Theatrical Releases: London Has Fallen, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, & Zootopia

MARCH 4TH, 2016

LondonHasFallen-poster LONDON HAS FALLEN || Even Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, and Aaron Eckhardt returning cannot save this sequel to “Olympus Has Fallen.” As you could gather from the title, this time they’re in London. But it looks like they couldn’t even get big budget graphics for this one.
PASS
TheOtherSideOfTheDoor-poster THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR || There’s an ancient temple with a door that allows you to speak to your deceased loved ones… but you’re explicitly told not to open that door. Of course for the film, the door is opened. Underwhelming is the cast of Sarah Wayne Callies and Jeremy Sisto, but it’s got enough jarring shock scares to be worth at least something.
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RoadGames-poster ROAD GAMES || “Road Games” looks like a decent thriller for the same reason “The Collector” worked, by bringing a not-so-likable character into a world where the things going on were so much worse than he was. Hitchhikers are often the subject of the antagonists in stories, but this one is slightly flopped when two hitchhikers are invited into a man’s home and it happens that the man is a little more sinister than one would expect. Joséphine de la Baume is ultimately what sells this for me.
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TheWave-poster THE WAVE || Los Angeles Times put this stamp on the latest disaster film to hit theaters: “Norway’s ‘The Wave’ shows Hollywood how to make a disaster film with real thrills.” That’s quite the accolade when you think of how many disaster films Hollywood has been putting out as of late. In this one, as the title suggests a giant wave is caused by some underground activity which sends people fleeing. There is something about the way that this is shot that actually does make it feel different than say a “San Andreas” or “2012.”
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WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot-poster WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT || Tina Fey heads overseas in this not quite comedy, not quite drama titled “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” or “WTF.” Inspired by a real life news journalist, Kim Baker (Fey) is sent on location in Kabul, Afghanistan where she must navigate the harsh landscape, the barrage of men that want to screw her (Martin Freeman being one of them), and the women that may or may not be her friends (Margot Robbie looking excellent as always). Fey’s charm shines all the way through and elevates this along with great performances by Billy Bob Thornton, Christopher Abbott, and Evan Jonigkeit.
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Zootopia-poster ZOOTOPIA || Still not quite up to snuff with its off-shoot Pixar, “Zootopia” is visually competent and strikes several nerves when it comes to adult messaging and morals for children, but it still never fully jumps off the page/screen as it should. Ginnifer Goodwin voices the bunny Judy who grows up with the dream of being a police officer and does so despite the force being made up of huge, tough animals that raise their noses at her. But when a fox, Nick Wilde (voiced by Jason Bateman) is coerced into helping her with a case she stumbles upon, she finally has her chance at earning respect. J.K. Simmons, Jenny Slate, and Idris Elba provide some of the more noteworthy voices, as they delve into the morals of pigeon-holding and racism that are timely and topical.
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AvasPossession-poster AVA’S POSSESSIONS || Picture this is a sequel to “The Exorcist,” where you see the fallout of a young woman having been possessed, complete with Spirit Possession Anonymous and having to piece your life back together after being possessed by a demon. Louisa Krause’s deadpan deliveries look on point and the cinematography looks as if they took some chances, which I can definitely appreciate.
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theboyandthebeast-poster THE BOY AND THE BEAST || In this Japanese animated film “The Boy And The Beast,” a young boy comes across a group of fighting bear-men who he follows and is eventually taken in by and trained. As with most anime, I do not quite see the attraction, as many of the films begin feeling the same, with the animation style in general never quite progressing or evolving.
PASS
Camino-poster CAMINO || Stuntwoman Zoe Bell steps into the leading role of “Camino,” playing a photojournalist who is in the wrong place at the wrong time while in the jungles of Colombia, staying with a missionary group led by what turns out to be sinister leader. Catching an act on film that puts her in his cross-hairs, she must find a way to escape to save her life. It’s not a huge leap from her normal ways, as she is still stunting it up. And for that it all feels thin.
PASS
CemeteryOfSplendor-poster CEMETERY OF SPLENDOR || A contemplative foreign film, “Cemetery Of Splendor” positions around caregivers as they watch over soldiers with a mysterious sleeping sickness. The way the film is shot is reminiscent of several other foreign films that I have enjoyed including “Dogtooth,” which carries a similar tone as this as well.
