This low-budget, sci-fi extravaganza from director Jeff Nichols (Mud and Take Shelter) will completely captivate you.
Less is more. Midnight Special is a rare low-budget film that rewards itself purely based on its own ambition. If you strip everything away from Midnight Special it’s merely a chase movie. Add a touch of sci-fi, a talented cast and “BAM!” you’ve got Midnight Special. Director Jeff Nichols’ newest feature film adds beauty to its simplicity.
It also holds the spirit of Spielberg throughout. Without giving too many spoilers away, Midnight Special’s story is about a father (a terrific Michael Shannon) and his eight-year-old son (the mysterious Jaeden Lieberher) who go on the lam upon discovering that the boy possesses mysterious powers. Roy (Shannon) is trying to get his son to safety and out of the hands of a religious cult (one he use to follow) and the government. Actors that also standout in this film are Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton, Adam Driver and Sam Shepard.
Nichols explores moral themes between a father/son relationship and he does so through the eyes of his talented cast. This also marks as the fourth collaboration between Nichols and Shannon. My advice, is to go see this film with an open-mind and hopefully you'll take something away from its overall theme. I went to see Midnight Special completely blind and I’m glad that I did. Our heroines, in the film, will help guide the audience through a dark journey until they finally reach the climax. In the end, this is a movie that will linger with you long after it’s over.
Midnight Special is rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned) For some violence and action.
The Little Prince is a marvelous piece of artwork skillfully painted in homage to the original hit book (1943).
One of the most colorful and extraordinary films of the year and unfortunately many people will not get the chance to see it on the big screen. The reason being is that Paramount Animation choose to drop the film indefinitely. The good news is that Netflix later picked up the film and will release sometime in 2016. The Little Prince is an animated feature based on the best-selling novel from 1943. It's a novella from the most famous work of the French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
The Little Prince also is the fourth most-translated book in the world and was voted the best book of the 20th century in France. Translated into more than 250 languages and dialects (as well as Braille), selling nearly two million copies annually with sales totaling over 140 million copies worldwide, The Little Prince has become one of the best-selling books ever published. It’s a fascinating story of loneliness, friendship, love, and loss.
The book shares with us the author’s own memoir as he recounts his aviation experiences in the Sahara Desert. The tale is philosophical and also includes social criticism throughout. This poetic tale is brilliantly illustrated with watercolors, by which a pilot stranded in the desert meets a young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. Now, fast-forward to the present day as director Mark Osborne (Kung Fu Panda) captures that classic tale with a few modern twists added into it.
The story follows a little girl (voiced by Mackenzie Foy) who lives in a very grown-up world with her mother (voiced by a wonderful Rachel McAdams), who tries to prepare her for it. Her neighbor, the Aviator (voiced by the brilliant Jeff Bridges), introduces the girl to an extraordinary world where anything is possible, the world of the Little Prince (voiced by a fascinating Riley Osborne). The movie blends mesmerizing stop-motion with beautiful computer animation.
The stop-motion scenes in the desert were mostly created using paper, even the Little Prince was made out of paper clay. This gives the film a sense of wonder and awe as it captures the essence of the classic tale. The Little Prince is also backed by talented voice assemble (Bridges, McAdams, Osborne, Foy, Paul Rudd, Bud Cort, Marion Cotillard, Benicio del Toro, James Franco, Ricky Gervais, Paul Giamatti and Albert Brooks). The elements from the novel are woven into an original narrative, but have no fear the novels original story and theme isn’t lost. The Little Prince is a beautiful movie experience that deserves to be seen.
The Little Prince is rated PG (Parental Guidance). For mild thematic elements.
Hardcore Henry's first-person, shoot 'em up style will give you a headache throughout in this video game-like experience.
Bloody ambitious to a fault, but in the end Hardcore Henry still failed to deliver a fun movie-going extravaganza. Nearly entirely shot using GoPro Hero3 Black Edition cameras, Hardcore Henry tried a little too hard to softly revolutionize the film industry. It would have been better as a 15-minute short feature, but instead the studio went all out with a full-length film.
The action, action and more action becomes tedious by the end and you’re sure to get one hell of a headache from the usage of the non-stop GoPro. Hardcore Henry is better written as a video gaming experience. There’s a reason why first-person features appeal better to the eye as video games than as movies. The storyline is rather thin: a first-person action film from the POV of Henry, who's resurrected from death with no memory. He must save his wife from a telekinetic warlord with a plan to bio-engineer soldiers.
Really, the only exciting aspect from the movie was actor Sharlto Copley and his prestigious ego throughout the film. He’s badass, as he captures the raw essence of what being a lunatic truly is. Hardcore Henry had some impressive thrills throughout, but not enough to satisfy the normal action junkie craving. It’s also not a film for viewers who get motion sickness easily. Hardcore Henry hurdles you through bloody twists and turns until you’re black and blue in the face. Ouch!
Hardcore Henry is rated R (Restricted). For non-stop bloody brutal violence and mayhem, language throughout, sexual content/nudity and drug use.
The Boss: Watch Your Assets
Well, The Boss is better than Tammy but that’s not saying much. Once again, Melissa McCarthy’s comedic talent is wasted.
Last summer’s parody smash, Spy, seemed to be a new era for actress Melissa McCarthy, then The Boss decided to make an entrance. Let’s make this clear, McCarthy is funny and she always has been. Ever since her career starter with Gilmore Girls, McCarthy has made a name for herself. She's excelled in well-written comedies such as Bridesmaids, The Heat, St. Vincent and Spy. However, she’s also been flustered in poorly-written comedies such as Identity Thief, The Hangover Part III, Tammy and now The Boss.
