Screening Room: Does Promised Land Promise Too Much?

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KANSAS CITY, MO —

PROMISED LAND (R)
RUSS:
MATT DAMON DESPERATELY WANTS US TO BELIEVE THAT NATURAL GAS FRACKING IS BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. HE MAY BE RIGHT, BUT HIS DRAMA “PROMISED LAND” MAY LEAVE MANY VIEWERS UNCONVINCED. MATT PLAYS A GAS COMPANY REP WHO ENCOUNTERS SOME RESISTANCE FROM RURAL FOLKS WHO WON’T BOW TO HIS COMPANY’S WISHES.

SHAWN:
OK, FROM THE WE’VE SEEN THIS A THOUSAND TIMES BEFORE DEPARTMENT COMES “PROMISED LAND” A HO-HUM INSTANTLY FORGETTABLE FAUX DAVID VERSUS GOLIATH STORY THAT DOES LITTLE AND MEANS EVEN LESS. I LOVE TOAST WITH NO JELLY. RIGHT.

RUSS:
IT’S WELL ACTED AND SINCERE, BUT AN IMPLAUSIBLE TWIST IN THE FINAL REEL SENDS IT OFF THE RAILS.

RUSS:
NOT SURE ABOUT REELS AND RAILS BUT THE ENDING IS WACK. BUT WHEN DID MATT DAMON GO OVER THE CINEMATIC CLIFF? HIS PAST FEW MOVIES HAVE BEEN HORRIBLE. THE ONLY THING PROMISED IS BOREDOM.

RUSS: 3 POPCORN BAGS
SHAWN: 2 POPCORN BAGS

THE IMPOSSIBLE (PG-13)

RUSS:

THIS DRAMA, BASED ON A TRUE STORY, DEALS WITH THE AFTERMATH OF A TSUNAMI AND ITS EFFECT ON COUPLE OF TOURISTS, NAOMI WATTS AND EWAN MCGREGOR, AND THEIR KIDS.

SHAWN:
THE STORM EFFECTS ARE AMAZING. THE STORY IS A BIT MISGUIDED THOUGH. WHY AM I BEING FORCED TO CARE ABOUT A FAMILY OF RICH TOURISTS WHO MOST SURVIVE THE AFTERMATH OF THE STORM. WHAT ABOUT ALL OF THE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO LIVED THERE THAT WERE EFFECTED. I WANTED TO SEE THEIR STORY. THEIR STRUGGLE.

RUSS:
THE SPECIAL EFFECTS ARE SPECTACULAR AND THE CAST IS FINE, BUT “THE IMPOSSIBLE” IS EXCRUCIATING TO SIT THROUGH. THE CHARACTERS ENDURE A REAL SLOG…AND SO DOES THE AUDIENCE.

SHAWN:
EVERYTHING YOU SAID IS TRUE. BUT THE FOCUS IS ALL WRONG. IN FACT A BIT INSENSETIVE.

RUSS: 3 POPCORN BAGS
SHAWN: 3 POPCORN BAGS

HYDE PARK ON HUDSON (R)

RUSS:
BILL MURRAY’S SHARP PORTRAYAL OF FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT AND LAURA LINNEY’S SUBDUED TURN AS HIS COUSIN AND LOVER DAISY, PROVIDE THE SAVING GRACE OF THIS OTHERWISE DULL BIOPIC.

SHAWN:
I THOUGHT THIS MOVIE WAS A VINTAGE SNL SKIT. I DIDN’T BELIEVE FOR A SECOND THAT BILL MURRAY WAS FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT. HIS PERFORMANCE IS A COMPLETE 180 FROM DANIEL DAY LEWIS’ TURN AS ABRAHAM LINCOLN IN “LINCOLN.”

RUSS:
IT’S BEAUTIFULLY PRODUCED BUT NEVER AS COMPELLING AS IT NEEDS TO BE.

SHAWN:
DUDE THIS MOVIE IS TERRIBLE. THE ENTIRE FILM FEELS LIKE A FARCE. IT COMES ACROSS AS FAKE AS “ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER” EXCEPT NOT NEARLY AS FUN. WASTED TALENT. A WASTE OF TIME. NAW, JUST PLAIN WASTE. COULD OF USED A FEW VAMPIRES TO LIVEN THINGS UP.

RUSS: 3 POPCORN BAG
SHAWN: 2 POPCORN BAGS

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