Some high profiles films, all of them getting middling to bad reviews. I’m torn as whether to see any of them or just rent.
The one I know I don’t want to see is Independence Day: Resurgence (32), the latest in destroying Earth by Roland Emmerich. A sequel 20 years in the making, without Will Smith, this seems less like entertainment than torture. At least it gives Jeff Goldblum an opportunity for a starring role. Manohla Dargis: “The lackluster, at times abysmal writing wouldn’t much matter if Resurgence popped visually or featured a charismatic star who could lift a movie as effortlessly as Will Smith did in the first feature.”
The Shallows (58) is a rental, if only because it will give me an opportunity to ogle the bikini-clad body of Blake Lively in the privacy of my own home. She’s a surfer stranded in the water and circled by a hungry shark. A seagull is getting the best acting reviews. Dominick Suzanne-Mayer : “The film’s belief in and commitment to the simplicity of its premise takes it a lot farther than it might otherwise go.”
I might see Free State of Jones (53) if only because I’m a sucker for Civil War films, but then again I might just get angry if there’s anything historically incorrect. It’s appealing because the lead character, a real person, rebelled against the Confederacy, so it’s a nice counterpart to the idiots who insist on flying a Confederate flag. Robert Abele: “That you may learn a good deal about an unusually driven man, but never quite feel emotionally connected to him, means Ross has hit a workmanlike middle, crafting a handsome textbook more than a blood-pumping portrait.”
I’m most torn about The Neon Demon (51), which has got Metacritic ratings ranging from 100 to 0. The New York Times called it “ridiculous and peurile,” and dissenters are calling the film a statement about exploitation that exploits. Wendy Ide: “Refn’s gifts as a visual stylist are employed to arresting effect – there’s a luxuriant use of colour which evokes the work of fashion photographer Guy Bourdin. But peel back the glossy, overly groomed surface and there is not a lot of substance underneath.”