Passengers (2016)

My Rating: 2/10 – Space has been called “the final frontier” but what good is space to an explorer all by his lonesome? That’s what we have with Chris Pratt’s character: a lonely man living out a full year knowing no one is there to spend time with him much less save him. That’s what we begin with, what ends is the opposite.

Passengers“A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early.” -IMDB

Cast

Jennifer Lawrence Aurora Lane
Chris Pratt Jim Preston
Michael Sheen Arthur
Laurence Fishburne Gus Mancuso

Directed by

Morten Tyldum

Written by

Jon Spaihts

Other Info

Adventure, Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
PG-13
Wed 21 Dec 2016 UTC
116min
IMDB Rating: 7.0

Director Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game, Headhunters, provides us with some truly incredible sets. When the doors swish open, they are indeed metal and laden with decor that looks like an Alien ship or even Star Wars one. In fact, this film must have spent most its budget on sets and cgi. It’s truly breathtaking. Unfortunately, the amazing look of this film is in direct contrast to its unaffecting story. I wonder is even the best directing can make a bad story interesting.

Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt need no defense. They are both stellar in what they do and they do an ok job here again, bearing through this awful script and concept. I must note that Lawrence Fishburne is in it too, but just for about 2 scenes that are only partially worth it to the plot. I felt it was a waste of such an amazing actor to have him in this miniscule, needless role.

The story is this: A man is part of a colonizing group that are all asleep in hibernation for 1,000’s of years. He wakes up to find he is alone on a spaceship with all these sleeping people. He wakes a woman up to have a partner and when she finds out she may never make it to the promised land, she mas mixed emotions. The ending shows us what the author think her final resolve would be.

FINAL THOUGHTS
This is a shiny, good looking sci-fi film. Unfortunately it relies too heavily on a simple premise that fails to become interesting even when beaten into the audience’s collective head over ad over again throughout the long middle of the film. The beginning was interesting, it drew me in. The ending was at least a resolution, which not all films have of course, but I do not know how the writer could have come to this conclusion. I was not moved. If you believe you were murdered, would you forgive that person? This is the premise and my response is “who cares, you’re dead.”

2/5

Passchendaele

My Rating: 6/10 – This is a good film that lacks in its script and there is no clearly discernable message. I think great war movies have that. It’s meant to show the passion of a country for its cause, namely Canada in WWI.

Passchendaele (2008)
Cast
Paul Gross

as Michael Dunne

Caroline Dhavernas

as Sarah Mann

Joe Dinicol

as David Mann

Directed by
Paul Gross
Written by
Paul Gross
Other Info

Drama, History, Romance
Rated R
1h 54min

A war film should have a tangible, good story woven throughout and I didn’t feel like one existed here. We see the empty eyes of a woman bereft of her lover. We also see a man who survives war and loves the best way he knows how. The road to these conclusions is peppered with war violence and reverie of a war long past and I wasn’t really into it.

This film is a pride to the Canadians. It shows the role Canada played in the war. That was an important factor of this film and I liked it for that. Did I mention Canadian pride in war is rampant here? If you’re Canadian or you treasure grim war scenes, you will like it for that reason. Otherwise, you might agree with me that the writing was thin and there was no universal, apart from Canada, message being put forth in the story.

I don’t normally put a caveat on my reviews but in this case I think it’s appropriate to inform the reader that I am a pacifist. I try to discourage my kids from joining any military system.

I do think that my global view on war affects my interpretation of war movies so, there’s my caveat.

I do enjoy some war movies when their message is clear and well delivered. I don’t like being among the bombs and bayonets when I see no real purpose. An example of a war film that gets its message out clearly is “Apocalypse Now.” This is no “Apocalypse Now.” People talk quickly and there were no real memorable dialogs or monologues in my opinion. Stabs with a bayonet don’t count as intriguing moments for me.

There is excellent cinematography and the wardrobe is all retro and in sync with the time being portrayed. There is a romance, it’s not thrilling.

War is hell and this film takes you there.

I did get some positive messages from it but overall I found it to be a dismal account with no apparent purpose or moral at the end. For that reason along with poor acting and script, I took away a few stars. Some may like it but this is definitely not a pacifist’s film. I am glad I saw it for the historical aspects and the cinematography. I never knew Canada had such a role in the war, I didn’t need a two hour History Channel TV movie to understand that though.

