Imagine a feature-length film written in the style of an Andy Borowitz blog post.
That’s The Purge: Anarchy.
Like the missives fired off by Borowitz—the New Yorker’s roundly reviled “parodist”—The Purge: Anarchy is ham-fisted, the sort of satire that might appeal to the most rabid and ignorant elements of your cohort, but to no one else.
As far as dystopian world-building goes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes half-succeeds.
Set 10 years after Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the “Simian Flu” that broke out at the end of that film has left just one in 500 humans alive. Conflicts over food and other resources have further depleted the population. Indeed, humanity is so scarce that, as the film opens, ape-king Caesar (Andy Serkis, in a motion-captured performance) has not seen a homo sapiens for two years.
If you take away one message from Snowpiercer, let it be this: If we panic about global warming and rush forward with a half-thought-out solution, it’s only a matter of time before we’re all loaded onto a massive, world-circling locomotive and murdered by egg-delivering psychopaths on the orders of a mystery man in the thrall of a train engine.
On the one hand, Transformers: Age of Extinction is barely coherent, narratively disastrous, and oppressively long. On the other: OPTIMUS PRIME RIDING A DINOSAUR ROBOT WHILE SWINGING A GIANT SWORD!
Apologies for all of the capital letters, but they feel appropriate: Transformers frequently comes across as an angry YouTube commenter trying to bludgeon you into submission, digitally shouting as loud as he can in order to paper over the logical flaws in his argument and to convince you that his narrative is rock solid.
Audiences were justifiably suspicious of Fargo before its premiere. “A TV show that’s … what, based on the Coen Brothers movie?” one might have asked. “A sequel? A spinoff? This is odd. It’s odd, right? It’s odd.”
22 Jump Street is an extended joke about the state of Hollywood.
Following a bust gone wrong, Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman) informs the hapless crime-fighting duo of Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) that the higher ups have decided that their new gig—monitoring online university lectures for coded signals—isn’t working. You’ll remember that they had been told they were “going to college” at the end of 21 Jump Street—and if you don’t, no worries, because there’s a TV-style recap at the beginning of this film.
Many critics are describing the new Tom Cruise sci-fi action film Edge of Tomorrow as “Groundhog Day meets a videogame.” And that’s a solid elevator pitch. But it’s also kind of redundant, as any frustrated gamer will tell you: Many video games are already like Groundhog Day, in so far as one is frequently forced to repeat a sequence of events over and over again until one unlocks the magic combination of movements needed to beat a level or a boss or the game itself.
It’s nice to have Angelina Jolie back on the big screen.
Between 1995, when she burst onto the scene as a pixie cut cyberpunk in the classic Hackers, and 2010, when she pulled in $20 million for both The Tourist and Salt, Jolie starred in some capacity in 30 feature films (and a couple of well-received TV movies). She was a nearly ubiquitous presence at the multiplex, anchoring both franchises (Tomb Raider) and artistic fare (Girl, Interrupted, for which she won an Oscar).
Over the weekend I finally carved out some time to see Steven Knight’s latest film, Locke. It’s an audacious picture, perhaps a bit gimmicky—the action takes place almost entirely in the car of one Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy), who tries to solve a personal and a professional crisis over the mobile as he hurtles down the British freeway—but undeniably quite good, possibly even great. Some spoilers after the jump.
Note: There are spoilers throughout for not only X-Men: Days of Future Past but also Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
One of the problems with the comic book industry—at least in its mainstream, superhero-focused iteration—is that the history of the characters are so convoluted, so mired in rewrites and revisions, that new fans have trouble parachuting into a series. That is why, every decade or so, Marvel and DC ritually cleanse the continuity, condemning characters and storylines and, occasionally, entire universes to nonexistence.