Movie reviews: “Uncharted”, “Dog”, “The Cursed”


UNCHARTED: 2 STARS

Movies based on video games are either entertaining or breathtaking. An interactive video game running at home on your PlayStation may not offer the same dopamine rush when translated to the one-way interactivity of the big screen. For every “Detective Pikachu” that hits the mark, there are a dozen “BloodRaynes” or “Mortal Kombat: Annihilations.”

“Uncharted,” a prequel to the smash hit PlayStation series starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg and now playing in theaters, is the latest entry in the video game competition.

Holland plays Nathan Drake, who, unlike Spider-Man, the actor’s other cinematic alter-ego, uses his sticky fingers to steal stuff, not scale the exterior of tall buildings. Either way, both characters are adventurers who live outside the fringes. In Drake’s case, it comes naturally. He is a direct descendant of the 16th century pirate Sir Francis Drake.

By day Nathan is a bartender in New York, by night he’s a thief. Day and night, he hopes to find Sam, his treasure hunter brother whom he has not seen since the age of ten. Big brother hit the road, with a promise to return, leaving behind memories and enigmatic clues to the location of Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan’s $5 billion lost gold. “The gold is not gone,” he said, “it is lost and if it is lost it can be found.”

When Victor ‘Sully’ Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) speaks quickly and asks Nathan to help find the lost treasure, he agrees, hoping to find the gold and information about his missing brother. “There’s only one rule,” Sully says of their dangerous mission. “Don’t get caught.”

The couple, along with fortune hunter Chloe (Sophia Ali), travel the world in search of two crosses that serve as the key to the mystery, while trying to stay a step or two ahead of the ruthless wealthy Moncada (Antonio Banderas), who has a personal connection to gold, and his team of mercenaries.

“Uncharted” mixes and matches the adventure elements of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Tomb Raider,” and “National Treasure” in a generic action movie that gets lost early on. Even the combined charisma of its stars, Holland and Wahlberg, can’t get it back on track.

Both play finely sketched versions of characters we’ve seen before and better. When he’s onscreen, Wahlberg plays a riff on his sarcastic and smart persona, but it’s a Where’s Waldo-style role for him. It disappears for long sections as Holland takes center stage.

Holland plays Nathan as an arrogant young man with a special set of skills. Sound familiar? It’s like watching Peter Parker do parkour without the webs but with an unnatural gift for solving puzzles that have baffled others for centuries. He’s fun on screen but he doesn’t do anything here that feels new.

Together, they joke in a playful dialogue that often has all the charm of a dress nail.

Then there are the action scenes. The film opens with a frenetic, CGI-heavy fight scene that sees Nathan flying through the air, battling bad guys. It’s high-flying action, but don’t worry if you’re five minutes late getting to the cinema, the scene repeats later in the movie. The large-scale action scenes are loud, frenetic, but often feel like holdovers from Pierce Brosnan’s 007 era. They fill the screen, but the film’s casual and lighthearted tone ensures there’s very little risk for any of the main characters.

“Uncharted” has a really good villain, and no, it’s not Banderas who does nothing but talk in a low voice. Tati Gabrielle as Braddock’s ruthless killer and schemer brings a spark to her scenes, but not enough to kick off this inert action movie.

DOG: 3 1/2 STARS

Channing Tatum

In his first film in five years, Channing Tatum trades the thongs and dance moves of “Magic Mike” for a dog leash and self-awareness. Now playing in theaters, ‘Dog’ is something of a pet project for Tatum, who not only stars but also makes his directorial debut in a film about the power of the dog to change a life. .

Tatum plays Jackson Briggs, a former U.S. Army Ranger sidelined by a traumatic brain injury and PTSD. Cut off from the army, he is lost in civilian life, separated from the only world he really feels he belongs to. He wants to come back, but his state of health does not allow him to return to service.

When his best friend Ranger dies in Arizona, Briggs is offered a return to the military. “Do you want to get back in the game?” asks Ranger Jones (Luke Forbes). “Prove it. Sergeant Rodriguez was a legend. The family funeral is on Sunday outside Nogales. They want his dog at the funeral. You do that, and you’re back in the game.

The dog is Lulu, a Belgian Malinois military working dog, whose vicious nature has worked well in the field, less so on base. “One minute she’s fine,” Briggs says, “the next minute she’s sending three guys to the ER.”

Despite Lulu’s temper, Briggs agrees to drive her up the Pacific Coast from Joint Base Lewis–McChord in Washington to the funeral in Arizona. The unlikely pair embark on an eventful road trip, which could lead to redemption for both.

