Jan. 5, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Four films are being released today that are worth the effort to rent or download. From “The Visit,” which just may rekindle M. Night Shyamalan’s career, to the character-driven and thrilling “Sicario,” which might earn Emily Blunt an Oscar nod, this is a good week to rent.
“The Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse”
Starring: Tye Sheridan and Logan Miller
Directed by: Christopher Landon
If you’re looking for that fun horror film and are tired of the same old story about some creepy house or discovered film footage… why not check out “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.”
The film focuses on three scouts who discover the true meaning of friendship when they attempt to save their town from a zombie outbreak.
The film has it’s roots squarely in cult favorites like “Zombieland,” “The Goonies,” “Scooby-Doo” and even “Stand By Me.” And although the film isn’t blazing any new trails, it doesn’t need to.
“Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” is a crass, gory, fun adult horror movie to be enjoyed for what it is. It gets a B and is rated R.
Starring: Olivia DeJoung and Ed Oxenbold
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
A single mother sends her daughter and son to their grandparent’s home for a week-long visit. Grandma and Grandpa have been estranged from the mother and have never met their grandkids.
In an effort to rebuild a relationship and to get to know their family the kids agree and take off to the family farm. But then the kids begin to notice some pretty odd behavior and as the week goes on, stranger and stranger things begin to happen.
I am not sure if this is M. Night Shyamalan’s return to glory or not. He’s had a pretty long string of misfires that just by sheer numbers he’s bound to make a decent film.
And “The Visit” is a decent film. But it’s not a sophisticated horror movie as I would expect from Shyamalan. This is more of a ‘training’ horror film.
The film offers up its story with an adequate pace and decent direction, but it telegraphs too much and within the first 15 minutes of the film, most people have figured out the plot.
“The Visit” does offer up a few good laughs and there are a couple of shocking moments, but it pretty much boils down to jumping at the camera and yelling “boo.”
What “The Visit” has is a lingering ‘creepy’ feeling, which works better on the smaller screen. It’s rated PG-13 and gets a B on DVD.
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
The story takes place in 1974, high-wire artist Philippe Petit recruits a team of people to help him realize his dream: to walk the the immense void between the World Trade Center towers. Guided by his mentor Papa Rudy, played by Ben Kingsley, Petit and his team overcome long odds and close calls to conceive and execute their mad plan.
Although not a perfect film, it is truly one of the best cinematic experiences of the year. Told in a kind of storybook format, “The Walk” is an inspirational and well-paced film.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt puts in a stellar turn as Petit and captures not only the man but the hunger he feels to go further and higher than anyone else before.
The film gets an A and is rated PG.
Starring: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Emily Blunt stars as an idealistic FBI agent enlisted by an elected government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico. The film’s violence and brutality is a non-stop reminder of how vicious the drug cartels are.
Although Blunt’s character is with this task force, which is commanded by Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin, for a few days, she begins to understand that there are places and situations where the rule book doesn’t apply.
There is an odd but effective balance between the three main characters. Blunt is the novice and needs everything explained to her, Del Toro is a cold effective killer seeking revenge and Brolin has become numb to the situations he encounters.
But he allows himself a joke and a smile once in a while, showing off an incredible charm buried under the surface.
“Sicario” gets an A and is rated R.