Friday, June 24, 2016

Independence Day: Resurgence

My ViewIndependence Day: Resurgence  (2016)  PG-13  Two decades after the first alien invasion on Independence day, the Earth is facing a new attack. It’s time to see if Earth is ready for another fight. The 1996 film Independence Day was a fun movie to watch with great special effects (won an Academy Award for them), goofy lines, and actors like Will Smith, Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum chewing up scenery like there is no tomorrow. While not a bad movie, this film just isn’t as much fun as the original. I think some of it has to do with the fact the 1996 movie was our time, our world.  In this film, the world has had twenty years to adapt to alien technology and has united in its quest to prepare for the alien invasion part 2. It was fun watching Will Smith fly a 20th-century fighter jet against aliens. Old school technology defeated new tech. Now it’s not our world but a parallel universe, so it’s not us defeating the aliens. I will say that both Pullman and Goldblum give it their all, but some of the new cast, including Liam Hemsworth, just don’t have the star power that Will Smith had. The film was not shot in 3-D, so save some money and see it in 2-D.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Independence Day: Resurgence Website
My ViewFree State of Jones  (2016)  R   During the Civil War, a Mississippi farmer (Matthew McConaughey) decides to quit the Southern army and lead a rebellion against the Confederate army. While watching this film, I looked at my watch thinking the film was about fifteen minutes away from ending. Instead, to my despair, it had only been playing for an hour, and we had an hour and twenty minutes to go. The film is incredibly slow placed. Even the dialogue seems slow people make speech after speech in this movie. There are very few action sequences, and the best one is used in the trailer, so the element of surprise is gone when you watch the scene.  Over the past ten years, Matthew McConaughey has become one of my favorite actors, but he isn’t given much to work with in this role. I didn’t recognize Keri Russell, who plays McConaughey’s wife, until near the end of the film. There is a strange side story that is set in the 1950’s that makes the film stop and start with glaring suddenness and almost no explanation.  If you want to explore that time, rent 12 Years a Slave (2013) or wait until The Birth of a Nation (2016) comes out later this year.     My Rating: Cable   Free State of Jones Website   
IndiefestThe Neon Demon  (2016)  R   Jesse (Elle Fanning) is an aspiring model who has just moved to Los Angeles. She knew that the modeling world would be harsh, but she didn’t know that it could threaten her life. I am not a fan of writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn’s films Drive (2011), which I gave a Cable rating, and Only God Forgives (2013), which I gave a You Would Have to Pay Me to See It Again. This film is all style over substance.  It’s a beautiful looking film, and some of the scenes in this movie are breathtaking, but the storyline is slow, meaningless and confusing. I usually like Elle Fanning’s performances, but she comes off dull and lifeless. Keanu Reeves and Christina Hendricks are both wasted in very small, unimportant parts. The only performance that has some life to it is the one by Jena Malone, who plays a makeup artist who befriends Jesse. Several people walked out of our screening during scenes of necrophilia and cannibalism.    My Rating: Cable   The Neon Demon Website
IndiefestArt Bastard  (2016)   A documentary that tells the fascinating story of New York painter Robert Cenedella, a contemporary of Andy Warhol. It’s an intriguing story of family secrets, money, fame and an artist who refuses to compromise.  I thoroughly enjoyed this film about one of the art world’s most talented and outspoken artists.  Cenedella doesn’t just paint for painting sake; he makes commentary on life inside his paintings. His paintings are full of satire and often use his beloved New York City as the setting of his work. The film does a superb job of showing us Cenedella’s artistic ability, where the camera goes in tight on his paintings (most of which are enormous) so that we see each and every face in crowds.  Cenedella is a fascinating man, with a rich history of stories about his life and his work. Art Bastard does a wondrous job of letting us get to know the artist’s work and his life.    My Rating: Full Price   Art Bastard Website
My View: The Shallows (2016)   PG-13   A young pro surfer, Nancy (Blake Lively), takes a break from medical school and surfs on a secluded beach in Mexico. The beach and the waves are perfect; that is until an enormous great white shark attacks Nancy. She takes refuge on a rock 200 yards from shore and must now figure out show to outfox the shark and get back to shore in one piece. This is a splendid thriller/escape genre film with a little dash of suspense/thrills mixed in. This movie is a death match between Blake Lively’s character and a massive shark that is pissed off and isn't leaving anytime soon. The film moves at a swift pace, and the action sequences (though a little unbelievable) are fun and thrilling to watch. I enjoyed Lively’s performance, as she looks the part of a surfer girl that has the guts and the smarts to survive. If you liked Jaws and it’s shark, then see his great grandchild terrorize a young woman in Mexico. Nancy doesn’t need a bigger boat, just a larger surfboard.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    The Shallows Website
Forgotten FilmRachel, Rachel  (1968)  R  Rachel (Joanne Woodward) is a 35-year-old school teacher who has never been married, doesn’t have a man in her life and she still lives with her mother.  When Nick (James Olson), an old high school friend, comes back into town, her world starts crumbling.  This is a very stark and understated film about taking chances and learning from your mistakes. Woodward is brilliant as the downtrodden school teacher who can’t win for losing, which makes us fall in love with her, hoping that she will succeed in life. Woodward’s dazzling performance was undoubtedly aided by the fact that her husband, Paul Newman, directed the film.  My Rating: Full Price   Rachel, Rachel website   

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Free State of Jones: Hair Puncher

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:   Life, Animated (2016)  R   A documentary about an autistic boy and his family who learn to communicate with each through the animated films of Disney.  The film was a big hit at the Sundance Film Festival, and I have not seen one bad review. This beautiful, touching film has been winning audience awards at a number of film festivals.   Life, Animated Website

Until Next Time!

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