The Mountain Between Us and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Hany Abu-Assad
Eh… you know I’m not really feeling this one. The trailer wasn’t QUITE as overplayed as the one for Flatliners (you already forgot that movie came out, didn’t you?) but I was sure getting sick of seeing it as we got closer to the release date. Idris Elba and Kate Winslet are stuck on a mountain which I imagine COULD be an interesting premise, but nothing about the trailer really stood out to me other than the casting which isn’t a good sign for a movie like this. Hopefully it was just a bad trailer and that the movie itself will be much better which has certainly been known to happen every once in a while, and even if the movie is bad… well it’s not like I haven’t enjoyed crappy Idris Elba films in the past! Does this manage to rise above the low expectations it has set for itself, or was that weak trailer right on the money and we’re stuck with a lame mountain survival film? Let’s find out!!
Super Surgeon Dr Ben Bass (Idris Elba) and Super photojournalist Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) are trying to get back home but their flights are canceled at the last minute. Since both of them REALLY need to find a way out of the state as soon as possible, they manage to find dude (Beau Bridges) who’s unscrupulous enough to brave the incoming storm and fly them where they need to go for a nice stack of cash. Of course things go bad while in the air and not just because of the storm as their pilot keels over and dies of a stroke mid-flight; crashing the plane in the process. Ben seems to have come out of it alright, but Alex has an injured leg that makes it hard to move around which leaves Ben and the pilots dog as the only two who can try to find the supplies that fell out of the plane while also trying to set up a signal of some kind for whatever happens to pass by. No such luck though as days go by without a rescue and so Alex eventually convinces Ben that they need to start hiking their way across the mountain to try and find a semblance of civilization that can Uber them back to the city. Will the two manage to survive the harsh environment with the help of their wits, their warm jackets, and the super adorable dog? How will this unbelievable experience change them individually as well as their burgeoning friendship? Is this Idris Elba’s punishment for being in The Dark Tower!?
Collateral Beauty and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by David Frankel
Is it that time again for Will Smith to try and win that Oscar he’s been so desperately seeking for some time now!? Hey, since DiCaprio got his we need another underdog to root for, and Will Smith is as good a candidate as any. Well… except that HIS Oscar bait films tend to be stuff like Concussion where he’s a boring scientist while Leo jumped off mountains and did massive amounts of drugs trying to get his. This movie, just from the awkward title, doesn’t inspire much hope that The Fresh Prince is ready to put himself out there in something fun and risky to win his Academy Award, but then maybe this movie doesn’t need any of that and is a truly moving film in its own right. We can only hope…
The movie begins with Howard (Will Smith) and Whit (Edward Norton) as two best buddies as the heads of some advertising company that seems to get motivational Howard Speeches on a daily basis. That is… until the tragedy. We jump straight to three years later where Howard has gone from The Fresh to Hancock (well… Hancock without the fun) and is now spending his days building up elaborate domino sets instead of working. Not only that, but he’s so preoccupied with the grief of what happened (it doesn’t take long before we find out his daughter died) that he’s letting the company gone down the tubes financially and can’t even be bothered to sign the company over to Whit as well as Simon (Michael Peña) and Claire (Kate Winslet) who could save the company if Howard would just give them the authority to do so, though I’m not sure what the law is about letting someone literally sit on his ass all day while all his employees are left to watch things crumble. Eventually, our trio of good buddies decide that Howard needs to either lose his fucking mind or get better (it’s never quite clear which one they’re going for) and decide to Christmas Carol his ass using actors (Keira Knightley, Jacob Latimore, and Helen Mirren) who will play Love, Time, and Death; all three of which are concepts that Howard has been writing letters to as a way of expressing his internal frustration and rage. Will this strange plan to convince Howard he’s seeing his delusions come to life make him deal with his problems, or drive him further into his unhealthy state of mind? Will he eventually seek help from a local support group led by Madeleine (Naomie Harris) which seems like a less risky way for him to deal with his daughter’s death? Seriously, isn’t there like a MILLION ways this plan could go horribly wrong!?
Triple 9 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Open Road Films
Directed by John Hillcoat
I had not even heard of this movie until I saw a poster for it at the theater. Hell, I don’t even think I saw a trailer for it before the movie came out! That seems kind of odd considering some of the actors they have in here such as Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, and Kate Winslet. Then again, the movie also has Casey Affleck, Aaron Paul, and Clifton Collins Jr, so maybe it’s not so much an under the radar hit and more of a lower tier movie that happened to luck out in the casting department. Still, with so little to go on as to what this movie was about, it definitely had the chance to surprise me and offer something unexpected. Is this a hidden gem that got sprung on us just as we were leaving February, or is this the just one more subpar mess that we have to deal with before ending one of the worst months for movies? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows way too many characters, but I’ll try to make it as clear as possible (definitely clearer than the movie makes it). You’ve got the leader Michael (Chiwetel Ejifor), the fuck up Gabe (Aaron Paul), the fuck up’s brother Russell (Norman Reedus), the bad cop Marcus (Anthony Mackie) and the even worse cop Franco (Clifton Collins Jr) who make up a team of five criminals that pull of heists I guess. In fact, the movie starts right as they begin their latest scheme which is to knock over a bank looking for something specific for their employers who I believe are Israeli mobsters led by Irina (Kate Winslet). Now the Israeli mobsters need this crew to pull of another job, but the job is neigh impossible in the time they would normally have to do it (three minutes before the cops come). Their plan is to cause a Triple 9 which is the nickname for killing a cop (radio code 999) at which point all the police in the city (the ENTIRE city) will converge on that location, and it JUST SO HAPPENS that Marcus has a new partner in the form of Chris (Casey Affleck) who would be perfect to kill because… reasons. Why would someone kill a cop that is so directly tied to them? Anyway, what the bad guys here aren’t aware of (or aren’t all the concerned about) is Chris’s uncle Jeffrey (Woody Harrelson) who’s investigating the bank robbery and is starting to pick up some clues. Not only that, but things begin to deteriorate between the bad guys and after something PARTICULARLY heinous happens to them, the fuck up starts to… well, fuck up. There’s also a subplot about a Mexican gang causing trouble in the city, something about Chiwetel Ejiofor’s son, and then Gal Gadot shows up a couple times to remind us that she can act even if Batman v Superman turns out to be a giant bomb. Can these guys pull off the heist without killing each other or getting themselves killed first? Will Casey Affleck survive to the end of the movie? Can someone get me flow chart for all this? I’m already confused…