out of 5 as a spy thriller. Mediocre.

Hopefully the franchise is D.O.A with no plans for a sequel. I don’t want to see more Stephanie the spy.

Reviews by Others

Let’s see what others think of The Rhythm Section? Not surprisingly, most of the reviews from the many blogs I read are negative. I did find a few others who liked and recommended the film.


  1. Amused in the Dark: “I didn’t expect La Femme Nikita. I expected American Assassin. I am pleased in my disappointment. This is a well paced, well shot, well acted spy thriller with a fully developed lead character.”
  2. No More Workhorse: “…may not be groundbreaking or very original, but it is an enjoyable thriller, with multiple twists and turns, and will certainly appeal if you want an undemanding evening out and (very topically) a female, kick-ass, central character wreaking her revenge on a world of men.”
  3. Shaun Wren / The Bear Cave (4/5): “Not only did we witness the birth of an assassin, but we witness the birth of a new action star in Lively and a new franchise.”

Not Recommended

  1. Adrian / But Why Tho? (4/10): “I came into the movie hoping that I wouldn’t get the stereotypical revenge movie. For much of it, that is what The Rhythm Section provides. In the end, the film falls into the same tropes it was trying to subvert.”
  2. Bobby Carroll’s Movie Reviews: “I felt very disassociated from what was happening onscreen.”
  3. Bryan Caron (Grade: B-): “It’s almost as if the film is in someway bipolar; the majority of the film drives through your typical revenge plot with questionable motives and ideas, only to shine bright for mere moments to show us what the film was capable of if it simply understood itself.”
  4. BYT / Brightest Young Things: “A cliche-riddled hunt for a bomb-maker is an adventure a late 20th-century Bond might’ve gone on, though that’d be a bit of fun, at least. Instead, a strong cast can’t do enough to overcome their producers’ half-hearted attempt to go beyond their comfort zone.”
  5. Daniel M. Kimmel / NorthShoreMovies (1/5): “…has some disconnected action scenes that perk things up for the moment, but mostly has characters we barely get to know carrying on in a fashion that sheds no light on their actions.”
  6. Dave Bond / Set The Tape (2/5): “Pacing aside, the film is attractive to look at, and very well-performed.  That said, it offers nothing of which audiences are likely to be screaming out for more.  For a studio with one viable property – one for which they have produced relatively little content in the last decade – that is a disappointment.”
  7. David Ferguson / Movies Reviews from the Dark: “Having author Mark Burnell adapt his own novel may have been a mistake, as there are far too many plot holes and ridiculous moments for this to work as any type of thriller.”
  8. Doc / EYG Embrace Your Geek (2/5): “Blake Lively did a nice job as the character, but there was just nothing there and the script was such a mess that I could not care one iota about Stephanie.  Any little bit of connection I felt for her was because of Lively.”
  9. fanboyreviewer (2/4): “…was okay, but altogether pretty generic. The film had some solid performances and a potentially interesting set-up, but it wasn’t very memorable.”
  10. Ferdosa Abdi / Screen Queens: “Needless to say, there is a lot wrong with this film, but what The Rhythm Section lacks the most is entertainment”
  11. Irish Film Critic / Thomas Tunstall (3.5/5): “Judging from this initial outing, forthcoming sequels appear unlikely. “The Rhythm Section” simply cannot muster enough action and empathy necessary to suspend disbelief over the course of the highly improbable events depicted in the film”
  12. Jason Bleau / Cinema Spotlight: “…isn’t a terrible movie or really a truly bad movie, nor is it boring. It’s just predictable, derivative, and needed more energy to really become a memorable experience.”
  13. jmuney’s blog (2.5/5): “…this all leads into a cat-and-mouse game between Lively and Sterling K. Brown, which should be dynamite, but it’s built upon the barest bones of a structure.”
  14. Josh Lasser / The TV and Film Guy’s Reviews (2.5/5): “Lively is wonderful and keeps the viewer invested, but in the end there is too little return on that investment.”
  15. Keith Young / KEITH on Reels: “I was fairly disappointed that it did not meet my expectations, established by the movie trailer, for a very entertaining and dramatic action thriller; even with Blake Lively’s terrific performance that could make for a turning point in her acting career, the movie is unable to really recover from the poor pacing and lack of originality.”
  16. Swanner & Judd Film Reviews: “This film could have been very entertaining, but with its slow start and far too linear script, it suffers from too much character development. “
  17. The Spy Commander (Grade: C): “..it’d be better if there were more audience investment in Patrick’s story.”
  18. The Inside Reel (Grade: C): “…is dynamic and admirable in the ways it tries to reinvent but also ground the genre with a slightly different approach.”
  19. Tom Moore / Moorereviews (2/5): “…isn’t a total loss thanks to Lively’s strong leading performance and Morano’s direction, but damn is its story a mess and totally forgettable. It certainly marks a disappointing end to a surprisingly solid January. Like I said, Lively and Morano are strong here and I’d love to see them make another action team-up in the future – I just hope they find better material to work with.”
  20. RockAtTheMovies (5.5/10): “The film hits “Action thriller led by a female lead” cliches as we go along. I can see what the filmmaker was going for but unfortunately there isn’t enough action or entertainment to really get viewers hearts racing. The studio was unsure what to do with this film”
  21. Society Reviews: “I’ve seen Blake Lively have a great presence in other films but this one ain’t it. A role that probably sounded better in a pitch meeting turns into a disaster of a film, The Rhythm Section is a mess of a film and one of the worst narrative movies in the last few years. Truly a failure from top to bottom.”
  22. Trailer Trashed (2/5): “Problems, problems, so many problems. This story had the potential to be great. It had a great premise. But instead it was a massive disappointment, with a bad story and some real shaky camera work.”
  23. What Went Right or Wrong With? (3/10): “Even as you wander around giddy, zigzagging your lounge and knocking the TV off its bracket, that’ll be a better experience than watching this trash.”

Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs and pull quote from my reading list as well as other new blogs shared, liked and discovered.

NOW PLAYING REVIEWS: The Rhythm Section, Gretel and Hansel

Week #5 of 2020 (1/30-2/2/2020) offers a woman tortured by the loss of her family turned into a spy hellbent on revenge and a film retelling a story of two children who encounter a woman in the woods that is not at all what she seems.

We saw both films on opening day, Thursday, and choosing the one that was more entertaining was fairly easy.

#1 is ….

The Rhythm Section ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ 

Starring Blake Lively in a number of different wigs, hairstyles, hair colors, makeup and outfits and training to be a modern day spy.

Blake Lively flexes her muscles in The Rhythm Section

This isn’t your average revenge spy flick. A fair amount of time and effort is spent training an every day regular woman into a spy killing machine. Some might think the transition is too fast, others might enjoy the effort and spotlight into explaining how and why this tortured woman could and would become a spy. We are in the latter camp.

From the creative team at Eon, behind the James Bond films and an adaptation of a novel series by Mark Burnell. The screenplay was written by the author. Haven’t read the book, so the review doesn’t evaluate the merits of the adaptation.

Blake Lively on how she prepared for each day on the set to film The Rhythm Section

Some of the early critic and audience reviews are not as positive on this movie as both Kara and I in our review and rating. This is one of those “depends on what you genre you are expecting” movies that is best evaluated as a drama-thriller instead of a spy action movie. It’s not a very good action movie, but it’s a much better drama-thriller. You can tell Blake Lively is giving everything to this script. She gave so much to her performance that she had a serious hand injury that shut down and delayed filming for months. The video above details her daily grind for 8 months to make this film.

So, if you go to see this, try and think of it as a drama-thriller for the optimal viewing experience. Blake Lively is very good in this film, but since it was a dump month film, it will probably be forgotten as the year goes on. Too bad, it doesn’t deserve that sort of apathy.

Gretel and Hansel⭐️½ 

Why was this made? I’m tempted to start a list of remakes/reboots/adaptations that should never have been made. Gretel and Hansel doesn’t deserve a feature film treatment, but could have been an awesome short in an anthology horror show.

