Earth has become inhabitable in this work of Nolan-ized science fiction, so a crew of four explorers travel through a wormhole in hopes of finding a new place for humans to live. Over-budgeted and overlong, but still enjoyable; unfortunately, Nolan no longer takes a complex idea and cinematically fleshes it out, he instead takes cheap thrills and attempts flip them into something better—here we have the idiocy of Armageddon trying to be flipped into the brilliance of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Definitely has its moments, but nobody will be begging for it not to end.
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Eight-year-old Amish boy Samuel Lapp (Haas) is the sole witness to a homicide that took place in a train station restroom while he and his widowed mother Rachel (McGillis) are attempting to visit a relative in Baltimore. The two get caught up in the "English"'s laws and crime when the boy is pressured to testify. Detective John Book (Ford) realizes the danger the Lapps are in, and tries to keep them safe from the killers by hiding them back in Amish country. Ford is great at being controlling but gentle, and the action-packed thrills in Lancaster County makes for some unique intensity. Flaws include forced romance between the detective and distressed mother, while supporting characters are so underdeveloped that it feels like director Weir may have cut out an entire subplot, and Naas' character gradually becomes less and less important as the story progresses. Keep an eye out for Viggo Mortensen in his first role.
Cornball family man Clark Griswold (Chase) takes his family on a road-trip from Chicago to Los Angeles, and they run into plenty of bumps and detours along the way. Sets expectations for being a standard goofy comedy typical of its type, and then suddenly amps the crudeness at all the right spots. Cousin Eddie (Quaid) is underused, but we thankfully see much more of him in Christmas VACATION; however, here, we still get other fun supporting characters like Aunt Edna (Coca) who add just the right amount of zest to make this an outstanding full of great lines, fun locations and non-stop laughs. The Lindsey Buckingham soundtrack is both nostalgic and timeless. Followed by EUROPEAN VACATION.
Saturday, July 25, 2015
In an attempt to save their marriage, Duplass and Moss retreat to a beautiful secluded estate, with a guest house that challenges whether or not they'll ever be able to fulfill each other's expectations of partnership. Commendable for its originality and ability to force the viewer to reflect on love; but it gets lost too quickly in genre-shuffle (dry-comedy, drama and romance iced with THE TWILIGHT ZONE), and the execution is just so poorly done that it's difficult to maintain an open-mind. Ted Danson plays the therapist who recommends the getaway spot.
A sought after job opening brings eight applicants into a single room for an exam. Invigilator Salmon gives very brief but strict instructions on the rules, and whoever doesn't follow will fail the test. An 80 minute clock begins to count down, and the applicants are left with nothing except a pen, blank piece of paper and each other. From there, they must try to solve the riddle of the exam, working with and against each other until only one of them is left. Simple but entertaining little thriller, with just enough clever turns to keep you interested before it gets too desperate and cliché.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
After an addled Dern is caught numerous times wandering the streets in an attempt to go to Lincoln NE from Billings MT to collect what he believes is an authentic million dollar prize, his son Forte agrees to drive him knowing full well the supposed loot is a scam. On the way, they encounter old faces who are unaware of the falsity, and proceed to tell their own stories of why they're owed a piece of the money. There's a point in the film where Forte mentions the main motivation of humoring his father is simply for a change of scenery, which helps parallel the setting shift that's so different from the L.A. or New York locations we're so used to—and this quality really helps the movie stand out. Orton's gentle score accompanies the farmland atmosphere terrifically; however, it's also apparent that the music is used to fill gaps of residential establishing shots to needlessly prolong the runtime. Very much a film worth seeing, but some of the punch-lines don't land on target and you can't fault someone for calling this "boring". The black-and-white doesn't add to the mood.
Monday, July 6, 2015
1980's adventure classic that brings pirate legend into 20th century Astoria, OR. A group of preteens stumble upon clues of a lost treasure nearby and decide to go on one last adventure before their homes are torn down to help expand a country club. Nostalgic but also timeless, offering enough originality to make it memorable while also sticking fairly close to the typical treasure hunt adventure. The character development gives off the feeling like there were so many adventures before and so many more to come… but, behold, only one movie was ever made. Ramsey is always a terrific villainess, while Davi and Pantoliano have the right/intentionally-wrong chemistry as her two convict sons who are more interested in bickering and fighting for their mother's love than following the trail of the Goonies. Then we have the side-story of Chunk (Cohen) and Sloth (Matuszak), a duo that is worthy enough to have their own spin-off. Cyndi Lauper's song is also very fitting.
Friday, July 3, 2015
Fulfilling the prophecy, John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends his right-hand man Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back 45-years to stop a Terminator (Schwarzenegger) from killing his mother Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), but when Reese arrives, the past has been altered, leading him on a whole new mission. The concept is better than the execution; and while it could've been a lot worse, it is never a good sign when all the film's potential is used up in the first hour. From beginning to end, the movie takes a lot of different avenues, but none of them are ever impressive or memorable.