Mother, Sophie (Maria Bello), wants nothing but the best for her children, but a dark past and presence surrounding the family including mental illness continues to cloud and blur the lines of reality until young son Martin (Gabriel Bateman) begins to see what might in fact be the real problem. Called in to help, big sister, Rebecca (Teresa Palmer), digs up the family history to further expose what’s really going on, but stopping the darkness and bringing truth to light might just take their lives, how to find peace? Spawned of a popular youtube short film with the same name, Director and Co-Writer David Sandberg successfully creates a fully contained dark ride for the summer that manages to flesh out an original concept that doesn’t overstay its welcome, the film’s runtime is a mere 81 minutes. More impressive, the film maintains it’s fright factor well into the third act, typically the point where most horror films jump their spook shark and just go through the motions. Albeit, a few chunky plot omissions make for some rather boneheaded oversights if you actually stand back and think about the film; meanwhile, on the nose details are often spelled out too easily dumbing down the audience with unnecessary and cliche plotting. Regardless, the desired effect is reached and audience members will definitely think twice before they turn off the lights. Worth your time if horror’s your thing, Lights Out is rated PG-13.
Lifelong paranormal enthusiasts Erin and Abby (Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy) find themselves reconnected as an invasion of spirits appears to be descending upon Manhattan. Partnered with the mad scientist Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and local historian Patty (Leslie Jones) the four ladies comprise the Ghostbusters, specializing in the investigation and removal of paranormal activity in your neighborhood. But, winning the approval of New York won’t be easy, with the odds set against them will these ladies be able to stop the impending supernatural apocalypse?Directed by Paul Feig, this reboot of the wildly popular 80’s franchise has certainly been the point of much controversy in the last few weeks, comments largely spurred on by the film’s first trailer, which in fact is a poor representation of the spirit and spunk of the actual film. That being said, what we have here is a plot very similar to the 1984 classic, perhaps thinner in the antagonist department and not as fleshed out (so to speak), but more importantly is a solid comedy that allows for four incredibly talented comedic minds to stretch the norms, create new paths, and carry the baton proudly. In particular McKinnon’s disarming and frenetic performance cleverly melds the subtleties of Harold Ramis and wackiness of Bill Murray along with her own sensibilities to form a gem of a nut whilst Jones has her moments of earnest comedic zeal and Wiig and McCarthy shine as mostly straight women. Plus, solid chuckles abound with Chris Hemsworth’s performance as Kevin, the impossibly bone headed receptionist. And, for the hardened fans, yes, you get lots of love too, keep your eyes and ears set to enjoy plenty of callbacks and cameos. Bottom line, is this a masterpiece, no, but it is still a ton of fun and can safely live in the same Ghostbuster universe as its counterparts, get ready for ectoplasm, Ghostbusters is rated PG-13.
The highly educated and progressive survivalist Ben (Viggo Mortensen) finds challenge in raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and mental routine after the loss of his wife (Trin Miller). Determined to see that his wife’s last will and testament is upheld Ben hauls his family out of the NorthWest forrest called home and heads to New Mexico to confront his Father in law (Frank Langella). Learning to become socialized humans will be a challenge for all on this mission, but most challenging for who?Written and Directed by Matt Ross, this rich and in-depth look into the hearts and minds of fully rounded characters serves as a coming of age tale for all. Told with compelling turns and twists the ensemble shines and Mortensen truly provides a fantastic performance as the captain of this oddly formed family unit, meanwhile, rough edges and unrounded corners on some levels of the production make for an organic and sometimes rustic experience for the viewer, just the right tone. Albeit, a little long in the final act, the film is still a winner of the Golden Space Needle Award at this year’s SIFF for a reason, Captain Fantastic totally deserves your attention and is rated R.