Week of Dec. 11
Upcoming Theatrical Releases
In the Heart of the Sea
Director: Ron Howard
PG-13; 2 hr. 1 min.
In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. But that told only half the story. “In the Heart of the Sea” reveals the encounter’s harrowing aftermath, as the ship’s surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Braving storms, starvation, panic and despair, the men will call into question their deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, as their captain searches for direction on the open sea and his first mate still seeks to bring the great whale down. (Synopsis by Warner Bros.)
Words I never thought I’d write: the whale close-ups just aren’t believable. There are more problems present here than the aquatic mammal CGI, but if you take this solely as a survival story, it’s passable. Unfortunately, Ron Howard tried to make the story into an allegory, causing the whole thing to fall flat. Rent it.
Upcoming DVD Releases
Director: Peyton Reed
PG-13; 1 hr. 55 min.
The next evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings a founding member of The Avengers to the big screen for the first time with Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man.” Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world. (Synopsis by Marvel)
For something that should be basically un-filmable, this movie turned out to be quite entertaining. It stumbles when the story falls back into super hero trope; it’s a farcical take on the superhero genre and works best when being humorous rather than heroic. Rent it.
Director: Brian Lynch
PG; 1 hr. 31 min.
The story of Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s Minions begins at the dawn of time. Starting as single-celled yellow organisms, Minions evolve through the ages, perpetually serving the most despicable of masters. Continuously unsuccessful at keeping these masters-from T. rex to Napoleon-the Minions find themselves without someone to serve and fall into a deep depression. But one Minion named Kevin has a plan, and he-alongside teenage rebel Stuart and lovable little Bob-ventures out into the world to find a new evil boss for his brethren to follow. The trio embarks upon a thrilling journey that ultimately leads them to their next potential master, Scarlet Overkill (Academy Award (R) winner Sandra Bullock), the world’s first-ever female super-villain. They travel from frigid Antarctica to 1960s New York City, ending in mod London, where they must face their biggest challenge to date: saving all of Minionkind…from annihilation. (Synopsis by Universal)
Minions in doses are funny. A whole movie about them gets a little tired. It is amusing, but not really memorable enough to justify its existence. Whatever–it’ll keep the kids quiet for an hour. Rent it.
Week of Dec. 4
Upcoming Theatrical Releases
Director: Michael Dougherty
UR; 1 hr. 38 min.
When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max is disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers. All hell breaks loose as beloved holiday icons take on a monstrous life of their own, laying siege to the fractured family’s home and forcing them to fight for each other if they hope to survive. (Synopsis by Universal Pictures)
While this film is not being screened for critical review, early indications are that this is an average dark humor/horror genre piece. It is no Rare Exports, but still should be an enjoyable holiday horror offering. Rent it.
Upcoming DVD Releases
Director: Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion
R; 1 hr. 36 min.
When a cafeteria food virus turns elementary school children into killer zombies, a group of misfit teachers must band together to escape the playground carnage. The film stars Elijah Wood (The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings), Rainn Wilson (“The Office”), and Alison Pill (“The Newsroom”) as teachers who fight to survive the mayhem while hilariously bickering in an uncomfortable love triangle on the worst Monday of their lives. (Synopsis by Lionsgate)
The decent premise gets a lackluster treatment. Also existing somewhere in the comedy-horror arena, it never really commits to either genre or to an audience. Is this for adults? Teens? Who knows? It’s goofy enough in a B-movie way to make it somewhat watchable. Rent it.