We Are Your Friends (2015) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

The sheer charisma of the cast nearly offsets the banality of the plotting in We Are Your Friends. Obviously inspired by Trainspotting (visually), Boogie Nights (storyline), and Saturday Night Fever (introducing a musical phenomenon to the masses)–the energy level is kept high and the film doesn’t over stay its welcome, but the predictability of the script makes this one feel like it’ stuck on repeat. First-time feature Director Max Joseph shows promise with a clear understanding of visual language, smart editing choices, and interesting artistic flourishes.
(more…)

Independence Day (1996) – Review

3 1/2 Stars

The mother of all Alien invasion movies and a star making vehicle for Will Smith, Independence Day is still the best movie from German director Roland Emmerich and his producing partner/co-writer Dean Devlin. Riding in on a wave of ingenious marketing, ID-4 would become a cultural phenomenon. It was the biggest hit of 1996, and the highest grossing science-fiction film since Return of the Jedi.
(more…)

Fathers’ Day (1997) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

Father’s Day is a fairly abysmal comedy starring two of the previous decades’ highest regarded comedians. It’s arguably Director Ivan Reitman’s worst, although Junior will always hold that place for me, and it features way too much of Mark McGrath and Sugar Ray. This ‘High-Concept’ comedy was based on a very successful French film, Les Compères,but something surely got lost in translation. Producer Joel Silver, who has no previous experience with comedies, is the man responsible for pooling all the on-screen talent in an unsuccessful attempt at re-creating the magic all have shown in better films.
(more…)

Sheena (1984) – Review

1 Star

Sheena: Queen of the Jungle reminds me a lot of another blonde comics hero that also made its way to the screen in 1984, Supergirl. Tonya Roberts and Helen Slater each had their opportunity to start a female driven action franchise and both of the resulting films are laughably bad. Roberts is the big-screen incarnation of Will Eisner’s comic-strip heroine Sheena. Aiming for a target audience of Conan, Beastmaster, and Indiana Jones fans–Sheena is perhaps the most sexually explicit PG rated film I’ve ever seen. It’s no wonder that 1984 was the year the MPAA invented the PG-13 rating.
(more…)

The Shallows (2016) – Review

3 Stars

Oceanic adventure films have always possessed a voyeuristic under-current. Going back to the opening shot of Jaws, to Jacqueline Bisset’s wet t-shirt in The Deep, Jessica Alba’s closely observed rear in Into the Blue, and now Blake Lively’s bikini-clad beach body. It’s an unspoken appeal of the genre, it is undoubtably used to market and sell the film to young men, while providing visual pleasure even if the films aren’t quite as marvelous as their semi-nude stars.
(more…)

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) – Review

2 Stars

X-Men: Apocalypse is neither the best nor the worst in the franchise, It’s simply the newest. After eight movies in sixteen years, this series is notable for retaining its creative forces, but everything has become one episodic tale that would be impenetrable for newbies. At this point X-Men is the longest running of the superhero tales invading theaters. Sure, Superman and Batman have been matinée idols since their reinvention in the 70’s and 80’s, but those roles been recast numerous times, different directors have given their take, and audience reaction has varied drastically from film-to-film. At least the X-Men series gets credit for rebooting whiling also finding ways to still integrate the original stars.
(more…)

Broken Arrow (1996) – Review

2 Stars

I’ve always wanted to like Broken Arrow. I’m a fan of Woo’s earlier and later films, I enjoy Travolta and Slater in nearly everything they appear, but Broken Arrow has always been D.O.A for me. Sure, it has some nice camera moves, a cool score that recalls Carpenter’s work, and Travolta at the height of his ‘comeback’ era, but it’s all so hallow and uncompelling that over the years it has been a chore to revisit the film.
(more…)

Assassination (1987) – Review

1 Star

Assassination is a particularly shoddy, but relatively tame by Bronson standards, vehicle that looks, sounds and behaves as if it knows it’s a second-tier production. Listless pacing, absurd plotting, and baffling editing choices are made more confounding considering that director Peter R. Hunt crafted the most under-rated Bond film of all time, Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
(more…)

Finding Dory (2016) – Review

4 Stars

Finding Dory reunites audiences with the absent-minded blue tang fish from the Pixar smash Finding Nemo. This side character made such an impression that she’s been given a spin-off/sequel to further explore the plights of that forgetful fish deep within the aqua blue seas of an disclosed Oceanic reef. Filled with the typical visual splendor of the Disney/Pixar brand, Finding Dory looks to capture the title of timeless classic that only a few titles from the mouse house have ever attained.
(more…)

Independent’s Day (2016) – Review

3 Stars

Its summer-time, which means blockbuster season is in full swing at multiplexes throughout the nation. It also means that The Asylum will produce a handful of ‘mockbusters’ designed to win a time-slot during primetime on channels like USA or SYFY. Once upon a time, these low-level rip-offs were meant to trick unsuspecting renters at local video stores. In the age of streaming, The Asylum has been forced to up its product and reduce its output, all for the betterment of each individual movie. It seems that more time and money have been dedicated to the special effects departments.
(more…)