Review – Avengers: Endgame


FILM REVIEWAVENGERS: ENDGAMEWith Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johannson, Josh Brolin, many, many others. Written by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, language and some crude references. 181 minutes.

avengers_endgame_ver2_xlgAt the end of “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018), Thanos (Josh Brolin) had succeeded in gaining all six of the “Infinity Stones” and used their combined power to turn half of all life in the universe into dust. The closing scenes were devastating to fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), as we watched a number of characters disintegrate, including Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), but not before he sent out a signal for help. A few months later came “Ant-Man & The Wasp,” in which the events of “Infinity War” seemed to have no impact, until a scene in the closing credits dusted a host of characters and left Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) trapped in quantum space.

We found out who Fury was summoning last month in “Captain Marvel,” introducing the character played by Brie Larson. And that so-called “Easter Egg” (because it was “hidden” in the closing credits after the movie ended) with Ant-Man introduced something else that will play out in the new AVENGERS: ENDGAME. Although the superhero genre is looked down upon – much as other genres now taken seriously were once dismissed as “oaters” or “tearjerkers” – the intricate plotting and characterization across nearly two dozen films made over the course of a decade is something that will both entertain and be studied for years to come.

As for “Endgame,” this reviewer is redacting most of the plot summary. Suffice to say, after some opening scenes which contain a few surprises, the story proper begins with the remainder of the Avengers drawn into a plan to reverse the calamity brought about by Thanos. While Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson), and Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) are ready to get to work, others – like Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) have, for better or worse, moved on.

What they decide to do, how they do it, and what obstacles they face are left for viewers to discover. There are just a few points to be made. First, many movies get touted as “epic” adventures, but this is that rare film that lives up to the hype. It’s three hours long, and yet doesn’t feel it. You get caught up in the story and with the choices facing the characters. There are moments of humor, many involving Hemsworth, who comes as close as anyone to stealing the film. There are also many touching moments, including some that may leave you teary-eyed.

Second, almost anyone who has had a significant role in the MCU movies turns up here, including some big names showing up to reprise parts in earlier films. While Downey, Hemsworth, Ruffalo, Evans, Johannson, and Jeremy Renner (as Hawkeye) get much screen time, other characters get their moments as well. It’s a combination family reunion and farewell party, so perhaps it’s fitting that the movie includes one final cameo from the late Stan Lee.

Finally, in terms of both big screen action and tying up loose ends, “Avengers: End Game” really brings it to an end, with no additional scenes in the closing credits to tease future installments. The climactic battle – and it’s not a spoiler to note that there is one – features a number of moments which are destined to become iconic. After a payoff like this, it’s fair to ask where the genre goes from here. “Avengers: Endgame” will be a very tough act – if not an impossible one – to follow.•••

North Shore Movies has given this film a score of 5 out of 5.Daniel M. Kimmel is a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books. His latest novel is Father of the Bride of Frankenstein. He is the 2018 recipient of the Skylark Award given by the New England Science Fiction Association. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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Review – The Man Who Killed Don Quixote


FILM REVIEWTHE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE. With Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Stellan Skarsgard, Joana Ribeiro, Olga Kurylenko. Written by Terry Gilliam and Tony Grisoni. Directed by Terry Gilliam. Unrated, but contains violence, profanity and sexual situations. 132 minutes.

quixote“It is accomplished,” sighed Jesus on the Cross, and presumably so did Terry Gilliam at last summer’s Cannes Film Festival, when after 25 years of false starts and heartbreak, his THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE at long last saw the light of a projector. Notorious as the most cursed film of all time, this loosey-goosey modernization of Miguel de Cervantes’ 1605 novel has been begun by Gilliam some seven times over the past two-and-a-half decades, with one attempt going down in such spectacular flames they even made a movie about the movie that couldn’t get made (2002’s agonizing behind-the-scenes documentary, “Lost in La Mancha.”)

Arriving with a touching dedication to not one but two actors originally cast as Quixote who died before the project could see coampletion – Jean Rochefort and John Hurt – the film bears the heavy weight of its tumultuous production history, veiled references to which slyly pepper the screenplay for insider amusement. If you squint it is indeed possible to imagine a sleeker, better-funded version of this tale showing up shortly after “The Fisher King” in the ‘90s, continuing that hit film’s M.O. of yuppie scum redeemed through medieval fantasy.

