The Greatest Showman (2017):
If you are a fan of musicals but you haven’t seen The Greatest Showman yet, I highly recommend that you go see it while it is still in theatres. The big show numbers and the fabulous trapeze routine by Zendaya and Zac Efron are worth seeing on the big screen. And you won’t be alone. According to Forbes, after a slow start the movie has continued through its 7th weekend with box office receipts second only to La La Land for an original (no prior source) musical and it looks poised to surpass that movie shortly. If you’re looking for a deep story that is completely true to the real life events, this is not it. But if you are looking for memorable songs, great singing and dancing, and an entertaining story, The Greatest Showman is certainly a movie to see. Truly, I can’t understand how La La Land (which I didn’t like) won 6 Oscars (and was nominated for 8 more), while The Greatest Showman has been nominated only for best song.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018):
This is the final movie in a dystopian teen trilogy, based on the books by James Dashner, and it is a competent end to the series. My sixteen-year-old son enjoyed it, particularly the battle scenes and the explosions. He and I have seen three of these types of franchise, Maze Runner, Divergent, and The Hunger Games, of which the latter was the best. Maze Runner is probably a bit more fun for teenage boys to watch, though, since the hero is a guy played by Dylan O’Brien (of Teen Wolf fame). O’Brien was seriously injured during the filming, to the extent that it was unsure for a while if the movie would be completed. According to Vulture, after being “Pulled from one vehicle, he was reportedly struck by another, leaving him with a concussion, facial fracture, and brain trauma among his injuries.” Fortunately, he did recover and decided that he had to go back and finish the movie. The Maze Runner series also stars Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who played Liam Neeson’s son in Love Actually.
Here’s the lego version of the trailer! Love it! (Lego Trailer created by Huxley Berg Studios)
Or the more traditional trailer, if you prefer.
American Made (2017):
I’ve found Tom Cruise hard to watch in recent years, even though I used to enjoy some of his roles. His later action roles to me have seemed tired, and I have stayed away from the cinema for those. However, I had heard good things about American Made and my husband and I decided to watch it on Video on Demand. This is arguably the best Tom Cruise movie in a long time. He is funny and charming, while looking cool flying planes through dangerous operations. In this movie based on a true story, Cruise plays Barry Seal, a TWA pilot who goes to work undercover for the CIA and becomes a drug smuggler too. It’s a really crazy story, with Seal covertly photographing facilities in Central America, getting involved with General Noriega and with Pablo Escobar of the Medellin Cartel, smuggling weapons to the Contras, and laundering enormous amounts of money. I enjoyed the movie, although I’m sure it deviates quite a bit from the true story. It is told in a kind of flippant comedic way and never goes too deeply into motivation, but it works to make a very entertaining movie.
This sounded kind of dumb, but I enjoy Anne Hathaway’s performances, so when I saw that it was on Netflix, I decided to give it a go. I liked this movie a lot! It is really quirky and unique with an unexpected turn of events. Hathaway plays Gloria, a woman who spends much of her time drunk until her boyfriend (Dan Stevens) throws her out, leading her to take refuge in her empty family house in her home town. She runs into an elementary school acquaintance, played by Jason Sudeikis, and goes to work in his bar. The movie goes along quietly and slowly until Gloria realizes that she is somehow controlling a monster that is destroying far-away Seoul! And then the movie gets really interesting, as Gloria works to solve her colossal problem while struggling to get control of her life. The best performance is by Jason Sudeikis, although I can’t say too much about that without spoilers. I suppose this is a bit of a dark comedy, as well as being a sci-fi monster movie. I’ve seen it described as a romance, but I wouldn’t call it that. It is hard to define, but I was really glad I watched it.
I really wanted to see this, because Tatiana Maslany of Orphan Black was playing opposite Jake Gyllenhaal. Strangely, I ended up watching this on Video on Demand while I wrapped Christmas presents back in December. It’s the true story of Jeff Bauman, a reluctant hero who lost his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing and whose description of one of the bombers helped police to catch him. While the performances were good, the movie itself was just okay. I found it hard to identify with the characters, and Bauman’s character growth seemed very abrupt. All told, it might have worked better as a documentary.