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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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It Follows (2014)

When will horror movie teens learn, just don’t have sex-ever! This latest horror from director/writer David Robert Mitchell makes a direct link between sex and death that is so often implied in slasher movies. But will this movie offer anything original to the horror genre?

Nineteen year old Jay (Maika Monroe) sleeps with her new boyfriend, who soon confesses afterwards that he has passed a deadly curse on to her through sex. A creature will be following her, slowly but steadily and won’t rest until she’s dead. No one else can see the creature and it can look like anyone. She can run for a while but the only sure-fire way to rid herself of the curse is to pass it on to someone else.

It Follows offers a new take on the sex equals death theme that runs through these type of movies. It’s a simple idea with a haunting creature that can take on any form while relentlessly coming for its victim. The beginning, showing one girl affected by the curse, is interesting and suspenseful as you wonder what the hell is going on. As you discover the rules of the curse you are willing Jay on to find a way to escape the creature’s clutches. You are constantly on edge as you are watching the screen, checking in the background for a lone figure to be coming straight for Jay. Monroe shows her role in The Guest was not a fluke and could be the new Scream Queen to watch. Her sister and friends are also a likeable and loyal bunch-which is makes a refreshing change for a horror film which normally show teenagers as bratty and horrible.

The film has a stylish look to it, almost dreamlike at the beginning until it turns into a waking nightmare (perhaps appropriate considering the idea for the film came to the director in his sleep). The director choreograph the film perfectly using 360 degree pans to make you feel like you always have to be on the lookout.The score also felt menacing and foreboding although was perhaps overplayed a little by the end.

Considering how creepy the premise is and how well made it is, it’s a becomes a little disappointing as it goes on. Bottom line is, it just wasn’t scary enough. After a great build up I kept expecting something a bit more but there was no final set piece that had me jumping out my seat or left me to scared to go to sleep. Maybe it was because I read so many good things about this film beforehand that it couldn’t live up to the hype?

Still for anyone looking for something different, this little chiller may provide some creepy fun.

Rating 3.5/5 – smart and creepy but needed to have more scares to be considered a classic

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The Guest (2014)

Brits are all the rage in Hollywood at the moment. For a brief time they were dominating the Superhero genre with Brits all playing Superman, Spiderman and Batman at one point. Now hoping to make an impact across the pond is former Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens, but instead of playing the hero Stevens is going to the dark side in thriller The Guest. But can he escape the ghost of Matthew Crawley?

As the Peterson family struggle to cope after the death of their eldest son Caleb, a stranger named David (Dan Stevens) turns up on their door claiming he was a fellow soldier and friend of Caleb. As he charms the family into letting him stay he soon integrates himself firmly into their home and their lives. But it soon becomes apparent that David is not all that he seems.

I loved director Adam Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett’s previous work You’re Next, and The Guest proves that the former was no fluke. While The Guest isn’t as good as You’re Next, it’s still for the most part a fun and thrilling film. The build up is great as you wonder what exactly David is up to and what he’ll do next as he ‘helps’ the Peterson family. The movie is a bit of a throwback to horror/thrillers of the 70/80’s, complete with a seemingly unstoppable villain. I also liked the movie’s soundtrack a lot.

Dan Stevens clearly enjoys playing a role that has little resemblance to Matthew Crawley and Downton Abbey. It has to be said he is much more attractive playing an American Psychopath than a posh Brit (what that says about me may have to be analysed in another post). His is clearly the stand out role as the charming and dangerous David, manipulating those around him with a smile then wiping the floor with those who dare cross him or the Petersons. Maika Monroe also shines as Anna Peterson, who is the only person slightly suspicious of David’s motives.

The movie starts off so well it’s a shame that its final act lets it down. The answers we get about David aren’t satisfying and the big chase sequence is a bit too clichéd. It’s a shame as you feel the movie could have been something really special instead of just a fun thriller.

Still on the basis of You’re Next and The Guest, it will be interesting to see what Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett get up to in the future.

Rating 3.5/5 – a disappointing final act aside this is perfect for some Friday night thrills

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