Advertisements

Tag Archive: Bill Pullman


new-independence-day-resurgence-footage-featurette-47

Review by C.J. Bunce

Independence Day: Resurgence hit theaters in a summer full of major releases, so odds are you missed this one.  Nearly the entire key cast–excluding most notably Will Smith–returned for the sequel to 1996’s surprise summer hit Independence Day: Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Vivica A. Fox, and even John Storey and Robert Loggia in his final role.  Fans of the original and fans of Roland Emmerich (The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, Godzilla) and his take on the classic disaster movie will want to check out the new Blu-ray and the extensive special features available this week for the first time, which detail the planning and enormity of the special effects created for the film.

Resurgence is best if viewed as the next entry in a long cinematic history of rollicking disaster films.  Think Irwin Allen’s Earthquake, Towering Inferno, and The Poseidon Adventure or more recent films where Earth’s monuments stand little chance at survival like The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, and San Andreas.  Independence Day: Resurgence provides an entirely new look at Earth.  The setting is today, but it’s a parallel world that lays out a possible world 20 years after the defeat of an alien menace.  As revealed in our review of The Art & Making of Independence Day here, Emmerich and co-creator of the original Dean Devlin pulled out all the stops in creating a big-budget special effects spectacle.

resurgence

But it’s not fair to just label it only a disaster movie.  Resurgence is in good company as sci-fi is concerned.  With its mysterious sphere and aliens that telepathically communicate with humans we can look back to the roots of modern sci-fi films in 2001: A Space Odyssey and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  It’s critical look at what humans might do when encountering aliens evokes The Day the Earth Stood Still.  And it’s look at the knee-jerk reaction of mankind to militarize and destroy with a blind eye to others we don’t understand is straight out of Starship Troopers and Ender’s Game.  It doesn’t achieve the success of any one of these, but does make for a solid summer popcorn flick with a rousing soundtrack and some cutting edge visuals, and in doing so it plays much like Ridley Scott’s Prometheus.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Independence Day Resurgence

We knew the sequel to 1996’s summer hit Independence Day was coming our way next year, but who would have guessed it would look like the sequel to Aliens?  Or Close Encounters of the Third Kind?  Director Roland Emmerich is back again, with a new, younger cast and some of the original players including Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch and Brent Spiner.  Leverage and The Librarians producer/writer/director Dean Devlin was the writer on the original, but did not return for the sequel.  Maybe that accounts for the difference in tone?

But something is not quite the same.  Sequels usually carry off more than the next sequence of events from a story.  Independence Day is known for the humor of Will Smith and Randy Quaid as much as for the fact that it was an alien invasion flick.  We see no sign of that humor in this first trailer released this weekend for Independence Day: Resurgence.

Check it out for yourself:

Continue reading

Equalizer

Review by C.J. Bunce

The Pelican Brief, Philadelphia, Crimson Tide, Fallen, The Manchurian Candidate, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Unstoppable, 2 Guns—movies big and small, and all feature the Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington.  In each, like with Cruise, Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Willis, and most recently, Wahlberg, the lead character is really Denzel as Denzel, but each new time round the actor is lurking around in a different environment.  In each, he has a new name and a new job, but it’s Denzel—striving to fight his way to the end, to wrestle with anger or grief, or pain, or to just get by.

In the 2014 theatrical release The Equalizer, as retired ex-CIA operative Robert McCall, Denzel gets to be the guy usually played by Cruise, Schwarzenegger, Stallone, or Willis, or even Chuck Norris or Charles Bronson.  He gets to be the Dark Knight, or name any other superhero.  He’s not only the good guy, but the good guy with the means.

Have you ever considered taking responsibility for everyone around you–everyone you regularly encounter each day?  Maybe for you that’s the shop owner, the barista at your coffee shop, the guy who cleans your office, your family, friends, co-workers?  Have you ever considered what it would take for you to stop what you’re doing and assume responsibility for everyone around you?  Everyone’s problems, every failing, every pain—it’s all on you.  If you see it, you own it.  Like the character and TV series the movie is based on, Robert McCall takes charge with that message repeated on each episode of the TV series, and parroted in the film:  If someone has a problem, if the odds are stacked against them, if they have nowhere else to turn, McCall will help. He is the Equalizer.

