Independence Day: Resurgence and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Roland Emmerich
With this movie, the Scream TV series, and the Power Puff Girls reboot, the late nineties are coming back in full force which I guess is gonna make some people happy. Sure enough, we’ll end up beating that decade to death like we did the eighties, but for now the idea of bringing some of this stuff back is still somewhat novel, though if ANYTHING is gonna kill any love we have for that period of time, it might just be this movie. Well that’s not fair. The first one had a long list of talented actors, and at least half of them have returned to this one! Not only that, but it’s been a REALLY good year for sequels so far, so maybe this one has a shot! Can this at least be as good as the original which is hardly the highest bar to set in the first place? Let’s find out!!
The movie picks up twenty years after the events of the first movie where the Earth has apparently advanced AT LEAST a hundred years in their technology due to the remnants of the alien invasion of 1996, and the world has also come together in peace so they can focus all that aggression towards outer space. Speaking of aggression, a day does come when another spaceship comes close to the planet and the humans end up shooting it down immediately despite David Levison (Jeff Goldblum) thinking it’s a mistake. He manages to enlist the help of bad boy space pilot Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth) to take him and whoever happened to be nearby when the spaceship landed up into space. Said people include a scientist (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a UN accountant (Nicolas Wright), and an African warlord (Deobia Oparel). Just roll with it. Anyway, they manage to find the spaceship they shout out of the sky somewhere on the moon and are ready to transport it back to Earth when the REAL alien invasion happens and instead of bringing a dozen big ships, they bring one HUMONGOUS ship to kick humanities ass! Will David Levison manage to stop the alien threat once again, though probably not with a Macbook this time? Just how many landmarks will the aliens target this time?
So, I just finished watching the finale of Wander Over Yonder. I felt doing something like this was appropriate.
For the uninitiated, this was a show about a fuzzy, overly-optimistic alien named Wander who travels across space with his best friend/steed/muscle, Sylvia. Together, they travel and look for other aliens in need of help, whether it’s small favors or need of rescue from villains looking to conquer their planet. Among said villains is Lord Hater, a skeleton-man with magic powers who seeks to become “The Greatest in the Galaxy” by conquering every planet with his army of eyeball soldiers known as The Watchdogs, led by Hater’s right-hand man and true brains behind his villain operation, Commander Peepers.
The show was created by Craig McCraken, best known as the creator of The Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends. Through this body of work, he became one of the first “celebrity animators” to people of my generation, where his name is almost like a brand in and off itself, synonymous with a mixture of adventure, screwball comedy, outlandish scenarios that mix the mundane with the bizzarre, and memorably over-the-top characters. The style of animation, character design, and writing associated with his shows became fixtures that fans could latch unto and identify as symbols of his work, and it’s been interesting to see how he (and his evolving team of associates) continue to evolve those basic tools and adapt them to new ideas.
In terms of scope, the show seemed to be the least ambitious of the three he’s done at first glance. PPG was primarily about satirizing superhero tropes by embodying them through a trio of kindergarden-aged superheroines and their oddball adventures. Foster’s was a surreal take on the idea of children outgrowing their imaginary friends (i.e. whatever symbol of their childhood they’re supposed to represent) by making said friends become real-life characters and showing what happens to them after their kids move on (or, at least, when they’re “supposed” to). So, it doesn’t seem like there’d be much to compare in a series that’s mainly about a guy who may be too kind for his own good, and believes that with enough kindness, anyone can be a friend. However, this is only one part of a bigger whole, and it’s the way the show bounces this concept with its other characters where the show becomes something truly memorable.
We’re back with another episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, but it’s not just ANY episode! We are at the end of season three which had one stated goal of winning back fans after the less than stellar first two seasons! Did they manage to not only succeed in surpassing the first two seasons but in also outdoing their finales? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins by recapping what had happened at the end of the last episode, mainly that Sailor Saturn was about to nuke the planet to kill General Smooze (also known as Master Pharaoh 90) and no one was particularly happy about that. Sailor Moon is still somewhere inside General Smooze’s goop of evil, but I’m sure she’ll be just fine! I feel like I’m starting to repeat myself…
The Shallows and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
Everyone wants a crack at that Jaws money, or I guess that Shark Week money now that THAT has become a cultural touchstone… for some reason, and this is no exception. The big innovation this time though is to make it a bottle film which makes a certain amount of sense considering that any situation other than STRANDED AT SEA means it would be hard for a shark to get you. It’s either that or you’ll have to stick them in a tornado, and that shit got old REALLY quickly. Does this manage to be a taut and exciting thriller as Blake Lively tries to outsmart a shark, or is this just a low budget imitator of much better films? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows Nancy (Blake Lively) who’s gone to Mexico to find a beach that her mother visited long ago, and the reason she’s there in the first place is to work through some problems by surfing them away. Unfortunately, a whale had died close to the beach which has attracted a shark that then proceeds to attack Nancy while she’s catching waves alone. She survives the attack and manages to climb her way onto a nearby rock, but she’s got no phone, she’s got a huge bite mark in her leg, and the rock will sink back under the water once it’s High Tide. Can Nancy manage to find a way back to the shore without getting eaten? Will someone come by to rescue her before the sea rises? What is this shark’s problem!?