‘Stand and Deliver’ (1988) – An Inner City Teacher & His Students Make History

My Rating 10/10 This film means a lot to me as someone who values education. I can only think of one other film that competes for the position of my all time favorite and that is ‘Lean on Me’ with Morgan Freeman. They both demonstrate the concept of raising your expectations high for students, trusting they want to achieve.
*This review contains spoilers.

stand&deliverposter

Stand and Deliver (1988)
Cast

Edward James Olmos, Estelle Harris, Mark Phelan

Directed by

Ramón Menéndez

Written by

Ramón Menéndez, Tom Musca

Other Info

Drama
PG

This film, as far as I am concerned, should be required viewing for anyone who wants to be a teacher. I’m not saying it will discourage that career path but I think it accurately shows what you have to aspire to be if you want to reach your students. The larger than life teacher, Jaime Escalante, is played by Edward James Olmos in an eerie sort of doppelgänger way. It’s as if he was born to play this part.

The story goes that Escalante starts his first day teaching in an inner city Los Angeles school. The school is overwrought with gang members and students who seem to not care about school or their new teacher. I can tell you I have seen this played out in high school when I was a substitute teacher there in my twenties. At the same time, I’ve seen it in the lower grades, though a little more innocently, in my 17 years of teaching elementary public school. How do you tame this teeming horde? That’s the method you must develop as a teacher and it doesn’t come easy. Sending kids to the Principal becomes a last resort and you have to deal with unruly and disrespectful kids on your own.

Because the situation is so bad in some schools, teachers should see this movie. You can pick up some tips and you can be encouraged to go toward what you think is best. That’s called developing a teaching style. It’s also really easy to get into because it’s an 80’s movie with a great soundtrack. Credits to credits, you feel immersed in the miracle that truly took place in an inner city L.A. school. It is a powerful film for anyone to appreciate and enjoy, especially teachers.

StandandDeliverEdwardJamesOlmosEscalante gets a group of hispanic kids all fired up to take the AP calculus test. This surprises everyone in the film because up to now, the school has been one of the most underperforming in the country. Escalante petitions to the school board to get his students to take it and in spite of some people disagreeing, he gets permission. The kids do finally take the test and at that point, the worst of all worst things happens: the state comes out to investigate possible cheating. As if it wasn’t enough for these kids to work so hard, now they get accused of doing an immoral thing. They have to take the test again to exonerate themselves.

slide-daniel-villarreal-1All along the way, Escalante is reaching out to his students: showing them a finder trick to learn their 9’s in multiplication, dining at their parents’ restaurants trying to get buy-in on them going to college, and things like that. He is not a normal educator but rather a “super” one. I think it would be foolish for me to try and be like him, he’s an individual with a specific skill set of gifts. I on the other hand, have my own bag of tricks when it comes to classroom management and student achievement. Even those who are not teachers will find this film entertaining. Everyone has been in that student chair right? It is relatable from both sides and it clearly shows the benefits of having a common goal and never backing down.

stand-and-deliver_1Lou Diamond Phillips plays on of the hoodlum gang types that gets drawn in by Escalante’s teaching style. There is a great scene where Phillips’ character and a few hoodlum types steal his car and then fix it up in their chop shop. They make his old VW into a tricked out show car. It’s a great scene because is really shows how much he means to these kids now, after proving himself a conscientious and caring teacher.

4407856_f248I love another scene where Andy Garcia comes in from the test company to investigate the possibility of cheating. Phillip’s character jokes with him faking him out that they cheated. Then he springs a punchline insulting Garcia. There is another scene where Garcia throws a fit saying he is a Mexican and he understands the pressures. They are basically accusing him of not being sensitive to the Mexican people. It’s one of his more irate scenes I’ve seen him play. He does and excellent job.

ejo-stand-and-deliverThe movie is like a racing film in that there is a goal and despite tons of setbacks, the race ensues until the end where the elusive prize is won. For anyone starting school, college, a new challenging endeavor of any kind (but academic would probably receive the most benefit) this is an excellent motivation tool and source of inspiration. As a teacher, this is one of my favorite films but it ranks up there with any other movie I love. I’d put it in my top 10. So if you’ve never seen this “based on a true story” film, I highly recommend it to you. It has something for everyone and it affects you in a very banal way. If you don’t walk away after watching this in a more positive mindset, I think you need to rewind it and watch it again, you probably weren’t paying attention ese.

