Starring: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe
Plot: A family struggles to survive the (supposed) post-pandemic of an alien species that thrives on its hearing to hunt.
Overall: First of all, I LOVE John Krasinski and Emily Blunt. They’re both brilliant actors and I admire their work. For me, the film strictly falls short due to the script. The acting, the cinematography, etc. was all fantastic — really well done! However, I found myself asking a lot of questions upon leaving the theater, which is a really unsettling feeling after watching a film. Unfortunately, I think in entering the theater with such high expectations, I was quite disappointed. One of my biggest gripes is that none of the characters are truly lovable. I think as a viewer you’re still rooting for their survival, but at the same time, you can’t help but think, “Ah, and this is the moment when you [should] die.” I don’t want to give anything away or anything, but if you’ve seen the film, I’d love to know what questions you left asking at the end of the film!
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Pena, Navid Negahban, Trevante Rhodes, Geoff Stults, Thad Lickinbill, Austin Hebert, Ben O’Toole, Kenneth Miller, Kenny Sheard, Jack Kesy
Plot: 12 Strong tells the story of the first Special Forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11; under the leadership of a new captain, the team must work with an Afghan warlord to take down for the Taliban (IMDB.com).
Overall: This film was amazing! It was fun watching Chris Hemsworth work with his real-life wife, Elsa Pataky. It brought an authentic family life scene to the film (as did the others). It’s definitely a film where all the emotions it stirs and displays are tangible because given that these were based on true events and September 11th will remain one of the most haunting and tragic events of American history. I love war films, so it was interesting to see the relationship the men had to build with the local warlord and to learn of his story and why he’s in the fight against the Taliban. I just think it conveyed the story in a cohesive, explosive and honest light. Not that I didn’t have high expectations, but this film definitely exceeded all expectations I had. I really enjoyed the balance it provided as well — it wasn’t just a depressing, angry or dark film, there were plenty of humorous lines and the camaraderie between the soldiers both the American and the Northern Alliance.
Starring: Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone, Judy Greer, Jenna Fischer
Plot: Three friends go on a trip to Europe together. On a train to Paris, the three encounter an attempted terrorist attack and step up to protect the passengers from what could have been a deadly attack.
Overall: It’s really difficult to write an honest review of this film since it is based on a true story and has the actual people “acting” as themselves. So I watched some interviews with the three men and Clint Eastwood, and Clint said he basically didn’t want to give them much direction as he wanted them to pretty much “reenact” the events and have their friendship be as “natural” as possible. However, I think that (hopefully without disrespecting anyone) they needed more direction. Their lines oftentimes seemed forced, which made the dialogue seem quite unnatural and the scenes choppy and random. While I think the story is amazing and in building this story into a cohesive film required the background of the men involved, I think it would’ve been better to either have cast actors in their place or have written scripts for the men (but in some sense let them have the creative freedom to guide the dialogue in the sense of “I wouldn’t say that,” or “I might say something more along the lines of this or that.”). For not being actors and for such a short climax (fight scene), I think the film was well executed. I gave it a 5/10 mainly because I was indifferent towards the creative direction was taken and that there seemingly was an absence of cohesiveness throughout the film.
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothee Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, Odeya Rush, Jordan Rodrigues, Marielle Scott
Plot: In 2002, an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl comes of age in Sacramento, California (IMDB.com).
Overall: Honestly, this movie was amazing. I had been wanting to see it for so long and I finally saw it — it’s a beautiful coming of age story and I think it was hilarious that the story was premised around a girl attending Catholic school (that’s new for me!). There’s a lot of great humor, and it definitely hits you in all the feels — between feeling the need to “fit in”, the stubbornness and rebellion during teenage years, first loves and relationships, applying to college, etc. It was beautifully written and I remember at one point during the film, I found myself asking, “What’s the point of this film?” As in, I didn’t really understand the whole “coming of age” concept generally speaking, but I definitely think it nailed almost every aspect of it. I loved Saoirse Ronan. Her character is absolutely hilarious and lovable and honest, and I think Saoirse did an amazing job! She’s brilliant and wildly talented. I’m excited to see where she goes from here.
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Bobby Cannavale, Nick Jonas, Alex Wolff, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Morgan Turner, Colin Hanks
Plot: Picking up where it left off back in 1995, Jumanji returns with an upgraded way for the kids to play. After Alex is brought into the realm of the game, nearly twenty years later, four teens serving detention in their school’s basement find themselves in the jungle. They soon discover that they must release a curse in order to be released from the game.
Overall: It’s definitely not the original film and there seemingly seems to be too much computerized/animated scenes (common in today’s film, but to the point where everything seems very fake). However, with that put aside, I think the humor really carried the film. It was fun to see the take on teenagers being placed in the shoes of their avatars, which I might add was also brilliant in that it seemed like a very well-thought out character development and premise. It also added some flair for the laughs. While I don’t think it’s necessary to see the first film to understand this one, it would definitely help in all the references made and hidden gems from the first film they place throughout this one.
Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy
Plot: Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German Army, and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II (IMDB.com).
Overall: For starters, I love war films and so when this film was released, I wanted to see it. However, I’m not well-versed in history (I know, shame on me), so I had no idea what exactly Dunkirk was or what the film was depicting. After first watching it (before I knew the story behind it), I thought it was okay. It wasn’t great because I found it extremely difficult to follow. And despite the film offering a brief synopsis at the beginning, I just couldn’t keep up. After reading about the film and what exactly it was depicting, though my critique didn’t change much, I came up with a cohesive criticism. I think it was hard to follow because it bounces from different perspectives. While that might work in a book or written medium, I think it was poorly conveyed in film. I think if Nolan stuck with perhaps two (but preferably one) perspective, I think the film definitely would’ve been more successful. Also, while I respect that Nolan wanted to add suspense through the cinematography and music, and little dialogue, I don’t think it benefited the film much. And quite frankly, when you have an audience that may or may not know what Dunkirk is, it’s frustrating to sit through it not knowing who people are or why they’re doing what they’re doing.
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Chrissie Fit, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee, Kelley Jakle, Shelley Regner, Hailee Steinfeld, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, John Lithgow, Matt Lanter, DJ Khaled, Alexis Knapp, Moises Arias
Plot: The Bellas reunite for one last competition on the USO Tour.
Overall: Okay, so it was not as good as the first, but definitely better than the second one. The two reasons I didn’t give it a 10 was (1) it wasn’t as good or better than the first one, and (2) there’s this mini subplot within the plot and it just ruined the movie. I feel like if the film stayed true to what it was about (singing), I think it would’ve made such a stronger, more coherent film. However, with all of that being said, it was still SO funny and of course the musical numbers were outstanding. I definitely think the humor matched the first and it was fun to see the other sides of all the Bellas. You definitely get to know them better in this last installment because they’re all leading such different lives and their careers are in vastly difference places, yet they’re still closely bonded by the love they share for making music and competing acapella style. On a side note, I think DJ Khaled and Evermoist were given far more credit than their talent conveyed.