Showing posts from February, 2012

Snapshots - #38: Only the Brave, Jane, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Only the Brave (2017), (♦♦♦♦): Based on the true story of the effort it took to get a municipal crew of firefighters from Prescott, Arizona, certified as Hotshots. After battling thousands of wildfires since their inception, the Granite Mountain Hotshots answered a call to battle the Yarnell Hill fire—about 30 miles away from Prescott—along with several other crews. How they got to that point and what happened is what this movie is about.
Only the Brave is a drama with some thriller on the side, and excellent performances to boast of. It's got a dynamic pace, engaging plot, amazing shots of wildfires, fun camaraderie, and great music to underscore the action. As an audience, we care for the journey of that crew, individually and as a group, and as heartbreaking as the closing scenes are, we stand in awe at the sacrifices that firefighters and their families make every day of their lives. Only the Brave is a darn great tribute to them, and elite firefighters such as the Granite Moun…

Chronicle (♦♦♦)

Andrew is a high school kid who has recently bought an expensive video camera with which he documents everything. Out in the woods, Andrew, his cousin Matt and his friend Steve go into an underground cave where they come upon something odd. In the days following the incident in the cave, they discover they have developed telekinesis abilities. At first is all very cool because Andrew becomes a popular kid due to his new found superpower, but Andrew’s father is abusive, triggering rages that make Andrew capable of really awful things.

We as audience enjoy superhero movies so much, but this is the one side that is never explored. People are capable of doing good and bad stuff, but superhero powers magnify personality traits already present, as we are reminded so often in movies like Spiderman and Captain America. Is it a pretty side of power? It’s not, but it’s worth exploring.

This movie is certainly not a classic, but it’s definitely worth watching if only as a cautionary tale.

The Vow (♦♦♦)

Paige (Rachel McAdams) and Leo (Channing Tatum) are married and very much in love, but an accident on a snowy night robs Paige of the precious memories she has created with her husband. Instead, Paige remembers everything about her life with her biological family, prompting her husband of four years to romance her again. The problem is she may not be ready for the life they used to share.

Some critics have expressed this film is a romantic classic; in my opinion, it is not. Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum are both beautiful people, but together they lack the chemistry that made Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling instant hits in The Notebook. Half the time Tatum seems to be rushing his lines, anxious perhaps to transmit to the audience the emotions he is supposed to convey, but he never gets there. Rachel McAdams, on the other hand, takes her job seriously but she looks lost without a convincing male lead.

Channing Tatum belongs in action movies while McAdams needs a strong male counte…

The Grey (♦♦♦)

A small plane, transporting personnel employed by the petroleum industry in Alaska’s wilderness, crashes leaving only seven male survivors in its aftermath. The remains of the plane land on a remote, snowy, mountainous terrain that is home to a wolf pack. The men decide to walk across the snow to a nearby forest, but the farther they go into the trees, the less of them that come out alive.

Liam Neeson is very convincing as the man whose only purpose is to defeat the wolf pack and come out alive. Unfortunately, the story is very predictable. The script is good, but it doesn’t offer many challenges as far as acting is concerned. The suspense is kept until the end, but with a bunch of angry wolves stalking their human prey, it’s not hard to anticipate who wins this fight.

Margin Call (♦♦♦♦)

Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Stanley Tucci, Zachary Quinto, Demi Moore, Simon Baker and Jeremy Irons co-star in Margin Call.

MBS is a global company undergoing downsizing. In the most recent wave of layoffs, a risk analyst is let go, but he hands over his most recent project to a trusted associate before leaving. That night, when the young associate begins to work on the data, he arrives to a stunning conclusion: the company is worth nothing as of two weeks ago.

Over the course of the early morning hours, the whole cavalry is called in. They attend meeting after meeting to figure out if the analyst is right; it turns out that he is. The big leaguers then decide to do something outrageous: liquidate the company in its entirety when the stock market opens… Only they know full well their stocks are worth nothing!

This is a taut thriller, made better yet by the excellent performances of the entire cast. Jeremy Irons is brilliant as the depraved CEO of MBS. Kevin Spacey is equally amazing …

The Iron Lady (♦♦♦♦)

This biopic chronicles the beginnings of Margaret Thatcher, as the proud daughter of a small business owner, as Oxford graduate and her marriage to Dennis Thatcher. Thatcher, as a senile woman, reminisces on her political career, her highs and lows as Britain’s Prime Minister and her clash with her political party that led her to resign from office.

I have read some reviews expressing how this is Not a political movie. I strongly disagree. This movie is very much about Margaret Thatcher the woman as it is about her politics, her rise and fall as a politician and the ideals who shaped her. It is impossible to talk about Margaret Thatcher’s life divorced from politics; doing so is simply deny her impact in her country’s political times.

The Iron Lady chronicles Margaret Thatcher’s clashes with unions, who were demanding high salary increases for unionized workers of up to 35%!, the middle class discontent with her economic changes, her strong stance towards IRA’s terrorism, the war she …

Albert Nobbs (♦♦♦♦)

Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close) is a waiter in a small hotel in Dublin. He has two big secrets: one, he is actually a woman. Two, he has a huge stash of money hidden under his bedroom’s floor. When Mr. Paige, a painter, comes to do temporary work at the hotel, he is accommodated in Mr. Nobbs’ bedroom, which only has one bed. During the course of the night, Mr. Paige learns that Albert is a woman. Feeling in danger of being exposed, Albert begins to shower Mr. Paige with attention, until Mr. Paige entrusts Albert with a similar secret of his own.

Meanwhile, Mr. Nobbs is financially close to fulfilling his dream of owning a tobacco shop, but all comes to a screeching halt due to a love triangle he becomes part of with a hotel maiden named Helen (Mia Wasikowska), who is in love with a good-for-nothing young hotel employee named Joe.

Albert Nobbs is without doubt one of the finest movies of this 2012 Award Season. Glenn Close delivers a top notch performance (one of the best of the year, perh…

Ghost Walk by Heather Graham (♦♦♦♦)

It has taken me a while to post anything and it is because I’ve become lazy every time I think about going to the movies or starting a new book. Luckily, I could finish Ghost Walk by Heather Graham and I hereby posted my review.
An undercover FBI agent named Tom Garfield, known to all to be “cleaned as a whistle”, mysteriously dies in New Orleans of a heroin overdose. Within hours, Andrea Ciello (Andy), who--in the company of Nikki DuMonde--is one of the last few people to see Garfield alive, is dead also of a heroin overdose. Unlike Garfield, Andy has a past of drug addiction; thus, very few suspect foul play… Waking from a daze at four o’clock in the morning, Nikki Du Monde sees at the end of her bed the image of Andy asking her for help. She dismisses the sight as a prank, though hours later she learns that Andy died at precisely the time she saw her. Was Andy’s sight a ghost? Absolutely. Nikki must learn to communicate with the beyond if she wants to stay alive, for it seems that t…