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Man of Steel (2013) reviewed by Kelly Anyadike

Man of Steel (2013)

Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Antje Traue, Harry Lennix, Richard Schiff, Christopher Meloni, Kevin Costner, Ayelet Zurer, Laurence Fishburne.

Director: Zack Snyder

Synopsis: Henry Cavill stars as Clark Kent, a young man trying to find his place in the world after he discovers that parents found him in a spaceship and his origins are not of this world. In search of who his is, and his purpose for being sent to earth, he encounters a number of obstacles that cause him to challenge what it means to be human; leading him to come to terms with who he really is. When earth's very core is at stake Clark Kent must embrace the history of his ancestors in order to become the hero the world needs in order to save it from a disturbing fate. Clark must face a battle on two fronts. 

Reviewer's rating: 4.5/5

Review :  

As the wind rushes through the line of pinned up clothes, a boy emerges from behind soft white linen. Hands firm at his sides forming tight fist, he stands before a setting sun, his blood red cape rapped snugly around his neck, fluttering amongst a steady wind. Man of Steel is a movie dealing with the origins of the famous childhood superhero, superman. The story starts in the motherland of Krypton, and the audience for the first time is able to experience the tragic end of a powerful planet, the events that lead to its destruction, and the hope that we find in his parents that allowed him to survive the fate of his dying planet.
This movie is action packed , filled with great eye catching effects that you wouldn't want to take a bathroom break to miss. Throughout the movie we see Henry Cavill give an amazing performance, as he molds a lost boy into a confident hero willing to give up everything to save his people, and to prove to the earthlings that he indeed is one of them.

The audience is able to identify with Lois Lane as she finds out the truth about a mysterious stranger that saves her by using light beams from his eyes. Amy Adams is truly believable as she tries to find out the truth of Clarks life in the shadows but as she digs deeper she comes face to face with her own challenges of an alien invasion and he new role as the only one who has talked to this alien that has been living among them. We get to see the strength in Amy Adams' character, her passion, and her desire to stand for justice and truth no matter what that may mean for her.

The plot is very original for a Superman movie. The introduction to the new concepts of the planet krypton, and its history, as well as superman's struggle on this earth as he tried to find ways to discover himself were attention grabbing. Even the enemy Zod and his story had an awesome twist that really caused me to feel for him.

This movie with its theme of hope, community, and courage is beautiful, and caused me to engage in deeper thought even after the credits. It is exciting, action packed, inspiring, and creative despite the fact that Superman has been created and recreated several times in our era. This movie is more than fighting; it is about over coming. I would definitely recommend this film to both superhero lovers and non-super hero lovers alike.


By: Kelly Anyadike

About Time (2013) reviewed by Merri Camburn

About Time (2013)

Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Lydia Wilson, Lindsay Duncan, Richard Cordery, Joshua McGuire, Tom Hollander, Margot Robbie, Will Merrick, Vanessa Kirby, Tom Hughes

Director: Richard Curtis

Synopsis: The night after another unsatisfactory New Year’s party Tim’s (Domhnall Gleeson) father (Bill Nighy) tells his son that the men in his family have always had the ability to travel through time.  Tim can’t change history, but he can change what happens and has happened in his own life—so he decides to make his world a better place…by getting a girlfriend (Rachel McAdams).  But as his unusual life progresses, Tim finds out that his unique gift can’t save him from the sorrows and ups and downs that affect all families, everywhere.  From Filmmaker Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral), About Time is a comedy about love and time travel, which discovers that, in the end, making the most of life may not need time travel at all.

Reviewer’s Rating: 4/5 Reels


About Time, in my own words, is charmingly quirky.  Richard Curtis, who brought us Notting Hill and Love Actually, wrote another wonderful film that breaks rules at every twist and turn.  As you watch this film, you will think you know what is about to happen, only to be surprised at the reveal.

