Roland Emmerich collaborator Dean Devlin, who had garnered fame from writing Independence Day and the 1998 Godzilla film makes his own directorial debut with Geostorm. Although Devlin was responsible for writing some of the more tolerable entries in Roland Emmerich’s filmography there isn’t really so much being said there and without Emmerich, what exactly is to be expected with half the effort of what gave us Independence Day? Perhaps something more stupid, one that would at least feed off from whatever visuals it can throw at you as a means of hiding an incredibly corny human story – typical of modern disaster films. If San Andreas showed us that this formula wasn’t limited to Roland Emmerich, I can’t imagine thinking Dean Devlin would have done anything outside of such.
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In truth my hopes were never high for another live-action Death Note adaptation because I’ve never been a fan of neither the anime series or the original Japanese features. The fact Netflix was releasing a live-action film in English after how this year’s Ghost in the Shell had turned out to be sounded far less appealing to me given as Netflix’s original feature films have rarely ever been great ones at that, and I grew even more cautious upon the notion that Adam Wingard was set to direct after how bad his Blair Witch sequel had turned out to be. But I’m not against the idea of retelling another story into a different language for a different audience, so looking at Death Note on its own terms had only put a sliver of curiosity into my own mind and my worst fears have only been proven true. As an adaptation of the anime, it does its job horribly, and on its own terms it’s just painful to watch.
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Adapting Stephen King to film is a complicated case, knowing that Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining had taken liberties with its source material to the scorn of King himself. With that having been said, it still remains the best of the many adaptations that King’s work has spawned, but perhaps the case with “Stephen King done right” as proven by the Shining miniseries would only have proven itself disastrous, so fan reactions to The Dark Tower could set expectations in place for they didn’t get what they would have wanted as a means of introducing a story they love to newcomers. Coming in with a newcomer’s perspective for I’ve only read the first book in the series and wasn’t a fan, I already feel the anger that such an audience would have felt to see something they loved bastardized the way Nikolaj Arcel did so here.
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There was a time I remember when Ridley Scott had managed to create one of the most unsettling and thus one of the greatest horror films ever made by playing upon the fear of the unknown with the original Alien film. I’m not even sure if his son, Luke Scott, had gotten a grasp on what it was that made Alien a genre defining work just as it did, because there’s a lot here that almost rings from the beats that made Alien as effective as it was; only numbed down as a result of its attempts to reach out at pseudo-philosophy almost as if it were aping on Alex Garland’s Ex Machina from a year prior. It’s almost like a diet mix of both Alien and Ex Machina in the very worst sense possible, because there’s no thrill to be found within the action they present nor is there anything insightful to come about: Morgan is just a film that lies dead in the water all around.
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If the title’s caption, “The Last Knight,” doesn’t keep to its promise by having Michael Bay direct another movie for this franchise, I’ll probably just give up on humanity altogether. I feel that I do need to clarify I actually don’t hate Michael Bay wholly, but even with that having been said I can’t find myself defending the sorts of films he makes when it’s evident I don’t enjoy the time I’m having when I watch them. With every new Transformers film he’s made, it only turns me away all the more from the sorts of films he continues making with the fact the first film was actually one of the first films in which I recall having slept in the theater. The most that I can say for Transformers: The Last Knight is that after egregious experiences with Revenge of the Fallen and Age of Extinction, this was a better film than the preceding three, but one must take a statement like such as they will.
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James Ponsoldt’s directorial credit should already have been enough for me to think that there was something decent inside of The Circle, but what also caught me was the fact it came from a novel by, and was co-written by Dave Eggers. This name already caught me eye more than anything else about The Circle because Eggers also was a co-writer of Spike Jonze’s underrated but wonderful Where the Wild Things Are. Now that The Circle has come out I’m just wondering how everything had gone so terribly wrong for both Ponsoldt and Eggers because both filmmakers have created fairly thoughtful material prior to this and now comes the worst Black Mirror episode disguised as a feature film. Then again, at least Black Mirror even at their very worst had something to say and yet this one doesn’t even know in the slightest what it wishes to do and at its worst, has to preach everything in your face to the point it becomes so irritating.
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At the risk of starting up controversy it was something that I still feel is worth noting anyways because in spite of being an LGBT Canadian, I don’t care for the films of Xavier Dolan outside of Mommy. While I have nothing but great admiration for the efforts that are put into the work given Dolan’s young age I still face great trouble even trying to connect with many of his own stylistic choices and said feelings have held me back from watching It’s Only the End of the World. Dolan carries a very aggressive nature when it comes to talking about how some of his own films feel, but nowhere has it ever been nearly as aggravating as it was in here. It highlights the worst sort of melodrama, and even as someone who is not a particularly huge fan, it was the least I would ever expect of Dolan.
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A friend of mine was told he would like this film based on his own fondness for the films of Andrea Arnold and Harmony Korine which set myself up to become interested on the spot. The moment he came out saying he wasn’t a fan, however, only made me all the more skeptical about why the recommendation was made. It was not long enough I decided to watch the film where I had failed to see a connection between the recommendations but also one where I was so repulsed by what I was witnessing. That’s only, however, a small testament in describing how truly terrible White Girl is, for it was all around an unpleasant experience.
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I’ve always hated the look of a film that goes in a single continuous long take. Even for how much I admire the effort in Russian Ark, it didn’t hide how there were moments I also found myself distanced from the material to which it had intended to present. It made me all the more skeptical before I decided to go ahead and watch Victoria, and quite frankly what snapped back into me was everything I hated about focusing on attempting this feat multiplied by a growing boredom that eventually geared almost towards anger. I know out there, that there are people who are set to admire Victoria on that count but I fall on a radically different end of the spectrum for instead I found myself aggravated the whole way through. One can say what they will about the twelve year aspect of Boyhood but at least I felt something when watching such – in Victoria I was only waiting for a cut and nothing more.
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If the title alone was surprisingly not the most condescending thing about Love Actually, then I would have been shocked based on that alone because the course of events that take place in this supposedly charming romantic comedy all live under an illusion. Richard Curtis’s Love Actually managed to earn a reputation as a delightful Christmas treat in some circles and yet, the opening already suggests the general idea that it wants to get across and yet its picture of such idea is where the film falls on its knees. Love is all around, that is said idea, but Love Actually only inspires a hate-filled rage out of me.
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