4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Kurt Russell Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today, we wish a happy 69th birthday to the patron saint of all thing that are cool about the movies, the one and only Kurt Russell!

And here to help us do that are:

4 Shots From 4 Films

Used Cars (1980, directed by Robert Zemeckis)

Escape From New York (1981, directed by John Carpenter)

Stargate (1994, directed by Roland Emmerich)

Death Proof (2007, directed by Quentin Tarantino)

Here’s The Trailer For Midway


Earlier today, the first trailer for Midway was released.  Based on the famous World War II battle, Midway will be in theaters on November 8th.  Judging from the trailer, it would appear that this adaptation has more in common with Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor than Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk.

Of course, we shouldn’t be too surprised by that.  Midway is the latest film from Roland Emmerich and that’ll probably mean a lot of action, not a lot of character development, and maybe a half-assed debate about whether or not Shakespeare wrote Hamlet.  (I have to admit that I have never forgiven Emmerich for Anonymous, a film that not only promoted a silly conspiracy theory but which also accused Shakespeare of murdering Christopher Marlowe.)  Of course, Midway could still be a good film, even if it is a typical Emmerich production.  Sometimes, you just want to spend a few hours watching stuff blow up.

Midway does have a big cast: Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid, Darren Criss and Woody Harrelson.  I don’t know if I’d say that was an intriguing cast, if just because Woody Harrelson and Dennis Quaid appear to be legally required to appear in ensemble war films like this.  Still, it’ll be interesting to see if Midway can do for Nick Jonas what Dunkirk did for Harry Styles.

Here’s the trailer:

Here’s The Trailer for Geostorm, which is apparently a real movie


This trailer only needs a few more cats to look like a heavy-handed YouTube parody but apparently, Geostorm is a real movie that will be opening in October.  It was directed by Dean Devlin, who is a frequent partner of Roland Emmerich’s.

(In other words, expect a subplot about how Shakespeare didn’t actually write Twelfth Night.)

Geostorm will open in October and I imagine it will make its SyFy debut the following June.

2016 In Review: Lisa Picks The 16 Worst Films of 2016!


Well, here’s the time that I know we’ve all been waiting for!  It’s time for me to reveal my picks for the 16 worst films of 2016!

(Why 2016?  Because Lisa doesn’t do odd numbers!)

Now, I should make clear that these are my picks.  They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the other writers here at Through The Shattered Lens.  In fact, I know that a few of them most definitely do not!

What type of year was 2016?  It was a pretty bad one.  There weren’t many memorable films released but there was a lot of mediocrity and disappointment.  Do you know why 2016 was so bad?  I think it’s because, if you add up 2 plus 1 plus 6, you end up with 9, an odd number.  For that same reason, 2017 is going to be much better.  If you add up 2 plus 1 plus 7, you end up with 10, which is an even number that can be cleanly divided.

So fear not!  2017 is going to be a great year!

For now, however, here are my picks for the 16 worst films of 2016!

the-girl-on-the-train

16. The Girl on the Train (dir by Tate Taylor)

15. The Fifth Wave (dir by J Blakeson)

14. Alice Through the Looking Glass (dir by James Bobin)

13. Jane Got A Gun (dir by Gavin O’Connor)

12. Mother’s Day (dir by Garry Marshall)

11. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (dir by Burr Steers)

10. The Sea of Trees (dir by Gus Van Sant)

9. Money Monster (dir by Jodie Foster)

8. Me Before You (dir by Thea Sharrock)

7. Independence Day: Resurgence (dir by Roland Emmerich)

6. Zoolander 2 (dir by Ben Stiller)

5. The Purge: Election Year (dir by James DeMonaco)

4. Paradox (dir by Michael Hurst)

3. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (dir by Zack Snyder)

2. Yoga Hosers (dir by Kevin Smith)

And finally, the worst film of 2016 … drum roll please ….

  1. HARDCORE HENRY! (dir by Ilya Naishuller)

Seriously, Hardcore Henry is one of the few films that I have ever had to walk out on.  I literally got physically ill while watching the film, largely due to the nonstop shaky cam.  Seriously — when your film’s selling point is a technique that literally induces nausea, you’re going to have some problems.  Now, before anyone leaves any angry comments, I did make it a point to go back and watch the rest of Hardcore Henry before making out this list.  Not only does Hardcore Henry feature a nausea-inducing gimmick but it’s also a rather uninspired and dull action film.

Hardcore_(2015_film)

(Feel free to also check out my picks for 2010, 2011, 2012, 20132014, and 2015!)

Agree?  Disagree?  Leave a comment and let us know!  And if you disagree, please let me know what movie you think was worse than Hardcore Henry!

Tomorrow, I will be posting my 10 favorite songs of 2016!

