After five years on the shelf constantly being rescheduled and postponed, “Amityville: the Awakening” is here and–makes apparent why it was postponed for so long. At ninety minutes, “The Awakening” feels like there are at least twenty minutes of good exposition missing. What we get is a pretty ineffective and monotonous horror film that feels very much like another run of the mill sequel in the oddly long running “Amityville” series. It has a lot of potential to really break out of the doldrums of being just another cash grab, and could have done some great things with its emphases on family, but every time it reaches out to become something different, it inevitably just pulls back again and seems intent on just making it to the end credits with no real effect.
A lot of what makes Addams Family such a fun series is the darkly comic and sinister tone and great sense of Goth that comes with it. It’s not often I say this but watching the rare 1977 movie is kind of a chore to sit through, and you can sense it’s not a good movie at all once you gander at the grainy video and lack of production quality. This attempt at a series revival is a “feature length” television movie that is supposed to set off the new Addams Family. For some reason this is a reboot with the entire cast from the original series all over again, right down to an adult Wednesday and Pugsley. “Halloween with the Addams Family” isn’t just abysmal, but it’s boring, and painfully silly.
After “The Wolfman” and “Dracula Untold” failed to launch the intended Cinematic Universe, Universal has hitched their ride on “The Mummy,” a movie so broadly developed and so utterly stale, that it feels more like a pitch for a movie than an actual movie. So much of “The Mummy” and its tedious, monotonous, lifeless run time is spent propping up storylines, explaining, over explaining, and flash backs. Rather than watching characters experience, and go through the wringer, and develop, Universal spends an enormous amount of time creating this tidy, and sanitary action thriller that is hell bent on establishing the universe its set in, rather than engaging us in an actual movie that is somewhat entertaining of compelling.
Director Jon Watts handles the element of Peter Parker’s life that the previous “Spider-Man” iterations didn’t, offering a compelling coming of age high school drama, whose main character is a super powered being trying to live up to impossible standards. When we meet Peter Parker, he’s a typical teenager vlogging his experience in “Civil War” where he brushed up against a slew of heavy hitting superheroes in an effort to help Tony Stark. When the movie begins Peter is returned to Queens to go back to being just a teenager who happens to be Spider-Man. Peter is a young man always trying to do what’s right and noble, he’s the true underdog of the Marvel Universe.
Dean Israelite’s reboot of “Power Rangers” is meant to be a reboot for a new generation. It has diversity, and vision, and works well in making sense of a lot of the concepts presented in the original series. Fans didn’t need all of the ideas to make sense, hence the rabid popularity in the nineties, but “Power Rangers” offers a sincerity that undercuts the obvious need for the studio to refurbish the Power Rangers for a new generation of fans and potential toy customers. I, for one, really enjoy what Israelite does with his vision of the “Power Rangers” providing minute cosmetic alterations and some big changes in mythos that are hit or miss most times.
I think there was even some doubt by Joel Hodgson and company on whether or not fans wanted a reboot of MST3K. Sure, the merchandise sells well, but most reboots of nineties properties have either stunk or just failed to deliver, period. Plus it’s not like the show was around for a short time like “Firefly” or “Freaks and Geeks.” It was on ten years and even earned a movie of its own. Surprisingly enough fans proved that the show is just as special to them as it is to Joel Hodgson and his crew of brilliant creators that gave us the original series. Like all the other fans, “MST3K” has a very special place in my heart and I have such a deep bond with its characters and love for its formula. So naturally I was frightened the reboot would be stale.
I’m not going to argue that “Power Rangers” isn’t a movie made by a committee. The action loving, kid in me, however, really enjoyed what “Power Rangers” had to offer. It really is a re-imagining of the “Mighty Morphin” era of “Power Rangers” but tackles every plot element and universe building idea with so much more finesse and logic. The reason why these Rangers control robotic dinosaurs makes sense. The reason why Alpha Five is so important makes sense. Zordon being so crucial to helping the Rangers makes so much sense. The diversity is so much more natural and fluid than the original TV series, where everything just felt tacked on for broader appeal. Best of all, the blue ranger finally gets his due in a movie where he is the heart and soul of the entire group.
Yes, believe it or not, the “XXX” movies now have a mythology. And a back story. And supporting characters. Now that America has officially found the “Jason Bourne” series a bit worn, Vin Diesel makes his return with his clunky and ridiculous “XXX” movie series, reprising his role as the rebellious, bald, smart ass anti-hero Xander Cage. This is a break from playing the rebellious, bald, smart ass anti-hero Dominic Torreto, and the rebellious, bald, smart ass anti-hero Riddick, and–the rebellious, bald, smart ass anti-hero in “Babylon A.D.” After the unwatchable dumpster fire that was “XXX: State of the Union” the studio brings Diesel back to prop up a light reboot and sequel of “XXX” that also opens up a world for more movies of this ilk.