Film Review: MIDWAY (USA 2019) ***

Midway Poster
Trailer

The story of the Battle of Midway, told by the leaders and the sailors who fought it.

Director:

Roland Emmerich

Writer:

Wes Tooke

It was 1976 when Jack Smight’s BATTLE OF MIDWAY starring Charlton Heston and Henry Fonda opened in the then sensational Sensurroud. Forty years later, INDEPENDENCE DAY’s director Roland Emmerich has another go at making a film on the decisive Pacific naval battle during WWII.  Though both films centred on the MIDWAY battle, the focus of both films are different.  The heroes of the first film were ridiculous fictional characters a father (Heston) and son (Edward Albert) involved with a Japanese/American immigrant while the latter, a clear improvement centred on real life heroes of the War.  Their real portraits are revealed during the film’s closing credits.

Ememrich’s MIDWAY opens a few years before the start of World War II.  The US Naval attaché in Tokyo and his counterpart discuss the US and Japanese positions in the Pacific Ocean during a state function. Isoroku Yamamoto (Etsushi Toyokawa) quietly informs intelligence officer Edwin T. Layton (Patrick Wilson) that they will take action if their oil supplies are threatened.  The film fast forwards to the morning of December 7, 1941with a 15-minute extravaganza on the shocking Japanese bombing of Pearl harbour.  This feels like Spielberg’s D-Day landing in Normandy in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN.  The goal is clearly to get the audience riled up against the Japanese.  Both films show the planning that goes into both the Japanese and American sides, though clearly the prejudice is against the Japanese.

MIDWAY works at both educating on the details of a history lesson that lasts over two hours as well as entertain as a WWII super hero flick.

The superheroes are real life WWII planners and fighters.  These combatants are played by a stellar cast headed by Ed Skrein as LTA Richard Best, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Nonas, Dennis Quaid, Woody Harrelson and Mandy Moore as Bests’s wife.

Performances-wise, Skrein (GAME OF THRONES) is sufficiently cheesy as the gum-chewing maverick fighter pilot.  Patrick Wilson is the one who steals the show delivering the best performance of a worried but super bright Intelligence Officer.  There are hardly any women in this picture and Mandy Moore has the usual under-written role as the supportive wife.

The history lesson takes the audience through the several battles including the Doolittle Raid and the Coral Battle before culminating with the crucial climatic battle of MIDWAY.  The latest version clearly highlights the progress CGI and special effects have made compared to the 1976’s cheesy Sensurround.

The battles are well executed and exiting enough, though it often looks a video game.

MIDWAY costs Lionsgate a whopping $100 million to make and to date has grossed close to $80 million.  MIDWAY has garnished mixed reviews so far, but MIDWAY is more entertaining because the heroes are real who lived on the Planet Earth and not fictional heroes with made-up superpowers in some alternative Marvel Universe.  Despite a few flaws here and there, MIDWAY delivers the thrills as well as intricacies involved in strategic planning of battles in a war.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfTYY_pac8o

Film Review: ANNABELLA COMES HOME (USA 2019)

Annabelle Comes Home Poster
Trailer

While babysitting the daughter of Ed and Lorraine Warren, a teenager and her friend unknowingly awaken an evil spirit trapped in a doll.

Director:

Gary Dauberman

Writers:

James Wan (story by), Gary Dauberman

There is one rule in the horror book that should never be broken.  There must be deaths.  In ANABELLE COMES HOME, no one dies.  The rule is broken in one of the worst horror films or films in general to open in 2019.  It is senseless, overlong, boring and downright silly.

ANNABELLE COMES HOME is the third instalment of the ANNABELLE  franchise, a spin off fro the Conjuring movies.  The first was terrible, the second not bad and this one back to terrible.  It is the second film with the theme of a demon doll to open this month after last week’s more fun CHILD’S PLAY.  Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) the main character of the film is clear to point out the difference.  Annabelle is not a doll that is possessed, but a portal through which demons can enter the human world.  He also claims that possession can only take place in living things therefore putting CHILD’S PLAY down.  To add on: “Isabelle is the devil.”

Determined to keep Annabelle from wreaking more havoc, demonologists Ed (Wilson) and Lorraine Warren Vera Farminga) bring the possessed doll to the locked artifacts room in their home, placing her “safely” behind sacred glass and enlisting a priest’s holy blessing.  But an unholy night of horror awaits as Annabelle awakens the evil spirits in the room, who all set their sights on a new target—the Warrens’ ten-year old daughter, Judy (McKenna Grace), and her friends, babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman) and Daniela (Katie Sarife), the troubled one guilt ridden of having killed her father in a car accident.

Director Gary Fauberman directs from the script (if one can call it that) he co-wrote with James Wan.  The film begins with Ed and Lorraine Warren who bring the audience to date of the doll and how they lock it up safely.  The couple has three scenes – the locking of the doll, the stranded car and the end.  Other than that, they disappear for the rest of the film.

The film has the typical scares found in a horror film like sudden appearance of objects or loud sounds (telephone ringing) and other assorted false alarms.  These go on throughout the entire film regardless of where the story is leading, escalating to a meaningless climax.  Too much of the same thing leads to monotony which is exactly what happens in this otherwise extremely slow paced film.

To Dauberman’s credit, his time lapse mirror segment is worth mentioning.  In it, the girl glares at her reflection in the mirror.  The reflection in the mirror occurs a few seconds in the future.  For example, she sees a falling in he mirror just before it actually falls.  Though this has noting to do whatsoever with the plot, it is quite the creepy and inventive device.

Forget the ANNABELLE and CONJURING franchise.  It is time to have the series locked up for they do no-one any good.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCxm7cTpBAs

Film Review: THE COMMUTER (USA 2017) ****

Submit your Screenplay to the Festival TODAY

The Commuter Poster
Trailer

A businessman is caught up in a criminal conspiracy during his daily commute home.

Writers:

Byron Willinger (story by), Philip de Blasi (story by) | 3 more credits »

 

Submit your Screenplay to the Festival TODAY

Happy Birthday: Patrick Wilson

patrickwilson.jpgHappy Birthday actor Patrick Wilson

Born: July 3, 1973 in Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Married to: Dagmara Dominczyk (18 June 2005 – present) (2 children)

Was twice nominated for Broadway’s Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical: for The Full Monty in 2001 and for the role of Curly in Oklahoma in 2002.

 

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