Thursday, June 30, 2016

Independence Day: Resurgence

Independence Day: Resurgence is the sequel to the 1996 summer blockbuster. Where the previous film was a fun and silly movie that invited audiences to shut off their brains and enjoy the action, this sequel feels rushed and lacks all of the charm of the original. The dialogue is laughable, the characters are underdeveloped, and the tone is all over the map.

Twenty years after the events of the Independence Day the world has changed drastically. Victory over the alien invaders has led to near world peace and reverse engineering of the alien technology has led to a revolution in mechanics. Having received the previous invader’s distress call, the alien menace has returned with new weapons searching for an object that could lead to their undoing.

The concept of a peaceful world with almost futuristic technology was very cool. Unfortunately, the idea is squandered since the characters are not well developed and have dialogue that could be found in a comic book. Will Smith is greatly missed, as they seem to attempt to fill the void with characters we do not care about and comic relief that is not funny. The deaths in this movie lack any gravitas and have not earned the dramatic mood they attempted to achieve.

There should have been a twist ending to this movie where it turns out it was all in the mind of a child playing with toys. Instead the audience is treated to sequel bait that nobody could possibly care about with the exception of the actors needing the paycheck. It has all the touches of a Roland Emmerich without any charm and could have been a direct to video movie. The basic concept and some of the effects are fun to watch but without solid acting, a story, or even decent dialogue the film feels like a hollow cash-in.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Krampus – review

Movies like Rare Exports and Gremlins hold a place in our hearts as they take the clichés and tropes of holiday movies and add dark elements to make it original. Krampus falls into this category. From the director of Trick ’r Treat, Krampus creates a fun and horrific tale that is sure to become a Christmas classic for horror fans.

Krampus takes place on a Christmas Eve in a suburban household where a family has gotten together to celebrate. The family is at each other’s throats and the mood becomes dour as Max, the young son of the household, writes a letter to Santa that gets mocked mercilessly by the rest of the family. Max tears up the letter and it magically summons the Krampus, a monstrous spirit of Christmas that punishes bad behavior rather than rewarding the good, like Santa Claus.

The movie has a great use of practical effects mixed with some CGI. The elements of horror are there and they are quite effective. Dolls normally are not scary to me, however the creatures developed for this film are something out of nightmares.  Even the look of the Krampus is dreadful to behold. The story is dark and the elements of humor contrast well to make it something really memorable.

The acting is fun and the movie is enjoyable. If there is one thing that could be improved it would be to make this movie a hard R rating rather than PG-13.  The movie has elements of terror but there are a few moments that feel like they are holding back their punches for the lesser ratings. This minor detail is the only thing holding back this great movie.

Krampus will grow to become a new holiday classic. It is well made and the story is a lot of fun. It will be sure to entertain anyone that is a fan of dark subjects or horror. The cast plays it very seriously despite the silly material. It is a different movie that is sure to entertain with its griping characters and insane creatures. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse – review

X-Men Apocalypse is the ninth film in the X-Men franchise. Since X-Men: Days of Future Past essentially retconned the series, the stakes have been raised. The characters were fun and the story was fast paced. The actors bring fine performances for the most part even though there are a few superfluous characters. For a Summer blockbuster it is exactly what to expect from a superhero film.

The first mutant En Sabah Nur has awoken in Egypt. Upon awakening in 1983 he recruits four powerful mutants to act as his four horsemen. Together they intend to destroy the world and remake it where the strong survive and the weak are culled. It is up to Professor Xavier and his X-Men to stop this titanic threat.

The addition of Oscar Issac as the villainous En Sabah Nur was a great choice. Sophie Turner as a young Jean Grey handles the roll with the gravitas it deserves. There are some other characters that seem sort of superfluous to the plot but were seemingly added for fan service- characters like Moira MacTaggart and Wolverine are welcome but not needed for the plot to continue. The actors who were in previous films fall into their respective roll fantastically. The one exception is Jennifer Lawrence, who at times seems to be sleep walking through her role to collect a paycheck.

The effects are fun and the devastation is on scale with some of the greatest Roland Emmerich movies.   The fight scenes are entertaining and work well in displaying what these mutants are capable of on a grand scale. The scenes involving Quicksilver are really exciting to watch. At this point a Quicksilver or Magneto movie would be welcome since their characters are so entertaining to watch.

If you are fan of the franchise, this movie is a must see. If you are new to the world of X-Men then I suggest at the very least watching a few of the past movies. X-Men: Apocalypse is a great follow up for the series and a great popcorn film to turn off your brain and enjoy. I can only imagine where the new storyline will go as the franchise continues.