January 2016 Quick Reviews
Sometimes it’s hard to keep up during Super Bowl week, but here are a few recent films worth checking out (or staying away from).
The film, which is based on a book series by Rick Yancey, has a decent enough premise. The problem is that it is filled with too many young adult novel clichés, from characters that are quirky for the sake of being quirky, to a sappy romance that is as gag-inducing as something out of Twilight. And while there are a few plot twists, none of them are original enough to not see coming. A few likable sequences are sprinkled throughout to keep the film from being a complete bore, but at the end of it all there’s nothing that manages to make the movie memorable. FINAL GRADE: C
I admittedly went into this movie thinking it was going to be as bland as most sequels to successful movies. Too much screen time is spent with panda slapstick instead of kung fu action sequences and many of the new characters (Kate Hudson’s Mei-Mei) fall flat, but overall I was pleasantly surprised by how solid the story was. Kung Fu Panda 3 certainly doesn’t have the exhilarating plot of its predecessors, but it makes up for it with a solid dose of heart and a great family message. Combined with another formidable villain, the movie isn’t great but pretty good, and that’s enough to make for one of the finest animated trilogies since Toy Story. FINAL GRADE: B
The movie wastes little time getting into its suspense and unlike most films based on true stories it doesn’t drag on with an unruly run time. It is filled with fine performances and likable characters and also manages to be concise as well as exciting. The film also manages to deliver the other necessary elements, such as an endearing romance, that will entice a multitude of audiences. While it does dip into a few genre clichés toward the end, The Finest Hours manages to be hours well spent. FINAL GRADE: B+
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