One of the benefits for me in living close to a large metropolitan city is to have easy access to the old historical structures that are still standing. I have always enjoyed seeing buildings from different style periods and eras such as Frank Lloyd Wright to Art Deco. The detailing on these buildings is something you rarely see these days. Now there are many modern structures that I find beautiful; in fact, there is a relatively new high rise building here that has series of balconies in different sizes to give the illusion of water cascading down the sides of the skyscraper. No matter where I travel I always try to find time to check out a place’s famous buildings; there is just something about these majestic structures that amaze me. Maybe part of it is due to the fact they are viable and still standing compared to some of the new buildings I have seen that already show decay. I may have mentioned some time ago my favorite movie theater growing up. It was one of those old stucco structures with a large colored marquee in front. Inside there was marble everywhere and all the porcelain and gold decorations were styled after actual objects found in churches, villas and palaces across Spain and Italy. I cannot describe the sadness I experienced when years later the land underneath the theater was purchased and the new owners demolished the structure. What replaced this grand theater was a monstrosity, an apartment building with retail stores. As for a new theater one was built several miles away; it was a cinder block, square structure void of any decorative appointments. Supposedly the candy counter had a bigger selection of candy and they claimed the popcorn was better. There are some things that should not be touched; they are perfectly fine just the way they are. BETRAYED and imprisoned for several years Judah Ben-Hur, played by Jack Huston (American Hustle, The Longest Ride), returned home to seek out revenge on the person who ruined his life; it was his adopted brother Messala Severus, played by Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four, The East). This adventure drama remake also starred Morgan Freeman (London Has Fallen, Now You See Me franchise) as Ilderim, Rodrigo Santoro (300 franchise, Pele: Birth of a Legend) as Jesus and Sofia Black-D’Elia (The Immigrant, Project Almanac) as Tirzah Ben-Hur. CGI was the main tool used to freshen up this story. It was needed because I thought the script was just a mess. Some of the dialog was ridiculous and out of place for the time period. As for acting it was bland except I did not mind Morgan’s character even though it was similar to many of his other roles. He plays this sensible, mild spoken character who knows more than anyone else. Reading the credits there were two names listed I recognized that have produced other films; each one of their movies was poorly done in my opinion. It explains why this production was no different. You have to know if the horses are even trying to run out of the story then something must be terribly wrong with this picture.
1 ¾ stars
For a kid growing up in the city, alleys were a treasure trove of fascinating objects. Discovering unusual or bizarre discarded things was exciting enough; however, if friends were included in the hunt it became a huge source of entertainment for the day. I remember some of the things my friends and I found in the alley; they could easily turn into flying saucers or sleds with our imaginations. During one snowy winter day we had found an old wooden canoe that was painted with red and yellow stripes. Though there were small holes in it, the canoe made a great sled for us to slide down in; even though it always got stuck at the bottom of the hill where the snow was softer. During summer a friend discovered a hand cranked egg beater that worked perfectly as a pretend motorboat. Sticking it in water, the faster the crank was spun, the bigger the waves were created by the twirling beaters. Depending on what items we would find, we could take ourselves to different planets or conquer enemy forts. Having one’s friends around always made the journey more fun during those alley explorations. UPON discovering his father’s secret work David Raskin, played by Johnny Weston (Chasing Mavericks, Taken 3), was able to complete his dad’s project, creating a time travel machine. With his friends in tow the group started taking short trips back in time to change the results of events that directly affected them. What they did not know was any change in history would cause a ripple effect to their future. This science fiction thriller had an interesting angle to its story; that being, the high school friends were just like any high school students. They were reacting more on a personal level, getting back at a bully or changing a school grade. I understood it; I was a high school student once. However, the script never built on the idea to a point where I really cared about any of the friends such as Adam Le, played by Allen Evangelista (The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Mozart and the Whale) and Quinn Goldberg, played by Sam Lerner (Nobody Walks, Envy). Sofia Black-D’Elia (The Immigrant, Born of War) who played the character Jessie Pierce was the only person that interested me. The worst aspect of this movie was it being filmed in that found footage way. I absolutely dislike when this filming technique is used throughout an entire picture as it was here. Due to that I already had a bad attitude early on in the movie. By the end of the film I had wished I could have gone back in time and stop myself from buying a movie ticket to this boring mess.
1 3/4 stars