Of course things didn’t quite work out that way, and now “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” arrives on the heels of Orson Welles’ “The Other Side of the Wind” and Aretha Franklin’s “Amazing Grace” in a sudden excavation of cinematic holy grails so swift and staggering I expect the missing reels from “The Magnificent Ambersons” and that Jerry Lewis Holocaust clown movie to be dropping on Netflix any day now. So, after a quarter-century of legendary disaster and feverish anticipation “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” is finally here and it’s… okay, I guess.

Adam Driver stars as Toby, a sleazy, skirt-chasing commercial director shooting a Quixote-themed ad for a Russian vodka company on location somewhere in the Spanish countryside. He’s busy sneaking around with the sexed-up wife (Olga Kurylenko) of his dirtbag boss (Stellan Skarsgard) when a mysterious gypsy shows up with a DVD of Toby’s student film – an artsy, black-and-white adaptation of Don Quixote filmed a decade ago in the nearby peasant town of Sueños (the Spanish word for dreams. I see what you did there, Terry.)

Misty with nostalgia, Toby borrows a motorcycle and returns to Suenos, only to discover that his production ruined the lives of pretty much every villager involved. With shades of Dennis Hopper’s “The Last Movie,” we see that the gentle cobbler he once cast as Quixote (Jonathan Pryce) has spent the last ten years in character, believing himself to actually be the Knight of the Doleful Countenance and mistaking Toby for his faithful sidekick, Sancho Panza.

Even worse, the sweet virginal teen (Joana Ribero) our budding auteur coaxed in front of his camera ran off to make it in the movies and ended up as an escort – now an abused plaything for a billionaire Russian oligarch (Jordi Molla) who just so happens to own the vodka company Toby’s working for.

It’s easy to see where this is going, our knight errant getting Toby back in touch with the better angels of his nature by rescuing the damsel and titling at the windmills of late capitalist thuggery. What’s harder to grok is how it gets there – the movie lurches semi-coherently from one tonally conflicting set-piece to another, with story elements that erupt out of nowhere and are discarded just as quickly. (What was with that fire? And how about those dead cops?) The course of narrative in Terry Gilliam films never did run smooth but “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” is an especially erratic affair, one that deliberately avoids offering much delineation between the movie’s dream sequences and its highly permeable reality.

This approach leads to several scenes of startling beauty and a fair amount of perplexed annoyance. Driver heroically holds it all together with his exasperated reactions, flinging those long limbs around akimbo while finding continually inventive ways to fall down in the dirt. (He also frantically impersonates Eddie Cantor, for reasons that escape me.) There’s still no director as manic as Gilliam when it comes time for some chaotically cluttered, wide-angle obnoxiousness, and while “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” might find his gifts somewhat diminished, they’re still very much in evidence.

And hey, the movie finally got made. That’s a miracle in and of itself.•••

North Shore Movies has given this film a score of 2.5 out of 5.Over the past twenty years, Sean Burns’ reviews, interviews, and essays have appeared in WBUR’s The ARTery, Philadelphia Weekly, The Improper Bostonian, Metro, The Village Voice, Nashville Scene and RogerEbert.com. He stashes them all at Spliced Personality.

Review – The Curse of La Llorona


FILM REVIEWTHE CURSE OF LA LLORONAWith Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, Marisol Ramirez, Roman Christou, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen. Written by Mikki Daughtry & Tobias Iaconis. Directed by Michael Chaves. Rated R for violence and terror. 93 minutes.

curse_of_la_llorona_ver2Was this really the right time for a horror movie about a Mexican demon who kills children attacking an American family? One dreads the thought of President Trump citing THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA as another reason to build his wall.

Politics aside, this horror entry is notable in light of what will be next week’s release of what will likely be one of the biggest films of the year, “Avengers: Endgame.” Much has been made of the success of the intertwined entries in the MCU – the Marvel Cinematic Universe – with the films playing off of each other so that fans feel the need to see each new release. With less fanfare there has been a similar collection of films coming off the 2013 movie “The Conjuring” which has, so far, led to one sequel and several spinoffs including “Annabelle” and “The Nun,” with more films on the way.

