Posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2016 by Angie Han
The word “remake” is sometimes met with automatic groans, but 2000’s Frequency is exactly the right candidate for a remake. The premise is intriguing, and the film itself got solid reviews, but it’s not really a classic by any measure. It wasn’t a box office hit in its time, and even though there are plenty of people who’ve seen and enjoyed it, Frequency doesn’t have any kind of devoted fandom. What it does have is a great premise that deserves another chance to shine, and The CW is more than happy to give it one. Read More »
Posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2016 by Angie Han
Every superhero show or movie has them: dozens or hundreds of anonymous extras milling about in the backgrounds of all those CG-heavy, city-destroying third-act climaxes, looking alternatively terrified and grateful. Every once in a while, some of them even get to speak – to testify against Superman in Congress or to corner Iron Man in an elevator. But NBC’s Powerless is the first time these nameless nobodies truly get to take center stage. And as it turns out, they’ve got a pretty great story to tell. Read More »
I saw some people down on Mr. Robot’s season premiere last week. While most were right back on board, it seemed like a good number were itching for something a bit more… substantial. The forward momentum, and constantly shifting ground present in the first season seemed to have been halted. Which is a somewhat ridiculous notion considering the state of things in the premiere was all almost entirely new, a recalibration of the story’s status quo in the wake of the events of the finale. New characters, new locations, and even new relationships with technology.
Yet the sentiment, that the show had stalled returning to bat, made some degree of sense to me. The episode was not just a recalibration of the story, but a recalibration for the characters themselves. This week, “Kernel Panic” brought much of that recalibrating to fruition. No longer just picking up scraps of detail to figure out where the characters have been and what they’re doing, the episode gave us the space to understand how they might move forward into the uncharted territory of a post-hack world.
As usual, it opens up a bevy of questions to look at within the episode. Follow along, and be mindful of spoilers, of course. Go watch the episode first! Read More »
After recycling a little too much of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan for the sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, the rebooted franchise based on Gene Roddenberry’s classic sci-fi series needed a new direction to bring some freshness back to the final frontier. Thankfully, with Star Trek Beyond, director Justin Lin has managed to craft a extremely entertaining journey back into space for the USS Enterprise. It’s a sequel that blends some of the signature style of the classic Star Trek series with the action sensibilities of a modern blockbuster.
Keep reading our Star Trek Beyond review after the jump. Read More »
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Paul Feig‘s Ghostbusters is a moderately entertaining comedy with all of the usual blockbuster trappings, but as a Ghostbusters movie I found it to be disappointing. What follows is my mostly spoiler-free explanation of why I was disappointed with Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters.
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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 »
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 »