The Shallows - The Legend of Tarzan - Independence Day: Resurgence
I'm back and settled into my homeland after a great trip to Japan. Naturally, what's one of the first things I need to do when I get home...? Start catching up on Hollywood's mid-summer finest!
I didn't get to see a movie in Japan because we didn't have time to waste three hours of one of our days in a movie theater; but I did walk by a movie theater, which felt good enough:
FYI, there was an obnoxious amount of marketing for the new Alice in Wonderland movie over there. It was everywhere. Gross.
Anyway, onto the SUPER FANTASTIC, SO-WELL-MADE AMERICAN MOVIES THAT I HAD TO WAIT WITH UNCONTROLLABLE ANTICIPATION UNTIL I GOT BACK HERE TO FINALLY SEE.
I love shark movies as much as the next guy. Actually, probably more than the next guy. I mean, I like Jaws: The Revenge. And much like that amazing sequel, The Shallows hits us all universally where it hurts the most... What if a shark attacked you on your... TROPICAL VACATION...? Blake Lively is a vessel for us all.
I really am a sucker for these kind of movies, but this one kind of didn't do it for me. Maybe it's because it was the day after I got back home and I was jet lagged and tired. I barely even remember what happened in the second half of the movie. I do remember the shark being CGI as hell, and lots of improbable stuff happening. Like when she out-swam a shark underwater after losing a bunch of blood and starving for two days, in the dark. However, I do appreciate the director only putting the absolute minimum amount of character development and backstory into this movie. Just get to the shark, bro. It's what we paid for. I wouldn't have hated it if the first 15 seconds of the movie were Blake Lively getting bitten by a shark, and it just moved on from there.
Grade: C- (Or should I say SEA minus...? See what I did there? Or should I say, "SEA what I did there?"...?!?!?!?! ... ... ...please ignore everything I just did, and forgive me, it's been a while since I've written a post)
THE LEGEND OF TARZAN
And here we have another glistening example of the much renowned "make people slightly uncomfortable with the amount of sweaty 32-pack abs" genre of films. The glamour muscle genre. Obviously, Zach Snyder's 300 is the Citizen Kane of ab-centric movies, but this new Tarzan movie is definitely upper echelon. AND it has gorilla abs, in addition to Alexander Skarsgård's. That's a bonus.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I went into this movie, and the result was kind of... not terrible? It actually has a narrative structure that was... interesting? It wasn't just an origin story about how Tarzan came to be. It almost had a story fitting for a sequel to a Tarzan reboot, which was neat. Plus it has Christoph Waltz in a funny hat.
I don't know if I ever plan on watching this movie again, but it's certainly better than you probably think it is (which I assume is "awful").
INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE
Spoiler alert: This movie sucks.
Not that I necessarily expected it to be good, but I am legitimately shocked that this doesn't have a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. I'm not sure what there is to like about this movie? Maybe the special effects? Maybe? Even that seemed brought down by everything around it. Let me just try to remember a few of things I hated about this movie:
-Nobody in the original cast seemed to want to be there. Jeff Goldblum reads his lines with all the vigor of an Apartments.com commercial. A definite "Whatever, I'm gonna buy a third house with this paycheck" kind of movie.
-The acting was terrible from the new people on top of that. Liam Hemsworth isn't as good at carrying a movie as his brother. Travis Tope (who plays the "hilarious" best friend character) looks like he was designed in a laboratory to have the most punchable face.
-It was one of the worst screenplays, from a dialogue perspective, that I have ever had the displeasure to listen to.
-It has Michael Bay amounts of unfunny comic relief characters, such as both of the pilot characters, the lawyer guy, Judd Hirsch, and a bug-eyed dog.
-No funny or strong women characters though. Just saying. The strongest female character in the movie cries in the middle of a battle when her uncle dies. Oh... spoiler alert. Also... I don't care if I spoil this movie for you. Don't see it.
-Judd Hirsch has a brutally unnecessary side story about driving a school bus full of kids across a desert that somehow, IMPOSSIBLY made it into the final cut of the film. No one who watched a first cut of this movie saw that footage and said "Leave that in there." That couldn't have happened. My guess: No one watched this before it was released.
This movie is everything wrong with summer blockbusters. It's everything wrong with screenwriting. It's everything wrong with attempting to revitalize a franchise. It's everything wrong with capitalizing on 1990's nostalgia. It's everything wrong with Judd Hirsch.
Also, just for kicks, I watched a few movies on the airplane rides to and from Japan, so here's some really fast reviews. (not including Deadpool and Gladiator, which I had already seen)
EDDIE THE EAGLE
A generic inspirational sports movie, this time about Winter Olympics ski jumping, because it hadn't been done yet. Eventually we'll all get that underdog movie about the Mexican Curling team, probably coached by Josh Gad or something? I don't know. Grade: C
Aaaaaaaaaaaand there goes all that good will David O. Russell had built up over the last few years... ...Just kidding, but this movie definitely wasn't good. Outside of the 30 minutes that were about the rise of the home shopping network, this film had a very pointless feel to it. When it was over, I was just like "Why did they make this?" Grade: D+
Admittedly, I hated the trailer for this movie. It looked like the typical dry, British film I would usually avoid. But being locked in a flying metal bird with nothing to do got me to actually watch it, and it was pretty decent. Surprisingly, it's a sci-fi/dystopian storyline, and was pretty entertaining. Also, I didn't know until afterwards that it was from the guy who directed Dogtooth, and I really like Dogtooth. Grade: B+
I was kind of excited to watch this finally, and I felt a little let down. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it at the time? I was feeling too good to watch such a bummer of a movie. I liked what the story attempted to do, but I also thought that without the animation this would have been a pretty unremarkable film. Maybe I should watch it again when I'm depressed. Grade: B-
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2
I never got all the way through the first MBFGW, but I had recently watched the first 40 minutes on HBO. So I decided to torture myself and endure through this whole thing. My initial analysis: all of these characters are really hard to look at. They're haunting. I feel like I could do a whole post about how dumb this movie is, but I don't think anyone else saw it to share in my displeasure. Let me just say that this movie made me go "I think I'm done watching movies on this plane, I'm gonna try to sleep the rest of the way". Grade: F+