Movies reviewed this week: Independence Day- Resurgence, The Call Up, Elvis & Nixon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and Bollywatch: Udta Punjab.
Independence Day: Resurgence
It’s been a long time coming but it seems the sequel to Independence Day, which starred Will Smith way back in 1996, has been a bit of a letdown for the critics. But if you are a fan, then don’t let the critics sway you. Independence Day: Resurgence has lost none of the original blockbuster’s special effects. In fact, it’s safe to say that the computer-generated imagery (CGI) is head and shoulders above the original – but then again, we’ve got 20 years of CGI development under our belts. While Will Smith didn’t sign up to reprise his role as Captain Steve Hiller, Jeff Goldblum (David Levison) and Bill Pullman (President Thomas J. Whitmore) return for a second crack at the aliens, who have responded to a signal sent by their predecessors during the 1996 fight for Earth and mankind. Liam Hemsworth gives a solid showing as Jake, a rebellious pilot who finds himself in the hero’s seat. But at the end of the day, humanity, as always, wins – or does it? The twist at the end leaves room for a third outing of the Independence Day franchise, but hopefully sooner than it took this sequel to make it to the big screen.
Review by Felicity Glover
The Call Up
It’s every gamer’s dream – to be invited to play a state-of-the-art virtual reality video game in which the winner bags US$100,000. But in this futuristic movie, it all becomes a little too real when the gamers realise they will be paying a high price for losing: their lives. The last one standing wins, literally, in this game of cat-and-mouse that takes on a truly sinister tone as they fight their way down to the ground floor of a skyscraper. Starring Morfydd Clark and Chris Obi, this British indie film could be the sleeper hit of the summer.
Elvis & Nixon
Based on a true story, it is a cool December morning in 1970 when Elvis Presley, the King of Rock ‘n Roll, literally rolls up unannounced at the White House to request a meeting with Richard Nixon, the US president. With Kevin Spacey as Nixon and Michael Shannon as Elvis, there’s quite a bit of artistic licence in the movie. But don’t let this put you off; it’s a humorous story behind the official photograph taken of the two in the Oval Office, which also happens to be the most-requested photo from the National Archives. Well worth watching for some light-hearted fun.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Cowabunga, dudes! The sewer-dwelling heroes in a half shell are back in this sequel to 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We pick up the story with Shredder (Brian Tee) hatching yet another evil plan to rule the world with mad scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry). Tipped off by friend April O’Neil (Megan Fox), it’s up to the crime-fighting quartet – Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael – to save the day as they overcome a host of impressive FX disasters and finally meet their match in Krang. If you are a fan of this 1980s animated series, then you’ll be in for a rollicking ride thanks to the special effects. The plotline, however, is a little thin.
Four people; four lives. Tommy Singh (Shahid Kapoor), a young rock star addicted to drugs; Mary Jane (Alia Bhatt), a Bihari field worker in search of a better life; Sartaj Singh (Diljit Dosanjh), a corrupt police officer making a fast buck on the side from drug-filled trucks, and Preet Sahni (Kareena Kapoor Khan), a doctor working to save the youth of Punjab from the clutches of substance abuse. The film focuses on the effects of drugs on each of these four Punjab residents. Udta Punjab’s plotline is simply superb as it highlights an unseen side of Punjab. Harrowing stuff, but it’s a must-watch.