Movie Reviews

Posted September 29, 2017 at 12:00 am

American Assassin

CBS Films  

This adaptation of the 2010 novel by Vince Flynn, directed by Michael Cuesta, is a gory revenge fantasy that opens with a bang and proceeds at a breakneck pace, unleashing a veritable tsunami of bullets, bodies and blood as it goes. When his fiancee (Charlotte Vega) is gunned down by terrorists, a young man (Dylan O’Brien) seeks to avenge her death by transforming into a lean, mean, fighting machine. Recruited by a CIA official (Sanaa Lathan), he becomes part of a black-ops program run by a grizzled veteran (Michael Keaton). With the aid of a Turkish agent (Shiva Negar), mentor and protege seek to infiltrate a terrorist cell determined to wage nuclear war (Taylor Kitsch plays its mysterious leader). A strong stomach and extreme patience are required until the film finally comes to its senses, and good triumphs over evil. A vigilante theme, constant bloody violence, including torture and gunplay, brief upper female nudity, several uses of profanity, pervasive rough and much crude language. L; R  

Mother! 

Paramount  

Chaotic, exhausting, genre-blending allegory about a poet (Javier Bardem) and his wife (Jennifer Lawrence) living a solitary life in an isolated house in the countryside. As she works to rehabilitate the dwelling after a disastrous fire, and he struggles with writer’s block, a series of intruders (most significantly, Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris) distress her with their bizarre behavior, but receive a mysteriously motivated endlessly patient welcome from her husband. Writer-director Darren Aronofsky’s enigmatic drama, which incorporates Gothic and horror elements as it unfolds, seems designed to comment on a broad range of topics including creativity, compassion, marital relationships and, especially, religion. The film touches on biblical themes but portrays faith as essentially misguided. Its depiction of the Passion and the Eucharist is grotesque. Blasphemous images, a negative portrayal of religion, much strong and sometimes gory violence, semi-graphic marital lovemaking, a glimpse of full nudity, occasional profanity and rough language. O; R  

Kingsman: The Golden Circle 

Fox  

Director and co-writer Matthew Vaughn goes over the top with cartoonish but gruesome mayhem and a distasteful bedroom sequence in this follow-up to his 2015 feature, “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” Now an established agent of the independent espionage service from which the films derive the shared portion of their titles, the working-class London lad (Taron Egerton) whose transformation into a skilled operative was charted in the original takes on a psychopathic international drug trafficker (Julianne Moore) intent on blackmailing the U.S. government into legalizing all narcotics. Staggered by her murderous assault on their headquarters and several of their colleagues, the spy and the group’s tech guru (Mark Strong) turn to the Kentucky-based American counterpart of their organization (led by Jeff Bridges) for help in vanquishing the villain and the rejected Kingsman applicant (Edward Holcroft) aiding her scheme. Vaughn’s stylish actioner, penned once again with Jane Goldman, and based, like its predecessor, on a comic book series by Matt Millar and Dave Gibbons, edges its protagonist toward a more committed relationship with his live-in girlfriend (Hanna Alstrom), a Swedish princess, and dwells on his ties to his mentor (Colin Firth) from the first outing. But, in just one instance of its excesses, it also finds characters being pushed into a meat grinder. Persistent, sometimes shocking, bloody violence, a scene of cannibalism, a drug theme, cohabitation, frivolously portrayed casual sex, some sexual humor, a couple of uses of profanity, pervasive rough and much crude language. O; R  

USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting  

classifications:  

A-I – General patronage  

A-II – Adults and adolescents  

A-III – Adults  

A-IV – Adults, with reservations  

L – Limited adult audience  

O – Morally offensive  

Motion Picture Association of America ratings:  

G – General audiences; all ages admitted  

PG – Parental guidance suggested; some material may not be suitable for children  

PG-13 – Parents are strongly cautioned to give special guidance for attendance of children under 13; some material may be inappropriate for young children  

R – Restricted; under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian  

NC-17 – No one under 17 admitted  

Bla