Film Capsules August 2016

To see a longer review, click onto the titles that are highlighted.

 Hell or High Water

Rated R. Running time: 1 hour 42 min. Proverbs 6:30-31; Romans 6:23.

This crime thriller is outstanding due to the excellent cast and its story grounded in the on-going financial crisis in which banks are foreclosing on property owners unable to meet their mortgage payments. In West Texas two financially strapped brothers raise funds by robbing banks of their smaller, untraceable currency, but only from the branches of the chain about to foreclose on them. Two Texas Rangers, the senior one played by a crusty Jeff Bridges, are close on their heels.

Hunt For the Wilderpeople

Rated PG-13. Running time: 1 hour 41 min. Luke 15:3-6.

This wilderness adventure from New Zealand is about a 12 year-old orphaned boy taken in by a kind-hearted woman despite the lack of support by her grizzly old husband. When she dies suddenly, and the husband announces that the boy will be sent back to Child Welfare, the boy runs away into the mountains, and the old man goes after him. The Child Welfare officer, thinking the boy has been kidnapped, initiates a manhunt. During the ensuing pursuit, with the national media picking up the story, the man and boy experience many funny and tender moments. At the climax, the pair is pursued even by an armored carrier and a row of army tanks!

Star Trek Beyond

Rated PG-13. Running time: 2 hours. Psalm 8:4-8.

Here we go again, with the youthful version of the crew we have come to love, venturing forth “ to boldly go where no man has gone before.” This time they are led into a trap on a distant planet by a villain with such a grudge against the Federation that he plots to destroy it by seizing an ancient artifact aboard the Enterprise that is the key to vast power. The film is well balanced between awesome special effects and the human banter among the crew.

The Infiltrator

Rated R. Running time: 2 hour 7 min. Psalm 7:9; Psalm 101:4; Proverbs 4:27.

This is a suspenseful, nail-biting true story of how a trio of US Customs agents infiltrated the cartel headed by Columbia’s Pablo Escobar by posing as unscrupulous financiers offering the drug smugglers a safe way to launder the hundreds of millions of dollars they rake in. Set largely in southern Florida, the story shows the courage and ingenuity of the agents as they at times narrowly avoid being exposed. A perfect film for fans of crime movies, the film also shows the price in his family relationships his dangerous work costs him.

Café Society

Rated PG-13. Running time: 1 hour 36 min. Ecclesiastes 1:1.

Woody Allen’s annual film takes us to the West Coast where the Manhattan nephew of a major talent agent seeks help from his uncle. The nephew and agent fall in love with the same girl, and…Back in New York the nephew finds his calling when he becomes manager of his brother’s nightclub. Trouble is, the older brother is a gangster using the nightclub as a front. Although not up to the standards of his classical period, this is still far better than most of the so-called comedies now showing.

The Secret Life of Pets

Rated PG. Running time: 1 hour 27 min. Hebrews 13:16.

Ever wonder what your sweet pooch does when you’re gone? This tell-all animated film reveals that they have a far richer life than we can imagine. The action movies from an apartment out into the streets when a dog named Max is upset that his mistress has brought home the big slobbery Duke. When the feuding pair are locked out of the apartment and lost in the streets, they have to flee not only Animal Control officers, but also a murderous gang led by a fierce bunny that hate humans and their pets because they were abandoned by their owners.

Gleason

Rated PG-13. Running time: 1 hour 36 min. Job 16:6-7; Romans 5:3-5.

This heart-warming documentary is made up of home video, NFL game clips, and specially shot interviews with New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason, his wife Michel, and numerous members of his family, athletes, friends, and even Pearl Jam members. When the famous player comes down with ASL (Lous Gehrig’s Disease), he decides to leave a documentary behind for the child that his pregnant wife will deliver. Still surviving, Steve Gleason is seen with the infant growing to kindergarten age while he declines into infantile dependency. What a powerful testimony to the human spirit!

Central Intelligence

Rated PG-13. Running time: 1 hour 47 min. Proverbs 21:21.

A mildly funny and moving buddy story that teams up Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. Back in high school Hart’s character had come to the aid of the then plump and bullied Johnson character. 20 years later Johnson, now a beefed-up CIA operative needs Hart’s financial and computer skills to defeat a scheming financier and clear himself from charges that he is a rogue agent.

The Purge: Election Year

Rated R. Running time: 1 hour 45 min. Psalm 58:1-4.

After seeing the first in this film trilogy, I skipped the second, and took in this 3rd entry because of the subtitle. The premise that our nation would ever have allowed the setting up of an annual night when murder and mayhem are allowed so as to purge society of its violence still seems preposterous. If you can forget the ridiculous premise, there is plenty of fast-paced street action that will keep you munching away heedlessly on your popcorn. This time the setting is Washington D C where a woman U.S. Senator, running for President on a platform calling for the end of The Purge, has been tagged for assassination.

Dheepan

Rated R. Running time: 1 hour 50 min. Psalm 137:4; Deuteronomy 24:17.

This timely film about the plight of immigrants shows that this is a worldwide concern, the setting being a vast grubby public housing project near Paris. A former Tamil Tiger has assumed the titular name of a dead man in order to secure a visa so he can flee Sri Lanka following the conclusion of the violent civil war on the island. He partners with a widow and an orphaned girl to form a fake family. Life in the project turns out to be as dangerous as what they had left behind, this due to the drug gang that seems to be beyond the concern of the police.

Wiener-Dog

Rated PG-13. Running time: 1 hour 30 min. Ecclesiastes 1:1-5; 11.

In most dog-centered films our little dog would have transformed the lives of the characters in the four vignettes that make up this tale. However, this is not an adult fantasy, but a tale of four troubled folk bound only by their sad state of being and their fleeting possession of the little dog. A boy raised by unfit parents who threaten to crush his spirit; a veterinarian assistant hooked up with a loser of a traveling companion; a film school teacher despised by his young students and given the run-around by his agents out in Hollywood concerning his script; and an old woman nearing death and visited by her estranged granddaughter and worthless boyfriend, interested only is wheedling some money from her.

Swiss Army Man

Rated PG-13. Running time: 1 hour 47 min. Genesis 2:18a; Proverbs 4:9-12.

Be warned that this wacky tale that could be seen as a companion film to Tom Hanks’ Castaway, is one long fart joke. A despairing guy castaway on an island is about to hang himself when he spots a figure washed up on the shore. Though expired, the bodily gasses animate the body, and our castaway’s imagination takes over—he mounts the body and is propelled by the stream of gasses as if he were on a jet ski, eventually reaching the mainland where some bizarre events ensue. I guess a twitching body is better than a sports ball for companionship. Be happy that the film techies never developed Smellovision.

 

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