Only two and a half more weeks until Star Wars! In the meantime, we have the highly anticipated but not so highly rated Bond movie Spectre, plus some other stuff that’s kinda lame.
A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organisation. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.
While Spectre might have many throwbacks to the Bond films of yesteryear, if you’re actually going to compare it with Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace or even Skyfall, you’re going to find it lacking. Missing the emotional depths and heart of its predecessors, Spectre tries to be cocky and self-assured, but ends up uneven, shallow, and decidedly underwhelming. If this is Daniel Craig’s last outing as Bond, then 3/5 stars from Kervyn is a disappointing end.
Rock the Kasbah
Richie Lanz (Bill Murray), dumped and stranded in war-torn Kabul by his last remaining client (Zooey Deschanel), discovers Salima Khan (Leem Lubany), a Pashtun teenager with a beautiful voice and the courageous dream of becoming the first woman to compete on national television in Afghanistan’s version of “American Idol.” Richie partners with a savvy hooker (Kate Hudson), a pair of hard-partying war profiteers (Danny McBride and Scott Caan) and a hair-trigger mercenary (Bruce Willis) and, braving dangerous cultural prejudices, manages his new protégée into becoming the “Afghan Star.”
Surprisingly, Rock the Kasbah isn’t Bill Murray’s worst rated movie on Rotten Tomatoes (that dubious honour goes to the 2011 movie Passion Play) but it’s pretty damn close. Instead of funny, it just comes across as sad and tired, with a dull, limp script filled with one-liners that just fall flat – almost as flat as its 8% total on Rotten Tomatoes.
Before We Go
BEFORE WE GO, the directorial debut of Chris Evans, follows the journey of two strangers stuck in New York City for the night. Starting as convenient acquaintances, the two soon grow into each other’s most trusted confidants when a night of unexpected adventure forces them to confront their fears and take control of their lives.
Before We Go is another example of the Hollywood truism: just because you can act, doesn’t mean you will be as successful behind the camera as you are in front of it. Some choice phrases from the reviews: it’s “moderate”, it’s “nice enough”, “sweet enough” and it “mostly works”. So basically, it’s… meh. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Chris Evans, but I think I’ll wait for Civil War.
Return to Sender
Miranda (Academy Award nominee Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl) is a dedicated nurse, an exquisite cake maker and an impeccable friend. But when she agrees to a blind date and the wrong man comes to her door…her perfect world is shattered by a brutal assault. Even after her attacker, William (Shiloh Fernandez, Evil Dead), is convicted and locked away for the crime, Miranda can’t overcome the fear and trauma enough to put her orderly life back together. Desperate for closure, she reaches out to William – first through letters, then prison visits – and slowly builds a relationship with him. But when William is paroled and comes looking for her, Miranda seizes the opportunity to exact revenge.
Playing off like some bizarro world version of Gone Girl, Return to Sender is only saved by Rosamund Pike, who definitely deserves better than this. Too sleazy to be suspenseful and never committing to either the psychological thriller side or the revenge-fantasy side, Return to Sender instead just meanders unevenly down a boring and predictable middle path to only get 13% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Testament of Youth
Testament of Youth is a powerful story of love, war and remembrance, based on the First World War memoir by Vera Brittain, which has become the classic testimony of that war from a woman’s point of view. A searing journey from youthful hopes and dreams to the edge of despair and back again, it’s a film about young love, the futility of war and how to make sense of the darkest times.
Led by strong performances by Alicia Vikander and Kit Harington, Testament of Youth is artful, moving, and the only one of our new releases to get above 70% on Rotten Tomatoes this week. Powerfully emotional and engaging, it’s a beautiful period drama filled with the despair and futility of war, but also the love and hope. And while that might be the corniest thing I’ve ever written, Testament of Youth still scores an impressive total of 82%.
Last Updated: November 27, 2015