Movies: Kin, Big Brother, Peppermint

Kin

This film is about a disconnected family coming together…with more than a few twists.  Overall, it toggles between good and not so good, believable and not so believable.  Much of the story is unique, different and imaginative.  Some of it is implausible and far fetched.

That said, the acting is pretty good.  Dennis Quaid plays the tough father.  Jack Reynor plays the ex-con son.  James Franco plays the bad guy really well.  Myles Truitt plays the young son.  Zoe Kravitz (Lenny Kravitz’s daughter) plays the exotic dancer.  Michael B. Jordan has a bit part from another world.

It is listed as Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy.  It is surprisingly rated PG-13 given the gun violence and intense action, suggestive material, language, thematic elements and drinking.  It runs 102 minutes.

Footnote:  We think this movie is designed for a sequel.

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Note for this next movie: You will get a chuckle when telling you we thought we were going to see an Indian Bollywood film by the same name.  Imagine our surprise to see a Chinese Action/Drama instead!  Oye!

Big Brother

What an interesting yet perplexing story start about a Chinese High School set in Hong Kong, one of its teachers and the drama that unfolds soon after.  On one hand its cheesy if not corny.  On the other hand there are other messages that are encouraging and quite entertaining.  Ultimately, it turns into an action story with martial arts, lots of action, drama, and surprises.

The main characters number only a few.  The rest of the cast includes over two dozen actors ranging from children to the elderly.  The prolific martial arts expert Donnie Yen is the new teacher.  Taiwanese actress Jo Chen is one of the other teachers.  Kang Yu is one of the bad guys and does battle with Mr. Yen.

The film is not rated but there is significant prolonged violence, some extreme action and exaggerated scenes that make this film inappropriate for children.  It is listed as an Action & Adventure, Art House & International, Drama.  It has a run time of 101 minutes.  Mandarin with English subtitles.

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Peppermint

Every once in a while a film is released that turns out to be an unexpected surprise.  This one is from French Director Pierre Morel of the Taken franchise.  It is a dark story (literally).  It’s a story about justice, not revenge.  It’s about a wife and mother who loses her family to drug violence and ends up in jail because of the corrupt system.  It’s a pretty heavy plot to be sure.  It’s incredibly realistic and speaks to a wide range of social, political and emotional elements of society.

Jennifer Garner is perfect in her role.  Tyson Ritter plays her husband Sam with the adorable Cailey Fleming as their daughter.  Chris Johnson is the husband’s friend.  Juan Pablo Raba is the cartel ringleader.  John Gallagher is the really bad cop while Annie Ilonzeh is great as the FBI agent.  Another dozen actors round out the core cast.

We were a bit shocked to hear many disappointing reviews from the critics.  It is hard to tell what those critics are looking for these days.  The lead character experiences a horrific set of circumstances and loss where just about any horrific response would seem justified.

The film is rated R for strong violence and language.  This film is not appropriate for children.  It is listed as an Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense running 102 minutes.  We think this will become a classic and might even muster some Oscar chatter for Acting.

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