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Vidiot: January 2018

Friday 05th, January 2018 / 10:00

 

The Mountain Between Us 

The real key to surviving the wild is getting an appetite for wolf meat. However, due to the altitude in this romantic-adventure, cougar meat is more likely.  

When a storm strands an ill-tempered neurosurgeon (Idris Elba) and an engaged photojournalist (Kate Winslet) in Boise, the strangers pool their funds and hire a private contractor (Beau Bridges) to fly them through the tempest. Mid-flight the pilot passes out and careens into a mountain where the polar opposite pair battle the elements to make it to shelter. Along the way, they learn to lean on each other in more ways than one. 

From its toothless circumstances to its lukewarm romance, this adaptation of the bestselling novel is a lopsided love story shoehorned into a tale of survival that never fully commits to either of its fanciful storylines. 

Furthermore, be careful when making out with a starving person, as they tend to bite.   

 

Flatliners 

The worst part of dying is when the Grim Reaper shows up with your bill. Existential reparation aside, returning to the living like they do in this horror more is much worse. 

Using themselves as test subjects, a group of morbid medical students (Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev) pierce the veil for a full minute before returning to the living with extraordinary new abilities. But those aptitudes come at a price and soon each participant is haunted back in the real world by the specter of a past sin they have committed. Now, the only way to appease the spirits is to make amends.      

An unnecessary update of the middling 1990s psychological thriller, this tepid retelling doesn’t do much in way of adding to the pre-existing source material. With low-rent chills and half-ass performances, this stiff is DOA.    

Besides, it’s way cheaper to tempt death playing the choking game.   

  

Dunkirk 

The most heroic role a soldier can assume during wartime is that of USO entertainer. Mind you, being in the thick of it, like the men in this drama, is a close second.

On the beaches of Dunkirk, 1940, a pair of privates (Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard), along with thousands of other British troops, attempt to evacuate soon-to-be Nazis occupied Frances. Overhead, a RAF spitfire pilot (Tom Hardy) keeps encroaching German dive-bombers at bay while the Royal Navy (Kenneth Branagh) scrambles civilians (Mark Rylance) to assist in the mass exodus on their behalf. 

With little dialogue to work with, writer/director Christopher Nolan’s depiction of the infamous English event is mostly told through sight and sound. And while both elements do provide many impactful moments in the film’s breezy runtime, the flimsy, inaccurate narrative and weak characters suffer unduly.

Moreover, the fastest way to flee during wartime is on repurposed catapults. ​ 

 

Mother! 

Houseguests are the reason why God created hotels, motels and hostiles. Unfortunately, you would have to combine all three to accommodate the unwanted lodgers in this psychological horror. 

Mother (Jennifer Lawrence) awakens in a strange house where she searches for her husband, Him (Javier Bardem), a prominent poet paralyzed by writer’s block. She eventually finds Him entertaining a man (Ed Harrris) and his family (Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson), who have asked for accommodations. When Mother becomes pregnant, Him’s creative juices begin to flow but his new work attracts throngs of fervent fans who invade and ransack the couple’s home. 

A curious allegory on Eden, writer/director Darren Aronofsky delivers a divisive take on Mother Earth and her creator that will test viewer’s patience. Nevertheless, a case can be made for his artistic effort even though it my take time to appreciate.

Incidentally, to rid yourself of houseguests just disconnect the Wi-Fi.​ 

 

Kingsman: The Golden Circle 

The biggest difference between British and US intelligence is which side of the road they park the surveillance van. Sadly, the spooks in this action-adventure have lost all of their spy gear.

When the Kingsman organization – save for Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and his quartermaster (Mark Strong) – is wiped out by a drug baroness, Poppy (Julianne Moore), intent on poisoning her users, the surviving Kingsman get aid from their American counterpart, The Statesman (Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges). Now this ragtag team must penetrate Poppy’s Cambodian stronghold before her toxin takes the lives of millions.

The obligatory sequel to the groundbreaking original, this overstuffed follow-up features the same eye-popping action but ad nauseam this time. Furthermore, the cartoonishness of the violence has seeped into the script and acting, particularly Elton John’s excruciating performance.

Besides, if you kill all of the recreational drug users then alcoholics will run rampant. ​ 

 

Detroit 

Rioting nowadays only occurs when a sports team loses the championship. However, as this drama reminds us, riots were once used to protest injustice.

In the wake of a police raid on an African-American club in 1967 Detroit, Governor Romney dispatches the National Guard to help local authorities contain the looting on 12th Street.When shots are fired from a nearby motel, overzealous officer Philip Krauss (Will Poulter), his fellow guardsmen and a private security guard, Melvin Dismukes (John Boyega), violently interrogate the black occupants to find the shooter. Matters escalate when two white girls are assaulted under Krauss’ twisted game.

