Starring: Ellen Page, Nina Dobrev, Diego Luna, James Norton, Kiersey Clemons
Plot: After losing her younger sister in a car accident, Courtney (Page) is now in med school and recruits some of her classmates to try an experiment as a means to truly gain a perspective of what an “afterlife” entails. While indulging in the “high” the students experience afterwards, they soon realize there are haunting repercussions to their actions.
Overall: So, I really wanted to see this film as I was curious to see what they made of the “afterlife” concept. And…I was utterly disappointed. While there are some decent parts of the film, I think I was upset that they took a cliche route — the whole moral compass and past haunting — approach to it. I definitely thought Courtney’s story was the most interesting and would’ve liked to see more on that. I wanted to see her journey from the tragedy to med school to the formulation of the idea of essentially killing herself “just to see” what the afterlife holds. Like most films, this one had great potential and it turned out to be such a dud. All the other subplots (other characters’ pasts) were so cliche that you just didn’t care what happened to them. I feel like what happens to Courtney in the film should’ve happened to the rest of the characters instead. I gave it a 4 simply for the concept of the film.
Starring: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran
Plot: Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares for battle with the First Order (IMDB.com).
Overall: I can’t say that I’ve been very impressed with the new Star Wars films. While I enjoyed The Force Awakens, I haven’t enjoyed the two most recent films. I realize I’m saying this as someone who is not particularly a “fan” of Star Wars, but I went with my boyfriend who is. I think there are too many stories going on that it’s hard to actually pinpoint an actual plot for the film. Is it the Resistance vs. the First Order? Or is it Rey’s internal battle and establishing the strength of her jedi powers? Or is it Luke’s internal battle to embrace his “last calling” as a jedi, deciding whether or not to help Rey control/discover the true strength of her powers, or mending his relationship with Leia? Or was it Kylo Ren’s struggle between dark and jedi forces? Personally, I found Rey’s storyline the most interesting. But it was really hard to delve in to any of them. Oh and don’t even get me started on the fact that everybody is freaking out about this one scene where there’s no audio for barely 10 seconds. Quite frankly, I didn’t even notice until someone pointed it out to me. I also didn’t even remember the scene it was in. I don’t know. I honestly don’t even know what to say about this film. It was okay. It wasn’t great, but it didn’t tank.
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Marcus Henderson, Betty Gabriel, LilRel Howery
Plot: An interracial couple goes to her parent’s house to introduce her boyfriend to her parents. He has some hesitations about her family’s reaction to him being black, but decides to go anyway. After some strange events occur, Chris becomes suspicious that something “weird” is happening, which he conveys to his TSA friend, [name]. What turned out to be a suspicion, eventually turns into the fight for his life.
Overall: First of all, I laughed at Jordan Peele when he said that this was a “historical documentary.” I laughed even harder after I watched it. I think from a “historical” standpoint, I could kind of understand what he was trying to get at, but at the same time, I think it was very poorly executed. I think from a psychological thriller/suspense perspective, it was decent. I definitely think there were a lot of problems with the character development and some loopholes/weak points in the plot. Overall, I think it was an intriguing film and I watched it simply because of so many mixed reviews — it was one of those situations where I said to myself, “I have to see this for myself!” I can’t say I’d watch it again or even recommend it to anyone, but I suppose if you’re into sort of the cliche “horror” films, this might be for you.
Starring: Sunny Pawar, Abhishek Bharate, Priyanka Bose, Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Rooney Mara
Plot: A young Indian boy is stranded in the streets of Calcutta after being trapped on a passenger train. Ending up in an orphanage in Tasmania, where he is eventually adopted by an Australian couple. Nearly 25 years later, he sets out to find his birth family.
