Recently, it occurred to ol’ Robbo that I am guilty of renting about the same thirty-odd movies from Netflix over and over again.  Therefore, I decided to branch out and sample a few current flix that I had never seen before, just by way of mounting an affirmative defense against charges of stick-in-the-mudism.  Because summah is upon us, I deliberately chose lighter fare.  My thumbnail thoughts (and, for the benefit of the Mothe, short synopses) on said movies:

Red – Bruce Willis as a retired CIA rock star who suddenly finds himself the subject of a hit order put out (for reasons never quite clear to me) by the Vice President.  Willis teams up with some of the Old Gang, together with a hot young thing to put the kybosh on the Veep and his Agency goons.  Not a bad flick, although I’m fairly certain one viewing was enough.  It was fun to see Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren doing their git-off’n-my-lawn-ya-young-punks routine.

Iron Man II –  Robert Downey Jr. returns as the 21st Century Tin Woodsman to continue battling bad guys (both foreigners bent on revenge and eeeeeevil corporate dorks bent on soaking Uncle) while at the same time staving off his own impending death due to his power pack.   Meh.  I thought the first movie was all right, but this one seemed a lot more, well, confused about what it was trying to say.  And how is it that these Iron Man suits seem to be so easy to put together?  You’d think any kid could knock one up in his garage out of  the water-heater, the family p.c. and the microwave.   I have to say that I thought the Russian bad guy was magnificent – he looked like he was right off the Steppes and could give the Mongol Hordes a pointer or two.

Date Night – Steve Carrell and Tina Fey as stolid, boring suburban couple who go to Manhattan for said date night and,  in a plot device stolen directly from North By Northwest, get mistaken by some crooked cops at a fancy restaurant for denizens of the underworld who stole a flashdrive from a mob boss, which drive the crooked cops want pronto.  Thrills, chases, detective work and middle-aged suburban family wisecracks ensue, with the whole thing winding up, alas, in a strip-club, where it turns out that the flashdrive contains pron pictures involving the City DA who (of course) has a public image as Mr. Clean.   Eh.  I like Carrell and Fey, and also Mark Wolberg (who looks like he’s wearing a Stretch Armstrong suit here).  I also liked a few of the one-liners and action bits.  But I still much prefer Cary Grant and Eve Marie Saint chasing about the face of Mt. Rushmore.

Prince of Persia –  An adventure story from way-back-when involving said Prince, a delicious princess, desert armies, a magical dagger and palace intrigue.  (Oh, how you’ve fallen Ben Kingsley!)  I think I actually enjoyed this film more than any of the others in this list, simply because it delivered exactly what it promised – mindless action.  (I understand it’s based on some video game, so there you go.)  The only criticism that comes to mind is the fact that Jake Gyllenhaal is positively the least Persian-looking actor one can possibly think of,  resembling more a Crusader who got lost on the way to Joppa.

So there you have it.  Now that I have done my duty viz the horizon-broadening, I shall now return to my regular cycle of the likes of John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and Alec Guinness, because in the end it’s quite true that they don’t make ’em like they used to.