13 Hours The Secret Soldiers Of Bengazi

13 hours psoter

These movies that are based on true stories.  I always wonder how much is real.  How accurate do you think they are?  I don’t mean in the small details, those can be swayed whichever way the director decides.  The big details though, the timeline, the intensity.  How close to reality were those things?  Because in 13 hours, to think that any of this was real, is absolutely insane.

I looked over Michael Bay’s director list.  I would say Bad Boys was his best movie prior to this 13 hours.   This movie blows anything else he has done out of the water.  Character development that feels real.  A level of intensity that doesn’t feel like a joke or comical.  A script that is based in that Michael Bay kept in reality and it delivers that reality in stunning, scary clarity.   I felt afraid for these people, I felt like I was seeing something no one was supposed to see and I was hooked into it.

This is a hero movie, and it is done in a perfectly quiet and respectful way.  It doesn’t shove America down your throat or pick a political side.  It feels like it shows actually what happened.  The acting by everyone involved help prop up this great movie.  This was one of those movies where everyone understood what the goal of this movie was and everyone that was a part of it delivered their portion to make that goal a reality.  13 Hours is a great movie and I would highly recommend it to anyone to go see this weekend.  This recommendation has been a long time coming for Michael Bay.

4 Stars for 13 Hours

In The Heart Of The Sea

In The Heart Of The Sea Poster

In The Heart Of The Sea is another story from reality told by the watchful eye of Ron Howard.  In The Heart Of The Sea is a movie without meaning or agenda.  It is a telling of what happened, based on actual accounts that were recovered from the people who lived to tell the tale.  It doesn’t want to deliver a story about the fall of man, or the destruction of Earth and it’s creatures.  It tells the story of 20 men on a ship that ran into a whale.  What you take from that story is yours to take, and that is what is wonderful about In The Heart Of The Sea.

It is not the only thing making this beautiful film worth watching.   Amazing CG and wonderful acting round out this tale and make it worth watching in the theater.  It is a story about men on a boat hunting whales for whale oil.  It shows the hunting process and it does not cut away or leave anything to the imagination, so be prepared.  This movie feels real, it feels scary and it feels like a true story worth telling regardless of the outcome.  No agenda needed, it is just a good story.  The picture it paints of these lives and the lives of this time period of 1820 with a great clarity.  It felt real, and looked amazing.

There is a lot of movies to pick from right now and coming up, so a whaling epic might not be on your top choices.  This movie is visually amazing and delivers a great story.  I think it is well worth paying for in the theater.  You can as usual skip the 3-D.  It is not worth the extra money.  If you are looking for a movie this weekend before all the movies coming out for Christmas I would check out In The Heat Of The Sea.

4 Stars In The Heart of The Sea

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

Mockingjay part 2 poster

I don’t think they should of made Mockingjay 2 movies.  I thought it after I saw the first and I thought it again after I concluded the series.  The choice is to milk it for more money, show a little bit more, and they were successful on both those fronts.   We know Mockingjay is going to make bank, but it doesn’t make it any less true that these movies are weaker apart.

I loved the first two Hunger Games movies.  I thought they were amazing looking, had awesome characters, and really made you feel for the citizens of Panem.  Mockingjay felt like a rushed, far weaker closing to this “trilogy.”  Splitting up the movies led to a far weaker first movie where nothing happened, and was horribly boring.  They had to fill 2 hours and they did not have anything to fill it with, so it felt cold, careless and struggling for story.   Mockingjay part 2 felt like it was half a movie.  At barely over 2 hours it really didn’t deliver that much either.  It was intended to have a “Hunger Games” style arena type movie, but it was a small part of the movie and felt very weak compared to the previous arenas.  It all was just a poor choice.

Mockingjay part 2 ends as you would expect.  It delivers on your expectations of what is supposed to happen.  It delivers the ending of a teen book trilogy.  I think that is where I am most disappointed, after all of this build up, years of story, and millions of dollars, it ended, and it was not exciting or unexpected.  It ended with a sunset and a fade to black and felt like I didn’t even need to see this movie to get to this ending.  This movie is more a failure of story and executive decisions, than it was on ground level execution.  I don’t know which is worse.

So as I stated in my other review for this week.  If I was going to pick a movie for this weekend, I would pick The Night Before.  It is a far better movie all around.  You can catch Mockingjay on HBO whenever it comes out on that.

3 Stars for Mockingjay part 2

The Night Before

The Night Before Movie Review

I am ashamed.  I prejudged, based on a trailer.  I try not to watch trailers in general, they are horrible misleading things, that can skew the experience of a movie quite a bit.  It can make you think a movie will be the best thing you have ever seen, only to be woefully disappointed.  Or as with The Night Before, it can make you think you are about to see a horrible pile of crap, but are given a wonderful movie watching experience.

