‘Human’ snatches bodies, ‘Divergent’ divides into factions and ‘Doe’ goes rogue

Among the new movies that were released Friday, March 21 are a horror flick about body-snatchers, the latest young adult book series to be adapted for the silver screen and an intellectual thriller that asks audiences to come to their own conclusions.

Almost Human

Josh Ethier plays a man named Mark who disappears from his home in a brilliant flash of blue light while Graham Skipper plays his friend Seth, who is the last person to see him alive. Now a string of grisly, violent murders leads Seth to believe that Mark is back – and that something evil is inside of him. (NR – 80 minutes)

Throwbacks are fun so long as they either offer something surprisingly original or are played entirely for laughs. Unfortunately, after a somewhat promising start, “Almost Human” plays it more or less by the 80’s body-snatching book – albeit with a bit more gore than we are used to seeing in the genre – and fails to bring anything new or even the least bit funny to the table. The new horror flick may still be worth a watch for some fans who will be happy to indulge in the resulting nostalgia but it ultimately cannot garner a general recommendation on the grounds that it simply is not all that special. (Thumbs Down!)


Shailene Woodley plays a young woman who is warned that she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. When she discovers a conspiracy to destroy all Divergents, she must find out what makes being Divergent so dangerous – before it is too late. (PG-13 – 143 minutes)

It may take most audiences a little while to get into “Divergent” and completely comprehend the unique qualities created exclusively for its incredibly imaginative world – especially if you are entirely unfamiliar with the books on which the new action adventure is based and are still trying to wrap your head around Districts, Tributes and other “Hunger Games” lingo. However, it eventually evolves into the best of the recent young adult film franchises, drawing viewers in with compelling characters and a story that keeps them on the edge of their seats. It is fun, thought-provoking and extremely exciting. (Thumbs Up!)

The Face of Love

Annette Bening plays a widow who, several years after the loss of her husband, meets a man (Ed Harris) who looks exactly like him. Suddenly, a flood of old feelings rush back to her. She has met the love of her life… again. Robin Williams also stars. (PG-13 – 92 minutes)

“The Face of Love” is a film that manages to be both spectacularly suspenseful and remarkably romantic at the same time. Unfortunately, it is also anticlimactic, lightly gliding to its conclusion rather than delivering a dramatic apex that seems much more appropriate given the terrific tension that is built up over the course of the story. Moreover, the movie never exactly offers any answers to the questions it poses and Robin Williams’ presence is almost entirely wasted. However, it remains completely consuming from beginning to end, using the idea of doppelgangers to demonstrate the role that fantasy plays in attraction as well as how our minds prevent us from ever truly letting go of lost love. (Thumbs Up!)

John Doe: Vigilante

Jamie Bamber plays an ordinary man who fights violence the only way that he knows how – by killing one criminal at a time. Is he a hero or a villain? Are his actions justice or vengeance? You decide. (R – 90 minutes)

“John Doe: Vigilante” is well-intentioned and, in theory, extremely effective in conveying its messages about the inconsistencies in our justice system and what we need to do (band together) in order to remedy the situation. However, as entertainment, it is far less effective, coming across as a dramatized version of a lecture rather than a full-fledged story that engages viewers. It will undoubtedly make you think and challenges you to develop your own opinions about the events that transpire but the experience lacks emotion and feels somewhat stilted, similar to an arduously dry documentary. (Thumbs Down!)

Joseph J. Airdo

Joseph J. Airdo is a film critic, producer and on-air personality for Breakthrough Entertainment, a talk radio show airing 10-11 a.m. Saturdays on KPHX 1480 AM and BreakRadioShow.com that shines a spotlight on the practical perspectives of the topics and themes explored in movies. He has a pet duck named Frozen who is as opinionated about movies as he is. E-mail him at joseph.airdo@gmail.com.

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