Overall: I don’t think I’ve given a film a perfect score in a long time, but this film is so incredibly powerful and emotional, and it hit me hard. Being a child of adoption and essentially living a much more fortunate and blessed life where I am now, I could definitely relate to that desire in finding a birth family again. I have an older brother and I love him so much so it was so devastating to both watch the separation and to learn the truth of events that happened in the film (and to the real-life Guddu). I think there was one line that really stuck with me and it was when Saroo (Patel) tells his adoptive mother, Sue (Kidman) that no matter if he finds his birthmother or not, that she (Kidman) will always be his mother. And she replies with something along the lines of, “I know and I hope you find her so she can see what an amazing man you turned out to be.” I think during his journey to finding his mother all the way to the end of the film I was in tears. And not just the one or two tears of “Oh my gosh, that’s so precious” — I’m talking ugly crying. It’s such a powerful film and if you’re adopted or have adopted children, it will definitely pull hard at your heart strings, so be sure to have ten kleenex boxes nearby. I can definitely see how this film won the award and praise that it did. It’s such a beautiful film!
Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons
Plot: The story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program (IMDB.com).
Overall: First and foremost, I cannot believe that Taraji P. Henson did not receive any nominations for the 2017 Oscars or Golden Globes! That is complete BS! While I haven’t seen her in much, I LOVED her in this film. Her character is such an inspiration on so many levels and she did an amazing job. Honestly, I think Taraji is severely underrated in Hollywood. It’s truly disappointing. I’m not trying to take away from Janelle Monae or Octavia Spencer because of course, I loved them as well. They also gave amazing performances. While I ddin’t care much for the actual NASA part of it, I think the cast was amazing and really brought the film to life. Kevin Costner has always been one of my favorite actors of all time (he’s also nice on the eyes, even in his early 60s) and I love his character. It was also interesting to sort of experience that era again — to remember the horrific ways black people were treated during that time. I think the part where Costner’s character questions Henson’s character about why she’s always gone for extended periods during the day and there’s this heated exchange that was so emotionally charged — it was a scene that really made you FEEL. Personally, altogether, I just don’t understand how this didn’t win more awards — or better yet, why it took me so long to finally watch it!
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Taylor Kitsch, Shiva Negar
Plot: After surviving and witnessing his new fiance’s murder in front of him by a terrorist group, Mitch Rapp is out for vengeance. However, he is recruited by a counterterrorism group led by U.S. Navy SEAL, Stan Hurley whose latest target is a former recruit named Ghost.
Overall: I have mixed feeling about this film. First, I love Dylan O’Brien. I think he’s a brilliant young actor, but I absolutely hated him in this film. You want to root for him because of everything he’s gone through, but he has so much “angst” that it just made me angry while watching. I thought the plot was very anticlimactic, which I think is fairly common these days. It’s hard to take such an action-packed film and trained assassins and make them have a long fight scene. But I feel like the first three Jason Bourne films were able to deliver those epic fight scenes — it just seemed like a long “pursuit” and it ended very abruptly with a cliche line, which in turn, made me hate everything about what the film was trying to build and climax to. I also wish it delved more into the Ghost character. Instead of narrating through dialogues between different characters, I would’ve liked if they incorporated a couple flashbacks or something. It’s the same thing with Mitch (O’Brien). I kind of wanted to see the film take us through his recovery — because I feel like with everything going on these days, it would’ve been interesting to see how someone copes with such a catastrophically tragic event. There were also some parts that I wish were explained — for example, the chat room thing that he’s on the people he talks to there. I wanted to know how he learned the language and what language exactly he was speaking. Did he take classes? Or did he just pick it up from videos?
Starring: Zoey Deutch, Bryan Cranston, Megan Mullally, Griffin Gluck, Keegan-Michael Key
Plot: Meeting the parents can be difficult for the parents, especially when “daddy’s little girl” is dating an uncensored, tattooed millionaire.
Overall: I can’t say I had high expectations, and while this film had some really funny parts, it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect. I feel like James Franco has very poor choices in films — especially as of late, I feel like he always plays some scummy, uneducated, douchebag that makes you cringe with everything he says. I definitely think Bryan Cranston was hilarious and he played his character so incredibly. The ending was my biggest problem. It took cliche one step further and just made me so angry. These types of films are what’s ruining the film industry.