The Vidiot: April 2017

Thursday 20th, April 2017 / 12:00
By Shane Sellar

Assassin’s Creed

The upside to being an assassin is that one-day you might actually get to kill your boss.

And who would know better than the inherent assassin in this action movie?

Alan (Jeremy Irons) and his daughter (Marion Cotillard) are scientists with a clandestine organization out to prevent the modern-day Templar from enslaving the human race.

To help them locate an artifact that can decode human free will, the pair abducts a death row inmate, Callum (Michael Fassbender), with ties to an ancient assassins guild.

Thrust through time into his ancestor’s tunic, Callum learns the article’s location as well as his captor’s true intentions with it.

Although it is a higher caliber video game movie than most, this live-action version of the Ubisoft franchise suffers the same pitfalls as its gaming ilk, namely, bad acting and script.

Furthermore, sending convicts to the 1400s is a smart way to ease prison overpopulation.

Live By Night

The biggest difference between the Irish mob and the Italian mob is their choice of starch.

Obviously, the Irish gangster in this drama is partial to tubers.

Run out of Boston after he is caught kissing on the Irish mob boss’ girl (Sienna Miller), ex-soldier Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck) ends up in Florida working enforcement for the Italian mafia’s rum running business.

While he finds love with a local (Zoe Saldana), Coughlin’s problems aren’t over yet as the local sheriff (Chris Cooper), his aspiring actress daughter (Elle Fanning) and the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan make his transition into the Tampa markets a bloody one.

Starring, directed and adapted from the novel by Affleck, this epic length vanity project brings nothing new to the gangster genre besides ludicrous dialogue, ill-fated white suits and marginal directing.

Besides, bootlegging isn’t as secure a career in Florida as say smuggling in Cubans is.

Miss Sloane  

Instating background checks on gun owners only drives up sales of replica battle-axes.

However, the lobbyist in this legal drama would prefer modern-day barbarism.

Callous lobbyist Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) gets involved in the fight of her career when she refuses to work for a gun lobby looking to boost sales amongst females.

In fact, this pang of consciousness causes her to work for the opposition in support of a universal background check on all gun owners. But her secret life of pills and paid escorts is dragged through the bill proceedings.

With a powerful performance from Chastain as the flawed heroine, Miss Sloane is an entertaining slice of US legislature that tackles the touchy subject matter of gun control from a leftist viewpoint.

Moreover, the only way to sell guns to women is tell them they’re only for men.



The downside to hypersleep is lying in your own nocturnal emissions for 100 years.

Smartly, the cyrosleeper in this sci-fi film wakes up to get his rocks off.

When an asteroid strikes a spacecraft carrying thousands of hibernating colonists to their new home, slumbering passenger, Jim (Chris Pratt), is woken 90 years too soon.

Unable to get back to sleep, or commandeer the controls, Jim’s desperation results in him rousing a female passenger (Jennifer Lawrence) to keep him company. But when she learns the truth, his plans for love are jeopardized.

Meanwhile, damage to the ship’s reactor threatens all life aboard.

With mediocre effects, dull performances and a stalker-like narrative masquerading as a love story, this ill-fated voyage distracts from its creepiness with a boilerplate climax that adds further insult to the viewer’s intelligence.

Besides, intercourse in space is the same as intercourse on Earth, just way more expensive.


Collateral Beauty

Losing someone is very difficult, especially when they didn’t tell you any of their online passwords.

Fortunately, the deceased in this drama was too young to have that many PINs.

Spiraling into depression after losing his daughter, ad executive Howard (Will Smith) starts penning angry letters to Love, Death and Time.

When his business partners (Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Michael Peña) discover this they hire actors (Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, Jacob Latimore) to portray those concepts and confront Howard publically.

However, their scheme to get him deemed insane makes them reevaluate their own feelings towards those intangibles.

A failed attempt at an uplifting ensemble, the hokey premise gets more pathetic and laughable as it limps towards to its over-emotional ending. Not even its credible cast can save it from the sentimental scrapheap.

Besides, the only letters you should be sending after losing someone are those addressed to mail-order bride websites.


The upside to being a garbage man in the 1950s was that households only had one garbage can.

But even that can’t keep the trash collector in this drama from complaining.

Relegated to the back of the dumpster – alongside the other black sanitation worker Bono (Stephen Henderson) – failed baseball star Troy (Denzel Washington) shares his resentment with his co-worker, his wife (Viola Davis) and his two sons on a daily basis.

