RIDE ALONG 2 || January 15th, 2016

13Hours-poster 13 HOURS || Michael Bay might have a way of making giant fighting robots look interesting, but when it comes to the war film “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi,” not so much. John Krasinski is the biggest star you’re going to see in the film, about a group of ex-soldiers that take it upon themselves to defend the embassy, even when they are outnumbered and told specifically not to do anything. Based on real accounts from those involved and witnesses, Bay might be trying something new, but it doesn’t feel new.
PASS
NormOfTheNorth-poster NORM OF THE NORTH || Not only does “Norm Of The North” feel about 10 years too late to the animation party, even the trailer is lacking in fundamental skills, like comedic music stops and any comedy in general. The music just keeps on playing in this trailer, allowing for no soaking in what is going on. Norm is a talking polar bear that takes his gerbil looking friends to the States to ask them not to visit the North Pole. Ripping off everything from “Madagascar” to jokes from “The Three Stooges,” this is just bad all the way through.
PASS
APerfectDay-poster A PERFECT DAY || When the title says “A Perfect Day,” they truly mean one day, as the film takes place over 24 hours as a team of humanitarians in 1995 look to pull their dead friend out of a well as to not contaminate the water “somewhere in the Balkans.” Starring Tim Robbins, Benicio Del Toro, and Olga Kurylenko, there is quite a bit of talent in this dramatic comedy, but unfortunately, no one looks at their best and the tone seems to suffer from that.
PASS
RideAlong2-poster RIDE ALONG 2 || Ice Cube and Kevin Hart team up again as brothers-in-law, heading down to Miami to stop a drug lord played by Benjamin Bratt. Along the way they get help from Ken Jeong and Olivia Munn. Doing as most comedy sequels do in which they attempt to recapitalize on the jokes that hit well in the original, we have plenty of Kevin Hart flying through the air, unwittingly looking bad in front of her brother-in-law, and once again accidentally shooting a perp. Although none of this is exceptionally eye-catching, Ice Cube’s banter is at least some point of selling this.
STREAM

400Days-poster 400 DAYS || This attempt at science-fiction drama would normally not sell me, but then you add comedian Dane Cook in a serious role after having not seen him in film for quite sometime, and you’ve grabbed my attention. Four astronauts are locked away underground to simulate being in space, but when their mental states begin to be compromised, the question becomes what’s real and what’s not. Stars of “Arrow” Brandon Routh and Caity Lotz along with “The Flash” star Tom Cavanagh, as well as Ben Feldman (“Mad Men”).
STREAM
BandOfRobbers-poster BAND OF ROBBERS || A reimagining of the Mark Twain’s characters Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, “Band Of Robbers” takes these iconic characters and brings them into modern day as adults. Huck Finn (Kyle Gallner) is being released from jail, trying to put his life of crime behind him but Sawyer (co-writer and co-director Adam Nee), now a corrupt cop, has other plans which include a fabled treasure and their friends Joe Harper and Ben Rogers. Melissa Benoist (“Supergirl” & “Whiplash”) and Hannibal Buress (“Neighbors”) also star.
PASS
TheBenefactor-poster THE BENEFACTOR || Now at 21 years of age, Dakota Fanning continues to show glimpses of a great actress. And although she’ll probably need a few more years to really grow into her own, the effort she brings to her role in “The Benefactor,” as a pregnant woman reaching out to a mysterious old family friend (Richard Gere) for help, is quite commendable. There is then a darkness to the film, with more to Gere’s character than meets the eye, involving a previous car accident that took the life of Fanning’s mother. Theo James (“Divergent”) also stars.
STREAM
TheGarden-poster THE GARDEN || Likely an attempt to follow in the footsteps of the great Terrence Malick and his films like “The Tree Of Life” and “To The Wonder,” writer and director David Ferry Jr. takes the exact same approach that Malick does with those films, down to even the cinematography and camera placement, and delivers a meditation on a woman’s journey, using nature and ambiguous storytelling to get the message across.
PASS
InTheShadowOfWomen-poster IN THE SHADOW OF WOMEN || A French love film about cheating… “In The Shadow Of Women” is not going to win any awards for originality. Director Philippe Garrel also wrote and directed “A Burning Hot Summer,” a French film of his that I do want to see. However, this one, which takes a practical look at infidelity just feels too “among the pack” in terms of not reaching out and being anything original. I am reminded of the film “Unfaithful” (2002) which featured Richard Gere and Diane Lane in what was probably one of the most powerful films about infidelity.
PASS
Intruders2016-poster INTRUDERS || Giving “Intruders” the benefit of the doubt, it does achieve some nice changes of tone and direction in the trailer that spell out that this will not be your ordinary house break in film. I’m reminded of the horror film “The Collector,” where a man breaks into a house to rip off the owners when he finds them held hostage with dangerous traps set up so that they cannot escape. “Intruders” sees a daughter losing her ill father and being left money only for a group of men (one of which is Martin Starr) to break in and threaten her. But when they stumble upon a torture room in the basement, they discover there’s much more going on here. Despite those interesting twists, the acting looks a bit stiff and nothing feels wholly original, as “You’re Next” was a nice example of originality in this genre.
PASS
Moonwalkers-poster MOONWALKERS || Playing as if the moon landing was an act of fiction, as many conspiracy theorists will abide, “Moonwalkers” follows Ron Perlman as he must acquire the help of director Stanley Kubrick to help shoot this staged event, but offering him a lump sum. But when he is swindled by Rupert Grint, he must power his way to getting the money back or move forward in finding someone that will produce the moon landing without alarming Perlman’s government backers. As much as I’d like to support Perlman, this looks absolutely terrible in quality and performances.
PASS

THEATER

RENT

STREAM

  • “400 Days”
  • “The Benefactor”
  • “Ride Along 2”

PASS

  • “13 Hours”
  • “Band Of Robbers”
  • “The Garden”
  • “In The Shadow Of Women”
  • “Intruders”
  • “Moonwalkers”
  • “Norm Of The North”
  • “A Perfect Day”

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