Political thrillers action-wise, pardon the pun, can be really hit or miss. Hoping it’s the former with one of the four wide release movies being released in theaters this month.
Seems like, aside from Tenet, streaming has more exciting new movies coming out in September.
A contemporary political thriller set in the Middle East and filled with suspense and intrigue, inspired by true events, and ripped from today’s headlines. Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ, Person of Interest, Deja Vu) plays an American journalist/blogger who is kidnapped while attending a conference in the Middle East. Taken hostage by the Iranian regime, he is put on trial for trumped-up charges of espionage. His wife, who works for the State Department, quickly realizes that the American government can do nothing. Feeling desperate and alone, she goes to Iran to try to free him herself. This exciting story sheds light on the plight of Americans currently held captive in Iran, about whom the world has forgotten.
This trailer is too paint by the numbers and nothing jumps out making this a must see. Beggars can’t be choosers in September, however, for those of us that just love seeing new movies in theaters, so it’s on our watchlist this month.
The storyline doesn’t seem all that fresh either, but maybe there will be some surprises here. Have seen plenty of cases where the movie was better than the trailer. Are you looking forward to seeing this one in theaters or waiting for it on streaming?
Infidel opens wide in United States theaters (those that are reopened) on September 18, 2020.
Unhinged ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ NO SPOILERS Movie Review Watched in theater Saturday August 22, 2020 Regal 16 Cinemas – Lacey, Washington #27new movie seen in theaters in 2020
A portly Russell Crowe plays Tom Cooper, a man on medication, sweating, and the portrait of the perfectly titled movie. Cooper is unbalanced, tethering between madness and sanity, iron-gripping his truck’s steering wheel.
Viewers don’t know why, is he about to have a heart attack? Is he constipated? He pops a pill or two, grabs a hammer and goes into a house and starts attacking those inside. Screaming ensues, followed by blood spattering death, then Cooper burns the house down.
That’s only the opening five minutes.
Enter a woman who has overslept named Rachel Hunter (Caren Pistorious). Upon taking her son Kyle (Gabriel Bateman) to school late, running into traffic, she is waiting behind a truck at a green light. She has some passenger anger and honks at the truck to get moving. Nothing happens, so she honks louder. Ultimately, she pulls her car around the truck and, lo and behold, it’s Dom Deluise in Russell Crowe’s profusely sweating frame.
(one asks: why did Russell Crowe need to put so much weight on for this role?)
Tom Cooper rolls down his window beside Rachel and asks for an apology. A simple, friendly tap on the horn would have sufficed, after all. Rachel basically shrugs him off impatiently, which causes him to tell her she’s about to have a really bad day.
And so that’s the setup for what follows in Unhinged, a story that reminded me at times of Rutger Hauer in The Hitcher, as far as pacing, malevolent behavior and intentions. Only instead of a hitchhiker, Crowe is playing a road raged, broken man. We get some kind of explanation during an intense diner scene between Rachel’s divorce attorney and Cooper who intercepts the meeting after swiping Rachel’s cell phone. Cooper is going to make Rachel and everybody she knows suffer his wrath because she didn’t honk courteously at him.
If you can get past the fact that strangers on the road snap for the darndest of reasons the film is a lesson in tension. There are some good vehicle crash scenes, like one where a policeman is hit and attempts to radio for help only to be squashed by a dump truck (cringe!).
Tom Cooper’s relentless obsession with torturing Rachel leaves viewers fearful for Rachel and her son, Kyle. As stated in our just left the theater video – no spoiler – review below, Tom Cooper’s reasoning for going nuts isn’t explained very thoroughly to viewers. There is a vagueness to it that, while there is an explanation in the diner why he’s so angry at the world, it would have had a little more power and perhaps even a wee bit of empathy had we had at least one small setup scene, flashback, or cutaway that drilled this home a bit more.
Also, I liked how Tom Cooper used 2020 technology to show the horrors involved there. More and more stalkers in movies are using technology. That’s realistic, although it might date the film somewhat as time goes on and something more secure and better comes along.
This is an entertaining film if you can just let go and run with it. Those that prefer to overthink films and look for every conceivable plot hole will probably be bothered a few times, but Kara and I both found this to be a mostly fun, sometimes brutal, thrill ride. It’s not too graphically bloody, but it’s violent.
It won’t win any awards for anybody involved with the film, but it succeeds at telling a taut tale about a man who is wrecked emotionally and seeks to punish a stranger and those she loves and knows. Is it worth seeing in theaters — assuming it’s safe to do so in your area, of course? Yes. Recommended.
Rating (out of 5 possible stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ – Good
The Movie Reopening Experience
This was our first new movie seen in theaters since The Hunt back in March 2020 in Las Vegas (see: 20+ The Hunt Reviews – Not as politically charged, but not that good either) and our 27th new movie watched in theaters in 2020. The experience in August 2020 was not that different from theaters back in March. I realize that might sound a bit anti-climactic, but the theaters were already practicing social distancing with seating in March,
There were maybe 20-25 people in the theater. Most were not wearing masks covering their faces, but had masks near and/or around their faces. It was more like once everybody was in the theater the masks came off. We didn’t wear masks while watching the film either, eating popcorn and drinks just doesn’t work with a mask on.
