Sunday, March 30, 2014

Noah Review

After months of swimming in controversy, Noah has finally hit theaters. When I first heard of Noah, I was a bit leery, but I was game with Noah coming to the big screen. But then I started to hear rumors of what the actual plan was for this. That made me super nervous, and I did my fair share of ranting about what was going to happen. Then the trailer came out and suddenly it appeared that this could be an entertaining movie despite their plans on deviating from the source material. So I remained neutral. Then came the reviews. Christian audiences hated the movie. Some countries banned it. But then the critic reviews came in strong. Some good sources I trust loved the movie. Other good sources I trust hated it. Going into this, I was completely in the darkness as to my expectations because of all these mixed reviews. I knew this wasn't supposed to be a religious movie, but perhaps it could be entertaining? While watching, I tried really hard to like what I was seeing, but I just couldn't. The longer I watched, the more sick I felt at what they were doing with this story. While driving home, I was in an angered shock at what I had just witnessed.

First off, I will openly admit that there is a good reason why Noah has not been attempted yet. Despite it being a great story that one can learn a lot from in a biblical standpoint, there's not a whole lot of substance for a full-length movie. The people are wicked, so Noah preaches repentance. When that does nothing, he's commanded to build an ark to save the animals and his family while the Lord destroys the rest of the world and starts over. So he does. And that's really it. So to make this a successful venture, anyone who is making a movie out of Noah is going to have to come up with a few creative liberties just to add some story and substance that will make the movie interesting. This sheer fact alone is not what bothered me. What's more, I expected a slight deviation to the actual story that is there. So the idea of a deviation does not bother me. I want to make that perfectly clear before someone jumps out and criticizes me for complaining that they deviated or added things. That's not the issue here, so don't make a fool out of yourself when you respond to this review. The problem is WHAT they decided to do when they added things and deviated from the story.


So let's start at the top. Religion. Didn't want me to bring that up? Sorry, you shouldn't have clicked on a review about a religious-based movie. I didn't go into this movie expecting a religious movie. I went in expecting an action/adventure/disaster movie. But as I got into it, I became irked. The makers in this movie went out of their way to make this as non-religious as possible. What do I mean? I mean that the word "God" is not used at all in this movie. They call him "The Creator." Why is this necessary? Why not just say God? What's the problem there? You think you're going to offend everyone if you use the word God in a movie in the way it's supposed to be used? If you want to avoid this, don't adapt a biblical story. Also, the word "prophet" is not used. Noah's not a "prophet," he's "the chosen one." Why not just use the word prophet? This would be accurate to the source material. And no one would be offended. Methuselah is in this movie. Methuselah pulls off some pretty amazing miracles to help Noah. How? I don't know. It never says. He's not described as a man of God. He just looks like a wizard with magical powers. Then there's the introduction. "In the beginning there was nothing." And so on. Where were they getting this from? It's like they wrote their own bible in order to avoid quoting actual scriptures. Get what I mean? Why is it necessary to completely beat around the bush when it comes to every potential religious aspect? It bothered me. You can use religious, biblical terms and still have this not be a religious movie.  

That aspect aside, the first half of this movie was just plain WEIRD. Noah's family is completely alone. They live in this barren rock-land area in a tent. How do they survive? I don't know. It doesn't look like there is any food or water. When people do come, where do they come from? I don't know. There's no city around. No buildings. They just show up. Apparently tents is all people knew? Tents in the middle of nowhere? They wander a bit and find a abandoned girl in the middle of nowhere. Why? Oh yeah, we wanted Emma Watson in the movie. Got it. Time passes. In a very weird way. We had to show every day passing by in the blink of an eye and nearly give me a seizure in the process. We couldn't have just said "10 years later." That would've been confusing. 

Then this gets even funner. We run into rock monsters. Yup. Rock monsters. Apparently there were angels that fell from heaven. Ok, I get that part. But then they get to heaven and turn into these large rock monsters. What? Oh did I mention Noah's dreams? So freakin' creepy. We couldn't have had God appear in a dream and tell Noah to build an ark because he's going to flood the earth. Too religious. Instead Noah dreams he's drowning and all these corpses that look like zombies come to attack him. And somewhere in there a snake slithers out of it's skin, an apple shows up, and we see a glowing Adam and Eve. Maybe I have these out of order. Point is, there is a lot of creepy weird dreams and flashbacks. Noah interprets this as God is going to destroy the world. Ok, semi-plausible, but still super weird and creepy. 

Noah goes to Methuselah. Methuselah is obsessed with berries the whole movie. Why? Shem tells him that he likes berries. So Methuselah goes crazy over berries. What? Why? Then Methuselah touches Shem and he falls asleep. No children should hear this next conversation. Why not? Well, after concluding that Noah needs to build an ark, Methuselah gives Noah a magical seed. What does this seed do? It plants... a forest. Yup, you heard that right. Apparently forest-planting seeds existed? Why? Oh yes. Trees don't exist where Noah lives and he needs to build an ark. So we need to plant a forest. Oh remember our rock monsters? For some reason, they decide to join Noah. And in fact, these rock monsters are the ones that build the ark. Really?

Get the point? The first half of this movie is just super, super weird. I mean, I get that they need to add things. Creative liberties need to happen in order to create a decent movie out of the story of Noah. I get it. But who in the world wrote this? And why did they think these were good ideas? It was just dumb. Add to that, the whole first half of the movie is actually super slow and boring. The actors, especially Russell Crowe, just look bored the whole time. Like ok, this is a dumb movie, but I'm getting payed. So sure, I'll be Noah. Just give me my paycheck.

But yet I haven't even gotten to why I hated this movie so much. But to describe my true feelings, I NEED to talk about the second half of this movie. So yes, SPOILERS will happen from here on out. If you don't want to hear any SPOILERS, close this browser right now. Chances are you are really bored anyways because I have already written more than I usually do. Just know the last half of the movie was awful. I could've forgiven the first half if the last half was epic, but it wasn't.


If you are continuing to read this, first off, I'm impressed that you got this far. You must love my writing. Either that or you have nothing to do with your life right now. Let's just pretend it's the first. Also this means that you have either seen the movie or don't care about it being spoiled. You've been given a fair warning. 

