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THEATRICAL REVIEW: Independence Day: Resurgence

July 2, 2016 1 comment
Independence Day ResurgenceDirected by: Roland Emmerich
Produced by: Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser
Screenplay by: Roland Emmerich, Dean Devlin, Nicolas Wright, James A. Woods, James Vanderbilt
Story by: Roland Emmerich, Dean Devlin, Nicolas Wright, James A. Woods
Edited by: Adam Wolfe
Cinematography by: Markus Förderer
Music by: Harald Kloser, Thomas Wanker
Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Jessie T. Usher, Maika Monroe, Brent Spiner, Bill Pullman, Deobia Oparei, Travis Tope, Angelababy, Nicolas Wright, William Fichtner, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Sela Ward, Judd Hirsch, Joey King, Vivica A. Fox, Nicolas Wright
Year: 2016

 

I’ve long held that the first Independence Day was one of the best bad movies ever made. Of course, as a kid, I thought the movie was genuinely one of the best movies ever made, and it was the first movie I was able to convince my parents to let me see multiple times while it was still in theatres. As time went on, the flaws and eccentricities of Roland Emmerich’s ridiculous alien invasion movie became much more apparent, of course. However, what became even more apparent was that I still undoubtedly loved the movie, often more because of its quirks rather than in spite of them. The cast that was assembled for that movie was seriously stellar: Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Vivica A. Fox, Brent Spiner… And that scene where the aliens finally unleash their ultimate weapon remains one of the standout special effects moments I’ve ever seen. Sure, it’s obviously an effect, but I recall watching the special effects feature on the DVD and being completely in awe of just how much care went into making those scenes. (Did you know they built model cities, tipped them on their side, and then launched the flames upward to get those destructive effects?) Read more…

THEATRICAL REVIEW: 10 Cloverfield Lane

March 12, 2016 3 comments
10 Cloverfield LaneDirected by: Dan Trachtenberg
Produced by: J.J. Abrams, Lindsey Weber
Screenplay by: Josh Campbell, Matt Stuecken, Damien Chazelle
Story by: Josh Campbell, Matt Stuecken
Edited by: Stefan Grube
Cinematography by: Jeff Cutter
Music by: Bear McCreary
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallagher, Jr.
Year: 2016

 

It will do you no good making any direct comparisons between 10 Cloverfield Lane and its predecessor in name only, Cloverfield. The film started out life as an unrelated thriller titled Valencia and doesn’t even follow the same found footage style. Heck, it may not even take place within the same universe, despite some vague references here and there that hint to the contrary that already people may be making too big a deal out of. (Anyone else still want to try a Slusho?) Since the movie’s surprise trailer first released back in January, producer J.J. Abrams has described the film as being a companion film with similar themes, analogous to another type of ride within the same theme park. Fair enough. I’d liken the franchise as being much more like a sci-fi/thriller anthology series like The Twilight Zone or Black Mirror, only in film format. Read more…

REVIEW: The Mist

October 22, 2013 3 comments
The MistDirected by: Frank Darabont
Produced by: Frank Darabont, Martin Shafer, Liz Glotzer
Written by: Frank Darabont
Edited by: Hunter M. Via
Cinematography by: Rohn Schmidt
Music by: Mark Isham
Starring: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher, Toby Jones, Nathan Gamble, Jeffrey DeMunn, William Sadler, Frances Sternhagen, Samuel Witwer, Alexa Davalos
Based on the novella by Stephen King
Year: 2007

 

Frank Darabont’s third adaptation of a Stephen King novel was, surprisingly, only the first horror film the director tackled from the famed author. Having apparently wanted to adapt the 1980 novella for quite some time, the director instead first tackled The Shawshank Redemption and then The Green Mile before finally getting a chance to direct the smalltown monster movie he had been dreaming of, making small adjustments to the story as he went along – most notably altering the original story’s ending to one that even Stephen King has acknowledged to be superior to the original work. Read more…

REVIEW: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

October 16, 2013 2 comments
The Rocky Horror Picture ShowDirected by: Jim Sharman
Produced by: Michael White
Written by: Jim Sharman, Richard O’Brien (screenplay)
Edited by: Graeme Clifford
Cinematography by: Peter Suschitzky
Music by: Richard O’Brien, Richard Hartley
Starring: Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Richard O’Brien, Patricia Quinn, Nell Campbell, Jonathan Adams, Peter Hinwood, Charles Gray, Meat Loaf
Based on the play The Rocky Horror Show by Richard O’Brien
Year: 1975

