*NEW* INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE 3D REVIEW *NEW*

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We waited 20 years for this?!

Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, Earth is faced with a new extra-Solar threat. But will mankind’s new space defenses be enough?

It is what is. A visually stunning and ridiculous cliched mess of a guilty pleasure. Fun viewing regardless.

Independence Day was an Oscar winning (Yup. You read that, right?) blockbuster that delivered one of the most iconic movie shots of all time. Albeit an alien death ship blowing up the White House.

The only problem is that it has been 20 years since Independence Day opened the door for bigger blockbusters with even more ridiculous effects and sillier plots that have milked every stupid cliche dry. A couple of them penned by Roland Emmerich himself.

I’m not going to lie. This was probably the one guilty pleasure I was actually looking forward to. BUT did it deliver? After the long wait and the return of some old faces, I can say with full fervour . . . Meh.

Let’s start with the good. This won’t take long. The effects (of course) were fantastic. Visually stunning. The alien technology from the ‘War of 96’ creating an ultra-futuristic 2016 (Well, Washington DC) with hovercrafts, spaceships and giant floating jumbo screens. Crazy.

The 3D was quite good especially when our green friends made their proper introduction. Missiles and tentacles flying out left, right and centre. It was great to see Goldblum, Pullman and Spiner back in the mix.

Pullman looked rough. He tried his best to work with the “serious subplot” as the tormented ex-President still plagued by strange visions. BUT it didn’t really work and there wasn’t even a “Today, we celebrate our Independence Day” speech. One of the greatest speeches in movie history!

Spiner (Star Trek) hasn’t aged a day and was just as nuts as he was the first time round. Goldblum’s dry Ian Malcolm wit has been missed and was definitely needed to poke fun at this!

In a ridiculous scene involving a 50 foot alien chasing a school bus of children (Yup. That stupid), our hero can’t leave until the kids save their dog. “Let’s not forget the dog. There’s always a dog”.

If anything that scene summed up the movie. It felt like one big parody of the original. Emmerich and co must have banked everything on Will Smith’s return. BUT studio rumours speculated that the Hollywood megastar demanded $50m (Whaaat?!!) to appear in two sequels.

Once they turned him down, the writers just put any old thing together. You could tell that Emmerich was still sore about Smith’s absence as he wrote the resilient Captain Steven Hiller off in an embarrassing fashion. The bad ass, that welcomed an alien to Earth with a punch in the face, bumped off in a botched test practice. Ouch.

He seemed to punish the Hiller clan full stop. Jessie T. Usher was terrible as Dylan Hiller. It didn’t help that his character was so weak and by the closing minutes, you soon realised how unnecessary he was. Vivica A. Fox didn’t receive any better treatment with her cameo.

All the old faces tried to do the exact same thing with worse results. And when they weren’t involved, they were replaced with annoying new faces. William Fichtner (Prison Break) was wasted in his role while Sela Ward (House) was a highly unmemorable President.

Charlotte Gainsbourg (Antichrist) was a weak and needless character. The whole Africa subplot was a joke and a bad one. Kicking alien ass with an African warlord? Really. I’m either making that sound better or worse. Even if Areo Hotah (Deobia Oparei – Game of Thrones) was said warlord.

Liam Hemsworth (Hunger Games) stole the show and managed to work his charisma on a dull role. Maika Monroe (It Follows) wasn’t too bad. I wish more was made out of the pair as they had good chemistry and were the least annoying out of the bunch.

Goldblum wasn’t really in it as much as you’d think. His presence missed in every frame. Smith and a character of Randy Quaid’s gusto was also missed and needed in this messy retread.

This sort of film is what my mate would call, ‘a sh*t BUT good’ film. It was a laugh (probably for all the wrong reasons) and it killed the time. BUT when you compare it to Emmerich’s weaker efforts *cough* 2012 *cough*, it still fell short.