Like I've said, the first half of this movie is weird and goofy, but I could've forgiven it if it had a epic ending. But it didn't. There came a point where the movie completely lost all of my faith that it could be good. The ark is near completion and Noah and his wife realize that if they are going to live on, their sons need to have wives. So Noah goes to this weird, creepy village to find wives for his sons. After seeing the state that they live in, Noah decides that mankind needs to be completely wiped off the face of the earth. So he gives up on finding wives for his sons and goes back to the ark. He tells his family that they will save the animals. Once the flood is over, they will live as a family and once they die, that will be it for mankind. Then the world will move on without the animals and plants being bothered one bit. This is justice. Mankind is being punished.

Logically, Ham does what a normal teenager/young man would do when his father announces the suicide of mankind. He runs away to find his own girl. Sure, this happens super fast. He falls in a ditch where there just happens to be a girl all alone. So he stays with her. Then it starts raining, so he convinces her to come with him to the ark. On the way, she steps on a bear trap. Ham can't help her because he is too weak and there is an army right behind them planning on attack the ark. Here comes dad to save the day, right? Nope. Noah pushes Ham towards the ark, looks at the girl, and intentionally leaves her to die. She quickly gets trampled by the army.

That scene is where I lost it. It's all downhill from there. Making things worse. Emma Watson learns that she is pregnant on the ark. The magical wizard Methuselah healed her right before he died eating a berry. A second later she runs up to Seth and immediately jumps him and they... well... the scene cuts thankfully. But she's pregnant. What does grandfather Noah say to this? Well, instead of being happy, he is almost horrified that his (or God's?) plan is about to be frustrated. So he announces that if it's a girl, he's going to kill the baby. And he hates doing all this... but he is just following God's... I mean "The Creator's" will. He begs several times to not have to do this, but the answer seems to be no.

I won't actually spoil the very, very end. That is sufficient. But now let me get to the problems with this. First off, the film screams an environmentalist platform. I haven't seen a movie this politically charged since WALL-E. I mean, really? Your going to twist the story of Noah this much so you, Darren Aronofsky, can sit on your high horse and yell out to how crappy the world is and how we need to repent because we are destroying the environment? Remember, there is no life-form around. They live in a land where it's apparent that mankind has destroyed the environment. And now they are being punished to the point where God is going to wipe all them off the face of the earth and instead move forward without mankind. Just the animals and the plant-life. And that will be a perfect earth. Now I'm usually among the crowd that says sometimes a movie is just a movie and the political propaganda is unintentional, made up be crazy politicians. But nope. This I think is so obvious and so in-your-face that it has to be intentional in my opinion. Moreover, Aronofsky himself has claimed that Noah was the first environmentalist. Sometimes I can still enjoy a movie. I love WALL-E. This time it got in the way.

Second huge issue. Crazy Noah. When you make a movie and call it Noah and it's about Noah, I feel it's the right thing for me to root for Noah and treat him like the protagonist. When Noah goes psycho and decides God has told him to destroy mankind, the switched in me was completely flipped. Noah was the antagonist. I care about mankind. I cared about the Ham's girlfriend that Noah killed. I care about Emma Watson's twin daughters that Noah is threatening to kill. Noah is the villain in my eyes. I want him stopped. Everyone is mad at him, but especially Ham. Ham discovers that our main villain has snuck onto the ark and the two conspire to kill Noah. I should be against them. But I'm not. I am wanting them to succeed. This is bad. If I want the main character of a movie -- who's supposed to be the protagonist -- to die, the makers of the movie have done something wrong.

And this leads right into the biggest reason why I hated this movie. Not a religious movie? I get it. But blaspheming against God and Christianity in the process for the sake of your environmentalist high-horse is UNACCEPTABLE. Don't want to hear me preach? Then you better close this right now, because I am about to preach. I care about mankind. God cares about mankind. God created man in his own image. That was his greatest creation. What does this movie preach? Man has destroyed the environment, so God is going to destroy man, because apparently God cares more about the environment than he does man. This is NOT... I repeat... this is NOT the reason why the flood happened. Man was wicked. Man didn't follow God. God decided to start over with Noah's family because they were righteous. Harsh? Yes. But for many reasons, this was the right decision. Never at any time did God have on his agenda to destroy mankind and move forward with without them. So while we are on the ark in the movie, I am cheering against Noah. I want his plan to fail. Noah doesn't want to do this, but he feels he is the chosen one to bring God's plan to pass. The plan to destroy mankind. So while I'm cheering against Noah, I realize that in fact I'm am cheering against the God of this movie. And that's when I become plain out disgusted at what this movie was doing. The God of this movie is NOT the God I worship. The God of this movie is NOT the God of the Bible and not the God of Christianity. And I am offended that Darren Aronofsky decided to interpret God this way.

So yes, I am finally finishing. Maybe you'll walk into this movie and see it things a completely different way. But in my opinion, I watched the story of Noah get thrown into a blender. I saw nothing but weird and confusing things in the first half and nothing but blasphemy and environmentalism in the second half. I drove home from the theater angry at what I saw. If you see something different, that's great. The beauty of movies is that we can all interpret them in a different way. We can all have different opinions and all be right. But as for me, I will recommend that you completely skip this movie. If you know that you disagree with me a lot and that recommendation makes you want to see this movie, then so be it. But I warned you. Remembering that I hated Man of Steel and put it as the worst movie of 2013, if you put me in a corner, pointed a gun to my head, and forced me to either re-watch Man of Steel or Noah, I would pick Man of Steel. That should say a lot. You blaspheme my favorite superhero and thus my childhood that is one thing, you blaspheme my God, this is another. I give Noah my worst grade, a 1/10.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The 87th Academy Awards: A Very Early Look

In no way do I consider myself an expert on the Academy Awards. A lot of their picks seem very random at times and a lot of the movies that end up getting awards aren't even on the radar at the beginning of the year. However, I thoroughly enjoy following them all year and thus I have learned that you can sometimes come up with patterns as to how they think. So now that the 86th Academy Awards were officially completed earlier this month, I wanted to do a quick post looking forward to next year's Academy Awards. So what I have done here is I have gone through a lot of the movies that are currently on schedule and have tried to pick out the ones that I think could be up for some awards at the beginning of next year. It will be fun to look back at this in a year from now to see how good or bad my early vision was. I expect more of the latter, but either way this is an interesting way to introduce you to some movies coming out this year that you may not have been aware of. After reading this, feel free to add your own thoughts as to what you think may happen at next year's Oscars.

