Operation Finale and all the images you see in this review are owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Directed by Chris Weitz
Now that I think of it, when was the last time we got a World War 2 movie that actually tackled the events and consequences of the war? I mean we had Dunkirk which was one big battle scene more or less divorced from the ideological conflict of the war itself, and I never got around to seeing The Darkest Hour. Heck, the last World War 2 movie I remember before that is Allied, and I’m pretty sure that comment right there makes me the only person who’s brought it up in over a year! Needless to say that with the current political landscape being what it is, we could probably use another World War 2 movie that actually mentions The Holocaust; especially with what we’re learning about full US citizens in Texas being denied passports due to the color of their skin which is hardly a far cry from what happened to German Jews as the Nazi party was taking over. Does this mean that we have a fantastic film on our hands right at the start of Oscar season (I’m pretty sure I’ve been saying that for like a month now), or is this a disappointing retread of far better movies that have come before? Let’s find out!!
The movie is a dramatization of the capture of Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley) in Argentina by Israeli spies, which I don’t THINK was actually named Operation Finale, but for the purposes of this film that’s what they’re going with. If you don’t know already, Eichmann was one of Hitler’s top official who basically orchestrated The Final Solution; organizing the prisoners, making sure the trains run on time, and ensuring there’s enough gas, bullets, and graves to go around so that the genocide of millions can be done as efficiently as possible. Needless to say he’s not a nice dude, and our head spy Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac) can’t wait to bring him to justice, even though he’s a loose cannon that messed up his last mission, but darn it! He’s the best they’ve got! The mission itself is fairly simple where Peter and a few members of his team will snatch the guy, drive him back to the safe house, and have their anesthetic specialist Hanna (Mélanie Laurent) put him to sleep so they can sneak him past Argentinian airport security and put him on a plane back to Israel to stand trial for his crimes against humanity. Things go FAIRLY well at first, but problems start to build up and they team is basically stuck with a Nazi jerk in a house located in what seems to be the epicenter of Nazi activity in Argentina, and a rather long time to wait until they get a proper escape plan in place once the initial one goes up in smoke. Can everyone who’s stuck in that house keep their heads down long enough for them to escape with their a Nazi war criminal AND their lives? What will Peter do when he’s finally alone with the man responsible for not just millions of deaths, but the deaths of people very close to him whose faces still haunt him to this day? Is it just me, or has Oscar Isaac been fighting A LOT of fascists?
The Jungle Book and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios
Directed by Jon Favreau
In the early and mid-2000s, we got a deluge of straight to video sequels to classic animated features in the Disney catalog. Almost NONE of them were any good, and they thankfully died off by 2007. Now we’re in a new age of cannibalizing those cartoons by making them into live action, albeit with better results. These include Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, Cinderella, and now this with PLENTY more on the horizon. Can Disney continue to successfully rehash their older properties, or are we getting to the point of diminishing returns? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the adventures of Mowgli (Neel Sethi); a young child who was abandoned in the jungle and raised by wolves. Most of the animals don’t have any real beef with him, so they coexist without much strife to speak of until the fierce (and apparently ONLY) tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) shows up and declares that the boy must be turned over to him for death, else he will wage war on the other animals; particularly the wolf pack Mowgli’s a part of that also seems to be the highest ranking species here… or something. Rather than have his pack go to war over him, he leaves them behind and goes with his panther friend Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) who’s gonna lead him back to the human village which is the one place he’ll be safe from Shere Khan’s anti-human wrath. Unfortunately, the two get separated along the way and Mowgli instead finds himself moving in with a bear named Baloo (Bill Murray) who will teach him about chillaxing and eating honey. Will Mowgli truly be safe in his new home? What will Shere Khan do once he learns that Mowgli is not dead? Does this have at least the Bare Necessities to make it a good film!?
The Walk and all the images you see in this review are owned by TriStar Pictures
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
I thought I was done with the biopics! HOW MANY MORE MUST I SIT THROUGH THIS YEAR!? Oh wait. This is based off the story that they did a really cool documentary of already? Wait, it’s also directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Well when you put it that way, this might end up being one of the better ones this year! Right up there with Straight Outta Compton if we’re lucky! If nothing else, every resource you can imagine to make this into a great film is there (great story, great director, great actor) and all they need to do is put it together into a strong and compelling narrative that gets across what made this story so fascinating to begin with. Can Zemeckis work his magic to give us yet another masterpiece to put alongside his other great films, or will this end up being a lesser version of the great documentary that we got less than a decade ago? Let’s find out!!
The movie is a dramatization of the events that led up to Philippe Petite and his friends tying a wire between the two towers of the World Trade Center that he walked on for forty-five minutes in August of 1974. Along with the recreation of the night leading up to it and the day of the walk, we also get some backstory for Philippe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who started tightrope walking at a young age and eventually became a street performer in Paris. There’s not much of a revelation for this guy that led to him decoding to walk between the towers. He saw an article about its construction in a magazine (while waiting to see a dentist) and just decided that that would be a worthy challenge for his skills and would be a great artistic statement. This is no small endeavor mind you and Philippe doesn’t waste what time he has before the towers are complete. He goes back to his mentor Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley) and learns as much as he can to perfect his craft as well as gathering accomplices to assist him in setting up the tightrope on the day they set the plan into motion. Will the group be able to get to the top of the tower and set everything up before they get caught by police? Will Philippe accomplish his dream which boarders on madness? Well this IS a true story so you may already know what happens… but can Robert Zemeckis make you care anyway!?
Self/less and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features and Gramercy Pictures
Directed by Tarsem Singh
When did we get to the point that great actors like Sir Ben Kingsley and Ryan Reynolds are EXPECTED to be in crap like this? Sure, Ben Kingsley at least has been on a downward slope for a while now, but does anyone else remember that Ryan Reynolds was HUGE just a few years ago? I guess this is what happens when you somehow wind up in three of the worst comic book movies at a time when they’ve never been better. Now he’s in yet another body switching film, only this one might just be worse than his last one if you can believe it. Just how bad is this movie about Ben Kingsley turning into a thirty something white dude? Let’s find out!!
The movie is about Damien Hale (Ben Kingsley) who’s a billionaire architect or something and is nearing the end of his life. He has pretty cancer which is known to affect people in movies and it tends to present itself with absolutely zero external symptoms other than a bad cough. Being the rich dude that he is, he finds a way to cheat death in the form of a brand new super-duper secret medical procedure called “shedding” where you basically swap brains with someone else through magnets. Sounds like a good deal, right? WRONG!! Apparently this super-duper secret company doing these super-duper secret medical procedures has some skeletons in its closet and Gandhi in Green Lantern’s body is going to kick some ass until he gets the answers he needs!