Movie guy Will Meyer reviewed the following three movies at the box office on April 16.
"The Fate of the Furious" is the eighth installment in this adrenaline-fueled franchise—one that just a few years ago, appeared to be out-of-gas. But, this soap opera on steroids of a series came roaring back to life with Fast Five, and is now breaking box-office records with each new installment. "The Fate of the Furious" is a perfectly competent entry, although it certainly doesn’t exceed expectations. It focuses far too much attention on its tedious and insipid plot, and strives for intelligent drama when it should stick to what it knows best. But, it’s still a fun ride, with more than enough thrillingly preposterous action set pieces to please the legions of diehard fans.
Verdict: 2.5 out of 4 stars
This Danish-German historical drama follows a group of German teenage soldiers who, in the aftermath of WWII, were forced to remove thousands of their country’s landmines from the coast of Denmark. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, "Land of Mine" brings to the screen an under-told true story in brutally intense fashion. This nightmarish nail-biter is as grim as it is captivating; at times, you may want to look away, but you know that you can’t. As harrowing as this journey may seem, "Land of Mine" ultimately reveals itself as a poignant and moving tale of compassion and forgiveness.
Verdict: 3.5 out of 4 stars
"The Zookeeper’s Wife" tells the true story of a couple who saved hundreds of humans and animals during World War II by hiding them at their Warsaw Zoo. The film is based on a bestselling book that’s rife with compelling historical drama, but Niki Caro fails to bring any of that excitement to the screen. The film features a fine performance from Jessica Chastain, and has some compelling moments, but there’s not a lot to recommend in this mostly drab, emotionless affair. The film gets a much-needed jolt of energy in its last half hour, but at the end of the day, this is nothing more than a bland, run-of-the-mill Holocaust drama.
Verdict: 2 out of 4 stars