This wasn’t our very first trip back to the movie theaters since reopening. The day before we took our grandchildren to see Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back on Friday August 21, that is currently running at the same theater. The kids didn’t make it through the entire film, but it was fun to see a little bit of that awesome movie again. They had it showing on their ScreenX format theater — but not in ScreenX format unfortunately. Tons of seats in that gigantic theater and, again, a very small crowd of maybe 30 people tops. This was the very first showing of this movie at the theater since it reopened in the afternoon.
Readers might note that this is the very first movie review ever posted to this blog. I know, that might seem odd considering the name of the blog. With our one year blog anniversary approaching fast, we’ve decided we’re now going to post reviews of movies watched in theaters at this blog first, before posting the shorter Letterboxd version. The reviews here will be longer than the version posted to Letterboxd. That will be more of the summary, perhaps a mostly copy/paste from here. You’re not missing anything there if you’ve read here, I guess, is the point.
Our just left the theater no-spoiler video review will usually be posted a short time before this so that we can include the video embedded in these posts. We also plan to link back from the videos to here as well, so those watching can read the more detailed text review and comment here.
UPDATE 3/31/2020: With the coronavirus pandemic, most theaters have closed and planned release dates have changed. A strikethru on the title indicates the planned date has changed.
Baseball. Fresh growing green grass. Signs that another Spring is upon us. Spring also brings new movies to theaters in March 2020, April 2020 and May 2020 (will be posted by March 15, still waiting for trailers to drop — SEE UPDATE AT TOP OF POST). The titles below are taken from the Coming Soon To Theaters In 2020 list.
This list is sorted by most to least interest. Anticipation for a movie will change based on new information that comes out closer to the release date.
Honorable mentions: Fast & Furious 9, Bad Trip, Mulan
There are more movies I’m looking forward to than the top 10 listed above and undoubtedly there will be surprise anticipated drop-in titles (The Hunt was a drop-in title recently, and look how far up the list it is for me). This is what happened with my Fall 2019 and Winter 2019-2020 anticipation list, which is why I continue to monitor new movies that are previewed and update.
My Summer 2020 list will be posted toward the end of May 2020.
What Movies Are You Looking Most Forward to Seeing in Spring 2020?
It’s your turn, what movies are you most looking forward to seeing?
Spring 2020 Viewing Challenge
From March 1, 2020 – May 30, 2020 goal is to watch or rewatch any 30+ action/thriller/suspense movies. That’s an average of 10 action/thriller/suspense movies every month or about 2-3 per week.
Past Viewing Challenges
Spring 2020 (March 1 – May 30, 2020) will be interactive movie viewing challenge #5. Here are the others:
2020 February Viewing Challenge: 14+ Romance Movies (pending end of month results)
The February 2020 14+ romance movie viewing challenge isn’t completed as of this posting yet. Those results will be posted next week after the month has concluded, but there’s still time to go on a romance movie marathon and join in if you like.
What are viewing challenges?
It’s where we try and watch a minimum number of movies of certain type(s). They are usually themed based on the month(s) or seasonal. For example, around Halloween, horror movies and holiday movies during the holidays.
Any movie watcher is welcome to participate. You do not need a blog or website, but do need some way to track the movies you’ve watched during the challenge. Fortunately, there are several free services available.
How To Participate
Just keep track of all the thriller/action/suspense movies you’ve watched from March 1, 2020 until midnight May 30, 2020. Sites like Letterboxd make it easy to do. Tag movies watched with #spring2020challenge. EXAMPLE. here are movies tagged for #feb2020challenge. You do not need to write reviews or rate any movies to use the Letterboxd service.
It’s free and fun to participate. Hope to see others joining in too!
Adam Sandler is one very special creative genius. I’ve always thought he had more in him than just silly, stupid, goofy comedies. But who wouldn’t be happy enough with another The Wedding Singer, Happy Gilmore or The Waterboy, Airheads? Simple.
This guy wants his due. And he deserves it. Hollywood critics think most of his comedy is beneath juvenile, rewarding it with scathing reviews and sub teen tomatometer scores.
And then there are Sandler fans like us. We enjoy Sandler’s quirky, outrageous, zany antics. He’s been this generation’s Jerry Lewis meets Don Knotts.
Wow. I mean, 95% is the current tomatometer for an Adam Sandler thriller?!?! This is Twilight Zone stuff. Seriously, I took a screenshot:
Just for comparison, here are some reviews from another Adam Sandler movie on Rotten Tomatoes 6 years ago:
Now, given the movie above (Grownups 2 with tomatometer 7%) was bad, still, it’s like they aren’t even talking about the same actor. This proves that Hollywood memories are short. Critics can and do change their actor’s worth based on just one picture.
When it comes to movies, it’s more often the song, not the singer.
I added Uncut Gems to our watchlist and am really looking really forward to it. I thought he’d been run off from the big screen and to straight to Netflix movies (Murder Mystery ⭐️⭐️½ was the last movie we saw by him and Jennifer Aniston on Netflix).
Go get them, Sandler. I hope this thriller is every bit the gem in the title and your much deserved creative career. Thank you for making me cry and laugh and be entertained countless times. In whatever genre you want, you keep making films.