Commentary

June 27, 2014

Fly Over: ‘3 Days to Kill’ and ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’

Nestor Cruz and Grace Lee

On DVD:

three_days_to_kill

‘3 Days to Kill’

Kevin Costner seems to be enjoying a resurgence in mainstream film roles lately. Following great supporting roles in last year’s “Man of Steel” and “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” earlier this year, Costner returns to being the leading man in “3 Days to Kill.”
This action-comedy is written by Luc Besson, who also wrote and directed 1994’s “Leon: The Professional,” 1997’s “The Fifth Element,” and wrote the screenplay for “Taken” and the “Transporter” series.
McG, known for 2000’s “Charlie’s Angels” and 2009’s “Terminator Salvation,” directs.
The movie begins with Ethan Renner (Costner), a CIA agent on assignment overseas. He’s in pursuit of a terrorist known as The Albino, right-hand man to an international arms dealer known as The Wolf, when his body weakens and begins to stumble. Renner manages to muster enough strength to shoot The Albino in the leg before losing consciousness. He awakens in a hospital where a doctor tells Renner he has cancer and approximately 3 to 5 months left to live. This information compels Renner to move back to Paris to reconnect with his estranged daughter Zooey (Hailee Steinfeld) and ex-wife Christine (Connie Nielsen).
Reconnecting with Renner’s family seems challenging enough. Sure, Steinfeld plays up the rebellious, I-don’t-know-my-father teen, calling her father “Ethan” and opting to ride the metro with friends rather than be in a car with Renner. Add to that the appearance of mysterious agent Vivi (Amber Heard) who hires Renner to track down and kill The Wolf. She offers as payment a nameless, experimental drug that promises to extend Renner’s life.
So Renner is back in action one last time as he tries to make up for lost time with his daughter. As Renner works on his case, it becomes more complicated by his determination to stay engaged with his daughter when family issues intrude.
“3 Days to Kill” is an awkward mix of action, drama and comedy, but keep in mind this movie was directed by the same guy behind “Charlie’s Angels” and “This Means War.” There’s a subplot involving a refugee family squatting in Renner’s Paris apartment that feels a bit out of place in this movie, but it provides a few entertaining moments.
Costner is believable enough as a kick-butt CIA agent. He doesn’t have any frenzied fight scenes like Jason Bourne, but he does have an intimidation factor working for him here as both agent and father.
Steinfeld does a decent job playing typical American teen Zooey. She has boy problems, freaks out when she can’t get her hair right and even changes the ringtone on her father’s phone with very little effort. It bothered me a little bit when Zooey’s walls came down rather quickly for a man she hadn’t seen for several years.
Besson managed to write a story with enough action and quirky moments to provide entertainment for two hours. Did this movie really need a two-hour run time? Maybe not. But between Renner’s mission of tracking down The Wolf and his personal mission to be the father he never was, there’s never a dull moment in “3 Days to Kill.”
The movie is enjoyable enough as a rental but bad enough to make me glad I didn’t spend $9.50 to watch this in the theater. It helps to go in with low expectations and enjoy the movie for what it has to offer, not what it should be.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language.

 

And on Amazon:

Fly-over-The-Richest-Man-in-Babylon

‘The Richest Man in Babylon’

Wealth — many people want it, but how can someone who doesn’t come from a wealthy background acquire it?
As a child I didn’t heed my mother’s advice. Now at 24, I listen to every word of advice she gives me. This is especially true after seeing my parents go from being financially successful and stable to struggling. Recently, I told my mother I didn’t want to make the same financial mistakes and in response she urged me to buy the book “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George Clason.
Before I begin my review, let me tell you a little bit about myself and my family. My parents are divorced and my father, who I seldom talk to, has lost almost everything — a business, two houses and has nearly cleaned out his savings. My mother on the other hand has kept all her houses, despite the tremendous loss of sales and revenue her last business underwent during the economic crash. When I asked her what her biggest regret was, she told me it was not saving throughout the years when her businesses were doing well.
In the past I remember her telling me “pay yourself first,” and I thought I was by buying what I wanted in the heat of the moment, but I didn’t really know what that meant until I read “The Richest Man in Babylon.”
“The Richest Man in Babylon” was published in 1926 and is written in parables set in the ancient city of Babylon. Today, it’s a classic in financial literature.
The book follows a wealthy man named Arkad teaching his two childhood friends, Bansir and Kobbi, financial lessons through stories so that one day they too can be rich.
The first lesson is to “start thy purse to fattening” or as my mom would say, “pay yourself first.” The book recommends saving at least 10 percent of one’s earnings before spending the rest on basic necessities, rent and more.
It also covers the importance of frugality or “controlling thy expenditures” by putting the additional income made when one’s earning power or salary increases into savings.
One huge takeaway I got from this book is making one’s money work for you or “make thy gold multiply.” It tells the story of a man who doesn’t bother with bending down to pick up a coin because he earns more than that in the amount of time it takes to pick it up. This is because no matter what he’s doing, he is generating income. It also talks about only investing in what one is an expert in or has knowledge of and steering away unfamiliar areas.
The book isn’t just about saving and investing but also about furthering one’s development by constantly learning to “increase one’s ability to earn.”
Although I’m only a senior airman, I try my best to save as much as I can. I do little things like turning off the air conditioning when I leave the house, eating out only on weekends, not buying things on impulse but really taking the time to ask, “Is this something I really need or just want?”
I also see the value of not waiting to save, but starting now in order to prepare for the future. This book has really made me excited about saving. Although I may not make as much as others do now, someday I will by continuing to pursue my education, reading books to expand my knowledge, saving up to buy a home or following in my mother’s footsteps by becoming a business owner.
I highly recommend this book to people of all ages, since it is easy to understand and anyone, no matter their career or income level, can put these basic teachings to use.




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