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THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT [PG-13] D

As a movie lover, I found myself experiencing a degree of genuine sadness upon leaving the theater after last week’s advance screening of “Allegiant,” the latest installment in “The Divergent Series.” I adhere to the notion that I shouldn’t need to be familiar with the source material for adapted works, since film and narrative fiction/non-fiction are truly separate and distinct expressive art forms. But “Allegiant” shocked me because I was adrift in the frames, bored by the hodge-podge referencing of action tropes (teen “Matrix” meets “Maze Runner”), and truly lost in a rudder-less story that completely lacks a complex and engaging lead character. I know next to nothing about Tris (Shailene Woodley), and I’m honestly depressed because I still have to spend another couple of hours with her (in Part Two) before this mess reaches its conclusion.

 

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MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN [PG] C-

While I appreciate the concerns of regular multiplex attendees who reside outside faith-based perspectives, I must acknowledge that “Miracles From Heaven” operates (some would prefer to say, manipulates) on a purely emotional gut-level, focusing attention the suffering of a child caught up in an extreme medical crisis. It locates this pressure point and relentlessly stimulates the pain center, but thanks to the undeniable wholesome of Jennifer Garner, the film maintains some semblance of a foundation as a family drama.

In “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” and now here, Garner perseveres not as a modern-day saint, but as a mother tested and pushed beyond a place where faith could provide answers. My main complaint is that the movie spends so much time setting up the bleak medical malady, it needs a miracle to save lift our spirits, but the inevitable resolution feels rushed, in comparison.