The cast is wonderful in every possible way.  Specifically, Domhnall Gleeson’s portrayal of Tim is loveable, cute, and yet awkward all at the same time. He is like your nerdy little brother. To this day, I could not name a better actor to fill his character’s shoes.  Opposite of him, Rachel McAdams, plays off the adorably quirky character that is Mary, as no other actress could.  Their characters complemented each other so well, while still allowing them to be their own person.  Speaking of chemistry, Bill Nighy’s portrayal of Tim’s father could not have been more refreshing.  While Nighy may be recognizable for other films he has done, I was not deterred by his former credentials.  He reminds us all of our favorite dad, uncle, or grandfather. This bond that Tim and his father had was clear and simple from the very beginning, as both actors did not try to force it.  It was natural.  Each and every one of these characters made me wish I was a part of this family.  Even now, I miss them dearly.

However, the reason this movie did not receive a perfect rating, would have to be due to the confusing subject that is time traveling. While I did not notice it as much watching the film the first time, my second time through revealed more questions than answers.  If anything, the rules that are set up seem quite inconsistent.  The very first thing we learn about time travel, within this film, is that the men in Tim’s family are the only ones that can travel back in time.  Nevertheless, in the midst of a difficult struggle, Tim takes his sister with him back in time.  Another problem I saw was that when Tim had already gone back in time, his father took him even farther back in time, past events that could greatly affect Tim’s future.  However, everything is the same, once Tim returns.  If either of these are allowed, it was not made clear.

Still, there are some very poetic moments that were clearly taken from time travel.  For Tim, “it was always going to be about love.”  Now, several of you may not like romance, but this is different.  Every time Tim travels back in time, despite his many faulty tries to obtain a girlfriend, he always tries to fix the problem that is causing pain for the one he cares about, and to say strongly, the one he loves.  That is not always going to be a girlfriend, but at times, a friend, his sister, or even his father.  For Tim, love is not selfish. 

This film may be described as a comedy, but I would not quite put it into that genre. It has elements of romance, drama, and a little sci-fi.  Because this movie is so unpredictable, there is not one genre that can describe this film, not even a rom-com, or a dramedy.

So, take the time to watch this movie at least once.  These two hours are not filled with the predictable mumbo-jumbo storyline that one has seen a hundred times over in every other defined romance or romantic comedy.  This is a good one, and two hours I am willing to watch over and over again.

About Time is “always going to be about love” and the lessons we can take away from it as we learn to live everyday as it is for all its ups and downs.  Enjoy life, and maybe even this film, too.

By: Merri Camburn

Labor Day (2013) reviewed by Kelby Schaeffler

Labor Day (2013)

Cast: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire, Tom Lipinski, Maika Monroe, Clark Gregg, James Van Der Beek, J.K. Simmons, Brooke Smith, Brighid Fleming, Alexie Gilmore, Lucas Hedges, Micah Fowler

Director: Jason Reitman  

Synopsis: Young Henry Wheeler’s (Gattlin Griffith) painfully fragile mother, Adele Wheeler (Kate Winslet), suffers from depression and anxiety after Henry’s father left her some years ago. While on a back-to-school shopping trip, injured and suspicious-looking Frank Chambers (Josh Brolin) coerces them into taking him to their home, where a news anchor on the television makes clear his real identity: an escaped convict facing 20 years for murder. After hiding out for the night, Frank begins to do chores around the house, cook and clean, and even teach Henry to catch a baseball, quickly proving his benevolence to Adele, who begins to fall in love with him.

Reviewer’s Rating: 3.5/5 Reels


In a world of unoriginal movie plots, director and writer Jason Reitman successfully produces a captivating and thrilling film with a new and innovative story. Based on Joyce Maynard’s novel of the same name, Labor Day makes viewers smile, gasp, and sit anxiously on the edge of their seats.

Kate Winslet fantastically plays her shaky character who can no longer perform even menial tasks. Josh Brolin also portrays his character perfectly, with his ruggedly dangerous appearance and serious composure. Gattlin Griffith perfectly portrays the pre-teen purity of Henry Wheeler, who, no longer carrying the burden of caring for his mother, begins navigating the idea of sexuality throughout the film.

Given the background of heartbroken and delicate Adele, the unexpected and odd love story between she and Frank is believable and heart-warming. Their slow-building love leaves viewers continuously wondering if Frank is dangerous. Does he plan to fill in the husband and father role for the Wheelers or will he become malicious? The cheesiness of the whole murderer-is-actually-an-innocent-baker-and-handyman thing could turn some off to this film. A bit corny? Oh, yes. But just enough to give you warm tingly butterflies. As Frank gently and sweetly molds his hands to Adele’s while kneading peach pie dough, audiences experience the long awaited loving touch that filled an aching void in Adele’s heart.

