The biblical spectacular of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a Jewish prince falsely imprisoned by his adopted Roman brother, Messala (Toby Kebbell), who would eventually free from his chains, seek revenge, but instead find redemption, this is his story. Directed by Timur Bekmambetov this beast of a film lumbers its way through heavily trodden plot points in a totally unnecessary cinematic re-telling. Laughably staged, and eye rolling at times, it’s hard to imagine why this project was green lit in the shadow of all that have come before, oh, but for chariot races in the year 2016 and Morgan Freeman’s narration. This 124 minute slog feels more like 180 minutes and sorely begs for refinement. Pass. Ben-Hur is rated PG-13.
Two lifelong friends, David Packouz (Miles Teller) and Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill) hit it big with the U.S. government selling arms to the Pentagon. Specifically, supplying America’s allies in Afghanistan– a logistical and political nightmare. How the duo managed to pull off the $300 million dollar contract, a rise and fall from grace, this is their story. Directed and partially written by Todd Phillips, this situationaly comedic story based on true events shouldn’t surprise anyone with a cursory knowledge of modern U.S. history and economics; this go round, shining the spotlight on the U.S. military and capitalism. The upside, Teller and Hill are relatively believable in their roles, although Hill doesn’t seem to really be acting, and the story is one that should definitely be told and heard. The downside, the turns and twists to create a really compelling story are never fully developed and we don’t really ever care that much about our leads. End result, a film that metaphorically mimics it’s plot, it never completely delivers the goods and feels a bit hollow. Maybe worth a rental later. War Dogs is rated R.
Imagine for a moment the food we eat as humans had a conscience and ability to talk, imagine that food was taught to believe when it left the grocery store to the great beyond it would find a blissful redemption? Now imagine what would happen if food learned the truth, that leaving the grocery store would actually mean an almost certain death as the gods gnashed their hungry teeth? This is that story, the story of Frank the sausage (Seth Rogen) and his girlfriend Brenda the bun (Kristen Wiig), their epiphany and need to spread the word to the rest of the food at Shopwells, although, convincing the food population to fight back won’t be so easy, and just how does one overthrow the gods/humans? From successful animator directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon and the writers of Pineapple Express and This is The End comes the summer’s perfectly irreverent comedy, foul in all the wrong ways, dark, imaginative, and sophomoric all the while. Mind you, this is not high brow comedy in the slightest, but, it is intelligent none the less and plays right into the pop culture pockets for those who appreciate a low down dirty good time. Voiced by an all star comedy cast including the likes of Bill Hader, James Franco, Salma Hayek, Edward Norton, and Jonah Hill the end result is a strong way to finish off the summer film season, with a bang, er…so to speak. Sausage Party is rated R.