Currently browsing posts by Hannah Buchdahl.

Deadpool

Deadpool is a dark, funny, twisted, wince-inducing, sarcastic, anti-superhero movie that breaks all sorts of rules – including an invitation/permission for critics to review it several days in advance of its wide release. From the hysterical opening credits, all the way through to the so-so post-credit bonus clip, the movie celebrates, embraces, rejects and mocks the very genre it is part of… the Marvel comic universe. It’s entertaining in a ‘what-did-I-just-see and why-am-I-reluctant-to-dismiss-it-even though-it-was-such-a-strange-ride?’ sort of way. It truly defies description. But here’s the gist:

The Choice

What can I say? It’s a Nicholas Sparks movie! The Choice is yours to make. As I’ve written many, many times in the past few years, if you’ve seen/liked any or all of the other romantic dramas adapted from Sparks’ sappy best-sellers, then you’ll probably like this one too. It’s not the best (The Notebook kind of set the bar) and it’s not the worst (I lean toward Safe Haven for that honor). But it does fill a gap in the box office for the contemporary romdram.

The Finest Hours

The Finest Hours is a fine but forgettable flick that doesn’t quite rise up to the level of what I’ve come to expect from a Disney movie based on a true story. It’s no Miracle (on Ice), Secretariat, Rise of the Titans, Million Dollar Arm, etc. Perhaps Disney needs the sports theme to hit it out of the park. This one’s more like a solid base hit. I didn’t feel the heartwarming or emotional pull that sucked me into the narrative of the aforementioned films, or even the non-sports-themed Saving Mr. Banks (the movie with Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson on the making of Mary Poppins). That one at least had some comedic edge to it. The Finest Hours has a compelling story at its core — and a few almost-nailbiting scenes — but overall, it wasn’t the lump in your throat, stand up and cheer, feel-good movie I was hoping for.

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!

Ride Along 2

One year ago, I was writing about the first Ride Along movie, describing it as a typical mid-January offering that served as perfectly harmless, mindless entertainment. I wish I could say the same about the sequel, Ride Along 2. But it doesn’t quite rise to the level of mindless entertainment. It’s more like an extended episode of a bad Miami Vice spoof that elicits the occasional laugh-out-loud moment before falling back into a pit of predictability, clichés, and plot-holes.

Norm of the North

I guess there’s a reason we don’t really hear about great animated movies from Lionsgate and Splash Entertainment. If Norm of the North is any indication, they don’t make them! This movie was simply boring, with some of the worst character development and weakest plot points I’ve ever seen in a movie about preserving the environment. Little kids who don’t know better may still enjoy watching Norm for the cute animals, occasional pop songs, and cartoonish style. But the adults – except for a few random lines that are tossed their way (i.e. over the kids’ heads) – will be yearning for a thousandth replay of Frozen or Inside Out.

Mainstream Chick’s 2015 Xmas Day Cheat Sheet

For those who celebrate ‘Winter Break’ with a visit to the movies, here’s my quick take on a dozen recent flicks that may or may not influence your selection!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Oh my, such anticipation! Is it worth it? The answer is a resounding, yet somewhat surprising ‘yes’ given my lack of fandom obsession. I’m sorry, I can’t really tell you why it works. The less you know going into this movie, the better. No spoilers here, I promise! In fact, I will speak (or write) in broad generalities because if you already have your tickets, are planning to see it in the days or weeks ahead, or might be still be on the fence, here’s all you need to know as you contemplate transport back in time, to a galaxy far, far away:

In the Heart of the Sea

They should have had a bigger boat.

In the Heart of the Sea is sort of like The Perfect Storm meets Jaws – in the year 1820. It’s an epic ‘big fish’ tale with a title nearly as long as the tail of the whale that inspired Herman Melville’s literary classic, “Moby-Dick” (which I have yet to read). The best thing the movie has going for it is Chris Hemsworth (Thor). If not for him, I would likely have skipped this cinematic voyage altogether, despite its being helmed by one of my favorite directors, Ron Howard. The pair worked together on the excellent, under-appreciated 2013 movie Rush, in which Hemsworth proved that he’s got a lot more to offer than Nordic-god good looks and proficiency with a hammer. Turns out, he’s quite handy with a harpoon too!

Creed

All things considered, Creed does the Rocky franchise proud. Buzz suggesting that it should be an Oscar contender is a bit over the top, but the movie is certainly satisfying in a Rocky meets The Karate Kid sort of way. Think of Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) as the new Mr. Miagi. “Wax on, wax off Adonis-san!” It’s part sports drama, part chick flick, and therefore, has broad mainstream appeal. It also has the appealing presence of rising star Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station, Friday Night Lights) as the son of Rocky’s late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.