The Hollars - Review

PG-13 | 1h 28min | Comedy, Drama, Romance 
Review - Matt Mungle

*In theaters September 9th 2016 *

SynopsisA man returns to his small hometown after learning that his mother has fallen ill and is about to undergo surgery.

ReviewThe Hollars is an emotional, funny, and relatable tale with a cast that felt like family. This is vital in a film that often tried to do too much. It teeters on the edge of implausible but has enough heartfelt moments to save the day. 

John Krasinski directs and stars in this dramatic comedy about a man trying to deal with the weight of family issues and finding his own path in the world. His character John is a guy who doesn't get back to Ohio much now that he is living in NY. When his mom (Margo Martindale) falls ill he rushes home to be by her side and help his dad (Richard Jenkins) and brother (Sharlto Copley) cope. While there he does some much needed soul searching.

The film is funny and lighthearted even in its most dramatic moments. Much of this is the responsibility of the talented and amazing Martindale. No one grounds a character in the real world like Margo. In this one she is fantastic. The rest of the cast follow her lead and bring real emotion even when the script fails them. 

Krasinski will always be the lovable Jim from The Office and his endearment pays off in this genre. He splits his skills between acting and directing well and luckily this cast is professional and capable. The moments between John and Margo are touching and sweet. 

One of the busiest actresses in Hollywood these days is Anna Kendrick who stars here as John's girlfriend Rebecca. Kendrick could have done this role in her sleep and has no problem being the lovable support of her stressed out boyfriend. But it is an Anna we have seen a dozen times over. Which is fine cause we dig her. 

The problem many will find with this film is how it tries to do too much. Is it a comedy? A drama? At times it is both to the extreme. It mixes goofy lines and slapstick character arcs with deep rooted pain and intensity. Laughter is the best medicine but here the two often clash and leave the viewer confused and frustrated. It could have gone one way or the other and been fine. It is the two together that cause friction. 

THE HOLLARS is rated PG-13 for brief language and some thematic material. The language is actually not brief and has mild expletives throughout. This makes it more suited (along with the theme and content) for those 16 and over. It is a tender story in places and one that will have you misty eyed before it is all said and done. I give it 3 out of 4 bedpans. Perfect renter for sure or for those who adore the cast. 


SULLY - Review

PG-13 | 1h 35min | Biography, Drama
Review - Matt Mungle

*In theaters September 9th 2016 *

SynopsisThe story of Chesley Sullenberger, who became a hero after gliding his plane along the water in the Hudson River, saving all of the airplane flights 155 crew and passengers.

ReviewOne tagline for SULLY is "The untold story behind the miracle on the Hudson" and many may wonder if the story is worth being told. We all know of the unprecedented landing but what happened afterwards is what makes the movie riveting. 

Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) is a seasoned pilot of over four decades. His calm, split second decision making made him a hero of New York and the world. But afterwards there were plenty of "suits" trying their best to overlook the miracle and find fault in the method. In the wake of climbing out of the Hudson Sully finds himself having to defend his actions to try and salvage his stellar career. 

It is frustrating to watch a company attempt to dismantle what the rest of the world is applauding. The story line is not manipulative and screenwriter Todd Komarnicki adapts the biography well. The facts are intriguing enough without unneeded embellishments. Director Clint Eastwood then takes that script and pieces together a powerful narrative of emotion and action. Hanks may not stray too far from his comfort zone but none the less we feel for Sully and hang on every moment. 

Many smart film making sets this apart from other airline dramas. For one Eastwood waits until you are comfortable with the characters before offering the intensity of the crash. The disaster event doesn't take a backseat but it also does not overshadow the man and the aftermath of inquiries. Secondly he allows his actors to breath and move organically. The dialogue is never rushed through or glazed over. It happens naturally.

Aaron Eckhart stars as Sully's co-pilot Jeff Skiles. Eckhart is a fantastic partner for Hanks and the two work brilliantly together. The rest of the cast (Mike O'Malley, Laura Linney, Anna Gunn) deliver emotional performances that could win them a best ensemble nod once award season roles around.

SULLY is rated PG-13 for some peril and brief strong language. It is an adult film in its themes and pacing but those older teens could find it interesting too. I give it 3.75 out of 5 mustaches. I wasn't sure if the story needed telling or if I would find it worth hearing. But thanks to Eastwood and his cast the story may become the most surprising film of the season.