JOHN WICK

Poffy The Cucumber

Baba Yaga’s Excellent Adventure. Keanu Reeves hasn’t had to act this little since he was Klaatu. Keanu is retired legendary hitman JOHN WICK, who informally comes out of retirement for revenge on the men who killed his puppy – the last gift from his dead wife. (I’m not an animal person, but I gotta admit – that is one cutie … Read More

MR. RIGHT

Poffy The Cucumber

Ms. Overcute Overdone. Anna Kendrick overacts and Sam Rockwell tae-kwon-dances his way through MR. RIGHT, a breezy black comedy about a lonely girl (Kendrick) who falls for a hitman (Rockwell) who has turned over a new leaf and is on a mission to whack every person who hires him for a job rather than the target. After an unconvincing breakup … Read More

THE BOURNE LEGACY

Poffy The Cucumber

The Bourne Non-Identity. Poor Jeremy Renner! First he takes a job as the least of THE AVENGERS, now he’s on a job as the least of the BOURNEs! He’s a good actor, he’s got charisma, he’s inshape, seems like a nice guy – but when will he get a break as a leading man? Jason Bourne IS Hawkeye! THE BOURNE … Read More

SICARIO

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When Right is Might, and Wrong is Hot Sauce. In the 21st Century, great corporations will bestride the Earth, replacing nations as the true creators of history, amassing powerful private armies to do their bidding. But in delicate situations, they need matters adjudicated on a single day… by a solitary man. — WAR, INC. (writers: Mark Leyner, Jeremy Pikser, John … Read More

HIT TEAM

Poffy The Cucumber

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When comedy beats us over the head and tells us to like it. Inept Max (Myles McLane) and efficient Ruthie (Emerald Robinson) are a HIT TEAM from Las Vegas, driving around Los Angeles in a minivan trying to make six kills in one day for their eccentric, showtune-warbling boss Michael (Douglas Macpherson). Things go awry, and Michael puts a hit … Read More

LEON

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Angel and the Bad Man. If cuteness has a forbidden name – then, oh Christ! It must be Natalie Portman! If loving this 12-year-old is wrong, I don’t wanna be right. Or in jail. LÉON (aka THE PROFESSIONAL) is writer-director Luc Besson‘s masterpiece. For its poignant paintings of shadowy souls in conflict with themselves and each other; for its dynamite … Read More

STAND UP GUYS

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Say goodnight to the bad guys… The KING OF NEW YORK takes SCARFACE for one last night on the town. Before he has to kill him. A comedy with heart – and imminent heart attack – as three aged wiseguys in their septs and octs wheeze about town on one last bender, partly in celebration of one of them being … Read More

KILLING THEM SOFTLY

Poffy The Cucumber

The Capitalism of Killing. KILLING THEM SOFTLY opens with scarring sound design and disturbing images of debris-strewn streets, and then launches into the poetry of small time hood-speak. (Mobalogue? Gangsternacular?) Writer-director Andrew Dominik (ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES, 2007) approaches an excellence in his writing and direction that is the closest thing to Tarantino without actually lazily copying him, as this … Read More

BULLET TO THE HEAD

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Bullets On The Brain. BULLET TO THE HEAD is Sylvester Stallone in Gritty Tragic Mode, an old-school hitman named Jimmy Bonomo, whose partner is killed by a mercenary after what should have been a regulation whacking. On the other side of the tracks, a cop’s partner is killed by the same merc in what should also have been a regulation … Read More

GROSSE POINTE BLANK

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Whackjob Whack Job. It’s the terror of knowing what this world is about Watching some good friends screaming, “Let me out!” — Queen/David Bowie, “Under Pressure.” Even hitmen have high school reunions. Even hitmen have psychiatrists. One could suppose GROSSE POINTE BLANK was a precursor/inspiration for THE SOPRANOS – and one could be whacked for it. When we attend our … Read More