Free State of Jones and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment
Directed by Gary Ross
Good old STX Entertainment! They’re the little studio that’s trying so hard to be a respectable outfit, and sure enough they do have some good films under their belts like Hardcore Henry and The Boy… but then they also did Secret in their Eyes, which… yeah. Let’s not go there again. I hear The Gift is good at least! Anyway, they’re latest effort is the quote, unquote, HISTORICALLY ACCURATE film based on a the man who started a rebellion within The Confederacy during the Civil War. Does STX Entertainment have another notch in their belt with this Matthew McConaughey led biopic, or is this another disaster like… that one movie they made? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the tale of Newton Knight (Matthew McConaughey), an army doctor for the Confederate Army who knows that they’re fighting and dying for rich white dudes to keep slaves. Well, that and to keep the status quo of dehumanizing black people, but I’m SURE that’s not crossing any of these poor farmers minds as they march forward into battle. It’s certainly not on Newton’s mind, THAT’S for sure! Anyway, when his… relative (I think his nephew) gets shot and killed in the battlefield, he deserts the army and goes home to deliver the dead body to his sister and to see his wife and son again. Eventually, he makes his presence known to local Confederate tax collectors (or rather Looters) when he starts stopping them from collecting way more than ten percent of the local farmers’ goods and is forced to hide out in the swamp with escaped slaves to wait out the war I guess; one of whom is Moses (Mahershala Ali) who is looking for his family and becomes a lifelong friend of Newton. At some point though, Newton is unable to sit still any longer and ends up turning the runaway slaves and other deserters into a functioning society within the swamp that apparently the Confederates are completely unable to overtake and they soon become a huge thorn in their side as they start raiding supply wagons and burning rich peoples’ stuff. That’s only half the movie though as eventually the war does end and we transition from the armed rebellion to Newton fighting for the rights of his fellow citizens who are now FORMER slaves in an area this not too happy about that. So how exactly did Newton manage to outlast the Confederate army throughout the rest of the Civil War? Are he and his friends any safer after the war than they were before? Does Matthew McConaughey have a beard, or did something die on his face?
Sailor Moon and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Toei Animation and licensed by Viz Media
Episode directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara
We’re back with another episode of The Naru Diaries! Part five I think… Anyway! Now that Makoto has officially become a member of Team Moon, we can back to that whole “Naru being emotionally destroyed” thing that was left kinda hanging after episode 24. Will they manage to sew up that loose end with care and satisfaction, or is this an afterthought to fill out the number of episodes this season? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with Mamoru having another one his Silver Millennium dreams where a very obvious Usagi is asking him ONCE AGAIN to find the Silver Crystal. So wait, are these actual visions he’s having that someone is putting into his head? If so, who else COULD it be besides Usagi considering the Princess here looks just like her no matter HOW much fog they use to try and obscure it? I mean, I GUESS it could be part of his subconscious trying to give him a message, but this isn’t really a memory or something like that, so his subconscious is being REALLY unhelpful by giving out vague commands with no real direction! Also, you may recall that the Tuxedo Mask persona is ACTUALLY a separate consciousness (I think) because Mamoru has no memories of being Tuxedo Mask, yet they made it clear in episode 19 that Tuxedo Mask has no memories of who HE is (Prince Endymion), so these dreams must not be coming from him specifically but yet another layer of his subconscious… or something. He’s getting orders from a memory of a split personality with amnesia. Did Christopher Nolan write this shit!? It’s a memory of a memory of a memory of a taco!
