Thursday, July 21, 2016
Star Trek Beyond (IMAX 3D)
It's year 3 of its 5 year mission, but will the U.S.S. Enterprise survive this latest adventure into the unknown frontier? Once again, the crew must face almost impossible odds outnumbered & outgunned to defeat their new nemesis, Krall (Idris Elba). Scripted by Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty, this film feels more like the old tv series than the first 2 Star Trek films. Director Justin Lin takes the helm but producer J.J. Abrams still manages again to place his childhood buddy Greg Grunberg on board the U.S.S. Yorktown for his film project . The special effects are stunning. There is a nice tribute to Leonard Nimoy. The basic story line is about standing together in a fight between warmongers & peacekeepers.
Alien gives it 4 "ancient artifact" stars out of 4.
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Absolutely Fabulous the Movie
Two hard-drinking, self-absorbed, middle-aged women (Jennifer Saunders & Joanna Lumley) in the PR & high fashion world find themselves past their prime but don't seem to know it. This movie is based on a BBC sit-com popular from the early to mid 1990s. Twenty years later, they are trying for a comeback on the big screen. Maybe their original fans will enjoy this latest adventure in comedy but Alien thinks their time has past or maybe it is just British sense of humor. I'm sorry but "Absolutely Fabulous" is absolutely dreadful.
Alien gives it 1 "self-indulgent" star out of 4.
Monday, July 18, 2016
Are you afraid of the dark? Do you fear the things that go bump in the night? Do you believe in the supernatural? If yes, then maybe this film is for you. The night time is the right time for fright time. Lurking in the shadows is a mysterious entity that seems to be plaguing the home of a little boy & his troubled mother (Maria Bello). Estranged older sister (Teresa Palmer) returns in an attempt to rescue them from this reoccurring nightmare. This is a very simple concept designed to make audiences jump by recreating that common childhood fear of the dark & the unknowns that our imagination has created to exist there. Like the 2005 film "The Descent", lighting is the key to manipulating the horror the hides amongst the blackness. After less than 90 minutes, you may or may not be satisfied with the experience but what else are sequels for but to explore & unravel unresolved issues.
Alien gives it 2 ½ "am I just seeing things" stars out of 4.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Four fabulously funny females (Melissa McCarthy, Kristin Wiig, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon) & a handsome hunk (Chris Hemsworth) star in this hilarious reboot of the 1984 iconic classic fantasy comedy. Each bring their own unique comedic personalities to this team in pursuit of poltergeists plaguing the city. McCarthy leads with Wiig reluctantly joining as co-captain, but it's hard to miss their scene stealing cohorts: McKinnon as the quirky equipment techie, Jones as the angry black woman volunteer, & Hemsworth as the dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks blonde receptionist. This hysterically funny film can stand up on its own. Previewing the original and/or the 1989 sequel isn't necessary; although, this revamped ghostly gem is loaded with Easter eggs & related cameos. Look for crazy gadgets, gooey slime, & electrifying special effects in this riotous romp. When terrifying apparitions are spotted all over New York City, who are you gonna call? Stay seated until the end of credits for one last clip from Ghostbuster Central.
Alien gives it 3 "ectoplasm & proton packs" stars out of 4.
Monday, July 11, 2016
In 1980's, a U.S. Customs Service special agent (Bryan Cranston) goes undercover as a slick money laundering businessman in order to bust Pablo Escobar's Colombian drug cartel. It is a gripping, on-the-edge-of-your-seat thriller with danger & paranoia lurking at every turn or small slip up that could threaten him, his crew, & his family. The all-star cast also includes John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger, Benjamin Bratt, & Amy Ryan. Academy Award winning Olympia Dukakis has an almost cameo but special appearance as Aunt Vicky. This incredible story is based Robert Masur's autobiographical book. At the end of the movie, photos of the real life characters portrayed along their subsequent outcomes are revealed.
Alien gives it 3 "turn of the eagle" stars out of 4.
Wednesday, July 06, 2016
It's "Truth or Dare" minus the truth for adrenalin junkies & on-line mass media addicts when @Vee_99 (Emma Roberts) and @_Ian_ (Dave Franco) team up as players to earn money by completing challenges issued by anonymous watchers. This all seems like fun & games until the dares escalate to increasingly dangerous levels. Targeting today's smart phone obsessed young users, this film becomes a poor man's "Hunger Games" with annoying text overlaying the onscreen action. Inspired by a interesting premise with some daring stunts but the plot is weak & supported by some cyber mumbo jumbo. The two leads were good in their roles but their romantic connection was hard to buy.
Alien gives it 2 ½ "Beware of Mad Max" stars out of 4.
Tuesday, July 05, 2016
The Secret Life of Pets
Anyone who has ever owned a pet has probably wondered what do they do when you leave home. Whether they are furry, feathered, or scaly, this animated feature is a humorous adventure that owners would never expect from their precious pets. The hilarious world of animal behavior & human nature are explored as domesticated pets & feral no longer wanted pets mix it up on & under the streets of New York. Targeting the younger crowd with short attention spans, the action is fast paced and sight gag oriented. Adults will still be amused. This family entertainment film is basically a buddy doggie bro-mance with a search & rescue plot.
Alien gives it 3 "when the owners are away, the pets will play" stars out of 4.
Monday, July 04, 2016
Free State of Jones
This is not a sneak preview. This film has already released.
Inspired by historical events, this is the story of the war within a war. A poor Mississippi farmer & battlefield medic, Newton Knight (Mathew McConaughey), leads an armed rebellion against the Confederacy when he experiences the injustices enforced against him & his neighbors. This slow moving film is a bit hard to watch as man inflicts pain & suffering upon his fellow man but it tries to incorporate much of the truths about the Civil War & Reconstruction. It's a sad but important commentary on America's darkest hours as a nation seeking to find equality for all men. At the heart of this story is man's struggle against convention to stand up for what he believes is right.
Alien gives it 3 "what are we fighting for" stars out of 4.
Independence Day: Resurgence
This is not a sneak preview. This film has already released.
Twenty years later, Earth has adapted the alien technology acquired from that July 4th 1996 invasion and expanded its outposts to the moon & Saturn but those nasty aliens are back to destroy our world. It's nothing we haven't seen before: two rival "Top Gun" fighter pilots at odds with each other; aerial dog fights & an all out assault on a mothership to stop a planet's destruction; humans somehow connected to the hive-like collective. Some familiar old faces return to help Liam Hemsworth stop this new invasion. This film is cheesy popcorn fun with plenty of over-the-top action, corny humor & a patriotic salute. Earth may be planning to switch to an offensive game plan for the next Independence Day installment.
Alien gives it 2 ½ "Earth Space Defense" stars out of 4.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Too many party animal disasters forces family members to request 2 brothers (Zac Efron & Adam DeVine) to find respectable women to invite to their younger sister's wedding in Hawaii. However, two wildly irresponsible women (Anna Kendrick & Aubrey Plaza) connive & contrive their way in for at free vacation trip. Of course, true to the raunchy romantic comedy formula, all hell breaks out in paradise, everything starts to fall apart, but by the end all is good again. Rated 'R' for sexual content, drug use, nudity, & language. If this premise sounds enticing to you, you'll probably have a good time & lots of laughs. However, the film is guilty of trying too hard with cheap gags & salacious scenes. These 4 actors are better than this & their talents are wasted here. Maybe the filming locale had partially influenced them to lower their standards. Look for the blooper reel to play during the credits.
Alien gives it 2 ½ "the bliss spa treatment" stars out of 4.