Edward James Olmos consulting on the set with the real teaching legend: Jaime Escalante.
Edward James Olmos consulting on the set with the real-life living-legend of teaching: Jaime Escalante.

Get Out (2017)

Get Out

“A young African-American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s mysterious family estate.” -IMDB

Cast

Daniel Kaluuya Chris Washington
Allison Williams Rose Armitage
Bradley Whitford Dean Armitage
Catherine Keener Missy Armitage

Directed by

Jordan Peele

Written by

Jordan Peele

Other Info

Horror, Mystery
R
Fri 24 Feb 2017 UTC
103min
IMDB Rating: 8.3

Jordan Peele has directed a film here that simply shines. It will be an instant classic and there are no questions left unanswered. It tells it’s message like it is. Veiled racism is all around us, Peele alludes to that and warns us what is really under the surface. He does this humanitarian task in the guise of a horror movie that is, along with its message, extremely well delivered.

The writing supplies a superb cast with the vehicle it needs to reach the audience. Daniel Kaluuya plays Chris Washington, a 26 year old black man dating a white woman and finding his way in the world. He does an excellent job and, I am told, can tear up on cue. Allison Williams plays Rose Armitage, his white girlfriend. I only point out their ethnicity because it is central to the plot and message of Peele’s film. Catherine Keener is Missy Armitage, a controlling and spooky psychiatrist who also wields the power of hypnosis. LilRel Howery should be mentioned as well for his hysterical comic relief in the character Rod Williams. There are more than a handful of other great performances in this film. It’s put together very well that way. Again it’s the script and directing that make this all work and both were done by Jordan Peele.

Chris is falling in love with his girlfriend and she thinks it’s time he met her parents. Once there for the weekend, her mother tries to hypnotize him to stop smoking. All during the visit, there appear to be almost comatose black individuals scattered throughout the home. They appear to be servants. This is a mystery until the near-end of the film. Concepts of veiled racism are depicted and it starts to seem like something very odd is going on. The final act explains everything and it’s a twist Jordan Peele delivers well. This is a truly formidable debut.

FINAL THOUGHTS
In the theater most people were hollering but I didn’t mind. It was like a melodrama from the old west that way. I have never seen an audience so involved. Quite a few of the voices I assume were black. This film illustrates what racism can do, even a subtle version of it. It can be seen as a microcosm of the human condition but there is a lot here about black vs. white culture. In one scene, we see Rose with “trophy” photos on her wall. I thought that was a great hidden message of the film. There are many, go see it and figure them out! It doesn’t take much thought and that I enjoyed!

5/5

‘Ben Hur’ (2016)

*This review contains spoilers.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting this film’s release and now, after watching it am suffering extreme let down. Hopefully you don’t like sermons or preaching, if that’s the case you may agree that this film misses the mark by a mile. If you liked this film, read on with caution, especially if you liked the enhanced evangelical aspect.

Ben-Hur-posters-4-600x937

Ben Hur (2016)
Cast

Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Rodrigo Santoro

Directed by

Timur Bekmambetov (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter)

Written by

Keith R. Clarke
John Ridley
Based on the novel by: Lew Wallace

Other Info

Adventure, Drama, History
Rated PG-13
124min

For many this can be a fun afternoon at the movies, don’t let me ruin it for you but this is after all, my blog so here goes.

From Ben-Hur to Jesus’ words and back again … repeat. That’s pretty much the formula of this Ben-Hur reboot. This is quite different globally from the 1959 subtle presentation of religion. We rarely see Jesus in the original, he is a suggestion, a sideline, a background to be accessed and made sense of only by the individual. That’s what makes the original a more powerful movie. What little religion is there, you can take or leave it. It’s not preached but rather suggested.

The story is more or less the same, though certain parts were left out of the reboot: A Jewish prince must suffer to make it back to his rightful freedom. Along the way, he has battles with his adopted brother. It turns out the best way to defeat him is in a chariot race. There are periodic appearances of Jesus speaking scripture and acting out Bible stories in parallel time to Ben-Hur’s life. In the end, it is revealed that this Jesus guy/god was telling the truth and everyone gets a healing of sorts.

