***** A classic. Should be a part of any serious film lover’s permanent library.
**** Excellent with only a few minor flaws.
*** Worthy of renting or streaming.
** Below average, but mght have limited appeal to some tastes.
* Should be avoided at all costs.
No stars All copies should be confiscated and destroyed for humanity’s sake.
Click on title to see the film’s trailer.
Rise of the Legend *** Directed by Roy Hin Yeung Chow. An orphan (Eddie Peng), whose father has been killed by dark power, attempts to bring justice back to the town. Too artfully made for camp status but populated by characters too one-dimensional to stand alongside the likes of Once Upon a Time in China. Yeung’s martial-arts epic, set in the late 19th century, is marked by blue-gray hues and some genuinely striking camerawork.
The Finest Hours **½ Directed by Craig Gillespie. The Coast Guard makes a daring rescue attempt off the coast of Cape Cod after a pair of oil tankers are destroyed during a blizzard in 1952. An intermittently affecting, sanded-edge adventure that feels as if it trundled off the studio production line back when Eisenhower was in office. It’s not just the technique of this movie that is resolutely old-fashioned. So are its attitudes. The film may feature practically wall-to-wall monster storms but undergirding it all is a cushion of straight-arrow sentimentalism. It harks back to a rosy neverland when men were men and women stood by them.
How To Be Single **½ Directed by Christian Ditter. Young and footloose, New Yorkers Alice (Dakota Johnson), Robin (Rebel Wilson), Lucy (Alison Brie), Meg (Leslie Mann), Tom (Anders Holm) and David (Damon Wayans Jr.) are living the dream. With the city as their playground, their adventures of love and lust play out over a 10-year period. An entertaining movie that, while lacking real substance or stellar acting, hints at themes to which we can definitely all relate.
Risen **½ Directed by Kevin Reynolds. In 33 CE Roman tribune Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) is ordered to find the missing body of Jesus in the weeks after his crucifixion in order to refute rumors of his resurrection and prevent unrest in Jerusalem. Turns out to be an intriguing, if ultimately frustrating, retelling of the familiar story, here reconfigured as a detective procedural.
Zoolander 2 *½ Directed by Ben Stiller. Derek (Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) are lured into modeling again, in Rome, where they find themselves the target of a sinister conspiracy. Feels like a hasty collection of last-minute comedy panic attacks.