Warner Brothers Pictures
Rated R for graphic violence and pervasive profanity
CPA Morphs Into Assassin After Being Double-Crossed In Cat-And-Mouse Caper
At first blush, Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) looks like your average CPA. After all, the self-employed nerd plies his trade in a modest office located in a nondescript strip mall in suburban Plainfield, Illinois.
The talented forensic accountant’s is apparently very well-suited to the profession, given that he was born with Aspberger’s Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism which enabled him to become something of a math savant. Nevertheless, looks can be very deceiving, since the mild-mannered loner also has a shadowy side he is great at keeping under wraps.
Consequently, no one has any idea that Christian’s clients happen to be powerful mobsters in need of laundering huge sums of cash without attracting the attention of the authorities. Over the years, he has become wealthy in his own right by cooking the books for crooks while resisting the temptation to live beyond his apparent means.
Eventually, Christian’s business does arouse the suspicion of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division led by Director Raymond King (J.K. Simmons). Aware that government agent Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) and her minions are on his tail, Christian decides to represent a very respected, hi-tech firm in order to look legit.
However, he and an employee (Dana Cummings) at Living Robotics find their lives threatened when he uncovers corruption in the company to the tune of millions of dollars. But those crooks have no idea that he had been trained to defend himself by an overprotective father (Robert C. Trevelier) obsessed with his autistic son’s never being bullied. Though it has been many years since that indoctrination, those skills suddenly kick in, as Christian morphs into a cold, calculated assassin, ala the “Manchurian Candidate.”
Thus unfolds The Accountant, a high body-count, cat-and-mouse caper directed by Gavin O’Connor (Tumbleweeds). The film rests upon an engrossing script that’s been artfully executed by an ensemble of A-list thespians featuring Academy Award-winners Ben Affleck and J.K. Simmons, as well as Oscar-nominees Anna Kendrick and John Lithgow.
A clever and compelling, multi-layered masterpiece deserving serious consideration come awards season!
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 128 minutes
Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise
American Masters Pictures
Reverential Retrospective Offers Intimate Look At The Life Of Late Icon
Maya Angelou (1928-2014) was born Marguerite Annie Johnson, in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 4, 1928, to parents for whom she and her big brother Bailey soon became a burden. When Maya was just three, the siblings were sent alone by train to live with their paternal grandmother in Arkansas where they would be terrorized by the Ku Klux Klan.
At seven, Maya moved back to St. Louis, only to be molested by her now single mother’s boyfriend. When she reported the rape, the perpetrator was soon murdered under mysterious circumstances.
Maya subsequently fell mute and was shipped back to her grandma’s house. Although she couldn’t talk, she did take to reading like a fish to water. And by the time she spoke again at the age of 12, she’d become very acquainted with the classics ranging from Shakespeare to Langston Hughes to Edgar Allan Poe.
Unfortunately, exposure to great literature didn’t save Maya from further trauma, as she would become a single mom at 17 after being pressured into a sexual encounter with a boy who wanted nothing more to do with her. She subsequently supported herself and her son, Guy, by holding an array of odd jobs, including work in the sex trade industry as a stripper, prostitute and even a madam.
Yet somehow, Maya would overcome her humble roots and checkered early career to become an African-American icon and a very respected writer in her own right. That miraculous recovery is the subject of Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, a reverential retrospective offering an intimate look at the life of the late poet/author/actress/director/civil rights activist.
Co-directed by Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack, the film features heartfelt reflections by an array of luminaries, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, John Singleton, Cicely Tyson, Dave Chappelle and Valerie Simpson, to name a few. For example, we hear Secretary Clinton refer to her as “a phenomenal woman” while Lou Gossett, Jr. credits her with raising his political consciousness.
A poignant portrait of a sex abuse survivor’s unlikely path from abandoned street urchin to consummate poet laureate!
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 114 minutes
OPENING THIS WEEK
For movies opening October 14, 2016
Kevin Hart: What Now? (R for pervasive profanity and some sexual references) Stand-up concert flick in which the incomparable stand-up comic brings his irreverent brand of humor to Philly where he performs at Lincoln Financial Field in front of a sold-out crowd of 50,000.
Max Steel (PG-13 for action and violence) Sci-fi adventure about a teenager (Ben Winchell) and an alien (Josh Brener) who join forces en route to becoming a turbo-charged superhero. With Maria Bello, Andy Garcia and Ana Villafane.
The Bad Kids (Unrated) Education documentary chronicling a group of Mojave Desert teachers’ unorthodox approach to helping at-risk high school’s students.
Christine (R for profanity, sexuality and a scene of disturbing violence) Rebecca Hall portrays the title character in this biopic about Christine Lubbock (1944-1974), the ABC-TV news reporter who committed suicide on the air in Sarasota, Florida by shooting herself in the head while sitting at the anchor’s desk. With Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts and Timothy Simons.
Desierto (R for profanity and graphic violence) Suspense thriller set along the Rio Grande and revolving around a rifle-toting vigilante’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) hunt for undocumented aliens attempting to enter the U.S. illegally. With Gael Garcia Bernal, Marco Perez and Diego Catano. (In English and Spanish with subtitles)
Is That You? (Unrated) Romance drama about an unemployed, 60-year-old, film projectionist (Alon Aboutboul) who moves from Israel to America to search for his long-lost childhood sweetheart. featuring Rani Blair, Patrick Michael Kelly and Naruna Kaplan de Macedo.
Priceless (PG-13 for violence and mature themes) Fact-based drama about a widowed truck driver (Joel Smallbone) who turns vigilante after discovering that a sex trafficking ring has hidden a couple of young women (Bianca Santos and Amber Midthunder) in the back of his rig. With David Koechner, Kristen Rakes and Jim Parrack.
Search Engines (Unrated) Holiday dramedy about a family forced to spend Thanksgiving actually talking to each other after they all mysteriously lose cell phone service. Cast includes Joely Fisher, Grace Folsom and Nicole Cummins.