Dog’s Movie House: “What To Watch This Week!”
Howdy folks! It’s The Kendog!
I continue to apologize for my tardiness when it comes to posting stuff, but real life has a way of intruding and the timing has been just god-awful. That said, I’ve been working out the kinks and issues and soon this website should achieve it’s full potential. In the meantime I’m going to play a little catch-up and give you some capsule reviews and recommendations on what to see at the cinema. They aren’t full reviews, but at the very least they’ll be comprehensive enough to let you know whether they’re worth your hard-earned dollar!
What to see this week:
Let’s start with “Beauty And The Beast.” Disney has done it again, creating a superb live-action version of one of the Mouse House’s most beloved animated features. Emma Watson is perfect as Bell and Dan Stevens lets us see the man behind the monster underneath the mo-cap computer makeup. Luke Evans is a hoot as the vile Gaston, and Josh Gad has a great time as his sidekick LaFou. (As for the “gay” sequence. . .talk about a mountain out of a molehill.) The music by Alan Menken is a wonderful as you remember and the new songs with Tim Rice fit in rather nicely. This film also has a few new scenes that dig a little deeper into the backstory and enrich the film all the more. It may not be necessary, but the “tale as old as time” has very rarely been told as entertainingly as this! 4 1/2 Out Of Five On Kendog’s Barkometer!
Next up is “The Belko Experiement” from the mind of James Gunn (“Guardians of the Galaxy). Directed by Greg Mclean (“Wolf Creek”) it tells the tale of the Belko Corporation, a company that facilitates the hiring of American workers in foreign lands (whatever the hell that means. . .). The company has offices in Bogota, Columbia and it appears to be the usual pencil pushing bunch of office drones. Things change one day when the building is completely sealed off by heavy metal panels and a voice over the intercom informs the employees that they have a certain amount of time to kill a precise number of coworkers or the people behind this will double the death toll. When the powers that be demonstrate the lethal price for inaction, several groups separate, each with their own idea on how to survive.
This may be the most violent episode of “The Twilight Zone” ever filmed. Not only that, but “The Belko Experiment” may be one of the most unflinchingly violent films ever committed to celluloid. This is not an indictment, only an observation of my surprise at the onscreen brutality. There is a sense of inevitability here that’s a tad depressing, but the film moves at a brisk pace and has some fine if somewhat underwritten performances by such notable character actors as John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Michael Rooker, and John C. McGinley (playing a character who’s somewhat off his rocker before things go to hell). If you can take the violence “The Belko Experiment” is a fascinating film that is at times uncomfortable to watch. 3 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer!
Next on the list is “The Power Rangers” based on the long-running kid’s television show of the same name. Said TV show is stupid as hell, but I’m not the intended audience. The film, however, directed with plenty of (sometimes unfocused) energy by Dean Israelite (“Project Almanac”) gives the morphin’ teens a more grown-up sheen. The storyline remains the same: Five outcast teens (Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin and Becky G.) find colored alien coins, train under former Power Ranger-turned-commander Zordon (Bryan Cranston) to become the next generation of Power Rangers and combat the evil Rita Repulsa (a scenery-chewing Elizabeth Banks, having a ball here). If you have kids, be warned: most of the movie’s runtime is dedicated to the would-be heroes training and acting like, well, angsty teens. The acting is fairly good, but the Rangers and their Zords don’t show up until the finale which, while fairly well executed, is a tad inert dramatically as compared to the rest of the film. Still, this is probably the best “Power Rangers” film we’re going to get and it ain’t half bad. 2 1/2 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer!
Finally, we’ve got “Life” a science fiction horror film that feels like “Gravity” and “Alien” had a child. A group of astronauts aboard the international space station, led by Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds, get hold of a space probe from Mars. As they’re collecting soil samples, lead scientist Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare) finds a single-celled organism that serves as definite proof of life beyond the planet Earth. Hugh, being a typical movie scientist, decides to make the organism grow and grow it does until it becomes a voracious creature who breaks loose from his cage and starts looking for members of the crew to chow down upon. The rest of the film revolves around the accomplished international cast trying to kill the creature (named Calvin by a student on Earth after her high school. . . this is before it becomes a murderous killing machine) before becoming alien food.
“Life” is actually very well done. Calvin is uniquely designed and its attacks are disturbing as hell. The performances are fine, but the script by “Deadpool” writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick doesn’t delve deeply enough into these characters for us to care as much as we should. The direction by Daniel Espinosa (“Safe House”) moves at a fairly breakneck pace which covers the dramatic flaws of the script. The ending is something of a corker as well as I didn’t see it coming until a couple of moments before it happened. “Life” may copy elements of other films, but it does so well enough to be entertaining in its own right! 3 1/2 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer! So Sayeth The Kendog!