May 17 2024

The Blue Angels

Director Paul Crowder takes the public behind the scenes, into the boardroom, and up to the skies for an in depth look at the operations, training, and performance of Navy and Marine’s elite flying team The Blue Angels. Examining the team and support staff’s constant aim and pursuit for perfection, this visually sharp piece serves to inform as much as entertain in its attempt to enlighten the viewer to the organization’s totality, its rich history, and how the Blue Angels are continuing to adapt and inspire new generations of pilots and aviation enthusiasts. And, while a case could be made to show how the entire film serves as recruitment piece for the U.S. Navy, there’s also a balance of material showing the dangers, physical rigor, and mental challenges that serve to illustrate beyond the basics of six pilots flying in really fast jets. As it turns out, in fact, the jets are really just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. And, backed by some of Hollywood’s biggest names, Producer J.J. Abrams, Executive Music Director Hans Zimmer, and Arial Director of Photography Michael FitzMaurice, the film comes with a degree of polish that should be experienced in IMAX for the full intended effect. Running just over 90 minutes, this flight exercise is sufficiently timed, if anything even just a shade long, but who’s counting? As we near Memorial Day Weekend, this is one way to reflect on the armed services in a lighter manner. The Blue Angels is rated G.

May 10 2024

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

Many years since the death of their leader, Caesar, the primates of earth have become divided in their ways of life. Now, with the arrival of an unusual human visitor, Mae (Freya Allan), a young chimp, Noa (Owen Teague), is challenged in his own beliefs, turning his own world upside down; on a journey to save his clan, Noa, will have to make decisions that could further impact the relationship between humans and apes on a greater scale. And, what of this new Proximus Ceasar (Kevin Durand) and his own trajectory to subvert human technology? Will the humans and apes ever co-exist in harmony?Written by Josh Friedman, Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver and Directed by Wes Ball this continuation of the Apes franchise continues to offer up impressive visual effects, largely utilizing motion capture technology and CGI to create a stunning illusion. But, from a screenplay and story angle a relatively stale and archetypal hero’s journey awaits the viewer in almost paint by number form leaving little suspense to the film’s conclusion and setup for…wait for it…another Planet of the Apes film. Sure the film works as a carrier for a recounting of present day politics through the sci-fi allegorical lens, but the tact used is relatively thin and there’s little new ground tread. Regardless, fans will still find plenty to enjoy, just don’t overthink the physics of liquids when it gets to act three. Running two hours and twenty five minutes in length, a sharper razor in the editor’s booth would have been appreciated, still, perhaps worthy as a matinee or a rental/stream later. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is rated PG-13.

May 3 2024

The Fall Guy

After falling on hard times Stuntman, Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling), gets a call to help an old flame now budding movie director, Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt). Meanwhile, Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), the lead actor in Jody’s film has gone missing; fortunately, Colt knows a thing or two about Tom and possibly how to find him. Now, transporting his skills as a stuntman to a bounty hunter, Colt will have to race against the clock to save Jody’s film, the movie star, and his love life all at once.Written by Drew Pearce and Glen Larson and Directed by David Leitch, a former stuntman himself, this homage to the stunt community and loose interpretation of the 1980’s television series serves as a fun palate for Gosling and Blunt to ignite their on screen chemistry, an X-factor these two have in truckloads, which is in fact the saving grace for this otherwise thinly outlined plot. Of course the stunts are big, the explosions are bigger, the thrills, chills, and spills ensure your seat best be securely fastened to the floor. It’s mission accomplished for fun, but let’s not be too hasty on the mental acuity accolades. Running just over two hours of runtime, the end credits are a must watch featuring some of the more impressive behind the scenes shots, stunt actors, and outtakes from the actual film production. It’s fun, unchallenging material for your weekend viewing pleasure, The Fall Guy is rated PG-13.