Updated: 06/27/2016 9:34 AM | Print Story |  Email

6/24 Movie Trip

Movie critic Paul McGuire Grimes from the website Paul's Trip to the Movies shares his thoughts on the sequel to the 1996 blockbuster, Independence Day and the lesser known Civil War flick, Free State of Jones.  Plus he has a home release you might want to pick up this weekend.



It’s been twenty years since aliens invaded the planet, and they’ve stayed dormant ever since then. The United States’ space technology has improved, and they have a command base stationed on the moon to keep a never-ending watch over the skies. In Africa, the one and only space ship to have landed in 1996 stays under the watchful eye of scientists and warlords. The idea of peace on Earth comes to an abrupt end on the twentieth anniversary of that Independence Day catastrophe. There are catatonic aliens on the command base that start to awaken, and the lights on the space ship start to light up without any human interference. The harvester queen alien is back with an army ready to destroy. The main ship docks over a large portion of the Earth and uses phasma drills to get to the center of the Earth’s core. It’s up to Jeff Goldblum’s scientist, Liam Hemsworth as a fighter pilot, crazy Brent Spiner, and a bunch of others to stop them once and for all.

-Original cast members Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Bill Pullman, and Vivica A. Fox. Liam Hemsworth, Sela Ward, and William Fichtner are all new.

-Will Smith passed on this. I can’t decide if he would have made it any better or worse.

-While the first film felt somewhat grounded in reality with every day people reacting to an alien invasion, this one just goes for beyond ridiculous with a camp factor of 100.

-It’s oddly anticlimactic with the aliens attacking so soon; it just feels like a climax of a movie that lasts for two hours. There really isn’t any build-up of suspense or fear.

-HEAVY use of green screen for space invaders style attacks, destruction scenes, and fighting aliens with guns. There’s a SyFy channel quality to it.

-Dialogue is beyond cheesy with a multitude of empowering proclamations over and over again. You could hear the audience laughing.

-Disaster flicks can be great popcorn style dumb entertainment, but this causes so much eye-rolling it lost its appeal very early on.

-I’d recommend giving the first one a rewatch to prep. I feel like I missed out on some jokes and references, as it wasn’t fresh in my head.

Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Instead of feeling like a summer blockbuster, it feels like a cheap made for cable movie.


FREE STATE OF JONES (theatrical release)

Matthew McConaughey continues his run of playing heavy, important roles that try to challenge him as an actor and distance himself from those rom-com days. In Free State of Jones, he takes on Civil War figure Newton Knight. Knight was a Southern Confederate soldier who makes the radical move to desert his camp and bring the body of his nephew back home. Deserters can be arrested for leaving their camps if found. After dealing with some family issues, he continues to find himself on the run hiding out in the middle of the woods with a group of escaped slaves. One of them happens to be Rachel, who works on a cotton plantation and is aiding in their escapism. Newt and Rachel eventually fall in love and bear children. His company of deserted soldiers and slaves continues to grow and includes many women and children along the way looking for their freedom from the confederacy. The rebellion is known as the “Freemen of Jones County” who are looking to overthrow the Confederate Army’s presence in the south.

-Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Keri Russell (The Americans), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Concussion), Mahershala Ali (House of Cards)

-Based on true events spanning 1862-1876

-Opening sequence showcases the bloody brutal war zone, but shifts to a somber, quieter tone when Newt becomes a deserter.

-Very slow paced. Takes too long to find it’s footing and even then there isn’t a strong enough drive or intrigue with the characters to keep you connected.

-At 2 hours 19 minutes, it’s way too long and contains an unnecessary storyline involving a courtroom drama with Knight’s great-grandson on trial for miscegenation. The scenes are too few and far between to get invested and feel so out of place compared to the rest of the movies.

-After awhile it just files like a standard History Channel movie/mini-series going from one Civil War milestone to another. The second half of the film features a variety of archival photos and date stamps signifying important events.

Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Only for history buffs who may not already know this Civil War story.



HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS (home release)

After the death of her mother, Doris seems a bit lost. She lived a simple life taking care of her mom and doing data entry work. She’s a bit of a hoarder and is feeling pressured by her brother and sister-in-law to finally move out of the family house. When a new, young art director is hired, Doris becomes a bit gaga over him. She starts daydreaming about making out with John to the point where she’s becoming a klutz at work. After going to a motivational workshop, she gets the courage to live in the moment and start pursuing him. She’s learns how to Facebook stalk someone and gets clued in on his interests in an attempt to win him over. Even though John’s charming and adorable, he’s a bit clueless that his middle-aged co-worker is putting moves on him. She continues down this rabbit hole of awkwardness and cringe-worthy moments despite the lack of support from her best friend, Roz.

-Written and directed by Michael Showalter (Wet Hot American Summer)

-Stars Sally Field, Max Greenfield, Tyne Daly, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Peter Gallagher, Natasha Lyonne

-We’re used to Sally Field taking on such heavy Oscar caliber films, so it’s nice to see someone of this caliber play such a cuckoo role.

-There are sad and cringe worthy qualities to her, but Field makes her lovable and relatable. She along with some of her quirkier moments reminded me of a few people I know so there was resonance there as well.

-Max Greenfield is so completely charming and adorable in every scene. His smile is just contagious.

-Easy jokes along the way regarding the generational gap between the two characters. There’s a running gag about how John’s hipster friends find Doris and her style vintage and cool.

-Themes of starting a new phase of your life. Doris holds on to the past and has a hard time saying goodbye causing some family issues that ring very true to life when parents pass away.

-Very much a “movie for grown-ups”. There is definitely an audience for these kind of films when so many movies in theaters are sequels, blockbusters, superhero movies, etc…

Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Doris is another winning role Field can add to her lengthy resume.