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Monday, October 23, 2017

April Sokol's Reviews of Only the Brave & Geostorm

***Note from Daniel – “Here’s a quick introduction to our newest reviewer joining Cindy Prascik and yours truly”***

Hello fellow movie lovers. My name is April. I am a wife and mother of 3 boys. I have loved everything about the movie going experience ever since my parents took me to see ET. I find that I'm pretty easily entertained so my reviews will always reflect that.

My favorite movie ever made is 1995's Heat. I am highly opinionated on all things, but especially when it comes to movies. I'm thankful for a place to share my thoughts with others. I hope you enjoy the ramblings of my over caffeinated, sleep deprived mind.

Only the Brave is the true story of the Granite Mountain Hot Shots. The first municipal hot shot team ever assembled.

Directed by Joseph Kosinski

Starring Josh Brolin, Miles Davis, Jennifer Connelly and Jeff Bridges

My review:

Only the Brave is a straightforward, unflinching look at some of the bravest among us: firefighters. But these aren't your average community volunteer firemen. This is the Navy Seals of fire fighting. These men are dropped into the biggest, nastiest fires with only an axe and shovel.

There is quite a lot to love about this movie. I feel compelled to mention that I am not a fan of Brolin or Connelly and have at the very most a love/hate relationship with the work of Teller. So I was incredibly surprised by how deeply I fell in love with this story.

The first act sets the stage. Teller's Brendan McDonough is a young out of control guy freshly out of jail. He's got a million reasons to finally get his act together if only someone will give him a chance. McDonough is given that chance by the grizzled, wise Eric Marsh (Brolin). There is plenty of heart and humor to be found in his new community. Now we're off to the races. The entire second act of the movie is one beautiful shot after another. The cast does an amazing job of portraying men and women who come together as family in the harshest of situations. Nothing is prettied up. The strain put on the spouses, the distance with their children. It's all there to draw you into this world that so very few people actually live and experience.

You can feel that this will end with a big fire. So when it finally comes it's not a surprise. But still hugely effective. For those of us who were not familiar with this true story, it was a nail biting bit of cinema.

Overall I am more than willing and able to overlook the small issues I had with the tropes that were included in the script. Only the Brave has a run time of 143 minutes and it rated PG 13 for thematic content and brief sexual references. I enjoyed almost every minute. 

A very solid 4 out of 5 stars is my rating. Only the Brave is the best thing currently playing at my local cinemaplex by leaps and bounds.

Geostorm is this year's natural disaster spectacle of a movie. The system put into place to protect Earth from natural disasters has malfunctioned and it's a race to fix the problem before all of Earth is destroyed.

Directed by Dean Devlin

Starring Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess and Abbie Cornish

Before I begin I feel like I should make a confession. Armageddon is one of my all time favorite movies. Yes. I said it. I love the cheesy dialogue and completely unrealistic plot because it's FUN. Geostorm brought Armageddon to mind more than once during my viewing.

The plot is straightforward. Gerard Butler plays Jake Lawson, the hot head developer of the Dutch Boy Program. A system of satellites that are designed to neutralize any and all natural disasters before they happen. It's not a stretch to see Lawson struggling to maintain his vision's integrity when faced with politicians who want to control Dutch Boy. None of this is groundbreaking cinema. The hero has a bad attitude. The government is shady and shifty. There are plenty of estranged relationships. Lots of familiar movie cliches are thrown at the viewer in quick succession.

But if you can suspend reality for the 1hr49min run time there is some good stuff in here. The special effects, both on Earth and on board the Dutch Boy itself are fun. There are huge typhoons, massive sandstorms, eruptions, tornadoes...all of the good stuff! The big reveal of the bad guy is not exactly shocking. The dialogue is silly. The science is nonsensical. But despite all of that, I found myself smiling through the whole thing. Special points given for Cornish's portrayal of a Secret Service agent who is pretty badass.

Geostorm is rated PG 13 for destruction, action and violence. My viewing had plenty of smaller children who all seemed to be having just as much fun as I was. There is absolutely nothing award worthy to be found here. But if you're looking for a few hours of popcorn eating entertainment, this is what you're looking for. I give Geostorm a rating of 2 ½ out of 5 stars.

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