Lynn Harris

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The Shallows Review

Very Good

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes the audience on a terrifying odyssey involving a lone woman and a menacing shark. What emerges is a gruelling one-woman show, as Blake Lively throws herself into a ferocious cat and mouse game that's relentlessly suspenseful.

She plays Nancy, a young medical school drop-out on a pilgrimage to a mythical beach her mother told her about before dying of cancer. So she has very personal reasons to visit it. And with the help of nice-guy guide Carlos (Oscar Jaenada), she finds it on a remote stretch of Mexico's coastline. After video chatting with her father and sister (Brett Cullen and Sedona Legge), she paddles out to join a couple of local surfers. Then when she decides to stay for one last wave on her own, the great white pounces. Injured and alone, she takes refuge on a tiny rock that will disappear when the tide rises. And in order to survive, she'll have to get creative.

Shot in Australia, the film is carefully assembled to ratchet up the intensity right from the start. Collet-Serra gleefully stirs in plenty of creepy Jaws-like insinuation, hinting at what's coming long before he reveals the enormous single-minded shark. The combination of digital effects and rubbery models never quite looks real, but the film is so sharply well-made that we never mind. And besides, Lively does a great job at convincing us that she's in proper peril. This is a full-bodied performance, so grounded and authentic that Lively is able to take the audience through the ordeal right with Nancy. Her experience in the water is bolstered through visions and flashbacks that add a surprising emotions. And her banter with Carlos offers some insight into her feisty personality.

Continue reading: The Shallows Review

The 5th Wave Review

Very Good

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels like it could be a worthy successor to The Hunger Games saga, with its smart story and strong characters. The premise feels remarkably grounded, as it follows a feisty teen while her world is turned upside down by an alien invasion. And Chloe Grace Moretz gives one of her most complex performances to date as a quick, flawed heroine.

The title refers to the stages of invasion, as unseen aliens quietly take over the planet. And then not so quietly. Most of humanity has been killed by disasters or disease, with the survivors waiting for whatever the next wave of attack might be. Before this, Cassie (Moretz) was a normal 16-year-old with a crush on the cute Ben (Nick Robinson). Now she's running for her life, trying to rescue her little brother Sam (Zackary Arthur), who has been whisked to safety by the gung-ho Colonel Vosch (Liev Schreiber) and his military resistance. Along the way, she meets farm boy Evan (Alex Roe), whom she reluctantly trusts mainly because he's such a hunk. Meanwhile, Ben finds himself in Sam's unit in the newly formed child's army Vosch is training to hunt down aliens who have taken human form.

Director Blakeson keeps the pace brisk without rushing past important details. This makes what happens feel unusually believable, and it also allows the actors to add personal touches to their performances. Moretz finds Cassie's innate courage and quick physicality, but nicely balances it with her impulsive decisions and adolescent self-doubt. As in most of these movies, she has to be in a love triangle, but her scenes with both Robinson and Roe offer something a bit more intriguing, mainly because both actors have surprises up their sleeves. There's also a fourth person in this relationship in the form of Maika Monroe's tough-girl fighter Ringer, perhaps the most intriguing character on-screen.

Continue reading: The 5th Wave Review

Lynn Harris Taylor - The BET Honors 2014 Hosted by Wayne Brady Honoring Aretha Franklin, Berry Gordy, Ice Cube, Ken Chenault and Carrie Mae Weems Held at Warner Theater, Washington DC - Washington DC, Maryland, United States - Saturday 8th February 2014

Lynn Harris

The Notebook Review


Weak
With just four films under Nick Cassavetes's belt, it's almost unfair to compare the director to his trailblazing father. In the case of The Notebook, however, it's unavoidable.

Thanks to papa John (Husbands, Gloria), the name Cassavetes has come to symbolize intrepid, no-apologies filmmaking and the unconventional human interaction within Now, 15 years after the maverick's death, his heir has traveled to the opposite pole, adapting a Nicholas Sparks novel into a standard tearjerker, filling the screen with handfuls of manipulative Hollywood clichés.

Continue reading: The Notebook Review

Blade: Trinity Review


Terrible
Look up trinity in the dictionary and it will tell you that it's the union of three closely related members. That's a clever guise for this, the third movie about the half-human, half-vampire Marvel comic book hero named Blade. Yet, the film that's lurking under this misnomer is remarkably dissimilar to the original spectacle of the previous two films. This unimaginative mess isn't worthy of such a witty title -- just call it Blade III.

David S. Goyer, who wrote the first two Blade films, not only pens this edition, but now takes the reins as its director. At the controls, Goyer is like a kid out of control in a candy store. With all of the eye-popping cinematic sweets at his fingertips, Goyer samples each piece, but can never settle on a specific style that's cohesive and complementary to the action. The final product resembles what you might expect from a teenager: a quick-paced arcade game set to an obnoxiously loud, mind-numbing metal, hip-hop, and techno score.

Continue reading: Blade: Trinity Review

Lynn Harris

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Drake Launches Intense New Short Film 'Please Forgive Me'

Drake Launches Intense New Short Film 'Please Forgive Me'

The rapper teams up with Apple Music on his latest project.

The Cast Of 'Will And Grace' Have Reunited, But What Are They Up To?

The Cast Of 'Will And Grace' Have Reunited, But What Are They Up To?

The NBC series ended a decade ago, but Will, Grace, Karen and Jack haven't changed a bit.

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Idina Menzel Flashes Gigantic Sparkler Following Engagement

Idina Menzel Flashes Gigantic Sparkler Following Engagement

Now THAT'S an engagement ring. Good job, Aaron Lohr!

Robbie Williams Announces New Album 'Heavy Entertainment Show'

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The album is Williams’ first release since 2013’s ‘Swings Both Ways’.

Dev Patel Is A Lost Boy In Touching True Story Drama 'Lion'

Dev Patel Is A Lost Boy In Touching True Story Drama 'Lion'

There's already an Oscars buzz surrounding this movie.

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Lynn Harris Movies

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

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The Notebook Movie Review

The Notebook Movie Review

With just four films under Nick Cassavetes's belt, it's almost unfair to compare the director...

Blade: Trinity Movie Review

Blade: Trinity Movie Review

Look up trinity in the dictionary and it will tell you that it's the union...

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