Sunday, June 29, 2014
I, Frankenstein (2014) is a special effects-driven action-oriented creature feature and the second directorial effort of Stuart Beattie, the man who somehow wrote both Michael Mann's lovely thriller Collateral (2004) and Stephen Sommers's campy b-flick G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra (2009). It is a movie you probably didn't see in theaters, probably won't see now that it's out on home video, and I'm here to tell you not to see it, so if that's all you wanted to know then thanks for your eyeballs and please come again soon. It's definitely not a good movie, but for me there's something interesting buried beneath the rubble (although I also find enjoyment in the garbage churned out by The Asylum so I'm a pretty unreliable source of praise). I, Frankenstein attempts to stage a conflict between good and evil centered on the ideological debate regarding the religious value of life in itself against the ethical value of a life's purpose. That's right, folks: Frankenstein has gone pro-life.
Friday, June 27, 2014
Edge of Tomorrow (2014) is this year's Tom Cruise-led sci-fi/action summer blockbuster. Unlike last year's Oblivion which met with criticisms of its lack of originality, Edge of Tomorrow is adapted from a book, borrows its premise from Groundhog Day and Source Code, and repurposes the exoskeletons from Elysium. In all seriousness though, Edge of Tomorrow is incredibly well paced with a smart and funny script which make it the most entertaining big budget sci-fi flick of the year so far (assuming you're not an X-Men or Captain America fan).
Monday, June 9, 2014
Godzilla (2014) is the latest installment in a long-running tradition of giant-monster films. It is the 4th American Godzilla movie after Roland Emmerich's recent comedy-spiked Jurassic Park knockoff in 1998, and it's the 32nd Godzilla movie since the franchise began in 1954 (all 28 non-American productions were made by Toho Studios in Japan). It's also the second feature film from director Gareth Edwards whose relative success with his no-budget monster flick Monsters (2010) earned him the pilot seat on this $160 million extravaganza. So far the movie has fared well enough with critics and at the box office (more than doubling its production budget at time of posting) to get the green light on a sequel as well as earning Edwards the privilege of directing a Star Wars stand-alone slated for late 2016. What makes this Godzilla so special, and considering that the now-hated previous outing was also commercially successful at its release, will this Godzilla endure?
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) is the latest in Marvel's ongoing series of gigantic comic book adaptations. It is the sequel to X-Men: First Class (2011) and is the fifth continuous X-Men movie following the original trilogy which began in 2000 and had no small part in the revitalization of the comic book superhero genre as we know it today. Along the way, however, the films' continuity has become somewhat muddled, and to a certain extent Days of Future Past is here to clear up things the best way science fiction knows how: time travel. Bryan Singer returns to direct, and he pulls a Star Trek 2009 on the franchise and (mostly) succeeds.
Maleficent (2014) is the directorial debut of two-time Oscar winning art director Robert Stromberg (who won for Avatar and Alice in Wonderland), and as a result it is as delicious visually as it is unfocused narratively. It feels like it's trying to be two movies, and this has caused audiences to have mixed reactions. The movie has for the most part been a popular success, making over $175 million worldwide at time of posting (approximately one week's worth of revenue), but critics have been skeptical with it only averaging a 50% on Rotten Tomatoes and 55% on Metacritic. Some of this discord arises from the natural gap between ticket sales and critical appraisal found in children's cinema, but here the film's conflicted nature will likely leave older audiences disappointed.