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poster_finesthoursThe Finest Hours did not make for the finest two hours of a movie. It took too long to get going with anything interesting after 20 minutes of what was shaping up to be a Nicholas Sparks movie.

Fitting into the theme of Disaster Movies from my self and movie writing cohort Brian G. Felts, The Finest Hours tells Disney’s version of the true life happening now known as the most dangerous and daring rescue in U.S. Coast Guard history. Just after being engaged, guardsman Bernie Webber, played by Chris Pine (Into the Woods), is ordered to take the last remaining boat off the coast of Cape Cod after an oil tanker split in two during a 1952 blizzard. With only three others on his team, the small vessel loses its compass and radio communications along the way, making finding the surviving half of the oil tanker a miracle, let alone saving its remaining crew members. Meanwhile, on the split tanker, engineer Ray Sybert, played by Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone), desperately attempts to save himself and his crewmates from having their half tanker sink into the deadly waters of the storm before they have a chance to be rescued.

This movie was terribly annoying to me. The first 20 minutes focused on Webber meeting and courting his future fiancee, played by Holliday Grainger (Cinderella). Like I mentioned, it was as slow and boring as the first 20 minutes of a Nicholas Sparks’ movie. It focused on their romance which was very dry and not interesting.

Things got interesting finally when the tanker split in two. There was action finally and the way the crew discovers the tanker was split was very effective. Once Webber and his crew gets out on the waters, their journey was basically the viewer watching one adversity after another, their portion of the movie–as action sequences go–was interesting but not very exciting. For me at least, it wasn’t as exciting as the sequences involving the broken oil tanker and its crew. After a while, I found myself impatiently waiting for more tanker scenes when following the guardsmen and Webber’s fiancée.

The sequences following Webber’s fiancée on land while the guardmen are on their mission were painful. I so didn’t care for this girl or what she was learning, finding or dealing with on land. It’s simply not her story and screen time devoted to her perspective was a waste in my opinion.

The story itself is hard to believe but that’s why it’s a great true story. The end credits show several archived photographs and newspaper headlines to show the true aspects of the movie’s plot. It’s impressive to say the least, but like I said, given its hard to believe, it hurts the movie a bit. How the hell did the rescue team find that tanker with no radio guidance or compass? And once they were loaded up with 32 guys on a boat only regulated for 12, how the hell did Webber find their way back to the same place they left or even the cape at all without navigation? How didn’t they end up on the coast of Greenland? That would make the same amount of sense. It was a tough story to swallow.

In lieu of performances, Pine did fine. Affleck started to get on my nerves. He was so tired and depressed all the damn time. It was like having Eeore in the engine room. But at least he was consistent.

The best part of the movie was some of the shot selections, with credit to director Craig Gillespie (Million Dollar Arm, Lars and the Real Girl). A handful of the visuals took the action from above water, cresting below and back up top with editing. The visual effects complimented Gillespie’s vision quite well. Visually, nothing took me out of the story. It’s the material with which I had issues.

Overall, this movie was far too boring to call it interesting or even worth seeing. I appreciate it documenting an interesting story of U.S. Coast Guard history, but as a movie it was this side of suck.

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I’m starting to get a little burnt on this slice-of-life, all character, no plot type of picture. I think films like this one are just not as engaging in the long run.

“The Last Kiss” chronicles what happens in relationships when people make bad choices cause they think it’ll be their last choice. Michael, played by Zach Braff (Garden State), is doubting his relationship with pregnant girlfriend Jenna, so he allows himself to be tempted by a young college girl named Kim.

Chris, played by Casey Affleck (Ocean’s 11), debates leaving his wife, since having a baby doll with her. And Anna, played by Blythe Danner (Meet the Fockers), leaves her listless husband, played by Tom Wilkinson (In the Bedroom), after 30 years of marriage.

I can maybe compare this picture to “Friends with Money,” except FWM was engaging, while this was not entirely. It ended pretty well, but the road to what became Act 3 was tough to sink into.

Jacinda Barrett (Poseidon) was the best performance of the movie as Jenna. Her character had plenty going on, and she handled it with class and forethought of her choices. Wilkinson and Danner were awesome across from each other.

Story-wise, my only problem is, would an adorable college girl chase THAT HARD after a nerdy, lanky dude like Zach Braff’s character? I want to say ‘no.’

The picture feels like an episode of a life drama on television rather than a decent motion picture; like the pilot of a new fall series.

Overall, there’s not many problems with the movie except the lack of plot. There are several small storylines to sustain its audience, but it’s difficult to find a definitive character to cheer for within its material. I definitely think you could wait until DVD on this one.

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