Movie Review: The Finest Hours – You Stomach Will Hurt With Tension Even Though You know The Ending

What’s with all these ‘disaster at sea’ movies coming out lately? Is there some kind of nautical trend that I’m not aware of? I have to admit, I’m not a big ‘sea adventure’ fan unless the movie involves pirates. But despite a significant lack of pirates, The Finest Hours did ok in my book.

The Finest Hours stars Chris Pine as Bernie Webber, one of the members of the Coast Guard who attempts a rescue of a tanker in the middle of a nor’easter. The story is based on a true story that occurred off the coast of Cape Cod in the 1950s.

It’s actually a pretty well researched subject, with everything that happened a matter of public record. It’s about a true-life US Coast Guard rescue mission off Cape Cod in the winter of 1952, when an oil tanker sheared in two and a small crew from the Chatham station went searching for survivors in a tempest that came close to claiming their lives.

The_Finest_Hours_26 - 12FEB2016

Director Craig Gillespie and his screenwriters, Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, and Eric Johnson did an excellent job of capturing the time period and the atmosphere. It’s a stiffer, dreary, almost clinical approach to the events, which isn’t terrible in and of itself. They also gave the characters some realistic backstories, making the focus of this movie the rescue and not the rescuers.

The plotline is kind of confusing but the makers did make an effort to simplify it for audiences. The characters were pretty well developed with Kasey Affleck being the most compelling in my book. It’s a thrilling movie with some excellent, terrifying CGI. It’s a movie that will make your stomach hurt with tension, even though you know how it ends.

I like the way the screenwriters respected the facts and didn’t try to go off subject on us. It appears that there’s less embellishment and more simple artistic license making this movie better.

finest-hours-movie-trailer-poster - 12FEB2016

As far as the actors go, while the roles were a bit clichéd, they kind of help keep things straight. This movie again, isn’t about the characters. The hero is played by Chris Pine, as one of those enthusiastic new recruits types with a super sweet fiancé, Miriam (Holly Grainger). Their chemistry was good and Pine played his part true to form. But to me, it’s Casey Affleck that really steals the show. He plays one of the most compelling characters, the near-mute outcast of the crew and he does it with such depth, you forget that a dude that good looking would never be an outcast. Seriously, Casey Affleck made me forget he was hot.

While it’s not my genre, I can absolutely respect the movie for what it was. While sometimes a bit convoluted in the details, it’s still a good retelling of some real life events. It’s compelling and suspenseful, though it does drag in a few places. They put together a movie with great special effects, and for that alone should not be missed. This is one that’s worth the watch, even if you prefer your sea movies with pirates.

Although pirates would have made it better, just saying.

WE GAVE IT: 4 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

4 stars

[youtube id=”BQmllwTKtqU” width=”680″ height=”383″]

finesthourgallery - 12FEB2016

MOVIE REVIEW: Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation – Delivers Without Trying To Get Too Cerebral

Tom i cuffs

 

I want to hate Tom Cruise. I really do. He kind of weirds me out and I heard that he makes actors taller than him (which is just about everyone) squat slightly so they’ll always be the same height as him. Despite that, when I’m faced with movies like Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, I’m forced to admit a grudging respect for his acting skills. Despite the fact that this is the fifth sequel, and the whole series should be floundering by now, this latest installment proves that Cruise is doing the impossible. He’s making sequels that are better than the original.

Cruise returns as Ethan, a man working for IMF, the Impossible Mission Force. The problem this time is that Hunley (Alec Baldwin), the director of the CIA, thinks that the entire department is unnecessary and shuts it down. Despite his unemployed status, Ethan still has buddies like Luther (Ving Rhames), Benji (Simon Pegg), and Brandt (Jeremy Renner). With their help, he decides to continue his pursuit of the Syndicate, and its evil shady leader Solomon Lane (Sean Harris).

TomCruisePlaneStuntMissionImpossibleRogueNation_gallery_primary

The franchise has the same suspenseful energy that generally gives me hand sweats and heart palpitations. That’s surprising, because you’d think I’d be desensitized to that by now. But I genuinely flinched during the sideways motorcycle scene and had to look away a few times. That’s the sign of a good suspense right there, because I never flinch away from the screen.

Another strong point I’ve always found with this franchise is unlike most action franchises, they actually manage to portray females as more than Madonna saints or ‘fighting f-toys’.  Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a British spy, is more than just a love interest or damsel in distress. She’s a show stealer in her own right.

RebeccaFergusonMissionImpossibleRogueNation_gallery_primary

Tom Cruise manages to still come across with the energy of a much younger man and he’s in rare form in this movie. I have to say, the only time I like him is during the Mission Impossible movies and he has not let me down yet. When he does these movies, he stops being that creepy scientologist guy, and instead oozes charisma. In this one, he was pure magic.

Mission Impossible is a franchise that respects the genre. Unlike other action franchises, (James Bond comes to mind) they don’t force complicated storylines and plot twists. Instead, they keep the story simple and deliver exactly what action fans want. Pure escapism.

JeremyRennerVingRhamesMissionImpossibleRogueNation_gallery_primary

Sean Harris with his strangely raspy voice is the perfect villain. Alec Baldwin brings back shades of Jack Donaghy with his corporate portrayal of the most powerful man in the CIA. None of the actors in the movie laid down on the job.

Mission Impossible continues to be both commercially and critically successful because they respect their formula and they stick with it. I don’t want to have to rewind to figure out what the heck is going on in an action movie. I want to watch explosions and people getting beat up. Mission Impossible delivers without trying to get too cerebral. Because of that, I have to give this one a worth the watch.

WE GIVE IT: 4.5 STARS!

four and a half stars

[youtube id=”pXwaKB7YOjw” width=”680″ height=”383″]

mission-impossible-poster