At The Movies: Kingsman: The Golden Circle

If you enjoyed the hyper-intense action, crude humor, offbeat villains, dapper heroes, and frenetic energy of the 2014 spy-comedy-action thriller “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” well, the sequel serves up more of the same.

Based on a comic book by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar, “Kingsman” is about a top-secret British spy organization where everyone has cool-but-deadly toys and dresses impeccably. The film opens with a blistering fight/chase scene as our hero, Agent Eggsy Unwin (Taron Egerton), gets ambushed outside Kingsman headquarters.

Kingsman-Golden-Circle-intl-poster-600x887Eggsy — and the whole Kingsman organization — has become the target of this episode’s outlandish villain, Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore). Poppy is a drug kingpin who runs her secret criminal enterprise, The Golden Circle, from a hidden stronghold in Cambodia.

When Poppy wrecks havoc on the Kingsman operation, Eggsy and Merlin (a.k.a. the guy behind the computer, played by Mark Strong) are forced to flee to the U.S., where they hook up with their American counterpart — The Statesman. Operating out of a distillery in Kentucky, the group is led by Champagne, a.k.a. Champ (Jeff Bridges). Champ’s crew is made up of whip-wielding Whiskey (Pedro Pascal), gun-toting Tequila (Channing Tatum), and Ginger Ale (a.k.a. the gal behind the computer, played by Halle Berry).

Also hanging out at Statesman headquarters, much to Eggsy’s and Merlin’s surprise, is Kingsman supreme Harry Hart (Colin Firth) — presumably shot dead in the first film. Harry is suffering amnesia since being shot in the face, so Eggsy will have to wake up his mentor before they can team up and take down Poppy.

Directed once again by Matthew Vaughn, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is ridiculous and over the top in every way — just like its predecessor. Yes, it’s not as fresh the second time around but the movie still manages to pull off more surprises than most of today’s films. The action sequences are impressive and the actors are charming.

Once again the film’s main weakness is its villain — Moore is just as absurd as Samuel L. Jackson was in the first film — and not always in a good way. Batman villains in the Adam West days were more subtle. I suppose that’s the point but it is hard to take threats seriously when they come from such whimsically weird characters.

Some people will complain about the movie’s 2.5 hour running time, but for a change I am not among them. It really didn’t feel like that long a movie when I was watching it and usually I’m ready for a film to be over at the 90 minute mark.





Gone: Len Wein










Gone: Don Williams

I ain’t gonna marry in the fall
I ain’t gonna marry in the spring
‘Cause I’m in love with a pretty little girl
Who wears a diamond ring.

And I’m just a country boy
Money have I none
But I’ve got silver in the stars
And gold in the mornin’ sun
Gold in the mornin’ sun

You’re my bread when I’m hungry
You’re my shelter from troubled winds
You’re my anchor in life’s ocean
But most of all you’re my best friend

I guess there’s not much I can do or say
Saw my baby with another guy today
Though I love her and I try to tell her so
It’s hello blues and down the road I go

Fate should have made you a gentleman’s wife

MI0003714342Coffee black, cigarette
start this day, like all the rest
First thing every morning that I do
Is start missing you

Some broken hearts never mend
Some memories never end
Some tears will never dry
My love for you will never die

Rendezvous in the night
A willing woman to hold me tight
But in the middle of love’s embrace
I see your face

Some broken hearts never mend
Some memories never end
Some tears will never dry
My love for you will never die

My baby said, I’z crazy
My mama called me lazy
I was gonna show ’em all this time
‘Cause you know I ain’t no fool
And I don’t need no more schoolin’
I was born to just walk the line

‘Cause you know I’m a rake and a ramblin’ man
Free as an eagle flies
Well, look at me now and tell me true
Do I look like a daddy to you?
Oh, do I look like a daddy to you?

It must be love
It must be love
I fall like a sparrow
Fly like a dove
You must be the dream
I’ve been dreamin’ of
Oh, what a feelin’
It must be love

When I was a kid Uncle Remus would put me to bed
With a picture of Stonewall Jackson above my head
Then Daddy came in to kiss his little man
With gin on his breath and a bible in his hand
And he talked about honor and things I should know
Then he’d stagger a little as he went out the door

I can still hear the soft southern winds in the live oak trees
And Those Williams boys they still mean a lot to me
Hank and Tennessee
I guess we’re all gonna be what we’re gonna be
So what do you do with good ol’ boys like me?

Lord, I hope this day is good
I’m feelin’ empty and misunderstood
I should be thankful, Lord, I know I should
But Lord I hope this day is good

I have drifted up across the mountain 
And I have stumbled down the other side 
I’ve been tempted, tried and troubled 
Come early morning I’ll be home and satisfied 

At The Movies: It

When did clowns get such a bad reputation? They used to be fun-loving jokesters — stars of TV, the circus and children’s birthday parties. Think Bozo, Ronald McDonald and Red Skelton.

