Fri, Jan 22, 2016 - Page 10 News List

Movie releases

Compiled by Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter

The 5th Wave

The latest to ride the wave of post-apocalyptic young adult science fiction adaptations, there’s really nothing in the plot description that makes The 5th Wave stand out. Even the fact that it’s set to become a trilogy follows the golden rule established by the Hunger Games and so on. Anyway, aliens have devastated the world in four distinct waves of attacks, and while people await the fifth one, spunky teen Chloe Grace Moretz teams up with a stranger to save her younger brother who has been captured by aliens. Throw in some budding romance stuff, survival scenes and kids being forced to grow up and fight, and you have the perfect film — for a teenager. Adult alien-invasion enthusiasts should probably wait for this summer’s sequel to Independence Day.

Steve Jobs

If you don’t know what this movie is about after reading the title, just don’t watch it. Danny Boyle of Slumdog Millionaire fame directs this Oscar-hopeful biopic based on Walter Isaacson’s book on the man who co-founded Apple, recruiting a big-name cast of Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen and Jeff Daniels. The book itself is quite impressive — released 19 days after Job’s death in 2011, it is based on extensive interviews with Jobs and more than 100 family members and friends. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who won multiple awards for his similarly-themed The Social Network, has divided the movie into three acts — each marked by a significant Jobs invention. There’s talk that many people featured in the movie and people who knew Jobs have criticized the film as an inaccurate portrayal, so just take it with a grain of salt.

Dirty Grandpa

First Bruce Willis, now Robert De Niro — our iconic stars are aging and fading into insignificance — but at least De Niro still gets the titular role in Dirty Grandpa. Plus, the former tough guy has been venturing into big budget comedy for awhile, not all with bad results. This low-brow comedy is directed by Ali G collaborator Dan Mazer, and has Zac Efron playing De Niro’s straight-laced grandson whom De Niro drags to Daytona Beach for a good time before he gets married to an equally uptight woman. Seems like a terrible idea, but judging from the trailer, it actually could be funny as the characters somehow make it work, especially with Efron being pushed around by De Niro. Warning: there’s a De Niro sex scene in the film.

Black Souls

Francesco Munzi’s crime film that won four Venice Film Festival prizes and nine David Di Donatello awards in 2014 is finally premiering in Taiwan. The story is about three brothers from a Calabrian mafia clan in southern Italy — all living in different places doing different things — who are drawn back home, becoming involved in a re-opened blood feud that goes way back. Most of the film is shot in Africo, a poor, rural town where clan violence, which has been featured in the news several times in the past decade, runs rampant. The ‘Ndrangheta, the mafia family the brothers belong to, is often considered the most powerful in all of Italy — surpassing their Sicilian counterparts. It seems like a more dramatic, slow-paced piece that explores the ties of kinship and honor and how they can drive generation after generation to reenact the never-ending violence.

Son of Saul

Another multiple award-winning European film is making its local premiere this week: Son of Saul, which won the Cannes Grand Prix and Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film, the first Hungarian film to do so. Impressively, it’s both director Laszlo Nemes’ and lead actor Geza Rohring’s debut feature. Rohring is Saul, a member of the Sonderkommando — concentration camp prisoners who were forced to help the Nazis in leading other prisoners to the gas chambers and disposing of the bodies afterward. Things change when Saul sees a body of a young boy that he claims is his son, and embarks on a mission to give the boy a proper Jewish burial. It’s one of the more morally dark takes on the holocaust, one where prisoners are forced to turn on others just to prolong their lives for a few months. The entire film is shot from the perspective of Saul, which should make this grim story even more powerful.

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