 

Fans of this cult classic, I’m going to right here and now preemptively keep you from committing some kind of serious crime while also saving my own neck: If you unconditionally, unabashedly love this movie, do not read any further than this paragraph. I know there are fans out there who just absolutely adore this movie, and, to that I say, “Good for you.” I’m not going to begrudge your relationship and affection for the film. That being said, if you’re the kind of person who sends death threats and such to people you disagree with, do us both a favor and please stop reading now. Read more…

Theatrical Review: “The World’s End”

August 28, 2013 5 comments
The World's EndDirected by: Edgar Wright
Produced by: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Nira Park
Written by: Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright
Edited by: Paul Machliss
Cinematography by: Bill Pope
Music by: Steven Price
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike, David Bradley, Michael Smiley, Pierce Brosnan, Bill Nighy
Year: 2013

 

Well, it’s finally here – the conclusion to the loosely connected, genre-homaging Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, the long rumored, long in development film known as The World’s End – not to be confused with This Is the End, the American film released earlier this summer. The conclusion to what accidentally became a trilogy was long in coming, and while I don’t remember exactly when I first heard about it, it was a long time ago, I know that for sure. Director Edgar Wright’s original script, titled Crawl, was written 21 years ago, but the concept of turning Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz into the first 2/3 of a quasi-trilogy never really came into fruition until the filming of Hot Fuzz. People, such as myself, who were eager to see the final entry were tided over with the likes of the unrelated-yet-still-somewhat-similar Paul from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and Edgar Wright’s brilliant but sadly overlooked adaptation of the comic Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, but when you consider the fact that it’s been six long years since the release of Hot Fuzz, it’s easy to understand why fans were getting a bit restless. But, finally, it’s here, and I’m happy to say that it is every bit as good as its predecessors. Read more…

Review: “Macross II: The Movie” (“超時空要塞マクロスII -LOVERS AGAIN-“)

August 3, 2013 6 comments
Macross IIDirected by: Ken’ichi Yatagai
Produced by: Shinichi Iguchi, Hiroaki Inoue, Hiroshi Kakoi, Hirotake Kanda, Keiji Kusano, Minoru Takanashi
Written by: Sukehiro Tomita
Art Direction by: Hidenori Nakahata
Cinematography by: Kazuhiro Konishi
Music by: Shirô Sagisu
Starring: Tsutomu Takayama, Hiroko Kasahara, Yumi Tôma, Yoshisada Sakaguchi, Bin Shimada, Yukio Satō, Ryūzaburō Ōtomo, Takeshi Kusao, Yoshisada Sakaguchi, Tōru Furuya, Ryōtarō Okiayu, Takeshi Watabe, Aya Hara
Year: 1993

 

This is honestly the first non-Studio Ghibli, non-video-game-related anime movie I’ve ever really sat down to watch with the intention of actually watching the thing all the way through to the end. My friend who had suggested K-PAX a while ago had originally suggested the original Macross movie (actually a TV program edited into a movie which is more accurately named The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, but… well, we’ll just stick to Macross for this review), but, upon browsing Netflix, it looked like all they carried was the series version that spanned 8 discs – and there was no way I was going to watch all that. Hence, the coaxing of his left field suggestion of K-PAX. But, lucky for me, my friend had figured out that, yes, there is actually a Macross movie I could review, and he just so happened to own it: Macross II: The Movie (a.k.a.: The Super Dimension Fortress Macross II: Lovers Again, though, again, we’ll just shorten it to Macross II). Read more…

Review: “Predator”

June 21, 2013 2 comments
PredatorDirected by: John McTiernan
Produced by: Lawrence Gordon, Joel Silver, John Davis
Written by: Jim Thomas, John Thomas, Shane Black (Uncredited)
Edited by: Mark Helfrich, John F. Link
Cinematography by: Donald McAlpine
Music by: Alan Silvestri
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Kevin Peter Hall, Richard Chaves, Elpidia Carrillo, Sonny Landham, Shane Black, R.G. Armstrong, Peter Cullen
Year: 1987”

 

Apparently inspired by a gag about Rocky Balboa, having bested all his human opponents, fighting an alien contender, Predator always felt, to me, like a cheap and uninteresting action film with next to no characters I fully cared about. Given, I had formed this opinion around the age of 10, when I had first seen the film and at a time when I thought Batman Forever was a great entry in the franchise, so I’m not sure how much weight I’d give that assessment, but it’s one that I held on to for quite some time – in fact, I have basically avoided every possible opportunity to actually see it again in full length from that first viewing onward just based on the fact that it was a boring, super-macho action film with an ugly alien creature. I’ve seen both Alien vs. Predator films more times than this (though that’s more because they’re so entertainingly bad). For Guy Movie Month, however, I decided that it was time that I got past my distaste for the film and give it another go… Read more…

2012 IN REVIEW: My Top 10 Worst Films of 2012, featuring a review of the #1 Worst Film of 2012

February 7, 2013 5 comments

As you may already know, I’m of the opinion that 2012 was a pretty strong year for films. But even in the best of years there is always a deluge of awful just waiting around the corner to ruin your good time.