The Grand Budapest Hotel- 3/7

Typically the Academy has this weird thing where they forget that movies get released from January through August. Thus movies specifically going for awards will set their release date at the end of the year. However, there is the rare occasion that films coming out early get attention, so I wanted to give a few early picks. Wes Anderson usually gets shafted during award season and with the early release date that will probably be the case here as well, but he's definitely conjured up a huge hit with The Grand Budapest Hotel. The reviews all around for the movie have been very positive and the movie has been killing it in limited release. This could be Anderson's biggest hit yet and if the Academy remembers that this movie came out, it could also be the first time Anderson gets some love from the Academy.

Million Dollar Arm- 5/16

Sports movies sometimes get love at the Oscars. All one has to do is look at The Blind Side and Moneyball to figure that out. Although Moneyball didn't win any Oscars, it received six nomination including best picture. I specifically bring up Moneyball because Million Dollar Arm is freakishly similar. Both movies are about using unconventional wisdom to put together a Major League Baseball team. Million Dollar Arm even has the Oscar-nominated Thomas McCarthy in charge of the screenplay. The only problem here is the release date. So instead of being the next Moneyball, this looks like it will instead be the next 42, a movie from last year that would've been in the conversation if it had come out later in the year.

Get On Up- 8/1

Oscar season officially gets underway around September or October, but there is often an August movie that sneaks into the picture. This year that candidate looks to be Get On Up. Chadwick Boseman is apparently the actor to cast if you are doing a biopic movie. Last year he got a lot of attention by portraying Jackie Robinson in 42. This year he takes on James Brown. As previously mentioned, 42 had release date issues. Get On Up, though, is in range for Oscar-love.

Gone Girl- 10/3

Two-time Oscar nominated director David Fincher has had a lot of success with the Academy recently with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Social Network. This year he has teamed up with Ben Affleck to take on Gillian Flynn's novel Gone Girl, about a woman who mysteriously disappears on her wedding anniversary. Fincher plus Affleck seems like a sure-fire hit on paper.

The Judge- 10/10

Robert Downey Jr. may get no attention from the Academy for his role as Iron Man, but he's no stranger to the Academy in his other roles as he has been nominated twice, most recently for his role in Tropic Thunder. He may get his third nomination this year for The Judge, which is a drama about a lawyer returning home to his mother's funeral to find that his father, the town judge, is suspected of murder. Initially this appears similar to last year's Prisoners, which may have gotten more nominations had it not been such a crowded field. 

Kill the Messenger- 10/10

This next candidate for awards is a lot like the previous movie that I just talked about. Both The Judge and Kill the Messenger are crime dramas that feature an Avengers star with two Oscar-nominations looking for a third just before the Avengers sequel comes out. While The Judge features Iron Man, Kill the Messenger features Hawkeye, aka Jeremy Renner. Renner has received two recent nominations for his work in The Hurt Locker and The Town. Kill the Messenger is the true story of reporter Gary Webb, a reporter that becomes a huge target after after exposing the CIA. Renner of course plays Gary Webb.

Interstellar- 11/7

Christopher Nolan is one of the most prolific directors of our day, which is why many are surprised that he has received no nominations for best director. Inception got a best picture nod, but that's as far as it goes with Nolan-directed films. Is this his year where he finally gets the love he deserves? Seems likely, especially since Interstellar has a cast that includes Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, and Jessica Chastain. 

Fury- 11/14

The title of this movie may actually change before this movie comes out, so no laughing at me if you never hear of a movie called Fury. Moving on, can director David Ayer get an Oscar nomination? He can when his movie is a World War II drama released in November that stars Brad Pitt. Shia LaBeouf is also a main player in this. That would certainly shock the world if he somehow pulled off a nomination.

McFarland- 11/21

I mentioned earlier that sports dramas have a good history at the Oscars. While we have several of them this year, McFarland is the one that has the highest chance of earning nominations, specifically because it is released at the right time of the year. Kevin Costner is the star of this movie and his role in this is a track coach. Interestingly enough, this is actually his second sports drama that he is doing this year following April's Draft Day. Costner does well in sports dramas, so this could pay off.

Exodus- 12/12

Exodus concludes quite the lengthy streak of religious-themed movies in 2014. It may be a stretch to include it in this list, but if it's well received by all parties, it's in the right position. Christian Bale in December is a pretty safe bet to get the attention of the Academy. This also wouldn't be the first time a movie about the story of Moses got some love at the Oscars. Cecil B DeMille's classic film The Ten Commandments was nominated for seven Oscars back in 1957, including best picture. So it's possible.

Inherent Vice- 12/12 

While nothing is for sure, out of all the movies I've mentioned thus far, Inherent Vice is one of the more surefire bets at Oscars. Director Paul Thomas Anderson doesn't come on the scene very often, but when he does, it's usually been gold. His previous outing, The Master, received three nominations. The time before that, There Will Be Blood received eight nominations. Inherent Vice reunites Paul Thomas Anderson with Joaquin Phoenix. Phoenix narrowly missed out last year with Her, but it was with Anderson where he got his most recent best actor nomination with The Master, so he could be back on the scene again. Inherent Vice also stars Jena Malone, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin, and Owen Wilson. It's possible for anyone of them to join in on the party.

Into the Woods- 12/25

Musicals have had good luck at the Oscars, most recently with Les Miserables. This Christmas brings us two musicals with Into the Woods and Annie. With the mixed reaction to the first trailer for Annie, I'll go ahead and wager that the movie gets similar reaction and thus miss out on awards. That leaves Into the Woods with the biggest chance of scoring nominations. It definitely has the cast to back me up on that. Meryl Streep has a role in the movie and being that she has had 18 nominations, it's safe to bet that she could easily add another to that. The movie also puts Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, and Emily Blunt in good positions to win out the hearts of the Academy.

Unbroken- 12/25

I recently mentioned Inherent Vice as a surefire bet to get nominations. If I were to make official bets this early on, Unbroken is the other one I would make sure to include. The movie has Oscar-bait written all over it. Oscar darling Angelina Jolie has won for best supporting actress, been nominated for best leading actress, and most recently won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. Now she is going for a best director nod with Unbroken. Joel and Ethan Coen are in charge of the screenplay with Roger Deakins doing the cinematography. Add to all that, this is another World War II drama. It follows the life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japan. Here's a name for you to write down: Jack O'Connell. He's fairly unknown right now, but this time next year he could be a household name. He's plays the lead role of Louis Zamperini.   

