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It seems that January is the month to have these types of movies released. Last year at this time, we had Insidious: The Last Key. Coincidentally, The Last Key and ESCAPE ROOM are both directed by Adam Robitel. Escape Rooms have grown in popularity over the past several years. I should know since I see all my friends post their own experiences. It was only a matter of time before someone was going to make a movie out of it. Six strangers all get puzzle boxes when once solved offers an invitation to an escape room for a chance to win $10,000 if they succeed. The six strangers include a shy college student, a stock boy with a smoking habit, a young stockbroker, a war veteran, a former miner turned truck driver, and an escape room enthusiast. The game starts the moment the six strangers meet. However, they soon find out the game is actually trying to kill them and if they donâ(TM)t get to the next room before time runs out, they are all dead.
The first thing I noticed is how the movie is heavily inspired by the movies Saw and Cube. With the exception of some supernatural movies, I have never been a fan of PG-13 horror movies, especially movies of this type. With a setup like they had here, they could have been very creative in the deaths and show some gore. But, because of the rating, most of the violence is off-camera or quick cuts. The escape room itself is very inventive with each room getting more complex. My favorite was the third room, an inverted bar with pool tables. However, my appreciation of the escape room designs is where my like of the movie ends.
The characters were annoying and unlikable. Besides the college student played by Taylor Russell and the truck driver played Tyler Labine of Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, everyone were a-holes. Actually, the war veteran played by Daredevilâ(TM)s Deborah Ann Woll grew on me as the movie progressed. The young stockbroker played by Insecureâ(TM)s Jay Ellis is a douchebag from the moment he is introduced. Heâ(TM)s that arrogant bastard who thinks he is better than everyone and talks down to them. The stock boy played by Logan Miller was just as unlikable with all his complaining. Nik Dodani plays the nerd of the group, but he got on my nerves because he was that know-it-all you wanted to slap to shut them up. From the jump, the characters were all mean to each other. No one wanted to be there despite the $10,000 prize. Then why come in the first place? In short, I wanted all of them to die. Sorry, not sorry.
The climax is where everything fell apart. All of a sudden, it turned into some James Bond stuff with the surviving heroes fighting the villain in their control room. The movie up to that point did a good job being mysterious. But when it got to the ending, they only added more questions. At least in a movie like Saw, he found out why everything was happening. This movie decides not to tell us how and why the escape room was built. Instead, the movie spends the final 15 minutes setting up a sequel. ESCAPE ROOM has a decent first half that eventually stumbles in the third act. It didnâ(TM)t help that the characters were unlikable and the twist was ridiculous, but I guess there is no escaping that.
Dean Devlin has helped produced some of the biggest big budget special effects movies of all-time in Independence Day, Stargate, and Godzilla. Devlin makes his directorial debut doing what he knows best...world disaster. In 2019, a series of natural disasters plague the world. The world leaders come up with a plan to create a network of satellites to control the global climate to keep everyone safe. This is of course before someone hijacks it and starts to use the satellites against the world. It is up to a group of people, including the creator of the satellites played by Gerard Butler to find out who is behind the attacks and to save the world. Movies like this already comes with a "don't take it too seriously" sticker. This is The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 but with more weather options. It's fun in a dumb way and you get to see great actors in Andy Garcia and Ed Harris share a couple of scenes together. Also, is Gerard Butler now the guy who has to be cast in everything where his character has to save the president and the world? It's a disaster movie with decent special effects and an exciting climax. It won't be a stirring lesson in climate change, but it will entertain for a few hours.
In the world we live in today, it seems like barely get those pro-American, real heroes type of stories. This movie is the ultimate true heroes story. The film tells the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite crew of firefighters who perished while battling the Yarnell Hill Fire in June 2013. The first hour shows how the men train to be certified and their everyday life struggles. The main stories involve Josh Brolin and Miles Teller. Brolin is a the captain of the crew. Teller plays a drug addict who tires to get his life together after learning he is having a daughter. As the movie progresses, we find out that the Brolin character has more in common with the Teller character. The crew is filled with your normal clichés like the loudmouth, the prankster, the religious one, and the cocky one. But it is Jennifer Connelly that has one of the best roles. She could have easily played that concerned wife that we always see, but the movie gives her a real backstory. There is a reason why her character takes in injured horses and why her and her husband has they type of marriage they had. Miles Teller is also engaging as a man trying to fix his life. Teller, Brolin, and Connelly are the backbone of this movie. When they show the actual men who lost their lives next to the actors who played them, it is uncanny how they got actors to look exactly like them. If you want unbridled heroism and patriotism, this movie will do the trick.
This is based on the true story of Robin Cavendish, who after being given only three months to live after being paralyzed from the neck down by polio at age 28, becomes a pioneering advocate for the disabled. It is also about his enduring relationship with his wife Diana. Andy Serkis aka Gollum makes his directorial debut in this lovely biopic. Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy are great together as husband and wife. Garfield just keeps proving that he isn't scared to take on challenging roles post Spider-Man. The movie has threads of My Left Foot and The Theory of Everything. It's a movie that is nicely shot, nicely acted, and nicely directed, if not by the numbers. It really is a movie about unconditional love and never giving up. That is inspirational enough for me.
Michael Fassbender tries to find out who is killing people and leaving snowmen behind during the harsh winter in Norway. Fassbender is given a new recruit for a partner in Rebecca Ferguson. Together, they have to work together before the Snowman killer strikes again. I like a good crime thriller, this one was just a mess. After a weird opening scene, the movie is filled with unnecessary subplots and characters. There were a lot of scenes that seemed like they were randomly placed there with no real purpose in moving the story forward. Val Kilmer shows up out of nowhere to play this drunk character with an odd voice. At first, I thought he was joking with that voice, but he was not. When you find out who the killer is, it makes you wonder how they did all of it alone. Since this isn't a superhero or supernatural movie, the logic of his murders do not make any sense. I read that Martin Scorsese was supposed to direct but dropped out the last minute. This would have been a completely different movie. But Tomas Alfredson is directing which is a big disappointment since he directed a great spy thriller in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and one of the best horror films of the last decade in Let the Right One. This could have been another Girl With The Dragon Tattoo or Insomnia, but falls short to be even half as entertaining.