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  • Be a Man
    Be a Man

    Ray Harrington documents his quest to find out what that means

    Comedian Ray Harrington has made a documentary and wants you to help bring it to reality. The movie itself has been shot in its entirety, and Harrington has a Kickstarter to defray the post-production costs – a Kickstarter that met its goal in two days. But Harrington said that he had aimed low, wanting to cover the bare bones of what needed to be done (color correction and sound mixing), and the more he can raise, the better things will be in the end. There are a couple weeks to go, and Harrington is trying to meet his stretch goal of $8,000. He is already more than halfway there. And you still have time to help.

  • ‘No Good Deed’ deserves to be punished
    ‘No Good Deed’ deserves to be punished

    Home invasion thriller offers misogyny and trite banalities

    One of the less-discussed benefits of seeing a lot of movies is the fact that you also see a lot of trailers. While I once considered them an annoyance of sorts, they have become one of my favorite parts of the experience. It’s interesting to get an idea about what my far filmic future holds as I anticipate the present.

  • ‘Dolphin Tale 2’ swimming in sentiment
    ‘Dolphin Tale 2’ swimming in sentiment

     

    Feel-good sequel offers inoffensive, family-friendly charm

    When making a sequel, filmmakers need to understand that they aren’t expected to reinvent the wheel. If the previous offering’s formula proved to be a winning one, why change it? An audience that is going to see a movie with a number at the end of the title isn’t expecting some sort of radical reinvention. They liked what they saw before and they’d like to see more of it, thanks.

  • ‘The One I Love’ a fractured fairy tale
    ‘The One I Love’ a fractured fairy tale

    Compelling film defies genre definition

    As someone who spends a fair amount of time considering the cinema, I find that it’s relatively rare for a movie to offer me any genuine surprises. When you’ve spent this long seeing this many movies, you pretty much know how things are going to play out most of the time.

  • ‘The November Man’ misfires
    ‘The November Man’ misfires

    Action thriller offers little more than formulaic clichés

    Late August is one of the bleakest times on the cinematic schedule. We’re at the tail end of blockbuster season – all the big-budget extravaganzas have made their mark – but we also haven’t quite reached the period set aside for prestige pictures. Hence, this time of year is a bit of a dumping ground for films that, for whatever reason, simply don’t warrant that much attention.

    Basically, if you’ve got a movie that you know isn’t all that good but it’s in the can and you need to release it, the end of August is where it’s at.

    And that explains why, despite  its title, “The November Man” hit theaters this weekend.

    Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan, “A Long Way Down”) is a retired CIA agent. He was one of the best, but he’s been out to pasture for a few years. However, he’s brought back into the fold by his former handler, an agent named Hanley (Bill Smitrovich, “Ted”). It turns out that a deep cover agent in Russia has stumbled upon some regime-shaking information – the name of a witness to events that could impact the election of the next Russian president.

    But when Peter goes to pull her out, he instead finds himself in the crosshairs of another extraction team – this one led by his old protégé Mason (Luke Bracey, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”). It soon becomes apparent that there are forces at the very highest levels of government – on both sides – willing to go to great lengths to keep this information under wraps.

    The key to it all is a young social worker named Alice (Olga Kurylenko, “Vampire Academy”). Alice was the last person to have contact with the eyewitness and so has become a target. Devereux takes it upon himself to protect her so that he might determine who double-crossed him and find a way to bring down any and all corrupted officials along the way.

    A lot of people get shot. Like, a LOT.

    There’s not a lot to this movie. It feels very much like a warmed-over James Bond rehash. Think of it like this: if a James Bond movie is your dinner, “The November Man” is the leftovers you reheat two days later because there’s nothing else in the fridge and if you don’t eat it now, you’ll just wind up throwing it out.

    Everything about this movie is derivative; the lack of originality – while not really surprising – is quite breathtaking. You have seen this movie even if you haven’t seen this movie. The film telegraphs each development before it arrives; there are literally no surprises. Perhaps you take pride in your ability to see what’s coming in a film before it happens. There will be no pride here. If anything, you’ll feel embarrassed for the people involved in making this steaming pile of predictability.

    The action sequences manage to be clunky even at a fast pace. They lack any sort of urgency despite the fact that bullets are flying constantly. And the political intrigue at the center of the film’s “plot” is uninteresting, even leaving aside its utter implausibility.

    Brosnan is fine in this role – a smooth and suave murder machine – but there’s a weird amoral streak that makes him extremely unlikeable. Of course, no one else in the movie is particularly likeable either, with the possible exception of Kurylenko – she’s relatively inoffensive, which in this crapfest constitutes a star turn. Bracey is a stolid blockhead, ham-fisting his way through scenes with all the subtlety of a rodeo clown. The fact that his character is just the slightest shade more unpleasant than Brosnan’s is the only reason we have anyone to (kinda sorta) root for.

    By the time we get to the end of the movie and one of the characters explains the film’s title (it’s Devereaux’s CIA code name – they call him “The November Man” because after he goes through, nothing lives; get it?), all we want is for it to be over. It’s a 108-minute movie that feels twice that long.

    It’s unfortunate, really, because there might well have been a decent movie here somewhere. Alas, the filmmakers instead chose to lapse into the same tired old formulaic dreck, giving us a movie that is essentially an inferior version of a film that we’ve already seen – and forgotten.

    [1 out of 5]

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