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Movie Review: ‘The Promise’ Muddily Mixes Melodrama with Genocide

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The Promise Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Promise is very much a classroom movie, built to grant students a unique perspective of the important and horrific account of the Armenian genocide. In the aspect of conveying such horrors, the movie more or less does its job of showcasing the brutal slaughter, the inhuman slavery, the despicable level of corruption and the tragic loss of innocent lives.

But as with any historic film built to inform, filmmaker Terry George attempts to slap on a dreary love triangle in hopes of making his picture more entertaining. Apparently the barbaric assault of Turkish soldiers laying waste to the Armenians wasn’t gripping enough; George believes we need the additional spice of finding out if Oscar Isaac will steal Charlotte Le Bon away from Christian Bale.

The Promise Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

The love triangle takes over in ‘The Promise.’

If a movie should be made about the Armenian genocide, it should not pull its punches. It shouldn’t be a melodrama, a by-the-numbers war drama or PG-13. There should be plenty of deep and gritty stories to reap from such a catastrophic event in human history. Families were separated, friends were turned into enemies and the Armenian people were faced with tough calls of who to trust and when to fight. The Promise attempts to cover all of these angles, but never focuses on any of them. There’s no time for that with the arcs of who will marry whom and if they’ll confess their true feelings.

It’s not that such a romance couldn’t be displayed amid such atrocities; it’s just that it’s far too soapy for such a backdrop. Oscar Isaac plays Mikael, a likable enough Armenian med student that has traveled to Constantinople to become a doctor. While staying with his wealthy uncle, he becomes attracted to the lovely Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), an Armenian that specializes in the arts. With her kind spirit, artistic influences acquired in Paris and an overwhelming love for children, she quickly takes a liking to Mikael.

The Promise Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac compete for the same woman.

Unfortunately, she is already married to the alcoholic and bitterly emotional American reporter Chris (Christian Bale). This won’t be a problem for Mikael and Ana, however, considering Chris is far too busy covering that whole Armenian genocide deal to be bothered with whom Ana might be sleeping with. Thank goodness for all that killing or the two secret lovers might not be able to sneak a kiss while fleeing for their lives.

Related: Movie Review: ‘The Fate of the Furious’ Runs Low on Originality

A romantic plot could potentially be written around such an important and bloody event in history, but The Promise spends far too much time on this bore of a love triangle to admire the romance. Most of the chemistry between Isaac and Le Bon is over a few laughs and kisses, both of which occur during scenes where Turkish forces are setting fire to the streets and beating Armenians. Their love appears in short spats that never really build them up as a lovable couple and more as a base requirement for a period affair. I can’t exactly fault Isaac or Le Bon for this as they’re both great actors, but they can only do so much to improve the material. How romantic can you make a scene where two people giggle and smooch over throwing cabbages at Turkish soldiers that wanted them dead?

Read more to get the rest of the movie review for The Promise:

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Izzy

Movie Magic: The De-Aging Technique of The Irishman

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Have you read Izzy yet? If so, you know that Izzy makes the apples that give the Gods their youth and immortality. It also seems Robert De Niro discovered one of Izzy’s apples too… In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biographical film, he stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer for the movie, which will premieres NEXT WEEK (!), also features a “de-aged” De Niro. “We’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said in an interview on the A24 podcast. “Does it change the eyes at all? …If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?…How do we get that? I don’t know.” Some might consider this magic and I for one can’t wait to see the impact of Izzy’s apples on screen for myself. 😉

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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