“The Curse of La Llorona” has a fleeting nod to “Annabelle,” in telling the story of how Anna (Linda Cardellini), a social worker, causes her family to be attacked by La Llorona, the spirit of a centuries old Mexican woman who murdered her children and then took her own life. Much of the scares are of the cheap, jump-out-at-you variety, with La Llorona (Marisol Ramirez) suddenly appearing to menace Anna’s children (Roman Christou, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen).

It’s a spooky story to be sure, and the young actors playing the children are so effective one hopes that making the film didn’t leave them with nightmares and years of therapy ahead of them. Since this is part of a growing franchise, it’s not enough to ask whether it is a serviceable horror film – it is – without also asking where do the filmmakers go from here? Although the door is left open, at least by implication, for further tales of La Llorona, there’s a much more promising road ahead.

In the film’s third act Anna turns to Rafael Olvera (Raymond Cruz), a former priest who has left the church but has not lost his faith. Using unorthodox means, he has devoted himself to fighting demons and other manifestations of the world’s evils. His arrival in the story, after a brief appearance early on, kicks the film up to a new level. Cruz wryly underplays the role, generating some genuine laughs as opposed to the ones mocking the film’s contrivances. A veteran actor with credits reaching back to the 1980s, this should be a breakout role for him and one that should lead to a follow-up movie where his character will be front-and-center.

“The Curse of La Llorona” is a competently made horror film that probably wouldn’t have attracted much notice if it wasn’t billed as part of “The Conjuring” universe. If the franchise continues to grow, it may be well-remembered as the movie made Cruz and his character major players in the series.•••

North Shore Movies has given this film a score of 2.5 out of 5.Daniel M. Kimmel is a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books. His latest novel is Father of the Bride of Frankenstein. He is the 2018 recipient of the Skylark Award given by the New England Science Fiction Association. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Review – Mary Magdalene


FILM REVIEWMARY MAGDALENE. With Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tahar Rahim, Tcheky Karyo. Written by Helen Edmunson and Phillipa Goslett. Directed by Garth Davis. Rated R for some bloody and disturbing images. 120 minutes.

mary_magdaleneThey say it was Pope Gregory back in the year 591 who first got it wrong, apparently mixing up some of the Marys in a couple of Gospels and decreeing that Jesus’ apostle Magdalene, so famously and frequently pictured at the foot of the cross, was in fact a fallen woman. Oops. Now granted, without his misinterpretation we never would have gotten Barbara Hershey in “The Last Temptation of Christ” or all those great Yvonne Elliman songs in “Jesus Christ Superstar,” but baselessly being called a whore for over 1,400 years and having a string of human rights-abusing laundry sweatshops named after you has still gotta sting a little bit. In characteristically speedy fashion, the Vatican finally got around to setting the record straight in 2016.

So that’s the impetus for MARY MAGDALENE, an exceptionally tedious new film intending to rehabilitate the reputation of its namesake with the help of movie star Rooney Mara in the title role and a Jesus of Nazareth played by her real-life boyfriend Joaquin Phoenix. The picture tries to put a feminist bent on the Greatest Story Ever Told, and when all is said and done the only sin Mary Magdalene could possibly be accused of now is being unbelievably boring.

Shot in 2016 only to be shelved when The Weinstein Company collapsed, the film was released in Europe last year and is finally headed to VOD here on Good Friday, presumably to stir up sales from any Christian audiences who won’t be put off by what strikes this critic as an undeserved R rating. (Okay, the crucifixion gets a bit bloody, but this is hardly a Mel Gibson fetish film.)

As reimagined by screenwriters Helen Edmunson and Phillipa Goslett, Mary of Magdala was the first feminist – but not a scary or strident feminist, just a safe, calmly self-assured one like you see in Disney cartoons these days — refusing to submit to the marriage her family arranged for her and bringing scandal upon them all by going out alone at night to pray. With her porcelain features and unblinking stare, Rooney Mara possesses an opaque quality that in the hands of the right filmmakers can conjure a captivating aura of mystery. Or she can just be dull.

