Film Review: Kingsman: The Golden Circle (dir by Matthew Vaughn)


Before I say too much about Kingsman: The Golden Circle, I do want to acknowledge a few good things about the movie.

First off, it doesn’t take long for the film to reveal that Harry (Colin Firth) didn’t actually die when Samuel L. Jackson shot him in the head in the first movie.  Undoubtedly, that diminishes the power of that scene but, at the same time, it also means that Colin Firth gets to come back.

Secondly, Taron Egerton returns as Eggsy.  The script really doesn’t give him too many opportunities to show what he’s capable of as an actor, largely because the character of Eggsy was fully developed by the end of the first movie.  Now that Eggsy is a fully trained and competent Kingsman, there’s not really much for him to do other than trade a few quips and take a few lives.  That said, Egerton is a likable actor and he’s fun to watch.

Third, Julianne Moore has a few fun scenes as the film’s main villain, Poppy Adams.  Poppy is the head of an international drug cartel.  She’s also obsessed with the 1950s and always amazingly cheerful.

Fourth, all of the Kingsmen still wear suits and Michael Caine-style glasses.  Colin Firth gets to use his umbrella as a shield.

Finally, Mark Strong is back as Merlin.

So, that’s five good things about Kingsman: The Golden Circle.  Unfortunately, all five of those things are somewhat obscured by the fact that the movie really, really sucks.

Admittedly, I had really high hopes for the movie.  I loved the first Kingsman film, which was a stylish satire that featured one of the greatest action set pieces of all time.  And I was excited to see that not only was Firth returning but Matthew Vaughn would also be directing the sequel.

But no.  This movie just doesn’t work.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle attempts to do everything on a larger scale than the first Kingsman.  That means more violence, more betrayals, and a longer running time.  This time, the movie not only features the Kingsmen but also the Statesmen, which is the American equivalent of the Kingsmen.  (The Statesmen all dress like cowboys and speak in exaggerated Southern drawls, which I got kind of sick of listening to after about three minutes.)  Along with the returning stars of the first film, Jeff Bridges, Emily Watson, Bruce Greenwood, Halle Berry, and Channing Tatum all have small roles.  Pedro Pascal (best known for playing Oberyn Martell on Game of Thrones) has a much larger role as a Statesman codenamed Whiskey.

Unfortunately, bigger is not always better.  The Golden Circle never comes close to matching the lunatic heights of the first movie.  There are a lot of action scenes but none of them match the church fight from the first film.  There’s a surprise death but it’s nowhere near as shocking or effective as Firth’s “death” in the first film.  Even the required barroom brawl falls flat.  Nowhere does The Golden Circle match the audacity of the first film.  The first film ended with exploding heads.  This film ends with the promise of more sequels.

But really, I think what really doomed The Golden Circle was that extended running time.  There’s really no good reason for The Golden Circle to last for 2 hours and 21 minutes.  Quite a bit of the film, especially during the first hour, felt padded out and, as a result, it seemed like took forever for the film’s story to actually get started.  Probably 40 minutes to an hour could have been cut from The Golden Circle without anyone missing it.

Ultimately, I think the main problem is that the first Kingsman felt like it was made by people who truly did love the material.  This film feels contractually obligated.  The Golden Circle has a lot of action but it’s just not very fun.

The Last Review Of “Star Wars : The Last Jedi” You’ll Ever Need To Read


Trash Film Guru

It’s always a dicey proposition when you’re reviewing a new Star Wars flick. One way or another, you almost can’t win — I recall, for instance, my lukewarm review of Star Wars : The Force Awakens being met with a comment stating, I shit you not, that “I agree with all your criticisms, but you should have given it a positive review anyway.” When I asked, naturally, why the hell my review should have been more sunny even though all my criticisms were legit, said individual responded, I assume with a straight face, something to the effect of “well, it’s more difficult to write a positive review than a negative one, so you should challenge yourself more.”

If I had any sense, I would have just walked away at that point, perhaps with a quip like “it’s only ‘more difficult’ to write a positive review of a film when said…

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A Movie A Day #351: Moonshine Highway (1996, directed by Andy Armstrong)


The time is the 1950s.  The place is the backwoods of Tennessee.  Everyone is obsessed with three things: cars, sex, and moonshine.  Jud Muldoon (Kyle MacLachlan) served his country in World War II and now he just wants to make a living.  He is the best moonshine runner in Appalachia.  When he gets behind the wheel of a car, no one can outrun him.  As long as he gets his cut, Sheriff Wendell Miller (Randy Quaid) has no problem with looking the other way when it comes to the moonshiners in his county.  Or at least he doesn’t until the feds show up and start breathing down his neck about all the money they’re losing through non-taxed liquor sales.  Complicating matters even more is that when Jud isn’t running moonshine, he’s sleeping with Ethel (Maria del Mar), who just happens to be married to the sheriff.

Though Canada fills in unconvincingly for Tennessee and the movie is full of more  corn-prone clichés than you can shake a stick at, Moonshine Highway is still a fairly entertaining tribute to old drive-in movies like Thunder Road and Moonrunners.  Kyle MacLachlan is surprisingly convincing as a backwoods driver and Randy Quaid was always at his best when playing corrupt Southern law enforcement.  (This was filmed before Quaid’s infamous meltdown.)  This was the only film directed by famed stunt coordinator Andy Armstrong and he does a good job capturing all of the vehicular mayhem.  Moonshine Highway was originally made for Showtime and it is not the easiest movie to find.  It’s available on VHS and on DVD in Argentina.

If you do see the movie, keep an eye out for director David Cronenberg in a small role.

Music Video of the Day: Lost At Sea by Danielle Fricke (2017, dir by that one guy)


I don’t have a lot to say about this music video.  I just like the fact that the direction is credited to “that one guy.”

This video dropped on January 1st of this year.  Interestingly enough, both the song’s title and the video seem to reflect the way that many people have felt over the past twelve months.  Personally, I would hate to be lost at sea, just because I get motion sickness and I’m not much of a swimmer.

Remember that movie, All Is Lost?  That movie really freaked me out when I saw it. Did Robert Redford survive at the end of that film or did he drown?  Did we ever figure that out?

On the other hand, Life of Pi is one of my favorite movies.  I loved that tiger.  GO RICHARD PARKER!

Anyway, enjoy!