A chilling tale of police brutality that still holds true today, this well-acted and heart wrenching depiction of actual people and events is hard to watch at times, but harder still to ignore.

Furthermore, be sure to always carry a box of donuts with you to avoid police harassment. ​ 

 

Home Again 

The best thing about returning home is your parents are too weak to boss you around any more. Unfortunately, the single mom in this rom-com only has one parent left to abuse.

In the wake of her separation from her record producer husband (Michael Sheen), fledgling interior designer Alice (Reese Witherspoon) moves back to LA to live in her filmmaker father’s mansion, so that her mother (Candice Bergen) can help rear her daughters while she starts her business. Alice finds more assistance – and romance – when she invites three aspiring young filmmakers (Pico Alexander, Jon Rudnitsky, Nat Wolff) to live with her.

Light on laughs and a plausible love story, this dissertation on modern middle-aged womanhood is a shallow and delusional depiction that never finds its lead character rising above her petty sexual desires.

Besides, the only time men will squabble over an older woman is when she is a boat.  

Despicable Me 3 

You can always tell someone is a recovering super-villain by the way they laugh. 

Mind you, the ex-baddie’s gleefulness in this animated-comedy is less maniacal.  

Former fiend turned Anti-Villain League secret agent Gru (Steve Carell) and his wife (Kristen Wiig) are fired from their positions after failing to thwart former child star turned terrorist Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker). On the bright side, Gru learns he has a brother that he has never met who wants Gru to teach him all about super-villainy. Meanwhile, Gru’s jaundiced henchmen serve out their prison sentence.

The second sequel to the middling original, this latest installment feels more like an episode of a Saturday morning cartoon than a 3-D feature. With a hackneyed subplot involving family bonding and tired jokes about 1980s, this mostly Minion free mess meanders into mediocrity. 

Besides, without villains superheroes would have to start pushing people in front of trains themselves.   

 

Better Watch Out 

To ward off would be Christmas thieves put an inflatable menorah on your lawn 

Unfortunately, the invaders in this horror-comedy are already inside the home.  

Despite being preteen, Luke’s (Levi Miller) parents (Patrick Warburton, Virginia Madsen) still insist on Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) babysitting him while they are out. Planning on confessing his love to Ashley, Luke’s declaration is disrupted by his friend Garret (Ed Oxenbould). The trio later receives a note warning them not to leave the house. When Garret disobeys the directive, his death begets a night unlike any other.

Containing the most shocking mid-way twist reveal in years, this sadistic salute to seasonal standards starring mischievous little boys turns the fair-haired archetype on its severed heads. Able to make you cringe and crack-up, this future cult classic comes highly recommended. 

And to dispose of a body at Christmas, simply wrap it and leave it under the nearest tree.  

 

The Hitman’s Bodyguard 

You should never hand your hitman friend a guest list and ask them to take care of it. Thankfully, the contract killer in this action-comedy isn’t attending any parties any time soon.

Willing to testify against a murderous dictator (Gary Oldman) in exchange for his wife’s (Salma Hayek) release from prison, renowned button man Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) is paired with disgraced bodyguard Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) to ensure that he makes it to the witness stand alive. Unfortunately, Bryce’s uptight approach towards witness protection conflicts with Kincaid’s laidback attitude towards killing. However, Interpol’s plan to betray both brings them together.

While the action and the plot of this over-the-top buddy picture are pretty much old hat, the rapid-fire banter between the two archetypal, yet charismatic, leads do make up for the film’s numerous shortcomings.

Incidentally, as an assassin’s bodyguard you get to pat down a lot of high paid therapists.   

American Assassin 

The trouble with millennial assassins is that they take too many selfies with their dead target afterwards. Luckily, the rookie in this action-thriller had a traumatic experience with a camera. 

After filming his fiancée’s death at the hands of jihadists, Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) studies Islam in order to infiltrate their cell and extract revenge. However, the CIA has been monitoring Rapp’s online activities and has now recruited him. Trained by a gruff ex-Navy SEAL (Michael Keaton), Rapp is sent into the field to stop a former agent (Taylor Kitsch) from selling a nuclear weapon to terrorists. 

Mitch Rapp’s first foray into films, this stylish adaptation of the popular book series is a misstep for the fledging franchise. While the performances are solid, the turncoat agent storyline is standard cloak and dagger stuff.

Moreover, it must be hard to win a war when your citizens keep joining the other side.

 

He’s Snow Ballsy. He’s the…

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