With movie critics getting more and more stigmatized by bitter movie studios and petty film directors, it’s a good thing to know in the end that they’re all just opinions. This year I watched so many movies, and as always, my opinion is never gospel or the final word on any film. In 2016 I managed to like a few movies that were critically destroyed and I don’t apologize for finding value in these flops. I probably won’t go out to buy them, but I won’t flip the channel if they’re ever on cable, either.
What were some movies you liked that everyone else didn’t? Let me know in the comments.
Hey, if Sylvester Stallone can get “Creed” why can’t Jean Claude Van Damme get his own go around? “Kickboxer: Vengeance” is a remake/reboot of the “Kickboxer” series where we’re given essentially the same narrative as the original Van Damme action film, except with a few roles switched here and there. As a bid of respect, Van Damme returns to the series playing the enigmatic Master Durand, a martial arts trainer who manages to train hero Kurt for his fight to avenge his fallen brother. Van Damme’s performance is top notch in “Vengeance” and he manages to get some prime action scenes in the film, including one involving an ambush in his temple by a lone fighter.
When I saw some pre-marketing for Thunderbirds Are Go!, the revival of the Thunderbirds at London Toy Fair in January 2015, my interest was piqued and I started hoping for something along the lines of the original series. Then I received my screener for the new series and started watching it. This time around, maquettes are involved by the characters are animated. The stories are still simple, following the Tracy family as they save people and the world one adventure at a time.
Zack Snyder’s “Batman v Superman” is a prequel to “Justice League,” a spiritual reboot for his version of Ben Affleck’s love child iteration of Batman, and just one big amalgam of “Watchmen” and “The Dark Knight Rises” in one big messy unpleasant plate. Basically, Superman is Doctor Manhattan and Ozymandias, while Batman is Rorschach and Nite Owl. Snyder doesn’t really have to pull much footwork with his clashing of the titans, as he just instills a lot of the same themes and ideas from Alan Moore’s graphic novel, while spending the duration of the movie riffing on Moore’s work, along with Frank Miller, Alex Ross and everyone else he can. This results in a tonally uneven, and virtually fun free movie that has no respect for the Superman lore and an obsession with Batman’s, and it’s apparent from minute one. Did we really have to see Batman’s origin again?
The Rocky saga has always been about parental issues and how parenting and lack thereof define our characters. Rocky had no real parents thus he was always thought of as a loser who gained a dad through Mickey. Adrian and Pauley were each others’ parents, while Rocky’s own son is somewhat a distant memory by the time “Creed” rolls around thanks to Rocky’s own destructive quest for glory. Despite their bonding in “Rocky Balboa” Rocky is still a lonely hermit of a man who runs a restaurant and lives in Philadelphia, still mourning the loss of wife Adrian and best friend Pauley. His effect has had more of a profound effect than he ever realized, as director Ryan Coogler reaches in to the Balboa mythology to touch on another family within the fold of the series that we rarely visited.
Sylvester Stallone paid proper tribute and respect to his character Rocky Balboa with the final chapter in his saga “Rocky Balboa.” The character deserved the poetic finale after the clunker that was “Rocky V.” Ryan Coogler’s “Creed” is an utter accomplishment that works as a part of Rocky Balboa’s tale, and as the beginning of a new underdog saga. What initially seemed like a lame cash in, is a brilliant twist on the underdog tale with Stallone turning his sights Balboa’s rival and friend Apollo Creed. What was viewed as a sad death in a camp classic in “Rocky IV” carries over in to “Creed,” where Apollo’s death has had a serious significant effect.
“Vacation” is a reboot of the original National Lampoon’s series, but it’s not dedicated to reminding fans that it stems from a once beloved series. There are your typical nods, but through and through the new film is its own animal that strives for its own brand of sleazy comedy, and for that I respect it. It acts as a sequel, and virtual restart, while also allowing a platform for fans to go out and check out the original Chevy Chase films for some frame of reference. It’s not mandatory, however. I also enjoyed “Vacation” much more than I thought I would, speaking as someone who went in to it with rock bottom expectations; even if it tends to be something of a mixed bag right until the very end.
So this is it? This is the officially sanctioned sequel to the “Terminator” series? The sequel that says “Remember the first two movies you just saw? Well they don’t matter anymore. You wasted your time”? Because that’s what “Genysis” does. It wastes the audience’s time by creating an alternate alternate alternate timeline that doesn’t just erase the first two movies of the series, but completely muddles up the timeline even more than ever. I’m usually very good with timelines and can figure out convoluted storytelling most times, but “Genysis” gets so lost in a haze of over explanation and contradicting storylines that I just eventually gave up trying to figure out what the hell was going on.