THE AMERICAN

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AMERICAN Beauty. George Clooney is THE AMERICAN. Everyone else is Euro, buttery accents and dynamite sexy. Clooney is Jack, a hitman sent to Italy by his boss Pavel (Johan Leysen) to design a high-powered rifle for a client. While Euro-ing out amongst the cobbled streets and breezy cafés, Jack falls for prostitute Clara (Violante Placido, the most naturally beautiful woman … Read More

KILLERS

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Same story, different models. KILLERS was infinitely more exciting when it was called TRUE LIES. And it was funnier when it was called MR AND MRS SMITH. And didn’t someone just make this movie and call it KNIGHT AND DAY? The old gag about the woman not knowing her husband/ lover/ taut-abbed stranger is a spy. Ashton Kutcher is spy … Read More

KNIGHT AND DAY

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Mission: Implausible. A movie built around its stunts. Ergo, if the audience was purely stuntpeople, KNIGHT AND DAY is awesome! But we’re just regular little cucumbers out here in the fluttering dark. As much as it thrills me to see a car flip over and miss Tom Cruise’s head by inches (even though thrills would have magnified had it connected), … Read More

THE KILLER

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If you can see past the bullets… Give a guy a gun, he thinks he’s Superman. Give him two and he thinks he’s God. — John Woo’s HARD BOILED. Some call John Woo‘s THE KILLER the pinnacle of balletic, bulletic, action art. Well, it’s a pinnacle all right – of something. Not really a ballet, unless you count the hundreds … Read More

BANGKOK DANGEROUS

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I was a Teenage Hitman. As a dead man’s blood seeps across bathroom tiles, the opening titles to BANGKOK DANGEROUS appear in it. From its first scene, this movie is art. Writers-directors-brothers Danny and Oxide Pang launch BANGKOK DANGEROUS at us with the intensity of an adjective incorrectly following a noun, in the story of a hitman who finds redemption. … Read More

BANGKOK DANGEROUS 2008

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Bangkok Mildly Threatening. We just have to accept it for what it is. Comparing BANGKOK DANGEROUS 2008 to its original 1999 version is like comparing AMERICAN IDOL karaoke wannabes to real vocalists in hardworking rock bands. The original BANGKOK DANGEROUS (1999) – with its unassailable hook of the deaf mute teenage Bangkok hitman – wipes the floor with 2008’s version. … Read More

IN BRUGES

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Quentin Tarantino’s THE ODD COUPLE. Humor so black and ironic, it’s like stabbing nuns with the same ruler they used to rap your knuckles during piano lessons. IN BRUGES. It’s in Belgium. It’s where mismatched hitmen Ken (Brendan Gleeson) and Ray (Colin Farrell) are sent by Harry the Boss (Ralph Fiennes) to lay low after a hit, to await his … Read More

WAR, INC.

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Orwell’s 1984 meets W.’s 2004. War is the improvement of investment climates by other means. — Ben Kingsley, WAR, INC. WAR, INC. is political satire almost blacker than George W. Bush’s rectum heart, but wildly funnier than his misshapen weasel head. The opening text hits too close to the bone: “In the 21st Century, great corporations will bestride the Earth … Read More

THE BOURNE SUPREMACY

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Bourne Again. In THE BOURNE SUPREMACY, Matt Damon IS (still) Jason Bourne. The superspy from THE BOURNE IDENTITY (2002) is STILL on the lam, from the people who STILL want him dead – his ex-employers STILL at the CIA. Even though they’ve almost forgotten him at the opening of this movie, he lays low in India with his Euro chick, … Read More

THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM

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Badass Bourne becomes Mild Matty. There’s that SOUTH PARK episode (Red Man’s Greed) with the Native Americans named Runs With Premise and Premise Wearing Thin. If THE BOURNE SUPREMACY (2004) was Runs With Premise, then THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM is Premise Wearing Thin. Another karate chop to the Spock Nerve, another car chase through crowded streets with no liability insurance, another … Read More