Gretel & Hansel tells a very familiar Grimm fairy tale

Just too long. There is a good deal of effort put into establishing a dark, foreboding atmosphere which I appreciated, but it becomes painfully aware that the story is unnecessarily padded. This is one of those horror tales that works better as a quick and nasty bite, not some long, slow bloodletting.

Want to see what else we recommend NOW PLAYING at the theater?

Here are other movies we’ve seen at the theaters recently and liked (maybe they are available in your area still) that are recommended. Any movie rated at least 3-stars is recommended. You should read any 3-star review (click the title), because sometimes we do qualify those recommendations, meaning we were entertained, but it doesn’t mean that the film was that good.

4-star movies are highly recommended and films rated as 4 1/2 or 5 stars are must see.

  1. 1917 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ 
  2. Little Women ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. Uncut Gems ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  4. Frozen II ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  5. Bad Boys For Life ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  6. The Last Full Measure ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  7. Bombshell ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  8. Like A Boss ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  9. Doolittle ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Happy movie watching to you!

Opening 1-30-2020 in Theaters: Gretel and Hansel, The Rhythm Section

Wednesday! Week #5 (1/30 – 2/2/2020) is upon us. The final assault, er, unveiling of new movies in January carrying over into February involving a new take on a very old Brothers Grimm tale and Blake Lively going into revenge mode (think Jennifer Garner in Peppermint?).

Before getting to my final thoughts on these two films, I’m going to be glad to see January 2020 gone. There have been some truly awful films this month. The studios are thinking wrong by not putting up better films in January. If this is the competition, it should be really easy to put up a great film and be on top for multiple weeks on the box office. I don’t get the logic behind dumping films they don’t have as much faith in this month.

I do understand that Oscar hopefuls don’t likely happen in January, but they should be chasing box office revenue more than gold statues. Just saying.

Gretel and Hansel

These past two months the studios seem to be mining stories from the 1800s. Little Women in December, The Turning (based on The Turn of the Screw) and now Gretel & Hansel (based on the 1812 Grimm Fairy Tale). Sure, these were good stories in the 1800s, but why aren’t we making adaptations of more modern stories? It seems that studios think the gold is in the already adapted vs. first time adaptations. It’s like give us another Spider-man instead of exploring a different superhero or antihero.

That said, any horror tale with cannibalism in there has the chance to be disturbing. I’m also curious why the title was inverted? Was it to differentiate somehow from Hansel & Gretel? Like the title change as I’d be less interested if it was the traditional way.

Movie titles are important to me when I don’t know much else. The trailer isn’t blowing me away with the story. Where this all leads is mild anticipation for seeing this film this week.

Anticipation: 4/10

The Rhythm Section

My initial and ongoing interest in this film is Blake Lively. I keep saying she is ready for a breakout role in something. Based on the trailer I’m not sure this is going to be that vehicle. Revenge flicks don’t get much Oscar love, but this is a different type of role than I’ve seen her in, so maybe if she has a strong performance here and gives her momentum for a more ambitious next film.

I keep mentioning Peppermint starring Jennifer Garner, because this reminds me a bit of that film. It’s a different story, perhaps not as brutal and action-oriented and more thought-provoking. A plane crash that wasn’t accidental wiping out her family and her character seeks revenge upon those who caused it. Clearly from the trailer, Lively’s character isn’t seeing passive means to enact revenge. Am curious where this will lead?

This is the film other than 1917, of course, that I’ve most looked forward to seeing in January 2020. Hope it delivers. Will find out very soon.

Anticipation: 7/10

ANTICIPATION for Week #5: 1/30/20 MOVIES

How much on scale of 1-10 anticipating the 1-23-2020 movies? Those marked with asterisk are not available in our area this week, so will carryover in future weeks until available to watch in our area.

  1. The Rhythm Section – 7/10
  2. Gretel & Hansel – 4/10

Are there screenings in our area to see these movies?

Both movies are confirmed wide screenings available at theaters in our area so will be watched, rated and reviewed.  Probably one on Thursday 1/30, the other on Friday 1/31.

