King Arthur gets modernized, Snatched puts Goldie and Amy in peril. Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 is more bilingual scuffling
There are jokes like that again but this time the bigger focus is on Americans. The two run into them because the plot takes us across the border. It turns out that the car theft ring has sent a bunch of vehicles into the US to explode at key locations. A bunch of near-buffoon border guards detain the two cops, won’t listen to their fantastic theory and suspect they’re terrorists. They’re very paranoid and don’t understand how David can say he’s French when he’s a Canadian. Subtle humor isn’t common in these films. Easy, popular jokes are. The film is brighter, slicker and brisker than I remember the first but not as fresh. Partly that’s because it’s a repeat and partly because it’s hampered with an unnecessary medical sub-plot. The two leads are strong though and the film is a rarity. It’s completely bilingual, switching easily between English and sub-titled French. Added bonus: you’ll learn some unique Quebec profanity like “calice”. (International Village and a few suburban theatres) 3 out of 5
THE WALL: Doug Liman has directed huge films, like two in the Jason Bourne series and the Tom Cruise sci fi adventure Edge of Tomorrow. How different then to watch this miniature. It’s only got three actors (one you don’t see, only hear), a supremely streamlined story and loads of suspense. What it means is a bit harder to nail down. I’ll explain.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena play American soldiers in Iraq. The war is over (Bush said it somewhere) but they haven’t been told. Neither has a sniper who starts shooting at them. They come off a hill to take cover behind a stone wall but only Aaron gets there. Cena is hit and lies in the sun through most of the movie. Aaron can’t get help on the radio or figure out where the shots are coming from. But the sniper communicates. “Why are you still here?” “You are the one who has come to another man’s country … you look like the terrorist.” The tension grows through the whole 80 minutes as the two trade comments with a purpose. The Iraqi is shaming the American. The American is trying to get the Iraqi’s exact location so he can shoot him. Bit by the bit the film becomes an exact parallel for the war itself. That’s creative writing, not reality. But also a tough little film. (International Village and Cineplex Coquitlam) 3 ½ out of 5
BOSTON: This is a solid documentary that tells you everything about the Boston Marathon and shows you many of the key events too. The 2013 bombing is there of course. It starts with it and later reprises it as the storyline heads to the uncertainty of coming back with the race the next year. It jumps from poignant to a buoyant triumph when that comes off successfully. Like any good sports movie.
On the way, we get a fine history lesson. There were 15 runners in the first race (1897). Johnny Kelly ran 58 times. A boycott led to prize money, professional runners and Africans. Before women were allowed to run, Bobbi Gibb jumped in surreptitiously and Katherine Switzer is seen in a film clip outrunning an official trying to push her out. Rosie Ruiz cheated and her win was handed to Canada’s Jacqueline Gareau. Matt Damon narrates but there are long stretches that he’s not needed because many athletes and organizers tell their stories so well. There’s also dramatic race footage and a clear account of what motivates these runners. The director, Jon Dunham, is an old hand at this. He’s a marathon runner himself and two previous films were big hits. This one is part of the Special Events series at Cineplex theatres. It screens at the Park and several suburban theatres on Monday and the following Sunday. 4 out of 5
THE BELKO EXPERIMENT: Why settle for decadent or degenerate when you can go full hog right to sick and depraved with this nasty thriller? Some are trying to claim it’s a metaphor for the workplace culture in modern offices. I don’t. It’s a straight horror film with lots of blood letting and an improbable premise.
Belko Industries, said to be an American non-profit operating in Bogota, Columbia, suddenly turns decidedly non-do-gooding. (Yet another slap at a South American country this week). Security guards, steel covers on the windows and locked doors trap the employees in the building and the PA announces they all have to kill two others or there will be “repercussions.” There are and they’re gruesome. With 80 employees and more extreme phases to come that’s a lot of carnage which Greg McLean’s sleek direction gives us in sharp focus. The employees divide into complicit and resisting camps and eventually have to turn on each other. The last one standing learns what’s really going on. It’s not a statement about human behavior. It’s a show of what filmmakers can get away with these days. Notice the writer: James Gunn directed the two Guardians of the Galaxy films. Notice the theatre. It mostly books films about the arts these days. Contradictions all around. (The Park, Sat and Mon) 2 out of 5