Browse Month: June 2016

RECAP: The Salvation

The Salvation (2014): Kristian Levring

The Western, it is said, is a dead film genre. Denmark, a land settled for thousands of years before Americans tried their hands settling the Great Plains, threw their hats in the ring with The Salvation.

The movie barely saw US theaters, an interesting aspect considering the film was made in English and set in the US. Such was the power, however waned, of American films in general and Westerns in particular.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: After his family is murdered, a Danish immigrant embarks on revenge in the Old West.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Independence Day

Independence Day (1996): Roland Emmerich

Today, we celebrate, Independence Day, not because it is a good movie, but because it is an AWESOME movie. Director Roland Emmerich has given us hits and misses, but the 1996 popcorn flick about an alien invasion starred Will Smith at the height of his powers and Jeff Goldblum at the apex of his, er, Goldblumness. Every eight-year-old boy’s fantasies of alien invasions were brought to the screen in theaters that July.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Belligerent space aliens are “welcomed” to Earth.  Continue Reading

SPOILER-FREE REVIEW: X-Men: Apocalypse

X-Men: Apocalypse should be Fox’s last gasp with the First Class team of mutants, er, actors.

Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, and other, lesser stars align again, this time in the ’80s! Don’t you…forget about them…I’ll be alone…watching this movie on cable in two years.

Unlike the badness of Batman v SupermanApocalypse is a movie of lost potential. Primarily this movie failed in using its chief bad guy. Continue Reading

RECAP: The Thin Red Line

The Thin Red Line (1998): Terrence Malick

Hollywood loves to double up its tentpole movie themes, and 1998 was no exception. The more celebrated, more revered, more watched, more beloved Saving Private Ryan is a classic of the war genre.

This is the other movie. The Thin Red Line was longer and more beautifully shot, its cast of characters was larger and its moralizing stronger. But was it better?

Malick left a 20-year gap between his 1978 Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line. About every male actor in Hollywood expressed interest in appearing in his return.

Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Sheen, Robert Redford, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mickey Rouke, Viggo Mortensen, Bill Pullman, and Gary Oldman: all these guys performed for the movie and DID NOT make the final cut.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: American soldiers discover, even on a beautiful island, that war sucks.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War (2016): Anthony and Joe Russo

The 2014 sequel titled Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a taut political thriller that dealt with espionage and double agents. Were it not for a guy in a blue spandex suit, we might have forgotten we were watching a Marvel movie.

For Cap’s third solo turn, Marvel decided to cast Robert Downey, Jr. on the same level. The studio used a major plot line from the comics and maxed out the emotional stakes for the world’s greatest team of heroes (Justice League be damned).

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Captain America refuses to sign away his do-gooding powers and suffers the consequences.  Continue Reading