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The end of the year/beginning of a new year is usually pretty slow so not much for us this week. First is American Made starring Tom Cruise. I didn’t mind the film overall it just felt like so many other movies I’ve seen before like Blow and The Infiltrator. It’s based on a true story, but who knows how accurate it really is. Tom Cruise plays a pilot turned drug smuggler who may or may not have been working for the CIA. One of the biggest issues I had with the film is the look of it. Part of it needed to be documentary style, but there are scenes shot that way that I didn’t like. Cruise is shooting some video of himself and that should be documentary style, but the rest of the story didn’t need to be that way. I hate shaky cam and it felt so unnecessary in this. Another issue is that because it reminded me of other films, it felt like so many films we’ve seen before. The story may be new, but the movie feels unoriginal. It’s a perfectly fine film, but I don’t see myself watching it again. I know the story now and because there’s nothing all that new to film, I have no reason to watch it a second time. It does look fantastic on 4K though. There are some great action scenes in backdrops like the jungle and the sky over water that look amazing. It’s good for one viewing especially if you like Narcos and other drug type stories.

Next is The Adventurers starring Andy Lau and Jean Reno. This reminded me of other films as well, but I liked this a lot more. It’s a jewelry heist movie with Lau as a thief and Reno the cop out to capture him. It has a cool feel to it like an Oceans 11 or Logan Lucky. Lau wants to steal 3 pieces of jewelry to make one bigger piece. It has everything you want in a heist flick, a cool lead, great locations, hot women, action, double crosses, and a final showdown. Andy Lau fans will eat it up and it’s a fun, entertaining film. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and never outsmarts itself either. Reno can still do action decent enough and Lau is even better. If you want a simple, easy to follow heist film, this is will certainly fill the void.

Third is No Solicitors starring Eric Roberts. It’s a horror/cannibal flick with Roberts having a ton of fun. Roberts plays a renowned brain surgeon who also happens to run a side business with his wife, son and daughter. That business is harvesting body parts for the black market. They also like to have family dinner together, eating their captives. The movie is far from great, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have fun with it. Roberts certainly is having fun as the cannibal doctor, I just wish the actor and actress playing the son and daughter were better. They were pretty bad and had an incest vibe to them. If you like schlocky, B-movie horror, you should enjoy it. I’d probably watch it again with a friend later on because it’s that bad-yet-good type movie. It’s Eric Roberts as a brain surgeon eating people, that either entertains you or it doesn’t.

Last is Shadowman which sounds like a horror flick, but is actually a documentary on artist Richard Hambleton. He was a 1980’s New York artist who ran with Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. They would die and become big named artists while he lived a life of drugs, fame and eventually found himself homeless as well. He first came to fame with his urban shadow figures. He would also paint seascapes and other art, but his shadow figures especially his Marlboro man were wildly popular. Decades later people tried to help him and he would become famous again with celebrities loving his work. If you read me you know I don’t know a thing about art, but I did find this pretty fascinating. I actually liked a lot of his art as well. Basquiat was a huge name and I know Haring from artwork for CDs, but wasn’t familiar with Hambleton. If you know his work you will like this documentary. I watched a few other artist documentaries recently that did nothing for me, but I found myself interested in this one.

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