Review: There is ‘No Escape’ from your own demons.

SYNOPSIS: A social media star travels with his friends to Moscow to capture new content for his successful VLOG. Always pushing the limits and catering to a growing audience, he and his friends enter a cold world of mystery, excess, and danger. As the line between real life and social media is blurred, the group must fight to escape and survive.

NO ESCAPE puts a modern, social media-driven twist on the ultimate adventure seeker. Think Hostel (2005) meets The Game (1997) as Youtube influencer Cole (Keegan Allen) and his friends fly to Moscow to experience what they think is a one-of-a-kind escape room. Once they arrive, they’re wined and dined by a local rich kid before being led to their final destination. But not all is what it seems. As an avid watcher of all things horror, the setup rightfully lulls you into a false sense of fun with its club scene music, lighting, and awesome camera work. Then the other shoe drops, calling out Cole’s obsession with his stats over his own reality. His cocky persona is knocked down several pegs when he realizes his friends’ lives are in actual danger.

The film is written and directed by Will Wernick (Escape Room, which was fantastic), will easily tap into the younger generation who has literally grown up with social media. At 40, I was around for the birth of chat rooms in 8th grade. As someone who is at the mercy of social media in my work now, I understand the importance and the danger of such platforms. The internet is a weird place. One of the most effective pieces of the script is the ever-rolling comment section of Cole’s videos. It’s a fantastic insight into an audience “in real-time.” While the entire cast does a great job and has believable chemistry, Keegan Allen’s performance leads this film to success. Having been a fan since Pretty Little Liars, then watching his award-worthy skills in King Cobra, No Escape highlights his ability to change from beat to beat. The over-the-top influencer voice throughout much of the film falls away when fear takes hold. The ending of this film relies completely on his reaction, and it is warranted. No Escape, while hitting some familiar notes, is still a solidly acted, practical fx gorefest for genre fans. The emotional trauma goes both ways and it’s one hell of social commentary. Hot Tip: Keep watching once the credits start to roll.

Vertical Entertainment will release the horror/thriller film NO ESCAPE on Digital and On Demand on September 18, 2020. 

NO ESCAPE stars the ensemble cast of Keegan Allen (“Pretty Little Liars,” Palo Alto), Holland Roden (“Teen Wolf”, “Channel Zero”), Denzel Whitaker (“The Purge”, Black Panther), Ronen Rubinstein (“911: Lone Star” Some Kind of Hate)Pasha Lychnikoff (“Deadwood”,”Shameless”, A Good Day to Die Hard), George Janko (“NCIS: Los Angeles,” Millennial Mafia) and Siya (The First Purge). The film is written and directed by Will Wernick (Escape Room).

Review: ‘A Wish For Giants’ Warms Your Heart

A Wish For Giants

Release Date: February 17, 2018

Run Time: 1 hour 18 minutes

Reviewed By: Reel Reviews Over Brews

Sophie (Naysa Altmeyer) meets a kindred spirit in Roxie (Alexa Mechling), a young girl with an inoperable brain tumor and the impossible wish to meet Bigfoot. As if the task at hand isn’t hard enough, Sophie must contend with meddling from Derrick (Connor McClain), a fame-hungry classmate born into privilege from her graduate classes. As time grows short and pressures mount, Sophie must align herself with Derrick in order to see Roxie’s wish granted, even if not in the way she may have hoped for. Unknown to everyone is the possibility that there may be magic in the wish of a dying girl, and a truth beyond belief.

Going into A Wish For Giants, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The only other movie with Bigfoot I’ve seen is Harry and the Hendersons. When I was little, Harry used to give me nightmares… who knows why, but this would be my first Bigfoot movie since. So I began this adventure only knowing two things. One was, it was a Bigfoot movie, but not a typical Bigfoot movie. The other was, it won Best Dramatic Feature at a film festival and it is consideration for awards at several other festivals. I can certainly see why it won one award and is in consideration for more. A Wish For Giants was wonderful. It truly warms your heart. You can tell it’s a low budget film (i.e., sound and video quality), but that doesn’t change how great the story line is. I would love to see what a major Hollywood producing company could do with it. Reminded me of a movie you would find on Hallmark or Lifetime. It just had that feel. I think you’ll know what I mean. If you happen upon A Wish For Giants, it’s definitely worth the watch! It’ll leave you with a smile on your face. Now maybe I’ll give Harry and the Hendersons another shot… maybe.

