“The Accountant”

Wish to see Ben Affleck with no affect then ” The Accountant” ( 2016) is for you. As Chris Wolf, Affleck plays a puzzling “somewhere on the autism spectrum” savant and a stone-cold killer. He is fun to watch as he methodically fries eggs and mini-pancakes in perfectly matched circles, miraculously cooks and uncooks books, and is pathologically fixated on finishing tasks. His sensory therapy of strobe lights, loud music, and a rolling pin is harder to watch.

As the  film’s  writer, Bill Dubuque has lots of holes in his script. A messy back and forth timeframe suggests that we can blame his mother for abandoning her two boys while also  pointing to an abusive, military father who offered 34 homes in 17 years.

Storage holds become scenes with their perfect stacks of bills, gold bars, fine art, and memorial dented steel thermos. Air streams get a plug, as does Vera Wang.  Dorky pocket protector, red & black dry erasers and University of Chicago jokes ( where fun goes to die) fill the balance of man-to-man action.

The story line, if you can follow it, focuses on 61 million dollars missing from a robotics company. We are told late in the game that the  CEOs are brother and sister ( Jean Smart and John Lithgow) . Lithgow is exceedingly bad as the villain, Lamar Blackburn~ cartoonish even. His death scene video-game like.His wide-eyed, ” Are they dead?” made me laugh. Granted dialogue like. “what’s happening?” does not give him much to emote.  I thought Anna Kendrick and Cynthia Addai-Robinson no better. Director Gavin O’Conner let them play B-grade movie parts.

Besides Afleck, J.K. Simmons of “Whiplash” fame ( reviewed January 4th, 2015  ) provides a more nuanced role as FBI Money Laundering & Financial Crimes Director, Ray King. Jon Bernthal ( Brax) has an uncanny likeness to his pre-teen counterpart who gives the middle finger to his mother as she leaves the boys via taxi. Jeffrey  Tambor adds his certain magic as prison mentor, Francis Silverberg, a Federal informant.

Basically, one does not see this film for the acting or for the convoluted plot. Is it an action flick or a paen to abused and labeled children ?  The viewer will leave confused and lightly entertained.  I thought of ” violence for liberals” with lots of silly knots hastily trying to be untied. Enjoy the term ‘ neuro-typicals ‘ and hear that 1 out of 68 children are diagnosed with autism. Justine becomes the voice surprise and the score leaves us with, “I’m trying to leave something behind” after all the murders. See this flawed entertainment if you wish, but please don’t blame everything on the mother.

“Spy” and “Pitch Perfect 2”

After a week of scholarship and insight at Indiana University’s Mini-U, it is time for a balance by reviewing summer comedy and snarky spoofs.A fellow friend and film blogger had seen “Spy” and enjoyed it enough to wish to see it again. My husband had seen a review on “Pitch Perfect 2” and asked me to join him even though we had not seen the original. Below are my thoughts on both films.

Never really a fan of Melissa McCarthy, I must say I loved her in “Spy”. She is more vulnerable here and less vulgar,even in a wait-until-the-credits-roll-by outtake. (Worth waiting for because McCarthy can’t even believe she allowed her ad lib to be included.)Let’s just call it her thumb review! Likewise,Jude Law is stellar: the perfect stance,facial expressions and timing. In his James Bond role,as Bradley Fine, he looks mighty fine,too!
I thought the entire cast with the exception of Allyson Janney was top notch. Janney was too
one dimensional for me~never wavering from the hard boss. While Rose Bryne,Bobby Cannavale, Miranda Hart and Jason Statham brought a natural and balanced vigor to their roles. Loved the creative name-calling and word play from “Shits Carlton” to you dress like “a slutty dolphin trainer”. I consider Paul Feig’s “Spy” most summer-comedy worthy with double agent action to keep you guessing.

“Pitch Perfect 2” bored me with the use of the divided screen highlighting pillow-fight hijinxs and campfire singalongs. I liked the word play in this comedy as much as the a cappella singing. “Deutsche bag” and “treblemakers” struck me as creative.By the way,the German singers had the staging and the voices. Das Sound Machine out did the generations of Bellas in my estimation. The contest co-hosts Elizabeth Banks And John Michael Higgins were less than hysterical.The Christmas album with Snoop Dog was inspired as was the “songs about butts ” category and the gift card to Dave and Busters. Product placement advertising is rampant in “Pitch Perfect 2”: Cover girl and Pantene star.

One of the most beautiful shots is in Copenhagen with drizzle and sun rays on the colored facades and umbrellas mirroring all. Fat Amy and “muffingate”, or Southern exposure to the Commander-in-Chief was as silly as “sucking vodka from a maxi-pad”, sophomoric at best.I did not much care for Anna Kendrick or Rebel Wilson. Skyler Astin was energetic more than memorable.Fans of “The Voice” may find this film “the kicker of the ass”,I just didn’t.