Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures
Title: The Magnificent Seven | Rated: PG-13 | Runtime: 132 min | Theaters nationwide
The arrival of the fall season brings you another edition of the High-Low Report! Today, Andrew’s easy-to-please tendencies and Jun’s sophisticated palate go head to head over the recent western action flick, The Magnificent Seven, a remake of the 1960 film of the same name, which is itself a remake of Seven Samurai, Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic. In fact, Andrew and Jun have decided to tackle the other two films as well since they watched both recently, so you’re in for treat. Will they butt heads or will they harmoniously agree? WARNING: Spoilers ahead.
Title: Snowden | Rated: R | Runtime: 134 min | Theaters nationwide
Like it or not, Edward Snowden isn’t going away anytime soon. Over three years have passed since the former contractor for the U.S. government leaked classified information from the NSA (National Security Agency), but his actions still generate discussions and influence policies when it comes to matters of government secrecy, mass surveillance, national security, and information privacy. Opinions on him vary, and his name has popped up quite a few times as of late. He’s a divisive figure, and it shouldn’t be surprising that filmmaker Oliver Stone – who is no stranger to covering controversy – has developed a film about the whistleblower. The result, Snowden, is a slick picture that may not engage as much as it could, but it does somewhat educate and explain why its subject is such an important figure today.
Title: Sully | Rated: PG-13 | Runtime: 96 min | Theaters nationwide
Not all amazing true stories translate into amazing films. In most cases, that comes down to the filmmakers’ storytelling decisions; think of how Lone Survivor and American Sniper respectively replaces and excises the most compelling parts of their material, or how The Walk stifles its narrative flow with jarring narration and breaks in the fourth wall. In some cases, the story is by design not fit to be made into a feature film. That just may be the case with Sully, which covers the 2009 emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River. Clint Eastwood’s latest film clumsily attempts to build out from the Miracle on the Hudson and is unable to justify its own existence.
Title: The Light Between Oceans | Rated: PG-13 | Runtime: 132 min | Theaters nationwide
The key to good melodrama lies in balance. As compelling as the subject matter can be, if you pile sentimentality upon sentimentality without interspersing them with scenes of calm, then you merely have a collection of moments. Without those scenes, the story cannot breathe, and the moments don’t feel earned. Filmmaker Derek Cianfrance – who helmed Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines – is no stranger to melodrama and knows how to handle such material, so it’s quite puzzling how his latest feature, The Light Between Oceans, suffocates with its sentimentality.