Reel ROB Rating: 6.5 out of 10 stars

Post Credits Scene: No

We want to thank our friends at Reel News Daily for allowing us to do this guest review!

Review: ‘The God Inside My Ear’ – One Trippy Ride

The God Inside My Ear

Release Date: August 2017

Run Time: 1 hour 38 minutes

Reviewed By: Reel Reviews Over Brews

After experiencing a peculiar and sudden breakup with her boyfriend, Elizia discovers a world of conspiracies, strange voices and horrifying visions.

Holy ayahuasca trip, Batman! This is one trippy movie. Go into it with an open mind and you won’t be disappointed. This is certainly one of the better low budget films I’ve seen in a while. I believe the entire movie was completed in 13 days with only $8,000. Damn, that is impressive work! Linnea Gregg as Elizia did a wonderful job. Very impressed with her work. Although hard to follow at times, it had me going back and forth in my own head trying to figure out how it would end. It was certainly a bit of a jaw dropper, which is my favorite kind of movie so that helped make my decision on the higher rating easy. Can’t wait to see what Joe Badon produces next!

Reel ROB Rating: 5.75 out of 10 stars

Post Credits Scene: No

We want to thank our friends at Reel News Daily for allowing us to do this guest review!

Review: ‘Kill Switch’… The Way We Want Video Game Movies To Be

Kill Switch

Theatrical Release Date: June 16, 2017

Guest review from Reel Reviews Over Brews

Kill Switch is a video game style movie that takes place in a future world. In this future world an experiment is taking place to produce unlimited energy, which is being taken from parallel universes. The experiment takes a turn for the worse and pilot/physicist, Will Porter (Dan Stevens), is stuck in one of the collapsing parallel universes. Will is a wanted man in this parallel world and is being chased by rebels, drones, and soldiers. His mission is a race against time trying to get the Redivider Box to the energy tower. If he is able to complete this mission he will not only save his family, but all of humanity.

When we first heard the movie Kill Switch was coming out and was video game-esque, we immediately thought that it was going to be based on the video game Kill Switch that came out for Xbox and PlayStation 2 back in 2003, of course, those who only play www.casinodames.com don’t know anything about it, which we were absolutely obsessed with. Well, it wasn’t. The game was third person… the movie was in first person and the stories were completely different. However, this did not play a factor in us liking the movie. We actually really enjoyed Kill Switch the movie! An absolutely awesome and unique way to shoot a film. It literally felt like playing a first person video game, especially with the sick graphics. We love video games, but one thing we’ve heard people say in the past is that the way video games spin and turn so much it makes them feel sick. Well, if you fall into this category then this movie won’t be for you.

Dan Stevens played a great role as Will, even though there were only a few scenes he was actually in (most of the movie was just his voice, as it was shot 90% in first person). It was hard not to get caught up with the story line. Is Will going to make it to the energy tower in time!? Will he survive through all of these beatings he is taking!? It is a very action packed hour and a half. When the movie ended, we were left with one question… What would it be like if they did a reboot of the Doom franchise and shot it like Kill Switch? Maybe it could actually give Doom a leg to stand on because they really did the game an injustice with the original movie attempt. The game was one of our favorites growing up! Used to play it on the computer all of the time. The movie however… woof! This is the way we would love to see video game movies. Could definitely change the bad rep they have been getting. It’s certainly worth a try!

Reel ROB Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars

Post Credits Scene: No

We want to thank our friends at Reel News Daily for allowing us to do this guest review for them!

Review: ‘Baywatch’ – A Summer Blockbuster Is Coming…

Baywatch

Theatrical Release Date: May 25, 2017

Guest review from Reel Reviews Over Brews

Baywatch is based on the popular 90’s TV series starring David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson.  The film stars Dwayne Johnson, playing Mitch Buchannon, who is the head of the Baywatch lifeguard team. The team also includes CJ Parker (Kelly Rohrback) and Stephanie Holden (Ilfenesh Hadera). Mitch has to constantly prove why his team is needed to keep the bay safe. When drugs and dead bodies wash ashore their team has never been more important. The Baywatch team holds tryouts for the few open positions available, which is where we meet Matt Brody (Zac Efron), Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario), and Ronnie Greenbaum (Jon Bass).

