Film Review: The Sapphires — 3.5 stars

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJv1epnHKM4

ONE WORD REVIEW: Fun!

SUMMARY: Based on a true story, an Indigenous girls band from Australia earns the opportunity to travel to Vietnam to entertain the American troops during the war.

DETAILS: The Sapphires is That Thing You Do meets soul music and the Vietnam War. A group of Indigenous singers in Australia catch the attention of a makeshift music promoter (Chris O’Dowd) who helps them transition from country to soul music and take their show to Vietnam. Loosely based on a true story, their new manager secures an audition in Melbourne that will change their lives. The girl singers (Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens, and Miranda Tapsell) change their name to The Sapphires, and head to war-torn Vietnam to entertain the American servicemen. The Sapphires contains romance, laughter, and a fantastic soundtrack of 1960’s soulful music. The film deals with issues of race, belonging, and the universal language of music. Although I mentioned That Thing You Do to create a mental picture, this film doesn’t quite reach the same mark as that Tom Hanks classic. Ultimately, The Sapphires wants to soar at great heights, but instead settles for a low, but elegant glide across the screen… but regardless, this film does have a great soundtrack and is worth watching.

WATCH THE TRAILER
SCORE: 3.5 out of 5 stars
RELEASE: 2012
RATING: PG-13
FOREIGN FILM: Australia

Film Review: The Terminal — 3.5 stars

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciByvddyHBs

ONE WORD REVIEW: Fun!

SUMMARY: Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) is forced to live in an airport terminal at JFK when he unknowingly becomes a man without a country.

DETAILS: This fun film by Steven Spielberg is full of wit, humor and poignant moments. If you haven’t seen it, you should. And if you have seen it, I will encourage you to watch it again. While Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) is flying to America, his country (the fictitious Krakozhia) is overthrown, making his passport invalid and in turn causing Viktor to learn that for him, “America is closed”. His passport and return ticket are revoked by customs agents making him a man without a country who can’t enter America and who can’t return home. So he begins living at the unfinished Gate 67 in the international terminal at JFK. He learns to speak English, makes friends with some of the employees of the airport, becomes a matchmaker, falls for a beautiful stewardess (Catherine Zeta-Jones), and never gives up on his purpose of why he wants to come to America; a secret he carries with him in a can of peanuts.

WATCH THE TRAILER
SCORE: 3.5 out of 5 stars
RELEASE: 2004
RATING:PG-13

Film Review: The Way, Way Back — 3.5 stars

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qoaVUdbWMs

TWO WORD REVIEW: Growing Up

SUMMARY: Duncan is a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10. At least that’s what his Mom’s new boyfriend thinks, but that’s before Duncan spends the summer discovering who he really is.

DETAILS: Duncan’s Mom has a new boyfriend (Steve Carell) who owns a house at the beach and Duncan (Liam James) will unwillingly spend the summer there… and in the process he will become himself. The beach community is “like Spring Break for adults” where the parents party every night and Duncan and his neighbor Susanna (AnnaSophia Robb) are left to while the summer away. Soon Duncan sneaks off to Water Wizz, the local water park where he finds purpose and a father figure (Sam Rockwell) who cares for him and helps him realize he has value and self-worth. The Way, Way Back is a fun, funny, and painful reminder of those awkward years transitioning from childhood to adulthood. The film has a great vibe and the cast does a fantastic job telling this story of a boy coming of age.

WATCH THE TRAILER
SCORE: 3.5 out of 5
RELEASE: 2013
RATING: PG-13

Film Review: Unbroken — 4 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Powerful!

 

SUMMARY: A U.S. Olympic athlete turned WWII Airman survives a plane crash, 45 days on the open sea, and the remainder of the war in a Japanese prison camp… all the while remaining unbroken.

DETAILS: Based on the true life experiences of Louis Zamperini, Unbroken tells the story of a U.S. Olympic athlete turned WWII Airman (Jack O’Connell) who survives a plane crash in the ocean, 45 days on the open seas, and the remainder of the war in a Japanese prison camp. Zamperini continually hears his brothers words of encouragement though all of his trials, beatings, and torturous experiences. In the end he remains unbroken and eventually chooses to forgive his enemies. This screenplay, written by Joel & Ethen Coen (and others) contains several scenes that portray strong themes of faith and redemption, including a “crucifixion” scene, and a beautiful baptism scene where Louis and all the prisoners ultimately receive their redemption. Directed by Angelina Jolie, the story doesn’t cover the entire novel by the same name, but certainly is an inspiring telling of Zamperini’s early life.

 

SCORE: 4.0 out of 5 stars

RELEASE: 2014
RATING: PG-13

Quartet — 4 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Rich

SUMMARY: A famous operatic quartet finds themselves living together in a home for retired musical stars… but will they ever perform again?

DETAILS: Dustin Hoffman directs this fantastic story about life in a retirement home for aging musicians. When the fourth member of an operatic quartet moves into Beecham House, three of the four decide to get the quartet together again for a final performance of their famous Rigoletto. But an aging diva who worries about her voice along with her failed marriage to one of the other members of the quartet are obstacles that may be insurmountable. A brilliant performance by Billy Connolly (A Series of Unfortunate Events) tops this great cast of fun, rich characters.

SCORE: 4 out of 5

RELEASE: 2012
RATING: PG-13

The Giver — 3.5 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: 1984ish

SUMMARY: In a world where all emotions have been neutered, a young man sets out to free them all.

DETAILS: Based on the 1993 novel by Lois Lowry, The Giver tells the story of a young man in a world free of emotion. Each individual is assigned work based on their giftedness, but Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is special. He’s given the responsibility to carry the history for the people, an extremely rare assignment that literally places the emotional weight of the world on the one who carries it. The Giver (Jeff Bridges) shares his gift with Jonas who soon learns that he has the opportunity to help bring emotions back to his world.

They say I should have read the book before seeing the movie. I wish I had. I really wanted to like this more, but certain parts of the story (i.e. the boundary being crossed to restore emotion) just fell flat for me.

SCORE: 3.5 out of 5

RELEASE: 2014
RATING: PG-13

O Brother, Where Art Thou? — 5 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Brilliant

SUMMARY: From Chain Gang to Soggy Bottom Boys three men search for redemption in this retelling of The Odyssey.

DETAILS: George Clooney leads the escape of his chain-gang from the prison in the south on a journey toward redemption. It’s brilliant, funny, classic, Coen Brothers at their best.

SCORE: 5 out of 5

RELEASE: 2000
RATING: PG-13

Zoolander — 0.5 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Awful

SUMMARY: Mr. Zoolander, please give me my 2 hours back

DETAILS: I give this film a .5 instead of a zero in order to recognize that some filmmakers gave of themselves to make this. If filmmakers weren’t involved I would have given it a zero.

SCORE: 0.5 out of 5
RELEASE: 2001
RATING: PG-13