Tag Archives: Liam Hemsworth

Independance Day: Resurgence

Independence-Day-2-poster

The first Independance Day is a classic distaster movie with great turns from the likes of Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman. After the world has been waiting forever for a sequel we finally get one. But can it be anywhere near as good as the original?

Set twenty years after the events of the first movie, Earth has used the alien technology left from the last attack to prepare themselves for any future event. When the aliens return (surprise, surprise on Independance Day-again) Earth (or America) has to fight back against an emeny that is more deadly and more prepared than ever before.

Independance Day was huge box office hit back in 1996 and is looked on quite fondly by audiences. Yes it’s cheesy as hell and can be quite silly but it is also huge fun and visually very good. It also had some great actors working their asses off to make the film as good as possible. Resurgence is a huge disapointment in comparison.

Ok so it was probably never going to live up to the original movie, but I had hopes that maybe Resurgence would be an enjoyable sequel. Unfortunately returning director Roland Emmerich has sucked out all the fun from this film, instead trying to go for a tonally darker movie and added new, younger characters that are barely fleshed out beyond their sterotypes. Now I know sterotypes and cliches are practically synonymous with disaster movies but if you don’t have a sense or humour or charisma with it then it becomes a bit of a chore to watch. Actors need the charm of someone like, say Will Smith (such a pity he didn’t return-or perhaps very smart of him) to make characters like this work.

At least the movie brings back Goldblum and Pullman for the Sequel. However while Goldblum adapts better to the sequel, Pullman feels wasted. His intial scenes as the tormented and unwell former President seem interesting but he soon seems dragged down by the story. Of the new cast Travis Tope stood out-in a good way-as Charlie, the comic relief and sidekick to the dull hero Jake (Liam Hemsworth). Hemsworth normally displays a bit more personality than this in his films but seems rigid as the reckless but obviously still heroic Jake. Maika Monrow as the former President’s daughter Patricia Whitmore also seems to be phoning it in (and I know she can do much better as seen in the horror It Follows). Jessie Usher comes off the worst as Dylan the son of Will Smith character, I’m not sure if it’s the writing or his performance but Usher comes off as the most wooden of all the newbies.

It’s not just the characters that are the issue, the visuals too are not that good. I’m not sure how the movie could possibly live up to the original’s iconic scenes of blowing up the White House but I thought Resurgence would look a lot better than this. Instead so many things look so obviously CGI it’s distracting.

At the climax of the movie we can see them setting up to build a franchise for more Indpendance Day movies. All I can think is, please don’t.

 

(And is it just me or does the subtitle  Resurgence make anyone else think it should belong to the Divergent/ Insuregnce/Alligence movies?)

Rating 2/5 -They had twenty years to write this. And this is all they could come up with.

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The Dressmaker

The Dressmaker

So while everyone else went to see the other Liam Hemsworth film last week (you may have heard of it, a little film called The Hunger Games) I went to see this Australian film starring Hemsworth and Kate Winslet based on the book by Rosalie Ham. The movie has already been nominated for several AACTA awards but will it win me over?

As a young girl Tildy was sent away from her home in Dungatar, Australia after the death of a young boy. Returning years later in 1951 to care for her sick mother, a now grown up Tildy (Kate Winslet) entrances the town with her dressmaking skills. Her creations soon become in high demand but Tildy is still treated with suspision after all these years. As she tries to discover the truth about the incident she becomes romantically involved with the local hunk Teddy (Liam Hemsworth) and depsite her better judgement wonders if she can move on from her troubles in Dungatar.

The trailers I saw for this movie made it seem like The Dressmaker was a comedy with lots of scenes of Liam Hemsworth with his shirt off. The movie itself is a weird mix of films. I don’t mind films that crosses different genres but The Dressmaker had a distinctly odd tone throughout. It can’t decide what kind of movie it wants to be and doesn’t strike the right balance. Is it a Revenge drama? Comedy? Mystery?  It can’t decide what kind of movie it wants to be and so you are never sure what you should be feeling.

Another odd thing was the love interest Teddy is supposedly to be the same age as Tilly yet is played by twenty five year old Liam Hemsworth. Why not just have Teddy be younger than Tilly? Or cast someone older if the age is important? Its just a weird casting choice. The rest of the town folk of Dungatar can come across as cliches or cartoonish. The only ones who manage to bring more life to their characters are Judy Davis as Tilly’s mother and Hugo Weaving as the flamboyant Sergeant who sent Tilly away all those years ago.

The film obviously wants the death of the young boy Stewart to be a mystery but no explaination is given as to why Tilly can’t remember what happened that day. I guess we’re meant to presume it’s from the truama, but the mystery is a bit pointless and the film would have worked just as well if Tilly had remembered what had happened before she came back to town.

All these complaints may seem as though I really disliked the movie which isn’t the case at all. Winslet, as usual is great as the rebellious and determined Tilly while Davis and Weaving are the stand outs of the supportings roles. The film also looks gorgeous from it’s hot,stifling setting of Dungatar to the gorgeous dresses that Tilly makes for the townsfolk. It is also quite funny in places but this jars with the mystery and tragedy that are thrown into the mix. All in all it feels like there is a great film in The Dressmaker underneath all the flourishes.

