A nail-biting suspense story concerning a cargo ship that is hijacked by Somali pirates, and how the crew cope with their new found circumstances, while their bosses attempt to negotiate with an increasingly aggressive group of villains whose asking price to leave the ship is high. While not as effective and character building as "Captain Phillips", a movie with a very similar plot, the film's pacing and interweaving of many character's points of view is simply outstanding. The acting is uniformly superb, and the ending is shocking, heartbreaking, and unpredictable, all the things you would want in a movie like this. With a little more character development, especially concerning the pirates themselves (something 'Phillips' did remarkably well), this would be a great movie worthy of Oscar buzz. Still outstanding, and well worth seeing, although be warned, it is fairly depressing.
A special-effects driven mixed bag of a movie about a group of special people called "scanners" who have the ability to read peoples minds, or if they decide they do not like them or need to make a point, make their heads explode. However, when one ruthless, murdering man named Revok (Michael Ironside) threatens to use his powers to attempt to take over the world, another scanner, Vale (Stephen Lack) makes it his mission to stop him at any cost. The plot is fairly cliché and predictable to a point, with Ironside outshining Lack's performance by a mile thanks to the great intensity and ferocity he gives whenever he is on the screen. It is a largely entertaining movie but it could have used more fleshing out of the story line, one that attempted to throw out at least some surprises once in a while. Far from director David Cronenberg's best works, but ironically, this is the movie that put him on the map so to speak.
One of the most important, unsettling, gritty films ever put on screen about a free black man (Chiwetel Ejiofor) living in New York with his family, who is sold into slavery and spends twelve years trying to keep not only his sanity given his previous circumstances, but his dignity as well as he goes through hell to keep his hopes of finding freedom again someday. Ejiofor, a method actor who has excelled in films like "Redbelt", "Inside Man", and "Children of Men", is absolutely sensational here, in a performance that should definitely earn him not only his first Oscar nomination, but a win as well. Director Steve McQueen ("Hunger", "Shame") holds nothing back, and the result is one of the best films made, one that paints slavery in the most brutal but most fair way possible. It is not an entertaining or fun movie to sit through by any stretch, but it is extremely educational, and an important view of one of the most awful times in our nation's history.
An impressively shot but ultimately dissatisfying exercise in getting revenge on the Nazis for their crimes against humanity, with this story taking focus on a sadistic doctor (Jesper Christensen) who fled Germany after ruthlessly operating and experimenting on the many Jews that came through the concentration camps. After twenty years, his whereabouts are discovered, and three agents (Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, and Sam Worthington) are sent to capture him and bring him to justice. The movie constantly shifts between flashbacks of the agents, their mission, and the problems they face, to thirty years later when they are older (played by Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, and Ciaran Hinds, respectively) and wear a distinct look of regret on all of their faces for some unknown reason (until the film's middle-section explains why). These shifts in time create an uneasy balance despite the excitement the flashback scenes hold, including what may be the best Sam Worthington performance to date. It is not a terrible movie, but it could have been so much more with better direction and overall better construction of the story and how to tell it. The acting is expectedly top-notch, which gives the story life when in most cases it would start to lose its audience, but by the end of the film, you can not help but be a little disappointed that a fascinating story like this was not better executed.
A likeable enough coming of age story concerning an insecure, troubled teenager (Liam James) who is forced to go to his mother's boyfriend's (Steve Carell) beach house with them for the summer despite wanting to be with his real father. Once there, he stumbles into a summer job at a local water park, and makes friends with a 40's something staff member (Sam Rockwell) still attempting to live in his early days, and strikes up a potential romantic relationship with the cute girl next door (Annasophia Robb). While it is largely predictable and it has some moments of being absolutely corny, including the finale at the water park, it is still likable enough. It is an average movie with great performances, especially Rockwell, and it definitely has its heart in the right place. Not an outstanding movie by any stretch of the imagination, but far from bad. It just never exceeds being anything more than average.