The Night Before has everything you want in a Christmas rated R movie.  A solid funny movie, with something redeeming and wonderful in the end.  This is not a dark R rated comedy with nothing of value.  It is smart, cute, funny, adult and charming.  It has a great ending and is way better than that horrible trailer is making it look.  Seth Rogan is in top form in this movie and is so funny, it is one of my favorite characters he has ever played.  This movie deals with friendship, family, growth, and all those things that we want to think about around Christmas.  It does not pander, or force those messages either.  They feel natural, and part of the story.

I know that The Hunger Games comes out this weekend, so getting you to go see The Night Before is going to be hard, but I am going to try anyway.   This is the movie we need for Thanksgiving.  The Hunger Games is ok, but this is the better movie.  Everything about it feels far better than The Hunger Games and if I had to pick which one I was going to see this weekend (If I did not have kids with me) I would pick The Night Before.

4 Stars for The Night Before

The First Night Trivia:  The man who plays Mr. Green is also General Zod, and does not have a twitter account.

Bridge Of Spies

Bridge Of Spies Movie Review

Did you know there was a movie directed by Steven Spielberg coming out this weekend, and that it has Tom Hanks in it?  You didn’t?  Neither do most people.  The smaller, less huge movie by Spielberg deals with a very small story, in a very big cold war.  The story is about a insurance lawyer played by Tom Hanks, who is asked by the US Government to defend the first discovered Russian Spy during the Cold War.  They want it to look like the US is on the up and up when it comes to our due process, even to commies.

The story ends up unfolding into this twisty weird spy story that feels like no one knew what they were doing then.  We just happen to pick the right guy at the right time that would fight for what is right.   This movie is big on patriotism and the fight for what is right against an overwhelming drive to cut corners and not follow our rules of law.   It states that always is the time to do what is right, the time to give everyone the rights we take for granted and the things that make us a great country.   The movie is powerful, wonderfully crafted and delivers a very clear message to the world of today.

It is pretty easy to know that this is a solid contention for awards, with Tom Hanks and Spielberg teaming up again with the Coen Brothers writing, but that is not what makes this movie great.  What is wonderful about it, is the very small hidden story that was found and is told now, to the world of today, and how much it applies to this world now.  The history that is taught here, makes you reflect on what is happening in the world and makes you look at what is right, and what you believe in, compared to what the US is supposed to be about.  The Coen brothers delivered an amazing script, that was directed beautifully and acted by top notch actors who believed in everything they were saying.  It is a powerful piece of film, and a favorite of mine for the year.

5 Stars for Bridge Of Spies

Black Mass

Black Mass Poster

There is a lot going on in Black Mass.   It is a story that spans a long period of time.  It is a story about Whitey Bulger who was a South Boston gang leader that ended up on the F.B.I’s most wanted list for 20 years until he was caught in 2011.  Whitey Bulger is played by Johnny Depp.  Looking over Johnny Depp’s list of movies I see he played John Dillinger but overall has not delt with heavy characters that are as brutal and horrifying as Whitey Bulger.

Johnny Depp delivers an amazing performance as the Irish mobster.  Staring into the audience’s eyes with the blue eyes of Bulger you feel chills as he terrorizes across the country.  Truly wonderful, and very nice to see him doing something far different than his usual characters.

Black Mass the movie, while very good, is a bit scattered.  It is hard to get a sense of what is going on, and the criminal activity that is happening besides random killings.  The story has to deal with multiple locations, time frames and various illegal businesses and it gets a little lost trying to tell it all.  However the performances are so strong and that subject matter is not that important that it is forgivable.  The movie still entertains, frightens, and shows the grip he had on so many people.  It paints a picture of this person that I never knew about and delivers that story very well.

I enjoyed this movie very much, even with it’s flaws.  I think it is worth watching, and paying for.  It is violent, and heavy so be aware if you are looking for a little lighter faire.  It is worth seeing this weekend though if you are looking to hit the theaters and don’t want to go see The Maze Runner movie.

4 Stars for Black mass

Learning To Drive

Learning To Drive Poster

So Learning To Drive that is a movie that might be coming out in a theater near you this weekend, or perhaps next weekend.  It is most likely you have never heard of this movie, and do not know what it is about, or who it is for.  It is about a older divorcee, played by Patricia Clarkson learning to drive a car and creating a friendship with a Sikh Indian man played by Ben Kingsley.  As for who it is for, I am not sure.

What I do not know is this movie is not for 37 year old men in relationships that are not falling apart.  While I can see that this movie is a kind, sweet story about a woman lost in the world in the second half of her life, it did not speak to me at all.  I did not feel connected to any of the characters.  The story didn’t seem like something especially innovative, and it didn’t push the limits of that story into risky ground.  It is a story of a woman in New York going through a divorce and learning to drive.  That is it.  While I can appreciate the acting, and the struggle this character is going through if you are not a divorced 40ish something woman I can not see you really connecting to this movie either.

Learning To Drive really left me puzzled about who is going to see this movie and who is going to connect with this movie.  I can’t see many of my readers here wanting to go see Learning To Drive.  So I think unless you are the very targeted niche this movie is for you can skip this one.  There is just not going to be enough here for you.

3 Stars




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