The original Ben-Hur is a beloved film made in 1959 starring Charlton Heston and a cast of thousands. It is as epic a film as one can imagine. Looking at it even on a surface level shows what is really happening here. This is a movie for evangelicals first. So why is it in theaters? That’s my biggest question. Producer Mark Burnett who is known for the Bible miniseries and the religious film Son of Man, secured the rights to re-do the 1959 film that won 11 Oscars. I have always seen the original as a secular movie to be enjoyed by all religions or by those who practice none.

Why pick a film to reboot that was so popular in its time as it was? Why not pick a film that did poorly and improve upon it? The answer is this: The name Ben-Hur is already established and therefore easier for evangelicals to force an agenda and a reading into a film.

Jesus appears a few times in the original Ben-Hur but in the reboot, he pops up a lot more. When he does, we see his face, hear extended monolog, and we even hear him tell Ben-Hur “I have a plan for your life.” Sounds like youth group at the local evangelical church “movie night.” The original Ben-Hur can be seen as pro-Christian but it is subtle and doesn’t over shadow the whole movie (especially the last 1/4). I honestly thought Greg Laurie or Billy Graham was going to appear during the credits and ask people to come forward to make a decision for Christ. Honestly people, there is a time and a place for this. Stealing the influence of Ben-Hur is not a cool move for the faithful. It’s already blowing up in their faces being a 30% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 4/10 on IMDB. I predict it will not be in theaters long.

But let’s get to the actual movie instead of going on and on about the philosophy of the producer: Is this a quality film apart from the preachy religious stuff? Apart from two segments, this is a nothing more than a Hallmark tv movie. It’s hard to believe it made it to theaters. The two segments that made it worth watching fo me are: 1) The galley slave/boat scenes and 2) The chariot race. Everything else is like witnessing a dud firework not go off.

I should say a quick word about Morgan Freeman. All the acting is bad in this film. It’s like watching a long-haired 13 year old play Spartacus after oiling up his arms. Freeman is comatose. It’s as if he was paid a ridiculous sum out of the 100 million spent on the film and is thinking about all his relatives private school tuitions as his lines are delivered. I hope people reading this who disagree with me will get a chance to see the original Ben-Hur. This is nothing like it in any way. I had a similar criticism of Pete’s Dragon recently. I will actually praise Pete’s Dragon over this because Pete’s Dragon can stand on its own without preaching religion. There are parts that are neutral and enjoyable but due to its preachy side, this film should be playing in churches, not secular theaters.

In conclusion, I have no problem with a movie having religious overtones, many humans have religion and movies are for people. The problem here is that this reboot is preaching. Secular movies should be adventures anyone can get on board. I’ll forget this film in a couple of days and I do not recommend it. If you liked it, I’d like to hear why in the comments. To me, this is a made for church, church movie. I’m looking forward to putting my dashed hopes aside and getting on to the next film I want to see.

Still/Born

Having a baby must be the most serious mind bending experience a person can face. I’m thankful the women are delegated to do it, I don’t think I could pull it off. But being the husband through the ordeal can also be a challenge. You have your love’s raging hormones to deal with and that’s not always a walk in the park. Could they make a horror movie about it? How about depression? You don’t have to answer that because they indeed have already made one.

Still/Born (2017)
R | 1h 27min | Horror, Thriller | 9 February 2018 (USA)

Mary, a new mother, gives birth to twins, but only one of them is alive. While taking care of her living child, Adam, she suspects that something, a supernatural entity, has chosen him and …
Director: Brandon Christensen
Writers: Brandon Christensen, Colin Minihan
Stars: Christie Burke, Jesse Moss, Rebecca Olson

Brandon Christensen is the director and co-writer here. I do not recognize any of his short films. He has directed a miniseries called “Black Ice.” As writer I would have liked a little more in the explanation department. Still, as a jump scare film, it works ok as is. As a psychological drama it would have been nice to get more explanation as to what is going on.

Probably the most scary films like this are the ones where a video tape shows something different than what the main character is suffering through. It’s so easy to point the finger when you have the proof. At the same time, in films like this we are ingratiated to side with the main character because we see what she sees. She is not crazy but rather only trying to protect her family. This psychology of back and forth and the question of who to believe goes on throughout this film.

