Movie Reviews 

Mother’s Day

by Alan Rapp on April 29, 2016

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Mother’s Day
  • wiki: link

Mother's DayFollowing the pattern of his last two films (Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve) director Garry Marshall‘s Mother’s Day is a cookie-cutter ensemble dramaedy set around a particular holiday. Filled with paper-thin characters who all can be described by a single characteristic who are marginally connected through themes of mothers and their daughters, Mother’s Day is a lazy film filled with sitcom humor and blase drama that asks the bare minimum of its cast. If it were a meal, Mother’s Day would be a lukewarm McDonald’s extra-value meal that no one bothered to put under the heat lamp. If it were a color it would be beige.

The stories include divorced mother (Jennifer Aniston) of two sons (Caleb Brown and Brandon Spink) struggling with the news that her ex-husband (Timothy Olyphant) has married a much younger woman (Shay Mitchell), grown sisters (Kate Hudson and Sarah Chalke) hiding their romantic relationships from their conventional parents (Margo Martindale and Robert Pine), a widower (Jason Sudeikis) and his two daughters (Ella Anderson and Jessi Case) struggling to move on a year after his wife’s death, a career-minded Home Shopping Network star (Julia Roberts) with what passes for a dark secret in this movie, and a waitress (Britt Robertson) unable to commit to her boyfriend (Jack Whitehall).

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

  • Title: The Huntsman: Winter’s War
  • wiki: link

The Huntsman: Winter's WarI wasn’t too impressed with 2012’s retelling of the fairy tale of Snow White. While visually elegant, I felt the story lacked heart and a willingness to truly embrace the fairy tale. Dumping one of its two title characters for the sequel, The Huntsman: Winter’s War brings back the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth), the evil Ravenna (Charlize Theron), and two of the seven dwarves (Nick Frost and Rob Brydon) in a movie that is both prequel and sequel to the original.

The movie’s plot-heavy first forty minutes or so is problematic as the sequel explains the origins of Ravenna’s sister Freya (Emily Blunt) who will serve as the main villain this time around. These sequences also explain Freya’s madness brought on by tragedy and her army of Huntsman. This offers an extended backstory on Hemsworth’s character as well, including his relationship to both Freya and another Huntsman (Jessica Chastain) who kicks her share of ass and turns out be a far more interesting character than Kristen Stewart‘s Snow White. While still flawed, the sequel proves to be more fun than the original and something closer to the questionable success of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and Jack the Giant Slayer.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Criminal

by Alan Rapp on April 15, 2016

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Criminal
  • IMDb: link

CriminalThe premise behind screenwriters Douglas Cook and David Weisberg‘s Criminal is fairly ridiculous, even for B-movie action flick. Sadly, it’s not nearly as entertaining as the pair’s 20 year-old collaboration – The Rock. Set in present day, the death of Agent Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds), who alone has vital information to keep backdoor access into the missile command of the United States out of the hands of a terrorist (Jordi Mollà), causes the CIA to attempt an experimental procedure to implant Pope’s memories into a brain-damaged convict named Jericho (Kevin Costner).

Costner is an interesting choice for a remorseless cold-blooded killer forced to deal with unexpected feelings for a wife (Gal Gadot) and child (Lara Decaro) who are not his own and a mission he never signed-up for. His casting looks to be a huge misstep in the early scenes before Jericho’s operation, but the more conflicted the character becomes over the course of the film Costner’s performance begins to become one of the movie’s biggest strengths.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

  • Title: The Jungle Book
  • IMDb: link

The Jungle BookAs with Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and 101 Dalmatians, Disney’s latest attempt to offer a live-action version of one of their classic animated movies offers mixed results. Originally based on the stories of Rudyard Kipling, 1967’s The Jungle Book took us into the jungle to follow the adventures of Mowgli the Man Cub (Neel Sethi), a young orphan raised by wolves. Rather than offer a straight reinterpretation of Kipling’s work or a direct live-action version of Disney’s animated feature, the new movie attempts to do both leading to an uneven story that is too dark for its lighter moments and simple bizarre when it tries to recreate animated sequences (such as Mowgli and Baloo singing “Bare Necessities” down the river) in realistic CGI.

The choice to cast well-known actors in the main CGI roles also turns out to be a questionable decision. While Ben Kingsley and Idris Elba are used well, and the plodding plot certainly picks up with the introduction of Baloo (Bill Murray), Murray isn’t so much acting here as doing his own shtick which, while entertaining, works against creating the seamless reality needed to sell the story.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Midnight Special

by Alan Rapp on April 8, 2016

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Midnight Special
  • IMDb: link

Midnight SpecialWriter/director Jeff Nichols‘ latest is an unusual movie more likely to appeal to sci-fi nerds than the general public. Midnight Special is a good science fiction movie with two major flaws which keep it from becoming the great science fiction movie that starts out with so much promise during its first half-hour.

Without preamble or set-up, we’re thrown into the middle of the action involving the abduction of a young boy named Alton Meyer (Jaeden Lieberher) from a religious cult by Alton’s biological father Roy (Michael Shannon) and Roy’s childhood friend Lucas (Joel Edgerton). It doesn’t take long us to suspect that Alton is no ordinary boy and why the cult, the United States Government, and Roy all have very different plans for Alton and his unique gifts.

A common problem in films like this is when they remind the audience of better films from which they borrow story elements. And Midnight Special borrows heavily. Although not in their class, Midnight Special will remind you of movies such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Starman, and countless others.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }