By Shane Sellar
The reason why the Irish settled in Brooklyn was due to Manhattan’s strict public intoxication laws.
Surprisingly, the cailín in this romantic movie is a wee bit of a teetotaler.
Sponsored by her family’s former priest (Jim Broadbent), Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) is able to leave Ireland behind and settle in Brooklyn, where she subsequently works in a shop.
At a dance she meets – and later marries – Tony (Emory Cohen). But when she returns home for a funeral, she keeps her nuptials a secret so she can flirt with an eligible Irishman (Domhnall Gleeson).
Complete with authentic Irish and annoying Brooklyn accents, this complex yet cottony coming-of-age love story is a sincere snapshot of 1950s New York, while Ronan simply embodies the naivety as well as the mixed emotions of becoming an American.
Moreover, it reminds us that not all immigrants are terrorists; they’re also letting in two-timing hussies.
The Good Dinosaur
If an asteroid hadn’t wiped out the dinosaurs then the Flintstones would have been the first reality TV show.
Instead, this family movie reimagines that non-extinction scenario as a cartoon.
After losing his father (Jeffrey Wright), a naïve dinosaur named Arlo (Raymond Ochoa) is separated from his mother (Frances McDormand) during a flood and forced to find his way back home.
En route, Arlo befriends a laconic cave boy he names Spot, and receives guidance from an array of prehistoric predators (Sam Elliott, Anna Paquin, Steve Zahn) who may or may not want to eat the travelling companions.
With unconventional character designs, mature themes involving loss and scary scenes of animal-on-animal violence, The Good Dinosaur is a definite departure from Pixar’s predictably upbeat output.
Unfortunately, none of these new elements help make this black sheep a classic.
On the bright side, if dinosaurs had survived we’d all be wearing Velociraptor leather coats.
One telltale sign a screenwriter is a communist is they name every male lead character Sergei.
Wisely, the sympathizer in this drama used American names in his scripts.
Accused of imbedding anti-American rhetoric into his scripts, gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) and actor John Wayne (David James Elliott) see that card-carrying communist Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) is imprisoned.
Blacklisted, he must sell his post-prison scripts to schlock producer Frank King (John Goodman) under pseudonyms, until Kirk Douglas (Dean O’Gorman) petitions to get him credit for Spartacus.
Meanwhile, his family (Diane Lane, Elle Fanning) suffers at the hands of his daunting schedule.
While the casting of the real-life actors portrayed in this biography is questionable, this quirky account of Hollywood’s red witch-hunt, and its most outspoken victim, is a fascinating and frightening account of historical hysteria.
Scarier still, back then you had to write movie dialogue without using the F-word.
If it weren’t for Steve Jobs, men would have to hand-deliver their dick pics.
Erroneously, this drama explores his lesser contributions to society.
Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) is confronted by his ex and her daughter, whom she claims is his, moments before he’s set to reveal a new product before his CEO (Jeff Daniels), investors and the media.
While he denies paternity, he eventually forms a friendship with her that follows him to his next company. Meanwhile, her mother and his friends and colleagues (Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen) start to resent his hubris and inhumanity.
With snappy yet highly improbable dialogue supplied by Aaron Sorkin and kinetic clips combined with static stage shots from director Danny Boyle, this academic adaptation of the Apple mastermind’s memoir is laborious, pretentious, and melodramatic.
Besides, Steve Jobs isn’t dead… Apple is just waiting to unveil their latest version of him.
To really make it as a female novelist in the 19th century, one had to adopt a pen name ending in Brontë.
Instead, the fledgling author in this thriller accepts the surname of a baronet.
Following her father’s funeral, horror-fiction fan Edith (Mia Wasikowska) weds a British industrialist (Tom Hiddleston) who transports her across the pond to his Gothic estate, where he works and resides alongside his sister (Jessica Chastain).
But buried beneath the red clay of the country manor are restless spirits that haunt Edith, warning her of her hosts’ iniquity.
From director Guillermo del Toro and featuring a bevy of sinister performances, Crimson Peak is a stunningly shot Victorian ghost story with atmospheric set design and a palpable sense of dread.
All of which help to elevate it past the gratuitous gross-out of standard horror schlock.
However, lesser minds are going to assume that everyone at Crimson Peak is menstruating.
The Catholic Church opposes abortion because they need more children to molest.
Fortunately, the journalists in this drama are putting a stop to the latter.
When Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), the new editor of the Boston Globe’s investigative department, gets wind of a lawyer’s (Stanley Tucci) claim that the Archbishop hid allegations of sexual abuse, he directs his team (Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams) to focus solely on this story.
