Jan 22 2016

The 5th Wave

The arrival of an alien spacecraft has brought four waves of increasing death and destruction on earth whittling humanity to a tiny presence. Now bracing for the fifth wave of destruction the military, led by Colonel Vosch (Liev Schreiber), has separated the remaining children from the adults to weed out humans from “the others” to create a nimble army of foot soldiers. Meanwhile, survivor Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moritz) is on a mission to keep her brother (Zackary Arthur) from harm’s way, military or not. But in this extraterrestrial gambit, who’s fighting for who remains the big question. 5thwave Based on Rick Yancey’s novel for young adults, all the typical hallmarks are present for the latest teen book to film conversion craze. Sadly, for relative newcomer Director J Blakeson having cookie cutter bits and pieces just isn’t enough to create a rich and compelling story, even with the star power invoked from the ensemble. And, while the film is clearly a setup for sequels it’s questionable whether that’ll be in the cards, throwing all the cliche turns, twists, and re-hashed scenarios at the wall the end result is a failure to spark the magic on an emotional level. Waiting for this to appear on the Syfy network is probably about right. The 5th Wave is rated PG-13.

Jan 15 2016

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

A group of government hired security detail composed of elite U.S. soldiers responsible for protecting the C.I.A. in Libya is called in to action as the U.S. Ambassador is killed during an attack at his compound in Benghazi. This is the story of six men who stood up to protect Americans in need caught in a deadly war zone where the enemy looks just like a friend.13hours Directed by the master of explosion and all things that go boom in the night, Michael Bay, this rock em sock em good guys vs. bad guys ensemble piece mercilessly thumps its way through Libya for 2 hours and 24 minutes blasting John Krasinski, James Badge Dale, Pablo Schreiber, David Denman, Dominic Fumusa, and Max Martini from one burning building to another bombed out rat’s nest. Intense in its show of force and firepower but almost zero sense of political understanding and context is brought to the table, and forced emotional sentimentality rings hollow; so, one thing is certain, we’re not getting smarter from this film, but we are getting an eyeful of boom, if you can accept that, and take the film for its apolitical approach and display of America’s finest in action, here’s your race horse. Maybe a matinee but really a rental 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is rated R.

Jan 7 2016

The Revenant

Frontiersman and guide to fur traders Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is brought within a millimeter of his life when he’s attacked by a grizzly bear. Left for dead Glass actually survives, but now has a chip on his shoulder. Hell bent on exacting revenge to the man who wronged him, John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Glass plots his course home; but, surviving in the great expanse will take every bit of strength, knowledge, and courage to make his plan come together.Revenant Inspired by true events and directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, this visually gripping tour de force combines Iñárritu’s sense of the supernatural, existential, and nature as witnessed in previous works Birdman and Biutiful along with the downright stunning and compelling cinematography of Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman, Gravity, Children of Man). The end result is two hours and thirty six minutes of one of the most intense, and compelling revenge stories ever told. And, despite the distinct lack of dialogue, DiCaprio rises to the challenge, bringing his “A” game and physical performance to a new level of amazing. Meanwhile Hardy and supporting actor Will Poulter complete the piece bringing strong drive to this deceptively complex and yet simple plot. Fair warning though, this hyper violent piece may be a bit much for those with delicate constitutions, but for those willing to take the ride, stunning story, jaw dropping imagery, and rock solid performances await. The Revenant is rated R.