There were astronauts drinking moon milk, for God’s sake. Seriously? The questions? I know Independence Day wasn’t a work of art by any means. Goldblum destroyed an alien mothership with a computer virus. Because all alien death machines have USB ports, right?

*POTENTIAL SPOILER* Things were left open for another BUT they’re going to have to cook up something pretty damn special after the poor box office takings and mixed reviews. That might be put on hold or the SyFy channel.

Despite all the crazy visual effects and silly fun; this sequel was an empty vessel that lacked the charm and energy of the original. Worth a watch for the die hard fans and B-movie cineastes.

2.5/5

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*NEW* THE 5TH WAVE REVIEW *NEW*

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Corny, dull, laughable. Another Hunger Games inspired mess floods the silver screen.

Four waves of increasingly deadly alien attacks have left most of Earth decimated. Cassie (Chloe Grace Moretz) is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother (Zackary Arthur).

The premise seemed a little hokey BUT with Hit Girl at the helm, I thought this could be watchable. Oh how wrong I was. The first half hour wasn’t too bad and zipped along and after a strong and tense opener, my hopes were still quite high. BUT it just went downhill from there.

The quick cliched set up through flashbacks did the job. The inevitable high school guff was a little dull BUT was quickly skimmed through. Thankfully. Watching Chloe loving life, soccer and boys. Awww. Yuck. That was until the end of the world.

The four waves of attack were quite frantic and pacey. The CGI wasn’t too bad either as tsunamis consumed cities and the aliens made their tacky Independence Day introduction. The virus outbreak through strains of bird flu was an interesting prospect that was breezed over. Things looked to pick up when the aliens began to control the remaining survivors. Looked being the primary word.

Moretz did the best with her role BUT the cliched high school girl spiel can only be done so many times. She may have got away with it in If I Stay BUT it didn’t work this time around. Her droll diary entries put me into a mild coma.

Ron Livingston (Office Space) and Maggie Siff (Sons of Anarchy) were wasted as Chloe’s parents. They did their best BUT anyone could have played them. It didn’t help after all the promise of alien attacks, we were subjected to a mindless romance subplot that went nowhere.

Alex Roe played the charismatic stranger Evan Walker well. BUT the inevitable blossoming romance was nauseating. I was bored. I wasn’t interested. It might have worked better if it wasn’t so corny or laughable. The endless staring and cheesy exchanges was too much. A scene in which Evan is cleansing himself in the lake with his shirt off was hysterical. Come on.

I was more intrigued with the idea of kids being recruited as soldiers to fight off the enemy. A daunting prospect with children being the only ones able to detect who are being controlled by the aliens. It wasn’t explored enough or used to its full potential.

A shame considering Maria Bello (Coyote Ugly) and Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan) were the leading authorities. Bello made a more memorable impression as the sinister sergeant than Schreiber. He was reduced to standing in a command centre and looking menacing. The guy can act. Let him. Dreadful.

Instead we had another dull subplot with Chloe’s high school flame Ben or Zombie (Nick Robinson – Jurassic World) endure military training. Robinson was a likeable lead BUT the cliched military montages and his clashes with Maika Monroe’s (It Follows) bratty army reject just slowed this piece down to a snail’s pace.

The twists, if you could call them that, were terrible. You could see them coming a mile off. This felt like another regurgitation of Hunger Games and Divergent with much weaker results. I couldn’t understand why this received a 15 rating. It wasn’t that violent or dark enough.

We know that Moretz can play a strong female lead. So why did we have a whiny, pining teenage girl? She only really got to step up in the final 20 minutes as she attempted to rescue her brother. A case of too little, too late for me. Rushing for a frantic finale that left everything open.

For those familiar with Rick Yancey’s novel, you already know that there’s more to come. BUT if the next offering is going to be anything like this feeble effort, then the plans for a franchise might be end quicker than the aliens’ plans for Earth.

And I thought The Host was a chore. An adaptation that earned no sequels. The endless teen bestseller adaptations is getting silly. Retreading and replicating the same old spiel. Give us something different. Original if possible.

