The Captive (2014) – I was wholly unimpressed by this film. It’s a stinker. Slow and dull story (despite the gimmicky attempt to make it cool by using a non-linear structure, hopping between time periods). Pretty bad acting. The back story/motivation of the culprits is never explained, which annoyed me. A story about a man who may be close to finding his daughter after her kidnapping eight years ago should be gripping and emotional… but this flick is neither of those things.
CHAPPiE (2015) – This film is a weird one (which comes as no surprise, really, considering the involvement of Die Antwoord) but the robot has a cute personality, a bit reminiscent of Number Five in Short Circuit, one of my favorite Corn Classics. I actually considered a Classics of the Corn post for CHAPPiE. There’s quite a bit of the cheese – a portion of the film involves the robot using a rubber chicken to distract people and steal their cars, which had the whole audience in my screening dying of laughter; Ninja, at one point, wears a shirt with dolphins on it, and matching dolphin earrings. I’ve never seen Neill Blomkamp’s other films, so I went in with no expectation or point of comparison. I don’t think it’s a great film, but it certainly kept me entertained.
Focus (2015) – A stylish crime drama that held my attention pretty well despite its characters and story being pretty shallow. It’s not intellectually stimulating or edge-of-your-seat thrilling, but I enjoyed watching it, for the most part. It’s pretty well-paced, and I liked the way the “big reveal” of how everyone was really involved was constructed, near the end — a bunch of people in a room, spelling it out through dialogue. It’s an amusing finish and reminded me ever-so-slightly of Nick Charles, the beloved movie detective who had a habit of gathering everyone into one room and slapping them with the truth paddle at the end of his investigations.
Stay tuned for Part II of this month’s Modern Movies, which will be posted on Monday!