Based on the true events of surrounding the mid 80’s Olympics, two champion wrestlers Mark and Dave Schultz (Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo) and multimillionaire sponsor and “coach” John E. du Pont (Steve Carell) would make history. But just how exactly would their mark be made, and, with what consequences? As it’s been said, money is root of all evil. First and foremost, it’s imperative to know this is NOT a funny film, in fact, despite the comedic talents of the ensemble, Director Bennett Miller has instead created one of the darkest and haunting films for 2014. Thoroughly exploring the warped mind of an overprivileged, and entitled man-child seeking his mother’s approval Carell’s transformation is truly something disturbing, giving cause for the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up and recoil in repulse. Meanwhile, the work by Tatum and Ruffalo does not go unnoticed, thoughtful and scarred, the dynamic between the two feels explosive and rich with undercurrent. Looking for that slow burn dramatic powerhouse, look no further, you’ve found it! Foxcatcher is rated R.
It’s been years since the night guard, Larry (Ben Stiller), discovered the strange happenings after dark at the American Museum of Natural History– at sundown the artifacts and exhibits come to life. Powered by the magic tablet of Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek), the museum has garnered considerable attention by the public, that is, until the magic started to die. Tasked with saving tablet and the exhibits, Larry, Ahkmenrah, Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck), Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Jedediah (Owen Wilson), and Octavius (Steve Coogan) will have to travel to foggy old London town to solve their problems. But, even Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens) might not be able to save the day. Meanwhile, Larry’s son, Nick (Skyler Gisondo), is ready to spread his own wings, it’s a time of letting go, will Larry have the courage to let the things he loves most go? Aiming for the family fun ticket this holiday season Director Shawn Levy appears to indeed create and save the magic one more time with a bittersweet message about self growth that rings simple and truthful despite the otherwise fantastic circumstances surrounding the museum. Especially poignant are some of the final words from Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney, sad, but almost a knowing and loving goodbye. Meanwhile humor hitting on multiple levels, albeit some sophomoric, lends plenty to bring a smile, easy escapism for the holidays. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is rated PG.
Rounding out the last few pages of Tolkien’s novel “the Hobbit,” Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and the dwarves under the leadership of Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Ermitage) are left to comb the kingdom of Erebor in search of the arkenstone, the mythic crown jewel of the dwarves. Meanwhile, armies of Elfs, Orcs, Dwarves and Humans have set their sights on the kingdom’s treasure and it’s strategic military position. The table is set for one more monstrous battle for middle earth, but who can, should, and will prevail? And what of this dragon sickness that Thorin appears to be suffering from? Playing perhaps as the strongest and most thoughtful of the Hobbit trilogy Director Peter Jackson has managed to take what was once depicted as an animated scribble in the 1977 telling of the same story and fleshed it out into a full two hours and twenty minutes of axes swinging, arrows flying, Orcs bellowing, and dragons soaring. And yet, even with all of it’s magic and wizardry somehow the great mystery of the Hobbit continues, how does a film let alone a trilogy manage to survive absent of heart and soul? The darkness of the Necromancer (Benedict Cumberbatch) must truly be at work here. Mildly distracting age reversal and softening CGI work also comes as a surprising shortcoming, especially considering that so much of the film actually spins from the patient hands of CGI artists and animators, ho hum. So, while the film does play as a who’s who of Tolkien lore with appearances from Galadriel (Kate Blanchett), Saruman (Christopher Lee) and Elrond (Hugo Weaving), this final installment feels a bit like a college senior in the last few weeks of school, ready to be done and on to new adventures. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is rated PG-13.