Upcoming Theatrical Releases
The Book of Life
Director: Jorge R. Gutierrez
PG; 1 hr. 35 mins.
THE BOOK OF LIFE, a vibrant fantasy-adventure, tells the legend of Manolo, a conflicted hero and dreamer who sets off on an epic quest through magical, mythical and wondrous worlds in order to rescue his one true love and defend his village. (Synopsis by Fox)
Visually striking, but lacking in dedication to the plot’s theme. Actions speak louder than words. No matter how many times you speak about tolerance of differences, if you show conformity, then the message is lost. Rent it.
The Best of Me
Director: Michael Hoffman
PG-13; 1 hr. 59 mins.
Based on the bestselling novel by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, The Best of Me tells the story of Dawson and Amanda, two former high school sweethearts who find themselves reunited after 20 years apart, when they return to their small town for the funeral of a beloved friend. Their bittersweet reunion reignites the love they’ve never forgotten, but soon they discover the forces that drove them apart twenty years ago live on, posing even more serious threats today. Spanning decades, this epic love story captures the enduring power of our first true love, and the wrenching choices we face when confronted with elusive second chances. (Synopsis by Relativity)
You shouldn’t expect much from a Sparks-based movie, but this one seems to sink to new lows. It is hard to believe anyone involved in this took it seriously, as it comes off as so amateur as to be unintentionally funny. Skip it.
Director: David Ayer
R; 2 hrs. 15 mins.
April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany. (Synopsis by Sony)
Not as emotionally grabbing as “Saving Private Ryan,” but “Fury” makes up for that by an emphasis on the realities of war; all the grime, gore, and noise involved. This is a major step forward for Ayer, even if you wish there was more Lt. Aldo Raine around to liven the mood. See it.
Director: Matthew Warchus
R; 2 hrs.
PRIDE is inspired by an extraordinary true story. It’s the summer of 1984, Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers is on strike, prompting a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists to raise money to support the strikers’ families. Initially rebuffed by the Union, the group identifies a tiny mining village in Wales and sets off to make their donation in person. As the strike drags on, the two groups discover that standing together makes for the strongest union of all. (Synopsis by CBS)
A formulaic feel-good movie that actually works. Warchus does a first rate job staging the film to engage the audience. This is a crowd pleaser that is sure to inspire. See it.
Upcoming DVD Releases
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Director: Rob Minkoff
PG; 1 hr. 32 mins.
Mr. Peabody, the most accomplished dog in the world, and his mischievous boy Sherman, use their time machine – the WABAC – to go on the most outrageous adventures known to man or dog. But when Sherman takes the WABAC out for a joyride to impress his friend Penny, they accidentally rip a hole in the universe, wreaking havoc on the most important events in world history. Before they forever alter the past, present and future, Mr. Peabody must come to their rescue, ultimately facing the most daunting challenge of any era: figuring out how to be a parent. Together, the time traveling trio will make their mark on history. (Synopsis by Fox)
As adaptations go, you could do worse. It’s a little too heavy on the pun-humor, but overall is a fun dance through history with a positive message about education, inclusion, and science. See it.
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Director: Matthew Vaughn and Bryan Singer
PG-13; 2 hrs. 11 mins.
The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. The beloved characters from the original “X-Men” film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from the past, “X-Men: First Class,” in order to change a major historical event and fight in an epic battle that could save our future. (Synopsis by Fox)
The plot structure hasn’t changed (kill ALL the humans / don’t KILL the humans), but this is polished enough to make it one of the better in the “X-Men” series—and we’re at seven films now. A great ensemble piece where everyone knows and plays their roles to perfection. See it.