Weak characters, a laughable story and a cliched premise makes this one to forget.

2/5

THE GALLOWS REVIEW

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The producers should hang their head in shame.

Ba-dum-tsssh! A lazy punch line for a lazy horror film!

20 years after a horrific accident during a small town school play, students at the school resurrect the failed show in a misguided attempt to honour the anniversary of the tragedy BUT soon discover that some things are better left alone.

Another found footage film haunts the cinema. Well for a week. Luckily. I think I’m going to give up on modern horror films. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Hollywood, just STOP. Horror fans STOP paying to see these films.

Thank God, I had a cinema pass. If I had paid a tenner for the last few horror films, I would be livid. The fact these new found footage horror films are getting increasingly low budget with any old amateur cast shows the desperation that Hollywood are resorting to. Getting a quick buck with cheap frights.

They are churned out so quickly and cliche ridden that you can almost tick everything off a check list. Predictable, dull and infuriating. No real tension, memorable ghoul or a decent character that you actually give two monkeys about.

It seemed like writers Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing just wrote a loose premise around the Charlie phenomenon (If you can call it a phenomenon) that stormed the Internet a few months ago. The little cheap scares did do the job. I’m not going to lie. There were moments where I actually winced as the shaky POV crept down a hallway or round a corner.

Silently waiting for our hooded figure to make his long overdue appearance. The only problem was that you really were left waiting. BUT the end result was the same old bloody thing.

The characters even use their real first names. If that doesn’t highlight the originality of the script or the lifeless protagonists then I don’t know what does?! This film was supposed to be 81 minutes. It felt a whole lot longer than that.

After a reasonably macabre opening sequence, the half hour that followed was just mindless cliched teen high school melodrama. Credit where it’s due. Ryan Shoos (Pretty Little Liars) who played the main camera guy did his best to keep things entertaining.

It drew the odd giggle BUT this is a horror film for God’s sake! I may not have been impressed with the overhyped It Follows but at least that knew how to create tension and an atmosphere. Instead we had insufferable waffle about the star quarterback trying to get with the theatre nerd. Awww . . . Yuck.

Pfeifer Brown played the theatre nerd well but her character was so cliched. I had no time for her. Secretly praying for Charlie every passing minute. Cassidy Gilford was certainly a stunner to look at BUT all she did was scream, cry or look into the camera to check out how good she looked. Come on!

Reese Mishler. If I could give an award for the best “Have I left the iron on?” expression, he would win hands down. His blank looks and hang dog expressions were hilarious. Unfortunately he wasn’t strong enough to play the lead but it didn’t help that his character was so weakly written in the first place.

Hyped up as the next horror icon of the new generation, I found Charlie the Hangman pretty tame. He certainly looked the part. A tall domineering cloaked hangman BUT the next Freddy or Jason?! BEHAVE!

Inevitably, he didn’t really make an appearance until the final 15 minutes and when he did; the film finally got going. BUT leaving us with mindless chatter, tension-less build up and a quick fright to stop you fidgeting for a crazy finale just isn’t enough!

The finale was frantic and had the odd scare. There was even a feeble attempt at a twist. BUT this twist (If you could call it that) was so predictable that I was more surprised that they even bothered.

The camera work was probably the truly horrific part. It felt like I was watching my dad handle the camera after having a few pints. I was getting a headache watching it. Every time something creepy did happen, the camera was on the floor. Plenty of snaps of Pfeifer’s feet. Not of flippin’ Charlie. Oh, I give up!

I can feel myself growing tired of endlessly critiquing these sort of films. Only for more of them to pop up and not even try to do anything differently. As long as people rush into see them, the producers will still make the money before anyone realises what a pile of rubbish they really are. I mean Unfriended, the Poltergeist remake, Knock Knock? Is that really the best that we can come up with?

Predictable, lazy, the odd fright reprieves this disorienting ham-flick for a brief moment. BUT still not enough to be haunting your local cinema.

1.5/5

IT FOLLOWS REVIEW

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IT SUCKS!