Director Garth Davis goes for the latter here, eliciting a performance as drab as the movie’s barren landscapes, threadbare costumes and undressed sets. It’s a flat-lined, flat-looking picture. Nobody shows much of a personality until Jesus comes along, and that dude just seems like he’s out of his damn mind.

I must admit I’d assumed I was long past the age of seeing a movie Jesus played by someone older than me, but casting a beefy, middle-aged guy with grey in his beard is what folks might generously call “a choice.” Joaquin Phoenix is certainly one of the most exciting actors working today, but all that twitchy, restless abandon that makes him so riveting to watch in films like “The Master” or “You Were Never Really Here” ain’t exactly beatific. His bug-eyed Jesus basically runs around shouting at people like a crazy person on the subway.

“Mary Magdalene” is a curiously enervated movie, sleepwalking through the stations of the cross with the same let’s-get-this-over-with-already” energy that reminded me of going to Mass on one of those hot, hungover Sunday mornings when not even the priest can feign interest in being there. Mary’s new place in the proceedings hasn’t been thought through very thoroughly, so she’s left kinda just standing around on the sidelines for a lot of the big scenes.

Not even Chiwetel Ejiofor can do anything with the barely-written role of Peter. But the one performance in the film I did quite enjoy was from Tahir Rahim, the Algerian actor who made such an impression in Jacques Audiard’s “A Prophet” and played FBI agent Ali Soufan in the excellent TV adaptation of “The Looming Tower.” He plays Judas Iscariot as an overly excitable young activist who misreads the room, betraying his rabbi as a political ploy that backfires badly. It’s the one interesting angle in a movie that’s otherwise inert.

Save for a weirdly hot baptism scene in which Phoenix and Mara inexplicably end up eye-fucking the entire time, there’s otherwise none of the yearning or sexual frissons that defined previous movie relationships between Jesus and Magdalene. Mara’s Mary is never in any danger of singing “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” but another of Elliman’s songs from “Superstar” came to mind more than once: “Could We Start Again, Please?”•••

North Shore Movies has given this film a score of 2 out of 5.Over the past twenty years, Sean Burns’ reviews, interviews, and essays have appeared in Philadelphia Weekly, The Improper Bostonian, Metro, The Village Voice, Nashville Scene, Time Out New York and RogerEbert.com. He stashes them all at Spliced Personality.

Review – Penguins


FILM REVIEWPENGUINSWith Ed Helms. Written by David Fowler. Directed by Alastair Fothergill, Jeff Wilson. Rated G. 76 minutes.

penguins_xlgFor the last decade, Disneynature – a unit of Walt Disney Studios – has been releasing family-friendly documentaries, often in April around Earth Day. These have included such movies as “African Cats” (2011), “Bears” (2014), and “Monkey Kingdom” (2015).

The current films have an ancestry the studio might prefer you ignore. Back in the 1950s, Disney produced a series of nature films under the banner of “True-Life Adventures,” which proved successful and won several Oscars. The dark secret was that many of these so-called “true” stories were, in fact, staged for the cameras, with the most notorious example being 1958’s “White Wilderness”, in which lemmings were brought to an area of Canada that was not their habitat, and pushed (and thrown!) to their deaths to depict a dramatic – and scientifically inaccurate – account of “mass suicide.”

The new films seem to be done far more respectfully, and without creating dangerous situations for the camera. The Jane Goodall Institute, for example, was involved in the 2012 production of “Chimpanzee.” Yet there’s still a good deal of anthropomorphizing going on, so audiences will be engaged by characters involved in a story, rather than wildlife going by instinct.

Case in point is this year’s entry, PENGUINS. Narrator Ed Helms introduces us to “Steve,” an Adélie penguin in Antartica. It’s spring and like the other males of his species, he’s building a nest out of stones and trying to attract a mate. He’s presented as an underdog – or “underpenguin” – who has to deal with other males “stealing” his stones among other things. Eventually, he mates with “Adeline,” with the soundtrack providing us with a love song as if this were Steve’s big date for the prom.

