Movie Review: Free State of Jones *****

movie free state of jones

Free State of Jones is a Matthew McConaughey movie about the American Civil War. A Confederate soldier watches his kin die. In bringing him back home to be buried, he starts thinking about why they are at war. He doesn’t own slaves and the slave owners are exempted from fighting to reinstate slavery that would benefit them. He decides the Confederacy is not what he stands for as a man, so he deserts and defends women and children against pillagers in his home county of Jones, Mississippi. Soon he is joined by runaway slaves and more deserters. Eventually, they get a large enough following to declare their own state. They call it Jones and defend it against Confederate soldiers until the war ends. Further problems ensue during Reconstruction and the struggle for true freedom continues.

This is a little known true story that tells about one man who disagrees with his country’s decision to go to war and what this one man does about it. Rebelling against your rebellious nation is a concept I had not thought had happened in our history. The story is very well told, but moves very slowly. It touches on many social issues, especially race, and tells about historical eras surrounding the war that are familiar, but not necessarily recognized for what they actually allowed. The acting is good, the story is very interesting, and the history lesson is fantastic. I loved it. 5 out of 5 stars.

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Published in: on June 27, 2016 at 1:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Movie Review: Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight ***

movie muhammad ali's greatest fight

Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight is an HBO movie about civil rights in the 1960s. Cassius Clay becomes the heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Shortly thereafter, he converts his religion to the Nation of Islam and changes his name to Muhammad Ali. His religious teachings preach peace. When he is drafted during the Vietnam war, he refuses to go because of his religious beliefs. As a conscientious objector, he is stripped of his boxing title during the prime years of his career. To earn a living, he becomes a celebrity and motivational speaker while waiting for his boxing ban to be lifted and his situation addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court. His case finally gets to the court where once adamantly staunch judges finally agree to hear his case.

In the wake of Muhammad Ali’s recent death, this movie was re-released on HBO. It tells the behind the scenes story of the case getting to the Supreme Court. The movie has very little to do with boxing. I lived through this era and vaguely remember much, except his boxing feats. It was a great study in this man’s plea to dissent on fighting in a war that he did not agree with. The movie was all about the judges and their clerks who researched and fought the head justice in getting this case heard. The history lesson was very good. The story was pieced together with historic footage of civil unrest during the civil rights era. The acting was good. I didn’t care for the point of view or flow. Just 3 out of 5 stars.

Published in: on June 20, 2016 at 9:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Movie Review: Central Intelligence ****

movie central intelligence

Central Intelligence is a buddy movie about fighting the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). A high school misfit is rescued by the most popular student (and athlete) in the final days of school. Their 20 year reunion is coming, and contact is made after years of separation. They have changed physically, but maintain an uncomfortable relationship. Their paths have taken unforeseen turns. Their friendship is rekindled. One is accused of going rogue as an agent for the CIA. The other has fallen short in his dreams and is looking for a little excitement. Together, their friendship could lead to a peaceful resolution or a final confrontation.

This is an action comedy with plenty of intrigue and an easy to follow plot. The movie could have worked as a drama, but was better as a comedy. The story was good. The action was good. The characters were believable. “The Rock” is a very funny muscle man, as is Kevin Hart as an athletic geek in their starring roles. My wife especially like the ending when The Rock removed his clothes and danced. The movie was good and is wide open for a sequel. There is a bonus scene during the credits. I was entertained. 4 out of 5 stars.

Published in: on June 20, 2016 at 9:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Movie Review: Now You See Me 2 **

movie now you see me 2

Now You See Me 2 is the sequel to a five star heist movie that involves magic. A group of magicians known as the Horsemen have various expertise in hypnotism, cards, hustling, and escape. They are brought together to infiltrate and expose a tech guy who is believed to be illegally collecting personal information of mobile device users through embedded software. Their plan goes awry, their secrets are exposed, and they somehow end up on the other side of the world. There, they are coerced into stealing a memory card that contains the identity harvesting program. Another attempt to expose the bad guys is scheduled for New Years Eve during a live televised program.

You really need to see the first Now You See Me movie to understand the characters in this one. It is very easy to become lost in the story without the prequel. There are a lot of magic tricks and illusions. Some are good, some are not so good, and one is way too long. The good news is that each of the tricks are reviewed and explained, and the final trick is outstanding. The acting is good. There are many characters–they are good, but hard to keep straight. The illusions are good. I went in wanting to love this movie, but I didn’t. I only liked it. 2 out of 5 stars.

Published in: on June 20, 2016 at 9:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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