Despite terrible reviews, Paranormal Activity 3, released last weekend, managed to break U.S. box office records. Initially, the third installment in the series seemed unworthy of The New American’s attention until it became apparent that there was something drawing moviegoers to fork over so many inflated dollars for a film that seemed at best uninteresting and at worst laughable. It turns out all the hoopla amounted to nothing: PA3 was spiritless — at least in the sense of dull as dishwater.
It’s 1943 and you find yourself in Germany. A Nazi officer is pointing a gun at you and demanding that you hop on a bulldozer and use it to bury hundreds of Jewish families who have been shot and are piled up in a huge pit. But among the dead are some individuals who are still living, crying out for mercy. What would you do, knowing that if you refuse to bury these people alive you will be gunned down yourself?
The recently released movie The Big Year — featuring a cast of well-known faces and a number of poignant and also comical scenes — focuses on a group of bird-watchers who allow their pride to interfere with everything that's important in life. With a positive pro-family message and loads of humor, it's a family friendly film for audiences of all ages.
Real Steel is an engaging film about the world of boxing in the year 2020, when the sport no longer permits human fighters. Instead, the boxing industry features bouts between 1,000-pound robots, leaving pugilists such as Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) in the lurch. The movie — reportedly inspired by a 1963 episode of Twilight Zone, and adapted to the big screen by John Gatins — ranges from action-packed boxing scenes to the emotional drama of paternal relationships. It's an underdog story that's virtually a cross between Rocky and Cinderella Man.
Courageous is one of the few films to hit the big screen this year that's worth writing home about. Exploring the lives of four men who are impacted by tragedy, the movie deals with spirituality and faith, and tells a story that will likely remain with its viewers long after the final credits.
When one considers viewing a movie that explores in depth the difficulties of coping with terminal illness, and depicts the full range of agonizing and grievous emotions, one would not expect the fim to include Seth Rogen, who is better known for his roles in foolish films such as Pineapple Express and Superbad. Yet in 50/50 Rogen proves that Rogen is a multi-faceted performer.
Drop what you’re doing. I mean it. Stop whatever it is that you’re doing and go online to find out when the next showing is. Take a friend, go alone, doesn’t matter. Moneyball isn’t about baseball. No way. This is about taking a chance, taking a risk, putting it all on the line. This is what it feels like to try to (and succeed in) overthrowing the existing order of things. It’s about finding out not only who your friends are, but how it feels to be alone.
When a young boy discovers a dolphin whose tail was lost in a crab trap, he is inspired to be a hero. A friendship develops between the boy and the dolphin, and the child learns significant life lessons about the importance of fighting for something bigger than himself. That is the premise for Dolphin Tale, a heartwarming family film that should prove to be a delightful family outing for the weekend.
The success of the United States’ manned missions to the Moon have been the focus of strange conspiracy theories for decades, and a new movie, Apollo 18, feeds on such theories.
Apollo 18 walks the border between science fiction and horror; its implausible premise — that mankind abandoned the exploration of the Moon because of a fear of beings living there — is pursued with relatively competent writing, acting, and special effects. The film also catches elements of its purported historical context, which bring out a certain depth to the film which younger audience may have difficulty grasping.
Kathryn Stockett could not have written The Help 50 years ago. Which is the point of the story. But the Jackson, Mississippi, native has joined Margaret Mitchell, Harper Lee, Donna Tartt, and a few others on the list of Southern women writers whose first, and sometimes only, novels have become instant bestsellers. Perhaps because the American South is unique in its culture and history, it continues providing fodder for great stories. Stockett’s 2009 debut novel has spent 116 weeks on the USA Today bestseller list and before the manuscript was even completed, the author’s lifelong friend Tate Taylor snagged it to make into a movie. Taylor served as the film’s director, guiding it to completion almost as true to a book as a movie can get.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes backtracks a bit, telling the origin story of how a planet that is ruled by apes came to be. Set in present-day San Francisco, the movie focuses on how genetic engineering resulted in the increased intelligence in apes, which ultimately leads to a war over domination. Though the film includes elements of revenge that seem to be validated, it proves to be quite entertaining and very well-written. It is by far the best film of the entire Planet of the Apes franchise.