I hope you all enjoyed the Academy Awards. Now we are deep into 2015 and away we go!
As I say every month, these are my predictions based on buzz, trailers, and my abilities at reading into these things.
Don’t hate the player. Hate the game.
Director Neill Blomkamp, fresh off the news that he will next be helming a new Alien film with Sigourney Weaver, returns to creating culturally significant science fiction with Chappie. Chappie is an artificially intelligent robot created help mankind. Chappie must defend himself from enemies of robot life. I love Blomkamp’s work from District 9 and from the early trailers, I am absolutely stoked for Chappie. Definite good buzz.
Faults is a cult that has taken Claire into its commune. Claire’s parents hire an expert on mind control to successfully free her from the cult’s clutches. Faults comes from the producers of You’re Next and The Guest, and I certainly enjoyed those films, so I am leaning towards the better side of Faults.
Vince Vaughn plays a small-business owner who has traveled to Europe with his associates to close a major deal. On the way, their trip becomes unrailed by sex fetish event and a global summit. Vince Vaughn’s recent work has been a major disappointment but he does have the added abilities of Tom Wilkinson and Dave Franco, who could pull this film in the right direction. Still up in the air.
Director Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella reimage follows the standard story of a young girl and her abusive stepmother. When the prince throws a ball inviting every unmarried young woman, Cinderella desperately wants to go, and with the help of a Fairy Godmother, may just get it. I like Branagh’s directing style but I was disappointed by Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. I also don’t like the recent attempts by Disney to make remakes of their classic animated films. Maleficent was one of the better ones (for its alternate take) but I’m still not feeling this one.
Run All Night
Liam Neeson stars as Jimmy Conlon, The Gravedigger, a high-profile hitman working for the mob, until his son, Michael, has a hit put on him. Now Jimmy and Michael has to survive the night filled with mob bosses, gunfire, and lots of explosions. I have found that Neeson’s low-budget action flicks are pretty hit and miss. I’m inclined to enjoy his engagements with Ed Harris. The higher part of the bubble here.
Do You Believe?
This is essentially Valentine’s Day with religious intersections. Not going to be good. And don’t get me that whole thing about religion. I’ll point out, I’m a fairly religious guy, but these kinds of movies mostly fall flat by bad production and poor abilities from the crew. Skip.
The Divergent Series: Insurgent
Insurgent follows the further adventures of Beatrice Prior after she escapes from the city with Four and the other lawbreakers. I was a tremendous hater of Divergent. I thought it was boring and unoriginal and riddled with plotholes. I’m willing to give Insurgent the benefit of the doubt but I’m still not recommending it yet.
Equal parts Taken and an attempt to make American Sniper, The Gunman stars Sean Penn as a Special Forces member with PTSD who must save the woman he loves. Sorry, but I’ve seen Taken already.
Will Ferrell returns to raunchy comedy with Get Hard, where he plays James King, a millionaire who is going to prison for fraud. He enlists Darnell Lewis to train him for jail. I think it looks kind of funny but Kevin Hart, while hilarious, is usually a movie-killer. I’m thinking better, though.
Home is essentially an animated version of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, and while I love Jim Parsons, I do not love Rihanna, and I’m not feeling this one.
And here we are at the end. Final tally:
Best Bets: Chappie
On the Bubble: Faults, Unfinished Business, Run All Night, The Divergent Series: Insurgent, Get Hard
Likely Misses: Cinderella, Do You Believe?, The Gunman, Home
Enjoy yourself at the movies this month. See Chappie, and maybe take a bit to catch up on the Oscar films as it is pretty sparse this month. See you in April.
-Kyle A. Goethe