I was thoroughly surprised with 2017’s “Happy Death Day.” The more I’ve thought about it and re-watched it, I’ve come to like it more and more as a horror reworking of “Groundhog’s Day.” It’s a fun and creepy character piece about a despicable young woman who realizes that maybe the way to keep herself from dying and end the cycle of re-living the same day over and over, is to think about other people in her life. “Happy Death Day 2U” is that same concept, but a wholly different movie. It’s a sequel that brings us a new angle of the narrative, expands on the concept of the original film, while also continuing to explore the character of Tree Gelbman.
I’ve never seen a movie so apparently short on a script that it purposely pads the run time to compensate. I’ve seen movies waste time on screen, but director Virgil W. Vogel’s science fiction adventure obviously had a script comprised of maybe forty pages of actual narrative and writing. The rest of the seventy seven minutes is obvious empty filler, and padding that tries to run out the clock for the sake of the feature length credibility. Set in the general vicinity of Asia, we meet (two of the most grating heroes ever put to film) archaeologists Dr. Roger Bentley and Dr. Jud Bellamin, both of whom are dedicated to finding a mythical race of Sumerian Albinos living deep in the Earth.
You have to give it to John Carpenter. Even when he stumbles, he’s still one of the finest directors around who manages to set himself apart from his contemporaries stylistically. While “Star Man” is an obvious attempt to cash in on the good Spielberg “ET” dough, “Star Man” manages to be a pretty okay movie, either way. Carpenter sets aside his usual nihilism in favor of a more measured alien love story where it retains much of its appeal thanks to the wonderful turns by Karen Allen and Jeff Bridges. This is especially a movie where Allen shines, as she delivers a performance filled with layers and emotion to the very end.
I can’t say that I would recommend Stepanka Cervinkova’s dystopian horror film per se, but I appreciated the message behind it, and I liked its energy. I also loved the special effects as they garnered the right amount of yuck factor. The big problem with “The Body Corporate” is its sheer confused tone, but otherwise director Cervinkova is at least a good director with a neat concept.
Director Cameo Wood, and co-writer Ken Liu’s “Real Artists” is a slick bit of satire that folks annoyed by the dominance of certain Hollywood studios might love. In fact, “Real Artists” is a great movie regardless, as it explores the idea of actual art, and what separates actual art from homogenized products for the masses. After her edit of a big studio’s animated movie goes viral, artist Sophia Baker is called in for an interview with a very popular and dominant animation studio.
It’s a very good element of animation that it is so accessible and can be fit to work in any story no matter how extraordinary it may be. Animation allows the creator to be as unique and individual as possible, while also conveying an important message that deserves to be heard now more than ever. I can’t say that I loved “Tito and the Birds” but I very much enjoyed it is an imaginative and entertaining adventure with an important message to give its audience about prejudice, xenophobia, the value of animals, and the irrational hysterical fear of the impoverished that’s become so common.
One of most controversial and divisive story arcs of the nineties is brought to the small screen in an epic fashion, and DC and Warner manage to adapt the final half of the “Death of Superman” storyline for a broader audience. While nineties kids will love to see the whole mystery of the Four Supermen once again, DC works within the limitations of the characters they’re allowed to use, and re-imagines most of the storyline of the Reign of the Supermen, right down the primary antagonist working behind the scenes.
With the success of his iconic adaptation, “Batman: The Animated Series” behind him, creator Bruce Timm was asked by Warner Bros. in 1996 to produce a companion series to the darker crime drama. The natural jumping off point from Batman was, of course, Superman, the equally recognizable and ever immortal character from DC Comics. With “Batman: The Animated Series” ensuring the success of DC translating in to the animated medium, Superman was a welcome change of pace for the medium Timm had helped innovate for the decade. It was also a welcome reboot for Superman fans who wanted the Man of Steel brought in to the decade.