There’s a whole lot of nothing special out this week. Besides for the cold-war drama Bridge of Spies, everything else scores less than 50% on Rotten Tomatoes. Ugh, Star Wars has never seemed so far away.
Bridge of Spies
Tom Hanks stars as the American attorney tasked with negotiating the release of a U-2 spy plane pilot who was shot down over Russia at the height of the Cold War in this historical drama from DreamWorks Studios. Steven Spielberg and Mark E. Platt produce a film written by Matt Charman.
When Steven Spielburg and Tom Hanks team up, you know it’s going to be a solid movie. And Bridge of Spies is solid, but maybe too much so. It’s a super-slow burning espionage drama with a dense plot and even denser atmosphere, but it’s still engaging enough to get 3.5/5 stars from Kervyn.
A Walk in the Woods
In this new comedy adventure, celebrated travel writer, Bill Bryson (Academy Award winner Robert Redford), instead of retiring to enjoy his loving and beautiful wife (Academy Award winner Emma Thompson), and large and happy family, challenges himself to hike the Appalachian Trail – 2,200 miles of America’s most unspoiled, spectacular and rugged countryside from Georgia to Maine. The peace and tranquility he hopes to find, though, is anything but, once he agrees to being accompanied by the only person he can find willing to join him on the trek – his long lost and former friend Katz (Academy Award nominee Nick Nolte), a down-on-his-luck serial philanderer who, after a lifetime of relying on his charm and wits to keep one step ahead of the law – sees the trip as a way to sneak out of paying some debts and sneak into one last adventure before its too late. The trouble is, the two have a completely different definition of the word, “adventure”. Now they’re about to find out that when you push yourself to the edge, the real fun begins.
I’m a huge fan of Bill Bryson’s books, and I would easily rank him in my top 10 authors. But I just can’t picture a movie based on anything he’s written. Coincidentally, not only did they make one of his memoirs a movie, it’s unsurprisingly not that good. A Walk in the Woods is as gentle and sentimental and meandering as any of Bryson’s books, but lacks a lot of his sharp wit and musings, and anything of any importance really. Saved only by the great on-screen chemistry of its stars, it only gets by with 46% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocolypse
Three friends who are scouts battle zombies and attempt to save their town from the undead.
If you’ve seen the trailer, you know what to expect. Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is juvenile and lazy, filled with stupid gross out gags and living up to neither “horror” nor “comedy”. With only 32% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s pretty brainless (haha, see, zombie pun!). No really, my favourite quote from one of the reviews is “Will make you want to punch the nearest teenage boy in the face”. Ouch.
Tony and Elizabeth Jordan have it all—great jobs, a beautiful daughter, and their dream house. But appearances can be deceiving. Tony and Elizabeth Jordan’s world is actually crumbling under the strain of a failing marriage. While Tony basks in his professional success and flirts with temptation, Elizabeth resigns herself to increasing bitterness. But their lives take an unexpected turn when Elizabeth meets her newest client, Miss Clara, and is challenged to establish a “war room” and a battle plan of prayer for her family. As Elizabeth tries to fight for her family, Tony’s hidden struggles come to light. Tony must decide if he will make amends to his family and prove Miss Clara’s wisdom that victories don’t come by accident.
I will freely admit that faith-based films are always difficult to write about. It’s difficult to be disparaging about a movie that has done nothing wrong, per se, it just carries a “different” message. An overly-preachy, constantly sermonising, ridiculously patronising message, but a message that I’m sure some people will be receptive to. So, um, I guess I can tell you that War Room has 37% on Rotten Tomatoes and apparently good production values… make of that what you will.
Big Stone Gap
Ave Maria Mulligan (Ashley Judd) has lived her whole life in tiny Big Stone Gap, a picturesque coal-mining town nestled in the hollers of southwestern Virginia. When she’s not making deliveries from her family’s pharmacy to far-flung neighbors, Ave Maria directs the annual outdoor drama festival, keeps chaste company with her longtime beau, Theodore (John Benjamin Hickey), and exchanges good-natured barbs with local hunk Jack MacChesney (Patrick Wilson). Just as Ave Maria has resigned herself to life as a self-proclaimed “old maid,”she is caught off guard by a family secret, an unexpected marriage proposal and a once-in-a-lifetime visit to Big Stone Gap by movie legend Elizabeth Taylor. With everything she knows changing before her eyes, Ave Maria plans the adventure of a lifetime in Big Stone Gap, a homespun romantic comedy about small-town life, working people and the triumph of love.
As sappy and one dimensional as a greeting-card, Big Stone Gap hasn’t earned any love from critics. It’s mediocre, over-simplified and completely lacking in any momentum or direction. Also, it’s kind of hard to sell Ashley Judd as a spinster, self-proclaimed or not. 35% on Rotten Tomatoes means this is a movie you might as well miss.
Last Updated: November 6, 2015