Currently browsing the "Chris Pine" tag.

Review: Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman 1984 is the first movie released mid-pandemic for which I was sorely tempted to mask up and venture into a theater. Really glad I didn’t. Lasso of truth: WW84 is okay, but falls far short of its predecessor and is, most definitely, not worth risking your life for. It’s simply too long and meandering in plot to fully satisfy all but those desperately hungry for a superhero movie. I thought I was. Now I’m not so sure! I didn’t dislike WW84; but I was disappointed.

Girl Power – in front of and behind the camera – can only take you so far. Pieces of the story are good. They just don’t hang together all that well. The movie is too heavy on the messaging (Don’t lie. Greed is bad. Most people want to be good. Be careful what you wish for. Truth is all there is.) and too light on the superheroics. I’m all for Diana Prince living a double life, but aren’t we here mostly to see Wonder Woman doing her thing? Wonder Woman 1984 needed more Wonder Woman!

Review: A Wrinkle in Time

I sooo wanted to like this movie. Really, I did. But despite its star power both in front of the camera (Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, etc.) and behind it (director Ava DuVernay), A Wrinkle in Time is a bit of a hot mess. It’s colorful, visually stunning in parts, and spreads a heartfelt message about familial bonds, embracing your faults, finding strength in your individuality and all that good stuff. But in the end, the narrative gets lost in the spectacle – and Oprah’s larger-than-life, eye-glittered presence is more of a distraction than a serviceable plot device. The story just doesn’t add up. I don’t recall that being the case with Madeline L’Engle’s classic novel, first published in 1962. I read it in the 1970s (when I actually devoured more books than movies – probably because I couldn’t drive) and have fond recollections of protagonist Meg Murry’s travels through time and space in search of her scientist father who went missing while studying the universe.

Spoiler-free Review: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman – all the world is waiting for you – and the power you possess [at the box office]. So go kick some butt!

The greatest female superhero of all time finally gets her due in this big-budget, action-packed chick flick directed by Patty Jenkins, the first woman to helm a major DC Comic or Marvel movie. Golden-lasso-of-truth be told, Wonder Woman is not a perfect movie, but it is far better than the most recent DC Comic flicks (i.e. Batman v. Superman, Suicide Squad) and it delivers a compelling combination of action, romance, backstory, plot, and inspirational message for our times. All packed into a solid two hours and 20 minutes.

Hell or High Water

Hell or High Water didn’t get the attention it deserved when it was out. But now it’s getting some notice by the awards people, so I thought I’d give my take. (Mainstream Chick’s take is at the bottom of this post. We both liked it a lot!) It has a great cast – Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges, Gil Birmingham, and Ben Foster. It’s a fairly simple story, very well told. Two teams are playing a cat and mouse game with each other. Brothers Tony and Tanner (Pine and Foster) are small time bank robbers. Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Bridges) and his partner Alberto (Birmingham) are on their tail as they knock over branches of the Texas Midlands Bank. Tanner has a record, but Tony is doing it all for his young sons. And Hamilton is about to retire, so he wants that last good case. It’s a very human story that’s humorous, sad, and action packed.

Mainstream Chick’s Quick Takes: Pete’s Dragon; Florence Foster Jenkins; Hell or High Water

Good news, mainstream movie fans: There really is something for just about everyone at the Box Office this weekend. First, however, I must confess that I missed the screening of Sausage Party and doubt I’ll get around to watching it anytime soon, unless someone wants to send me a Sausage link. Regardless, I suspect the movie is filled with enough raunchy adult animation and humor to entertain a certain demographic. I’ll just leave it at that (for now), and move on to Pete’s Dragon, Florence Foster Jenkins, and Hell or High Water

The best new family film option is Pete’s Dragon, a live-action reimagining of a 1977 Disney flick that I don’t recall watching as a kid, even though it featured music and singing (i.e. how did I miss that one!?) I’m not exactly the target demo anymore for this type of movie, so I borrowed 12-year-old Aaron, 8-year-old Marisa, and their parents for an honest, independent evaluation of this Tarzan-esque meets dragon story. The general consensus: They liked it!

Star Trek Beyond

The third installment of the Star Trek reboot is for me the weakest yet, relying on big battles and CGI more than the characters and stories that made the first two so much fun. Which is not to say it isn’t entertaining. I mean it is Star Trek! There is still witty repartee between the crew, and lots of derring-do, mostly by Kirk. And an evil nemesis, this time a scaly alien named Krall (Idris Elba). And the future of the universe does hang in the balance. So it has all the elements you expect. But J.J. Abrams is not at the helm of the franchise this time, and Justin Lin (Fast and Furious) doesn’t quite manage the same balance of adventure and comedy. Nevertheless, as escapist entertainment goes, it works.

The Finest Hours

The Finest Hours is a fine but forgettable flick that doesn’t quite rise up to the level of what I’ve come to expect from a Disney movie based on a true story. It’s no Miracle (on Ice), Secretariat, Rise of the Titans, Million Dollar Arm, etc. Perhaps Disney needs the sports theme to hit it out of the park. This one’s more like a solid base hit. I didn’t feel the heartwarming or emotional pull that sucked me into the narrative of the aforementioned films, or even the non-sports-themed Saving Mr. Banks (the movie with Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson on the making of Mary Poppins). That one at least had some comedic edge to it. The Finest Hours has a compelling story at its core — and a few almost-nailbiting scenes — but overall, it wasn’t the lump in your throat, stand up and cheer, feel-good movie I was hoping for.

Star Trek Into Darkness

I enjoyed Star Trek Into Darkness, but I wouldn’t call it a “must-see” unless you’re a true Trekkie – or, at the very least, a casual fan of the TV and/or movie franchise. The more you know of the characters and the mythology going in, the more you’re likely to appreciate the latest round of challenges facing the familial crew of the Starship Enterprise. Most of the diehard fans have already seen the movie or read the spoilers relating to the villain. But I’m going to play it safe and keep it simple. Basically, the plot involves the Starfleet facing a major threat from within. Ultimately, Captain Kirk and his crew take it upon themselves to venture into some dark territory to capture the one-man wrecking crew responsible for a whole lot of death and destruction. The bad guy is played by Benedict Cumberbatch, who I’d never heard of, but certainly has a name (and face) to remember!

People Like Us

People Like Us will have to fight for attention and word of mouth. But it’s a very satisfying departure from the loud, crazy, crude, animated, 3D, superhero, star-studded or simply bizarre flicks that tend to dominate the summer box office. It’s a nice adult-themed PG-13 drama/comedy that’s inspired by true events, which makes it all the more intriguing.

This Means War

This Means War could ignite a battle among critics – and debates among friends- because it’s not a great movie by any stretch, but it doesn’t suck either. It’s fine February fluff that’s part ‘buddy movie’ and part ‘chick flick’… part action-adventure-spy-drama  and part romantic comedy. If the combination doesn’t appeal, then skip it. But if you’re looking for a good date movie or compromise among friends, then consider putting this one on the table.

Chris Pine (Star Trek, Unstoppable) and Tom Hardy (Inception,Warrior) play CIA agents whose brotherly bond is tested when they fall for the same girl, played by chick-flick veteran Reese Witherspoon (Water for Elephants, Legally Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama). She, in turn, falls for both of them – unaware that they know each other and are using the tools of their trade to surveil and sabotage her romantic encounters.