After Ronnie and Summer prove themselves worthy of the team, Matt Brody continues to bump heads with Mitch resulting in a head-to-head competition with comically ridiculous events that have nothing to do with lifeguarding, but eventually Matt ends up on the team. Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra) is quickly identified as the villain of the film and is suspected of heading a drug ring. The Baywatch team plans how to take down Victoria and preserve the future of the bay, while Matt Brody questions why it’s even the responsibility of lifeguards.

This movie was definitely not meant to be taken seriously… and at points throughout the film, pokes fun at how ridiculous the situation might be. Plain and simple, this IS your typical summer blockbuster movie. A decent amount of action and just enough comedy to make this an enjoyable movie, not to mention, there is definitely no shortage of attractive people.

Jon Bass leads the way in the comedy field with several funny moments as the tubby nerd who has a thing for Kelly Rohrback‘s character. Johnson and Efron have plenty of good scenes together and a great running joke that Johnson refuses to call Efron by his actual name. We really enjoyed this movie… more than expected. The plot was simple, but this movie was just meant to entertain the hell out of you. It accomplished that, in our eyes. You can’t go wrong with explosions and comedy, but we certainly felt the need to overhaul our beach bodies after it was over.

Reel ROB Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Post Credits Scene: No (Gag reel & extra scene DURING credits)

We want to thank our friends at Reel News Daily for allowing us to do this guest review for them!

Review: ‘Tomorrow Ever After’ Has Everlasting Message

Tomorrow Ever After

Theatrical Release Date: May 5, 2017

Guest review from Reel Reviews Over Brews

Tomorrow Ever After follows a woman, named Shaina (Ela Thier), who claims to have come from the year 2592. Something goes wrong while she is visiting some physicists, who experiment with time travel, and Shaina ends up stranded in 2015. As a historian in her time, she has read about the past, and refers to the time frame she is stranded in as “The Great Despair.” Shaina very quickly comes across a mugger, Milton (Nabil Viñas) and spends the entire movie, with Milton and his friends, searching for someone to help her get back to where she came from. On this journey, Shaina also gets a chance to experience things that she has studied of the past.

Tomorrow Ever After was written, directed, and produced by Ela Thier, who was also the star of the movie. The movie has taken home four awards across three different film festivals. This indie comedy did a great job keeping us interested and laughing at Shaina’s attempt of adjusting to the past’s way of life. Ela Thier did an excellent job of portraying how today’s general public looks at someone in need of help. Whether it is a woman from the future or your next door neighbor, people today don’t always jump at the chance to help a fellow person.

Throughout the movie there are plenty of moments with funny exchanges. We enjoyed watching Shaina trying to adapt and also get confused by the way things are done in “today’s” society. One of the big differences from the future is hugging. Shaina quickly realizes this is not accepted very warmly by strangers in 2015. Our biggest, and really only, complaint with Tomorrow Ever After, is Shaina was such an interesting character that we wish more of her journey was shown. The ending, being one example, leaves us with a few questions that, if answered, would have left us more fulfilled. However, Tomorrow Ever After, is a fantastic movie with an everlasting message and will leave everyone with hope for our future!

Reel ROB Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Post Credits Scene: No

We want to thank our friends at Reel News Daily for allowing us to do this guest review for them!

Review: ‘Arrival’

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Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) is quickly becoming one of Hollywood’s must see directors, with his unique vision of storytelling and character portrayal, Villeneuve is revolutionizing how we watch films. Based on the short story “Story of Your Life” by author Ted Chiang and written for the screen by Eric Heisserer, Arrival explores extraterrestrial contact in a fresh, new way which pays homage to Close Encounter of the 3rd Kind and other greats from the past by taking aspects of those films and using them to enhance this lively new experience. This is a film to be cherished for many decades to come.

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Linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is approached by the military to help decipher an alien language upon the arrival of multiple mysterious extraterrestrial spacecraft around the globe. Assisting Banks are mathematician Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) and US Army Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) each pressured with the task of making contact with the new visitors and understanding their language and their intent. Tensions around the globe are running high as China and other foreign governments discuss the possibility of first strike if contact can’t be made. Banks and Donnelly head a team to enter the ship and use their expertise to find a common ground between our language and theirs to properly interpret the meaning of their arrival and stop global war, but the answer they receive may change everything they’ve come to know forever.

