TL;DR This Week In Cinema: Resurgences on the Big Screen
Welcome to Beat's weekly rundown of what's hot in the coming seven days of cinematic releases. This week promises more attention to the month's big-budget blockbusters, as well as some SFF content getting broad release.
Everybody Wants Some!! hits the mainstream on Thursday, but we've already discussed it during the festival. (Don't forget to read the review and our interview with director Richard Linklater too!). Outside of that, get ready to revisit the past with some mega-sized sequels that hopefully aren't as turgid as the turtles...
In other, awful news, I'm deeply saddened to report the passing of Anton Yelchin, star of Green Room, best known as Chekhov from Star Trek. He died tragically young and will be sorely missed on our screens. Vale.
On with the show...
INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE
Too-fly Jeff Goldblum is back, along with Bull Pullman, Vivica A. Fox and (inexplicably) Brent Spiner for another global rampage. Roland Emmerich's sequel to the now 20-year-old blockbuster feels dated the moment the trailer begins, despite the addition of fresh blood in It Follows lead Maika Monroe, European market appeal in Charlotte Gainsbourg, and the compulsory Hemsworth (Liam the Lesser).
Will Smith couldn't make it owing to scheduling conflicts, and his absence will certainly be felt. ID4 was a brilliantly refreshing (if brainless) hit that redefined how we approach city-planning in cinema, but Resurgence seems content to simply trot out exactly the same formula that audiences lapped up two decades ago, even directly ripping scenes from the original à la Michael Bay.
Every superlative ever is used in the ads, and this time the "even bigger" alien ship is set to destroy London instead of New York. Is Emmerich lazy? Judging from his output since ID4 and his plans to reboot Stargate? Yep. He's a lazy son-of-a-bitch.
tl;dr Were it not for Suicide Squad, Will Smith could have been trapped in this franchise forever.
ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE
Ugh. The things I do for you. I sat through BOTH trailers for this hot mess and I can honestly say the prospect of being waterboarded is more appealing than sitting through a third, let alone 94 minutes of this prehistoric plop.
The dead horse that is the running Scrat gag has been flogged into oblivion; the dull plot device of slowly pairing the male trio off with females is reaching its merciful end; and if you're still able to stand Sid's bitching, lisping neuroses, then I'm not sure I understand your brain.
Ice Age was fun in 2002. Again, I hate to dump on family entertainment, but families deserve better. Despite its all-star-cast - Simon Pegg and Wanda Sykes among those who should know better - and its pretty, goofy slapstick style, we can only hope long-overdue extinction awaits this franchise.
tl;dr Let the damn meteorite hit already.
An accomplished debut drama with a similar vibe to the powerful doco Sonita, Mustang follows five Turkish girls filled with the spirit of rebellion who are forced to live locked away at home whilst their family plot to have them married off one by one.
This Academy Award nominee is a must-see for anyone seeking a little female empowerment. The struggles women face day-to-day in our own society may pale in comparison to those faced in such conservative environments, but the parallels are hard to miss.
Fresh out of Sydney Film Festival, it's easily the most critically acclaimed flick of the week. And if you're the kind of douchey bloke acting who says this kind of film "isn't your bag", then hey - it has a MUSCLE CAR IN IT.
tl;dr Patriarchy, we need to talk.
PSYCHO RAMAN (RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0)
Our second SFF graduate has been called a "vivaciously nasty exercise in urban nihilism"; the perfect drug for those who've just dropped the kids off to Ice Age: Collision Course.
In reviewing Apprentice, I lamented the tendency of "arthouse" films treading overly comfortable, uninspired style guides. Psycho Raman is an outright refutation of that aesthetic, as subtle as a punch in the sternum. Happily out to stir up controversy, it's a game of cat-and-mouse played between a serial killer and a corrupt, addiction-riddled detective against the backdrop of modern-day Mumbai. Sadly, it does lack powerful female roles, which is becoming increasingly noticable.
Front stage and centre is Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the titular madman, a dazzling centerpiece to rival the efforts of Western counterparts in Christian Bale, Anthony Hopkins and Kevin Spacey. Come for the chicken curry, stay for the slaughter.
tl;dr All it needs is a killer soundtrack.
Soap star Blake Lively gets the Open Water treatment on a rocky outcrop off the coast of Australia, where she is stranded by the attentions of an enormous great white shark. Because as we all know, all predators prefer hotties.
Another tale in the hallowed tradition of conveniently ignoring that sharks kill less people annually than ladders, The Shallows has nonetheless received a lot of buzz for its unconventional approach and ambitions to overcome its inherent B-movie-ness.
A major factor has been the level of sunlight on display, meaning some filmmakers are finally cottoning on to the possibilities of broad daylight terror. From the trailers, it also looks like Lively's surfer protag may also have seen Jaws before. Film literacy is sexy, you guys.
tl;dr She'll be fine as long as she avoids making stirring speeches.
And now for THE VERDICT - maybe you only get to see one of these flicks on the big screen, and you don't wanna waste that night out. So, drum roll please...
I wish Independence Day: Resurgence the best. Honestly, I do. But you deserve better than cynical sequels, dear readers, so get gritty with Psycho Raman, touch on your deepest fears in The Shallows, or (my pick) soak up some hope with the powerful Mustang.
Until next week!