Re-Watch: Independence Day (1996)

Independence Day aka ID4
Director: Roland Emmerich
Writer: Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich
Cast: Will SmithBill PullmanJeff GoldblumMary McDonnellJudd HirschRobert LoggiaRandy QuaidMargaret ColinVivica A. FoxJames RebhornHarvey FiersteinAdam BaldwinBrent SpinerJames Duval
Seen on: 4.8.2016

Plot:
Satellites pick up a strange signal from outer space and soon huge spaceships arrive and position themselves around the earth in strategic points. Communications expert David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) is convinced that the aliens will attack and tries to get in touch with the President of the USA (Bill Pullman). Since the two of them don’t have the best history, this is easier said than done. When counterforces are finally mobilized – led by people like Airforce Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) – the aliens turn out to be near invincible. What is needed now is creative problem solving and everybody working together.

I was 11 when Independence Day came out and I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the film since, though it had been years that I’d seen it. After the catastrophe of the new film, I decided that a re-watch was in order to wash away the bitter aftertaste. An excellent decision, as ID4 is still an entertaining bit of popcorn cinema, even after all these years.

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Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

Independence Day: Resurgence
Director: Roland Emmerich
Writer: Nicolas Wright, James A. Woods, Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, James Vanderbilt
Sequel to: Independence Day
Cast: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Jessie T. Usher, Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward, William Fichtner, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Patrick St. Esprit, Vivica A. Fox, Angelababy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Deobia Oparei, Nicolas Wright, Travis Tope, Chin Han
Seen on: 22.7.2016

Plot:
It’s been 20 years since earth was invaded by aliens and humanity managed to fight back and win. With the alien technology left behind, we even expanded our own reach into the the universe. But what appears to be a golden time to most people, is the calm before the storm for others like former president Whitmore (Bill Pullman) who fears that the aliens will return and that they will be better prepared this time. It’s on Independence Day that his fears seem to come true and a few fighters – old and new – find themselves battling for humanity’s very existence.

I very much like the original Independence Day and I was really looking forward to this sequel, especially since it involved many of the people working on the first film. Unfortunately though, Independence Day: Resurgence is a catastrophe on pretty much every level.

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The Muppets (2011)

The Muppets
Director: James Bobin
Writer: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller
Based on: Jim Henson‘s characters
Cast: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones
Cameos by [put in camouflage so you can still be surprised by the people who show up, if you don’t know already. If you wanna be surprised, don’t read the tags, either]: Jack Black, Alan Arkin, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Jim Parsons, Kristen Schaal, Sarah Silverman, Donald Glover, Emily Blunt, Leslie Feist, Whoopi Goldberg, Selena Gomez, Dave Grohl, Neil Patrick Harris, Judd Hirsch, John Krasinski, Rico Rodriguez, Mickey Rooney

Plot:
Walter and Gary (Jason Segel) are brothers, but Walter is pretty different from the rest of the world. It is only when he finds the Muppets that he feels he has somewhere he belongs. So he jumps at the chance, of course, to go to Los Angeles with Gary and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) to visit the Muppet Studios. But the studio is decrepit and threatened by Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) who wants to drill for oil there. The only chance to save it all would be to get Kermit and the rest of the Muppets together to raise 10 million dollars. So Walter takes it on himself to make just that happen.

I never watched The Muppets when I was a kid and apart from their Christmas Carol and a few choice youtube videos, I never really had much contact with them. So I felt like I was missing some ingredient in the whole thing (nostalgia? character background?), but nevertheless, I enjoyed the film. I just think you would get more out of it if you were more of a Muppets fan.

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This Must Be the Place (2011)

This Must Be the Place
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Writer:  Umberto Contarello, Paolo Sorrentino
Cast: Sean Penn, Frances McDormand, Judd Hirsch, Eve Hewson, Kerry Condon, Harry Dean Stanton, David Byrne, Shea Whigham

Plot:
Cheyenne (Sean Penn) is a rock star in retirement living in Ireland who divides his time between  his wife Jane (Frances McDormand) and his fan Mary (Eve Hewson). But when he hears that his father is about to die, Cheyenne makes his way to the US – only to find out that he is too late. But he finds out that his father has been hunting a Nazi who has been tormenting him during WWII. And suddenly Cheyenne finds himself on the same hunt.

The movie is much like its protagonist: charming, funny and peculiar. But the whole Nazi-hunting story feels tacked on and runs too long. Still, it’s all worth it for Sean Penn in that role.

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