Previous Entries In The Best of 2016:

  1. TFG’s 2016 Comics Year In Review : Top Tens, Worsts, And Everything In Between
  2. Anime of the Year: 2016
  3. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw In 2016
  4. 2016 in Review: The Best of SyFy
  5. 2016 in Review: The Best of Lifetime

 

A Quickie With Lisa Marie: Independence Day: Resurgence (dir by Roland Emmerich)


Independence-Day-2-poster

Oh, who cares?

Sorry, I know that’s like an ultra unprofessional way to open a review but Independence Day: Resurgence is one of the least inspiring films that I’ve ever seen.  Jeff and I saw it the day that it opened and, at the time, I was planning on reviewing it the next day.  But when I sat down to actually write about the movie … well, I discovered that I could hardly care less.  This is one of those films that I could have easily waited until December to review.  However, seeing as today is Independence Day, this seemed to be the right time to say something about it.

Memorable movies inspire.  Good movies inspire love.  Bad movies inspire hate.  A movie like Independence Day: Resurgence inspires apathy.

Actually, what’s really frustrating about Independence Day: Resurgence is that it starts out with such promise.  The first few scenes suggest that maybe the film is trying to be something more than just another “let’s blow shit up while stars get quippy” action film.  Independence Day: Resurgence imagines an alternative history for post-alien invasion Earth and it’s actually pretty clever.  Earthlings have taken advantage of the alien technology but society has also become heavily militaristic.  The main characters of the first film are all revered as heroes but, when we first meet former President Whitmore (Bill Pullman, with a wise old man beard), he’s having nightmares about the invasion.

And seriously, for the first 30 minutes or so, I really thought that Independence Day: Resurgence might turn out to be surprisingly clever, that maybe it would satirize the excesses of the original while subtly critiquing everything that’s fucked up about our real world.

Well, that was a mistake on my part.  There is no satire.  There is no critique.  Instead, it’s just another alien invasion film and it’s all terribly predictable.  It may be a sequel to the first Independence Day but it feels more like a rip-off of Battle: Los Angeles.  Considering what the film could have been, it’s impossible not to be disappointed by how familiar and uninspired it all is.

What I failed to take into account is that this film was directed by Roland Emmerich.  Emmerich is a director who is best distinguished by his total lack of self-awareness.  After all, this is the director who, in Anonymous, seriously suggested that William Shakespeare personally murdered Christopher Marlowe.  Watching Independence Day: Resurgence and listening to the generic dialogue and witnessing the generic mayhem, I started to get the sinking feeling that the film was a joke and that  Emmerich was the only person on the planet who was not in on it.  He doesn’t realize how predictable his movies are or that his characters are cardboard cut-outs or that the film’s inspiring moments are so overdone that they instead become groan-inducing.  One of the stars of the first film sacrifices himself in Resurgence and you know who it’s going to be from the minute he shows up onscreen.  Emmerich is not a good enough director to make his sacrifice touching.  The fact that the film ends with the promise of a sequel is not surprising and yet, it still somehow manages to be annoyingly presumptive.  The film’s ending seems to be taunting us.  “Of course, you’re going to want to sit through this shit for a third time…what other choice do you have?”

In the film’s defense, the cast is big and it includes a lot of good actors.  Unfortunately, the characters are so undeveloped that you again find yourself regretting what a waste it all is.  Jeff Goldblum and Judd Hirsch are both likable but Bill Pullman seems to be incredibly bored with the whole thing.  Liam Hemsworth, Jessie Usher, and Maika Monroe are all stuck playing typical Emmerich ciphers.

I should mention that, despite how negative this review may sound, I did not hate Independence Day: Resurgence, at least not in the way that I’ve hated other films, like Anonymous or the remake of Straw Dogs.  My problem with Resurgence isn’t that I hated it or even that I disliked it.  It’s that I didn’t feel much about it, one way or the other.  It’s one of those film that is best described as “just kinda being there.”  Apathy is the worst thing that a film can inspire.

Perhaps the best thing about Independence Day: Resurgence is that Roland Emmerich has protected the holiday from being co-opted by Garry Marshall.

Here’s the Trailer for Robotec…I mean Independence Day: Resurgence


Independence Day Resurgence

For decades fans of Robotech (Macross everywhere else in the world) have been hoping for a live-action film adaptation of this very iconic anime series from Japan. Many Westerners had their first introduction to anime after watching the localized version of the original Japanese series Macross. There have been some traction to get the live-action film up and running but rarely past pre-production stage.

With special effects advancing to the point that we can almost recreate dead people back to life via digital trickery, entire worlds astronomers could only dream of and fantastical lands and creatures it’s high time we got a live-action Robotech film. We fans deserve such a gift.

For now, let’s settle for Independence Day: Resurgence which seems to lift certain elements from the anime series spoken of above to make up the plot of the sequel to 1996’s blockbuster hit, Independence Day.