Untitled Cameron Crowe Project- 12/25

A movie with no title on this list? With Cameron Crowe at the helm, it's a good bet. Crowe is responsible for the Oscar-nominated films Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire. He's also done We Bought a Zoo and Vanilla Sky. Whatever they decide to name this movie, it has Bradley Cooper leading the way with Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, Jay Baruchel, John Krasinski, Alec Baldwin and Danny McBride. It's about a military man who discovers himself while deployed on the island of Hawaii.

Foxcatcher- release date TBD

Foxcatcher was initially supposed to come out in 2013 and many thought it was going to be a major contender in this year's Oscars. Well, it got pushed back to this year so logic says if they finally decide on a solid release date than it will be a major contender this year. Director Bennett Miller hit two home runs with his previous to films, Moneyball and Capote, so there's a good chance of him hitting three in a row. The film is about Olympic wrestling champion Mark Schultz, whose brother David Schultz was killed by John du Pont. Channing Tatum actually plays the star role of Mark Schultz, but the major buzz  is surrounding Steve Carrell as du Pont. It would be Carrell's first Oscar nomination. It would also be Tatum's first Oscar nomination if he gets some love as well.  

The Cobbler- release date TBD

While there are certainly plenty of other candidates that will sift themselves out as the year goes on, the last one I will mention here is The Cobbler. This also doesn't have an official release date, but if they settle on 2014 with this, it could bring a lot of surprises. Writer/director Thomas McCarthy was nominated for an Oscar for his screenplay work on Pixar's Up, so he has the talent. What makes this movie stand out to me is the potential of shocking the world by getting Adam Sandler an Oscar nomination. I've always said that Adam Sandler is a good actor. He just usually decides to be weird and goofy in his movies. He'll be out to prove that to the world this year. His co-stars include Glenn Fleshler, Dustin Hoffman, and Steve Buscemi 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Divergent Review

Back in the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, there was this huge craze over this book called The Hunger Games and its upcoming film adaption in March of 2012. I don't read much. I enjoy reading when I find a book that sucks me it, but I'm very much a slow reader, so I won't just jump into any book series because it's too much of a time investment for me. For some a book is like watching a movie. To me its like watching a season of a TV series. I enjoy TV shows, but there are a lot of them that I want to watch that I just never do because of the time factor. So thus when The Hunger Games book craze happened, I didn't jump on that bandwagon initially. I waited for the movie. Then you know the rest is history. It sucked me in immediately and I loved that movie so much that I walked out knowing that I had to read the books. Now fast forward two years. Recently there has been this craze over the book Divergent and its upcoming film adaption in March of 2014. Same process for me. I decided that I would wait for the movie and if the movie did the same thing as The Hunger Games movie did, I would gladly pick up the books and read them. What's the result now that I've seen the movie? Unfortunately it's not the same. Divergent was a swing and a miss for me.

I hate to be the one that says this because it often bothers me when others do, but I'm going to say it. We've seen all of this before. We've had a gazillion young adult book to movie adaptions now, and I've enjoyed many of them. I've even enjoyed some like The Host that many thought were stupid. But if you're going to try to be the next big thing, you've got to set yourself apart somehow. Divergent doesn't. The whole story is a complete mashup of like everything we've seen before. Allow me to explain. The setting is post-apocalyptic. There's a government set up that claims it's there to keep the peace. Of course you know that means a rebellion is coming up, led by a protagonist girl. But I'm getting ahead of myself. We are set up into 13 districts... uhhh I mean 5 fractions. As the young kids come of age they are sorted into these fractions by a sorting hat... uhhh I mean a test that reads their mind. The fractions include Griffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin and Ravenclaw.... uhhh I mean Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Erudite and Dauntless. You're sorted by personality. Let's fast forward a bit. We have our main female protagonist that beast the system (Harry Potter convinced the sorting hat to put him in Griffindor when it wanted to put him in Slytherin... that's the reference here). Katniss Everdeen then volunteers as tribute... uhhh I mean Tris volunteers to jump first. Then we get a training sequence. Then we get a bit of a curveball where the newly sorted kids have to battle it out against each other to see who survives. Thrown in there, everyone in the Dauntless group that we follow gets tattoos (that reminded me of the Mortal Instruments movie that no one but me saw and enjoyed). Then of course we get Jacob taking off his shirt... uhhh I mean Four taking off his shirt (ok, admittedly that one is a bit of a stretch, but it still reminded me of Twilight a bit), instigating a somewhat awkward romance that just had to happen because all these movies need a teen love story.

I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself with all the comparisons. It was like a domino effect for me. Once I started seeing one similarity, they all started coming to me at once. The whole movie seemed like it took The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Mortal Instruments, and Twilight and threw them all into a blender to create this new movie that is now a decent hit. Sure, there are some unique parts to this, but not enough of them to make this movie stand out as something unique. But hey, there's been times where I've enjoyed something despite it being completely unoriginal. The Inheritance Cycle is the perfect example. Christopher Paolini in writing the books completely ripped of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings in so many ways. But I still enjoyed it. And who knows, maybe I'll enjoy the book Divergent if I pick it up. But the other big problem with the movie is it had a lot of pacing issues, especially in the first half of the movie. It took a long time for it to grab my interest and make me care, while it was very choppy. It also felt really long. You get to a point in the movie where you feel like the ending is coming soon, but they still seem to be setting it up and that ending just doesn't come until what seems like two hours later. I know it was only 2 1/2 hours long, but it felt like 3 or 3 1/2 hours.

Now that I've completely driven this movie into the ground with my review and upset all the Divergent fans, it's time to be a little positive. What did I like about this movie? First and foremost was Ellie Goulding. I knew that she had a bunch of songs in the movie, but I forgot that when I went to see it and then suddenly BAM! Hanging On I believe was the first song to play, at that was followed by, in no specific order, Dead in the Water, My Blood, and the new song Beating Heart that was written for the movie. More good things about Divergent. It was visually very impressive. And the acting was good. Being perfectly honest, I wasn't a huge fan of Shailene Woodley, but she was ok. I did enjoy her counterpart Theo James, though. Performances by Jai Courtney, Ansel Elgort, Zoe Kravitz and Miles Teller were also good. And saving the best for last, the best performance in the movie was the one and only Kate Winslet. Finally, while I wasn't a big fan of the beginning or middle of this movie as you can clearly tell, the final act of the movie actually impressed me quite a bit. I'm not going to give anything away, but the final act was the one part of the movie that felt unique and original, at least to some degree. It was also quite intense and emotionally driven. It saved the movie from being a complete disaster.

