Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Genre: Adventure, Science Fiction
Run Time: 2 hours, 17 minutes, Rated PG-13
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Dormer, Elizabeth Banks, Gwendoline Christie, Liam Hemsworth, Jena Malone, Julianne Moore, Josh Hutcherson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson
Directed by Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Water for Elephants, I am Legend, Constantine)
Meet The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (opening today), the two-plus-hour film that really should have been released as just one movie, following last year's stupid-slow money-grab, Mockingjay Part 1. This is the fourth and final film in the series, bringing the once-promising franchise to a close. And while it has a rabid built-in audience and is sure to be a bona fide box-office hit, the ending, for me, couldn't have come soon enough.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Genre: Biography, Drama
Run Time: 2 hours, 4 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Michael Stuhlbarg, Diane Lane, John Getz, Helen Mirren, David James Elliott, David Maldonado
Directed by Jay Roach (The Campaign, Game Change, Meet the Fockers, Meet the Parents, Austin Powers Trilogy)
Director Jay Roach is in the business of thoughtful, satirical political entertainment. His recent films include The Campaign and the HBO movies Recount and Game Change (he also was executive producer on the recently cancelled HBO series, The Brink). It is no surprise then, that he is behind the wheel of Trumbo (opening today) a film that uses its protagonist, black-listed real-life screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston), as a vehicle to explore the politics that existed in the late 40s and 50s within Hollywood.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genre: Drama, Romance
Run Time: 1 hour, 51 minutes, Rated PG-13
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Emery Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, Fiona Glascott
Based on the book by Colm Toibin
Screenplay by Nick Hornby (Wild, An Education, About a Boy)
Directed by John Crowley (Closed Circuit, Is Anybody There?, Boy A, Intermission)
They just don't make 'em like Brooklyn(opening today) anymore. Set in late 1950s Brooklyn and Ireland, Brooklyn looks and feels like an old-fashioned movie, in the most complimentary of ways. It is a tale of romance, all the while romanticizing the era, New York City and the American immigrant experience itself. It is based on the award-winning 2009 novel of the same name, by Colm Toibin.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Run Time: 2 hours, 8 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Brian d'Arcy James, James Sheridan
Co-Written & Directed by Tom McCarthy (The Cobbler, Win Win, The Visitor, The Station Agent)
Spotlight (opening today) is the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the wide-spread child molestation scandal within the Catholic Church. And just like the hard-working journalists it features, it's all about the story, the story, the story.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Genre: Drama, History
Run Time: 2 hours, Rated PG-13
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche, James Brolin, Lou Diamond Phillips, Oscar Nunez, Mario Casas, Jacob Vargas
Directed by Patricia Riggen (Girl in Progress, Under the Same Moon)
The Chilean mining accident dominated headlines in August of 2010, when 33 coal miners were trapped 700 meters underground in the Atacama Desert, after the silver and gold mine they were working inside of collapsed. Feared dead, these men leaned on each other and rationed the little food they had far below the earth, holding on to faint hope that they would ever again see the light of day. From the outside, it was a grim outlook, as many - including the mining company, the Chilean government and the families of the buried - understood that there was little chance of survival...some estimates had them lasting no more than a few days. Miraculously (spoiler alert!!), 69 days later, all thirty-three men were pulled up from the ground, alive and for the most part, well. The 33 (opening today) is a conventional, Americanized dramatization of their story.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Run Time: 2 hours, 28 minutes, Rated PG-13
Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Belluci, Naomie Harris, Andrew Scott, Ben Whishaw, Jesper Christensen, Dave Bautista
Directed by Sam Mendes (Skyfall, Away We Go, Revolutionary Road, Road to Perdition, Jarhead, American Beauty)
It's somewhat hypocritical to hear several critics panning the new James Bond film, Spectre(opening today), based on the film's plot...as if Bond films of the past have set the bar for deep story-telling and complex character study. However the backlash might have been inevitable following the last film in the series, 2012's Skyfall, a film that is widely considered the best of the Daniel Craig Bond films and quite possibly one of the best 007 movies of all time. Spectre definitely represents a giant leap backwards for the series, now on its 24th chapter. But the major disappointment comes in that it doesn't seem to want to move the James Bond franchise forward, and instead it chooses to rest firmly on the past. Where at the beginning of Skyfall, a rear-view-mirror was ripped off during the opening car chase that had Bond metaphorically commenting, "We weren't using that anyways," it can be argued that the new Spectre film has swung the car back around, re-attached the rear-view, and has decided to focus only on it. Which is a shame, considering the potential and momentum the franchise seemed to have going for it.
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