Upcoming Theatrical Releases
Son of God
Director: Christopher Spencer
PG-13; 138 mins.
This major motion picture event — an experience created to be shared among families and communities across the U.S. — brings the story of Jesus’ life to audiences through compelling cinematic storytelling that is both powerful and inspirational. Told with the scope and scale of an action epic, the film features powerful performances, exotic locales, dazzling visual effects and a rich orchestral score from Oscar (R)-winner Hans Zimmer. Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado portrays the role of Jesus as the film spans from his humble birth through his teachings, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection (Synopsis by Fox)
This is a compassionate interpretation that faith-based, family-value types will see in droves. It is hard to not to objectively look at this as a money grab by the studios targeting the bible study crowd. If only Jesus gave us some sort of instructions on how to deal with profiteering in the name of religion. Rent it.
The Wind Rises
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
PG-13; 126 mins.
In “The Wind Rises,” Jiro dreams of flying and designing beautiful airplanes, inspired by the famous Italian aeronautical designer Caproni. Nearsighted from a young age and unable to be a pilot, Jiro joins a major Japanese engineering company in 1927 and becomes one of the world’s most innovative and accomplished airplane designers. (Synopsis by Studio Ghibli)
Fans of Ghibli films will be satisfied. It is a good film; just not as good as previous releases. Most notable is the lack of conflict to drive a bland story that is heavy on the visuals and little else. Rent it.
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
PG-13; 107 mins.
Global action star Liam Neeson stars in NON-STOP, a suspense thriller played out at 40,000 feet in the air. During a transatlantic flight from New York City to London, U.S. Air Marshal Bill Marks (Neeson) receives a series of cryptic text messages demanding that he instruct the government to transfer $150 million into an off-shore account. Until he secures the money, a passenger on his flight will be killed every 20 minutes. (Synopsis by Universal)
It would work if it ever fully embraced the “just a stupid action flick” genre. Instead there is half-established 9/11 rhetoric and poor attempts at building suspense through improbable events. Skip it.
Upcoming DVD Releases
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
PG-13; 124 mins.
Gravity stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in a heart-pounding thriller that pulls you into the infinite and unforgiving realm of deep space. Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (Clooney). But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone – tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. But the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space. (Synopsis by Warner Bros.)
Previously reviewed by The Dagger.
Thor: The Dark World
Director: Alan Taylor
PG-13; 112 mins.
Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World” continues the big-screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of Marvel’s “Thor” and “Marvel’s The Avengers,” Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos…but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embarkon his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all. (Synopsis by Disney)
A better (read: more fun) take than its predecessor, this film still lacks interesting characters and storylines. Hiddleston’s Loki is the high point. The rest is popcorn. Rent it.
Blue is the Warmest Color
Director: Abdel Kechiche
NC-17; 187 mins.
BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR centers on a 15-year-old girl named Adèle (Exarchopoulos) who is climbing to adulthood and dreams of experiencing her first love. A handsome male classmate falls for her hard, but an unsettling erotic reverie upsets the romance before it begins. Adèle imagines that the mysterious, blue-haired girl she encountered in the street slips into her bed and possesses her with an overwhelming pleasure. That blue-haired girl is a confident older art student named Emma (Seydoux), who will soon enter Adèle’s life for real, making way for an intense and complicated love story that spans a decade and is touchingly universal in its depiction. (Synopsis by IFC)
Despite some controversy, there is a really great film going on here. It’s one of the best films of 2013 and doesn’t try to be anything specific—it just exists for what it is and let’s the audience react to that. See it.