Hey there, everyone! I trust you’re making full use of these last days of summer. As for the theater, I’m glad to report there are some original features opening this weekend – not just tired sequels. But are these new ones any good? Let’s take a look:
AXL – the YA version of ET, mashed up with your standard boy-and-his-dog flick and Transformers. A teenager (Alex Neustaedter) finds a robotic dog, and he and his girl (Becky G) befriend it, unaware it’s an expensive piece of highly classified military research. This flick actually takes the word ‘corny’ to a whole new level. I’m trying hard to say nice things here, but then I might accidentally steer you into committing to 1.5 hours of mind-numbing boredom, and that’s a really mean thing to do 🙂 One thing’s obvious—Neustaedter and Becky G need new talent agents. Fat paychecks are lovely, but this is career suicide, kiddies! As for my readers—pass up on this unless… sorry, I cannot think of any reason you’d want to see it. This should help you decide:
First, let me tell you about the best part of this flick: the sound and visual effects. The score is creepy atmospheric at its best. It’s unfortunate the flick itself does not live up to the story’s potential. I mean, the Slender man legend has been around for a few years now and it’s a satisfyingly unsettling one. In the flick, four high school girls (Joey King, Annalise Basso, Jaz Sinclair, Julia Telles) in Massachusetts view a recording they shouldn’t, and subsequently find their perception of reality become terrifyingly distorted by the Slender man (Javier Botet). I’m not sure how, but the filmmakers have managed to reduce this to another generic monster flick bereft of depth or mythology. The girls are one-dimensional and the entire feature so predictable, you’ll find your mind wandering. Here’s the trailer:
Newsflash! Megalodon isn’t extinct. Also, Jason Statham can act! Just kidding. But he does like diving (for real). Have you guessed the story yet? Jessica McNamee stars as Jonas’ (Statham) love interest trapped aboard a sub chased by said shark. The other starrers serve mostly as snacks. And I wouldn’t have bothered mentioning the (billionaire) douche who funds the research gig in this story, but I will, because I love Rainn Wilson, because he was Dwight on that most perfect show in all entertainment history, THE OFFICE. There are some thrilling moments towards the end, in China’s Sanya bay. But, for a movie pitting Jason Statham against a super shark, it’s strangely… unexciting. The job here as director is to make the audience feel that certain tension and thrill. Sadly, Mr. Jon Turteltaub hasn’t yet figured out that part. Still, the effects are nice, and if you go in the theater expecting a B-movie, you won’t be disappointed. Here’s the trailer:
A sharp (and hilarious!!) 70’s comedy from Spike Lee, about the first black cop in Colorado (John David Washington), his white counterpart (Adam Driver), and their ruse to (politically) trip up the KKK (Topher Grace as the Grand Wizard). It does bring up a pertinent point when you consider the current administration in the White House, and its racial bent: have things changed at all since the 70’s? Nicely done, Spike. Here’s the trailer:
If none of this appeals to you, there’s always Tom Cruise in MI: FALLOUT (I know it’s a blockbuster, but trust me, this one’s worth the theater ticket), or, how about Equalizer 2 (Denzel)? Or even Antman & The Wasp (Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena). If you stay at home, there’s always last week’s sci fi entry EXTINCTION from Netflix, starring Michael Pena—a seemingly predictable story with a lovely, lovely twist halfway in.
Enjoy your weekend, and I’ll see y’all in cyberspace!