Posted on Sunday, July 10th, 2016 by Angie Han
Ghostbusters was always going to have a tough hill to climb. Even before Paul Feig signed on, fans were skeptical about the very notion of another Ghostbusters movie. After he did, there were fans upset at the idea of female Ghostbusters and fans unhappy about getting a reboot instead of a sequel and fans still annoyed that a new Ghostbusters movie was happening at all. This project has been under intense scrutiny since before a single frame was shot, and the fuss and furor over it has only intensified as the release date approaches.
But the movie itself isn’t terribly concerned with all that. Feig’s Ghostbusters is more interested in carving out a new space than it is in retracing the steps of the original. While it may not reach “instant classic” status, it’s still an entertaining addition to the franchise, bursting with humor and personality that’s all its own. Read More »
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Pixar Animation has set the bar pretty high when it comes to storytelling for the whole family. Their movies consistently have interesting, funny characters that have undeniable chemistry, and the story comes with a heart full of a myriad of emotions. Meanwhile, Illumination Entertainment seems to be more focused on just making kids laugh rather than telling a story with substance. It’s not that an animated movie can’t have childish humor, but when a movie like The Secret Life of Pets essentially links a series of wacky animals and vignettes together without effectively making you care about the characters, then we have a problem.
Read our full Secret Life of Pets review after the jump. Read More »
Last week, I bought my ticket and settled in for Independence Day: Resurgence with some trepidation. After all, the publicity machine had been silent and there were no really screenings for critics. The belated sequel to director Roland Emmerich‘s 1996 alien invasion film was opening in theaters showcasing all of the telltale signs of stinker. The only thing missing was literal smell lines wafting out of the poster in the lobby.
And then the credits began to roll and I was pleasantly surprised. I liked Independence Day: Resurgence! I had a good time with it! I thought it was a worthy follow-up to the original, a film that I’m embarrassed to enjoy as much as I do! So I opened up Twitter to share this pleasant news with the world and quickly learned that I was very much alone. The rest of the world, including my /Film colleagues, thought the film was a big pile of irredeemable junk, an all-time stinker, a disaster, of epic proportions. I tell this anecdote to make it clear that I wasn’t reacting to the initial round of negative responses. I’m not just being a contrarian for the sake of it. I reached this humiliating opinion on my own, thank you very much.
A $200 million movie shouldn’t need a defense. This isn’t a misunderstood future classic or an indie in need of championing, But damn it all: I enjoyed Independence Day: Resurgence and there is no way I’m going to march into the future without going on the record. So follow my down this path – I will hold my head up high and try to justify being that guy who likes this movie.
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When Independence Day hit theaters in 1996, it brought the spectacle of global destruction, exciting action, some decent laughs, and an ensemble of memorable characters with nary a huge movie star in sight. Twenty years later, Independence Day: Resurgence attempts to deliver all that again. But despite a plot point out of left field that shifts the sequel away from a simple retread of the original and toward an absolute bonkers, universe-expanding set-up for a sequel, this follow-up falls flat and lacks any of the heart, charm, efficiency and exhilaration that makes the first one entertaining to this day.
Read our full Independence Day Resurgence review after the jump. Read More »
Posted on Friday, June 24th, 2016 by Angie Han
Note: With Swiss Army Man in limited release this weekend, we’re re-running our review from the Sundance Film Festival.
About five minutes into Swiss Army Man, you’re faced with a choice. By this point in the film, you’ll have seen Hank (Paul Dano), a man stranded alone on a desert island, try to hang himself. His suicide attempt is interrupted by the arrival of a corpse (Daniel Radcliffe) that proves to be a prolific farter. Hank opts not to kill himself, and instead rides “Manny” like a flatulence-powered jet ski in the direction of civilization.
The scene is weird, and absurd, and crude, and dark, but kind of beautiful, too, and it’s at this point you have to make a decision: Either you’re willing to go with a movie that delights in all of those unsavory qualities, or you’re not. If you decide you’re not, know that Swiss Army Man will only get stranger and ruder, and you’re probably better off putting it back on the shelf until you’re in the mood for it. If you decide you are, however, you’ll discover a unique, oddly gorgeous adventure anchored by a superb performance from Radcliffe as a dead body (no, really). Read More »
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Posted on Friday, June 24th, 2016 by Angie Han
Note: With Hunt for the Wilderpeople in limited release this weekend, we’re re-running our review from the Sundance Film Festival.
Taika Waititi had a minor breakthrough last year with What We Do in the Shadows, and is about to have a much bigger one with Thor: Ragnarok, but in between he’s managed to squeeze in the delightful Hunt for the Wilderpeople. A sort of live-action Up with dashes of Roald Dahl, Wes Anderson, and Thelma & Louise, all filtered through Waititi’s own warm, offbeat sense of humor, Wilderpeople looks destined to become a new childhood classic. Read More »
Take one of the biggest movie stars in the world and team him up with one of the smallest, and it sounds like a gimmick in the making. On paper, just the sight of Dwayne Johnson standing alongside Kevin Hart will incite a smile. But do the two have what it takes to lead an action comedy that is funny, exciting and overall entertaining?
Thankfully, in Central Intelligence, from We’re the Millers director Rawson Thurber Marshall, the answer is mostly yes. However, this may only be because Johnson and Hart are such an irresistible duo that they make you forget that the action and plot surrounding them is hollow, dull and merely acts as an excuse for these two to engage with each other for laughs.
Continue reading our Central Intelligence review after the jump.
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Note: We originally ran Peter’s Finding Dory review on June 10. We’re re-running it now that the film is in theaters.
Finding Dory is an example of why we should never underestimate Pixar. Did we need a sequel to Finding Nemo? No. This film is unnecessary… yet somehow Finding Dory is a fun, rewarding emotional journey. Join me after the jump for a virtually spoiler-free reaction to Pixar’s latest film.
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Posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2016 by Fred Topel
I never saw the 1996 Tori Spelling TV movie but I get the gist: perfect guy turns out to be too good to be true, a male twist on Hand That Rocks the Cradle/Single White Female. Remake or not, James Franco writing and producing a Lifetime movie is a must-see part of his art oeuvre, but Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? is actually legitimately good when it could have coasted on camp.
Pearl (Emily Meade) is turned into a Nightwalker — a vampire in this movie’s mythology — in the first scene. Five years later, Leah (Leila George) is a college lit student performing in a feminist-twisted Macbeth on stage (Franco plays the director of the play). Pearl and Leah hit it off, as Pearl is a photographer who practically lives in the darkroom (get it???). So Leah has to come out to her mother (Spelling) and face society’s disapproval, including that of the boy she rejected, Bob (Nick Eversman). Read More »