June 6, 2022 (D-Day)

Ambulance: Michael Bay started doing music videos when he was younger. He moved into more action adventure films with the Transformers series, The Rock, Pearl Harbor and Armageddon. He seems to like his action with a side of story. This latest effort focuses on two young men who were raised by a notorious, ruthhless bank robber. One played by Jake Gyllenhaal and the other Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (an actor unknown to me). Yahya was in the military and we see him looking for assistance for medical treatment for his wife who is having cancer treatment. He wants to break away from the family business. His brother on the other hand is a well known bank robber and he is looking for a sizeable score, and needs another man to assist. He brings his brother on board to the trepidation of the rest of the crew. There is a downtown LA bank that has a $32M score. One more score and then retire! Famous last words. Things don’t go as planned, which then involves an ambulance crew of two, one of whom is pretty but detached Eiza Gonzalez. Their lives all converge. I have to admit early on I wasn’t so sure that the more intense, and better provisioned police (like SWAT on steroids) were a counter criminal group using police-labeled vehicles to steal this score. They are a led by a hard ass who does very little to gain our sympathy. The plot unfolds.

The action sequences are well done. So many bullets, so few people hit. Cars crash. Bedlam in downtown LA, where on some level you would expect that the eddict would be that high speed chases where innocent civilians can be hurt would be discouraged. But where is the fun in that?! Certainly not for Michael Mann. It was also interesting to see what can be done from a moving ambulance. You can vary the speed to allow for certain procedures and not have an issue apparently. So the audience needs to suspend disbelief at some point. There is a real effort to have the audience cheer for the bad guys. Jake is guy in this role who pivots well but is a survivor, at all costs. It was okay. It entertained for a while. I am glad that I didn’t pay for this one. The budget for cars, ambulances and other vehicles was very high. If this is your genre you won’t be overly disappointed, as it is serviceable.

Dear Evan Hansen: A few years back I was in NYC when this was playing in Broadway. I didn’t know anything about it, but just noted the billboards were of a young man with a cast on his left arm. It is a musical. This movie brings the story to the big screen with Julianne Moore, Amy Adams and newcomer to me Ben Platt. It’s a high school drama, think Booksmart including the actress Kaitlyn Dever who was in that film too. Evan is a loner, quiet, odd, an outcast who lives with his Mom who is a divorced nurse from his Dad, whom has begun a new life elsewhere. Mom struggles to keep things together financially and otherwise. Evan isn’t very forthcoming with what is happening with his life, and some of his darker thoughts. He is given an assignment by his psychologist to write himself a letter for his upcoming day; trying to instill some positivity into the day ahead. It doesn’t go as planned and he revises the letter to reflect another day of failure. Enter another outcast, who takes his printed note to himself from Evan and walks away. Things happen. Evan has choices to make, and he errs on the side of trying to manipulate a situation and the facts which he makes up to assist himself. But lies are never away to build a positive life going forward. He is found out and the world again crashed.

This young man can sing. This isn’t a musical where you will be humming the music after it is over. The musical numbers are mostly ways to convey next steps without just saying them. There was funny moment for me when Evan is looking to better understand a classmate and looks up his recent reading list. One of them was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. That was a play I saw back in NYC when I went to attend the Tony Awards. Part of me was thinking as I was watching that young Evan should know that lying isn’t a positive way forward with his Mom, his classmates and the other principal family involved in the story. Guess it may take longer in some to recognize something many regard as table stakes. This isn’t CODA, not at all.

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