Life is the exact opposite of Kong: Skull Island. Whereas Kong knew exactly what it was and embraced it, Life is a pretentious wannabe that flails around for far too long before ultimately turning into a cliche and running out of gas long before the credits roll.
Wanting desperately to be a genre-shaking art film which takes the science seriously and has something to say about extraterrestrial life, like the original Alien, instead director Daniel Espinosa‘s (Safe House) movie is a plodding, somber affair with nothing we haven’t seen multiple times before. Very early on, I lost track of number of extended sequences showing off the film’s art design set to ominous classical music. I get it, you guys liked 2001: A Space Odyssey. Unfortunately this isn’t the kind of movie you are making here.
Life is a bottle-show monster flick with a small group of people trapped with a creature they can’t understand let alone defeat. By the time Life gets around to throwing the pretension of actual science out the window and becomes a monster movie there’s little the latest tentacle monster can offer in way of surprise, let alone general horror.
Disney’s new Beauty and the Beast isn’t so much an adaptation of their 1991 animated film as a live-action reproduction of the original. The new film follows the pattern so closely that when it diverges at any point something feels a bit off. In a loving remake, director Bill Condon and his team bring the magic of the original back to the big screen in a way which should please fans.
Planet Comicon returns to Bartle Hall in Kansas City on April 28-30. Tickets are available now. Need a few reasons to come? How about 10 of them? Here are, in my humble opinion, the Top 10 Guests to meet at Planet Comicon this year.
Far more focused than Peter Jackson’s bloated three-hour mess, Kong: Skull Island is a film with a clear agenda of what it is and what it wants to do. Sadly, King Kong hasn’t had the greatest career in the movies with far more disappointments than successes. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and screenwriters Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, and Derek Connolly strip away much of the Kong story to focus only on the discovery of the giant ape and the mysterious island which is also home to other monstrous beasts the outside world can only imagine.
Nadine’s (Hailee Steinfeld) life is falling apart. Her only real friend (Haley Lu Richardson) has begun dating her brother (Blake Jenner) which has only caused the outspoken high school student to become more the anti-social. Her new refuge in the storm that is her life is an equally sarcastic teacher (Woody Harrelson), who likes the student more than he lets on.
Written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, The Edge of Seventeen focuses on the emotional tumult of a teenager’s life leading to an honest, and sometimes quite funny, film. Steinfeld balances the protagonist’s frayed emotional state with aplomb in the story of a troubled young woman that is still hopeful even as Nadine swerves closer and closer to the edge.
With notable similarities to the first Pirate films, the “final” entry to the franchise involves a young man (Brenton Thwaites) and woman (Kaya Scodelario) getting tangled into the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) when an old enemy (Javier Bardem) of the pirate’s returns from the grave. Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, and Kevin McNally reprise their roles from previous films. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales opens in theaters on May 26th.
What the hell is Gangster Squad doing on this set? The 2013 film wastes a talented cast on this idiotic take on a 50s cop (Josh Brolin) attempting to take down Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). What a piece of shit. The rest of this collection is actually quite good, making you wonder who decided to try and polish this turd by putting in in their company.
Ben Affleck‘s The Town is the second-weakest entry in the set, but the look at Boston bank robbers is at least occasionally compelling. While flawed, 2001’s Training Day is worth a look for the performances of Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke as the older detective introduces his new partner to his world.
Finally learning that bigger isn’t always better (see X-Men: Apocalypse and X-Men: The Last Stand), 20th Century Fox has moved away from the super-sized team film. With both Logan and Legion (FX’s new series based around the X-Men character of the same name), the X-Men universe is taking some interesting turns with a darker tone and smaller character-driven stories. Logan may not be as entertaining as Deadpool, but it definitely ranks as one of the better X-Men films (and easily the best of the Wolverine standalone movies).