Film Reviews

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, $5 Tuesday Icon Cinema Movie Pick

Originally published Feb. 1, 2016 on San Angelo LIVE!

Every Tuesday, movie goers can enjoy a movie in the comfort of recliner seating for $5 at Icon Cinema, and this week’s San Angelo LIVE! movie pick is 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.

Released on Jan. 15, 13 Hours has grossed $42.8 million at the Box Office, and the Tomatometer rates this movie at 56 percent. However, 20,835 viewers gave it a 4.3 out of 5, for a total score of 87 percent.

13 Hours, Rated R, is a film adaptation of the book written by Mitchell Zuckoff, and chronicles true accounts of what took place on Sept. 11, 2012 when Islamist terrorists attacked the U.S. State Department Special Mission Compound and a secret CIA station, or Annex, in Benghazi, Libya. This is the first detailed account of the events that put the Obama Administration, and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, under fire by conservatives.

For the first time, Americans get a chance to see the events that led up to the killing of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith. It also brings to light the true heroes who kept the events of that day from being more catastrophic. Those heroes include a team of six American security operators stationed at the Annex, less than a mile away from the Compound. These men face harsh situations in an area where they can’t differentiate friend or foe, and that includes CIA leadership. This film also shows how partisan politics affects the lives of so many people in tragic ways.

Director Michael Bay holds nothing back in this film, and the realistic portrayal of the events that led up to the attacks will leave movie goers on the edge of their seat. The level of violence in the film, and the cinematography that enhances that violence, draws the audience in and makes them feel as if they are there in the center of the action. Not to mention, by the end of the movie, regardless of party affiliation, the accounts of what took place leaves viewers questioning what has happened to our leadership in Washington, and how such things could have happened.

Overall, 13 Hours will make democrats angry, conservatives both angry and happy, and it may even sway the uncertain people to one side. Regardless, when people watch this movie, they will walk away questioning things and rubbing that knot in their stomachs.

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, San Angelo LIVE! gives this movie 4 stars.

Thus, for those people who have not seen 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, $5 Tuesdays at Icon Cinemas is the place to be with all-you-can eat popcorn and free drink refills. Click here for times and to reserve that quality seating that feels like home.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Ultimate Icon Cinema $5 Tuesday Experience

Originally published Feb. 8, 2016 on San Angelo LIVE!

For many years, writers and filmmakers have come up with varied ways to bring Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to contemporary readers and moviegoers. Of course, they have done the same for zombies. Many romantics love the story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. In fact, Mr. Darcy remains an iconic male figure in contemporary culture with his aloofness and cold, good looks. Elizabeth Bennet is also an outspoken figure of her generation, so that outspokenness has evolved with the different interpretations of feminism, and now, girl power.

As for zombies, we’ve gone from the Night of the Living Dead brain-craving days of George Romero to the more realistic plague-ridden Walking Dead zombies. Depending on the writer and/or director, the zombies are either extremely strong, mindless and violent; or, they are slow, mindless and violent. 

So what happens when you combine a historical tale of love, marriage and zombies? Well, undoubtedly it’s one interesting outcome, especially for Icon Cinema movie lovers who have experienced, or yet to experience the Screen 2 theater, which I’ll get to in a moment.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies takes the traditional story of Jane Austen’s classic tale and twists it with a bit of violence combined with girl power, as opposed to the simple story of landing a rich a husband. For zombie fans, this movie also provides an interesting twist to the zombie origin. Overall, the story takes place in 19th Century England, and includes the challenging relationships between lovers who have to fight against the undead.

Instead of women fighting for a man’s attention by playing the pianoforte, drawing, singing, knowledge of modern language and extensive reading to deserve the word, they must have an extensive warrior knowledge to fight against zombies plaguing the land. It’s up to the brave few to stop the Four Men of the Apocalypse.

Additionally, Mr. Darcy’s aloofness stems beyond manners and wealth, and Mr. Wickham’s evil nature is much more dangerous. Mr. Darcy’s aunt at Rosings Park is played by the Game of Thrones Queen Cersei herself. For those of you who know that show, let’s just say that character isn’t that far off from the one in this flick. Also, Mr. Bingley is a lot smarter and sexier. The movie also manages to include the same silly characters like Mr. Collins and Elizabeth’s overbearing mother.

With that being said, there are enough alterations of this movie to give it a new feel, and there is enough of the original Pride and Prejudice tale to appease Jane Austen fans. However, to really enjoy this movie, you have to be a fan of both the original tale and zombies to take this movie for what it is: an action-filled zombie romance that borders on cheesy fun. Let’s just say it’s a good movie to watch after a bad day at the office.

What makes the movie even more fun is the theater it shows in at Icon. As soon as the action begins, the ridiculously comfortable recliner seats begin to vibrate and move. It literally feels like you are a part of the action elements of the movie. That added interactive experience makes the film that much more enjoyable. Plus, when you add a bit of fresh popcorn with free refills, that helps ease viewers through those tense moments. With all that action, free drink refills are also a plus. Granted, for those viewers with a more sensitive stomach, they may want to proceed with caution as there are some pretty grotesque scenes.

Now, there are some downsides to the film. The storyline, at times, appears rushed in its attempt to embrace the zombie theme, but with all of the elements mentioned, the movie, specifically at Icon Cinema in Theater 2, works well.

Over the weekend, this flick came in 6th place, raked in $5.3 million dollars, and only received a 42 percent on the TOMATOMETER. The critics claim the movie wrings a few fun moments, but fails to completely deliver on its title. There is some truth to that; however, this avid reader and movie lover of both Pride and Prejudice and zombie stories says it’s definitely worth the trip, especially on $5 Tuesdays. 

Overall, based on the Icon Cinema interactive experience, San Angelo LIVE! gives Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 5 out 5 stars, with that number being the best. Without the Icon Cinema experience, and for those people who are not fans of both Pride and Prejudice and zombies, they may find this film beyond silly. If San Angelo LIVE! was rating with those aspects in mind, this film would receive a 2.5 out of 5 stars.

The only way to find out, however, is to check the movie out tomorrow during $5 Tuesdays. The scheduled showtimes are as follows:

  • 11:55 a.m.
  • 3:05 p.m.
  • 5:30 p.m.
  • 8 p.m.
  • 10:30 p.m.

To watch the trailer click here. Also, to reserve your seating for $5 Tuesdays, click here.

IFrameFor you Pride and Prejudice and Zombie fans, let me know what you think. Did it work, or was it just too cheesy?

  • 11:50 a.m.
  • 12:30 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m.
  • 2:15 p.m.
  • 2:45 p.m.
  • 3 p.m.
  • 4:40 p.m.
  • 5:30 p.m.
  • 7:10 p.m.
  • 8 p.m.
  • 9:35 p.m.

To reserve your seating, click here.

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