Category Archives: ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK

HERE THERE BE…E.T.’S

What seems like a no-brainer setup for a very entertaining found footage film ends up being a long and drawn out showcase for little more than those shaky camera movements and out of focus shots of dark building interiors you have come to expect, and to a degree loathe about the subgenre. A few friends, for reasons simply defying any logical explanation, decide that they can infiltrate and discover the myriad secrets of the titular military complex. A couple interesting moments flash by involving breaching the infamous compound and a fun bit involving a flying saucer, but they are brief and add little to the overall enjoyment of the proceedings. At about the hour and fifteen minute mark, when you have essentially lost all hope of anything actually happening, we are granted a few slightly intriguing minutes of aliens running amok and the characters finding basically what they were looking for, but frankly, it’s too little too late. Oren Peli, who did much the same bait and switch with his previous entry in the subgenre, “The Chernobyl Diaries” has thus asserted himself as mediocre director with a penchant for vainglorious attempts at scaring his audience that come off lazy, inept and above all, fairly pandering to the multitudes. And could this movie have been MORE like last years shockingly similar “Alien Abduction”? Me thinks not. Final grade : D+

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JUPITER…..DESCENDING…..

Look, ever since Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly got hot and heavy back in 96’s “BOUND”, we knew the Wachowski’s were something to keep an eye on. Aside from some of the sexiest girl on girl scenes ever put to film, the movie is an absolutely masterful film-noir which not only showcased the simmering menace Joe Pantoliano can exude, but functioned perfectly as a modern twist on the heist subgenre. What we didn’t realize was that the filmmaker siblings were going to redefine what science fiction was with their mind-blowing, and frankly, utterly flawless second feature, 1999’s, “THE MATRIX”. Two ABYSSMAL MATRIX sequels and a lackluster “SPEED RACER” later, we got yet another demonstration of how skilled, imaginative and ahead of the curve these two consistently are with the tragically underrated “CLOUD ATLAS”. If you haven’t seen “CLOUD ATLAS” then you haven’t seen one of the best ten films of the last decade. It was glorious, pushed boundaries of narrative and character depth, and was honestly the best thing Halle Berry OR Hugh Grant have ever done. That said, the pendulum has woefully swung the opposite way again, and the two’s latest, “JUPITER ASCENDING” is little more than a cinematic exercise in futility. It’s got one or two hallmarks of the style the two have developed over the years, but even their penchant for beautiful cinematics and eye for seamless special effects integration doesn’t save this sinking ship.

Mila Kunis is a toilet cleaning daughter of Russian decent(whoa, RANGE) who finds out from sky-rollerblading Elf, “Caine” played by Channing Tatum, that she is the daughter, or heir to some galactic throne of some type. The whole story is a bit muddled and begs indifference from the viewer. Suffice it to say she goes on a laser-laced, extra planetary escapade to stop some nefarious brothers from scheming their way into the throne. I don’t really recall too many specifics as it was quite the trial to get through and easily the worst of the Wachowski’s catalog. A supreme disappointment lies in the choice and execution of the film’s primary antagonist Baylem Abrasax, here personified by “The Theory of Everything’s” Eddie Redmayne. Redmayne, hot off of his Oscar win for “Theory”, truly confounds as he seems to not know what to do whilst onscreen. He coos, he whispers(so annoying), and attempts a quiet intensity which comes off as grating pretension mixed with a dash of narcissism that really just makes you loathe every second he is visible. It’s all over the place, the narrative is barely coherent, and the players all seem to secretly know they are polishing brass on the Titanic. It’s trite, brimming with cliche and artistic dalliances hoping to distract from the dirty smear of the genre that it ultimately is. Enter at your own risk. In summation, final grade, D-(and that may be being too kind). Hopefully the next Wachowski film isn’t so…….yikes.

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