Movie Review: THE 5TH WAVE (2016)

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

the_5th_wave.jpgTHE 5TH WAVE (USA 2016) **
Directed by J. Blakeson

Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Matthew Zuk, Gabriela Lopez

Review by Gilbert Seah

THE 5TH WAVE is based on the young adult novel of the same name by Rick Yancey, the first of a trilogy published in 2013. The book has been favourably compared to THE HUNGER GAMES and critics have hoped that the book and film should do for aliens what TWILIGHT did for vampires. Sony Pictures has picked up the film rights – surprising that Lionsgate missed the boat.

The waves refer to the increasingly deadly alien attacks that have left most of Earth devastated. The aliens are called ‘the others’. The 1st wave is the electromagnetic wave that destroys all of earth’s power, The second is quakes and the third is a virus carried by birds that have wiped out most of humanity. The 4th involve aliens inhabiting humans and the 5th of the film title refer to the others’ final attack on humanity. All these sound quite interesting and so is the film until about a third through the film.

As the film begins, director Blakeson’s images and attention to details captivate. Detailed images of for example of litter on the ground, a cat, a family glaring up at the sky all raise expectations of a good solid sci-fi thriller. The special effects (though CGI generated) of tsunamis and the destruction of major cities like London are all impressive.

But when the 3rd wave arrives – the virus that destroys most of the earth’s population, the film begins to fall to bits, as if affected by the same virus. The film gets progressively sillier with twists that do not make sense at all. There are two main twists, that will not be revealed in the review, safe to say they should make solid logical sense. They do not!

The protagonist of the story is a heroine (like in TWILIGHT and THE HUNGER GAMES), a young Cassie Sullivan (Chloe Grace Moretz from KICK-ASS) who first loses her mother (Maggie Siff), followed by her dad (Ron Livingston). Her first priority in the story is thus to look after her younger brother, Sammy (Zachary Arthur) who turns out to be extremely spoilt and annoying. Sammy must keep his ugly teddy bear and has no sense to tell the bus driver to stop when his sister is chasing after the bus. (Or maybe it is the scriptwriter who has no sense.) The search leads her to meet the best looking hunk seen in a young adult film this year. Evan Walker (Alan Roe) aids her in searching for Sammy. This takes them to the facility led by Colonel Vosch (Liev Schreiber). The film’s most outrageous scene has Cassie catching the hunk swimming naked in the stream. Obviously, she falls for him. She distrusts him at first but then who can resist those dreamboat eyes?

But the film gets sillier and sillier. One scene has Evan suddenly appearing in the alien facility. “I have planted bombs!” he tells Cassie. Another has Cassie looking at the sky in broad daylight seeing stars. Yet amidst all the mayhem, Cassie manages to write her diary, which Evan reads. Fortunately there is no scene in the film showing Cassie writing a journal entry, and that would be even more laughable.

The 5TH WAVE works well at the start, gets terribly boring and then unintentionally hilarious. To that effect the film is not without its entertainment value.

To the filmmakers’ credit the production costs came below $40 million, which is a bargain for a sci-fi special effects film. The fact that unknown actors (except for Moretz) were hired helps. It would be interesting to see if Sony Pictures continues with the film adaptation of the other two novels.

 

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Movie Review: JOY (2015)

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

joy_poster.jpg
JOY (USA 2015) ***** TOP 10
Directed by David O. Russell
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper, Donna Mills, Elisabeth Röhm, Virginia Madsen, Diane Ladd

Writer/director David O. Russell has been known to made films with strong family content like SPANKING THE MONKEY, THE FIGHTER and. His last movie AMERICAN HUSTLE shows him successful in a completely different genre – business. JOY, a film about a housewife named Joy Mongano (Jennifer Lawrence), a struggling single mother who with the help of family and friends succeeds in inventing and marking her miracle mop invention combines the best of the two genres.

