Tag Archives: Sophia Ali

Green Screen, New Deal


by George Wolf

Just like most – if not all – video game adaptations, Uncharted suffers from being driven more by cheat codes than character. And then later when some people you don’t really care about take time for flippant quips while free-falling over the Banda Sea, the stakes are never going to feel consequential.

But if you set all that aside and give in to the brazen ridiculousness of the latest Indiana Jones knockoff, there’s some fun to be discovered.

Tom Holland steps into the adventurin’ boots of Nathan Drake, a wannabe explorer who’s tending bar in New York when he’s recruited by seasoned treasure hunter Victor Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) for a big score.

Sure, Nathan knows all about the legend of the “biggest treasure never found.” Somewhere there’s about $5 billion in gold that was stashed away eons ago by Magellan himself, and you know what that means!

It means they’re gonna be short one barkeep come Happy Hour, because Nate’s going globetrotting.

Of course, Nate and Sully aren’t the only ones calling for this booty, and in no time they’re battling a familiar mercenary known as Braddock (Tati Gabrielle), the mysterious Chloe (Sophia Ali), and various goons sent by the villainous Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas).

Holland proves adept at parkour and trading mildly amusing barbs with Wahlberg, leaving director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) to keep his foot on the gas and let the green screen whizzes go to Funkytown.

Not all of that greenery carries ready-for-prime-time polish, but the film’s second half makes sure there’s so much of it in your face you’ll hardly have time to notice.

And if you’re game to keep the brain unplugged, stay put during the credits to notice some extra derring-do that maps out directions for the next Uncharted course.

Films Against Humanity

Truth or Dare

by Hope Madden

Do people over the age of 8 still honestly play Truth or Dare? This idea surprises me. Aren’t there video games kids can be wasting time with?

I suppose the real surprise is that it took four years for a film to rip off It Follows. The new PG-13 horror from Blumhouse, Truth or Dare, takes a stab at it.

No, it’s not sex. But it is a curse that you pass on to other people to save yourself. A super lame curse that blends the clever concept of It Follows with the by-the-numbers structure of one of the later Final Destinations and wraps it all up in a faux-contemporary cautionary tale about the digital age.


I’d point out that co-writer/director Jeff Wadlow was primarily lifting from his own 2005 film Cry Wolf, but I decided to go with movies you might have seen—movies that merit imitation.

So. Goody two-shoes Olivia (Lucy Hale) plans to spend her final spring break as a college student building houses with Habitat for Humanity, but her trampy bestie Markie (Violett Beane) and their binge-drinking roomie Penelope (Sophia Ali) have other plans. They guilt Olivia into spending the time with them, their boyfriends and an ethnic minority/gay sixth wheel in Mexico.

Hooray! Six slasher stereotypes—I mean, six best friends!—head south to flirt with alcohol poisoning and make bad decisions. Like playing grade school sleepover games and going to that decaying old mission.

Truth is, there are moments when one performance or a single intriguing notion or a clever call-back threatens to save a scene, by the final reveal you realize how heavy-handed the film really is.

Performances are bland, kills lack inspiration, there aren’t even enough of the prerequisite jump scares to keep the target PG-13 audience interested.

If you are of-age, hopefully you bought some beer with that ID because you’ll need the lubrication to help you glide past the lapses in logic, sometimes comical dialog and one laugh-out-loud moment at the vending machine.

Brad (Hayden Szeto, who deserves better) hears the ominous sound of an otherworldly voice calling out his name.

Except that it sounds exactly like some stoned guy hiding on the other side of the candy machine trying out his spooky voice and stage-whispering, “Braaaaaaaaadddddd!”

My entire row laughed.

So, there you go. There is some enjoyment to be had.