In the end, I can't give Divergent a very good grade, but I'm also not going to fail it completely. I know I have a lot of friends that love the book, and I hope that they will come out and tell me that after seeing this movie that the book is much better. Because no, the movie didn't suck me in like The Hunger Games did. I don't feel a huge desire to pick of the books and see what happens next. In terms of young adult book to movie adaptions, Divergent comes no where near the top tier of movies with the likes of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. It's also not as bad as something like Twilight. I'd put it just under the second tier of movies that would include The Mortal Instruments, I Am Number Four, and The Host. Those movies weren't blow-my-mind great, but they were enjoyable. My grade for Divergent is a 6.5/10.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Need For Speed Review

I've never been much of a gamer in my life, but if you did see me on a gaming console there's a good chance that I was playing a sports game or a racing game. Specifically, my favorite gaming franchise was almost easily Need For Speed. When the Need For Speed movie was announced, admittedly I was really nervous. Why are they turning my favorite game into a movie? Video game movies never work! After coming to terms with the idea, I decided that if they were going to make this movie, there were four things that the movie needed to have if they were going to do the game justice: super fancy cars, awesome high speed races, intense police hot pursuits, and over-the-top crashes. Those were my terms. When the trailers came out, I went from nervous to excited because it appeared that they were going to do it right. Did they? You bet they did! So let's jump in!

First off, I need to talk about the stars of this movie. And no, I'm not talking about Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, and Michael Keaton, although they were nice supplements. I'm talking about the cars. If you are going to make a Need For Speed movie, having the right cars is essential. If you don't, it doesn't matter how good the rest of your movie is, it won't work. I'm happy to report that this movie did it right. We start out with the basics. We get our main gang doing some Fast and Furious style street racing with a '68 Chevy Camaro, '66 Pontiac GTO, and a '69 Grand Torino. Not to dis on those cars, but they aren't Need For Speed cars, so I was hoping that they wouldn't keep them long. And they didn't. After one race, Dominic Cooper walks into Aaron Paul's shop and asks him to finish building his Shelby Mustang so he can sell it for $2 or $3 million. And boom! We have our main star. Is it logical for Paul's team to build the Shelby Mustang? No. But who cares? The car is a beauty. Paul's team is supposed to get a quarter of the money when Cooper sells it, but of course Cooper tries to get out of that, so then we get our first main race with Cooper introducing three more beauties that he allegedly imported illegally. Those are the Koenigsegg Ageras. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the race between the three cars. That was the first instance where I knew that the movie was going to awesome. But I wasn't completely satisfied. I wanted more! It took a while, but I got them. Cooper screws over Paul, Paul spends time in Jail, Paul gets out, Paul travels across the country in the Shelby to enter in a race and get revenge on Cooper, and after all that, we finally get our final race and that's where I was in heaven. My personal Need For Speed staples were introduced in that race, the Lamborghini and the McClaren, specifically the movie has the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento and the McClaren P1. And we also got favored with a GTA Spano and a Bugatti Veyron amongst other cars. All this made for a great cast of super fancy, awesome, beautiful cars that made the movie work.

But of course, my second requirement also had to be met. Need For Speed is a racing game so along with having those cars in the movie, you have to have awesome high speed racing. Being perfectly honest, I kinda wished they spent more time with these races, but they did have them. Much of the movie is spent setting up the story line and travelling across the country to set up the final race. But when we did get our racing, it was done fantastically. We started off by getting teased with the old car racing, which was fun, but then shortly after we got our first big race, the race with the Koenigsegg Ageres and that's where it got real. I especially loved it when Aaron Paul was pushed off the correct lane and had to swerve between oncoming traffic in the wrong lane. Him doing so as the cars were swerving and honking to avoid him brought back good memories. After that, it took us a while to get into another race, but when we did it completely took me back to my childhood where I would sit on the XBox or computer and play need for speed. That final race was pure, solid entertainment and easily the best scene in the movie. I just wish it lasted a bit longer. Perhaps less travelling across the country and more race?

Next is the police. Sure, when you play Need For Speed you can turn the police off, but when you have them in, it makes it so much fun. Not only are you racing other cars, but you are being chased by police. You have to dodge their road blocks, spike strips, helicopters, and other obstacles they put in your way. So of course the movie had to include this if it was going to succeed. Once again, I am happy to report that it did. Aaron Paul's whole trip across the country is spent dodging the police. You hear several times along the way, voices of the police radio saying they are looking out for the silver Shelby Mustang. Also, when are final race begins, the police catch onto that race rather quickly and all the racers are trying to avoid the cops while they try to race others. There's a few times where they slam into the police and that was super awesome because I enjoyed doing that all the time on my game.

Finally, we needed the over-the-top aspect of Need For Speed. I can't express to you how much fun I had growing with trying to make the coolest crash possible. You slam into another car or into a mountain and watch yourself go flying in the air. It's funny, one of the complaints I heard about the movie was that the logics and physics of the movie were unrealistic. BUT OF COURSE THEY ARE!! If you need logic and physics, you can take those logics and physics and go to class. Stay away from this movie because half of the fun of Need For Speed is that it doesn't follow the laws of physics during the crashes and other stunts. There's one scene while Paul is travelling across the country where is loses the police by jumping over a whole lane of traffic. Another scene is where they get carried by a helicopter by a simple chain. Is that following the laws of physics? Heck no! Is it completely and totally awesome? Heck yes! And that's all that matters. The movie also has lots of over-the-top crashes. Some of them actually made me hold my breath because we cared about people in the car, so I couldn't say it made me happy watching characters get hurt badly, but then at the final race, most of the cars crashed in an over-the-top way and they were all fine, so then I was able to be happy.

