Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


My Review of Top Gun: Maverick

Top Gun: Maverick, rated PG-13

The long-delayed (due to the pandemic) Top Gun: Maverick, is an exciting action-packed sequel to the 1986 film Top Gun. The film, whose release was delayed five times, and has plenty of nostalgia from the first film, was directed by Joseph Kosinski (Only the Brave) and written by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, Christopher McQuarrie, Peter Craig, and Justin Marks. Only Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer return in their roles from the 1986 Top Gun film.
As the film opens, Maverick, played by three-time Oscar nominee Tom Cruise (Magnolia, Jerry Maguire, Born on the Fourth of July), is a test pilot pushing himself and an experimental aircraft to Mach 10. This is against the wishes and order of the program’s Rear Admiral in charge played by four-time Oscar nominee Ed Harris (The Truman Show, Pollock, The Hours, Apollo 13), who is ready to shut the program down.
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Richard Jewell, rated R

This film is based on the true story of the Centennial Park bombing in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics. The film is directed by 89-year-old four-time Oscar winner Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby, Unforgiven). The screenplay was written by Oscar nominee Billy Ray (Captain Phillips), and is based on a magazine article by Marie Brenner (The Insider, A Private War) and the book The Suspect: An Olympic Bombing, the FBI, the Media, and Richard Jewell, the Man Caught in the Middle by Kent Alexander and Kevin Salwen.
The film is about Richard Jewell, played by Paul Walter Hauser (I, Tonya, BlacKkKlansman, Late Night), the security guard working the Olympics that at first was hailed as a hero for finding the bomb in Centennial Park, and preventing an even worse tragedy. The film focuses on the events after the bombing. But just a few days after the bombing, the FBI and the Atlanta Journal Constitution turn on Jewell and makes him the prime suspect in the bombing, indicating that he fits the profile of a bomber. Continue reading

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My Review of Baby Driver

Baby Driver, rated R 

Baby Driver is a creative, high energy and exciting summer film that has some content issues.
This film, which takes its name from the catchy 1970 Simon and Garfunkel song and is set in Atlanta, is directed and written by Edgar Wright (Ant-Man). It features a strong cast, including Oscar winners Kevin Spacey (American Beauty and The Usual Suspects) and Jamie Foxx (Ray). This is one of the highest rated major films of the year with an impressive 97 rating from critics on
Baby is played by Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our StarsDivergent). He was in a bad car accident as a child, in which his parents were killed. He now lives with his foster father, Joseph (CJ Jones), who is deaf. The car accident left Baby with continuous ringing in his ears. He almost always is listening to music to drown out the tinnitus. In fact, how director Wright uses music is an important part of this film, synchronizing the action of the film with the music.
We are told that Baby had stolen one of Doc’s (Kevin Spacey) Mercedes. Doc is a mastermind thief. He is having Baby pay off his debt by serving as his getaway driver on his jobs. And make no mistake about it – Baby can drive, and we see plenty of his driving through the streets of Atlanta in the film.
Baby has one more job to work for Doc before his debt is paid off. He plans to end his work with Doc at that time. He meets a waitress named Debora (Lily James, Cinderella) and they plan to start a new life together, away from crime.
For Baby’s last job Doc hires an ex-con, Bats (Jamie Foxx), who doesn’t trust Baby. Bats joins married couple Buddy (Jon Hamm, Mad Men) and Darling (Eliza Gonzalez) as part of the team.
I enjoyed the first half (four stars) of the film better. It was more creative. We get to see Baby’s relationship with Joe, dancing to music, etc. The latter half (two stars) descended into more pedestrian car chases and gun fights.
As far as content issues, the film contains a significant amount of adult language, including the abuse of God’s name, and strong violence (gunfights and car chases). Those concerns may keep many from this well-acted and directed film.

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Movie Review ~ Minions

MinionsMinions, rated PG

This hilarious prequel tells the early story of the popular banana-loving, yellow Minions from the Despicable Me films (Despicable Me 3 is due out in the summer of 2017).   The film is directed by Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin, and follows (with narration from Geoffrey Rush), the Minions’ evolution from single-celled organisms to little creatures whose only goal is to serve the most despicable masters they can find throughout history – from T. Rex, Dracula and Napoleon – they are always looking for their next boss. But somehow, despite their best intentions, their bosses always meet tragic ends. And after the battle of Waterloo, the Minions are sent into exile. Without someone to serve they fall into a deep depression in the frigid Antarctica.

Finally Kevin has a plan. Kevin, Stuart and Bob (all voiced by Coffin), will leave the rest of the group in Antarctica to find a new evil boss for the group to serve. Their search takes them to London and New York in 1968, where they meet the Nelson family (featuring Michael Keaton and Allison Janney as the parents) on their way to Orlando for a villain convention. Kevin, Stuart and Bob catch a ride with them in hopes of finding a new villain there to serve.

I thoroughly enjoyed this fast-moving and funny film which features music from the late 1960’s from the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, Turtles and Donovan. The Minions also get to sing a few songs from the era as well.

Sandra Bullock voices Scarlet Overkill, who we found underwhelming as a villain. Jon Hamm voiced her husband Herb, whose character was more enjoyable. Jennifer Saunders voices the Queen.

Tip: Stay in your seats through all of the ending credits for more fun.