Directed by: Justin Kurzel Starring: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Ariani Labed Rated: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, thematic elements and brief strong language It’s generally best to keep one’s expectations low when it comes to movies based on video games, and “Assassin’s Creed” is no exception. If all you want is cool fights, exciting chase sequences with lots of parkour-style stunts, and Michael Fassbender showing off his time in the gym, you’ll almost certainly enjoy it. If, on the other hand, you are hoping for an enlargement of the universe of the games or even just a movie that holds together well, stay away. Like the games, “Assassin’s Creed” focuses on a modern-day descendant of the ancient order of Assassins. Cal (Fassbender) falls into the hands of the Templars, ancient enemies of the Assassins, who plan to use a machine called the Animus to force our hero to relive
Directed by: Morten Tyldum Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen Rated: PG-13 for sexuality, nudity and action/peril There are common tropes in movies that drive some viewers up a wall but don’t bother others in the slightest. Modern romantic comedies are stuffed with them, and don’t let its scifi premise fool you: “Passengers” is in the same general genre. If you don’t mind obsessive, unhealthy relationships and women who reward bad behavior in heroes, you’ll probably like it. If, on the other hand, love being used as an excuse for female characters abandoning their own lives and ambitions aggravates you, stay far away. The setup for the film is pretty straightforward: the starship Avalon is on its 120-year trip from Earth to the colony planet Homestead II. Its 5000 passengers and 200-odd crew are in stasis, set to wake up a few months before the ship arrives at their new home. After something goes
Directed by: Dennis Gansel Starring: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Sam Hazeldine, Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Yeoh Rated: R for violence throughout and language Summer movie season has pretty much wrapped up, and we’re heading into the Halloween crop of scary movies before the big family flicks of Thanksgiving and Halloween. If you haven’t quite gotten your fill of explosions and mayhem, “Mechanic: Resurrection” is here, hoping to fill that gap for you. Unfortunately, unless you want to go mock a movie relentlessly, you’re probably better off staying home. The first film, a remake of a 1972 Charles Bronson movie, was a gritty action flick that kind of fell apart toward the end. The new film never gets things together enough for them to fall apart. This feels like someone took pages out of a bunch of cheesy old action flicks, shuffled them together, and started filming. Sadly, it doesn’t have the charm of those campy
Once upon a time, there was a soap opera called “Dark Shadows.” I grew up hearing about it, but never saw it myself. I caught the short-lived revival starring Ben Cross, but found it uninspired. Now Tim Burton brings us a film based on the original, with a fabulous cast led by Johnny Depp. Given the enormous popularity of the original series and of Johnny Depp, it should be a slam dunk — but it’s hamstrung by a dreadfully inconsistent script. Good acting and gorgeous visuals can overcome a lot, but not a five-minute-long “balls” joke.
“The Raven” is one of those movies that never quite seems to figure out what it wants to be. Is it a gothic thriller, all period costumes and hushed terror? Is it a splatter movie, like so many modern horror films? Is it a black comedy? A silly, over-the-top piece of camp? Sure, plenty of movies manage to be more than one thing at a time, but “The Raven” tries to be things that are incompatible, and winds up being nothing at all, just a jumbled mess of a film. I suspect the reason can be found in one simple fact: it was directed by James McTeigue, whose last film was the trainwreck “Ninja Assassin” — a flick with the same problems.
Directed by: Tarsem Singh
Starring: Henry Cavil, Mickey Rourke, Stephen Dorff, Frieda Pinto
Rated: R for sequences of strong bloody violence, and a scene of sexuality
“300” has a lot to answer for. Since the success of the film based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel, we are seeing more and more flicks set in classical/mythological Greece and its surroundings — flicks which don’t bother with realism, logic, respect for history (or mythology!), or quality in any aspect beyond the comic-book-inspired tableau. “Immortals” is the latest of these, and follows right smack in the footsteps of its entertainment-oriented forbears.
Directed by: Gary McKendry
Starring: Jason Statham, Robert DeNiro, Clive Owen
Rated: R for strong violence, language and some sexuality/nudity.
There are few things quite so sad as a film whose premise and cast promise awesomeness but whose execution falls flat on its face. “Killer Elite” should be a ton of fun — it’s an international assassin flick starring Jason Statham and Robert DeNiro as assassins and Clive Owen as an ex-SAS officer trying to stop them. There’s enough badassery in just those three actors that this should have been a blast of a film. Unfortunately, it’s not. It has all the flaws of old-school 80s action flicks but none of the charm.
Directed by: Ron Howard Starring: Tom Hanks, Ayelet Zurer, Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgard, Armin Mueller-Stahl Rated: PG-13 for sequences of violence, disturbing images, and thematic material. Parental Notes: The violence in this film makes it unsuitable for most youngsters. There’s some fairly antiseptic gunplay, but the film also includes people being burned alive and old men branded across the chest.
Directed by: Mathieu Kassovitz Starring: Vin Diesel, Michelle Yeoh, Melanie Thierry Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, language, and some sexuality. Parental Notes: This is a fairly standard PG-13 film, likely inappropriate for young children but fine for preteens and older.