Reviews by Avery Callaway and Gaius Straka,
Bridge of Spies
Steven Spielberg’s latest film, “Bridge of Spies,” is pleasant, but not very memorable. There are no standout moments that can really push it over the edge from being good to great. Even with the Coen brothers writing and Tom Hanks’ star power elevating the film, it never tries to go any farther than it has to with it’s story and characters. The story focuses on James Donovan (Hanks), an insurance lawyer who has been given the difficult task of representing a captured Soviet spy in 1950s America. His ethics as an attorney are tested when his own country seems to turn against him. There are no glaring issues to be seen within “Bridge of Spies.” It achieves everything it wants to accomplish with gusto. Tom Hanks is Tom Hanks, he never gives a performance that isn’t superb. The plot can switch seamlessly from tense to lighthearted on a dime and not be jarring in the slightest. Unfortunately, it never tries to go farther than it has to, and that holds “Bridge of Spies” back.
Accent Rating B+ Avery Callaway
“Goosebumps” gains some points immediately for being one of the more inspired young adult novel adaptations to come out recently. Instead of just adapting one of the novels, “Goosebumps” tells an original story by throwing many of the series’ monsters into the same setting. That, and some sharp performances early on earn the film some merit. However, “Goosebumps” quickly loses it due to a lack of consequences and a bad script.
The plot is a mess. There are so many unnecessary characters and subplots that nothing is ever accomplished scene-by-scene. Every time the audience might feel some progress has been made, the film finds a way to waste time, usually with some awful computer generated effect. Even at a run time of just over 100 minutes, it still seems like it’s an half hour too long.
It’s a shame, because sometimes a glimmer of creativity can be seen in this mess of a film. However, these moments are not frequent. The greatest sin “Goosebumps” commits is that it decided to be a feature-length film.
Accent Rating D Avery Callaway
“Sicario” is a great example of mechanical film-making at it’s finest. Every scene and music beat work toward creating a feeling of dread and tension that immediately engrosses the audience in the events that play out.
The cinematographer, Roger Deakens, deserves recognition for his work because every frame is purposeful and precise.
The story is focused on Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), an idealistic FBI officer who is recruited onto a task force, headed by Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and the mysterious Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), designed to bring a major cartel located in Juarez to justice. However, the longer Kate works with her new team, the more her ideals conflict with the shady actions of her higher ups.
If there were a complaint about “Sicario,” it would be that some of the dialogue in the film was stilted at times. Some of the dialogue was too light-hearted for events taking place. However, this should not keep you from seeing the film.
Accent Rating: A- Avery Callaway
“The Martian,” is an exciting action/adventure film about a man surviving in a vast unforgiving world millions of miles from home.
Mark Watney, brilliantly acted by Matt Damon, is an astronaut stationed on Mars and presumed dead after an intense storm strikes his base during a rushed departure off the planet.
Watney shows how much of an elite specialist he is by surviving for years on the desolate Red Planet with few resources. He even manages to make his own garden.
The movie brings out the good of humanity in many ways including the portrayal of how far the astronauts are willing to go to bring one of their own back home.
Despite the dire situation, Matt Damon’s character doesn’t fall into a gloomy depressed frame of mind. Rather, he turns to making fun of himself through his failures while remaining confident and driven to survive, and eventually, leave Mars.
Director Ridley Scott has even more to offer in “The Martian” than he did in “Exodus.” The cinematography and special effects are stunning, creating gripping scenes and a feeling of realism.
Accent Rating: A- Gaius Straka