Independence Day: Resurgence is set for a June 24, 2016 release date.

All about porn. Disaster porn!


Yeah, even I’m not gonna drag this blog down to the furthest depths. I’ll leave that up to Lisa Marie, with her most recent review of Showgirls! I really should link that, but been drinking, so that’s way too much work. But yeah, she watched it, reviewed it, seriously, go read it. Terrible movie, but I’ll bet she made it sound better than it was. She’s awesome like that.

No, what I’m trying to write about is the genre of movie known as disaster porn. The first example that most people have been aware of is most likely the movie The Day After Tomorrow.  While a fun disaster porn flick, it was incredibly heavy handed with its environmental bullcrap message. But all disaster porn movies have that.

Why am I talking about this at all? Well, tomorrow (or really tonight if you’re one of thems that watches movies on their early night showings) is the premier of San Andreas, starring The Rock. If he doesn’t wind up punching the earthquake and saving California by flexing a lot, then I’ll be sorely disappointed.

Anyways, I’m gonna go see that tomorrow, and I know that my usual movie guy, site founder Arleigh, isn’t going to have seen it by then. Since it’s unlikely to have been reviewed, I feel that it’s really required to share a spoof of the disaster porn movies with everyone. I know for sure that Arleigh has posted this parody trailer, but with his urging, I am going to repost it.

This trailer is done to spoof the disaster porn of all disaster porn movies, 2012.  In fact, it’s called 2012: It’s a Disaster!!! I’d honestly say that this trailer is better than the actual movie, and I think many people would agree with me.  At any rate, Arleigh posted this very same trailer several years ago, but we both agreed that it’s worth reposting in anticipation of the Rock’s very own disaster porn movie. So, please enjoy this video, with it’s plane disaster, train disaster, whole city disaster, landmark disaster, rolling buildings, yay spaceships?  YAY SPACESHIPS! Flying Bentleys, jumbo jet surfing, hell we’ll even forgive the ridiculousness of seeing a black president.  Because that’s just plain lunacy!  For sure, let’s celebrate awesome disaster porn with this trailer, and look forward to seeing the Rock grab an earthquake by the neck and plant it into the turf.  ROCK BOTTOM! ROCK BOTTOM!!!

Shattered Politics #92: White House Down (dir by Roland Emmerich)


White_House_Down_poster_with_billing_block

To say that the 2012 film White House Down is stupid is probably unnecessary.  After all, the film was directed by Roland Emmerich and Emmerich specializes in making stupid films.

And, in many ways, White House Down is prototypical Emmerich film, a long and self-important collection of mayhem and heavy-handed pontification.  In the case of this film, liberal President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) is pushing for a treaty that will magically bring about world police.  Naturally, a bunch of evil right-wingers (including characters played, somewhat inevitably, by James Woods and Richard Jenkins) don’t want world peace so they hire a bunch of mercenaries who attack the White House.  It’s all a part of a plot to force Sawyer to launch a nuclear attack on Iran because … well, why not?  Fortunately, aspiring secret service agent (and kick-ass combat veteran) John Cale (Channing Tatum) is there to work with the President and save the country.

And, since Emmerich is from the bigger is always better school of filmmaking, many familiar landmarks are blown up and it takes the film well over two hours to tell its simplistic story.  To be honest, if your action movie can’t get the job done in under two hours, then you’re going to have problems.  Once a viewer has spent two hours watching one movie, it’s inevitable that he or she will start to question the film’s logic.  If the film’s clever enough, all lapses and inconsistencies can be forgiving.  If the film is White House Down, it’s a lot less easy to be forgiving.

Of course, from a political point of view, Emmerich tries to have it both ways.  For anti-government types like me, it’s always fun to watch Washington D.C. blow up.  For those on the right, White House Down presents a situation that can only be solved by heroes with guns.  And, of course, Democrats can view White House Down as wish fulfillment, an alternative timeline where Barack Obama actually is as sincere and effective as they wish him to be.

In fact, if anything saves White House Down, it’s the chemistry between Foxx and Tatum.  Wisely, neither one of them appears to be taking the film that seriously and both of them seem to be having a lot of fun blowing things up.  Channing Tatum, in particular, deserves some sort of award.  How many bad films have been made tolerable by Tatum’s willingness to laugh at himself?  I’ve lost count but White House Down definitely benefits from his presence.  He and Foxx make Emmerich’s style of filmmaking as tolerable as it will ever be.

Film Review: Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (dir by Takao Okawara)


With the new Godzilla film scheduled to be released in just two more days, we’ve been taking a look back at some of Godzilla’s previous adventures.  We’ve looked at everything from Godzilla vs. King Kong to Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster.  We’ve even taken a look at Godzilla’s adventures in the Marvel Universe.  Today, we consider the 22nd Godzilla film, 1995’s Godzilla vs. Destoroyah.

