The Runner (2015)

Here we have Nicolas Cage trying to prove he can be a serious actor by taking on the role of a politician who is trying to walk the line between personal and professional morality.

Set just after the BP oil spoil in the Gulf of Mexico, we have Cage playing a saintly congressman who is fighting the fight for the local businesses and people who’s lives have been destroyed by this disaster.   Lots of impassioned speeches and rousing cries to defeat the corporate machine.

However, all too good to be true, and even though he is under the shadow of his father’s political record as Mayor (played by the legend that is Peter Fonda), he has a few skeletons in his cupboard.

So it all spirals out of control and he is soon without office, without support.  But is prepared to pick up his cause and continue to fight for the people doing pro bono work.


Sadly this movie has no surprises at all.  Every single story line weaved here you have seen a hundred times before in every other political movie.  We even have

Connie Nielsen as the troubled wife, playing pretty much the same role she played in the HBO series,


This was one of those, Netflix what the hell lets try it, movie choices and after viewing it, one can see how it bypassed the cinema and went straight to Netflix.   ‘Straight to Netflix’ seems to be the new version of that derogatory term we used before ‘straight to video’; signal when a movie was just not worth spending the marketing money.

Move along, nothing to see here.

#97 in the series


Viewing Date
Monday, 23rd November 2015 (Richmond)


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The Rum Diary (2011)

This is the movie version of the Hunter S. Thompson novel of the same name, once again with Johnny Depp playing the lead role as he did in the 1998 classic 

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

In full disclosure I have not read the original novel, but based on the previous outing with Fear and Loathing, a book I had read, I did go into this one knowing this was probably going to be a weaker retelling of a story.   However, considering this was simply an awful movie, I have now this one on my reading list so I can determine if the screenplay was at fault, or the original source material.

Of course, any Thompson story is semi-autobiographical, a wistful thinking of the authors life in a variety of different situations.  In this outing, we have our budding journalist down in Puerto Rico for a local newspaper in the 1960s.  With his drink fueled life (and a hilarious addiction to spirited hotel miniatures) we see him get to grips with the local scene, finding out who is who, and weaving through a variety of moral challenges as he tries to figure out his place in the world.

The supporting cast in this movie is simply not being used to their fullest.  

Giovanni Ribisi role as the off-the-rails journalist goes no where and 

Richard Jenkins plays the toupee wearing editor-in-chief who is trying to keep the motley crew together long enough to get a newspaper printed.

Sadly, all the best bits are to be found in the 2 minute trailer.  While the trailer does not necessarily give away all the plot line (if you can all it a plot line), it does setup a completely different tone than the one you get.

Depp does his usual Jack-Sparrow-as-a-journalist but it isn’t enough to carry what is a very poor outing.  Considering all the ingredients director,

Bruce Robinson, had to work with here, he definitely left it in the oven too long.

Would stay clear of this one and save yourself the agony and lost time. 


Viewing Date
Tuesday, 15th September 2015


IMDB YouTubeTrailer

The Gunman (2015)

Sean Penn takes the lead in this truly cliched story with all the predictability of a Scooby Doo cartoon.    He is part of a team that is providing security for a company in Africa.  Naturally the security is a little more, especially when a hit on a government official is ordered and his team is ordered to perform said duty.  Can you see where this is going?

Good, will make this review much easier.

Penn is chosen as the trigger man who takes the kill, leaving behind his love interest, asking his handler, Javier Bardem, to take care of her.  Naturally Bardem has the hots for the former girlfriend which proves to be the case when we flash forward to the present time and he is married to her in Spain.

Of course, retribution of the hit must happen, so while working as an aid worker, Penn thwarts a hit on himself doing his best Statham moves with various tools.   So the scene is set.  He must now figure out who is trying to kill him off, and which one of his earlier tight nit crew has betrayed him.

Ray Winstone pops up as his real best friend as they meet in London.  Winstone is doing his best Mickey Rouke impression from The Expendables movies, looking very fat, rough, haggered and completely unfit for the role at hand.

The movie plods along in the usual pace you would expect, complete with usual showdowns with various baddies and of course Bardem as they have that awkward public restaurant meet when he see’s his former girl for the first time.

One of my favourite actors, Idris Elba, pops up over an hour into the movie (even though is given top billing) for a few moments to play basically Interpol’s version of Luther.  Great role, but no where near enough screen time to let him truly try to rescue this movie.

Penn has a number of topless scenes, showing just how ripped his 55 year old body is looking and that he too can be an elder action hero like Bruce Willis and Liam Neeson.

The movie just has nothing to offer from the usual script.  No new story line, no great action scenes, no unique stunts.  This movie only made $10M worldwide against a budget of $40M, so everyone has been saved the embarrassment of a sequel.

If you are truly bored, with nothing else to watch, and you desparately want something new-yet-familiar to watch, then go outside for a walk.  If that feeling still persists upon return, then reach for this movie.   You won’t be disappointed in your disappointment.


Viewing Date
Wednesday, 19th August 2015


IMDB YouTubeTrailer