By Shane Sellar
Sleeping with the lights on is stupid. I mean, who wants to watch the monster-under-the-bed eat their legs?
Luckily, the restless spirit in this horror movie vanishes in illumination.
With her younger brother (Gabriel Bateman) suffering from insomnia, and her bipolar mother (Maria Bello) talking to her imaginary friend, estranged daughter Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) returns to the fold to assist.
She quickly discovers that her brother and mother’s problems stem from a shadowy figure that stalks the household under the cover of darkness, yet evaporates when the lights are switched on.
A clever creature feature that prays on our inherent fear of the dark, this low-budget thriller doesn’t skimp on the scares. Moreover, it uses resourcefulness to execute the melancholy narrative about mental health. The only bone of contention is with its clichéd creature design.
Ironically, when making love to a monster most prefer to keep the lights off.
The hardest part of living off-the-grid is communicating to your friends and family that you’re living off-the-grid.
Which is why the recluse is this drama sometimes uses the phone in town.
When his bipolar wife commits suicide, Ben (Viggo Mortensen) is left to raise and educate his six children alone in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest.
However, when Ben’s father-in-law (Frank Langella) disregards his late wife’s wishes of cremation, Ben and his brood head into the big city to impede the funeral. Unfortunately, their short stint in society affects the kids who now long for life back on the grid.
With a multifaceted performance from Mortensen as the idealistic patriarch and an astute script with a number of surprises, Captain Fantastic is a candid look at the self-sufficient movement and the pros and cons of that egocentric lifestyle.
Incidentally, the best dating sites for widowed wildmen are walking paths.
Alice Through the Looking Glass
The only place that you’ll be transported to if you walk through a looking glass is the ICU.
However, meandering through one in this fantasy will take you to another realm.
When her real world problems become unbearable, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) escapes through a magical mirror into Wonderland to visit her outlandish acquaintances.
Paramount is the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), who has been despondent since losing his family to the Jabberwocky. To assuage the addled Hatter, Alice swipes a gadget from Father Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) and travels to the past to save them.
Lacking a reason to exist beyond financial gains, this laughably loose adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s literary sequel forges its own sloppy narrative about time travel. Supported heavily by hallucinogenic special effects and ham-fisted performances, this continuation is simply a colourful cash grab.
Moreover, Alice would’ve been rich by now if she’d only trademarked the phrase, “Eat Me.”
Independence Day: Resurgence
The funny thing about 20-year reunions with aliens that tried to invade Earth is that they’re all fat and bald now.
Unfortunately, the ones arriving in this sci-fi adventure are a new species entirely.
On the 20-year anniversary of Earth’s eradication of occupying ETs, the planet’s visited by an altruistic race that wants to evacuate the globe before its enemies return to extract the planet’s molten core.
Now, it’s up to veterans (Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch) and neophytes (Liam Hemsworth, Jessie Usher Maika Monroe) alike to work with the agreeable extraterrestrials to defeat this threat.
Eighteen years too late, this highly uncalled for continuation of the bygone blockbuster is a sad effort to cash in on nostalgic audiences. Regrettably, it does so with a convoluted and incomplete script that diminishes the first, and embarrasses itself.
Incidentally, it’s inconsiderate of other life forms to invade on our long weekends.
The best thing about being an old Hollywood producer was you got to coerce some legendary talent into bed.
However, the bigwig in this romantic comedy prefers below-the–line lovers.
Bobby (Jesse Eisenberg) moves from New York City to Hollywood to work with his talent agent uncle Phil (Steve Carell). Partnered with Phil’s secretary Vonnie (Kristen Stewart), Bobby eventually falls for her but is heartbroken to discover she is his uncle’s mistress.
Bobby returns home, marries Veronica (Blake Lively) and opens a nightclub. But when his uncle and Vonnie show up one night, Bobby is inexplicably drawn to his step-aunt.
Conceived and constructed by Woody Allen, Café Society is a charming meditation on extramarital affairs and the innocence and unease of unrequited love. Set against the glitzy backdrop of the 1930s, Allen’s latest effort is breezy – and somewhat biographical – but not ground breaking.
Besides, when your uncle marries your crush the best revenge is dating their daughter.
Female Ghostbusters are better because you get to pay them 40 per cent less than their male counterparts.
Unfortunately, the gender wage gap doesn’t benefit the entrepreneurs in this comedy.
When a book Dr. Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) co-wrote on ghosts with her estranged colleague Dr. Yates (Melissa McCarthy) is reprinted, its supernatural contents threaten her bid for college tenure.