The acting is so so. The best performance is from the mother of course, Mary.

You may enjoy this film if you:

Are a woman who experienced scares through your pregnancy or who believes your child could be possessed by a demon. Also if you can imagine your husband cheating on you with a neighbor. OR if you like the creepiness of psychological scares mixed with jump.

I am on the fence with this one. Not enough explanation to make it seem worth my while but creepy jump scares enough to make it entertaining. I give it a 7/10.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

“The devil comes from the sky.” -Lex Luthor

Apart from misleading marketing, even down to the very title of the film, “Batman v Superman” is an amazing film that audiences are sure to continue enjoying. The critics at large have dismissed its genius but time will take care of that.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Cast
Ben Affleck

as Batman

Henry Cavill

as Superman

Amy Adams

as Lois

Directed by
Zach Snyder
Written by
Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer
Other Info

Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Rated PG-13
151 min

I’ve gone around and around with it in my head and decided I just can’t take points from a movie because it was named and marketed poorly. Honestly though, that’s the only thing wrong with this film. It shines. My nearly eighteen year old son said it dragged at the beginning and was laboriously long but we both agree the mid to end portion is spectacular I thought the whole movie was stellar.

Without giving any spoilers, let me just say the title should have been something like: “Superman 2: Luthor rises.” This is really a Superman film with the usual nemesis Lex Luthor who uses rhetoric to persuade Batman to kill Superman. Does he succeed? Yes and no. You’ll have to see the film. There is some other stuff in the plot I’d love to talk about. It’s a grand scale monster we hear nothing about in the trailers. In my opinion, the monster and Lex are really what this movie is all about.

Ben Affleck plays a great Batman, which many of us felt he would. There is also the debut of the DC character Wonder Woman in the latter part of the film. This was briefly explained. In fact, the intro to her coming on screen was so miniscule, I have to go back and watch it again to get where she came from etc. It was a long and involved film so please forgive me. I didn’t bring my notepad, a mistake that will not happen again.

Another thing that maybe could have taken a star from my 5 star rating of this behemoth, beautiful film is the insertion of histories, mostly on Batman. Now we all know Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed in front of him as a child. Scenes like this and others are plentiful in the early part of the film. I would have rather they not be, they aren’t relevant. Still, this film picks up and gets you on a ride that all you’re thinking is “I can’t wait to tell my friends about this.” Don’t believe the critics on this one. I found it much preferable to the critical darling “Deadpool.” I highly recommend it.

The Boss Baby (2017)

We here in Los Angeles get it very young that some stuff hits and you see it on McDonald’s cups and happy meals and other stuff just doesn’t. It usually doesn’t stand to reason whether it’s amazing or not. I don’t quite understand why but The Boss Baby just aint hittin’ yet. That’s a shame because I found it quite hilarious and very well made.

The Boss Baby

The Boss Baby

“A suit-wearing briefcase-carrying baby pairs up with his seven-year old brother to stop the dastardly plot of the CEO of Puppy Co.” -IMDB

Cast

Alec Baldwin Boss Baby (voice)
Steve Buscemi Francis Francis (voice)
Jimmy Kimmel Dad (voice)
Lisa Kudrow Mom (voice)

Directed by

Tom McGrath

Written by

Michael McCullers, Marla Frazee

Other Info

Animation, Comedy, Family
PG
Fri 31 Mar 2017 UTC
97min
IMDB Rating: 6.3

Director is most popular as Skipper of Madagascar movies & the TV show, Penguins Of Madagascar & was a voice actor for Shrek 3 as Gary, Monsters vs Aliens as Wilson, Megamind as Lord Scott, & a bit part in Puss In Boots as a bar thief as well as being a director, layout & storyboard artist for numerous other animated movies. You can’t say he doesn’t know the niche! I’ve read reviews by big name critics that are saying this movie is terrible. Hmmm. Did they see the same movie? There are a host of great voices in this. I found Alec Baldwin most hilarious due to the fact that he is Trump on SNL.

The story is that babies are brought to us in one of two ways (neither is the scientific way). This is probably intended to help parents with that age old question kids ask: “Where DO babies come from.” At any rate, The Boss Baby has talent for the deal so he spends time in a family in lieu of an actual baby who comes later. That’s the best non-spoiler summary I can give! The story is not really important here, it’s the gags and the imagery. This film is highly colorful and engaging to watch.

