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!?
“Without love in your life, you couldn’t even appreciate the time you had with her, and-” “Oh! I see you have a guest! What will she have?” “Wait, you can see her!? She can see you!?” “Uh…”
Miracles from Heaven and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Patricia Riggen
These movies are just going to stop, are they? Well certainly not as long as Sony’s Jesus Department (Affirm), Roma Downey, and The Kendrick Brothers haven’t been driven out of Hollywood for being hacks. Oh who am I kidding? No one has EVER been driven out of Hollywood for being a hack. Still, these crappy religious movies are starting to look more and more like crappy regular movies now that their attracting big name talents like Jennifer Garner. Does the fact that this movie attracted an ACTUAL actor instead of one who’s only looking to be in Christian cinema (or are desperate for cash) mean that this might be one of the better films to come out of the Christian Film Revolution? Even if it is, does that mean it’s actually a GOOD movie? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the tragic and uplifting story of the Beam family who were met with an unbelievable crisis when one of their daughters Annabel also known as Anna (Kylie Rogers) is diagnosed with an incurable intestinal disorder that leaves her unable to eat and in constant pain. For the most part, the movie is from the perspective of her mother Christy (Jennifer Garner) who takes the brunt of the action and the emotional toll by doing everything she can to get her to the best doctors and come up with ways to pay for all these expensive treatments. The trailers are a tad misleading considering that the fall from the tree that cures Anna (spoiler alert) doesn’t happen until the last twenty minutes of the movie, so it has more in common with something like 90 Minutes in Heaven than Heaven is For Real, considering the majority of the movie is about the suffering rather than the aftermath of the divine intervention. Still, is it an inspiring and heartwarming story BEFORE we get to the Deus Ex Machina? Does Jennifer Garner actually manage to elevate this material above its very simple premise? Couldn’t God have come up with a way to heal her WITHOUT giving her a concussion!?
“This is the fire department, Anna! If you can hear me and are still conscious, don’t make a sound.” … “Well I’D call that a good sign, wouldn’t you?”