Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a direct sequel to the original Star… MoreStar Wars: The Force Awakens, a direct sequel to the original Star Wars trilogy, revitalizes the franchise, delivering an exciting and action-packed space adventure. In the wake of the disappearance of Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi Knight, two rival factions, the Resistance and the First Order, chase after a driod that contains a map to Skywalker's secret location. The plot is quite similar to that of the first Star Wars; changing out the Death Star plans for a map, Darth Vader for Kylo Ren, and a na´ve farm boy for a scavenger. Yet it still has its own style and tone that both homages the original trilogy and does its own thing. Additionally, newcomer Daisy Ridley has great screen presence and gives a strong performance. Also, the special effects are incredibly well-done, as are the sets and costumes. With Star Wars: The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams has returned the series back to its roots.
An unbelievably atrocious bastardization of J.M. Barrie's beloved… MoreAn unbelievably atrocious bastardization of J.M. Barrie's beloved tale, Pan is wretchedly awful. There's a seed of good idea here, with Peter and Hook being friends when they first met, but then it all gets junked up with prophecies, star-crossed loves, and Nirvana songs (really, Nirvana songs!). Garrett Hedlund's portrayal of Hook is rather interesting, but Levi Miller brings nothing to the role Peter; who's a one note character with no charisma. The special effects on the other hand, are quite good and are used extremely well to create an imaginative fantasy world. And the score does what it can to bring excitement and wonder to the film. However, Pan is fundamentally flawed on a story level; it's wrong for these characters and tries to turn them into something that they're not.
From director Judd Apatow comes the raunchy romantic comedy… MoreFrom director Judd Apatow comes the raunchy romantic comedy Trainwreck. The story follows a promiscuous tabloid journalist named Amy whose commitment issues keep her from getting involved in long-term relationships, but she begins to reconsider her ways after she starts to date a sports doctor that she's doing an article on. Unfortunately, Amy Schumer plays the character in such a sarcastic and hostile way, as to make her incredibly unsympathetic. And the vulgarity doesn't help any. Trainwreck is exactly that, an ugly, humorless mess of film.
Though its themes are a bit familiar, Self/less is an exciting and… MoreThough its themes are a bit familiar, Self/less is an exciting and provocative film. When faced with his impending death a wealthy businessman named Damian Hale undergoes an experimental procedure to have his consciousness placed into a genetically engineered body, but after experiencing several vivid hallucinations he discovers that he's actually been placed inside the body of another person whose mind is being suppressed. Ryan Reynolds gives a strong performance, as does Ben Kingsley. And the film does a good job at exploring the moral questions that arise from extending life and switching bodies, along with the nature of life and what makes up a person. Extraordinarily compelling, Self/less is a smart and well-crafted sci-fi thriller.
From director Guy Ritchie comes the action-packed spy thriller The Man… MoreFrom director Guy Ritchie comes the action-packed spy thriller The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Based on the '60s television series, an American CIA agent and a Soviet KGB operative are teamed up as part of a join mission to stop a rogue nuclear scientist from creating a bomb for a weapons dealer. Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, and Alicia Vikander lead the cast and give strong performances. The plot however, can be a little confusing at times; with multiple twists and reveals. Still, the action is well-shot and brings a lot of energy to the film. Also, there's a rather satiric and lighthearted tone that has a bit of humor to it. Entertaining and fun, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. delivers an exciting film that's full of thrills.
A poorly made sex comedy, What's Your Number? is formulaic and trite.… MoreA poorly made sex comedy, What's Your Number? is formulaic and trite. After reading an article in a woman's magazine Ally Darling discovers that she's a slut and is on the verge of becoming statistically unmarriable; she then vows not to sleep with any more guys and instead works with her neighbor to track down her old boyfriends, hoping that one of them is Mr. Right. Anna Faris and Chris Evans lead the cast, but neither of them gives much of a performance. And the plot is painfully predictable, almost from the start. The comedy too is pretty rote, though it does deliver a few laughs. Yet despite a few funny moments, What's Your Number? is completely forgettable.
An intriguing crime-drama, Mr. Holmes explores the elderly years of… MoreAn intriguing crime-drama, Mr. Holmes explores the elderly years of the world's most famous detective. Ian McKellen stars as an infirmed Sherlock Holmes who's retired to the countryside and is working on a memoir about his last case. McKellen's performance is rather interesting, and is quite different from the usually portrayals of the Holmes character. However the storytelling is rather weak, with a lot of nonlinear flashbacks that make the mystery kind of hard to follow. And the mystery itself doesn't seem to pose that much of a challenge or to be of any series importance. Somewhat of a subdued thriller, Mr. Holmes is a daring new interpretation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's beloved character but it's not very engaging.
With Inside Out Pixar takes a rather old concept and reimagines it in… MoreWith Inside Out Pixar takes a rather old concept and reimagines it in a wonderful and exciting new way. The story follows an 11-year old girl named Riley as she adjusts to a recent move from Minnesota to San Francisco; and helping her are her core emotions Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear, but when an accident ejects Joy and Sadness from the control center of Riley's mind she starts to suffer an emotional breakdown. The voice casting is really well-done, particularly Amy Poehler as Joy and Lewis Black as Anger. And the animation is amazing; with extraordinarily creative designs for how the mind is structured and visualized. Another Pixar triumph, Inside Out is a fun and entertaining family film that has a surprisingly touching message.
Wacky adventures ensue when Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein… MoreWacky adventures ensue when Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein in this hilariously fun romp. While performing at a local amusement park, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore run across Dr. Frankenstein and his monster at the spookhouse; as the Doctor has been hired by the park manager to frighten up the attraction. The music is surprisingly good and is quite catchy. Also, the animation is really sharp and colorful. Still, some of the humor is rather broad and the jokes can be a little juvenile. Yet for a kid's film, Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein is entertaining and has some clever satire.
Mel Brooks delivers a loving homage to the classic Universal Monster… MoreMel Brooks delivers a loving homage to the classic Universal Monster Movies with the hilarious Young Frankenstein. Mainly drawn from the first three Frankenstein films (especially Son of Frankenstein), the story follows Dr. Frankenstein's grandson Frederick, who inherits the family estate and discovers his grandfather's private journal which contains the secret to re-animating life. Starring Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Teri Garr, and Madeline Kahn, the film has a strong cast; Wilder in particular is outstanding, really nailing the comedy. And Brooks does a brilliant job at emulating the classic look and feel of old Hollywood films. Yet the humor can be a little broad and overly slapsticky at times. Still, Young Frankenstein is incredibly fun and delivers a lot of laughs.