THE GHOST OF BONDS PAST
As the title clearly indicates, Daniel Craig’s 007 will finally, at long last, come face to face with what perhaps the most iconic evil organization in the “James Bond” universe: Spectre, which was first seen on film in “Dr. No” way back in 1962. So, off he goes on a worldwide hunt to reveal the truth behind this shadowy threat and get himself acquainted with a new group of Bond Girls. Meanwhile, in a not-so-subtle nod to the harsh and mundane realities of espionage, the new M is busy fighting on the political front to keep MI6 from being shut down. Yes, James Bond is now truly ready for the 21st century.
A plague brought about by a coven of evil witches threatens to destroy humanity. The good news is that a sword-wielding Vin Diesel stands ready to do some witch-hunting. The bad news is that he has to team up with a female witch, which is not something an “immortal witch hunter” might find particularly agreeable. This “partner up with your sworn enemy to defeat an even bigger adversary” might have been done to death, but when done right, it can provide some interesting character dynamics. So, “The Last Witch Hunter” gets a solid thumbs-up.
DON’T LOOK DOWN
In this thrilling biopic, Joseph Gordon-Levitt portrays Philippe Petit, a French high-wire artist, as he prepares and finally executes his most memorable stunt: A heart-stopping walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, 400 meters above ground. Naturally, such an elaborate feat is not only difficult to prepare for, but also extremely dangerous and illegal. But for a man who feels most alive when facing death, it is the ultimate triumph. And speaking of this movie’s central character, Gordon-Levitt trained with Philippe Petit himself in preparation for “The Walk.” Highly recommended, but only for those not afraid of heights, obviously.
Once again, Matt Damon plays the role of an astronaut stranded on another planet. Unlike his previous experience in “Interstellar,” however, this time around he’s left behind when a manned mission to Mars goes south and everybody else evacuates the red planet. “The Martian” then focuses on his efforts to MacGyver what little supplies he has to survive (such as creating a makeshift potato farm—which the film crew actually did for real) and let people back home now that he’s alive. At the same time, conflict brews between NASA and the rest of the crew on how—or even whether or not—to bring the lone Martian home.
ONE FINAL FLIGHT
Three years after the first “Hunger Games” hit theaters worldwide, we finally come to the actual finale of the series. While a lot viewers might expect a straightforward final showdown by now, those familiar with the original novels are obviously aware of quite a few plot twists that are yet to unravel. How those few final twists will play out in this movie … now that will be quite intriguing. Besides the plot, “Mockingjay—Part 2” also retains Part 1’s stellar cast, who are joined by some new faces, including Gwendoline Christie of “Game of Thrones” fame.
In 1960, a United States spy plane was shot down while flying in Soviet airspace. The pilot was captured, charged with espionage, and sentenced to prison and hard labor before eventually being released in a prisoner exchange between the two superpowers. The intense negotiations behind this deal take center stage in “Bridge of Spies,” with Tom Hanks taking on the role of James Donovan who was sent to bargain on behalf of America. It’s been quite a while since we’ve had an intense Cold War-era thriller, and now we’ve got one directed by none other than Steven Spielberg.