April 15, 2015

During WW11, after an airplane crash, an American airman spends several harrowing months adrift on the Pacific Ocean in a rubber lifeboat. At last, he is rescued by the Japanese, and, taken to a Japanese Prisoner of War camp. Here, the airman, who is also a famous Olympian athlete, is relentlessly tortured and victimized by a jealous and sadistic prison guard. This movie is based on a real life story, and, it is intended to be inspiring. It’s directed by Angelina Jolie, who shows that she is just as talented behind the camera as she is in front of it. Angelina works hard to breathe some life into this rather predictable story about courage and cruelty. However, it is probably a good thing to be reminded occasionally about Japan’s inhumanity during the war.

The Water Diviner*
At the conclusion of WW1, an Australian farmer, who has the ability to predict the location of underground water, vows on his wife’s fresh grave to go to Turkey. There, he hopes to find, and bring back for proper burial, the bodies of their three sons who were killed in action at Gallipoli. The farmer intends to use his divining gift in establishing where his sons’ remains are located. On arrival in Istanbul, he is given a complete run-around by an arrogant English Army Officer, and, it is not until he meets a concerned and interested Turkish General that things really start to happen. Russell Crowe directs and stars in this Australian movie. Russell gives a really terrific performance, but, his direction is merely competent. The movie is pedestrian and lacks flair. It is saved from boredom only by its intriguing real life story.

The Liberator
This is another competently made but pedestrian movie. Alberto Arvelo tells the story of Simon Bolivar, who was a South American revolutionary in the early 19th century. He fought Spain for many years in his attempts to liberate Venezuela. The movie just plods along from one battle scene to the next. You don’t learn all that much about Bolivar, but, you do get to hear a lot of extracts from his volatile and rebel-rousing speeches. Edgar Ramirez stars.

Miasto 44
Continuing on with our theme of competent but dull movies, this one looks at Poland at the end of WW11. Jana Komasy tells the real life story of a group of Polish resistance fighters, who go into action as the Russian Army approaches Warsaw to liberate it from the Germans. The movie contains its required amounts of tension and violence. It is salvaged by some really remarkable reconstructed visions of a totally war torn and devastated Poland.

Back Country
More predictable boredom. A young couple go hiking and camping in the Canadian wilderness. Of course, they get lost and have to fight nature to get back to civilization. The true worth of the man and woman is severely tested.

Teenage heartthrob Taylor Lautner plays a New York bicycle messenger. When he goes to work for a new organization, he is not sure just what he is carrying in the packages he delivers. If you can’t wait to see Taylor take his shirt off again, then this is the movie for you. Nothing much else comes off!

Cut Bank
In a small out-of-the-way American town, a young couple is making a video in an out-of-the-way spot. However, they also happen to witness and record the murder of the local postman. The local cop investigates the case, but, he starts to think it might be part of an insurance scam. The movie is rather complicated and hard to follow. Liam Hemsworth, John Malkovich, Billy Bob Thornton, and, Bruce Dern, don’t seem to know what it is about either.

Black Sea
While on a daring underwater treasure hunt in the Black Sea, a group of adventurers get trapped in a damaged submarine far beneath the surface. All of the usual things you would expect to happen in this situation, happen. I don’t recall how the movie turns out. I may have drifted off towards the end.

I definitely fell asleep through this one. Will Smith plays the leader of a group of con-artists. He takes a lovely new recruit under his wing, and trains her in the skills of their profession. They then set out to scam a millionaire. Obviously, much more happens after that, but, I don’t remember any of it.

Seventh Son*
In this ridiculous fantasy movie, with very cheap and tatty special effects, a Wizard, and, his Apprentice, must thwart the plans of an Evil Witch Queen. Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore should be utterly ashamed of themselves.

Black Hat*
Chris Hemsworth plays an imprisoned computer hacker, who is released into the custody of an American Agency. He must help them find another hacker who is creating computer havoc worldwide. The movie is extremely hard to follow, unless you know complex computer gibberish and computer jargon.

Hacker’s Game
A computer hacker is employed by a big American Corporation to falsify government records, and, then, surreptitiously, to leak them into the media.

Two motorbike gangs are at war with each other. Based on one of his lesser known plays, this is Shakespeare in modern-day dress. Oh, For God’s Sake!

Night at the Museum 3, Secret of the Tomb*
This sequel is just an excuse for the cast and crew to enjoy a trip to London.

* Also available on Blu Ray.
# Also available in 3D.

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