Teens corrupted by super powers in ‘Chronicle,’ plus Barrymore’s whale of a tale
As I watched Drew Barrymore’s eyes go moist at the plight of three trapped whales in Alaska in Big Miracle, I couldn’t help but remember her wide-eyed wonder at the sight of E.T. Barrymore plays a Greenpeace activist in the movie, based on a true story from 1988 about how the plight of these three whales, a mother, father and child, captivated the network news around the globe. That said I must confess I have no remembrance of the real life incident.
No matter, Big Miracle, beyond its bland, nondescript title, delivers exactly what the coming attraction promised, a Free Willy, “save the whales” tale. And since I am a sucker for save-the-animals movie, I enjoyed it. John Krasinski also stars as an Alaskan TV reporter who dreams of a job in the lower forty-eight and sees this story as his chance to shine.
As the press latches onto the story, an oilman (Ted Danson), the Alaskan National Guard, Ronald Reagan and the Russian government are swept up in the opportunity for good public relations by helping out in the attempt to create a passage for the iced-in gray whales to reach the open ocean.
Big Miracle takes advantage of the little fish as well, like the native population who exploit the out-of-town newsmen for monetary gain, and a couple of goofy Minnesotans who have a boat de-icer that turns out to be a big help to the rescue.
Directed by TV veteran Ken Kwapis (He’s Just Not That Into You, The Office) and written by Jack Amiel and Michael Begler, based on the book Freeing the Whales by Thomas Rose, Big Miracle is a nice family movie.
P.S.: Stick around for the closing credits to see some of the real life heroes take a bow.
Directed by Josh Trank; rated PG-13
Big Miracle **1/2
Directed by Ken Kwapis; rated PG
Romantic comedies have been so awful lately (with the major exception of Crazy, Stupid, Love) it is no wonder that director McG and his trio of writers decided to try and spiff up the genre by mashing it together with an action comedy.
The success of the Bourne trilogy has changed the landscape of spy movies. While there are still James Bond movies, even those have more grit these days. Safe House, starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, is an obvious example of this new direction.
While I was recovering from surgery last month, several Oscar contenders opened. Here are some quick opinions on those films and what chance they might have when the Oscars are handed out Feb. 26.
When one looks back over the year and designates a “best 10” list, it isn’t really a “best” ten. In all honesty it is my 10 favorite films of the year, since one’s personal tastes are such a big part of remembering which films gave you the most pleasure or had the biggest emotional impact, or just made you laugh your ass off.