As Godzilla vs. Destoroyah opens, the task of monitoring and managing Godzilla has been entrusted to a military organization known as G-Force.  To be honest, my first impulse was to mock G-Force because their headquarters is known as G-Center and I kept expecting to see a tour group walking through the building while their cheerful guide explained, “This is the spot — the G-Spot.”  However, I have to admit that if I ever somehow found myself as a member of the military, I would want to be a member of G-Force, just because some of the female G-forcers get to wear a really nice uniform with a cute black skirt and a beret.  Seriously, I’d enlist just to get the beret.

It's all about the beret.

It’s all about the beret.

Anyway, G-Force may have cute uniforms but they’re apparently not very good at doing their job because they’ve lost track of Godzilla.  When last seen, Godzilla and his son — Godzilla, Jr. (yes, that’s what they actually call him) — were living on the charmingly named Birth Island.  However, Birth Island has been destroyed and when Godzilla, Sr. finally resurfaces, he’s glowing red and destroying Hong Kong.

Yes, Godzilla, Sr. has some issues.  As the G-Force scientists eventually deduce, Godzilla’s heart — which also acts as a nuclear reactor — is on the verge of a meltdown.  Not only is Godzilla dying but his death will probably cause a nuclear chain reaction that will lead to the end of the world.  As silly as this particular plot twist might sound, it actually works pretty well.  It’s a much-needed return to Godzilla’s roots, a reminder that, before he became a film star, Godzilla was meant to be the living embodiment of the atomic nightmare.  As well, the fact that Godzilla is slowly being destroyed by the same thing that brought him to life gives him a certain tragic dignity.  You may not believe that you could feel sorry for a big rubber lizard but you would be wrong.  Once it becomes clear that Godzilla is using his last remaining strength to search for and protect his son, you’d have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by his plight.

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah

Unfortunately, G-Force is apparently full of men with hearts of stone and, instead of trying to make that father-son reunion happen, they instead decide to trot out the old Oxygen Destroyer that was used to defeat the original Godzilla back in the 1954.  (In the 90s, the series was retconned to explain that the first Godzilla was destroyed in 1954 and that all the subsequent Godzilla movies featured the original’s successor.)  However, what G-Force has failed to take into account is that experimenting with the Oxygen Destroyer will also create a giant mutant crab known as Destoroyah.

Destoroyah, despite having a bit of a name problem, is actually pretty scary and, at times, feels like something that could have sprung from the imagination of H.R. Giger.  An extended scene, in which Destoroyah menaces a woman trapped in a car, is particularly well done.

Since this is a Godzilla film, all of this inetivably leads to a gigantic fight between Godzilla, Junior, and Destoroyah that manages to destroy Tokyo for the hundredth time.  Of course, even as Godzilla steps up to save the world from Destoroyah, he still remains a ticking atomic bomb…

godzilla-destoroya-screenshot

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah was meant to be the final Japanese Godzilla film, a final hurrah for the series before the American version (directed by noted Shakespearean scholar Roland Emmerich) was released.  As such, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah is very much a tribute to Godzilla’s long history (clips from the first film abound) and an attempt to give Godzilla a proper and heroic send-off before he would be reinterpreted by the Americans.  There’s an elegiac feel to much of Godzilla vs. Destoroyah and it works a lot better than you would have any reason to expect.  If this had been the final Japanese Godzilla film, it would have been a perfect chapter to end on.

However, as we all know, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah was not the final Japanese Godzilla film.  Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla was a notorious flop and continues to be reviled by good people everywhere.  Toho bought back the rights to the character and went on to produce 6 more films starring Godzilla.  And now, in just a few more days, a second attempt at an American Godzilla film will be released.

Will it be as good as Roland Emmerich’s film?

Yes.  Of course, it will.  How couldn’t it be?  Roland Emmerich is basically just Uwe Boll with a bigger budget, after all.

Will the new Godzilla be as good as Godzilla vs. Destoroyah?

That’s a question that remains to be answered.

GODZILLA%20VS_%20DESTOROYAH

 

Trailer: Godzilla (Teaser)


Godzilla

This past summer saw the return of kaiju to the film vernacular with the release of Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim. The very same studios which released this film, Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures return next summer with a similar film, but this time with the return of the granddaddy of all kaiju: Godzilla.

Godzilla is a reboot of the kaiju franchise with Gareth Edwards trying to make up for the travesty that was Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla of over a decade ago. This time around it looks like (at least from the teaser) that Edwards is going the serious route with this reboot. It helps that he has quite the cast to play around with. This Godzilla will star Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Ken Watanabe.

We also get a brief glimpse of Godzilla itself right near the end followed by the iconic monster scream that’s as recognizable as the tweets and twoots of R2-D2.

Godzilla will return to the big-screen on May 16, 2014.