Recommended films showing in Salt Lake City for the week of October 11 - 17, 2013
1. Gravity (PG-13)
2. Captain Phillips (PG-13)
3. Blue Jasmine (PG-13)
4. Rush (R)
5. The Worlds End (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. Blue Jasmine (PG-13)
2. We Are What We Are (R)
3. Don Jon (R)
4. Enough Said (PG-13)
5. Wadjda (PG)
2.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Mikael Hafstrom
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger
Genre: Action, Thriller
Recommended To: Those breathlessly waiting for Stallone and Schwarzenegger to appear side by side in a film with a fairly lousy script.
Synopsis: Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) makes a living breaking out of maximum-security prisons. His latest job finds him locked in the worlds most secret and high-tech prison. The only catch? Its a set up and to get out hell have to befriend Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a prisoner with his own agenda.
Review: Two decades ago the pairing of Schwarzenegger and Stallone would have made headlines. These days its not nearly the draw as it once was. Escape Plan is a missed opportunity. It never truly had a chance of being a great film, but it should at least have been better than it is. For the first 30 or so minutes the film lumbers around in exposition. This would be forgivable if it added anything to the story, but the character development (if you can call it that) is fairly pointless. Once Stallone and Schwarzenegger are put in the same room things start to get interesting. The problem is that both actors are showing their age. The action sequences arent particularly thrilling and the cast spends more time dodging plot holes than gunfire. Jim Cavlezel and Vinnie Jones chew the scenery, Sam Neill, Amy Ryan and Curtis 50 Cent Jackson appear for almost no reason whatsoever and Vincent DOnofrio sits around looking uncomfortable and in need of a shower. Theres just enough here to entertain the target audience, but everyone else will find the film to be too silly and too sluggish to enjoy.
The Fifth Estate
2.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Bill Condon
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Bruhl, Carice van Houten
Genre: Biography, Drama, Thriller
Recommended To: Those interested in Julian Assange and Wikileaks but cant be bothered to watch the documentary We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks.
Synopsis: The rise and fall of Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his website Wikileaks.
Review: Considering director Bill Condons early career (well blink past Breaking Dawn) and actor Benedict Cumberbatchs terrific performance as Julian Assange I would have thought The Fifth Estate would be a much better film than it is. After all in the modern age few have ruffled more feathers while gaining celebrity status than Assange. Wikileaks changed the whistleblowers world forever and left the worlds most powerful governments back on their heels. Wikileaks didnt topple any empires, but it came closer than anyone could have ever expected. So, if thats the case, why does this film feel so passive? There is no tension or real sense of danger. Simply knowing how a story ends doesnt necessarily rob it of its drama. I knew how Argo, Schindlers List and numerous other films ended long before they began and yet they held my attention and pushed me to the edge of my seat. The Fifth Estate doesnt. Maybe its because Assange is the sort of ego that we love to see humbled, but even in that case the film should be more interesting. It just isnt.
If youre a fan of Cumberbatch you'll want to catch his performance. If you're simply interested in Wikileaks and Julian Assange youd be better off renting the documentary We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks
We Are What We Are
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Jim Mickle
Starring: Bill Sage, Ambyr Childers, Julia Garner
Genre: Horror, Drama, Thriller
Recommended To: Fans of horror films that rely on character and story rather than gore to deliver their scares.
Synopsis: The Parkers are an isolated family held together by the secret ancient customs that threatens to also tear them apart. When a girl goes missing and massive storm moves through their town the familys secret threatens to rise to the surface.
Review: Jim Mickle (Stake Land) makes smart horror films on a shoestring budget. He does so by casting fantastic actors and picking great stories. We Are What We Are was inspired by a 2010 Mexican film of the same name, but Mickles version of the story changes up a variety of plot points to the extent that it cant be considered a direct remake. Its creepy, sinister slice of Americana that is as unnerving as it is frightening. It has moments of gore, but the psychological aspect of the drama is really what carries the story to its unforgettable and shockingly appropriate conclusion.
(Copyright 2013 - Sinclair Broadcasting Group)