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The cinematography by Bradford Young is exceptional and sets the tone for the film. Director Denis Villeneuve uses these visuals as a supporting cast member as the camera work encapsulates you within the story and keeps you engaged throughout the duration of the film. Amy Adams‘s performance is crucial to the payoff and she is exceptional. Every step throughout this journey is commanded by Adams and, along with co-star Jeremy Renner, provide the human emotional element that drives each character to do whatever they must to complete their mission. Forest Whitaker stands strong as the moral center trying to keep the team on mission and the fate of the world in the front of his mind. The three are a perfect triangle of acting that play off one another to drive home the message.

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Overall, Arrival is a giant step forward for film making and awe inspiring experience like no other I’ve witnessed this year. A film that turns the science fiction genre on it’s head with an ending so unexpected that it will leave you speechless. This is the film to beat for 2016.

Stars:

4 1/2 out of 5

Trailer:

Review: ‘Doctor Strange’- A Mind-Blowing Journey into Marvel’s Multiverse

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The Sorcerer Supreme has arrived into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and everything you have come to know about comic book movies will be turned upside down. Doctor Strange, directed by Scott Derrickson (Deliver Us From Evil) is the fourteenth film in the MCU and the first to introduce audiences to Marvel’s multiverse, a collection of alternate universes that will open up storylines in future Marvel films to infinite heights. At the center of this is Doctor Stephen Strange, the protector of all universes within the multiverse, who takes center stage in this mind-bending story of self reflection and salvation that culminates into one of the most original films in recent memory.

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Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Doctor Strange, an acclaimed neurosurgeon who loses the use of his hands in a tragic car accident. Distraught by the notion that he may never reclaim his previous life as a surgeon, Strange begins the search for alternative practices to help him heal. This journey leads him to Kamar-Taj and an audience with The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who reveals to him the the astral plane and the open possibilities of her teachings. Reluctant to accept the arrogant Strange, The Ancient One agrees with persuasion from another sorcerer, Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who sees promise in Strange. Soon Strange begins his training and learns to harness the power of the multiverse to manipulate energy is ways he never thought possible. As his knowledge continues to expand, the sorcerer Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) and his zealots arrive to  threaten the very existence of the reality world. Doctor Strange must rely on his abilities, and Karl Mordo, to help him protect the Earth from falling to the powerful Dormammu of the Dark Dimension.

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Director Scott Derrickson brings Doctor Strange, one of the most beloved comic book icons to screen like no other director could. His passion for the project and love for the source material shows in each cell of film and the screenplay, written together along with long time writing partner C. Robert Cargill, is smart and compelling. The visual effects are astonishing and add another level to the storytelling that is never overpowering and perfectly used to introduce the powers of this new expansion into the MCU. Benedict Cumberbatch embodies the Sorcerer Supreme like no other actor could. His acting style and presence bring the complicated Strange to life with his talent for expressing the exact emotional range the character needs throughout his journey.

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Overall, Doctor Strange is the most original comic book movie to date. It’s mind blowing visuals and detailed storytelling will keep you engaged and begging for the film to never end. This is the film to shake the Marvel universe to it’s core and change the landscape forever. The future is gonna be awesome and we have the Sorcerer Supreme to thank for it.

Stars:

4 out of 5

After credit scene?

Yes. 1 mid credit and 1 after credit

Trailer:

Review: ‘Hacksaw Ridge’- How far would you go to stand up for your convictions?

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How far would you go to stand up for your convictions? This is question to ponder as you watch Hacksaw Ridge, a story based around a young man of faith going off to war to do what’s right. Director Mel Gibson returns behind the camera to tell this incredible true story of heroism in the face of adversity and in the process brings us one of the most memorable stories of war ever brought to screen. img09

Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) is a young Virginian boy, whose life on the family farm has been plagued by a father distraught with guilt after coming home from WWI and a childhood accident that almost caused the death of his brother Hal. Desmond takes solace in a new belief that no man should take up arms and kill another man and devotes his life to the Lord. A chance meeting with Dorothy (Teresa Palmer), a young hospital nurse, leads the young boy to the conclusion that he is destined to one day marry her. After Hal joins the army to fight against the Japanese in WWII, Desmond begins to think he must also go off to war to protect all that he loves.

