Upcoming Theatrical Releases
Director: Robert Schwentke and Neil Burger
PG-13; 1 hr. 59 min.
THE DIVERGENT SERIES: INSURGENT raises the stakes for Tris as she searches for allies and answers in the ruins of a futuristic Chicago. Tris (Woodley) and Four (James) are now fugitives on the run, hunted by Jeanine (Winslet), the leader of the power-hungry Erudite elite. Racing against time, they must find out what Tris’s family sacrificed their lives to protect, and why the Erudite leaders will do anything to stop them. Haunted by her past choices but desperate to protect the ones she loves, Tris, with Four at her side, faces one impossible challenge after another as they unlock the truth about the past and ultimately the future of their world. (Synopsis by Lionsgate)
If possible, this is even more of a genre B-movie than its predecessor. The writing is awful and the plot doesn’t go anywhere new or different. The lone bright spot is the acting, but even that is stretched beyond the breaking point at times. Skip it.
Director: Pierre Morel
R; 1 hr. 55 min.
THE GUNMAN, the new action thriller from Pierre Morel, the director of Taken, stars Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone and Mark Rylance. (Synopsis by Open Road)
The only conceivable reason that (insufferable actor of integrity) Sean Penn agreed to do this was to preach the evils of capitalism for two hours. While shirtless, apparently. Yes, this is as awful as it seems. Skip it.
Upcoming DVD Releases
Director: Will Gluck
PG; 1 hr. 58 min.
Academy Award (R) nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) stars as Annie, a young, happy foster kid who’s also tough enough to make her way on the streets of New York in 2014. Originally left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they’d be back for her someday, it’s been a hard knock life ever since with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz). But everything’s about to change when the hard-nosed tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) – advised by his brilliant VP, Grace (Rose Byrne) and his shrewd and scheming campaign advisor, Guy (Bobby Cannavale) – makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in. Stacks believes he’s her guardian angel, but Annie’s self-assured nature and bright, sun-will-come-out-tomorrow outlook on life just might mean it’s the other way around. (Synopsis by Sony)
When you make a musical, the music part should be good. This was not. Wallis does her best, but the movie suffers from directorial attempts at “modernization.” A good starting place would have been making it tolerable. Skip it.
Exodus: Gods and Kings
Director: Ridley Scott
PG-13; 2 hr. 22 min.
From acclaimed director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Prometheus) comes the epic adventure “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” the story of one man’s daring courage to take on the might of an empire. Using state of the art visual effects and 3D immersion, Scott brings new life to the story of the defiant leader Moses (Christian Bale) as he rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton), setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues. (Synopsis by Fox)
All the vast visual effects can’t make up for the bland story. For a director of Scott’s caliber, this is a big miss. How do you screw up the story of Moses? Skip it.