“Dog” is a quiet man and his dog movie that quietly examines the aftermath of trauma and the healing power of companionship and respect. As the miles pass, Briggs comes to understand the shared bond between man and dog. Both discover life outside the war zones that have been their homes for many years, and both are forever marked by this experience. As their relationship deepens, it’s clear that the key to their recovery is mutual TLC.

The film takes some strange detours along the way – like a long sequence where Briggs pretends to be blind to get a fancy hotel suite or a bizarre encounter with a cannabis grower who believes Briggs is a murderer – but the beating heart of the film is the relationship between man and dog.

Tatum brings his likable personality to a character that isn’t always likable. The film places Briggs in comedic and dramatic situations, which gives the film an uneven tone — there are a few “ruff” spots — but Tatum levels the playing field, providing continuity between the film’s goofy and gallant moments. More importantly, he shares great chemistry with Lulu, who is actually played by three different canine actors. Tatum and co-director Reid Carolin make sure to include plenty of close-ups of Lulu’s soulful eyes, and in these scenes Tatum’s warmth shines through.

“Dog” isn’t a film that teaches the dog or the audience many new tricks, but it does end on an emotional note with a welcome, albeit well-worn, message about the healing power of companionship.

THE CURSED: 3 1/2 STARS

“The Cursed,” a new werewolf movie now in theaters, aims for the moon by throwing the traditional rules of lycanthropy mythology out the window to create a fresh and timely take on an ancient genre. But does he bite more than he can chew?

The film opens in the trenches of the First World War during the Battle of the Somme. A French soldier is killed by a silver bullet before the action goes back thirty-five years to the former province of Gevaudan in southern France and the real beginning of the story.

Cold-hearted baron of the land (is there another?) Seamus Laurent (Alistair Petrie) isn’t afraid to spill gallons of blood to protect his property, his wife (Kelly Reilly) and his children . When a Roma clan claims their land, Laurent retaliates, attacking, burning and maiming each of them. “Do you think you can ride in my country,” Laurent sneers as his hitmen laugh and take pictures with the dead, “take my land and do whatever you want?”

As the final victim is buried alive, she pronounces a curse, dooming Laurent’s estate and the entire family.

As the curse rings in his ears, everything changes. Laurent’s family is soon affected and his carefully constructed life begins to fall apart.

His son Edward (Max Mackintosh) suffers for his father’s sins. His eerie dreams of creepy scarecrows and strange metal teeth bring him back to the scene of the Roma massacre. When Timmy Adams (Tommy Rodger), the son of one of the other barons in the area, finds the metal teeth buried on the killing field, before you can say “The Werewolves of London”, he puts them in his mouth and bites Edward. , piercing his neck. “We’re all going to pay for the sins of our elders,” Timmy said. “We are all gonna die.”

Timmy rushes into the woods while Edward is treated at home. When Edward disappears from his bed, a search party is summoned but the boy is not found. Meanwhile, a bloodthirsty beast, whose bite kills or turns its prey into a werewolf, terrorizes the region.

John McBride (Boyd Holbrook), a visiting pathologist with a personal connection to the case, understands what’s going on and knows that the only “cure” to the werewolf epidemic is a quick fix.

“The Cursed” has a title that sounds like it should be attached to exploitation fare, gory with a crass edge. While there are gory and crude moments scattered throughout, most of the duration is quiet and austere, shot in the grayish, low-light tones of so much 19th-century horror on film. Director Sean Ellis is scary, creating a sense of dread and suspense that pays off during the attack scenes.

More interesting is Ellis’ reinterpretation of the werewolf legend. The Curse and the Silver Bullet have survived established mythology, but he discards the rest to create a new appearance for his creatures. These beasts do not represent the duality of the werewolves of old, the mixture of animal and spiritual. They don’t wait for the full moon to turn. They also don’t look like Lon Chaney Jr.’s usual monster. Instead, as one scene memorably details, the victims are wrapped in a werewolf husk.

No spoilers here, but the creatures are primitive killing machines, not the tortured souls of other werewolf movies who are trapped by, but fight against their nature.

“The Cursed” is a new take on the werewolf legend, but simultaneously feels like a throwback to the Hammer horror movies of yore where charismatic Van Helsing guys fought creatures and corsets and pigtails -pie were always in fashion. A mix of high and primal scares, masterminds and schlock, it packs enough suspense and memorable visuals to keep it interesting.

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