How It Ends

RATING: [D-|👎]

Begin with the end in mind.

[Stephen Covey]

You might be wondering why a film review would start off with a mantra often given to business majors, but I assure you the answer is quite simple: it seems that the writers had never heard of this concept before. This is especially ironic as the main character, Will (Theo James), is asked multiple times within the first fifteen minutes if he has a plan! It might have seemed a good idea at the time of the script’s initial writing, but it still begs the question of how no solid ending was dreamed up through the rest of production. An excuse of an explanation for the whole premise of the film would have been more satisfying than having the main characters trying to outrun a cloud of what could be just about anything to fit the two main theories pitched to Will throughout the course of the story.

This really is a perfect example of how important an ending is. I started watching this with exceptionally low expectations, thinking that this was an attempt to relive the “better” days of disaster movies. Instead, the film opens with a wholly unlikable professional millennial dead-set on marrying his now pregnant girlfriend, Sam (Kat Graham) . . . despite the fact that her father, Tom (Forest Whitaker), can’t stand Will. Even though that premise is as generic as corn flakes, the story progresses in such a manner that you actually come to respect and somewhat admire Will through his growth, and the same can be said for Tom. The characters in this film actually had a vague semblance of personal depth, and the acting of both characters was exceptionally well done considering the material.

Since the film is in essence a disaster movie, it would be expected that the “disaster” in question would have some sort of concrete explanation, especially since the disaster is what puts the whole plot in motion. Of course, as alluded to at the beginning of this review, the speculative “explanations” of the overarching disaster vary from a super volcano erupting, to the start of WWIII and a thousand years of nuclear winter. The plot itself is interesting since the whole story takes place over the course of a week, where somehow all of civilization breaks down to resemble The Purge by the end of the film. The cynic in me thought it could be quite likely, but perhaps nobody really knows how civilization would “realistically” dissolve in the event of an impending apocalypse.

To summarize, don’t waste your time with How It Ends. Sure, it comes with your Netflix subscription, and it does have at least one good actor (two, if you count Theo James), but those two facts don’t excuse Netflix’s acquisition strategy of throwing cash at whatever seems new and “edgy” at the film festivals. The frequency of bad films going straight to Netflix is starting to give “Netflix Originals” the same clout as “Direct to Home Video” releases, and I can’t help but wonder what Netflix as a company is thinking by investing in so many bad films…speaking of “beginning with the end in mind”.

RATING: D-

 

July

Here is what we’re excited to see this month

IN THEATRES

 WHITNEY – July 6 

Documentary about Whitney Houston from Kevin MacDonald, a capable director (Last King of Scotland, State of Play) and an Oscar winner for One Day in September, a documentary on the group Black September that held Israeli athletes hostage at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich.

whitneyTrailer.

DON’T WORRY, HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT – July 13

The new Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk) film starring Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, and Jack Black is about John Callahan, while on his rocky path to sobriety after a life-changing accident, discovers the healing power of art, willing his injured hands into drawing hilarious, often controversial cartoons, which bring him a new lease on life.

Dont WorryTrailer.

GENERATION WEALTH – July 20 

Lauren Greenfield brings her new documentary that has an important premise: investigates the pathologies that have created the richest society the world has ever seen.

wealth
Trailer.

McQUEEN – July 20

Another documentary, this one about the famed and eccentric fashion designer, Alexander McQueen, who hung himself at age 40.

McQueenTrailer.

BLINDSPOTTING – July 20

Lifelong friends Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal co-wrote and star in this timely and wildly entertaining story about the intersection of race and class, set against the backdrop of a rapidly gentrifying Oakland. It does not look great, but I’ve heard many people raving about it at the Atlanta Film Festival and so far the critics (for what it’s worth) have joined in.

blindspottingTrailer.

STREAMING

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee: New 2018: Freshly Brewed (July 6th Netflix)

Arguably the GOAT when it comes to comedy, Jerry Seinfeld comes out with another season of CICGC (does that work??). This season includes Jerry Lewis, Dana Carvey, Kate McKinnon, Alec Baldwin, Brian Regan, Ellen DeGeneres, Zach Galifianakis, John Mulaney, Dave Chappelle, Neal Brennan, Tracy Morgan, and Hasan Minhaj.

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Trailer.

Sharp Objects (July 8th on HBO)

After the unforgettable season of Westworld on HBO, they needed a replacement. Using the director of Big Little Lies, the producer of Get Out, Amy Adams, and the writer of Gone Girl, they seek to replace Westworld on Sunday nights with the new miniseries Sharp Objects.

Trailer.

Father of the Year (July 20 on Netflix)
A group of friends become divided when they attempt to decide whose father is better.  As they grow older, the argument shifts to whose father is worst. Directed by Tyler Spidel. Starring David Spade, Nat Faxon, Joey Bragg, Matt Shively, and Dridget Mendler.
Father of the Year
Zoe (July 20 on Amazon)
A look into what happens when scientists try to perfect love.  Directed by Drake Doremus and starring Ewan McGregor, Lea Seydoux, and Rashida Jones.
Zoe
How It Ends (July 27 on Netflix)

The plot centers on a mysterious apacalyptic event that turns the roads into mayhem and a young father who will stop at nothing to get home to his pregnant wife on the other side of the country. Directed by David M. Rosenthal and starring Theo James, Forest Whitaker, and Kat Graham.

 how it ends

Trailer.

Netflix:

  • Jurassic Park (July 1)
  • Boondock Saints (July 1)
  • Chocolat (July 1)
  • Spanglish (July 1)
  • Blue Valentine (July 5)
  • Gone Baby Gone (July 12)
  • Her (July 29)

Amazon Prime

  • American Psycho (July 1)
  • Zodiac (July 1)
  • Gran Torino (July 1)
  • Mulholland Drive (July 1)
  • The Brothers Bloom (July 1)

Hulu

  • The Manchurian Candidate (July 1)
  • Midnight in Paris (July 1)
  • The Brothers Bloom (July 1)
  • Braveheart (July 1)
  • The Legend of Bagger Vance (July 1)

HBO

  • Princess Bride (July 1)
  • Being John Malkovich (July 1)
  • Good Will Hunting (July 1)
  • Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind (July 16)