Deepwater Horizon

Image: Summit Entertainment

The Deepwater Horizon was an offshore oil drilling rig owned by Transocean and leased to BP. On April 20, 2010, a blowout occurred causing an explosion and an inextinguishable fire on the Horizon. Two days later the Horizon sank, leaving behind an open oil well which resulted in the largest oil spill that has occurred in U.S. waters.

Hearing about these events on the news are bad enough, but for many it can be difficult to comprehend the enormity of such an occurrence. Seeing them adapted to film can help to bring a clearer understanding of what the crew of the Deepwater Horizon went through.

A recording of a statement given by Mike Williams, the Chief Electronics Technician, opens this movie. The sound but lack of visuals on the screen make you pay closer attention to the words of Mr Williams, this bringing to the forefront of your mind that this isn’t just a movie. This is a dramatisation of a real situation that real people went through only 6 years ago.

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The Girl on the Train

Image: Dreamworks Pictures

Piece by piece this tale of deceit, misdirection, adultery, and murder builds together.

Based on the bestselling novel by Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train is the story of three women; Rachel (Emily Blunt), a divorced alcoholic, Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), the new wife of Rachel’s ex-husband, and Megan (Haley Bennett), nanny to Anna’s daughter. When Megan goes missing we are drawn into the spiral.

The story itself starts relatively slow, building and layering upon itself. I personally started to get a slightly unsettled feeling the longer I watched, largely in part to the feel that you’re an outsider looking into somebody else’s life. While you are told the story from the points of view of the three leading women, it’s still difficult to feel like you belong.

As the story progresses, its jumps from person to person, forward and back in time, gradually form a puzzle. The longer you watch, the more of the picture you can begin to fill in for yourself.

While the movie on its own isn’t necessarily spectacular, the acting from the main cast is quite outstanding. Emily Blunt in particular is a stand out figure. Her portrayal of an alcoholic, emotionally unstable woman who can hardly trust what her own memory is telling her will have you on the edge of your seat.

If for no other reason, Blunt’s performance makes this film one to see.

Magnificent 7

Image: Columbia Pictures

“I seek righteousness. But I’ll take revenge.”If you love romanticized western action with a happily ever after, this probably isn’t the story for you. But if you like gun fights, quick witted folk, and high-stakes, you’re in luck.

With low camera shots staring into the sun behind our rugged stars, Magnificent 7 really does have a bit of that classic western style so many people enjoy. Dirt, dust, saloons and drink aplenty, we follow Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) as he assembles a team for his latest job. The warrant officer has been contracted by grieving widow Emma (Hayley Bennett) to help save her town from the man who killed her husband. So as they travel back, Chisolm finds his seven. Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt), Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).

How are we going? So far, so good?

Each of these men are more different than the sun and the moon, but they slowly start to find a rhythm to work with. Josh Faraday’s (Pratt) near constant stream of sarcasm serves not only to make us laugh, but also to stir up his companions, always resulting in different reactions. These reactions are one way in which we really get to see how different the men are.

The fights, from bar room brawls to shoot outs in empty street, are all excellently choreographed. Each member of the 7 has different skills and attitudes in how they approach an altercation, which makes for some entertaining scenes.

While a fun movie for someone looking for a good bit of action, it’s important to remember that triumph doesn’t always come on the happiest of terms.

Spin Out

Image: Stella Rose Productions

My first thought upon watching this movie? I’m pretty sure I know these people!

Billy (Xavier Samuel), Sparrow (Travis Jeffery), Lucy (Morgan Griffin), and their friends are just your typical Australian country kids. Spin Out follows these characters as they gear up for another BnS (Bachelors and Spinsters) party. The BnS, as usual, is a legendary night full of good times with mates, loads of drink and laughter, a few nutty antics, and life decisions being made.

The overall storyline of finding, rescuing, and reaffirming love in its many shapes and forms is there, as seems to be a necessity for many movies. The shenanigans, slang, and competitiveness that are so stereotypically Australian also play a large part.

As far as the characters go, it’s nice to see that not everyone follows the basic outline for what many people think ‘country’ is. Mary, in particular, helps to shows that country doesn’t mean just one type of person.

Anyone who has spent time in a small country town can probably relate to at least some part of this story and its characters.

Storks

Image: Warner Animation Group

Storks used to deliver babies but, like the rest of the world, they’ve had to adapt to the changing times. Now they deliver for Cornerstore.com! One of the best delivery storks, and slated to be the next boss is Junior (Andy Samberg). He only has one thing to deal with first. Tulip.

Tulip (Katie Crown) was the last baby the storks were to deliver, but when her locator beacon was broken, they had no way of knowing where to delivery her. So she grew up among the storks. Unfortunately, as much as Tulip just wants to help, she causes more problem that she fixes. The last such problem being to promise delivery of a baby.

Now she and Junior must complete the delivery without anyone finding out.

The film itself is very cute in its animation with a few funny moments and some sideways comments about the online consumer market but not much else. Perhaps its most mentionable plot point is the reminder to spend time with your family while you can rather than putting it off for ‘another time’.