Now, they’re better known for being creepy.

Some of the blame no doubt goes to Stephen King, whose 1986 novel “It” centers around a murderous, maniacal clown named Pennywise. It was made into a popular TV miniseries in 1990 and now comes the big screen version.

stephen_king_s_it__2017____poster___1_by_camw1n-daa4tl6Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) is an evil, magical thing that feeds on fear and comes up out of a well to terrorize children every 27 years. He meets his match, though, when he takes the little brother of Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher).

Bill is convinced his brother isn’t dead and spends the summer of 1988 searching for him in the small town of Derry with his loser friends — Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Stan (Wyatt Oleff), and Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer). They are later joined by the new kid, Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), the tomboy Bev (Sophia Lillis) and the outsider Mike (Chosen Jacobs).

Their tormentor – besides the killer clown – is town bully Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton). Bev’s father (Stephen Bogaert) isn’t very nice, either.

The kids just want to have a normal summer but horrifying visions keep getting in the way. Images that adults can’t see. This leads to not one, but two, showdowns with Pennywise in an abandoned house.

“It” is a decent, if long, old-school horror movie. It relies more on sudden shocks and scares — and actual character development — than gore and torture. I wasn’t all that impressed with the horror aspect of the movie, but there were one or two shocks. I was mostly interested in the kids and their relationships. The young actors were all pretty engaging.

The movie runs more than 2 hours which is a bit much for this sort of thing. And it’s clearly set up for a sequel so we can watch how the kids as adults deal with Penny. I’m betting we won’t have to wait 27 years for it.

Gone: Walter Becker

We seen the last of Good King Richard 
Ring out the past his name lives on 
Roll out the bones and raise up your pitcher 
Raise up your glass to Good King John 

You go back, Jack, do it again
Wheel turnin’ ’round and ’round 

I foresee terrible trouble 
And I stay here just the same 

I’m a fool to do your dirty work 
Oh yeah 
I don’t wanna do your dirty work 
No more 
I’m a fool to do your dirty work 
Oh yeah 

I heard it was you 
Talkin’ ’bout a world 
Where all is free 
It just couldn’t be 
And only a fool would say that

20th-century-masters-the-millennium-collection-the-best-of-s-55ed704c60655California tumbles into the sea
That’ll be the day I go
Back to Annandale
Tried to warn you
About Chino and Daddy Gee
But I can’t seem to get to you
Through the U.S. Mail
Well I hear the whistle but I can’t go
I’m gonna take her down to Mexico
She said oh no
Guadalajara won’t do

Well I did not think the girl
Could be so cruel
And I’m never going back
To my old school

And you could have a change of heart

I never seen you looking so bad my funky one
You tell me that your superfine mind has come undone
Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you my friend 
Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again 
When the demon is at your door 
In the morning it won’t be there no more 
Any major dude will tell you

I have never met Napoleon
But I plan to find the time

And I’m going insane
And I’m laughing at the frozen rain
And I’m so alone
Honey when they gonna send me home?

FM: No static at all

Throw out your gold teeth
And see how they roll
The answer they reveal
Life is unreal

I’m a bookkeeper’s son
I don’t want to shoot no one
Well I crossed my old man back in Oregon
Don’t take me alive

No I’m never gonna do it without the fez on 

I’ll learn to work the saxophone 
I’ll play just what I feel 
Drink Scotch whisky all night long 
And die behind the wheel 
They got a name for the winners in the world 
I want a name when I lose 
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide 
Call me Deacon Blues 

She’s the raw flame
The live wire
She prays like a Roman
With her eyes on fire

Drink your big black cow 
And get out of here


A RROY REPORT Special Report: LawyerCon 2017: Lake Tahoe: Part IV

Part IV: The Long Ride Home

I fear I may have given a wrong impression of the airline industry earlier in Part I. To be fair, we didn’t have many problems with Southwest Airlines or the airports of St. Louis, Las Vegas and Reno. Well, aside from losing Andrew’s luggage — and they got it to us the next morning so no harm, no foul. No, the real criminals in our ride to Lake Tahoe were the parents who think it’s fine to put infants on airplanes.

Yes, I had no real complaints with the airline industry on Saturday.

But that was about to change.


A photo of the Roy clan in happier times, while taking a boat ride on Lake Tahoe. Something to make you smile before the horror begins.

Got up early Friday morning and had a relatively uneventful drive to Reno. I screwed up a turn, but we got back on the right track without too much time lost. Arrived at the airport in plenty of time to return the car, check the luggage, deal with the TSA, and find our gate.

Board the plane. Wait.

Looks like the airport is full of traffic. We’re going to sit here a while until we’re cleared to go. Thank you for your patience.