FINAL THOUGHTS
I think this movie is funny and a cute way to spend the afternoon for an animation lover and/or child or niece/nephew. Sure, it won’t be like an epic film experience but you’ll laugh like I did. It has many zany and ridiculous scenes. My favorite was when the big baby would run and his diaper sagged. LOL. The sounds he makes are so funny. That should be a screensaver. I would download it! It isn’t an amazing story but it beats Life of Pets’ plot hands down. Maybe not as good as Zootopia but hey, it’s great animation. Do you need an epic story? Someone tell McDonald’s they missed their window with this one.

4/5

Annihilation

Something other-worldly has landed and this is nothing like us. We don’t know what it wants or if it wants anything. We can’t see it but we see its impact on the area around it. This is a film that reminded me of “Alien” 1 in its sci-fi purity. It also surprised me with some chilling horror aspects.

Annihilation (2018)
R | 1h 55min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy | 23 February 2018 (USA)

“A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply.” –IMDB
Director: Alex Garland
Writers: Alex Garland (written for the screen by), Jeff VanderMeer (based on the novel by)
Stars: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson

Director Alex Garland (“Ex Machina”) Pulls out all the stops with this his second directorial project. I don’t want to let him sound “new” though, take a look at his writing credits: “Dredd” (screenplay), “Never Let Me Go” (screenplay), “28 Days Later…” (written by). In my opinion, “Annihilation” is his largest undertaking to date. He wrote the adaptation from a novel and directed this film.

Now for the cast: Natalie Portman pays Lena, the soldier turned biologist who ventures out on a mission to examine a strange new region changed by unknown forces. She is not only following her scientific curiosity but she wants to find out what happened to her late husband Kane, played by Oscar Isaac, in a place called “The Shimmer.” Benedict Wong plays a hazmat suited govt. professional who keeps a storyline running throughout the film through questions. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays the all-too-creepy leader of this expedition, Dr. Ventress. She speaks in barely above a whisper most the film. Gina Rodriguez is the third woman on the mission. She is known for playing Jane on the tv series “Jane the Virgin.” Also in this is Tessa Thompson who you will recall was in “Thor: Ragnorok.”

What it’s not:

A long pointless sci-fi posing as a mystery. I want to celebrate this fact because it seems lately we’ve been fed pseudo si-fi that never delivers.

What it is:

An engaging well-written story that holds your attention through elements of drama, mystery, horror, and sci-fi. It’s also an incredibly cast and well-directed film that keeps you guessing and never leaves you hanging. While keeping some questions open-ended there is much room for discussion but the main spine of the story is explained and concluded well. I find this to be more and more rare in sci-fi mystery these days. Is it any coincidence the director of this film is its seasoned writer and a great one at that?

I won’t hide the fact that this is a long film at 2 hours. There were a couple of times I wondered how much time had passed (and I tend to do this when things are not chugging along). Still, in those moments you get to absorb the most incredible visuals and CGI. In between that the adventure moves swiftly.

My final word and rating:

This is a great adventure film I highly recommend. It is rated R for horror and gore elements so it’s not for the squeamish. I am a horror fan however so for me and my recommendation, I give this film a 9/10. I am officially a big fan of director/writer Alex Garland and looking forward to his next project.

The 5th Wave

Title: The 5th Wave
Number of times I’ve seen it: 1
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Year: 2014
Director: J Blakeson
Top Billed Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz (“Hugo,” “Kickass”), Matthew Zuk, Gabriela Lopez (“Million Dollar Arm”)
Brief Synopsis: Aliens start inhabiting Earth and a group of tenagers rebel trying to save themselves. The main character, Cassie Sullivan, is trying to find her little brother.

The rest of this review may contain spoilers.

Here we have yet another teenage post apocalypse love triangle action sci fi film. On that level, it holds its own. There are some great action and cgi destruction scenes.

Chloë Grace Moretz commands the screen with a presence that belies her youth. It’s a great movie and I highly recommend it. My one criticism is that it took a while to get going. I don’t think the story started moving for me until the scene where the main character is shot in the leg. That’s where the mysteries start to unravel. Because that took far too long, it lost a star from me.