This past week, there were two films in particular that were on my radar. Starring Josh Brolin and Miles Teller, Only the Brave is a well-acted, powerful film based on a true story. On the other hand, The Snowman, starring Michael Fassbender and Rebecca Ferguson, had too many plot holes, pacing issues and more that ultimately made this film a disappointment.

Based on the GQ article “No Exit” by Sean Flynn, Only the Brave tells the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a group of elite firefighters who risk everything to protect their town from the Yarnell Hill Fire in June 2013. The film features an ensemble cast of Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Taylor Kitsch, James Badge Dale, and Jeff Bridges.

Aside from a couple names like Ladder 49, Backdraft, or The Towering Inferno, there have been few memorable films about firefighters. Only the Brave is that and more as it tells an emotional and moving story about a real life group of heroes. On top of the solid acting and mild level of humor, it’s appealing to see what these men sacrifice and endure to do their job effectively.

Whether you know the outcome of the story or not, the film provides enough drama and sentiment to make the viewing experience worthwhile. Between the acting from this largely recognizable cast, to the amazing story told, Only the Brave is a solidly crafted, must see film for average moviegoers.

Only the Brave is rated PG-13 for thematic content, some sexual references, language and drug material. Running time is 2 hours and 13 minutes. 4 out of 4 stars.

When Detective Harry Hole (Fassbender) investigates the disappearance of a woman whose pink scarf is found wrapped around a snowman, he soon realizes a dangerous serial killer may be at large once again. Det. Hole and police recruit Katrine Bratt (Ferguson) must work together and use old murder cases to try and stop “The Snowman” before he strikes again.

With a seemingly decent cast of Fassbender, Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Val Kilmer, J.K. Simmons, Toby Jones, Chloe Sevigny, and James D’Arcy, the director of Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, and based on the best-selling novel by Jo Nesbo, most would assume this was a solid film at first glance. Unfortunately, it’s nothing more than underwhelming crime thrller with multiple narrative and pacing issues, among other aspects.

Regarding the negative remarks associated with this film, the director commented that there was about 10-15% of the screenplay that was not filmed due to scheduling issues, and that when they got in the editing room following production, there were clearly things missing. The Snowman is underperforming at the box office and receiving poor reviews from critics.

The Snowman is rated R for grisly images, violence, some language, sexuality and brief nudity. Running time is 1 hour and 59 minutes. 2 out of 5 stars.

Both Only the Brave and The Snowman are currently playing in theaters.