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Upon arrival to boot camp, it becomes abundantly clear to Doss that his beliefs will soon be tested. Sergeant Howell (Vincent Vaughn), isn’t amused by the revelation that Doss won’t fire a weapon and aims to make an example of him. Desmond makes every attempt to prove his worth in the company, but still refuses to yield to the pressure. Company Captain Glover (Sam Worthington) recommends that Doss be dishonorably discharged from the army, but Doss ultimately wins the right to fight the war on his terms, as a medical officer. The company ships off to Okinawa, where Doss will find out first hand what his choices have lead him to.

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This powerful film looks at war through the eyes of a young man who chooses to use his faith, not a gun, as a weapon to save lives instead of taking them. Andrew Garfield turns in the performance of a lifetime bringing Desmond Doss to life on the screen. Garfield is compelling and portrays Doss’ emotional journey from star crossed lover to war time hero with perfection. Each step thru the battle of Hacksaw Ridge provides a clear understanding what it means to believe in the power of faith and what it takes to trust that your every action is predetermined by a higher power. Doss left no doubt that he is one of the world’s greatest heroes, Garfield leaves no doubt that he is one of Hollywood’s rising stars.

Overall, Hacksaw Ridge is a marvelous film destined for a strong run into award season.

Stars:

4 out of 5

Trailer:

Review: ‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back’

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Tom Cruise returns to action as ex-military man Jack Reacher, a drifter who’s out to protect the innocent in the sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Based on the 2013 Jack Reacher novel, Never Go Back by Lee Child and directed by Edward Zwick, the film picks up four years after the original film and finds Reacher back in the thick of things with a new set of bad guys and a mission to save a friend, but an unexpected bombshell might change everything for the hero.

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Jack Reacher sets out to take down a human trafficking ring when he comes in contact with Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders), head of the military police who helps him get out of a sticky situation. The two continue to communicate through the months that follow which leads to Reacher making his way back to Washington DC where he intends to meet his new friend, but upon arrival he is met with shocking news that Major Turner has been arrested for espionage. Believing that his instincts about Major Turner are correct, Reacher decides to find out the truth behind what’s really happening. In the process of his investigation, Reacher discovers that he may have a teenage daughter (Danika Yarosh) he never knew existed about which complicates his investigation.

jack-reacher-never-go-back-on-set-067As he begins to piece together the plot against Turner, Reacher himself comes under suspicion of murder and finds himself on the run from not only the authorities, but the organization that wants Turner eliminated. The race is on to discover the truth behind who really framed them for crimes they didn’t commit.

Tom Cruise is great as the titular character which plays more like a toned down version of one of his other iconic characters, Ethan Hunt. The main attraction to this character is his unconventional stature in the world as a drifter looking to replace his past of military service with a new life of service by his own rules. Cobie Smulders continues to come into her own in the action genre and gives her a strong female character to develop. Smulders never tries to over think the role and fleshes out the strengths of the character and never takes a back seat to her male lead.

Overall, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is a non stop action thrill ride and a fun popcorn movie that doesn’t reinvent the action genre, but continues the long tradition of making a fun movie for the sake of nothing more than to entertain.

Stars:

3 out of 5

After credit scene?

No

Trailer:

Review: ‘Black Mass’ – Depp Shines as the Oscar Season Kicks Off

Black Mass

After a series of box office disappointments, Johnny Depp returns with his finest performance of his career in Black Mass, the story of the rise and fall of Whitey Bulger, Boston’s most notorious gangster. Based on the 2001 book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill and directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart), this period crime drama is captivating in it’s ruthless storytelling, which grabs you from the very beginning and pulls you closer with each passing scene. Oscar needs to stand up and take notice because Black Mass is the first real contender for this year’s award season.

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James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) is a recently released convict and the leader of The Winter Hill Gang  and one of the most respect men in South Boston. John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) is an FBI agent who’s recently returned to Boston to head a task force to rid the city of the Italian mob. James and John grew up on the streets of South Boston together and Connelly knows the influence of Bulger. Knowing that the best way to infiltrate organized crime is from the inside, Connelly, along with Whitey’s brother, Billy Bulger (Benedict Cumberbatch), a state senator and Boston public figure, strike a deal with Whitey to trade secrets and take down Boston’s Italian Mafia, a deal that would catapult Whitey from small time crime boss to the king of Boston.

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Director Scott Cooper, working from a script by Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow), tells Bulger and Connelly’s story over a series of decades which culminates in Bulger making the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. Each act of the story perfectly illustrates the challenges each character involved in this unholy alliance face leading to life altering situations and decisions that no one can turn back from. Cooper is gifted with an amazing cast lead by the memorizing Depp who turns in an Oscar winning performance. Depp, who is barely recognizable as the godfather of the Irish Mob, is relentless in his commitment to the character and his portrayal is both haunting and meticulous in his execution.

