Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin) and his team of firefighters take down wildfires in Only the Brave. (Source: AZ Central)
Based on an article in GQ magazine, Only the Brave is a powerful tribute to the Granite Mountain Hotshots, who work together to prevent the spread of wildfires in Arizona. Directed by Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy, Oblivion) and written by Ken Nolan and Eric Singer, this is a movie Peter Berg and Paul Greengrass would have directed if they used steadicam (I mean no disrespect). Josh Brolin leads a stellar cast as Eric Marsh, a fire chief of the Prescott Fire Department, who develops a team of firefighters including amateur Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller), womanizer Chris MacKenzie (Taylor Kitsch), Jesse Steed (James Badge Dale), and many others. Together, they bond as brothers. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. Most of all, it will make you soar. The scene where Marsh talks about his dream of a bear on fire is hard not to hold those tears back. “It was the most beautiful and most terrible thing I’ve ever seen,” he says.
Two arms dealers (Miles Teller and Jonah Hill) make a deal of a lifetime in Todd Phillips’ latest war comedy-drama War Dogs (Source: New York Post)
Fresh from created The Hangover trilogy, director Todd Phillips takes a step into a satirical yet darker reality: the war in Iraq. From the invasion to Saddam Hussein’s execution to the rise and fall of ISIS, it’s hard to figure out when the war will end. Of course, we can’t predict the future. The story about two arm dealers making a deal with the Pentagon has been all over the news in 2007. Unlike Due Date and the obnoxious sequels to The Hangover, Phillips crafts an amusing yet fascinating outlook on the arms industry.
Loosely based on a true story, David Packouz (Miles Teller) lives in Miami with his girlfriend Iz (Ana de Armas). He wants to do something rather than living his life as a massage therapist. He meets up with an old buddy of his Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill) at a funeral. Together, they exploit a government initiative where they bid on military contracts. Little by little, they make deals internationally. Eventually, they make a $300 million contract to the Pentagon supply weapons and ammunition to the U.S. government in Afghanistan. They begin to face some serious business including arms dealer Henry Girard (Bradley Cooper).
It does sound like a discount version of The Wolf of Wall Street. Apart from the fact that both movies star Jonah Hill, War Dogs is definitely less filthy yet quite informative. Phillips brings enough energy into his direction, some impressive shots of Miami, Las Vegas, and Albania, and a perfect rock soundtrack. However, it does fall short from some lousy attempts at laughs, Iz being the typical girlfriend, and the pacing feels a bit rushed. What makes the movie worth seeing is the chemistry between a scene-stealing Jonah Hill and a solid Miles Teller.
If you thought it was a good idea to reboot Fantastic Four, think again.
In 2005, the four superheroes hit the silver screen. Its overly campy tone and exposition made it one of the worst superhero movies of all-time (I’m glad Chris Evans went somewhere after that). 10 years later, a reboot emerges. Fantastic Four – stylized as Fant4stic – suffers from the same problem as before. All exposition and nothing else. With four gifted actors playing Mr. Fantastic (Miles Teller), Invisible Woman (Kate Mara), Human Torch (Michael B. Jordan), and the Thing (Jamie Bell) and Josh Trank (Chronicle) directing, there is nothing to truly appreciate. It takes itself way too seriously. The science-y stuff is not interesting. The effects are terrible (not to mention the painfully obvious green screen). Everything feels rushed and unfinished. The four actors have absolutely no chemistry whatsoever; they didn’t work together as a team. Don’t even get me started on that climax. It feels the movie has remained at autopilot throughout its duration. Not only is it one of the worst movies of the year, it’s also one of the worst superhero movies I’ve ever seen. Let’s hope the sequel will be much better than this tripe.