By Shane Sellar
Hawaii is the ideal U.S. state — in so far as its inaccessibility to Mexican immigrants.
Thankfully, it’s not too remote for the defence contractor in this dramedy.
Sent to Hawaii by his boss (Bill Murray) to secure a deal with tribes that’ll set the stage for private space flight, Brian (Bradley Cooper) is escorted around the island by an Air Force captain (Emma Stone).
During his week-long sojourn, Brian gets reacquainted with his ex (Rachel McAdams), who is married to a pilot (John Krasinski) and has two kids.
As pressure to seal the deal mounts, Brian receives life-altering news and also embarks on a new relationship that challenges his immorality.
A hodgepodge of espionage, awkward romances and hidden secrets, this eco-friendly mess comes compliments of director Cameron Crowe, who struggles to make sense of his own disjointed script.
Besides, if Hawaii were a strategic military location someone would’ve attacked it years ago.
The most important thing to remember when you’re big game hunting is to not post photos on social media.
Thankfully, the poachers in this action movie are far from Internet access.
When terrorists shoot Air Force One down over a forest in Finland, President Moore (Samuel L. Jackson) finds himself under the protection of Oskari (Onni Tommila), a young sportsman on his first solo-hunting trip.
With only a crude bow for protection, Oskari attempts to save the president from his pursuer (Ray Stevenson), so he can prove to his father that he’s a man.
Meanwhile, the Vice President (Victor Garber) and CIA higher-ups (Jim Broadbent, Felicity Huffman) work on recovering the commander-in-chief.
While the simplistic plot, laughable dialogue and adolescent lead harken back to ’80s actioneers, this Finnish import fails to deliver enough updated action sequences to sate modern tastes.
Incidentally, the easiest president to hunt would’ve been FDR.
The comforting thing about unfriending someone from social media is that you were likely never friends to begin with.
Unfortunately, the girls in this horror movie were childhood companions.
Laura (Heather Sossaman) joins her friend Blaire (Shelley Hennig), Blaire’s boyfriend (Moses Jacob Storm) and three others (Jacob Wysocki, Will Peltz, Renee Olstead) on a Skype chat one year after she committed suicide over an embarrassing viral video of herself.
In response to Blaire’s numerous attempts to delete the unknown user, Laura uploads incriminating photos and videos that tear Blaire’s friend circle asunder.
Meanwhile, members of the online community begin dropping like flies.
While the first-person forced perspective can get tedious, and the tawdry secrets would’ve worked better in a dramatic script, this anemic slasher movie does get high praise for its originality and cyber-bullying relevance.
Incidentally, Facebook accounts belonging to dead people aren’t haunted; they’ve just been hacked by terrorists.
The upside to the government monitoring your Internet use is they’ll have your passwords when you forget them.
Mind you, the whistlerblower in this documentary doesn’t see the benefits to Big Brother.
Documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras receives an encoded email from Citizen Four claiming they have evidence the government has been monitoring American citizens Internet/phone use since 9/11.
Along with journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, Poitras goes to Hong Kong to meet the informant who turns out to be an NSA employee: Edward Snowden.
As his identity is leaked to the media, Poitras is there to capture the epic fallout first-hand.
While it’s predominantly shots of talking heads and redacted files, it’s the content concerning the loss of privacy that makes Citizenfour the most important documentary in American history.
Incidentally, the only thing the government learned from spying on citizens was they lie on their online dating profiles.
A cop’s ideal 911 call has to be: hostage situation at the Tim Horton’s.
However any assignment other than the one the policewoman in this comedy has would be ideal.
By-the-books Officer Cooper (Reese Witherspoon) has just been tasked with protecting a cartel informant and his wife, Daniella (Sofía Vergara).
But when masked assailants murder the snitch, she must go on the lam with Daniella in order to clear her name as the assassin.
Keeping one clumsy step ahead of the rat’s real killers and the drug cartel, Cooper eventually learns of Daniella’s secret agenda, and tries to abate her.
What could’ve been a positive pairing of two female powerhouses is lost to a woefully humourless script that sees Vergara typecast as a fiery Columbian and Witherspoon embarrassing herself with an abhorrent southern accent.
In conclusion, if God wanted women to be cops he wouldn’t have created sexual harassment.
When a woman says that she’s riding the crimson wave it doesn’t mean she’s a sunrise surfer.
Mind you, the middle-aged mom in this dramedy could be the exception.
When her son Angelo (Brenton Thwaites) drops out of college to pursue his writing and surf aspirations on the West Coast, Jackie (Helen Hunt) takes a hiatus from her editing job to keep an eye on him.
In California, she starts taking surf lessons from Ian (Luke Wilson) and discovers a new side to herself apart from her son’s post-secondary life choices.