We’re back with another episode of The Saturn Seal! When we last left our heroes, they had just managed to get one over on Mistress 9 due to the fact that Chibi Moon has now become SUPER Chibi Moon with the help of Hotaru’s ghost! Still, there’s the matter of General Zod on the planet below trying to break free of the barrier put up by the Outer Senshi so that he can finally take over the world for reasons that I’m sure make perfect sense to him, so that’s something they’ll have to deal with eventually though I’m still convinced this guy is kind of a pushover. I mean, a puddle? Just get some giant paper towels or a Moon Powered blow dryer! So will the Scouts’ new found source of ULTIMATE POWER be enough to stop the space tyrants once and for all? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with the Monstrous Mistress 9 barreling towards the Scouts with everything she’s got left, though it may not be enough as Sailor Moon AND Chibi-Moon have both gone Super Sailor Guardian and are preparing to stop her in her tracks; firing off one last blast together as mother and daughter in the hopes of saving the world from certain doom. Kind of reminds me of something, but I can’t quite put my finger on it…
Finding Dory and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Andrew Stanton
Well… I guess we’re back again. Pixar has gotten pretty passé for me recently and making a sequel to my least favorite of their movies that ISN’T a rip off of Maximum Overdrive is probably not gonna be what ends up turning them around for me. Still, the studio never makes a lazy movie (except for those G rated Christine films) so we can at least expect a certain level of quality from them, and maybe I’ll be a bit more receptive to their fish story this time around. Does it manage to bring back that Pixar magic that has gotten kinda dull and played out recently? Let’s find out!!
The movie takes place a year after the events of the first one (which I guess means this takes place in in the heydays of George W Bush and Nickelback) and since then Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) has been living with Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence). One day during their day to day life of… swimming I guess, Dory sees something that triggers a memory that had long been forgotten which is that she has parents and lost them many years ago; probably due to her short term memory condition. Now that she’s aware that her parents are out there somewhere, she manages to rope Marlin and Nemo into going with her to the last place she remembers being at before losing them forever which was somewhere in California. That somewhere just happens to be the Marine Life Institute which is a rescue center to provide care to, rehabilitate, and eventually release the sea creatures that they either catch or are sent to them for treatment. As you’d expect, Dory manages to separate herself from Marlin and Nemo who have to then FIND her, and while they’re doing that Dory meets up with an octopus named Hank (Ed O’Neill) who is willing to help her find whatever exhibit her parents are in if she’ll do something for him. See, Dory was sent to the medical wing and immediately got a tag put on her to send her to the Cleveland Aquarium because… I actually don’t know why come to think of it. The tags are only placed on fish that are too sick to survive in the open ocean, so… is there gonna be a really sad third movie coming out in ten years? Anyway, Hank wants to go to the Cleveland Aquarium but isn’t sick enough for them to send him off, so he’ll take her tag in exchange for carrying her around until they find her parents. Oh, and they’re on a timer because the truck to Cleveland leaves in the morning so Hank is not in the mood to mosey about take their sweet time. Will Dory manage to find her parents in this place? What about Marlin and Nemo? Are they gonna find her before… I guess something bad happens? Will Pixar ever get to The Incredibles 2!?
Central Intelligence and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber
That HAS to be the greatest tagline of all time, am I right? For months now, I’m been cautiously optimistic of this buddy film starring Kevin Hart as an everyday business man and Dwayne Johnson as… what can only be described as a puppy operated meat robot. Seriously, is there anyone more adorable than The Rock? Honestly, that’s the main reason WHY I was interested at all. The story looked average and the spy stuff looked simplistic, but damn do I love this guy and pairing him up with Kevin Hart seemed like a brilliant move. Well the movie is finally here, so does it live up to those expectations, or is this yet another non-starter for two actors who are absolutely fantastic but don’t always know how to pick a decent script? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) who’s been coasting through life for the last two decades now without any real vision or goals. Now it’s not like his life is terrible because he is married to his high school sweetheart and he did land a good job as an accountant, but in high school he was the most popular kid in school and was voted most likely to succeed by his peers, and now he’s looking down the barrel of a twenty year reunion with nothing much to show for it. The day before the reunion though, things take a very odd turn as one of his fellow classmates Bobby (Dwayne Johnson) gets in touch with him on Facebook and convinces him to hang out that night which he agrees to and is surprised to see the fat kid everyone made fun of has turned into… well Dwayne Johnson. Things seem to go well that night as Bob pours his heart out about how Calvin was the only guy in school to ever treat him with kindness and respect, and they end up having a great time. That is until Bob starts asking Calvin to look into some files for him which inadvertently pulls his ass into one big terrorism plot where an ALL POWERFUL COMPUTER CHIP is gonna get sold to the highest bidder and Bobby’s the only one who can stop them. OR IS HE!? The CIA get involved as one their agents (Amy Ryan) gets in touch with Calvin and lets him know that Bob is bug-fuck nuts and is probably gonna kill everyone. Not an unreasonable assumption to make considering how much shit he fucks up and how much he REALLY idolizes Calvin, so now it’s a race against time as Calvin has to find out who to trust, how to not get killed, and possibly save America in the process!