Movie Review: “Hot Movies For 2016”

By Lyle Foster, Unite Contributing Writer

The holiday season is always rich in movie opportunities and this year is no exception. One of the great things about this time of year is that there are a variety of choices so regardless of your movie style there should be something for you. Let me first get the ones out of the way that I am not pushing but just in full disclosure letting you know that it is out there. The Hateful Eight is out with Samuel Jackson and has a cast of you guessed it eight veteran actors that are marooned in a blizzard shortly after the Civil War. They are an unruly assortment of characters that can’t really be trusted and you can’t turn your back on. Just so you know the film shows in two versions ranging from 167 minutes to 187 minutes….that is a lot of time involves an intermission. There are positive reviews out there and some not so positive reviews but be aware the violence is over the top and the language and some sexual content has gotten some strong reaction. So I can’t endorse but if you want to see Mr. Jackson you will know what you are getting into. Director Quentin Tarantino who many believe uses film to share many opinions on race relations does so in this film as well so Django Unchained was not enough.
Ride Along 2 will be released on January 15 and will promise more antics and laughs if you need some laughs as you pay your holiday bills. I really don’t want to sound like a hater but I sometimes get frustrated with the increasing number of films that seem to be the same show over. Kevin Hart and Ice Cube go to Miami this time in an attempt to do the sequel to their 2014 hit. We all know that when a film does well we can expect another one to come out soon. I haven’t seen it yet but if you saw the first one we know that we have a good idea of what will take place this time. Mr. Hart is very talented and appeals to a lot of audiences that like his style of humor and wit and he is doing very well at it. As I said at the beginning this time of year is a great time to catch a film so there will be those who want to laugh and escape for a few hours so I can appreciate that.
Next film Chi-Raq with none other than Spike Lee the director. The plot is a bit surprising but there is a point to be made I suppose. If anyone has ever heard of the Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes this is a modern day adaptation. Hmmmm…what does that mean you may wonder? This is Spike Lee’s satirical response to the terrible gang violence in our cities. Set in the backdrop of Chicago after the murder of a child by a stray bullet a group of women organize to essentially say that they will not engage in sex with their male partners until the violence stops. The film has a surprising strong cast of characters but has not gotten the strong traction that one may think it would. This is due to a number of factors including the new studio that Spike Lee uses for this film. We all know that Spike Lee uses his films to make political statements about every subject imaginable and comparing Chicago to Iraq is certainly going to turn some heads including the mayor of Chicago who is not happy at all. Samuel Jackson, Nick Cannon, Jennifer Hudson, Wesley Snipes, John Cusack, Teyonah Parris, Angela Bassett and Dave Chappelle are all a part of the star studded cast but the plot and execution has a number of twists and turns and while the plot is somewhat interesting it is not quite able to keep the hype going. Ultimately the film is expected to earn most of its revenue on the home release and DVD versions. So we will see.
Finally I mentioned in my last column that the new Star Wars flick did not need our help to make it successful because the fan base and the unbelievable marketing power have made it a billion dollar success story and counting. If you haven’t seen it yet you have plenty of time to catch it and the IMAX screen is a fantastic place to see it. Did you know that was a twitter campaign to boycott the film because of its black lead and to a lesser extent female lead? As they say we cannot make this stuff up but it is more than obvious that no one seems to be listening and we will not take racism into the galaxies beyond. We have enough of that going on here on planet Earth! British actor and a black man John Boyega plays redeemed Stormtrooper Finn and yes is one of the young leads of the film. We will all be seeing a lot more of him and it is good to see some people of color with some significant roles in space. He is considered the hero of the film and has a neat theatre and film background and born to Nigerian parents. He is cast alongside all of the legends of the Star Wars franchise and he will now be a worldwide star. So the force is definitely with him.
See you at one of our local film houses and bring the popcorn!!!