By Chris Kavan - 10/02/19 at 12:31 AM CT
Is it October already? I guess time flies when you're writing blogs. The MPAA Ratings Boards isn't slacking, either and, lo-and-behold, there is even a horror film gracing the list this week. Granted it's about a killer app (literally - you'll see), so I'm not sure how happy I should be. Otherwise, Roland Emmerich's sure-to-be bombastic war film gets is due as does a biopic about the most famous face of the Underground Railroad. Three is a nice number of films to talk about, so let's get to it.
With the rise of of everything technological in the last few decades, horror has done its best to update itself with the times with films like Unfriended and the similarly-themed Friend Request trying to put a scary spin on social media. Much like those films the upcoming Countdown does the same with the ubiquitous phone app. In this case, the film follows a new app that displays your supposed time of death down to the minute. A nurse (Elizabeth Lail) downloads the app on a whim only to find out she only has three days left to live. Thinking it must be some kind of joke, she soon learns the app has a supposedly 100% success rate - that is, when it says you die... you die. And in a sinister twist, she begins to notice a shadowy figure haunting her - maybe hunting her. Countdown appears to be a mix of Final Destination and The Ring - with some kind of supernatural, evil twist thrown in, I'm sure. The cast features the likes of Peter Facinelli, Tom Segura, Jordan Calloway, P.J. Byrne, Anne Winters and Talitha Eliana Bateman among others. Obviously this is aimed at the millennial crowd and we'll see if this kind of horror makes them show up or tune out. Rated PG-13 for terror, violence, bloody images, suggestive material, language and thematic elements.
In years past director Roland Emmerich has brought us alien invasions, giant lizards, weather run amok and even the end of the entire world. Disaster porn is a pretty good description of her oeuvre, but lately he has been trying his hand at something deeper. Stonewall was a good first step, but it looks like Midway is going to be his next big test. The film is based on the historic battle between the American and Japanese fleet in the Pacific theater, of which Midway marked a huge turning point in WWII. Undermanned and outgunned, the U.S. managed to win a decisive victory, with Emmerich highlighting those who fought and led during this most crucial moment in history. He has also managed to corral quite a cast - with Woody Harrelson as Admiral Chester Nimitz, Aaron Eckhart as Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, Luke Evans as Lieutenant Commander Wade McClusky, Dennis Quaid as Vice Admiral William 'Bull' Halsey, Patrick Wilson as Edwin Layton and Darren Criss as Lieutenant Commander Eugene Lindsey. The big names don't stop there with Mandy Moore, Ed Skrein, Nick Jonas, Jake Weber, Alexander Ludwig and Luke Kleintank on board as well. My only concern on this is despite its fast-approaching release date, I have heard almost nothing about this film. And, though I want to belive Emmerich can do right by such a momentous battle - I still feel this is going to be more Pearl Harbor than Saving Private Ryan in terms of how things are going to work out. Look, my dad has instilled in me a great reverence for war films - in fact, I found Dunkirk to be my personal favorite film of 2017 - but not every war film can be a classic. I want to believe but it may not be enough. Rated Rated PG-13 for sequences of war violence and related images, language and smoking.
Speaking of historical moments in history, it is often said that heroes are made, not born. A lot of important figures in history fit this description and we're getting a long overdue look into one of their lives with Harriet. That would be Harriet Tubman (Cynthia Erivo) one of the key figures of the Underground Railroad that helped hundreds of slaves escape their bonds. Tubman herself had to escape first, and her journey from slave to freedom fighter certainly shaped her life, and helped her become the woman she was destined to be. Biopics can be tricky to get right and Harriet, while certainly inspirational, is also being called out for being overly formulaic as well. Erivo has gotten a lot of praise for her depiction of Tubman, but the story is too by-the-book for many critics. Still, audiences may not want to get bogged down by too many details - maybe they just want an uplifting film to inspire them. If so, Harriet may be just what the doctor ordered. Rated PG-13 for thematic content throughout, violent material and language including racial epithets.
Those are the three new wide releases getting their ratings due from the MPAA Ratings Board this week, but be sure to check out the full list below:
CHARM CITY KINGS
Rated R for pervasive language, sexual references and some violence.
Rated PG-13 for terror, violence, bloody images, suggestive material, language and thematic elements.
Rated R for strong violence including bloody images, and language throughout.
CURSE OF THE MONKEY BIRD - A LOONEY TUNES CARTOON
Rated R for language and brief sexual material.
PG-13 for thematic content throughout, violent material and language including racial epithets.
Rated PG for thematic material.
Rated PG-13 for sexual material.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of war violence and related images, language and smoking.
Rated R for violence, sexual content, language and brief graphic nudity.