We leave Reno about 40 minutes behind schedule, not a big deal but we’ve only got an hour between flights, which has now been cut down to 20 minutes.  Arrive in Las Vegas at gate D-4. Check the screen and see our flight is at gate C-9. That shouldn’t be too bad. Get out of D section and find we are at Gate C-23. Minus the four D gates we just passed, we now have 14 more to go. And the clock is ticking.

We briskly make out way through the crowded terminal. My son, who is usually 50 feet ahead of me on all walks, picks today to be pokey. Somehow, exhausted and out of breath, we make it to our terminal just in the nick of time.

The flight to St. Louis has been delayed by one hour. Thank you for your patience.

The gate is packed with people. There’s nowhere to sit, not because there’s no room, but because they had to make room for all the slot machines. An hour later we still have not boarded the plane.

We will be boarding shortly. We are waiting for the flight crew to arrive. Thank you for your patience.

Some time later — by this time time has lost all meaning — we board the plane. Everyone finds a seat. Someone walks by and says there are 9 seats left. Some time later, about 9 people board the plane. I guess once Southwest realized that they had forgotten to overbook a flight, they went back out into the terminal and started pulling people off the floor to join in.

Everyone’s seated. Still no movement.

We will be leaving shortly. We’re still waiting for some luggage to be loaded. Thank you for your patience.


Eventually, the plane takes flight. I would like to say that was the end of our troubles, but you know better than that. I haven’t mentioned the wonderful people we’re traveling with. Yes, there were your standard-issue crying babies, but they were not the bane of my existence this time.

Directly behind me was a young boy. A young boy who enjoyed kicking the seat in front of him — the seat I happened to be sitting in. By the window was a young girl, who spent the entire flight saying:






































In between them sat a man who I assume was their father – who didn’t do a G-D thing about any of this. When the flight was over and I could stand up, turn around, and face my tormentors, I considered telling the man that he was the worst father in world history. Instead he just looked up at me, smiled meekly and said, “Thank you for your patience.”

No, he really didn’t.

If he had I’d be in prison right now.


A RROY REPORT Special Report: LawyerCon 2017: Lake Tahoe: Part III

Part III: Shakespeare By The Lake (but not really Shakespeare)

Day Four

So, I’m thumbing through the “What To Do In Lake Tahoe” magazine that is one of the few free complementary things in our hotel room when I made an observation.

“Are you aware there’s a Shakespeare Festival going on around here this week?”

“Yes. A group of people from the conference are going to it. I didn’t get tickets.”

“What? Why?”

“Because you always complain about the extra-event activities.”

“No I don’t. Are you still mad about Utah? For Pete’s sake, I don’t have a problem with extra-event activities unless they’re designed to kill me.”

“Exaggerate much?”

” ‘Oh, it will be a nice nature walk up to a lake.’ No, it was a mountain climbing expedition up to a lake. I wouldn’t climb a mountain to see a lake if it was filled with Sports Illustrated swimsuit models. And nowhere in the brochure did it say that riding a bobsled was dangerous. It wasn’t until we got there that the people were all, ‘take this very seriously and follow our directions to the letter or you could be seriously hurt.’ I wasn’t thinking about me, I was thinking about Andrew. Shakespeare isn’t going to kill me… Unless it bores me to death.”

“So you’re saying we should go?”

“No. I’m saying you should go. Andrew and I will be at the pool. What show are they doing?”

“The Hound of the Baskervilles.”

“Excuse me? I’m no Shakespeare expert, but I’m pretty sure that’s not a Shakespeare play.”

“It’s not. At this festival they do one Shakespeare play and one by someone else. The night the group is going it’s someone else.”

“You still want to go?”

“Yes. They perform on a stage by the lake. It’s supposed to be very cool.”

“Treat Yo Self.”


Day Five

Normally on Wednesday we check out the local comic book shop. Alas, there were no comic book shops in Lake Tahoe. So it was another day at the pool. At some point we did go walk around back down where the shops and restaurants were. Walked through a couple of art galleries. That was a nice break from hot tub, pool, hot tub, pool. Yes, there is a casino at Harvey’s but we’re not really casino people. We walked through it a few times to get from here to there. If there had been an Avengers slot machine I might have played it.

That night the extra-event activity was dinner and dancing at a mountain lodge. So we boarded a bus and rode to the tram, which took us up the mountain. I don’t mind going up mountains if I don’t have to walk.

tahoe16 The views were spectacular, the food was meh, as is the way of these things. They did have some decent mac and cheese which Andrew filled up on. They had a really nice ice cream bar. And COFFEE. The dance floor was small and the music was loud so we (or rather Laurie and Andrew) didn’t do any dancing this year.


Day Six

The final day of conference Laurie got done early so we went for a drive around the lake. More spectacular views. That night Laurie had her closing banquet and the son and I had one last dip in the pool. All in all a pretty pleasant visit. Not one of my favorite LawyerCons but better than some. You lose major points if you don’t have a comic book shop or a dinosaur exhibit.

Tomorrow: The only thing worse than babies on a plane – toddlers on a plane