And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

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Review: Let Him Go

Let Him Go is a slow burn. That takes a turn. That’ll make you squirm. Perhaps if you’ve read the 2013 novel “Let Him Go” by Larry Watson, the shocking moments won’t be quite as shocking. But for the rest of us, it’s enough to go… YIKES. Forewarned is forearmed, so brace yourself for a rough ride, especially toward the end.

The film’s lead actors Kevin Costner and Diane Lane have worked together before – in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, playing Superman’s adoptive parents Jonathan and Martha Kent. In Let Him Go, they are, once again, a loving long-married couple living on a ranch (Montana, not Kansas) with a son who is the apple of their eye. But Let Him Go is no PG-13 superhero flick. It’s a character-based adult thriller set in the American West in the early 1960s. The landscape is beautiful and Costner and Lane share an easy on-screen chemistry, which could lull you into a false sense of cinematic security as the story begins to unfold.

Quickie Review: Serenity

Chances are you’ve already heard or read: This movie kinda sucks. So I won’t delve too deep into the waters of this fish tale gone awry. Suffice it to say, I expected more (better?) from a stylized thriller with an A-list cast that includes Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Diane Lane, Jason Clarke and Djimon Hounsou. I’m not one to automatically subscribe to the “If it’s released in January, it’s gonna stink” theory. Heck, The Kid Who Would Be King is actually pretty good. And M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass is looking better by the day! So what happened here? I have to believe that the cast saw something Inception or Interstellar-like in writer/director Steven Knight’s script that simply did not translate onto the screen. It fails quite spectacularly, mainly due to a plot twist that – tempted as I may be – can’t be revealed without spoiling the whole kit and caboodle. Here’s the general set-up: A fishing boat captain named Baker Dill (McConaughey) is hired by his femme fatale ex-wife Karen (Hathaway) to take her abusive current husband Frank (Clarke) out on a fishing trip and feed him to the sharks. For his troubles, she’ll pay him 10 million dollars. That’s a lot of tuna.

Trumbo

Trumbo is set in Hollywood in the 1940s and 50s during the Red Scare, when the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was convinced that there were Commie spies planting propaganda in movies, and a lot of once bright careers were destroyed as a blacklist kept them from getting any work. The film centers on Dalton Trumbo, one of the highest paid screenwriters in town who begins the film at the height of his career. But after refusing to testify in front of the HUAC, he’s sent to jail and once released has to find creative ways to continue his craft. Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) plays Trumbo, and his Oscar-worthy performance elevates a less than exciting script.

Man of Steel

The new “Superman” movie is getting some mixed reviews, but here’s the real deal on the Man of Steel: It’s definitely worth seeing – just keep your expectations in check and don’t over-think it. It’s not a perfect movie. It’s probably not the best action-hero movie you’ll see this year. But it is an interesting and entertaining re-imagining of the Superman mythology. He’s still the guy who can leap tall buildings in a single bound (once he realizes he can fly) and fight the good fight for truth, justice and the American/Earthly way. He just goes at it from a slightly different angle.

Secretariat

Secretariat is good, solid family fare from the company that knows the genre well – Disney. It’s a sweet, simple, root-for-the-underdog message movie that manages to maintain some level of tension and drama despite the fact that we all know how it ends. If you don’t know how it ends, then I apologize for the spoiler. Don’t tell the kids.