Having gone on an unexpected journey and endured the desolation of Smaug, Peter Jackson’s bloated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ finally comes to ‘The Battle of the Five Armies,’ which is less of a climax to this trilogy than a distended epilogue. After spending two movies and 330 minutes building up the dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) as the ultimate antagonist, he’s eliminated from the story completely in the first ten minutes. He’s literally gone before the title appears onscreen.
Movie Reviews - Page 4
You could comfortably bake several loaves of bread—plus a cake or two—in the time it takes to get through ‘Exodus.’ This film does run an hour shorter than Cecil B. DeMille’s famous version of ‘The Ten Commandments’ from 1956, but at times it feels just as long; maybe longer.
Maybe not every story about the sheer determination of the human spirit over impossible odds needs to be a movie. This was my thought while watching Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken,’ the true story of Louis Zamperini (played by rising star Jack O’Connell), a World War II hero who is brutally beaten to within an inch of his life in a Japanese prisoner of war camp so many times that I lost count. The real life story is inspiring—and it truly is remarkable that he survived—but to watch it play out in front of your eyes over and over and over again almost feels sadistic. It gets to the point that every time we see O’Connell on screen, we automatically think, “I bet this poor man is going to get beaten again, isn’t he?” And we are always right.
Memories are so sensual. The right song will bring you back to the first place you ever heard it; a particular blend of smells will put you back in your grandmother’s kitchen (toasted bialys with cream cheese do it for me every time). ‘Wild’ communicates this idea better than almost any movie I can think of. As Cheryl Strayed hikes the entire Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada alone, sounds and sights she encounters on her physical journey send her—and the audience—on a psychological journey into her past, to learn exactly why she decided to embark on such a crazy and potentially dangerous expedition. Strayed hikes the PCT with a comically large backpack—“The Monster,” as a few of her fellow travelers dub it—but it’s clear that the heaviest baggage she carries is the emotional kind.
World War II involved more than two dozen countries spread across six continents and tens of millions of soldiers. But according to ‘The Imitation Game’ the entire conflict hinged on the actions of half a dozen crossword puzzle enthusiasts in a couple of huts in the South of England. It was there that a team of cryptographers created a revolutionary machine that could decode Nazi messages and turned the tide of the war for the Allies. Their leader was Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), a mathematician who was rude, disrespectful, and socially awkward in the extreme—and also one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century. ‘The Imitation Game’ considers his life: His great achievements, his most-closely hidden secrets, and the ways in which the latter may have helped inspire the former.
Some ideas just aren’t cut out for sequels. ‘The Hangover’ was ingenious and hilarious—for one movie. But another ‘Hangover’? With the same guys? That doesn’t make a ton of sense. ‘The Blue Lagoon’ was striking and exotic. But a ‘Return to the Blue Lagoon’? More castaways? On the exact same deserted island? Sorry, no thanks. To the list of concepts that could not support a sequel but got one anyway, we can now add ‘Horrible Bosses 2,’ a flimsy retread of the 2011 comedy that had barely enough material to fill one film.
‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1’ is a movie comprised almost entirely of deleted scenes. As it says right in the title, this isn’t the final chapter of ‘The Hunger Games’ series; it’s just the first half of the final chapter, and that’s exactly what it feels like. It’s table setting for a meal that won’t be served until next November. ‘Mockingjay - Part 1’ is good-looking, well-acted, and utterly inessential.
Reunited and it feels so dumb, with Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels back as Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne.
The actors are compelling, but the New York Times obituary contained even more drama in 700 words than 'Foxcatcher' does in 130 minutes.
Opening on November 7 is the new Disney animated hullabaloo titled ‘Big Hero 6.’ In ‘Big Hero 6,’ five regular human beings are brought together to fight crime alongside an inflatable robot doctor. I swear that all of this will make sense, kind of. Ahead, as a service to the world, we answer every question that you could possibly have about ‘Big Hero 6.’