REVIEW: “A CURE FOR WELLNESS” (2016) FOX

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Where do I even start this review. With the running theme of eels? The numerous Octagenarian nude scenes? The torture scenes? The cryptic mystery of the Spa? Yes, I think I will start there. Or maybe not, maybe I will start with the absolute insult to our intelligence that this movie actually is.
We join the De Haan character Lockhart, in his quest to figure out what in the bejesus is going on at Dr. Volmer’s (Jason Isaac) Swiss spa. As he spends a great amount of the film on squeaky crutches wandering the estate and trying to figure out..well..nothing really. Needless to say, he sees and is subjected to a lot of dark and twisted stuff.
Our main character Lockhart (Dane DeHaan), who is the exact sort of morally bankrupt young financial hotshot you’ve seen in a bunch of other movies. His bosses are so cartoonishly evil that they may as well be counting wads of cash as they tell him he’s being sent off to stay at a remote wellness center in the Swiss Alps to fetch a wayward executive “Pembroke” (Harry Groener) whose signature is needed to allow a merger to go forth so as to allow them to rake in more millions.
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When I review a film, I find it difficult to walk the fine line between discussing it and revealing spoilers, so you’re lucky that even if I wanted to, I couldn’t reveal the spoilers because absolutely NOTHING made sense in this ridiculous film. Except I will let you know it’s long..very long..and painfully slow.

So what exactly is the sickness that “the cure” is treating? Who is the mysterious girl Hannah (Mia Goth) that wanders around a pond all day, yet sneaks away with Lockhart for her first beer in town? Why does no one ever leave? What’s with the eels? What’s with the water? Why are teeth falling out? Why are the townfolks so off-put by those on the hill? What is the Center’s dark past and can it be uncovered. What are the real reasons as to why the guests keep staying there, longing for the Cure? What answers do the puzzles bring? Is Lockhart himself insane? Seriously.. do you notice this whole review is just questions with no answers and by the end of this long, arduous film, you just don’t even care. Gore Verbinski – you’re better than this dammit.
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The only thing I can give this film is a kudos on is the cinematography, as it was excellent. The acting is not very well done by anyone and there was absolutely no big moments of suspense though they make you think it’s full of it. There is zip-nada-zero-nothing. And nothing was explained at the movie’s conclusion and you’re left with way too many unanswered questions. But then again, at this point you just want it to end and be able to leave. A much needed and decent synopsis of what I really saw would be helpful at this point.

Grade: D-
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Media Review Screening: Wednesday, Feb 1, 2017 ~ Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
NATIONWIDE RELEASE: Friday, February 17. 2017

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REVIEW: “EVEREST” (2015) Universal Pictures

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CourageFearPainStrength – all the words used in the trailer to describe this film based on a true story. Though after watching this movie I can’t help but think they might have skipped a word – Insanity – because truly one must have a bit of this to even attempt to climb this mountain. To know going in that there is a 60/40 percent chance you might not come down..would and does deter most.

In ‘Everest’ we get brought back to 1996 when the big mountain had been actually been conquered enough times that it was no longer the specter it once had been. That didn’t stop people from wanting to climb it, instead it ended up turning it into a business. Leader of the trend is the New Zealand business team “Adventure Consultants” with partners Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) & Helen Wilton (Emily Watson). The teams that head to the summit are a mix of seasoned pros and moneyed amateurs, forking over fortunes to earn both killer views they get momentarily and probably most importantly thing of course, the bragging rights. On one team you have the clients – ‘average’ guy, mailman Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), the big Texan, Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin), journalist Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly) and the one small Asian woman, a 47 yr old climber of 6 of the tallest peaks in the world, Yasuko Namba (Naoki Mori) along with guides Hall, Andy “Harold” Harris (Martin Henderson) & Michael Groom (Thomas M. Wright) – on the other team “Mountain Madness” you have the college frat guy guide Scott Fisher (Jake Gyllenhaal) & Anatoli Boukreev (Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson) who refuses to use oxygen even though they will be at a level noted by Hall as ‘Humans aren’t meant to function at the cruising altitude of a 747’
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Having reached the summit and literally touched the peak — their moment of triumph – though problematic as issues with roping and lateness of the afternoon make the timetable of descent turn into a dire situation. A storm sweeps in before certain climbers have turned back. What follows is a brutal waiting game. Among those stranded in the inhospitable climate is Hansen, Harris & Hall – who finds himself curled up in a nook, patiently, almost inhumanly biding his time as numerous attempts to save him come and pass him by due to more storms.
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Having years ago read Jon Krakauer’s book “Into Thin Air” I hadn’t realized this was going to be that story told so vividly so I recommend you go in with little knowledge of the body count as Everest plays a bit in the vein of Apollo 13, as you know the story history wise – but in this one there’s only a slim chance the ones in trouble will make it.

The film truly focuses on the brutality of this type of climbing and what we now know was the beginnings of what the business end of this all is. All these climbs-for-hire have literally created a trash bin of Everest as what goes up, doesn’t always come down. And of course the body count of those left up on the mountain has also increased exponentially since this first tragic event. And let’s not ever forget all the sherpas with whom without them, most of these climbs could never be done.
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So what’s good about this movie? The 3-D is very good. Throughout most of the film you can’t discern between what is the real on-location shots and what is sound-staged. Brolin & Clarke really have the lead acting roles here and both do well. Sam Worthington also comes on well more towards the end as Guy Cotter. Overall it will prove to be a rough watch with it’s ending for some, but it’s a good film nonetheless.

Grade: C+
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Screening: Tuesday, September 15, 2015 ~ Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Nationwide release: Friday, September 18, 2015