Friday, November 1 2013, 11:38 AM MDT
Box Office: Recommended Films for October 25-31, 2013
Recommended films showing in Salt Lake City for the week of October 25 - 31, 2013
1. Gravity (PG-13)
2. Captain Phillips (PG-13)
3. All Is Lost (PG-13)
4. Blue Jasmine (PG-13)
5. Rush (R)
1. Monsters University (G)
2. Despicable Me 2 (PG)
3. Cloudy with a Change of Meatballs 2 (PG)
4. Planes (PG)
5. Turbo (PG)
1. All Is Lost (PG-13)
2. Blue Jasmine (PG-13)
3. Don Jon (R)
4. Enough Said (PG-13)
5. The Patience Stone (R)
All Is Lost
4 out of 5 Stars
Director: J.C. Chandor
Starring: Robert Redford
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Recommended To: Those looking for an unconventional drama with a fantastic performance by Robert Redford.
Synopsis: When a shipping container at damages his boat at sea a man (Robert Redford) is forced to use his wits and strength to survive.
Review: All Is Lost is a one-man movie that features very little dialogue, almost no background on its character and takes place in the middle of the ocean. On one hand it is an incredibly simple film; one actor against the elements as his boat disintegrates. Of course when it comes to filmmaking it is never that simple. In order for All Is Lost to work the movie needs a highly skilled actor with a natural charisma and a director and crew that are capable of convincing audiences that everything they see is actually happening in the middle of the ocean and not in a controlled environment. Thankfully Robert Redford and director/writer J.C. Chandor are up to the task and together they’ve created a tense and engaging film.
My only complaint, and I’m not certain how passionately I feel about this, is that we know nothing of Redford’s character. At the beginning of the film we hear him read a letter that he has written to an unspecified someone. It implies a few things, but it doesn’t really help to define who the character is. There are many who have embraced this as one of the film’s strengths. We know nothing about the character and yet we are still interested enough to continue watching.
2.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Recommended To: Those obsessed with Cormac McCarthy’s prose, even if it feels out of place in a sluggish film that fails to match the author’s novels.
Synopsis: A lawyer (Michael Fassender) decides to make some extra money by becoming part of a drug trafficking ring.
Review: Novelist Cormac McCarthy’s books have often been called “unfilmable” because they are so dense and overly philosophical. Nonetheless Joel and Ethan Coen were able to make a masterpiece with their adaptation of No Country for Old Men and despite a few flaws I found John Hillcoat’s adaption of The Road to be a deeply moving film. In both cases a large amount of the success should be credited to the Coen Brother’s and Joe Penhall’s scripts because they were able to bring the plot to the forefront while keeping a sense of McCarthy’s weighty prose intact. Unfortunately The Counselor, which is an original screenplay by McCarthy, fails to do the same as McCarthy’s script often strays into lengthy monologues that would work wonderfully in a novel, but just feel unnatural and too long in the film. The story itself is surprisingly generic as well. Remove the over-blown monologues and the film is essentially the same cautionary story of excess, drugs, greed and violence that Hollywood has been churning out for ages.
The film’s cast does its best to navigate and communicate the dialogue given and ultimately only Cameron Diaz fails to convincingly grasp the words (she should have had Ruben Blades tutor her). But even fine performances can’t save The Counselor. It’s too awkward and strangely inhuman.
Escape From Tomorrow
3 out of 5 Stars
Director: Randy Moore
Starring: Roy Abramsohn, Elena Schuber and Katelynn Rodriguez
Rated: Not Rated
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Recommended to: Those looking for an odd experimental film that isn’t nearly as good as the hype that originally surrounded it.
Synopsis: A man suffers a mid-life crisis while vacationing with his family at a theme park that isn’t nearly as happy as it is advertised to be.
Review: Escape from Tomorrow quickly became the most talked about film at 2013’s Sundance Film Festival. This was mostly because it was filmed in and around at Disney World in Florida without the theme parks permission. The film feels like the bastard child of Terry Gilliam, David Cronenberg and Federico Fellini. It’s an odd social commentary on Disney and the great American mid-life crisis. It’s occasionally fantastic, but more often than not it is simply strange. I liked more at Sundance than I did the second time I watched it. It’s a lot of smoke and mirrors with a dark and disturbing center. It’s not essential viewing, but it’s certainly worth a look.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
2.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Jeff Tremaine
Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll, Greg Harris
Recommended To: Fans of Jackass, Borat and other shock comedies.
Synopsis: Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville), an 86-year-old man, embarks on a cross-country trip to deliver his 8-year-old grandson (Jackson Nicoll) to his father.
Review: If you’ve ever watched any of the Jackass films or television programs you know pretty much what you’re getting into with Bad Grandpa. It’s a vulgar and frequently hilarious experience. Rather than just performing a variety of stunts this film attempts to tie in a narrative to the various set pieces. Where a film like Borat was able to successfully merge the unscripted footage in with the written scenes Bad Grandpa tend to feel unnecessary and clumsy. These scenes exist only as an excuse to bridge one outrageous to the next. It’s an excuse that Jackass never felt compelled to use before. Still, the film works far better than Harmony Korine’s Trash Humpers and should appease fans and those looking to be shocked into laughter.