Archive for the 'Reviews' Category
Never Quite Reaches a Full Head of Steam
A thriller based on a best-selling novel with the word “girl” in the title, the new film The Girl on the Train is virtually impossible to think about without instantly comparing it to 2014’s Gone Girl. Certainly the filmmakers behind the new movie are hoping that the film finds similar success as its predecessor, which earned its star Rosamund Pike an Oscar nomination. And certainly each of the movie’s three lead female performances warrant consideration, especially Emily Blunt as the titular girl on the train. The rest of the film, however, leaves something to be desired.
An Epic Story of Revolt
Having already been much talked about on the film festival circuit and after taking home both the grand jury prize and the audience award at Sundance, Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation seems primed for an Oscar run. In the same vein as Oscar winners like Schindler’s List and 12 Years a Slave, its subject matter is often difficult to watch, but it is an important story that needs to be told and its director has done a terrific job of telling it.
Reliving a Disastrous Night
In April 2010, the off-shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded, leaving oil gushing from an underwater well in the Gulf of Mexico for eighty-seven days. It is considered to be the biggest oil disaster in U.S. history. While the ongoing spill and the attempts to cap it got headlines for months, what was lost in the shuffle was the horrifying experience of those working aboard the rig when it happened. The movie Deepwater Horizon is here to remedy that.
Doesn’t Burn Bright Enough
Based on the 2012 novel of the same name by M.L. Stedman, The Light Between Oceans is being adapted for the big screen by writer/director Derek Cianfrance, whose previous films Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines have won him some critical praise and indie cred, but have not yet broken him through with most audiences. The subject matter given to him by the novel combined with the A-list cast he has assembled makes this movie an instant Oscar contender on paper. Oscars are not won on paper, though. They are won on the silver screen and this movie does not shine quite bright enough.
Less Songs, More Fur
Disney has no shortage of movies in their catalogue to remake and it appears as if they plan to go through them all. The animated Jungle Book was given an update earlier this year and now Disney brings us a remake of their 1977 live-action/animated hybrid Pete’s Dragon. Director David Lowery has made it clear that the movie is not so much a remake as it is a “re-imagining.” Gone are the songs and much of the plot, but what remains is the heart of the film, a story of a young orphan boy and his friend, who just so happens to be a dragon.
Things Are Getting Messy
Inspired by characters from DC Comics and acting as the next chapter in the DC Cinematic Universe following Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad is unique in the superhero genre in that its “heroes” are villains. The movie’s director, David Ayer, has described it as a “comic book version of The Dirty Dozen.” The concept is intriguing and the trailers certainly made it look like an entertaining romp, but unfortunately the first thought that comes to mind when watching the film is “what a mess.”
Return of the Amnesiac Spy
The first film to introduce moviegoers to the character of Jason Bourne was 2002’s The Bourne Identity, directed by Doug Liman. That movie was moderately entertaining, but the series really excelled when Paul Greengrass took over for the second and third movies in the franchise, completing a trilogy that did an excellent job of wrapping up the overarching Jason Bourne plotline that was introduced in the original. That was then, as they say, and this is now.
They Ain’t Afraid Of No Reboot
The new reboot of Ghostbusters is the second movie this year to get totally trashed by Internet commenters prior to anyone actually seeing the movie. Whereas Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice did not do much to save its reputation upon release, Ghostbusters is likely to fare much better. Why? Principally because it is full of a crucial entertainment element that the DC Comics film just failed to provide: fun.
Big Friendly Family Fun
Author Roald Dahl published his children’s novel The BFG in 1982, the same year filmmaker Steven Spielberg released his classic film E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Now thirty-four years later, those two powerhouses combine for the movie version of The BFG. Spielberg is directing from a script by the late Melissa Mathison, her first produced script in nearly twenty years. Mathison, by the way, wrote the script for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.
Not so Legendary
The saying goes that “when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” We all know the legend of author Edgar Rice Burrough’s Tarzan novels, about the boy raised in the jungle by gorillas. The new film adaptation, The Legend of Tarzan, opens after the legend has already been printed and now the character must return to the jungle and re-establish the fact. Whether or not he will be able to do that is never really in doubt.
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