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Joel Edgerton embodies the invincibility and arrogance of his character with ease and turns in the performance of a lifetime. Benedict Cumberbatch is limited in his screen time, but he makes the most of every scene by portraying the confidence and calmness of an American politician and brother of a notorious gangster. My one wish for this film would have been for a bit more interaction between Depp and Cumberbatch as both actors were ripe for some great scenes. The rest of the cast, which includes Rory Cochrane, Kevin Bacon, Adam Scott, and David Harbour, were outstanding in this supporting roles.

Overall, Black Mass is a fantastic crime drama with plenty of drama and wonderful performances and one that demands to be seen. Don’t miss this film.

Stars:

4 out of 5

After Credit Scene?

None

Trailer:

Michael’s Review: ‘Tomorrowland’

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“Inspiring people makes the world a better place”, a quote from a young Frank Walker in Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland which opens this weekend in theaters. A film that would like to do just that, inspire young people to dream big and achieve greatness to help better our world and save the future, a noble goal and a powerful message for this generation. Inspired by the Disney theme park on the same name, this film sets it’s sights to become the next great Disney family adventure, but can it win over audiences this summer?

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Frank Walker (George Clooney) opens the movie by saying, “The future can be scary” for which optimist and science enthusiast Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) responds, “When I was a kid the future was different.” Two varying perspectives from two very different generations who will need to work together to save the planet. We flashback to 1964, a young Frank Walker (Thomas Robinson) attends the New York World’s Fair where he  meets David Nix (Hugh Laurie), a judge for new innovations in science at the fair who is unimpressed with Walker’s attempt to create a jetpack. A young girl named Athena (Raffey Cassidy). who is attending the fair with Nix, sees something in Walker and gives him a pin which results in Walker being transported into a futuristic cityscape known as Tomorrowland.

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Years in the future we find Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), sneaking into a former NASA launch site in Cape Canaveral to stop the site from being destroyed.  Her father, Eddie (Tim McGraw), is an NASA engineer who was employed at the site so the destruction vastly effects the Newton family.  She returns home where Athena finds the young girl and hides a pin in her helmet for her to find. After being arrested for attempting another sabotage mission on the NASA site, Casey discovers the pin among her personal items. Casey discovers that upon contact, the pin instantly transports her to Tomorrowland. She briefly explores Tomorrowland, before a timer on the pin expires and returns Casey to her world. Desperate to return, Casey begins to search for another way back.

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Casey hits the road to find answers, but soon finds her life threatened by robots sent to protect Tomorrowland from any more visitors. With the help of Athena, Casey finds Frank, who informs her that the world is coming to an end. Understanding that they must stop this from happening, the two begin their journey back to the place that neither can live without. With hope on their side, even the tinniest of actions could change the future.

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Tomorrowland is a movie with an important message about saving the Earth from our mistakes and director Brad Bird’s ambitious film delivers its point with dialogue and visuals pointing to our demise, but will any of its core audience listen? One of Bird’s mistakes in his delivery is the pacing of the film. In areas the pacing works and the film moves well enough, but there are gaps where young audiences could find themselves “zoning” out which, I fear, will cause the overall message of the film to be lost. Actress Britt Robertson is wonderful as the young science enthusiast. Robertson delivers on her desire to make her character unique and does well to stray her character away from cliche’s that plague way to many of these characters. George Clooney and Hugh Laurie are servicable but not overly amazing in this film. Clooney given more to work with with his character than Laurie, who had the makings of a great antagonist, but fizzled on the development. Raffey Cassidy is charming as the young Athena. Cassidy  Her characters interaction with her co-stars is wonderful and the young actress delivers.

Overall, Tomorrowland is an enjoyable film which will hopefully inspire it’s audience to go out and make the world a better place.  As young Walker said, “If I saw people flying with a jetpack over me. I’d believe anything is possible.”

Stars:

3 out of 5

After Credit Scene?