After Adele and Henry feel sure that Frank’s presence does not threaten them, the plot depicts an unlikely new family battling the police and the neighbors to live together in secrecy and find happiness. Two people incapable of facing the outside world, Adele and Frank find joy and comfort together within the confines of Adele’s small and humble home.

Perhaps the most enthralling aspect of the film is the tension throughout its entirety. Will Frank violently murder Adele and Henry? Will he marry Adele and become Henry’s father? Will the police find him and re-incarcerate him? Will Henry have sex with the cute new blonde girl in town? The suspenseful questions are endless and persist throughout the film. The structure of the film, with the interspersed flashbacks to Adele’s divorce and Frank’s life before prison, lends to its suspenseful storyline.  The flashbacks amp up the film, slowly revealing more and more of Frank’s story as viewers are left dying to know how he ended up in prison.

Labor Day’s brilliant acting and innovative plotline makes it a must-see movie of the year. Viewers will leave with joy, relief from the suspense they have felt for the past two hours, and even some new cooking tips. What’s not to love?

By: Kelby Schaeffler

Lone Survivor (2013) reviewed by Carly Tillery

Lone Survivor (2013)

Cast: Mark Wahlberg (as Marcus Luttrell), Taylor Kitsch (as Lietenant Michael P. “Murph” Murphy), Emile Hirsch (as Danny Dietz), Ben Foster (as Matthew “Axe” Axelson), and Eric Bana (as Lieutenant Commander Erik S. Kristensen)

Director: Peter Berg

Synopsis: A four-man Navy SEAL team is assigned to Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan. The mission consists of tracking down Ahmad Shah, a Taliban leader responsible for murdering numerous American servicemen.   After reaching the Hindu Kush region and managing their way through the mountain three herdsmen cross paths with the SEAL team. A decision was made to turn the herdsman loose and to abort the mission. The SEAL team was unable to retreat before being attacked by the Taliban. After a series of wounds and misfortunes the team was running out of options. The last hope was to get to high enough ground in order to transmit the location of the team. The goal was achieved at a high cost; all lives were lost except for one. Luttrell was left as the lone survivor of Operation Red Wings. The next day Luttrell was discovered by a local villager and was cared for as a message was sent to the nearest American airbase to bring awareness of Luttrell’s location. Before aid arrived the Taliban threatened the village on the merit of helping an American. During another battle brought on by the Taliban American forces arrived to return their lone survivor to safety.

Reviewer’s Rating: 4.5/5 Reels

Lone Survivor is based off a mission completed by the Navy SEAL in 2005. The filming took place in New Mexico to set the stage and bring the feeling of an Afghanistan hillside and village. Although not all of the facts are necessarily true, the storyline stays close to the autobiography of Marcus Luttrell. The ending of the film leaves the audience in a daze of uncertainty. Fortunately for the viewers, the final ending to Luttrell’s story is told through a series of screen shots describing the reunion of the two heroes.

Peter Berg directed Lone Survivor in a way that brought the reality of war to life. The effort placed behind each detail of the battle was excruciating yet life-like. The battle scenes seemed to drag on, but it would have only been a fraction of a second that the team actually endured. There is no time to recoup during the ultimate struggle of the men portrayed in this film. Berg incorporated each struggle, frustration, and pain that the men experienced and did not bring light to any of the matters at hand. This movie may be more difficult to watch because it is based on a true story that is relevant to this day and time. Many details of the war that we find ourselves amidst are not revealed to the everyday American society. The story of these men, as hard as it is to bear, is the first real insight that Americans have been provided with for a more proficient understanding.

This film places light on the moral decision the men of this story encountered through the herdsman. Too often the media is filled with poor decisions made by serviceman and never praise for those who dare to endure the pain of the correct path. People are not always rewarded for an accurate action as seen by the fallen men of this story. Through this movie, viewers are able to appreciate and honor the heroic men and their families who dare to excel during great trial.

By: Carly Tillery

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