Overall, I hope you now understand why I loved this movie. You'll notice I spent almost no time on the plot and the actors. The plot has been heavily criticized as being too predictable and too stupid. Honestly, I thought it was fine. The acting was also great, especially by Aaron Paul. But alas, if you are walking into this movie to experience a deep, moving plot, amazing dialogue, and perfectly written characters that culminate in a super unpredictable story, then you are going in for the wrong reasons. This movie is here to entertain and as I have pointed in depth with this review, it does entertain in all the ways a Need For Speed movie is supposed to. It hit all my expectations, which were all brought together in that final race, and because of that it was the second time in two months where a movie took me back to my childhood. No the movie isn't perfect, but because it satisfied all my needs and took me back to my childhood, I am giving Need For Speed a very strong 9/10.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Movie Preview: March 2014

This past February had one of the biggest February releases ever in The LEGO Movie, which only trailed The Passion of the Christ at the US box office. Unfortunately, none of the other releases caught on too well. Thus this past February got nowhere near February 2012's record, despite being ahead of last year's total. March of late has become a big movie month almost to the level of the Summer months. Although this month doesn't have a Hunger Games type of movie to help it beat March 2012's record, it does have the firepower to make this feel like a Summer month again. And with April debuting titles like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Transcendence, Draft Day, and Rio 2, we can almost say that Summer has begun! So let's dive into March and check out the fire power this month includes.

March 7th-9th-

Conquering the box office in the first week of March was 300: Rise of an Empire with $45 million. It's been seven years since the first 300 dominated with a $70.8 million opening weekend (a March record back then) and a $210 million total. With $245 million overseas as well, some may have wondered what took them so long to make a sequel if it hadn't been for the fact that 300 didn't really lend itself to a sequel. It's because of this that Rise of an Empire decided to do more of a "sidequel." An opening of nearly half as much as the original shows that novelty that made 300 a huge deal back in 2007 has worn off a bit. However, overseas they are still buying into it as early numbers suggest that Rise of an Empire will surpass it's predecessor, so it's an overall win for the 300 franchise.

Opening up in second place on the weekend was the latest Dreamworks dud in Mr. Peabody & Sherman. While $32.2 million is ahead of Turbo and Rise of the Guardians, it still ranks 18th place in terms of Dreamworks animation openings. Like 300, it also appears that Mr. Peabody & Sherman  will save some face overseas, so Dreamworks may be safe. With decent reviews and little competition, it should manage to be a good option for families in March. With its opening, it also managed to kill off The LEGO Movie as LEGO suffered its biggest drop yet. No hard feelings, though, as LEGO has already passed the $200 million mark. All this means that Blue Sky is feeling pretty optimistic at the moment as the course will be clear for Rio 2 to monopolize the animation marketplace in April.

The final opening of the weekend was a historical one as The Grand Budapest Hotel scored more than $800,000 in only four theaters. It's per theater average was $202,000, which is second all time by a movie not released by Disney. Add in the Disney movies and it ranks 9th. The Grand Budapest Hotel is the next Wes Anderson movie; Wes Anderson being most well known for Moonrise Kingdom and The Royal Tenenbaums. Anderson brings Bill Murray with him as always, but also has Ralph Fiennes, Willem Dafoe, Jude Law, Edward Norton, and Saoirse Ronan amongst others.

March 14th-16th-

Looking to race towards the top spot in the second weekend of March is video game adaption Need For Speed. Having been my favorite video game franchise growing up, I can say that in addition to being a high-powered racing game, the Need For Speed games were known for their fancy cars, intense police chases, and over-the-top wrecks. The big questions is how the game will translate on the big screen. Most video game movies fail when they are adapted to the big screen. Need For Speed will be out to prove that video game movies can be successful. But will it succeed? So far from pre-screenings, reaction has been that the movie is a huge crowd-pleaser, so their chances are pretty good. Usually those movies are critic-proof.

Lining up with Need For Speed is the gazillionth movie by director Tyler Perry, who has consistently put out one to two movies a year since 2006. This month's version is Tyler Perry's The Single Moms Club. It's obvious that these movies have a pretty consistent fanbase as most of them have wound up in the $30 to $50 million range for their final total after opening between $15 and $25 million. It's safe to bet a similar turnout for this one. It will be interesting to see what Tyler Perry does next after this because as of now, he doesn't have any more movies on the docket. But perhaps that will change soon.

That's all for wide releases this weekend, but we do have two significant movies coming out in limited release. The first of those is Bad Words. Bad Words is a comedy starring Jason Bateman and has a very unique premise. Bateman's character finds a loophole in the 8th grade spelling bee rules where he is able to participate as an adult. The movie is getting positive buzz on early screenings and thus could be a big hit later in the month when it expands nationwide.

The second limited release of note is the film version of Veronica Mars. The story of Veronica Mars is a very unique one. The TV series began in 2004 and lasted three seasons before it was cancelled. Upon cancellation, creator Rob Thomas had a desire to make a movie to provide closure to the fans. The film idea was presented to Warner Bros. and was shot down. At this time, a film seemed bleak, but Thomas didn't give up on this. Last March, he and star Kristen Bell began a Kickstarter project for the movie that broke all kinds of records for Kickstarter earning a total of just under $6 million. Now that Kickstarter project has become a major motion picture, which is fairly revolutionary. Expansion of the movie will be determined by how well the movie does in its limited release.

March 21st-23rd-

Ever since the Harry Potter and Twilight phenomenons, Hollywood has been desperate to find more young adult novels to turn into hugely successful movie franchises. In 2012, Hollywood successfully struck gold with The Hunger Games as both movies so far in that series have earned more than any of the Harry Potter or Twilight movies here in the US. Unfortunately, other attempts recently have failed miserably. Beautiful Creatures, The Host, Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, and The Vampire Academy have a combined lifetime total that is less than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 made in its first day. Opening on this third weekend of March is a movie in Divergent that will try to buck this recent trend. Makers of the movie are so confident that Divergent will be a huge success that they have already scheduled both sequels for subsequent Marches and have hired a new director for the second film. This was a pretty gutsy move considering the recent failures, but it turns out that risk will be hugely rewarded as pre-sales for the movie are through the roof according to Fandango. Divergent stars Shailene Woodley as the lead role. Woodley is best known for her work in The Secret Life of the American Teenager. She was to be the new Mary Jane Watson in the upcoming movie The Amazing Spider-Man 2 before the character was cut from the movie.

Providing some counter-programming to Divergent will be Muppets Most Wanted. The Muppets have been around for what seems like forever. However, they had disappeared for a while before they got a resurgence three years in 2011's The Muppets. While The Muppets used new voice actors to voice the beloved characters, you wouldn't notice much of a difference as voice acting was spot on. The plot line for that movie was a comeback plot line, which turned out to be what happened in real life as The Muppets became the highest grossing Muppets movie ever; second highest when adjusted for ticket price inflation. With a Kermit-imposter story line, Muppets Most Wanted should be able to build on that success. The main human actors in this movie are completely different as Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, and Ty Burrell replace Amy Adams, Jason Segel, and Chris Cooper. And of course there should be a whole host of surprise cameos to keep the audience entertained.