Rating 3/5 – a mixed bag but entertaining and Winslet is on top form

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

The end is near for The Hunger Games movies. But like all franchises these days the concluding book has to be split across two films. But is there enough material to spread over two movies?

Katniss is now in District 13 but she is still suffering from her experiences in the Hunger Games and her guilt over Peeta being left behind and under the Capitol’s control. But with District 12 having been destroyed and the other Districts looking to riot against the Capitol, Katniss is needed to become the symbol of the rebellion so they can win the war against President Snow. But is Katniss up to the task?

Splitting the final Hunger Games books could be seen as a purely cynical move, and while the obvious motivation is clearly all about the money, that doesn’t mean its a terrible idea. When I heard that Mockingjay was to become two movies I actually liked that idea (and I’m normally not a fan of such thing – I’m looking at you The Hobbit movies). This way I get to see more of the characters I like and it allows all the subplots to get fully developed.

So the main themes around Part 1 is about propaganda and perception. To win a war you don’t just need to fight in battles but you need to win the hearts of the people, or in the case of the villainous Snow frighten them into submission. I liked that the film showed how both sides use the media to get the public’s support and both are not afraid of using teenagers to their own ends. Katniss and Peeta are both being used  as puppets of the two Presidents, although they both aren’t as easy to control as they’d hope.

It’s almost redundant at this point to go on about how great Jennifer Lawrence is as Katniss but I’m going to anyway. Everyone’s favourite moody teenager is back (not that she doesn’t have reason to be sullen), and while she may not be in the arena anymore, the games are still being played, even if they are more political in nature they are still as dangerous. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Katniss is only about 17 and yet so much expectation is on her shoulder. Lawrence perfectly captures the trauma that Katniss has been through due to her experiences and how that is affecting her behaviour and decisions. She is trying to do right by everyone-Peeta, Penam, President Coil- however she doesn’t know what the consequences of her actions will be or how others will retaliate.

So there’s a lot of heavy scenes and political manipulation. Thank god for Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) and Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) to bring some much-needed light relief. But they are not just there for comedy as they provide Katniss with support and reassurance that she so desperately needs, and they actually do care about her wellbeing too. Out of the new characters Natalie Dormer is striking as Cressida the director of Katniss’ propaganda films, and  Julianne Moore’s gives District 13’s President Coin makes the cold and calculating more interesting than she could have been. With so much going on that does mean some characters are neglected a bit such as Finnick but at least  Sam Clafin makes the most of the few scenes he’s in and he has much better chemistry with Katniss than she does with either of her supposed live interests Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) or Gale (Liam Hemsworth).

Being the first of two movies does of course have its drawbacks, including a lack of a proper ending to the movie. Also without the tension of the arena there’s not as much action in this movie compared to the previous instalments. At least after the build up during this movie, Mockingjay part 2 should give us the more than enough action when the Capitol is finally stormed by Katniss and co.

Rating 4.5/5 -while it’s not as action-packed as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire it’s still as gripping and smart as ever with Jennifer Lawrence once again on spectacular form

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

It’s fair to say I’m a huge fan of The Hunger Games franchise and it’s star Jennifer Lawrence, therefore my expectations were through the roof. But now I’ve seen it have I been brought crashing down to Earth?

A year on from the Hunger Games, and it’s winner Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) is struggling with the memories of the killings during the games and the complicated love triangle she has with fellow hunter Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and her joint winner of the games Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). All this is pushed to the side once President Snow (Donald Sutherland) decided to get rid of Katniss -and any potential threats of uprising- by announcing the next Hunger Games will throw previous Victors back into the game.

There’s no point pretending otherwise. I LOVED THIS FILM!

I was worried that previous director Gary Ross’ departure would leave the franchise in trouble, however Francis Lawrence has shown a great understanding of the characters and the wider world of the hunger games. I enjoyed seeing the meetings of Snow and his collaborators behind the hunger games and revealing their motivations behind certain events. Its a nice development from the book which was limited in showing the wider world of Panem due to its first person narration. The games are just as brutal as ever with poisonious fogs and rain of blood, while Katniss is again left wondering who she can trust and just who the real enemy really is. 

The whole thing is brilliantly cast. It is hard to pick stand outs from the supporting actors otherwise I’d might as well list the entire cast but particular mention has to go to Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, one of my favourite characters from the book –he fights against the regime using fashion!-and Kravitz plays him brilliantly. His relationship with Katniss is a joy to watch and really pulls at the heart strings. I had initial reservations about the castings of Sam Clafin and Jena Malone as previous victors Finnick and Johanna  but now I’ve seen them in the roles they perfectly encapture their characters from the books and are welcome new additions to the film.

Above all this though there is one star of this film and that is Jennifer Lawrence. She manages to make a character who may otherwise come across as sullen and moody become likeable, strong and inspiring. Its not surprising that Katniss Everdeen has become something of an iconic character, and the main part of this is Lawrence’s portrayal of her. She can go from emotional and devastated, to enraged and rebellious in an instant.

The only downside for me is that I would have liked to have seen Haymarch’s (the excellent Woody Harrelson) backstory in the film. His experience in his Game was an important part of the book and made Peeta and Katniss understand why their mentor has turned out the way he has. That aside this was a tremendous experience to watch.

Rating 5/5-Leaving us on one hell of a cliffhanger I can’t wait for the next installment

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