By Robin E. Simmons



If you’re as hooked as I am on movies that trigger an adrenaline rush, then you will welcome this fix to your addiction.  There are no doubt the extreme sports stunts on display here deliver the intended visceral high.


In this, the third chapter (or is it episode?) of the blockbuster franchise that rebranded the action spy movie, Xander Cage, extreme athlete turned government operative, is emerging from a period of self-imposed exile.  However, he soon finds himself in a race with deadly warrior Xiang and his gang to recover what seems to be an unstoppable weapon known as “Pandora’s Box.  Having to recruit a bunch of new thrill-seeking sidekicks, Xander quickly discovers he’s in the middle of a deadly conspiracy that’s run by an evil cadre of world leaders. 

This movie is a perfect detox for the recent elections and perhaps it is – in some rather obvious ways – a result of it.

xxx-samNo matter your politics, one thing is certain, you will get your money’s worth of terrific set pieces and breathless stunts – in some cases the intense action almost overwhelms the story. 

I love this gang of multicultural resistance fighter and rebels.   But make no mistake; this is not a great movie.  But it is a great popcorn movie – it’s rowdy, big and loud.


la-moglie-piu-bellaLA MOGLIE PIU BELLA  (THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WIFE) (1970)

From writer-director Damien Damiani comes this truth-based tale of a defiant young woman (Ornella Muti) who rebels against the Mob.

This superior social issue/crime drama is based on Franca Viola, a Sicilian teenager who defied the combined wrath of the Mafia and her community.  Damiani’s script changes the names but adheres to the facts turning this disturbing story into compelling drama.

14-year-old beauty Ornella Muti is terrific as the teen that puts her foot down and goes to the police instead of acceding to the malignant old custom allowing a young Don to kidnap a rape a prospective bride.  Her defiance unleashes not only the rage of the mobsters but also the stern disapproval of family and neighbors.  This timely and relevant film is highlighted by a rich score from the great maestro Enno Morricone (available on an isolated track).  Twilight Time (limited edition).  Blu-ray

two-for-the-roadTWO FOR THE ROAD (1967)

Director Stanley Donen’s masterpiece has in many ways become the most influentially stylistic movie of the era – well, at least for me.  This gorgeous looking study of a marriage as seen through the lens of four road trips is worth finding if only for the stunning cinematography by Christopher Challis. 

Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn join forces in moments that vary from hilarious to brutal and deeply poignant.  The now legendary score by Henry Mancini is available on an isolated track.  I love this beautifully acted and perceptive story about a fractiously married couple glimpsed at various stages of their alternately tender and tortured relationship.  Nice extras include a fascinating commentary from director Donen.  Also there’s a fun Fox Movietone Newsreel.  This is a limited edition of only 3,000 units.