March 28th-30th-

Hollywood is on a huge religious kick this year that started off with Son of God last month and continues this week with Noah. Even though Son of God didn't please critics and general audiences, it hit a strong chord with religious audiences, which was exactly its goal to begin with. While religious audiences will also be intrigued by Noah, the goal for Noah is rather opposite of Son of God. It's not out to please religious audiences by accurately telling the biblical story of Noah. In fact, pre-screenings have upset religious audiences with how far-fetched and goofy the story is compared to the actual events recorded in the Bible. However, the goal for Noah is to take the character and create a fun action/drama movie that will appeal to general audiences. This is a huge risk considering the timing of the movie. Since it seems to already be putting off religious audiences, if it doesn't strike a chord with general audiences it is in major trouble because it is opening in the shadow of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So far, it has put together a good marketing effort that highlights stars Russell Crowe and Emma Watson.

Ending this off on a whimper is the movie Sabotage. Back in the 80's and 90's, Arnold Schwarzenegger was possibly the biggest action star in the business, known best for his intense R-rated action movies. However, in the 2000's he took time off to be the Governator of California. After serving successfully as a politician, Arnold has left that life, at least for now, and has tried to make a comeback on the Hollywood action scene. He headlined two R-rated action movies last year, The Last Stand and Escape Plan. Both fell pretty hard on their faces. This month's Sabotage is Arnold's latest attempt at a Hollywood comeback to the R-rated action scene. But as was the case last year, it seems that Hollywood doesn't care much for Arnold anymore and my guess is that Sabotage will suffer the fate of The Last Stand and Escape Plan.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Mr. Peabody & Sherman Review

I will openly admit that I am a sucker for animated movies. I remember one time I was tending my nephew and to keep him focused, I put on an animated movie that I hadn't seen. After a while, he lost attention on the movie, but I myself was glued. It was supposed to be the other way around. I guess they just bring out the child in me. Point being, when Mr. Peabody & Sherman came out this weekend, I was fairly excited to go see it. It didn't seem like the best Dreamworks movie, but it seemed like a lot of fun. Turns out that expectation of it was dead on. While not on par with the likes of Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, or The Croods, Mr. Peabody & Sherman was loads of fun and certain a huge step above recent duds Turbo and Rise of the Guardians.

The premise of Mr. Peabody & Sherman I thought was rather genius. Mr. Peabody is a dog. But not just any dog. He's a dog that is more human than dog. He walks upright, he talks, he wears glasses, and he's a super genius. He's an expert chef, plays every instrument you can think of, is an inventor and trend starter, and knows math and science better than anyone. And of course he is also a history buff because one of his inventions is the WABAC (pronounced Way-Back). The WABAC is a time machine. Above everything, though, Mr. Peabody is a father. Not a father of a dog, but of a human. That human in this movie is 7-year-old Sherman, who Mr. Peabody found abandoned at birth and took in. Mr. Peabody has taken Sherman on many adventures through time, causing Sherman to be a history buff as well. This comes as a minor problem when on the first day of school, Sherman gets in a fight with classmate Penny after upsetting her by knowing too much. Mr. Peabody is threatened to lose the custody of Sherman, so he invites Penny and her parents over for dinner to fix this. Of course Penny, Sherman, and Mr. Peabody eventually get caught in an adventure through time via the WABAC. As most time travel movies go, things go way wrong.

What really makes this movie work is the three lead characters are quite fantastic. Our two 7-year-old stars Sherman and Penny are absolutely adorable and Mr. Peabody is really fun. In voicing those characters, they dove a bit into Modern Family by casting Ty Burrell and Ariel Winter as Mr. Peabody and Penny respectively. Max Charles, who plays the young Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man is the voice of Sherman. All three do great with voice acting. But them alone don't make this excellent. It's them added to the huge host of side characters that they run into throughout their journey through time. A selection of these voice actors are Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Stanley Tucci, Tom McGrath, Mel Brooks, and Patrick Warburton. The creme of that crop is of course the great Patrick Warburton, aka Kronk from The Emperor's New Groove

Like I mentioned, Mr. Peabody & Sherman won't rank in the top tier of Dreamworks' animated films, but it's right there below in the second tier. In trying to think of a comparable title, the movie I came up with was Over the Hedge. When asked what the best Dreamworks movies are, not many will say Over the Hedge, but most will agree that it is a super fun Dreamworks movie that is better than plenty that they have put out. That's the case here. Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a ton of fun for both kids and family. It attempted to do what The Croods did last year by having a touching parent/child story and while it wasn't as powerful as The Croods, it was still good. The only real complaint I had was that it kinda implemented a 7-year-old love story between Sherman and Penny, and that didn't feel right. However, it's definitely worth your money. I give the movie an 8/10. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Son of God Review

This review might be a slightly different view than normal. First off, being that this is a movie about Christ and most people know his story, I will be talking freely about the end of this movie. If that bothers you, then I invite you to stop right here. Most importantly, though, this will review will be a bit different because I consider myself an active Christian and thus my expectations for spiritually-based movies are a bit different than normal worldly movies, especially when it comes to Christ's life. With Son of God  I was very pleased with how it turned out and I would give the strong recommendation that all Christians, regardless of denomination, go give this movie a shot.

If you didn't already know, last year the History Channel came out with a 10-hour mini-series called The Bible. And yes, you guessed it. It's on the Bible. The movie Son of God comes directly from that mini-series. At first I thought that the mini-series was so successful that they decided to quickly throw together a movie about Christ from that. And while it is true that Son of God comes from that footage, I actually learned recently that they had decided to go forward with the Son of God before the release of The Bible and that it took a year's worth of editing for them to get the movie that they were comfortable. So that actually makes this a little more meaningful in my opinion. This didn't cost a lot of money, but a lot of effort was put into it to get it right.