Upcoming Friday FIRST LOOK

This Friday 1/31/2020 will be FIRST LOOK for several comic books/superhero movies coming in 2020. There are 8 comics/superhero movies being released in 2020 with the first being Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn) [FIRST LOOK] next week. Two are based on DC Comics, Five based on Marvel and one on Valiant.

11 Movies COMING TO THEATERS in January 2020

Coming to theaters in January 2020 – there are some films shown above not below and vice versa

The following are movie trailers and my early thoughts for all films tentatively scheduled coming to theaters in January 2020. If you’d like to see a list of all movies released in 2020 click here (that post is updated throughout the year).

The list below does not include independent films and/or streaming original films from Netflix and Amazon. I would like to keep track of those as well, but trying to target specifically wide theater releases (or what appear to be wide releases) so most readers can see these films worldwide in a major chain theater (hopefully) near your home. New streaming films being released will be handled separately based on the service, most likely, as already doing for Shudder.

SIDENOTE: I have nothing against small, independent theaters (we have a good one called The Grand Cinema close by), but am trying to focus on the films I have the greatest likelihood to see, review and rate each month. Obviously, with release schedules that change based on location, sharing any kind of coming soon movie list is not an exact science. Any errors and/or omissions are mine.

Movie release dates are subject to change by the studios, so it’s possible within the next 45 days or so one or more of the movies profiled below will have its release date moved.

As of this posting, there are 11 movies scheduled, presented in order of scheduled opening date below. 10 of the 11 have trailers, so I’ve added my anticipation (10 = most excited as possible to see, 0 = not interested at all). Can’t promise I’ll do this every month, but am going to try and do so, probably posted sometime around the middle of each month for the next month.

This is a reference for FIRST LOOK and PREVIEW posts. I try and FIRST LOOK and/or PREVIEW films that either we’re personally most interested in seeing and/or have very popular interest by others.

January 2020 Movies

The Grudge

The Grudge (2020) official trailer – opens January 3, 2020

This one looks like it might be scary. I’ve never seen any of the original Grudge movies and not sure I’ll be doing so before this comes out in a few weeks. I look more forward to seeing truly scary horror films over horror-comedy films and this looks like the former.

Anticipation for The Grudge: 6/10

Like A Boss

Like A Boss official trailer – opens in theaters January 10, 2020

Have seen this trailer as preview in the theater more than any other in this list of January 2020 movie releases. I’m sort of luke warm to cool on what’s happening here. I don’t find anything Tiffany Haddish has starred in as funny. Her voice is grating on me. The plot seems not very interesting to me either, what little we know from the trailer. The trailer didn’t even make me smile, although admittedly some have laughed at the goat milk spit out scene.

Anticipation for Like A Boss: 3/10


Underwater Official Trailer – opens in theater January 10, 2020

Got to wipe away Kirsten Stewart from my mind in Charlie’s Angels and any movie deep on the bottom of the ocean is off to a good start. We don’t know what is living down there and while this has been explored in several other stories, it’s an interesting and often scary place. All that pressure under miles of water. Yes, I’m interested.

Anticipation for Underwater: 6/10

The Informer
RELEASE DATE CHANGED from Jan 10, 2020 to March 13, 2020 (LIMITED)

The Informer official trailer – opens in theaters March 13, 2020

Seems like standard fare thriller from the trailer. Nothing stands out as super creative or amazingly fresh to me. Could be how the trailer is cut. Not that excited by this trailer.

Anticipation for The Informer: 2/10

Bad Boys for Life

Bad Boys for Life official trailer #1
Bad Boys for Life official trailer #2 – opens in theaters January 17, 2020

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return as buddy cops for this third entry in the franchise. I found the first two to be funny in parts. They have good chemistry together, but aren’t as fun as say Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in 48 Hours. Haven’t been many buddy cop trilogies that I was clamoring to see the third one. Martin Lawrence is my favorite of the two by far in this comedy team. I just don’t find Will Smith that special. Yes, he has been in some good films.