Unless you want to actually watch a bad movie (and, let’s face it, sometimes it’s fun to watch bad movies), I strongly advise against watching any of the films below. And even if you are in the mood for a bad movie, I would still recommend never, ever seeing the film that quite literally stole the top spot on my list.

The Cabin in the Woods - Just your typical college kids doing typical college things in a cabin in the woods

It was honestly so bad, I broke a few rules just to avoid having to write about it again and made my say here my final say on the movie overall. Previous lists never featured a built-in film review for any of the films that didn’t have one previously on The Viewer’s Commentary, but this film was a special kind of awful, and so I decided to treat it thus just for this occasion.

Which film could possibly be so bad to inspire such madness? Well you’ll have to read on to find out. … Or you could just scroll down and spoil the surprise, but… well, that would be kind a mean and hurt my feelings. I already compiled this list for you so that you could avoid them and have a good time, and all, and you’re just going to ignore all my hard work, aren’t you?… :( Read more…

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2012 IN REVIEW – The Films I Didn’t See: September – December

January 28, 2013 1 comment

1134604 - Zero Dark Thirty

My apologies for the slightly longer delay in getting this part out. I kinda got stricken with the flu for a few days, and didn’t exactly feel like writing. But, here it is, the final third of the films I didn’t see in the year 2012. This is the period of time where the summer movies begin to trickle out before coming to a complete stop and where film studios begin their flood of Oscar-baiting dramas and such.

That’s not to say that there are never any good action films released during this time. That also isn’t to say that none of these Oscar-baiting films are any good, too. Far from it. 2012 saw the release of Oscar-worthy greats as Argo, Lincoln, and Zero Dark Thirty releasing in the same time period as cash-grabbing features like the final Twilight film, The Hobbit, and Wreck-it Ralph, all with varying degrees of success. It’s actually a fairly ripe time to watch all sorts of movies, come to think of it. Possibly better than even summer!

Django Unchained - Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx

Still, it’s not like I’m going to see every film released during this time. If anything, I ran out of time and risked going out of budget for all the films that I did want to see, but didn’t always have time to. Then there were also films that, quite frankly, I could just do without seeing. But, for the purposes of this article, I’ve gone through and examined all these, both enticing and repugnant, some being granted my attention possibly for the last time ever, and have collected my thoughts and impressions below. As mentioned previously in parts 1 and 2, this isn’t my final say on these films, and some of the commentary below is based pretty much on plot synopses, other reviews, skimmings, and a heavy use of Wikipedia and Rotten Tomatoes. I watched the trailers where I could and didn’t for those films that I just basically didn’t care. Which ones are those? Read, and you may just find out! Read more…

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Independence Day Review: … “Independence Day” of course!

July 3, 2012 2 comments
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Produced by: Dean Devlin
Written by: Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich
Cinematography by: Karl Walter Lindenlaub
Music by: David Arnold
Starring: Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Margaret Colin, Vivica A. Fox, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, Robert Loggia, Randy Quaid, James Rebhorn, James Duval, Adam Baldwin, Harry Connick, Jr., Mae Whitman, Harvey Fierstein, Brent Spiner, Frank Welker (voice)
Year: 1996

 

There’s an exchange between two characters in this film that I think perfectly sums up the whole attitude one should have when preparing to watch this film: “You really think you can fly this thing?” “You really think you can do all that bullshit you just said?”

The concept of a self-aware film has already become a familiar trope, but Independence Day acknowledges its nature as a big budget B-movie while never truly drawing attention to the fact. It’s all played straight, and yet it’s still hilariously playful, just the same. Here’s a film where you really have to turn off your brain and not really think too much about the action, lest you be driven into madness trying to nitpick all the little details of the plot and pinpoint all the ridiculous things that the characters within are saying and doing. Once you do that, you’ll likely find yourself enjoying it far more than the film probably deserves. Read more…

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