As soon as McCarthy hits a comedy reign there’s always been a film to follow that knocks her back two steps. The Boss is thinly-written and poorly executed to be called a true comedy. McCarthy still is able to bust out a few zingers, but not enough to save the film itself. The Boss is a baggy mess of inconsistent gags that overshadows McCarthy’s pure talent as an actress and it’s a damn shame. Fingers crossed this summer’s Ghostbusters (2016) won’t let her down.
The Boss is rated R (Restricted). For sexual content, language and brief drug use.
At last, the most disappointing movie event of the year. This stellar cast is ultimately letdown by a weak narrative and lack of direction. Sorry DC fans, but if the future of filmmaking begins looking like a visually incoherent wet dream, god help us all ...
DC tries to prevail by bringing two of the most iconic superheroes in comic book history to the big screen for a superhero slugfest, and they most definitely disappoint. This is an honest review from a disappointed fan of both Batman and Superman. I did enjoy Man of Steel and thought that the movie had good potential for future Superman films. I felt that BvS took everything MoS built on and crumbled it. The first half of Man of Steel was good, showing us Superman's origin in a more modern and gritty way. Zack Snyder's film had flaws, but that's okay. Man of Steel did not soar to perfection — nevertheless — Mr. Snyder got the job done. This is a Superman that fans have been waiting for. I also, really loved Snyder's version of Watchmen — a visually beautiful and structurally sound comic book movie. Yet, where Snyder shined in Watchmen, he squanders in BvS.
So after the events of Man of Steel where General Zod (Michael Shannon) almost decimates Metropolis (resembling a 9/11 terrorist attack), Superman (a great Henry Cavill) is there to save the day (but also destroying the city) and has no other choice but to kill Zod. The world is now in chaos and wonder from this new god-like figure. In BvS, we begin with that same fateful day in Metropolis but are introduced to Bruce Wayne (a gripping Ben Affleck) fleeing throughout the city trying to save people who are inside his building (Wayne Towers). Bruce does not make it in time, and his building crumbles from Superman and Zod colliding through it, killing whoever is in there — making Superman resemble a war criminal.
Wayne is stunned and left in disarray, leaving him with rage towards this new god-like presence. Affleck excels as the Cape Crusader, giving the audience one of the best portrayals of the man in black. He is gripping, like a time bomb waiting to explode. Wayne is now a burning fuse full of anger and rage, waiting to erupt. On the flip side, we get Clark Kent A.K.A. Superman, who is trying to adjust to his new life on our planet. However, people are scared (as one should be), and the court system wants Superman to pay for his war crimes so that justice is served. But how do you convict an alien? Superman is also struggling with the fact that Batman is taking the law into his own hands. Mr. Snyder decides to infuse his film with politics and concern, leaving the viewers in a super-politico frenzy.
What frustrated me with Batman V Superman was Mr. Snyder's incoherent direction and David S. Goyer's (Man of Steel) lack of structure in a script. When the narrative is as flimsy as the title itself, you know you are in trouble. There was very little dialogue in the film and way too many long visually draining shots of actors staring into the camera. It did not work for me and dragged its ass on for way too long. I guess this was Snyder’s way of showing tribute to the comics, but some aspects like this do not work or look good on film. This solid cast is, ultimately, let down by the very people working behind the camera. This self-indulgent bore of a movie has no room for fun nor class. Gloom and doom is DC’s new approach to making a superhero film. Nevertheless, Gal Gadot stole the show when she crashes in as Wonder Woman. It’s too bad that she only had 16 lines in the film itself. I am very hopeful for her solo film in 2017 — fingers crossed that she can revive this downhearted franchise.
Then there is also the ultra villain known as Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), who is tossed into the film. He is a cross between psycho and Mark Zuckerberg, but by the end, he is just more of a nuisance. What is his plan exactly? I do not know. And when the audience finally gets the big battle of Cape Crusader v Man of Steel, do we even care? No. It does not live up to what was promised and is cut off too short to fight another threat lurking around named Doomsday. Which, brings us back to the bloated CGI mess this movie turns into. I wish BvS actually took the time to better craft its characters and give depth in the narrative. Coherence, structure, and entertainment is something BvS did not have. Because in movies like Man of Steel or Watchmen, Snyder actually took the time to craft his story.
From the long gloomy shots to the pointless dream sequences with bat-figure people, BvS came to 2016 trying to conquer the demons but ends up wrestling with its own. BvS was a bumpy ride from start to finish. When it dazzled it dazzled, when it dragged it dragged. To me, there were some small glimpses of hope only to be quashed by cynicism. This type of direction will give you nothing satisfactory in the end. For better or for worse, this is what Mr. Snyder has envisioned for his two fighting heroes. Fingers crossed that Suicide Squad will be good. Maybe? Batman V Superman is a film that forgets about its heroes and smothers them in a whirlwind of effects-driven action and no heart.
BvS is rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned). For intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality.
Photographer Reuben Krabbe is determined to capture a photo of a skier in front of the 2015 solar eclipse in Svalbard. The odds are small, the risks are high, this is Eclipse.
Winner of the Best Film: Snow Sports of 2015 and the final film I watched at the BANFF Mountain Film Festival in St. Louis; Eclipse was the best film of the night for me at the Hi-Pointe Theatre. It was beautifully shot and skillfully captured in the snowy hills of Svalbard. This 31-minute slow-burner will keep you anxious until the very last snapshot.
Bad weather, a sketchy guide and skiers wanting to just ski made the pressure boil to a point of no return. Photographer Reuben Krabbe is determined to capture a photo of a skier in front of the 2015 solar eclipse and it’s a beaut to watch. Filled with wit and determination, Eclipse was the best film of the night for me as it captured the moment one frame at a time.
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