January 23rd, 2021

Some movies definitely not worth watching

By Lethbridge Herald on September 21, 2018.

Al Beeber
LETHBRIDGE HERALD – A Leave it to Beeber column
Outstanding Canadian film ‘Black Cop’ a revelation
I rarely take two weeks off at a time so for my September vacation, I set goals that would keep me occupied. The first was to walk a minimum of 7.5 miles a day every day, the second was to catch up on some movie-watching and the third was to do a deck repair project.
Well, I hit the ground running, which is easy with the dogs who have barely let me out of their sight after August’s fishing adventure. While at a home supply store, I also managed to hit a big toe with a sheet of plywood as I gathered materials for replacing a wall and gate of an under-deck storage area.
I repeated the plywood stunt at home where the dogs for some reason also decided to step on that same toe every chance they got which I figured was payback for the Ontario trip. Not being a handyman, the home project took most of a day as I even managed to cut stud things to screw the plywood into without removing any fingers with a handsaw. The job would have taken anyone else an hour or two but it finally got done. The gate opens, although it scrapes horribly loud along the concrete sidewalk because I should have made it a little shorter. But at least if anyone decides to try stealing anything from the makeshift shed at night, everyone in the neighbourhood will hear.
The toe, which is pretty disgusting to look at and still painful, didn’t stop me from getting in the steps because with enough padding in a shoe, nothing can deter me.
As for the films? Well, I gorged on Movie Central on Demand like it was an all-you-can-eat chicken wing buffet. Some were pretty fantastic, others were duds, the worst being one called “Mine,” starring Armie Hammer. It’s about a U.S. sniper in Iraq who thinks he steps on a landmine and has to wait three days for rescue. The film is so painfully slow and the flashbacks so annoying, I spent time I’ll never get back wishing the mine would explode and end the misery. In case you make the mistake of watching this, the mine is actually a tin can with a toy soldier inside. If any film deserved zero stars, this one is it.
Another dud was the Ben Affleck vehicle “Live By Night,” a Prohibition-era crime drama which has more turns than a cracked windshield. I suffered through it to the end but came away wondering how anyone could have thought this was going to be a hit. And it wasn’t, losing $75 million at the box office.
The Harry Potter sequelish thing “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” starring Eddie Redmayne, compensated for the latter two. It was pure escapist fantasy fun, which combined with doughnuts, took my mind off the toe for a couple of entertaining hours. I’m really looking forward to the sequel because this film is one that really appeals to all ages and tastes.
Another great one was “All the Money in the World,” the true story about the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III. Christopher Plummer, who replaced the disgraced Kevin Spacey, was absolutely brilliant as the miserly family patriarch who resisted paying ransom to save his grandson. This film is one of the best I’ve seen in a very long time and is well worth the time investing in.
The same can be said about this year’s best Oscar winner “The Shape of Water,” an intriguing, mesmerizing fantasy drama about a mute cleaning lady who falls in love with strange “merman” creature being kept in some secret U.S. laboratory. Sally Hawkins and Michael Shannon were both spectacular in this film which was largely shot in Toronto. While perhaps an art film, “The Shape of Water” is also accessible. I’m pretty sure the German shepherd liked the scene in which the creature eats a cat — hey, it wasn’t his fault there were no Snickers bars around in the apartment where he is secreted to after a daring heist from the lab and kept in a bathtub.
The most memorable film for me, though, was the Canadian drama “Black Cop,” written and directed by Cory Bowles, best known for his work on the television series “Trailer Park Boys.”
“Black Cop” is a social commentary starring Ronnie Rowe as an officer who goes on a vendetta after being racially profiled by members of his own force while walking down a street at night out of uniform. While expressing the frustrations of racism, Rowe’s character also puts a spotlight on the stress all police officers encounter in their jobs. And the director/writer gets his points across without being preachy, creating a film that is truly engaging and entertaining.
“Black Cop” is not only a good Canadian film, it’s a good film period and much better than many of the nearly 300 offerings on Movie Central.
Check it out if you get a chance but whatever you do, don’t go near a “Mine.”
Follow @albeebHerald on Twitter.

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