Joy has not the typical family. Her grandmother (Dianne West) who narrates the story, her TV-addicted mother, Terry (Virginian Madsen), two children live with her in her house together with her divorced husband (Edgar Ramirez) who lives in her basement. Her dad (Robert de Niro) suddenly moves in, and causes some havoc. But to survive, Joy decides to manufacture and sell her magical mop, going all out – to make it or go completely broke. This is a film about mending broken dreams and making them finally come true. JOY is a true joy to watch, a feel-good Christmas film with all the peers and quirkiness found in a Russell movie. The film moves at a manic pace, especially in the beginning, capturing the spirit of AMERICAN HUSTLE.

Jennifer Lawrence (MOCKINGJAY) delivers another knock-out performance capable of winning her another Oscar nomination for Best actress. Her two memorable segments especially the one where she freaks out in front of her daughters is enough to make one cry. The other has her telling her stepsister in words that will eventually go into movie history: “Never ever speak on behalf about my business … again!” Bradley Cooper has a smaller supporting role but one cannot get enough of his character on screen. Ramirez as the divorced husband is surprisingly good and truly as in the words of the film, they make ‘the most awesome couple in America”, despite not being married.

There is also some neat words in the script. In one scene, Joy’s father tells Joy that it is to possible to have the same dream, to which she replies she has had the same dream twice. If one has the same dream, that means having that dream twice, so how may times is the dream dreamt if one has the same dream twice. Funnier still, is the fact that what that dream is, is never revealed in the film. Also, Joy’s business financier and father’s girlfriend, Trudy’s (Isabella Rossellini) four rules of business success is a real hoot.

The trailer has a scene with Joy blasting off a rifle. In the film, she is upset and blasts the file taken in a rifle range next to the father’s shop. The trailer leads the audience to think Joy has shot someone, especially with anther scene with two cops handcuffing her and taking her away. But tis is not really what transpires in the film. It is a clever editing of the film to form a trailer to look more exciting with events imagined by the audience. Thought his to be a brilliant touch.

JOY has got mixed reviews so far from critics. I have read a few but am unconvinced of the reasons that JOY is faulted with. JOY to me, is a smart fell-good movie, appropriate for Christmas
and shows director Russell in top form.

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: www.wildsound.ca

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Watch FATHER/DAUGHTER Stories from the Writing and Film Festival

Watch winning stories and movies showcased at the Writing and Film Festival in this genre: Short, Feature, TV Screenplays. Short Stories. Novels. Stage Plays. Poems. Stories from festival made into movies:
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/father_daughter_stories.html

Watch the best of Father/Daughter from the Festival:

DIAMOND AND THE FOSTERS
Full Movie
Watch the entire 5 chapter novel.
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/diamond_and_the_fosters.html

DAUGHTER
WATCH Audience FEEDBACK Video
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/daughter.html
USA, Drama

FAMILIAR
WATCH Audience FEEDBACK
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/familiar.html
Horror, Canada

CADAVER
WATCH Audience FEEDBACK
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/cadaver.html
Animation / Adventure, USA

TV SPEC – PARENTHOOD “Don’t Give Up On Him Yet”
June 2014 Reading
Written by Cara Rothenberg
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/parenthood_tv_spec.html

TV SPEC – MODERN FAMILY “Chairity Case”
November 2014 Reading
Written by Josh Bressler
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/modern_family_chairity_case.html

FEATURE SCRIPT: THE FIREWORKS STAND
January 2015 Reading
Written by David M. Hyde
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/the_fireworks_stand.html

Novel Transcript – NOT TO TALK ABOUT UNTIL NOW
March 2015 Reading
Written by Kirsten Marie Wohlgemuth
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/not_to_talk_about_until_now.html

1st SCENE SCRIPT READING – PROMISES
October 2014 Reading
Written by Lee Forgang
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/promises.html

Watch Novel turned into Movie
Sandro’s Notebook
88min. movie
Written by Albert Russo
http://www.wildsoundfestival.com/sandros_notebook.html

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Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com