Feel like heading to the movies this weekend but don’t want to spend 2 hours watching something you hate? I can help with that. Here’s what’s opening this weekend and whether or not it’s worth your time.
Deepwater Horizon – This movie is completely split down the middle for me. The first half introduces us to the crew of the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, and informs us that something is horribly wrong. You won’t understand what that something horrible is (unless you have a background in drilling or maybe an Engineering Degree) and repeated attempts to explain it don’t help. There’s also a problem with the characters, which I feel is a consistent issue for Director Peter Berg. All Berg characters tend to be overtly macho and extremely aggressive, which makes them look more like each other than actual people. This is even more frustrating since Deepwater Horizon is about actual people, some of whom didn’t survive. I was especially put-off by John Malkovich’s sinister British Petroleum executive. I think he was attempting a Cajun accent, but it sounded more like he was chewing on an tough piece of beef jerky.
None of this matters once the something horrible actually HAPPENS and Deepwater Horizon turns into a taut disaster flick. Yes, you’ll be scratching your head and rolling your eyes at Malkovich through the first hour, but the second half of Deepwater Horizon is worth it. –C+
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Tim Burton directs the big screen version of this YA book series by Ransom Riggs. Rarely do you find a pairing of Director and Material that’s as perfect as this, but something got twisted along the way. Tim Burton took a perfectly magical story about a group of supernatural kids and, unfortunately, tore it apart. He then concocted a second half that never existed in the books and potentially closed the door to future Peregrine films. Fans of Tim Burton will LOVE Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children because he essentially Tim Burton-ed all over it. Fans of the BOOK SERIES, on the other hand, will be heartbroken to see something that barely resembles it onscreen. My 12-year-old is one of the latter and she gave this movie a D-.
Queen of Katwe – This Disney picture tells the true story of a poor girl from Uganda who became an international chess champion. Phiona Mutesi (played by newcomer Madina Nalwanga) can’t read or write when she discovers the game, but proper tutelage from her coach (a sparkling David Oyelowo) takes her out of the slums and gives her new opportunities. The Queen of Katwe is like a great sports movie minus the sweat, which also means that it’s predictable. You’ll be too swept up by the lovely messages and Phiona’s precious teammates to even care, though. –B+
Masterminds – This movie is perfect for a sick day, spent in bed. You turn on the TV and look for something funny, but not too funny, so you can sleep through it, too. See, Masterminds is amusing, but you won’t catch yourself belly-laughing through it. Zach Galifianakis plays David Ghantt, who pulled off one of the biggest bank heists in U.S history. It’s based on actual people and events, but that doesn’t stop Masterminds from being over-the-top ridiculous and borderline stupid. This film’s only saving grace is it’s cast, because Galifianakis and Kristen Wiig can make just about anything funny. Just not too funny. Masterminds might not be worth the ticket-price at the theater, but it will be perfect for that future sick-day. –C-