Home Mart Denzel Equalizer hammer

Denzel’s acting work in The Equalizer is great, as you’d expect.  It’s among his best.  And the character itself is great.  Those two elements are enough to get anyone to watch The Equalizer and enjoy the ride.  Even the several payoffs in the film are worth cheering for.  But the film still has its problems.  Unfortunately, as exciting and intense as it is, the movie itself doesn’t live up to its potential.

Continue reading

Corridor from Gattaca

In honor of Ethan Hawke’s nomination for a best supporting actor Academy Award today for his film Boyhood, we have previews for two coming films from Hawke, a Shakespeare retelling called Anarchy, and a cyber-war thriller, Good Kill.  And why we’re at it we have three trailers for some of his best past films–in case you haven’t seen these yet: the stunning sci-fi masterpiece Gattaca, the true-life adventure story Alive, and the action-packed remake of John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13.

Hawke is one of those under-rated actors who seems to put plenty of intensity and passion into his roles, whether for big movies like Dead Poet’s Society or Training Day (which earned him his first Academy Award nomination), for remakes of classic works like Hamlet and Great Expectations, or the lesser known films that follow.

Assault on Precinct 13 Ethan Hawke

First up, a trailer for the strangest choice of a Shakespeare play we’ve yet seen, Anarchy:

Continue reading

Torchwood Miracle Day

After a long wait the Starz 10-episode mini-series Torchwood: Miracle Day has been picked up by BBC America beginning with the first episode last Saturday, September 14, 2013.  Originally airing on pay-cable channel Starz in 2011, it received a lukewarm reaction from some, a hostile reaction from others.  Maybe it’s just the absence of any Torchwood for most of the country since 2008, but finding old friends Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and Torchwood agent Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) and even hubby Rhys (Kai Owen) back in a “new” series is a welcome sight.

More than that, actor Bill Pullman (Independence Day, Deceived) is a series regular, and we quickly learn he is a serial killer getting the death penalty carried out in the series’ first scene.  True to Torchwood’s roots as a spinoff of Doctor Who, the focus of the new series is a world where only the strange is the norm.  Ripped from the files of The Twilight Zone (specifically the Jason Alexander episode “One Night at Mercy”), it is no longer possible for anyone on Earth to die.

torchwood-miracle-day Gwen Cooper

Torchwood, the agency, is no more, thanks to Torchwood: Children of Men, except for Gwen and Captain Jack.  Gwen and Rhys and baby are living the quiet life away from all the X-Files-esque world.  But the Americans see the word “Torchwood” pop up on their secure networks then it vanishes, prompting a hunt by CIA analyst Esther Drummond (Alexa Havins) and partner Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer)–one of the dead that is still alive, and he’s not happy he needs to go all the way to Wales to extradite Jack and Gwen to the U.S.  Two Brits and two Yankees in a buddy cop team-up?  Good idea!  On top of that, the immortality of humans translates to mortality for Jack.

Continue reading

If you haven’t voted yet.  Go do it.  Longer than usual voting lines are expected today.  But who knows long lines better than Comic-Con fans?  Today is your day.  You can show the others how it’s done.  And why not drag your comic book-toting friends along?  Heck, bring along a stack to read.  It’s going to be a long day.

If you’re like me, you get a bit annoyed in the weeks prior to Comic-Con with people trying to hand out tips for your first Comic-Con.  Like we can’t figure it out.  So, in return, here’s a list you can send to your non-comic book-lovin’, non-genre-lovin’, the “who the heck is Buffy the Vampire Slayer voters” you’ll be stuck with all day.  Here’s a modified advice list snatched from lists of advice for first-timers at past San Diego Comic-Cons, a list which seems to apply well to your neighbors who think they know long lines but don’t:  Continue reading