Wonder Woman

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Wonder Woman

Directed by: Patty Jenkins

Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, etc.

Grade: A

Wonder Woman has been in my top three most anticipated movies of the year probably since the comic-con trailer dropped last summer. But as much as I loved her in Batman v. Superman I had been burned before with those Suicide Squad trailers. However my anticipation only went up after the reviews started coming in early this week.

Did they do her justice?

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The Shallows

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The Shallows

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Grade: B

Blake Lively takes a surfing trip to a hidden beach and winds up attacked by a shark and fighting for her life stuck like 200 yards off shore.

Sometimes you just want to go see a good shark movie. I had fun with this one. Honestly, it’s the first theatrical release I’ve seen in a couple of weeks that got some real tears out of me. It’s beautiful to look at. (Seriously, I wanted to go to this place until the whole shark thing started!)

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Lively was really good too. I mean my biggest concern with this one was that she couldn’t carry it but I think she did a really good job. I was never bored with it. Nancy is a med student going through a bit of a hard time but she’s smart and uses her brains to attempt to get through an impossible situation.

The pigeon, Steven Seagull, was adorable. I really liked that he stayed with her. It just seemed like he was thinking, “Yeah, we’ll get through this together buddy!” Also appreciated that the shark had a reason for being there (besides the obvious it’s an ocean reason) and being so angry.

I really liked how this one was shot to. The gore was kept to a minimum (although I know mileage will vary on that one) but the tension was there and there was never a time in the stunts where I thought, “Hey, that’s not Lively!”

The movie had some downsides for me. Like she asks a question in the beginning we never get the answer to. And I kept wondering like where her friend back at the hotel was. I know the beach was supposed to be hidden and she said the girl was a screw-up. But come on? Your friend goes surfing and doesn’t come back to the hotel for a night and you don’t find her?

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I also learned that maybe it’s not a bad idea to wear a lot of jewelry while surfing because you never know what you might need or what you might need to do with it.

Recommend: Yes. It’s a fun summer movie.

Independence Day: Resurgence

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Independence Day: Resurgence

Directed By: Roland Emmerich

Grade: C-

The aliens return to cause more humanity ending havoc in this sequel to Independence Day. I have to say I loved the first movie. I absolutely loved it despite the emotional manipulation. I also don’t want to think about how many years have passed since that movie happened.

This movie? This movie I am decided less fond of- and is this thing seriously setting up for a series? Oh, dear.

Okay, there was some stuff that I enjoyed. I liked the fact that we actually did something with the alien technology that was lying around and created ourselves a nice little world instead of just ignoring it. Ditto with Jeff Goldblum’s character David being important instead of just shuffled off and forgotten. Also that Dylan and Patricia (the two children from the first movie) had stayed friends and even gone to flight school together. Bill Pullman gave a nice performance too.

Other than that it was just kind of there and loud. There was nothing wrong with the new breed of pilots but I probably couldn’t tell you a name besides Dylan and Patricia after the movie. They went more to the annoying than anything else. Julius should have been cut along with the kids. Sorry. Honestly, I like Sela Ward but her President character could have been cut too.

There’s a cameo from another original cast member that was almost cruel.

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Hello, new alien ship!

There was some interesting stuff with an alien visitor (beside the big bad) that could have been the basis of something deeper. But it was passed aside for spectacle for the most part. Also it reminded me of the head of the robot character from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Marvin the Martian… Plus that was a lot of the set-up for the series so that kind of turned me off.

Whereas I was all in with the emotions the first time around even those parts felt forced and too obvious in this one. I was really hoping for better and you can see the basis for better in some parts of this movie. They just went with spectacle and let everything else fall by the wayside.

Recommend: Wait for video. 

 

Alice Through the Looking Glass

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Alice Through the Looking Glass

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway & Helena Bonham Carter

Grade: B+

Well, this is a little late but after a movie slump of sorts I finally got to go see my beloved Alice. This movie was really not as bad as some people would have me believe. It wasn’t great and it definitely appeals to me for various personal reasons but when it came right down to it I enjoyed it.

There are some cute little nods to the original story when she goes through the looking glass but mostly this is about Alice returning to Wonderland just in time to save the Hatter and help him find out the truth about what happened to his family. To do that she must steal from Time himself.

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I actually really enjoyed Time (Sascha Baron Cohen) in this one and usually I’m not big on the actor. But I like how Alice saw him as a “thief” and a “villian” in the beginning but her opinion by the end- not so much the same. The special effects were good and some bits very beautiful to see on screen.

Alice herself was awesome. I like how she was spunky and independent and thought she could do impossible things. But one thing I really enjoyed about the film was not just the message of the importance of friendship and family but two separate instances of characters owning up to their mistakes and saying, yep, I was wrong. I should have listened to you and I’m sorry.

I thought that was great especially because in both instances they are sincere whereas sometimes in movies you get it with a wink or it’s very tongue in cheek. I appreciated the honesty.

While the movie drug a little bit at times they did manage to cram a good deal in just under two hours. I do have to admit that I found the make-up for the Hatter bordering on creepy in some cases. (And distracting.) Depp is always good but the make-up combined with some of the mannerisms and the big eyes and the, “My Alice…” bits in the beginning occasionally I just wanted to yell, “Run away Alice!”

Recommend: Yes. If you’re into Alice, Wonderland or stories about the nature of Time. But I’m thinking this one’s going to hit DVD pretty fast anyway.