To stop the publication, however, she must join Yates’ ghost hunting team (Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones), who are currently engaged in a conflict with a deranged genius (Neil Casey) intent on opening a portal to another dimension.
While the all-female cast brings a fresh perspective to the mythos, this re-working of the original is too haunted by its predecessor to be its own movie. Not to mention its ghastly script, flat jokes and lackluster special effects.
Moreover, ghosts from the 1800s would be aghast to see these Ghostbusters in public unaccompanied by their husbands.
Swiss Army Man
The worst thing about being a Swiss Army Man is TSA confiscates you before every flight.
Luckily, the multi-purpose corpse in this dark comedy has its own means of propulsion.
When a flatulent cadaver, Manny (Daniel Radcliffe), washes up on the shores of Hank’s (Paul Dano) deserted island, he rides the gassy stiff back to civilization.
Lost in the thickets, Hank uses Manny’s erection to navigate. En route, he teaches the carcass about love using Sarah (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) as an example. Now, Manny wants to find Sarah so he can confess his love for her.
A divisive film if ever there was one, Swiss Army Man attempts to dissect deep psychological issues using dead dick and fart jokes to do it. The only problem is that none of it is humorous, quirky or otherwise.
Incidentally, when a cadaver washes up on your deserted island, their 10 favourite albums belong to you.
The Legend of Tarzan
The upside to being raised by apes is you keep your human friends lice free.
Mind you, the simian-reared aristocrat in this action-adventure abhors his heritage.
Lord Greystoke (Alexander Skarsgård), née Tarzan, must return to the jungle that he was marooned in as an infant to prevent its enslavement at the hands of the Belgium King who has deployed an evil envoy (Christoph Waltz) to reap it riches.
Accompanied by his wife Jane (Margot Robbie) and an American businessman (Samuel L. Jackson), the ape-man soon learns he was really lured back by a vengeful chieftain (Djimon Hounsou).
Despite some questionable special effects and a few bad one-liners, Legend is the most comprehensive and visually thrilling interpretation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ character yet. Moreover, it finally adds a self-reliant Jane to the mainly misogynistic mythos.
Fortunately, when your in-laws are apes you don’t have to set your bathroom standards so high.
The worst part about being a mutant teenager is your nocturnal emissions melt the bed.
Ocular emissions are also a pubescent problem in this action/fantasy.
The world’s first mutant Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) awakens in the Eighties and hastily ensembles an army of mutants (Michael Fassbender, Olivia Munn, Alexandra Shipp, Ben Hardy) to help him enslave the multitudes.
With Professor X’s (James McAvoy) mind breached, it’s up to a batch of new recruits (Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Lana Condor) led by Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) to impede the ancient evil before it can use Xavier’s telepathy to subjugate both human and mutant kind.
With a poorly designed villain perpetrating a predictable bid for world domination, this latest installment in the tepid franchise suffers from too many X-Men with too little character development between them. Meanwhile, the overblown action scenes feel contrived.
Besides, according to the Bible, Jesus was the first mutant.
The Purge: Election Year
If you really want the right to kill whomever you want with no consequences, become a cop in the United States.
Ironically, all law enforcement gets the night off in this action-horror movie.
With the run for the White House in full swing, purge opponent and presidential hopeful Senator Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) vows to stay out home during this year’s public culling to prove that she is for the people.
The New Founding Fathers’ candidate (Kyle Secor), however, plans to use the night’s lawlessness to eliminate her. Now, Roan and her bodyguard (Frank Grillo) must stay one-step ahead.
More politically motivated than purge related, this second sequel in the anarchic series may be timely but its lampoon of modern-day Republicans is too on the nose and less interesting than the mindless destruction happening outside.
Sadly, younger voters are more likely to stay home on Election Day than on Purge Day.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Bringing a date to a wedding is important because it keeps the groom from hitting on you.
Awkwardly, the groom in this comedy is their soon-to-be brother-in-law.
To avoid any embarrassment at the hands of their loser sons, Mike (Adam DeVine) and Dave’s (Zac Efron) parents order them to bring dates to their sister’s Hawaiian nuptials.
Placing an expense-paid offer online lands the boys national attention and two party girls (Aubrey Plaza, Anna Kendrick) posing as a teacher and a stockbroker.
During their prize-winning vacation, however, the bad girls drop their goody-two-shoes guises and give the irresponsible brothers a run for their money.
A raunchy yet run-of-the-mill rom-com about unscrupulous characters saving the day in an unconventional way, Mike and Dave delivers a few decent laughs thanks to its male leads, but ends up just aping other wedding movies.
Moreover, a Hawaiian wedding is a great way to bankrupt all your closest friends.
He’s a Kindred Spiritualist. He’s the…
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