At the very end of the credits there is a Tomorrowland pin that disappears with the “Tomorrowland flash” after a hand grabs it. Aside from this, there is no stinger after the credits

Trailer:

Michael’s Review: ‘Chappie’- This Robot Story Doesn’t Compute

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South African-born filmmaker Neill Blomkamp returns for his third science fiction film in the last 6 years, Chappie, a film about a a robot who becomes the first of his kind with the ability to think and feel for himself. Like all of Blomkamp’s films, class warfare takes center stage as an underdog must rise up to fight against the high tech authoritative establishment. While with good intentions and a strong cast to support the story, Chappie is a film that starts off with a huge amount of potential, but ultimately succumbs to it’s shortcomings. A film caught in an identity crisis somewhere between Short Circuit and Robocop.

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The year is 2016, and Johannesburg’s crime has reached an apocalyptic level. The police have enlisted the help of robotics company Tetravaal and their latest creation, a robotic police forces, to help decrease the need for police activity across the city. A young scientist, Deon (Dev Patel), the chief engineer behind the creation of these robots, has his sights set on the next level of his creation, a machine with the ability to think and feel on its own. Company CEO Michelle Bradley (Sigourney Weaver) doesn’t share Deon’s enthusiasm about the next evolution of their prized technology and denies Deon’s request for more research. Former soldier and current Tetravaal engineer, Vincent (Hugh Jackman), has also created his own police robot, the “Moose”, a robot which looks eerily similar to the ED-209 from the 1987 Robocop film. Seeing Deon’s creation as a threat, Vincent aims to make the young scientists A.I appear inferior to his creation at all costs. 

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Deon decides to continue his research, without consent, and steals a decommissioned robot for further evaluation. Local criminals Ninja and Yo-Landi (played by Ninja and Yo-Landi Visser of the South African rap group Die Antwoord), along with Yankie (Jose Pablo Cantillo), manage to kidnap Deon in order to steal his access to control the robots. After realizing that Deon is in possession of a robot, the trio demand that he program the machine to do their bidding. Seeing this as an opportunity to test out his new self learning program, Deon agrees and Chappie is born. Deon, excited about the possibilities, demands to continue his work on the newly born robot but Ninja has other ideas and schemes to use the robot to pull off a major heist.

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As Chappie begins to learn, he is presented with two very different teachers in Deon and Ninja. One is educated scientist with aspirations of turning Chappie into a shining representation of what A.I could evolve in to, and one is a street raised, gangster thug with goals of wealth and power. But it is the caring voice of Yo-Landi that mesmerizes Chappie. The young woman becomes a surrogate mother to the robot and tries to help him learn and understand what it’s like to be loved, but Ninja’s influence becomes dominant and Chappie must chose between what’s right and what’s wrong. Convinced that Deon is up to something, Vincent sets out to find the answers. When he finds out what Deon has created, he sets out on a path to destroy the legacy of the young scientist and expose Chappie as a threat to society.

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Blomkamp has created a thought-provoking, yet entertaining, action film with effective visuals that has all the makings of a blockbuster success if it weren’t for it’s shortcomings. The story starts strong, but loses it’s charm somewhere around the halfway mark of the film. The transformation of Chappie from newborn robot to confused Robothug is, at times, cringeworthy. The vocal work of Blomkamp veteran Sharlto Copley loses it’s appeal after a while and the portrayal of the titular character becomes little more than a Ali-G type portrayal of a young street kid. Hugh Jackman is equally as ineffective as the films antagonist. There are glimpses in the film that the character of Vincent might offer some juicy confrontations, but the chemistry between Jackman and costar Dev Patel is nonexistent. Patel plays a similar character to his “Neil” on HBO’s Newsroom and never seems to find a way to flush out his character. The interaction between Patel and Copley’s Chappie is close to what you expect from a creator to his creation, but the two are left with few opportunities in first half of the film to gain any momentum. 

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Ninja and Yo-Landi Visser are actually serviceable as street hardened versions of their real life selves. The caring nature from which Visser creates her character is a nice touch while Ninja depicts a loathsome, street thug with precision. Jose Pablo Cantillo has a few chances to achieve a noteworthy performance but ultimately the actor is merely there to support Ninja and Visser. The biggest let down for me is the under use of Sigourney Weaver, whose character was prime for a super villain type reveal, but Blomkamp opts for a more sterile type of performance.

Overall, Chappie will not win many audiences over this weekend and will surely disappoint fans of Blomkamp’s District 9. While not as disappointing as Elysium, this film will leave you wanting so much more from a director who has proven he has so much to give.

Stars:

2 1/2 out of 5

 

Trailer:

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