56 posts categorized "Sci-Fi"

January 02, 2021

THE MIDNIGHT SKY

Midnight_skyYou might need coffee. As a filmmaker, George Clooney still has some things to learn about pacing, shifting tempos, and editing. “The Midnight Sky” is far from being near perfect but still manages to hit its emotional marks regardless. The special effects are impressive even if some of its plot aspects test the boundaries of logic and reason.

Based on Lily Brooks-Dalton’s doomsday sci-fi novel, the bleak narrative about mankind’s last gasp on planet Earth ebbs more than it flows. George Clooney turns in a reliably solid performance as Augustine, an Omega man scientist performing mental gymnastics in order to warn approaching astronauts aboard a colossal space station about Earth’s inhabitable condition following a nuclear disaster. Demián Bichir is especially memorable as astronaut Sanchez.

Midnight Sky

One of “Midnight Sky’s” most notable elements is its place as a big budget film made outside of the Hollywood system, it this case by Netflix. Move over Hollywood, there's a new sheriff in town.

Rated PG. 158 mins. 

Four Stars

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

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September 11, 2018

THE PREDATOR (RE-BOOT)

PredatorOh how the mighty have fallen. Shane Black, the screenwriter for such instant classics as “Lethal Weapon” and “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” has written a script that never should have gotten a green light. Nevermind that John McTiernan’s 1987 Schwarzenegger war action fiesta is hardly a movie in need of a remake, or “reboot,” or whatever lame term Hollywood is using to mask its desperation for the next blockbuster multiplex thingy. Insult to injury, Black also takes on directing duties for this cinematic atrocity.

Riddled with dogeared post-modern cynicism, this franchise reboot falls into Hollywood’s sustained attempts at normalizing brutal, mindless violence involving children as witnesses if not active participants.

The Predator' Movie Review: Shane Black and Fox Deliver a Boring Dud |  Observer

Jacob Tremblay (“Room”) plays 12-year-old Rory McKenna, the son of a U.S. war hero (played by Boyd Holbrook). Rory is on the autism spectrum, as are the band of war criminals that Holbrook’s Quinn McKenna character teams up with to battle an alien predator (or two) on a mission to extract human DNA for some MacGuffin reason relating to Global Warming. "The Man Who Fell to Earth" this film is not. This predator has lost its freaky deaky militarized armor, and wants it back. Naturally, Rory is in possession of said armor.  

The result is an orgy of violent blood-and-guts-spewing spectacle for our young would-be protagonist Rory to witness at close-up and personal range. Shane Black’s irreverent sense of ribald, if not openly misogynist humor, comes out of left field with unfunny lines about “eating pussy” and “growing a dick.” Yawn. And yes that is the unrecognizable Thomas Jane (see "The Mist" from 2007) as the turrets syndrome-suffering soldier Baxley. Sad. 

The-Predator-Olivia-Munn

Olivia Munn gets caught “acting” in every other scene as Casey Bracket, a scientist trying to play nice with a rowdy bunch of testosterone-boiling soldiers looking for somewhere to stick their muscle and their frat bro mentalities.

Predators (2010) movie photo

There isn’t single reason I can think of to see “The Predator” other than to be reminded of how low Hollywood and American sensibilities have sunk.  

Rated R. 107 min. 

Zero Stars

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

July 27, 2016

GHOSTBUSTERS [2016]

GHOSTBUSTERS POSTER

This predictably stagnant Hollywood reboot picks up a little entertaining momentum from its talented four female leads. The movie is worth watching if for no reason other than witnessing Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones turn on their comic charms. It might make you wonder why there aren’t more female-dominated movies coming out of Hollywood.

Co-writer/director Paul Feig’s vague attempts at splitting the difference between the '80s era of Ivan Reitman’s original story, and modern day New York, fail. Promising cameos from Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd tease at what could have added comedic texture to a paranormal adventure movie that goes through the motions when this comedy should obviously go over the top.

Scene-stealing credentials go to Kate McKinnon, whose winking character Jillian Holtzmann’s clear-cut lesbian tendencies provide comic jolts whenever she’s on screen. McKinnon's bold creation is one fun and funny character to watch.

An inspired dose of social satire rolls through the story. A clever reverse sexism subplot finds Chris Hemsworth playing Kevin, a straight man assistant to our lady scientists. Kristen Wiig plays the offending boss molester with masculine glee. Sadly, the filmmakers don’t exploit the set-up’s comic potential enough to make an impact.

Ghostbusters2

Although the movie fails to connect its obligatory big spectacle sequences with the barely existent arc of its characters, the performances elevate the movie enough to keep you chuckling. It is a kids' movie after all. The Halloween costumes are already in production.

Rated PG-13. 116 mins. (B-) (Three stars — out of five / no halves)

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