Our capsule reviews for ‘Amigo’, ‘Real Steel’, and ‘Restless’
The following quotes were pulled from reviews written by AZ Weekly Entertainment Magazine in Phoenix, AZ’s Film Section contributors to present readers with a wider perspective about this weekend’s new releases.
At 27 years old, Joseph J. Airdo is a Walter Cronkite School of Journalism graduate with a degree in media analysis and criticism. Randy Montgomery, 34, works in media and marketing and holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Education. And, at 64 years old, Stan Robinson is a retired First Assistant Director with more than 22 years of experience in film and media production.
Read their full reviews of these and other movies exclusively online at knotmove.com, AZWeeklyMagazine.com and ScreenScene.org, respectively.
A Filipino leader (Joel Torre) must decide whether to keep the peace with the American troops occupying his village or join the insurgency with his brother and son. Playing exclusively at Harkins Camelview 5. (R – 128 minutes)
Stan: “The pacing is slow and deliberate forcing the viewer to become intimately involved as the story focuses on one village during the Philippine-American War (1899-1902). Bringing front and center the details of a war that for many is a mere mention in a history book, the expertise of veteran filmmaker John Sayles (his 17th film) presents an unbiased view of the ideologies of the American troops, the insurgency, and the Philippine villagers, as each strive for control and ultimately, survival.” Grade: B
Joseph: “Legendary filmmaker John Sayles’s latest project – a historical war drama titled ‘Amigo’ – is tremendously talky but the complexity in both its issues and its atmosphere makes the largely intellectual commitment worthwhile. Billed as one of the first motion pictures to truly represent the Philippine-American war, ‘Amigo’ is not just a poignant portrait of a relatively unknown subject but an aesthetically astonishing one at that. The fact that Sayles manages to pull off an emotional effort without ever once leaning to either side of the fence is an accomplishment in an of itself.” Grade: C
A boxing promoter (Hugh Jackman) and his son build a championship contender for the robot ring. (PG-13 – 126 minutes)
Joseph: “‘Real Steel’ is not the least bit metallic. In other words, the undoubtedly cool special effects extravaganza about robot boxing features some surprisingly genuine emotion – so genuine in fact that it is not completely uncommon for one to feel compelled to stand up and cheer at the culmination of the final fight. Who knew, right? However, it is this critic’s belief that a cap was placed on ‘Real Steel’s’ creative juices… er… greases by the understandably marketable decision to make it a family flick. Such an approach should have been saved for ‘Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots: The Movie’ which, by the way, is a different project altogether. Again, who knew?” Grade: B
Stan: “Underneath the ‘glitz & glamour’ of very good special effects and the sci-fi theme of the future with robots replacing humans in the boxing ring, lies a moving story of a wayward father (Hugh Jackman) connecting with his son (Dakota Goyo). With the complicated aspect of not marrying her and virtually disappearing from his girlfriend’s life, 11 years later she’s married and sole custody an issue, the path of reconciliation for the father and son is quite a journey. For this reviewer who has never been into human boxing because of its barbaric gladiatorial nature, the aspects of robots & technology replacing humans in the ring competing is quite appealing! Highly amazing is the performance of Dakota Goyo as the son, keep an eye out for more from this talented young actor!” Grade: B
A gravely ill teen (Mia Wasikowska) and a guy (Henry Hopper) who talks to ghosts fall in love. Playing exclusively at AMC Desert Ridge 18 and Harkins Shea 14. (PG-13 – 93 minutes)
Stan: “Director Gus Van Sant’s latest forces us to contemplate that one ‘appointment we all have to keep’, our mortality. With views on three perspectives; a teen (Henry Hopper) so preoccupied with death he attends the funerals of strangers, a remorseful ghost (Ryo Kase) with regrets aspects of his life, and a gravely ill teen (Mia Wasikowska) wanting a bit more happiness before facing the unavoidable ‘appointment’, offers profound moments for our own self-reflective examination. Notable is the talent of Mia Wasikowska who starred as ‘Jane Eyre’ (2011) providing a multi-layered character’s full emotional range as the end of life nears…” Grade: C+
Joseph: “The adjective ‘dreary’ does not even begin to describe director Gus Van Sant’s new romantic drama ‘Restless.’ What begins as a darkly different coming-of-age story quickly dissolves into a morbidly mundane melodrama. Granted, there are a couple of cool quirks along the way and actress Mia Wasikowska gives her most grounded performance to date but the mood of melancholy that glides through Van Sant’s project like the ghosts befriended by ‘Restless’ male protagonist makes for an emotionally enervating experience.” Grade: D