Currently browsing the "sci-fi" tag.

Mainstream Chick’s Quick Takes: Money Monster; A Bigger Splash; High-Rise

Money Monster is a satisfying crowd-pleaser that definitely benefits from the established rapport between lead actors George Clooney and Julia Roberts and the solid direction of Jodie Foster. Clooney plays an outlandish, self-centered, Jim-Cramer-Mad-Money-type financial TV host named Lee Gates who shares stock tips with what he thinks is an adoring public. Roberts plays his producer/director Patty. She’s the one who keeps Gates and the show on track from her seat in the Control Room. Their usual routine is disrupted on live television when a disgruntled investor named Kyle (British actor Jack O’Connell looking and sounding as American as apple pie) gets into the studio, straps an explosive vest on Lee, and demands to know the source of a so-called ‘glitch’ that caused a particular stock – and his investment- to implode. The result is a tense conspiracy thriller with enough light moments peppered throughout (including some funky dance moves from Clooney) to boost the overall entertainment factor. Money Monster doesn’t really need to be seen on the big screen, but it’s the best of the week’s new offerings for anyone just looking for a solid, well-paced drama with star power.

The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave is yet another weak offering typical of January that may hold some appeal to those hungry for something (very) remotely resembling a Hunger Games or Divergent style flick. In other words, it caters to the Young Adult crowd, by showcasing a world in which kids and teens are the ultimate saviors of humanity!

The Martian

Finally! A movie I can recommend to just about anyone. The Martian has soared to the top of my (extremely short) ‘what’s out there right now that you really should see on the big screen’ list. It’s smart, entertaining, uplifting and remarkably accessible to mainstream as well as geeky-fringe audiences. Seriously, this movie has it all: it’s visually immersive, the stakes are palpable, and despite the science-fiction nature of the plot, the characters are relatable and – certainly in the case of botanist-astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) – worth busting NASA’s budget to save!

Men in Black 3

The third MIB is definitely not the charm. It’s the weakest of the bunch, mostly because it’s not particularly funny, dramatic or cool – elements that helped make the original premise so engaging, entertaining and quirky. MIB3 has a few funny lines, but overall, it’s kind of a downer.

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones basically phone it in as they reprise their roles as Agents J (Smith) and K (Jones), partners in a government agency that monitors alien activity on Earth. Agent J is the hip one; K is the surly one. And in MIB3, we learn why K is such a dour dude.

In Time

The “Occupiers” of Wall Street and throughout the world should take a massive field trip to see this movie. I have a feeling they’d like it – a lot.  It definitely delivers a timely and thought-provoking message in an intriguing and entertaining way.

Cowboys & Aliens

If you like westerns and you like sci-fi then trust me, you’ll like Cowboys & Aliens. It really is that simple. This movie is a strange hybrid that somehow works, mostly due to its stars (Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford) and its director, Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Elf) who knows how to make a crowd-pleaser. The best way to describe it is True Grit meets Independence Day. Chew on that for a while.

Super 8

Super 8 is a blast from the past – especially for those of us who, um, grew up in the 1970s.

Limitless

Limitless is okay, but The Adjustment Bureau is better. So if you’re wavering between the two, stick with TAB and Matt Damon. However, if you’ve already seen TAB and are looking for something in the same bailiwick and you like Bradley Cooper (and his sparkling blue eyes) then Limitless is a serviceable sci-fi drama.