The film provides some facts of the penguin life cycle, mixed in with the pretense that “Steve” is also experiencing human emotions. This may make it easier to hold the interest of young viewers, but there’s also a bit of dishonesty or, at least, misdirection. The two adult penguins reproduce and have to feed their hatchlings until they can fend for themselves. This involves going out and catching fish and then regurgitating it for the young ones. Children will no doubt enjoy being grossed out by this.

Later there is a sequence in which a carnivorous leopard seal attempts to eat one of the offspring. This is presented as a bad thing since it threatens part of “Steve’s” family. Why is it okay for penguins to eat fish but not for seals to eat penguins? A serious documentary might make a point about the food chain. For the Disneynature films, it’s not about survival of the fittest, but the survival of the cutest.

“Penguins” gives us a look at birds in their native habitat, and makes it entertaining for the whole family. Give credit to the filmmakers who went out and got the footage. Nonetheless, the resulting film is no more than a picture book introduction to nature.•••

North Shore Movies has given this film a score of 3 out of 5.Daniel M. Kimmel is a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books. His new novel, Father of the Bride of Frankenstein, will be released in January. He is the 2018 recipient of the Skylark Award given by the New England Science Fiction Association. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Review – Hellboy


FILM REVIEWHELLBOYWith David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Sasha Lane, Daniel Dae Kim. Written by Andrew Cosby. Directed by Neil Marshall. Rated R for strong bloody violence and gore throughout, and language. 121 minutes.

hellboy_ver7Hollywood seems to think that making a movie about comic book superheroes is a license to print money. With the much-anticipated “Avengers: Endgame” still a couple of weeks away, we’ve already had hits this year with “Alita: Battle Angel” (based on a Japanese manga series), “Captain Marvel,” and “Shazam!” Now comes HELLBOY, based on Mike Mignola’s series for Dark Horse Comics, already adapted for two movies in 2004 and 2008 directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Ron Perlman.

Hellboy, now played by David Harbour, is a distinctive character, a demon who works for the good guys. With his red complexion, sawed-off stubs that were once horns, and snarky humor, it’s easy to see his appeal for filmgoers who enjoy the genre. As a reboot (instead of a sequel to the earlier films), the task here was to reintroduce the character and tell an engaging story. They get it half-right.

We get the origin of Hellboy and how he came to be adopted by Professor Broom (Ian McShane), who runs the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, along with their often testy relationship. Unfortunately, it is buried under enough plots for several movies.

In a prologue, we see King Arthur and Merlin defeat Nimue (Milla Jovovich), a witch known as “The Blood Queen.” In the first of many gory scenes, Arthur hacks her to pieces and then has the body parts buried in scattered locations. In the present day, the pig-faced Gruagach (voiced by Stephen Graham), is gathering those parts to put her back together. So, the main plot is about foiling a witch from Arthurian times from renewing her attacks on humanity. Oddly, this is the same basic plot of the recent “The Kid Who Would Be King.”

Along the way, Hellboy has to join a British social club that hunts giants, has a spooky meeting with another witch named Baba Yaga, is joined by a young seer (Sasha Lane) and a British intelligence officer (Daniel Dae Kim), and gets to show the violence in the prologue was only the overture to a blood-soaked movie. The CGI effects allows us to experience not only limbs being cut off and bodies getting torn in half, but such literally gut-churning moments as a dead person’s head speaking from what appears to be the end of a large intestine.

While the storytelling sometimes borders on the incoherent, the movie is not unwatchable. In terms of special effects and action, there’s plenty of eye candy here. Yet the character moments that made the earlier films stand out are few and far between. As has become the custom in superhero movies, there are a couple of post-credit scenes which indicate that the filmmakers hope this “Hellboy” is the launch of a new franchise. If it continues, they will need to be a lot more focused.•••

North Shore Movies has given this film a score of 2.5 out of 5.Daniel M. Kimmel is a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books. His latest novel is Father of the Bride of Frankenstein. He is the 2018 recipient of the Skylark Award given by the New England Science Fiction Association. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Review – Triple Frontier