Free to explore, Angelo also finds his rebellious view on education may not be the best option for his art.
From its superficial self-discovery script to its stock surfing shots, this vanity project from writer/director Helen Hunt does little to showcase any noteworthy talents beyond her established acting ability.
Nevertheless, surfer parents sound way less involved than helicopter parents.
The hardest part of cheating in the Victorian Era was removing all of your petticoats before you could screw.
Fortunately, the unfaithful wife in this drama has plenty of time thanks to her husband’s schedule.
Married off to a small-town doctor Charles Bovary (Henry Lloyd-Hughes), adolescent Emma (Mia Wasikowska) is unsatisfied with her rural surroundings and her husband’s absence.
These doldrums quickly culminate in excessive spending and extramarital affairs with two separate lovers (Logan Marshall-Green, Ezra Miller).
But when her affairs and increasing debt are exposed to her husband, Emma has no one but her past conquests to turn to for help.
An acceptable adaptation of the controversial classic, this abridged version doesn’t sacrifice the novel’s numerous themes, or dumb them down. Instead, it cuts through the unnecessary exposition to create a concise account of this complicated character.
Incidentally, Madame Bovary paved the way for future adulterers like Ashley Madison.
The Divergent Series: Insurgent
The worst thing about living in a dystopian world is you’re stuck with the same series of iPhone forever.
Mind you, the adolescent survivors in this sci-fi movie have more life-threatening matters to worry about.
When the head of the Erudite fraction, Jeanine (Kate Winslet), gains possession of an enigmatic box that can only be opened by a Divergent, she sends her death squad to round one up.
Unable to find a suitable subject she then turns to the gifted rebel Tris (Shailene Woodley), and uses her Dauntless friends to gain her surrender.
Now Tris must pass five virtual aptitude tests in order to unlock the box’s secret.
The second instalment in the questionable adaptation of the popular YA series, Insurgent at least injects some action and motive into this so-far pointless post-apocalyptic parable.
Incidentally, the only people looking forward to a post-apocalyptic future, besides teenagers, are militant loners.
The reason everyone wanted to join the army during Stalin’s regime was because dying was better than living under Stalin’s regime.
However, Stalin doesn’t scare the civil servant questioning the state in this thriller.
As an agent of the Ministry of State Security, Leo (Tom Hardy) learns of a number of gruesome murders suggesting there could be a serial killer on the loose.
Unfortunately, General Nesterov (Gary Oldman) demises all the evidence on grounds that communism could never create such a capitalistic concept as a child killer.
For his blasphemy, Leo and his wife (Noomi Rapace) are banished. But it doesn’t stop them from finding the night stalker.
While it touches on some interesting ideas, including Nazi experiments with vampirism, this tedious adaptation of the novel spreads itself thin with numerous confusing subplots and an overall dearth of suspense.
Besides, for a commie, Stalin sure liked his Levi’s and Coke.
If you plan to steal a print journalist’s identity, make sure you file for bankruptcy protection beforehand.
However, when it comes to the unscrupulous scribe in this drama, avoidance is best.
Recently disgraced New York Times writer Michael Finkel (Jonah Hill) is shocked to discover a man accused of murdering his own family, Christian Longo (James Franco), has stolen Finkel’s identity.
On meeting with Longo, Finkel becomes so enamoured with him that he strikes a deal to tell his story, in exchange for tutoring Longo in writing.
Looking for redemption in Longo’s memoir, Finkel ignores glaring errors in his student’s admission that could possibly threaten his book deal.
Based on the bizarre true story, True Story is a straight-laced and keenly acted retelling of the circumstances surrounding these horrific murders with little substance beyond that.
Furthermore, federal prisons already offer free online courses for child killers looking to get their journalism degree.
Far From the Madding Crowd
Back in Victorian times it was highly illegal for an unmarried woman to be a millionaire.
Unless, of course, she inherited her wealth, as does the woman in this romantic movie.
Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) is an impetuous young girl whose uncle bequeaths her his farm.
Quick to shake up the countryside status quo with her no-nonsense approach to both farmhands and her customers, it’s no surprise she attracts three suitors: a soldier (Tom Sturridge), an aristocrat (Michael Sheen) and her herdsman (Matthias Schoenaerts).
Unfortunately, her lure towards recklessness results in a regrettable relationship one of them, while ostracizing her true love.
The latest adaption of Thomas Hardy’s 1874 love story, this pastoral period piece is Victorian storytelling at its finest: a feisty female lead, the bucking of social etiquette and unrequited love from multiple sources.
Incidentally, falling madly in love with the wrong person was a popular Victorian pastime.
He’s a Big Game Changer. He’s the…