Tony’s Movie Reviews: ‘The Birth of a Nation,’ ‘The Girl on the Train,’ ‘Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life’

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Oct. 7, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — There are three films opening this weekend. “The Girl on the Train,” “The Birth of a Nation” and “Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life” will be opening this weekend.

“The Girl on the Train,” according to Box Office Mojo, will most likely end up in the top slot for the weekend. The film is predicted to earn around $26.5 million.

“The Birth of a Nation” has been surrounded by controversy as its director and star, Nate Parker, was accused of raping a fellow Penn State student 17 years ago. The woman committed suicide in 2012. Parker was tried and acquitted in 2001.

Industry insiders are predicting the film will end up in about the fifth position, taking home a predicted $7.7 million.

“Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life,” which wasn’t screened for critics, is predicted to end up outside of the top five films, most likely in seventh place with around $6.8 million.

Here are Box Office Mojo’s predicted top 10 films:

The Girl on the Train – $26.5 million
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – $14.7 million
Deepwater Horizon – $11.5 million
The Magnificent Seven – $9.5 million
The Birth of a Nation – $7.7 million
Storks – $7.3 million
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life – $6.8 million
Sully – $5.1 million
Masterminds – $2.9 million
Don’t Breathe – $1.5 million

The Reviews:

The Girl on the Train
Starring: Emily Blunt
Rated R

In the film, a troubled and deeply depressed woman becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shock waves throughout her life.

“The Girl on the Train” takes its time as it slowly comes to a boil. The film is a methodical character study in which we watch a woman who has been emotionally torn apart begin to become whole again.

Emily Blunt turns in an Oscar-worthy performance as she begins to put the pieces of her life back together, enduring the pain and anguish of her emotional fall and knitting the fragments of her memory together to recall the events surrounding the murder of her former neighbor.

The film’s pacing is reminiscent of “Gone Girl,” “The Lost Weekend” and “Memento,” as the audience is involved with reassembling the memories lost in a series of alcoholic stupors.

“The Girl on the Train” is well worth the ticket in. It gets an A and is rated R.

The Birth of a Nation
Starring: Nate Parker and Armie Hammer
Rated R

The film follows Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner, accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities — against himself and his fellow slaves — Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom.

“The Birth of a Nation” is a hard movie to ingest for a lot of reasons, as the film is brutal and unapologetic in its approach to the historical events leading up to Nat Turner’s rebellion, and carries with it the feeling of any “agenda” film. But political and social posturing aside, I will review the film for its acting and directing, rather than any message it may be trying to convey.

“Birth of a Nation” is incredibly shot and offers up some extraordinary images (both brutal and lovely) that will stay with the viewer long after the film has ended. It’s the cinematography in “The Birth of a Nation” that gives the film its emotional weight.

Nate Parker, who stars and directs, puts in a very well-crafted performance, but doesn’t fully immerse himself into the role. Parker, however, is a gifted director who understands the need to take his time with every scene.

All in all, “Birth of a Nation” is a film worth seeing mostly for its technical merits and attention to detail. The film gets a B and is rated R.


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