If something bright for the kids and easy for the adults to watch is what you’re after, this film will be a good choice.

Captain Fantastic

Image: Electric City Entertainment

What is the best way to raise a family? It’s a question that has been asked countless times throughout human existence; and the answers and opinions continue to change.

Ben (Viggo Mortensen) has a path that he believes will be the best for his children. Living in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, the six siblings Bo, Kielyr, Vespyr, Rellian, Zaja, and Nai live by a strict regime to ensure their peak physical fitness and an incredibly high level of knowledge. If there is a book written on a subject, chances are at least one of Ben’s children have studied it at one stage in their lives.

Being so far removed from the outside world does have its downfalls. Lack of advanced medical facilities for example. The family’s mother has been in hospital for a while now and, when she passes away, it throws the children through a loop. They have to leave their small section of paradise to travel to their mother’s funeral, and on the way, they find out just how little they knew of the world. It’s not only the children who are affected. Ben himself has to see other people’s ways of life for the first time in a long time. The comparisons between how different people live their lives and raise their families are stark.

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Sully

Image: Warner Bros.

155.

On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 suffered dual engine failure due to a bird strike. Thanks to the skill and quick thinking of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the plane was able to perform a forced water landing. There were no casualties. All 155 souls on board survived.

While the public and the media hailed Captain Sully as a hero, an investigation was underway to assess whether the decision to land on the Hudson River had been the right one.

Right from the first seconds, this film is a masterpiece. Director Clint Eastwood has you tensed on the edge of your seat as you watch the events unfold.

The quiet of the opening scene is one of the few times I found a lack of musical score to not be a hindrance; it really allows the viewer to focus and try to process the magnitude of what they’re seeing.

Both Tom Hanks (as Sully) and Aaron Eckhart (Co-Pilot Jeff Skiles) have their considerable talents on display in this film. Skiles’ stead-fast support of his captain during the investigation is admirable to say the least.

There was one moment in particular for me when Tom Hanks reaffirmed his status as a brilliant actor. It has been a long time since an actor’s performance has nearly brought me to tears, rather than the story itself. Having been the last one off the aircraft, to the best of his knowledge, and rescued from the waters of the Hudson River, the captain requests a count, saying “155, that’s my number”. The palpable relief when Captain Sullenberger finds out that everyone on his flight lived? I have goosebumps just thinking about it.

The fear that must have been felt by passengers and crew alike as they heard the Captain’s instruction to “brace for impact” is simply unimaginable to me. And yet, throughout the decent, the focus of the captain and co-pilot and the constant mantra of the cabin crew to passengers, instructing them “heads down, stay down. Brace, brace, brace,” was right there, re-enacted for us by Eastwood, Hanks, Eckhart, and others. My words simply do not do it justice. I cannot recommend this movie highly enough.

Bridget Jones’s Baby

Things have changed for Bridget Jones since we last saw her. But then again, much has stayed the same.

Still as cringe worthy as ever, Bridget (Renee Zellweger) stumbles her way through life. Her focus on being a single, career orientated woman is disrupted when she finds herself pregnant…. and unsure who the father might be. Bridget has to figure out how to break it to Mark (Colin Firth), her ex, and Jack (Patrick Dempsey), her holiday fling, that either of them could be the father.

With the almost constant flow of foot-in-mouth dialogue and awkward moments, most people are sure to have at least a cringing giggle at the movie.

The part-narration provided by way of Bridget’s diary entries are continued. Only now she’s entered the digital age! Seeing her tap away her thoughts onto an iPad is a cool little touch to show the passage of time since this saga first began in 2001.

Amongst the swirl of emotions, there are nonstop moments and questions that leave you unsure of who you hope the true father to be. It’s hard to see how this scenario can possibly have a happen ending for everyone involved.

I’m going to stop there, though. So if you want to find out if its Mark who’s destined to be with Bridget and bub, or if newcomer Jack is the thing Bridget has needed all these years, you’ll just have to check out the movie for yourself.

Secret Life of Pets

Every wondered what your pets get up to while you’re at work or school? Well now’s your chance to find out!

New York City is filled with so many different types of people; and just as many different types of pets. One such pet is Max, the little white and brown dog who lives with his loving owner. Max’s life is pretty good. At least is was. Enter Duke. This pound mutt wins the sympathy of Max’s owner and is brought home to live with them. As anyone with pets can probably tell you, the introduction of a new pet to a household doesn’t always go smoothly. Max and Duke are no exception. Adventure ensues when Max and Duke find themselves lost in the big scary city with no way home. Add some courageous friends and slightly manic bunny into the mix and you get a kids movie.

The film itself is visually attractive with bright colours and beautiful scenery. As far as storylines go, this one is quite cute, however it lacks a lot of the hidden jokes that often keep mum and dad entertained.

One of the this film’s best features has to be the soundtrack. The opening sequence to Taylor Swift’s Welcome to New York is bound to out you in a good mood. Not to mention the varying music tastes of the animals themselves.

While it’s by no means going to be comedy of the year, the Secret Life of Pets is a cute, fun movie to spend a couple hours on with the littlies, or if you’re just looking for something easy to watch.