One might exit the theater after seeing 'The Signal' and feel compelled to run down a list of its seeming influences. 'Chronicle,' 'Dark City,' 'The Island' and John Byrne's acclaimed 'Next Men' comic of the early 1990s all spring to mind, not to mention scores of movies where a bunch of teens foolishly go somewhere dangerous and isolated when logic says they should turn around and run. But in the thick of it, William Eubank's low-budget sci-fi/horror/thriller is so focused on keeping you in the dark (despite its bright white walls) that these influences don't seem so obvious. The simplicity and elliptical nature of the script and the empathy from the actors (namely relative newcomer Brenton Thwaites) sustains this crafty and modestly budgeted film's hook. You kinda sorta know what's going on from the start, but the movie is sharp enough to toy with you, making it a good deal of fun.
It’s interesting that Universal is promoting ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West,’ a film that is not funny, as a comedy. I suspect it has a lot to do with the human carnage we witness on screen being unbearable to watch, so the only way to desensitize an audience’s eyes to what they're about to witness is to somehow convince the viewer that what their about to see is a comedy – even though there is not one laugh to be had.
Tom Cruise (‘Taps’) will be back in theaters, with his image projected onto a giant screen, on June 6 with a new movie titled ‘Edge of Tomorrow.’ In ‘Edge of Tomorrow,’ Cruise plays a soldier who finds himself in a time loop, who keeps reliving the same day. While watching, will you feel like you’re reliving the same day? Is ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ the best movie of the summer so far? How would that be possible when summer doesn’t even start for another month? Are we in a time loop? As a service to you, we answer every question that you could possibly have about ‘Edge of Tomorrow.’
‘Blended’ - the latest movie starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore - isn’t a horrifically bad movie. It’s actually even a little better than what you’d expect from Adam Sandler these days – but I did find it terribly depressing to watch.
Even though the story behind ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ has been around for 33 years now, the idea of a superhero movie meshed with a movie about time travel seems, let’s say … daunting. Especially for a superhero franchise like X-Men, which is known for having a lot of superheroes.
It’s just that it’s hard enough to make a big-budget superhero movie make sense (as the so very recent ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ taught us) -- and adding the cinematic equivalent of pai gow (at least, nothing confuses me more than pai gow) to this whole equation seemed like kind of a bad idea. I mean, how many time travel movies make sense in the first place, beyond the ‘Back to the Futures’ and the ‘Loopers’ and the ‘Primers’ of the word? And none of those movies have dozens and dozens of mutants to keep track of their whereabouts.
‘Million Dollar Arm’ is fine. It stars Jon Hamm, who is fine, as a fine sports agent named J.B. Bernstein who tries to find some fine baseball players in India in this fine true story. And he succeeds, recruiting both Dinesh Patel (Madhur Mittal, who is fine) and Rinku Singh (Suraj Sharma, also fine) who, after a rocky start, both wind up being fine. Lake Bell also stars, and isn’t given a whole lot to do, but she’s fine.
After you see ‘Million Dollar Arm,’ people will ask you, “How was ‘Million Dollar Arm’?” And you will respond, “It’s fine,” then go about your life and probably never once think about ‘Million Dollar Arm’ again on your life. Which is fine.
'Godzilla,' the 2014 version from relative newcomer Gareth Edwards, is just about as good as a big fat summer tentpole movie gets these days. It's fun, scary and awe-inspiring in just the right places. Some of the acting is dull and the dialogue isn't exactly dripping with nuance, but these concerns are secondary. The set pieces are marvelous, the special effects are terrific and great care has gone into keeping the visual storytelling fresh.
You want a poster quote, cause here it comes: this 'Godzilla' is a monster!
It's hell getting old. You're overworked, underpaid, get grey hairs, everything hurts, there's barely time for sex, you fall asleep on the couch watching 'Game of Thrones' and, unless you're George Clooney, you're just not cool anymore. You either hike up your pants and accept it, or you wage all out war. It's the latter that highlights the uproarious Seth Rogen and Zac Efron comedy 'Neighbors,' which just might be the funniest American movie since ... well, since Seth Rogen's last movie.
There are some movies that feel personal because of the relationship the writer, director or actors have to the material. 'Chef' -- written, directed and starring Jon Favreau -- doesn't just feel personal, it feels like it's ripped directly from the pages of Favreau's subconscious diary. While it's a charming enough indie film about the connection between professional and personal passions that also serves as a fascinating look inside the psychology of a major Hollywood director.
Most of what I know about complex science comes from comic books, so forgive me if my understanding of quantum mechanics is a little off. But, I think it can mean that particles can exist in two states simultaneously. 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2,' a film loaded with such half-understood notions of difficult scientific concepts, is a quantum movie. It manages to be both awful and entertaining, frequently at the same exact time. The script is ludicrous, even by summer blockbuster standards. The characters behave irrationally and without motivation and the story makes lengthy, frequent pit stops into dull backstory. But, for every moment of tedium and confusion there is a tiny explosion of joy. Director Marc Webb just barely ties this collision of half-baked ideas together in a sticky Spidey bow.