Wednesday, 17 July 2024

‘Hit Man’ modern take on film noir; ABC launches a summer lineup


Streaming on Netflix, “Hit Man” has the feel of film noir with a decidedly modern twist where the central character is a mild-mannered college professor who moonlights doing undercover work for the New Orleans Police Department.

When rogue cop Jasper (Austin Amelio) is put on suspension, Glen Powell’s professor Gary Johnson is pressed into service as a fake hitman who goes undercover to ensnare murder-for-hire suspects.

At first, Gary seems a most unlikely candidate to pose as a hitman, considering his solitary lifestyle living with cats and being an avid bird watcher. But he quickly proves to be a most effective chameleon, adapting to every situation with all kinds of disguises.

Gary’s ability to convince potential clients he’s the real deal seemingly comes from his background as a professor of sociology and psychology, which lends itself to understanding the human psyche.

Of course, in the world of film noir, even a fake bad guy would be burdened by a weakness, which usually arrives in the form of seduction by a sexy and enticing femme fatale.

That day comes when Madison (Adria Arjona), an irresistible beauty, seeks out Gary to kill her abusive husband Ray (Evan Holtzman). Yielding to immediate attraction, Gary dissuades her from hiring his services so that she won’t get arrested.

His police handlers are disappointed that Gary didn’t close the contract deal, and the duplicitous Jasper sees an opening to getting his job back, especially after a series of circumstances result in the gunshot slaying of Madison’s husband.

Meanwhile, Gary first met Madison under the name of “Ron,” a sexy and charismatic charmer, as opposed to being a rather unassuming guy. Falling hard for each other, an inevitable dilemma arises to how long “Ron” can keep up the charade.

“Hit Man” works on several levels, from thrilling tension in the police work to an illicit romance fraught with explosive chemistry, with a pleasant backdrop of plot twists and screwball dialogue that doesn’t fail to entertain.


Claiming to lead the television season for the fifth consecutive year as the number one network in the coveted adults 18 to 49-age demographic, ABC heads into summer with a lineup of fan favorites and an all-new game show.

Jenn Tran, Asian-American physician assistant student from Miami, will make “Bachelor” franchise history when her journey to love begins on the upcoming 21st season of “The Bachelorette” beginning Monday, July 8th.

After charming audiences with her bubbly personality on Joey Graziadei’s season of “The Bachelor,” the 26-year-old fan favorite will begin handing out roses when the series returns this summer.

The day after “The Bachelorette” the celebration of the tenth anniversary and 100 episodes of “Celebrity Family Feud” will kick off with special “Family Feud: Decades of Laughs,” honoring 50 years of the iconic game show.

Hosted by stand-up comedian, actor and author Steve Harvey, “Celebrity Family Feud” game show features celebrities, along with their family members or their extended TV families, going head-to-head in a contest to name the most popular responses to survey-type questions for a chance to win $25,000 for charity.

Wednesday, July 10th brings a new season of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” with host Jimmy Kimmel. This iteration will feature a new twist with two celebrity contestants playing together with the hope of winning $1 million for the charity of their choice.

On the same night of July 10th, “Claim to Fame,” hosted by Kevin and Franklin Jonas, challenges relatives of celebrities to live together under one roof and conceal their identity and lineage for their own fame and fortune.

They will compete in challenges, form strategic partnerships and play DNA detective in hopes of avoiding elimination, winning the coveted $100,000 prize.

Winning the contest would allow the lucky champion to step out of their famous family member’s shadow by staking their own “Claim to Fame.” Season three will bring nail-biting competition, drama and more.

With a series premiere on July 18th, “Lucky 13,” hosted by Shaquille O’Neal and actress Gina Rodriguez, is a high-stakes game show that will have viewers on the edge of their seats while shouting answers at the screen.

From the creative team behind “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” “Lucky 13” tests contestants’ knowledge of 13 true-or-false trivia questions but with a cunning twist.

Just how well do they know what they know, and just as importantly, how well do they know what they don’t know. If they can accurately predict how successfully they’ve answered 13 questions, they could take home a $1 million cash jackpot.

Returning the following week on July 16th, “Judge Steve Harvey,” the one-hour unscripted courtroom comedy series, where the eponymous host stars as the judge and jury dealing with a variety of conflicts and characters.

The courtroom cases range from small claims to big disputes and everything in-between. Judge Harvey plays by his own rules, basing his courtroom on his own life experiences and some good old common sense.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

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