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Tomorrow, When the War Began: Unrealistic War Drama
This is ultimately a war film, but the story doesn’t subscribe to the same traditional elements of the genre. Rather than focusing on the battle and the politics of war on a grander scale, it looks at it from a civilian’s point of view. While the characters are numerous, the attempt to cover a broad cross section of personalities often ends up in a portrayal of clichéd stereotypes.
A film that relies so heavily on a character-driven plot, naturally also relies on the performance of its actors. Unfortunately, the young cast fails to deliver, and the film as a whole lacks the drama and action that you’d expect from a subject matter like this one.
The brief and infrequent action scenes stand out as impressive and entertaining, but at times border on the ridiculous. In one scene for example, heavily armed military vehicles are pursuing two girls in a truck, and are powerless to apprehend it.
Tomorrow, When the War Began is an overall weak production that lacks realism, intensity, and features a distinctively average cast. The green light has been given to produce the sequel, which is based on the second novel in the Tomorrow series, with the third part also being considered. Picking up where this film finishes, the sequel will hopefully develop the series into a better watch.
There’s an old adage in sports that says “you’re only as good as your last game.” This is true in the case of the very talented Thomas McCarthy, who was riding high on a hot streak with indie gems such as Win Win and The Station Agent. That is until The Cobbler; an unfocused and illogical almost-comedy starring the maddeningly inconsistent Adam Sandler.
The story follows Max Simkin (Sandler); an introverted fourth-generation cobbler who took over the family’s business in New York City, after his father, Abraham Simkin (Hoffman) decided to walk out on him and his mother, (Cohen).
Bored and clearly miserable with the monotonous routine that is his life, Max’s big break, so to speak, soon comes in the form of a magical stitching machine – yes, you read that right – which he comes across late one night in the store’s basement when the power goes out. Tasked to fix a pair of expensive shoes brought in by a rather outspoken customer, Max decides to use the antique machine to finish his work. However, he quickly realises that the machine’s magical powers can transform the wearer – in this case, him – into the owner of the shoes. Commence eye-rolling.
Naturally excited, Max milks his discovery for all its worth, but soon finds himself wrapped up in some shady dealings with sly real estate mogul, Elaine Greenawalt (Barkin).
Sporting his trademark dishevelled, droopy-eyed look, things get off to a good start for Sandler, but it’s not long before couple of head-scratching and unexpectedly bizarre turns - in what is an already bizarre premise - take over the story, one of which has the film asking its audience to believe in Sandler’s character as a hero, of sorts, with no hint of sarcasm.
Naturally, the entire picture and its half-baked premise descend into just another chapter in Adam Sandler’s string of Happy Maddison vanity productions. And that’s never a good thing – such a shame for such a talented comedian.
With seventeen novels to his name, it’s fair to say that author, Nicholas Sparks, has enjoyed a decent amount of success, especially since his very first book-to-film adaptation of the super-cheesy Message in a Bottle back in 1999. Nine of his novels have been turned into big Hollywood motion-pictures – including The Notebook and Dear John – and his latest, a disastrous and a painfully predictable attempt at a romantic drama, is the author’s tenth and quite possibly, most damaging of them all.
The story opens with Sophia (Robertson); a young woman looking forward to moving to New York City, where she plans to pursue her dreams of working at an art gallery right after she graduates. Things soon get complicated when - while attending a bull-riding competition of all things - she lays her eyes on Luke Collins (Eastwood); a handsome and a talented bull-rider who is making a return after suffering a major injury a year prior. The two are quick to connect and soon begin to spend more time with one another.
One night, they come across a devastating car accident and after managing to pull an elderly man named Ira Levinson (Alda) - and his box full of old letters – out of the wreck, the film smacks on another layer to the story. Sending us all the way back to WWII, the film shifts its focus to young Ira (Huston) and a beautiful young girl named, Ruth (Chaplin), and begins to follow their romance; a story filled with plenty of heartache and tragedy to keep hardcore Sparks fans amused.
One thing’s for sure; if you’ve seen one Nicholas Sparks movie, you’ve seen them all. Two pretty people fall in love. Their potential happily-ever-after is challenegd by a series of obstacles and hurdles which they need to find the strength to overcome. Tragedy strikes. Tears are jerked. Roll credits.
The Longest Ride is one of author’s weakest entries, it’s a little too predictable and as the tenth book-to-movie adaptation for the celebrated author, there’s nothing to separate it from the pack or make it more relevant or topical. The story jumps back and forth rather awkwardly between the past and the present and there is very little that connects the two periods together, making us think why bother with the timeline to begin with?
On the upside, the leads – although lacking quite a bit of chemistry – are likable and both Eastwood and Robertson bring enough charm and easygoingness – yes, that’s a real word – into the story. However, their pretty faces aren’t enough to save the day; unsurprising and tediously slow, The Longest Ride is a truly a long ride.