Anticipation for Bad Boys for Life: 3/10


Doolittle official trailer – opens in theaters January 17, 2020

The trailer barely grabs my interest, except for the fact that Robert Downey, Jr is starring. Not sure about his accent, kinda reminds me a bit of the one he used in Tropic Thunder (!). He makes just about every film he is in better. I’m worried about this being a terrible and unnecessary reboot movie about a man who talks to animals. Have seen the story told several times before and Downey Jr. isn’t a comedian, so not sure if his potentially(?) serious/ironic take on Doctor Doolittle will be exciting. Very apprehensive about this one, but, again, interested because of the main star. I heard he was paid $20 million for top bill in this one. Will see next month if it was worth it. Worried.

Anticipation for Doolittle:: 3/10

The Gentlemen

The Gentlemen official trailer – opens in theaters January 24, 2020

Like the mystery/detective vibe, but wonder if it’s more thriller? Not feeling super compelled toward this one as a thriller, but more interested in a mystery. Can’t decide based on trailer which it is. Do like Matthew McConaughey, so that bumps up curiosity a little.

Anticipation for The Gentlemen: 3/10

The Turning

The Turning official trailer – opens in theaters January 24, 2020

January 2020 will be the first time I’ve ever paid that attention to everything being released. Already noticing that there are more horror movies being released than other types of movies. January could be an October-like month for me as I like horror movies. As for this one? Has a V.C Andrews groove to it. What’s with the children? Yeah, sign me up for this one!

Anticipation for The Turning: 5/10

Nowhere (trailer yet) to Run?

RELEASE DATE CHANGED from Jan 24 to May 8, 2020

…is a thriller starring Sarah Paulson and is scheduled to open in theaters January 24, 2020 (UPDATE 1/18/2020: Release date has changed to May 8, 2020). No official trailer has been released by Lionsgate as of this writing.

The mystery around an intentional lack of marketing (see: Is @Lionsgate Run (2020) screening WIDE January 24, 2020 – if not, when?) — or inferior/incompetent marketing, whichever it is — is increasing my intrigue. Seems like a trailer is pretty important for a movie that released in like 45 days. I mean, yesterday we got the Wonder Woman 1984 trailer and that isn’t out for another six plus months!

Can’t give any anticipation based on the trailer without one.

Gretel and Hansel

Gretel and Hansel official teaser trailer – opens in theaters January 31, 2020

Oooo another spooky one! Seems odd to title it backwards (do the kids eat the adults in this one? Now that sort of reverse cannibalism would make heads turn). If it’s pure horror and not comedy horror than it gets at least a 4 from me. Fairy tales can be cool, especially the grim variety. Will pump it up one more for that. Hoping it’s not too cliched, but fearing that almost as much as the potential subject matter.

Anticipation for Gretel and Hansel: 5/10

The Rhythm Section

The Rhythm Section official trailer – opens in theaters January 31, 2020

Read the FIRST LOOK that is linked above to see my detailed comments on this one. Of all 12 films being released in January 2020, I’m most looking forward to seeing this one.

Anticipation for The Rhythm Section: 7/10

Ranking the January 2020 movies by anticipation (as of this writing)

Keep in mind that my anticipation for a film can change daily, even hourly, based on new information that I read about the film or see in a video. Therefore, the anticipation is merely a number I’m applying to my feelings today, right now, and it is very subject to change. In the next post, tweet, video or an hour from now. Only here for comparison purposes as I do this with the Opening Week posts. Those numbers are within a couple days of seeing the movies.

  1. The Rhythm Section – 7 / 10
  2. Underwater – 6 / 10
  3. Gretel & Hansel – 5 / 10
  4. The Turning – 5 / 10
  5. Doolittle – 3 / 10
  6. The Gentlemen – 3 / 10
  7. The Grudge – 3 / 10
  8. Like A Boss – 3 / 10
  9. Bad Boys for Life – 3 / 10
  10. The Informer – 2 / 10 (release date changed to March 13, 2020)
  11. Run – No Rating (release date changed to May 8, 2020)

What movies in January 2020 are you looking forward to seeing?