I'll admit that right off the bat I was a bit worried. While The Passion of the Christ is focused solely on the last week of Christ's life, Son of God is focused on his whole life. And it's a bit messy leading up to that last week. Granted, they didn't want to do what The Greatest Story Ever Told did back in the 60's and make a four-hour movie of the life of Christ, but the beginning seemed a bit clunky and unfocused. Sure, the scenes that they did decide to include were great, but then we just bounced around almost randomly from scene to scene without much flow. What made it worse is that there were parts of Christ's early years and ministry that they should've focused on, but didn't. They only last part of the Nativity, with Mary and Joseph in the stable. They completely skipped 12-year-old Jesus in the temple. And John the Baptist was an afterthought. They only showed him baptizing Jesus in a flashback when they got news that he had been killed. These aspects of Christ's life I think are staples that need more focus if you are planning on doing all of Christ's life in a movie.

I did like the very beginning, though. They started off at the end with the apostle John late in his life and used him as the narrator. The movie opened up quoting John 1:1, showed him introducing the savior, then did a quick montage of the Old Testament, which was cleverly taken from their Bible mini-series. That overview is something that not a lot of movies about Christ do because that takes a lot of extra shooting to do that. Son of God had the advantage of that whole mini-series that was done where they can throw together footage from to do that. Kudos.

After a slightly rocky beginning, the movie really picked up when it got to the last week of Christ's life. Whereas the first part was choppy and unfocused, from the moment he rode in on the donkey, the movie flowed well and was super powerful. Sure there were a few minor things that bothered me like Herod being taken out and ropes around his wrists instead of nails, but for the most part I was super impressed. Not only was it super accurate with the perfect tone, but there were a few things that they focused on that not many other interpretations of Christ's life do. First off, it focused a lot on the political aspect of the crucifixion, both on the Jewish side of things and the Roman side of things. In many interpretations, you just see Christ being crucified without really knowing why it happened on a political standpoint. You know he had to on a spiritual standpoint, but oftentimes we don't think about the political reasons behind it.

Second, it focused quite a bit on the viewpoint of the apostles, specifically Peter and Judas. Peter was one of the most faithful people in the New Testament, but he had his own struggles in the beginning. Judas is usually seen as the villain and is given a darker tone and personality. This shows him more as a conflicted, confused man who honestly regretted what he did, which is probably more accurate. Also in terms of characters that it dove into besides Christ, the movie dove into Pilot's struggles a lot, specifically the drama between him and his wife. If you read the New Testament, Pilot's wife was against Jesus being crucified. I don't think I've ever seen a movie about Christ that dove into that, but this one did quite a bit and I loved it.

Finally, the last thing I will mention on this subject is that it focused a lot on the resurrection. Most movies about Christ will end shortly after the crucifixion and only briefly touch on Christ rising. This movie went all the way to the end of the gospels, touching even on things like the apostolic charge to go minister the gospel to the world. I loved that because that's the most important part. Christ didn't just die for us. He rose for us and still lives. And because of that, we can also live again. The movie did a great job with ending at that positive, hopeful note instead of ending with the sadness of the actual crucifixion. This wasn't a story about a man who got killed. This was a story about someone who lived a perfect life and sacrificed himself so that we can all live again.

Overall, the most important part for me in watching a movie about the life of Christ isn't all the technical aspect of the movies such as acting and visuals, but is rather the spiritual aspect behind the movie. No, Son of God wasn't perfect, but overall the tone and spirit of the movie was excellent. It was a very spiritually powerful interpretation of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ that will make it so there is no dry eye in the theater. I highly recommend this for all Christians especially. If you believe in Christ, then this movie is an absolute must see. If you don't have the money or time to go to the theater and see it, at the very least I would recommend you find it on DVD and spend an evening with it. You won't regret it. Any flaws that the movie had I will overlook because of the strong spirit I felt and thus I give Son of God a 9/10.

P.S.- Many kudos to CeeLo Green for his rendition of "Mary Did You Know" at the end credits. Listen here:

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Non-Stop Review

He has played Zeus. He has played Aslan. He has played Ra's Al Ghul. He has played Oskar Schindler. He has played Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn. He has played Jean Valjean. He's traveled across the world to save his kidnapped daughter. He's battled a pack of wolves in the middle of nowhere. He is of course the great Liam Neeson and now he's at it again as an air marshal flying over the Atlantic, trying to stop some mysterious passenger who is threatening to kill someone every 20 minutes unless $150 million is transferred over to a certain account. This is of course Non-Stop.

Right off the bat, the two movies that I thought of as I was watching this movie were Source Code and World War Z. The first of those, Source Code, is about a bomb placed on a train with Jake Gyllenhall's character trying to figure out which passenger is the culprit. Gyllenhall is in a time warp in this as he experiences failure many times over in his mission to find the culprit. That last aspect is the big difference here. Neeson is in no time warp, but he is trying to figure out who is trying to kill everyone. You may be wondering why I brought World War Z into the discussion. No this is not an end-of-the-world movie and no there are no zombies. But World War Z was a really tense movie and so is Non-Stop. So imagine if you take Source Code and give it the intensity of World War Z. That is what Non-Stop is in my opinion.

If you watch the trailers, you'll think that this is another Liam Neeson action movie. And while I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to that notion, this really is not a huge action-packed movie. Sure, there are some action sequences in the movie, but that's not the main focus. This is a whodunit movie. We start out at the airport before we board and one by one the movie introduces more characters. Each new person introduced is a new suspect in your mind. Some become friend to Neeson and some become foe, but you as an viewer trust no one. Not even Liam Neeson. Personally I am quite the sucker for these whodunit movies. I enjoy a well-put-together mystery movie and this one in my opinion succeeds. Do we have to suspend believabilty for a couple hours? Sure. Realistically a situation like this wouldn't ever happen. But that's not the point. The movie isn't trying to be realistic, it's trying to entertain and in that aspect it does its job. The acting is brilliant. The characters are great. The tensity is high as you have no idea what is going to happen next as each second moves forward. Regardless of how the movie was going to end, I was thoroughly entertained as the movie went along.

I'm not going to spoil the ending as then your experience wouldn't be the same, but I will say that many times the success of a whodunit movie depends on how well the end is put together. This one has sparked a bit of controversy as some claim the movie has a political agenda and others think it is just stupid, but personally I liked the ending. It may not have been as unpredictable as some whodunit movies, but sometimes I appreciate that. It certainly fit and in my opinion had no political agenda, but that's all I'll say. If you have seen the movie and want to talk more about this ending, find me privately. Overall, if you are looking for a deep, inspiring, realistic movie, Non-Stop is not for you. But if you are looking for a harmless and entertaining whodunit movie, then I would highly recommend you give this one a shot. It's definitely one of the better movies to come out this year so far. I give it an 8.5/10.