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ACountryCalledHome-poster A COUNTRY CALLED HOME || Ryan Bingham’s music has been on my radar ever since “Crazy Heart,” and now he has a supporting role in his wife’s directorial debut, “A Country Called Home.” His music is featured in the trailer so I can only imagine it will be in the film as well. Imogen Poots is also a great actress who continues to surprise, putting enough elements to make this rather soft drama look somewhat watchable.
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Emelie-poster EMELIE || Leaving your kids at home with a babysitter has to be hard enough without seeing “Emelie,” a thriller about a psychotic young woman who comes over to babysit and ends up playing weird, sadistic games with the kids. This feels fresh enough to overlook the no name cast.
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TheFinalProject-poster THE FINAL PROJECT || Even though the production of found footage horror films is slowing down, a few still squeak through, like “The Final Project,” which follows a group of college kids to a haunted plantation where they plan to do some sort of video essay for their final project. Of course, this will not end well and people start dying. Sadly, there’s not a single original idea in this trailer and even worse, not a single scare.
PASS
KnightOfCups-poster KNIGHT OF CUPS || Terrence Malick delivers his patented loose narrative “Knight Of Cups,” with three-time-in-a-row Academy Award winner Emmanuel Lubezki behind the camera and a cast that is jam-packed with big names with Christian Bale in the lead and Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Imogen Poots, Teresa Palmer, Freida Pinta, and Antonio Banderas supporting and that’s honest naming a few (there are recognizable actors sprinkled into the smallest roles here). Malick contemplates on several subjects while offering a lucid camera and what is essentially his ode to Hollywood.
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MekongHotel-poster MEKONG HOTEL || Apparently this is a blend of drama and documentary, where a woman (Maiyatan Techaparn) communicates with the ghost (Jenjira Pongpas) of her dead mother at a Thai hotel. IMDB also adds that they are a vampiric mother and daughter.
PASS
OfMindAndMusic-poster OF MIND AND MUSIC || As a society, we’re on the brink of cracking Alzheimer’s disease and I fullheartedly believe it will be curable within my lifetime. “Of Mind And Music” focuses on a jazz singer who has the disease and even though she cannot remember her own daughter half the time, can still remember how to sing these amazing songs. Riding a melodramatic line here, it looks to succeed in avoiding it for the most part but still isn’t something I need to see.
PASS
Ratter-poster RATTER || Ashley Bensen takes on the starring role in “Ratter” where someone uses her computer’s camera and her internet to terrorize her life and insert themselves into her life. I’m sure there’s a twist here somewhere, but I’m vaguely intrigued to see how this all comes together.
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SongsMyBrothersTaughtMe-poster SONGS MY BROTHERS TAUGHT ME || Set on an Indian reservation in South Dakota, “Songs My Brothers Taught Me” is Chloé Zhao’s directorial debut, showing a brother and sister whose relationship is tested when the brother decides to leave for Los Angeles. As with a lot of directorial debuts, this feels thin.
PASS
TheyWillHaveToKillUsFirst-poster THEY WILL HAVE TO KILL US FIRST || Whenever you get a documentary about other countries fighting for standard liberties like being able to simply play the music that they want to, you realize how much we truly take for granted in America. But even here we’re fighting to for equality. It’s 2016 and I’m baffled that the world is the way it is still. We only get one life and it’s spent struggling for no other reason than the will of others.
PASS
Trapped-poster TRAPPED || Just like the fight for gay marriage ended as it should have, the fight over whether abortions should be legal or not will eventually end as well. Making decisions about governmental issues using religion is unconstitutional. Like many people in the trailer for “Trapped” state, women who want abortions will get them whether they are legal or not, which brings on how dangerous it can be for that person depending on what she decides to do. These are choices that should be left up to the individual, not the government. I don’t care how many angry Catholics say otherwise. It’s not their choice.
PASS

THEATER

  • “Knight Of Cups”
  • “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”
  • “Zootopia”

RENT

STREAM

  • “Ava’s Possession”
  • “Cemetery Of Splendor”
  • “A Country Called Home”
  • “Emelie”
  • “The Other Side Of The Door”
  • “Ratter”
  • “Road Games”
  • “The Wave”

PASS

  • “The Boy And The Beast”
  • “Camino”
  • “The Final Project”
  • “London Has Fallen”
  • “Mekong Hotel”
  • “Of Mind And Music”
  • “Songs My Brothers Taught Me”
  • “They Will Have To Kill Us First”
  • “Trapped”

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