Entertainment·MOVIE REVIEW

New movie reviews in brief: The 5th Wave, 45 Years, Boy and the World

From the the latest teen-centred dystopian saga to an animated gem from Brazil, Eli Glasner cuts through the clutter to advise what's worth your time at the cinema this week.

CBC's Eli Glasner cuts through the cinematic clutter and shares new releases that are worth your time

Chloe Grace Moretz has screen presence, but all the talent in the world couldn't save The 5th Wave, Hollywood's latest teen-led dystopian thriller 3:07

The 5th Wave

Who does it star? Chloe Grace Moretz, plus Alex Roe and Nick Robinson as competing hotties.

Who is for? Angst-filled teens who enjoyed The Maze Runner, Divergent, etc.

Worth seeing? Heck no. Let's be honest: young people deserve better than this thinly plotted slice of dystopia that makes Sweet Valley High look like Tolstoy. Chloe Grace Moretz plays Cassie, a high school student whose life changes forever when aliens invade and kill millions with quakes, plagues and more. The 5th Wave spends little time on the disasters and moves quickly into survival mode as Moretz channels Winter's Bone, running and hiding in the forest while trying to reunite with her brother, Sam.

Yet another adaptation of a bestselling young adult novel, The 5th Wave then awkwardly switches gears to introduce the requisite love triangle. Which cute boy can Cassie trust? Is it the possibly infected lumbersexual Evan or Ben, the former football team captain-turned-army commander? With more plot twists than a Choose Your Own Adventure story, The 5th Wave starts out mediocre and ends up downright risible. I had trouble hearing a climactic scene in which Cassie is forced to choose due to the peals of laughter from those around me. It's a pity because Moretz is natural performer with a screen presence all her own. But she's wasted in film that can't decide whether to rip off Starship Troopers or Nicholas Sparks.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

See instead: The zombie rom-com Warm Bodies.

Ron Livingston, center left, and Chloë Grace Moretz, center right, and Zackary Arthur, below center, appear in a scene from the sci-fi thriller The 5th Wave. (Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures)

45 Years

A finely acted example of tense, slow-release storytelling, 45 Years is a film about memory and unspoken questions, where the past is never far from mind 4:29

Who does it star? British acting legends Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay.

Who is for? Married couples and those who appreciate finely tuned performances and slow-release storytelling.

Worth seeing? For sure. Geoff and Kate (Courtenay and Oscar-nominated Rampling) have settled into a comfortable life in Norfolk, but with their approaching anniversary, there's something to celebrate. A movie where the past is never far from mind, 45 Years centres on the discovery of Geoff's former girlfriend Katya, who died in a Swiss hiking accident before he and Kate married.

Like an iceberg, there's much more to Katya hiding in the depths. This is a film about memory and unspoken questions hanging in the air. Director Andrew Haigh lets the tension play out, showing Kate struggling with her suspicions and her face a mask of pain, as Geoff hides behind an air of absent-mindedness senility. As her doubts grow, his doddering becomes a kind of camouflage. Though 45 Years takes its time, the imminent anniversary party keeps the pressure on — right up to a final moment as icy as the tomb that kept Katya's secrets.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Tom Courtenay, left, and Charlotte Rampling star in Andrew Haigh's film 45 Years. (Agatha A. Nitecka/Sundance Selects/Associated Press)

Boy and the World

Who does it star? A rainbow's worth of doodles spouting gibberish.

Who is it for? Fans of artful animation such as The Triplets of Belleville and the work of Norman McLaren.

Should you see it? Yes — if you don't mind a film light on story, but bursting with beauty. Hailing from Brazil, Boy and the World is nominated for an Oscar in the feature length animation category and it's easy to see why. Filled with hand-painted characters that look like Joan Miro paintings sprung to life, the film tells the simple story of a boy searching for his father, but it's an epic adventure that takes him from the quiet countryside to the nightmarish slums of the city.

Filled with the exuberance of a carnival, Boy and the World is a sensory experience like nothing else. It's a film where music notes hang in the air as glowing puffs of colour, rain falls in an avalanche of applause and passing trucks groan like whales. Seen from the point of view of the young protagonist, the film is whimsical. Still, hidden behind the riot of colours is director Ale Abreu's savage critique of globalization: this is a protest film disguised as a party. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Brazilian director Ale Abreu's wordless animated feature Boy and the World, a 2016 Oscar nominee, centres on a child's journey to the big city. (GKids)

About the Author

Eli Glasner

Entertainment reporter and film critic

Eli Glasner is a national entertainment reporter and screentime columnist for CBC News. Covering culture has taken him from the northern tip of Moosonee, Ont. to the Oscars red carpet and beyond.  


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