I’m sorry. I had to get that out of my system.

You should have seen me coming out of the cinema after viewing this.

So what’s it about? After a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, 19 year old Jay (Maika Monroe) finds herself plagued by strange visions and the inescapable sense that someone, something, is following her.

A tedious, dull, and horrific affair . . . for all the wrong reasons.

Now credit where it’s due. Writer/director David Robert Mitchell has a fresh premise at his fingertips.

Playing on teen fears and safe sex was a good little hook and when IT does appear, things do get a little tense and interesting. Weird but interesting.

It’s a shame that IT only appears for a total of 20-odd minutes in a 100 minute movie.

Rich Vreeland composed a fantastic haunting score that was nostalgic of the old school 80s horror flicks.

The creepy electro keyboard playing added much needed tension to this flaccid film.

The agonizingly slow opening sequence showed potential as we see an earlier victim desperately try to escape IT.

It did come off a little comical. I mean, she actually runs around in a circle. That is because IT is following her.

Irritatingly, we can’t see it. However, my interest was piqued.

BUT alas, we are left with Monroe (The Guest) moping around, faffing about in a swimming pool and staring at herself in the mirror.

I’m not kidding. Monroe must have spent a full minute of screen time staring at the mirror.

She plays the vulnerable female lead that was common in the old 80s horror flicks very well. I just wish her character wasn’t so dreary.

We are subjected to her droll relationship with Jake Weary’s Hugh. Things only really kick off when they get jiggy. No, not like that.

Before we know it, Monroe’s Jay is strapped in a wheelchair and given rules about IT.

IT WILL FOLLOW YOU. DON’T LET IT TOUCH YOU. DON’T GO IN A ROOM WITH ONE EXIT. YOU WILL SEE IT. IT WILL COME IN DIFFERENT FORMS.

You get the picture. Suspenseful, strange but engaging.

However, we get more mindless exposition, endless walking, driving and more talking.

This is all relieved by the sudden appearance of IT. Bizarrely in the form of a nude old person. WTF?

Or some demented giant? He looked like Carel Struycken from Twin Peaks.

What baffled me was how IT kills. Apparently in different ways.

Because the opening victim *POSSIBLE SPOILERS* was dismembered. What happens to another character was just plain weird. A sexed up version of The Ring. Without going into too much information. Demented.

The beach sequence was racy, tense and had me a little on edge.

IT finally making a proper impact. A clever little bit of special effects made for a surprise moment.

If only every scene was like that, I would have been satisfied.

The finale did get a little better with some well built suspense BUT the ending was terrible!

It just ended so abruptly and predictably. That’s the problem with these horror films. There’s only ever two outcomes and neither were going to be that rewarding.

BUT if the ride is worth the hype than it doesn’t matter.

A real shame after a couple of scary turns, this ride just strolls along to its stop.

Seriously, the conversations between Jay’s friends was just so monotonous. I could feel life (well, time . . . and patience) slipping away from me.

The only conversation that was worth noting was when they realise that IT can be passed through the activity of sexual intercourse. Fancy wording there.

If you were looking for a PR piece for safe sex then IT FOLLOWS would be perfect.

Keir Gilchrist’s (It’s Kind of a Funny Story) Paul was such a bland character. His constant lovesick puppy expression and drooling over Jay only suggested only one outcome for the poor boy. So predictable.

Olivia Luccardi’s character was one of the most useless and annoying friends going. I was praying for IT to come and get her.

All she did was moan, sleep, eat and scream. Textbook horror victim. I forgot her character’s name from all the excitement.

I am glad to see that people are going back to the classics and trying to rework that magic.

BUT you can’t just rip it off with bland characters, slow brooding shots and a haunting track. You need the suspense, the tension and the interest!

DISAPPOINTED? Not even close.

One of the most striking American horror movies in years? Compared to the drivel of the last few years. I can see that. BUT against the greats? Not even in the same league.

2/5

1 – for the premise

1 – for the scares that got me