Financial investor and manager James King (Will Ferrell) is nailed with fraud charges and given thirty days to get his affairs in order before he serves 10 years in San Quentin penitentiary. In a stroke of ignorant genius King decides he needs a coach to teach him how to survive on the inside, enter car wash entrepreneur and NON-CRIMINAL Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart). Desperate times for both individuals, James needs knowledge and Darnell needs cash, a deal is struck. But, will Darnell’s training pay off, will James in fact get “Hard” for prison, and what about James’s soon to be father in-law (Craig T. Nelson) and his investigation into James’s alleged wrong doings? Will justice ever be served? Directed by first timer Etan Cohen, all the standard tropes of a Will Ferrell flick seem in action, a bumbling idiot of a man based heavily on the stereotypes of the idiots of our time, a goof, a buffoon, yet still pointed with intelligent satire and a hefty dose of physical comedy. And, to Kevin Hart’s credit, finally a role that demands more dynamics than just screaming, in fact it’s a chance to shine, a one man show that takes place in a tennis court comes to mind, well played sir. Technically proficient, it’s hard to fault a film that delivers exactly what we’ve come to expect from its principal actors; and, while not a great film from it’s overall plot and lunacy, the laugh out loud count could have been a little higher, chuckles were still plentiful. Maybe worth a matinee for fans but really more of a rental, Get Hard is rated R.
Sometime in the future mankind has been reduced to ruins living within the confines of a crumbling city. Governed by 5 groups of people, each with distinct personality characteristics it would appear as if Beatrice (Shailene Woodley) fits in with more than one group– thus making her divergent. Thought to be a plague that needs to be eradicated, governess, Jeanine (Kate Winslet), is on a mission to round up all divergent humans, but for what purpose and to what end? Could it be that Beatrice just might be the missing link to save humanity but also destroy it? Directed by Robert Schwentke and based on the novels by Veronica Roth this young adult action adventure journey continues to do exactly what’s expected of the genre, continuing to play out like a Hunger Games knock-off. Points for originality? Nope, not a chance. Points for acting? Eh, maybe a few. Points for engaging action? Sure, a few nods and smiles here. Anything else really noteworthy? Not particularly, if you’re a fan of the books you’ll probably have greater appreciation overall. For the rest of us, skip it and use your two hours in some other productive manner. Insurgent is rated PG-13.
A former spec ops mercenary, Terrier (Sean Penn), working in the Congo finds himself the target of a mysterious hit squad. Questions loom, who sent the hit and why, who will survive, and what about Terrier’s love interest and inspiration Annie (Jasmine Trinca)? Directed by Pierre Morel and produced by Sean Penn this paint by numbers action flick delivers its payload exactly as prescribed by every other action flick we’ve seen in the last decade messaged with sparse political insight to corruption within Africa and the Congo. Enigmatic in the fact that the sum of the parts all add up to an impressive and talented cast with bit parts from Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone, and Idris Elba; but, left with such an unimaginative scenario, the movie barely stays afloat for its runtime just shy of two hours. Still, if action is your bag, well choreographed fight sequences won’t disappoint. More of a rental The Gunman is rated R.