Over the years his anger, drinking and his adultery drives further wedges between his loved ones. Meanwhile he wages a personal war against the Grim Reaper.

Directed by Denzel Washington and featuring an Oscar-winning performance from Davis, this minimalistic film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning stage play is a powerful, albeit long winded, portrayal of a multifaceted but ultimately unlikable character.

Incidentally, movies are better than plays because you aren’t hit by any of the actors spit.



The best thing about growing up on an island is that it prepares you for if ever you get deserted on one.

However, the princess in this animated-musical sees no benefit to island living.

The daughter of a domineering chieftain, Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) yearns to stray beyond the coral borders of her Polynesian community, but her father forbids voyages abroad for fear of sea-monsters.

When she uncovers the real reason behind the leviathans and of her tribe’s seafaring legacy, Moana and her pet rooster set sail to capture a shapeshifting demigod (Dwayne Johnson) and liberate an island deity from captivity.

Although it does not stray far from the proven Disney princess story standards – an animal sidekick, an overprotective father and a bevy of songs – it does however do a commendable job incorporating those criteria in an amusing fashion.

Incidentally, shapeshifting is most useful when you can’t find a washroom.


The first thing a First Lady should do after her husband’s been assassinated is pack the White House silverware.

Mind you, the mourner in this drama has ample time to steal before removal.

Shortly after his assassination, John F. Kennedy’s revered wife Jacqueline (Natalie Portman) arranges an elaborate state funeral for him that is construed as controversial by his brother Robert (Peter Sarsgaard) and his voters.

She further confounds the public by conducting a Life magazine interview where she explains to a reporter (Billy Crudup) that her and husband’s legacy was akin to John’s favourite musical Camelot.

An artistic take on Jackie’s mental decline following the traumatic events in Dallas, this beautifully shot biography offers up an unseen glimpse into the grieving process of the world’s most beloved widow, masterfully performed by Portman.

And the Kennedys were just like Arthurian legend if JFK was Guinevere and Marilyn Monroe was Lancelot.

Doctor Strange

The worst part of being a medically trained super-hero is everybody wants a free diagnosis.

Thankfully, the villain in this fantasy film is keeping their moles to themselves.

When an accident leaves his hands mangled, noted neurosurgeon Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) seeks out a powerful mystic (Tilda Swinton) in hopes of regaining mobility.

Instead, the conceited clinician is introduced to an ancient magic that imbues him with the ability to cast-spells, travel between realms and astral project.

Elsewhere, an embittered ex-student (Mads Mikkelsen) gathers the numinous articles needed to summon a dormant evil from the dark dimension and release it on New York.

Intriguing enough for amateurs and faithful enough for diehards, this mind-bending adaptation of Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme is a masterpiece. A visual feast paired with formidable actors and a whimsical script, this origin story is absolutely original.

Unfortunately, doctors who practice magic tend to stitch rabbits into their patients.


Canadians received little recognition during WWII because everyone just assumed they were educated Americans.

Admiringly, this thriller recognizes the Canucks’ contribution to the war-effort.

Max (Brad Pitt) is a bilingual RCAF intelligence officer posted in Casablanca with instructions to assassinate the German ambassador. Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) is the French rebel posing as his wife, helping him carry out his orders.

Married after the war, Max is shocked to learn one day that his now-pregnant wife is suspected of being a German spy. Convinced otherwise, Max helps the army conduct a sting operation in order to prove her innocence.

While the story is a serviceable one with a scattering of half-decent action sequences and minor blips of post-war intrigue, it is Pitt’s ham-fisted performance that undermines it all with his dopey French accent and incessant reference to Medicine Hat.

Besides, why go to Medicine Hat when Nazis Germany is closer?



The number one thing that young black males want to be when they grow up is alive.

Followed closely by loved, as confirmed by this drama.

When a drug dealer (Mahershala Ali) and his girlfriend (Janelle Monáe) take pity on young Chiron (Alex Hibbert) due to his circumstances, their kindness ends up influencing the person he will become.

As a teen, an act of intimacy with a childhood friend (André Holland) results in humiliation that finds adolescent Chiron (Ashton Sanders) incarcerated and repressed.

As an adult, Chrion (Trevante Rhodes) has become a dealer himself with the need to reunite with his first love.

A brave rendition of the acclaimed stage play, this cinematic interpretation does the theatrical one justice in terms of acting and direction. Nevertheless, neither of these add-ons can quicken the story’s sluggish pace.

Incidentally, since it is no longer a play the audience may now text throughout the performance.


He’s a Rock Bottom Feeder. He’s the…


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