Day 238: A Hologram For The King (2016)

coverThere are certain actors in Hollywood that when you see their name attached to a film, it’s more than likely that you’re going to pick it up. Tom Hanks (Bridge Of Spies) is definitely one of those actors and hence the reason I chose A Hologram For The King for today’s film. Alan (Hanks) is a failed US salesman that made the ultimate mistake with one company in his past. Things are falling apart for Alan as he is going through a divorce, he has to find a way to pay for college for his daughter, and he has a small lump on his back. In a last ditch effort, he goes to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to present a new technology to the king in hopes that it will save him. What he actually finds there is not what he expected when he took the chance. The film also stars Alexander Black (Tim) as Yousef, Sarita Choudhury (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1) as Zahra, Sidse Babett Knudsen (The Duke Of Burgundy) as Hanne, Tracey Fairaway (Enough Said) as Kit, Tom Skerritt (Top Gun) as Ron, David Menkin (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) as Brad, Christy Meyer (Snowden) as Cayley, Megan Maczko (The In-Between) as Rachel, Khalid Laith (The Devil’s Double) as Hassan, Amira El Sayed (Schleierhaft) as Hana, and the film was directed by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run).

rs-231797-Screen-Shot-2016-03-10-at-9.57.54-PMBefore I get into the review of the film, the one thing that I want to get out of the way is that I loved the cinematography. Yes, there is a lot of amazing shots of the desert and what not, but one of my favorite scenes comes towards the end of the film. There is a scene where Tom Hanks is underwater and it just looks absolutely amazing. According to Rotten Tomatoes the critic consensus is, “A Hologram for the King amiably ambles through a narrative desert, saved by an oasis of a performance from the ever-dependable Tom Hanks.” I would have to agree with the critics because it is a rather enjoyable ride through a culture shock. You see Tom Hank’s character grow from someone who doesn’t know the customs of the culture to eventually someone who understands the way their world works. He has to travel around the red tape and navigate his way through their world, but he gets the job done. One of the relationships I loved seeing in the film was the bond of friendship that developed between Alan and his driver Yousef. It starts off a little shaky because Alan just treats him like a crazy driver, but the relationship that soon develops is great and full of comedic gold. One of my other favorite aspects from the film is the soundtrack believe it or not. It features music from The Talking Heads, Chicago, Electric Light Orchestra, and more courtesy of Yousef for the most part (minus The Talking Heads track, that seems to be the overall theme of the film). I really enjoyed watching the film and I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Mr. Hanks. I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade.

Day 128:The Forest (2016)

the-forestThere was a lot of buzz surrounding today’s film when it came out in the theaters, but it didn’t last very long as the film quickly exited. I am talking about the film The Forest which stars Natalie Dormer (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Pt. 1) as both Sara and Jess Price, a set of twins that has always felt a close connection to each other. Jess has always been the troubled of the two as she was always getting herself into sticky situations with Sara always having to bail her out. One day, Jess is in Japan and she goes missing in the Aokigahara forest near Mount Fuji which is also known as the Suicide Forest. It is believed that she went there to commit suicide, but Sara just doesn’t believe it. So, she goes to Japan and into the Aokigahara Forest to try and find her sister before it’s too late or before the ghosts of the forest get to her. The film also stars Taylor Kinney (Zero Dark Thirty) as Aiden, Noriko Sakura (Dog Days) as Mayumi, Eoin Macken (The Night Shift) as Rob, Stephanie Vogt (The Voices) as Valerie, Yukiyoshi Ozawa (The Hidden Blade) as Michi, and the film was directed by Jason Zada.

the-forest-14502-largeOne thing must be for certain and that is that the Aokigahara Forest must be one of the scariest and spookiest places to be in the world especially if you stray off the path. The film wasn’t as scary though when it comes right down to the nitty gritty. The film has all the little cheap scares in it that you would expect from one of these films, but there just isn’t enough of them. Too many times, the film just drags and there isn’t anything really scary going on in the forest. I understand they were probably going for a more mysterious feel to the film, but I just wasn’t scared and I’ll be the first to admit that ghost stuff is what scares me the most. I really had high hopes for the film and by saying that I am not condemning it completely. It has it’s plus sides to it with the good acting and the cinematography at times is amazing especially with the shot of Mount Fuji and the various forest shots, but the film just wasn’t spooky enough for me. I think at the end of the day that is all I wanted from the film, but some of the scenes with the spirits was kind of creepy with some more than others. I have to be perfectly honest in saying that this film is a take it or leave it kind of film and I say watch at your own risk. I still think that this film was better than The Witch (way better) and with that being said I am going to give the film an B- for a final grade cause it’s not bad enough to be in the C level.