Instead of embracing any semblance of light and levity left over from his first film, filmmaker Scott Cooper’s highly anticipated follow-up to his 2009 hit ‘Crazy Heart’ goes straight for the darkness, never quite emerging on the other side of it, much to the detriment of both the feature and its audience.
Cooper’s ‘Out of the Furnace’ is a miserable experience, and though that seems to be entirely the point, that doesn’t mean it needs to come with such little redeeming value, at least as it applies to the film’s emotional stakes. The first act runs through a series of ever-increasing bad situations, bad acts, bad decisions, and bad accidents, but it's a lack of emotional investment that keep them from hitting with any sort of impact. It’s just one big stew of bad stuff, and the only interesting thing about it is waiting for everything to inevitably boil over.
Sometimes great artistry comes from coloring inside the lines.
Walt Disney Animation's newest film, 'Frozen,' does precious little to push the boundaries of narrative storytelling. Indeed, it is a quite predictable – might I even suggest formulaic - culmination of elements. While picking over the bones of a half-remembered Hans Christian Andersen story, 'The Snow Queen,' Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck's film expands certain themes, disposes of some characters and, of course, modernizes a bit for contemporary audiences. However, miraculously, this doesn't feel like a Xerox of a Xerox impersonating a classic Disney film. There's precious little winking; hardly any of the 'Shrek'-effect. 'Frozen' has enough of the goods to play it straight and succeed on its own terms. It is a major entry in family-friendly entertainment, one that ought to reverberate for years with tie-in toys and stage productions.
You'd think that a guy trapped in a hotel room for 20 years would find a better movie to be in once he got out, right?
'Oldboy,' Spike Lee's remake of the Park Chan-wook cult film from 2003, is a fairly rotten film, which is strange because it is very similar to the rather effective original. Sometimes, though, there's something gained in the translation.
A successful Jason Statham film requires a limited amount of cinematic resources: a stunt budget, a cartoon villain, a script with peppered with goons to punch in the face, and a Jason Statham. Hire a director who has streamed at least three Statham action movies off Netflix to cobble together a thin plot and — boom! — entertainment.
Perhaps because Oscar-nominated screenwriter/painter Sylvester Stallone took on writing duties, Statham's latest film, 'Homefront,' dares to opt out of the formula in favor of a character-driven crime story. A novel idea, but unfortunately, this film is a bore. Like Stallone's own' Bullet to the Head,' 'Homefront' believes it's cut from the same cloth as Walter Hill's 'Southern Comfort,' but it can barely muster up the thrills of an episode of 'MacGuyver.'
When the closing credits rolled after the original 'The Hunger Games,' I thought to myself "eh, not bad." But I was in no rush to see the follow-up. When the closing credits rolled after Francis Lawrence's 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,' after I was able to collect myself, I was fully prepared to run out and get a mockingjay tattoo. Over my heart. With the phrase, "I will lay down my life for you, Katniss Everdeen, because you are the first and finest true hero of 21st century cinema."
I don't mean to sound flip concerning a very serious topic, but I'm not really sure what else to glean from Peter Berg's 'Lone Survivor,' a based-on-true-story tale of a Navy SEAL operation gone south. It is a brutal, unpleasant way to spend two hours. The violence is relentless and unsubtle, and when the audio/visual PTSD smoke clears, there's the realization that you've learned nothing about these characters or the wider situation in Afghanistan. Berg's sole intent is to simply show the job these men do - “gotta pay the bills,” one character IMs to his wife. While slice-of-life narrative can sometimes be rewarding, in a film with as much manipulation as this it just isn't enough. 'Lone Survivor' rattles but it doesn't stir.
To be a heart-on-your-sleeve weepie in 2013, you've got to have some far-fetched gimmick. 'About Time' has time travel, 'Safe Haven' had ghosts and 'Delivery Man' has Vince Vaughn as an anonymous sperm donor hunted down by hundreds of his young-adult offspring. The mechanics of the plot are so ludicrous that audiences should be forgiven for shouting, “No, sorry, it wouldn't work that way!” back at the screen. But one has to give the movie credit for its sheer audacity. It refused to offer an explanation for its instigating illogic. Great character actor Damian Young gets the unenviable task of delivering the hook with the phrase “certain complications arose ...”
I can't do it. I can't remove myself from the reality of my surroundings and engage with 'Saving Mr. Banks' on pure moviegoing terms.
Maybe it's a fault within me. Maybe I cling to cynicism too much. But if John Lee Hancock's film met me just halfway – if this were a roman a clef and the names of P.L. Travers, Walt Disney and Mary Poppins were changed – perhaps I could get over the hump and care about this picture more. But at the end of the day, this is a movie about Disney, made by Disney, in which a Disney business deal is presented as a transformative good. When the big emotional breakthrough happens at freaking Disneyland that was when I had to get off the ride.
Director Nancy Meyers ('Somethings Gotta Give,' 'It's Complicated') is criticized for writing and directing movies tailor made for upper-middle class white people. They're not bad, simply insidious for painting a fantasy world of luxury where the biggest challenges become surviving family vacations in mansion-sized summer homes. Bougie.
Meyers might take less flack if Hollywood made an attempt to diversify in the slightest. “Minorities” (in quotes because they're just as dominant and important to the success of the entertainment industry and country as the “majority”) deserve their schmaltzy, shiny, melodramadies too, and they stand to be watchable. 'The Best Man Holiday' is the answer to this conundrum.
Imagine, if you can, a film about World War II, and orphaned children, and looming death, and brutal Nazis, and the horrors of the Holocaust. Then imagine a narrator for that film. Then imagine the worst possible narrator* for that film – just the most wrong-headed, bizarre and frankly offensive narrator you can possibly picture. Keep that in mind. (And, if you’re not familiar with either the film’s source material or its IMDb page, don’t worry about any spoilers here, we’ll save them for the very end.)
It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.
It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://screencrush.com using your Facebook account.