The third time’s the charm. After a lackluster first film and a clusterfuck of a sequel, the rebooted franchise finally gets it right with Star Trek Beyond. No longer awkwardly straddling the original and new continuities, the latest Star Trek film offers a wholly original story and the first really good movie in the Star Trek franchise in 20 years.
After learning their entire civilization is nothing more than a science experiment, first-half of the final book in the Divergent series follows Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), Christina (Zoë Kravitz), and Peter (Miles Teller) over the wall, through the desolate wasteland and into an advanced city run by the Bureau of Genetic Welfare (which, you guessed it, turns out to be as equally corrupt as the society they fashioned in an attempt undo centuries of genetic manipulation).
Allegiant follows the same predicable patterns of the first two films, including a major supporting character’s death early on, before uniting the faction-less Chicago (which has broken into mob rule since learning the truth about the outside world) under a common purpose for next year’s series finale. While finally offering a reason for the bizarre society of single-characteristic factions, Allegiant still doesn’t make the premise any easier to swallow. Jeff Daniels (who I’m assuming must have a daughter who likes these books) is slumming it here as the leader of the genetic zealots behind the curtain.
Writer/director Paul Feig‘s lazy adaptation of the much-beloved 1984 comedy Ghostbusters isn’t the complete trainwreck I half-expected. The movie does have its share of laughs, and the CGI ghosts (with a couple of notable exceptions) are impressive. It’s too bad the script is not. While the film offers glimmers of what could have been, we are instead left only with regrets about what is.
Despite being based on true events concerning the Coast Guard rescue of SS Pendleton, The Finest Hours feels every bit an exaggerated movie script. Over and over during the film, the small boat under the command of Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) completes such a litany of “impossible” tasks that their actions are actually undercut by the movie’s script. It also doesn’t help that every other person in the movie is a damn fool than other than Bernie or his fiance Meriam (Holliday Grainger) who at one point “teaches” a sailing community to leave their car lights on to help the sailors find the shore.
The script from screenwriters Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, and Eric Johnson also struggles with scale. Until Bernie and his men find the Pendleton we have no comparison between the small rescue boat and the sinking tanker. Even spending much of the film with the crew of the lost ship, a questionable decision which splits the focus of the film, The Finest Hours struggles with even the most basic aspects of storytelling.
As spy stories often do, Our Kind of Traitor opens in Russia. However, for our protagonist things begin far away from Moscow. On vacation with his wife Gail (Naomie Harris), Perry (Ewan McGregor) has a chance encounter with a Russian gangster named Dima (Stellan Skarsgård). One wild night later, Perry is presented with an offer he can’t refuse.
Created by Edgar Rice Burroughs more than 100 years ago, Tarzan has been adapted countless times in film, radio, television, and print. The latest version of the jungle hero from director David Yates chooses to forgo an origin story (which is given to us in small flashbacks over the course of the movie) in favor of a more civilized Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) returning to Africa with his wife Jane (Margot Robbie) to investigate troubling news concerning the Congo, where he was raised and became a legend – and where an old enemy (Djimon Hounsou) is waiting.
I had very mixed reactions to 2008’s shaky-cam monster movie Cloverfield which kept me from seeing this sequel of sorts in theaters. Only tangentially connected to the first film, 10 Cloverfield Lane is an old school psychological thriller which begins when Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is run off the road one night and wakes up chained to a mattress in an underground bunker with a pair of strange men (John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr.).
In what is likely going to be one of the more divisive films of 2016, the latest from writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) casts Elle Fanning as a naive 16 year-old girl just breaking into the model business in Los Angeles. Blessed with an ineffable quality no one can quite explain, Jesse (Fanning) soon becomes the hot new girl, much to the dismay of a pair of models (Bella Heathcote and Abbey Lee) seeing their careers flash before their eyes.