FILM REVIEWTRIPLE FRONTIER. Starring Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Heldund, Pedro Pascal. Written by Mark Boal and J.C. Chandor. Directed by J.C. Chandor. Rated R for violence and language throughout. 125 minutes.

triple_frontierA heaping plate of meat-and-potatoes comfort food, Netflix’s TRIPLE FRONTIER is a throwback to the sort of solid, mid-budget action pictures that studios used to crank out during the spring and fall off-seasons back before everything had to be a godforsaken franchise. It’s one of those films that would turn a small profit in theaters before reaching full cultural saturation two years later via heavy basic cable rotation on weekend afternoons. Unpretentious, unassuming and a bit better than expected, it’s the kind of movie you talk about with your Dad.

Oscar Isaac stars as Santiago “Pope” Garcia, a burnt-out military contractor working for the government of a deliberately unnamed Latin American country. He’s spent the past three years trying to take down an elusive drug lord who’s now holed up in a jungle fortress, sitting on $75 million in cash. Santiago is so fed up with the corrupt and ineffectual local law enforcement, he hatches a plan to round up his old army buddies so they can ice the bastard themselves and make off with all his money.

The years have not been kind to our former soldiers, with Charlie Hunnam’s “Ironhead” Miller making motivational speeches to PTSD cases while his kid brother Ben (Garrett Hedlund) gets his head bashed in every night as an MMA fighter to make ends meet. Their pilot pal “Catfish” Morales (Pedro Pascal) just lost his license over a coke bust while their old captain “Redfly” Davis – a beefy, surprisingly believable Ben Affleck – chugs PBRs for breakfast and is the least persuasive condo salesman you’ve ever seen onscreen.

“You got shot four times defending your country and can’t afford to send your kids to college,” goes Santiago’s recruiting pitch. (His captain corrects him, it was actually five.) The screenplay, revised by director J.C. Chandor from an original script by “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty” writer Mark Boal, is upfront and blunt about our government’s shoddy treatment of veterans. So we can’t really blame all that much for wanting to finally cash in here, especially if it’s at the expense of some seriously bad cartel dudes.

The neat twist of “Triple Frontier” is that the heist goes even better than planned. Our boys wind up scoring $250 million instead of the expected seventy-five. Problem is that’s four times as much weight as they’d prepared to transport. So how do you move three tons of money over the Andes mountains? It’s a logistical nightmare that Chandor – who previously helmed the excellent Robert Redford vs. The Ocean adventure “All Is Lost” – exploits for some hair-raising set-pieces both predictable and less so.

It’s a film of modest pleasures, well-executed even while Chandor should probably have taken another pass to brush up the boys’ occasionally banal banter. (How strange that the professional fighter in the group is the only one without a cool nickname.) There are a couple of groaner needle-drop music cues — I’m sponsoring a Constitutional amendment prohibiting any further use of Creedence Clearwater Revival in military movies — but I quite enjoyed the deployment of Metallica, Pantera, and period-specific heavy metal that guys who enlisted twentysomething years ago would totally have been listening to when they signed up.

The biggest surprise here is Affleck, taking over a role that Tom Hanks was set to play back when Kathryn Bigelow was going to direct Boal’s original screenplay in 2010. His massive Batman physique has settled into something lumpier, lending the look of a guy who’s gone to seed. Affleck’s screen presence has always been too slick and callow to brood believably, but washing up on the rocks of middle age he’s developing a dissolute gravitas that quite suits him here. (His fifties could be full of some interesting character turns.) For all of this movie’s extensively well-researched military minutiae, my favorite detail is when he makes sure to slip his beer into a cozy while driving his daughter to school.

The thing with Netflix movies is they don’t really even have to be good enough to justify getting dressed and leaving the house. These things just magically pop up on your television screen already paid for, and ideally you hope they won’t be a total waste of two hours. By such modest measures, a pretty good movie like “Triple Frontier” is a smashing success.•••

North Shore Movies has given this film a score of 3 out of 5.Over the past twenty years Sean Burns’ reviews, interviews, and essays have appeared in Philadelphia Weekly, The Improper Bostonian, Metro, The Village Voice, Nashville Scene, Time Out New York and RogerEbert.com. He stashes them all at Spliced Personality.