Their findings unearth dozens of victims still waiting for justice, an archdiocese simply relocating the accused, and negligence on the paper’s part for not publishing tips it had received years prior.
The unfortunate true story that shook Boston to its core in 2002, Spotlight’s ensemble cast shines as a beacon of excellence equal to the journalists they portray, while the script is detailed but not exploitive.
However, the Catholic Church exacted its revenge when the Internet destroyed newspaper subscriptions.
With his parentless upbringing, eccentric enemies and endless gadgets, it’s obvious that James Bond is really Batman.
And while Gotham City is not on Bond’s itinerary in this action movie, he does travel extensively.
While Agent 007 (Daniel Craig) goes about exposing a clandestine criminal empire run by a ghost from his past, Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), his boss M (Ralph Fiennes) tries to keep MI5 from shutting down the Double O program in favour of a worldwide intelligence gathering initiative.
With help from a Quantum scientist’s daughter (Léa Seydoux), Bond ascertains that the two may just be connected.
The 24th instalment in the British spy franchise, Spectre certainly serves up some ambitious action sequences and unexpected surprises.
However, those revelations are more inane than intriguing, while the main villain is just feeble in general.
Moreover, doesn’t Spectre realize that the only way to thwart James Bond is with an STI?
The Last Witch Hunter
The best way for a witch hunter to attract their prey is to saturate themselves in warlock urine.
Fortunately, the huntsman in this fantasy has other methods of detection at his disposal.
Seconds before she is slain, the White Witch curses the witch hunter Kaulder (Vin Diesel) with life ever after. While he survives the posthumous pandemic that she unleashes on the Middle Ages, his wife and child are not so lucky.
Eight centuries later, with help from a pair of priests (Michael Caine, Elijah Wood) and a dream-walker (Rose Leslie), Kaulder continues to kill covens content on resurrecting their ivory empress.
With its monotonous narrative, second-rate special effects and daft dialogue delivered by its disinterested and one-dimensional lead, Last Witch Hunter trudges along the well-trodden path of all the sorcery stories that have come before it.
Besides, there is nothing tackier than having a stuffed witch’s head mounted on your wall.
Bridge of Spies
The biggest difference between American and Russian spies is Americans won’t trade military secrets for blue jeans.
Mind you, the only trading transpiring in this drama is of a human nature.
Hired by the U.S. government to represent accused KGB agent Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), insurance lawyer James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) goes on to negotiate Abel’s exchange with Russia for a downed U-2 pilot (Jesse Plemons) and an American abroad.
On the home front, Donovan’s wife (Amy Ryan) and family are unaware of the dangers he faces on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall.
Scripted by the Coen Brothers, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks, Bridge of Spies is award bait at its best. But, when balanced with the real-life intrigue of Cold War diplomacies, it’s also those artists’ finest hour.
Furthermore, for a successful Cold War negotiation, be sure to bring some McDonald’s with you.
Before women got the right to vote, no one cared about how the candidates’ hair looked.
Thankfully, the agitator in this drama is more concerned with working conditions.
When Maud (Carey Mulligan) innocently steps in for a friend (Anne-Marie Duff) who is to speak before parliament on women’s suffrage, she finds herself at the forefront of the matriarchal movement.
Inspired by an MP’s wife (Helena Bonham Carter) and two eminent activists Emily Davison (Natalie Press) and Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep), Maud commits acts of civil disobedience, resulting in the loss of her husband (Ben Whishaw), son and her own freedom.
Mixing real life characters with fictional ones, Suffragette’s fact-based narrative may be slightly romanticized in its interpretation. However, the liberties taken are justifiable in their portrayal of the actual hardships that came along with the struggle.
Incidentally, the first law that women voted to repeal was that of Sunday shopping.
The best part about meeting your favourite author is finally getting to tell them how to improve their books.
Unfortunately, the teen in this family-comedy is only interested in the writer’s daughter.
When Zach (Dylan Minnette) and his mom (Amy Ryan) move in next-door to Mr. Shivers (Jack Black) and his daughter Hanna (Odeya Rush), Zach is instantly smitten with her.
But when Zach and his friend (Ryan Lee) break into Hanna’s house to free her from her father, they not only discover that Shivers is actually kid lit author R.L. Stine, but accidentally bring every monster he created for his horror series to life.
A wholly original tale featuring elements from every Goosebumps book and TV episode, this awesome adaptation benefits greatly from Black’s maniacal performance, as well as its spunky script and first-rate effects.
However, if everything they wrote materialized, authors would just write about licensed theme parks.
He’s a Portobello Mushroom Cloud. He’s the…