Archive for Brent Spiner

Independence Day: Resurgence

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

We always knew they were coming back. After INDEPENDENCE DAY redefined the event movie genre, the next epic chapter delivers global catastrophe on an unimaginable scale. Using recovered alien technology, the nations of Earth have collaborated on an immense defense program to protect the planet. But nothing can prepare us for the aliens’ advanced and unprecedented force. Only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction.

What people are saying:

“With its flat characters and a bland, retreaded narrative, Independence Day: Resurgence makes for a banal and instantly-forgettable sequel that can’t even live up to the decent spectacle of the original.” 2 1/2 stars

“Ouch. An insult to the original. And to make matters worse, it’s horrifying when a movie feels the need to explain itself so early and so often. It couldn’t be just another Independence Day — that would’ve been bearable — they had to try and be different…and failed. Horribly.” 1 1/2 stars

“A worthy sequel with some over the top special effects. It may not be as well received for fans of the first one, but this is definitely worth a watch.” 3 stars

“Independence Day: Resurgence proves that visual effects cannot hide the script from monotone and stupid characters and a confusing nonsensical plot. Worse, it proves Roland Emmerich has little to no clue what made the original fun in the first place” 1 1/2 stars

“The Resurgence blueprint calls for a scene in which characters have human, allegedly humorous and/or touching moments; a scene in which characters plot strategy against the aliens; and a big action sequence in which it’s often difficult to tell the difference between the good-guy spaceships and the bad-guy spaceships. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat” 1 1/2 stars

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Independence Day

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

On July 2, an alien mothership with a mass one-quarter of that of the Moon enters orbit around Earth and deploys several dozen saucer-shaped “destroyer” spacecraft, each 15 miles (24 km) in width, which position themselves over some of Earth’s major cities. In New York City, David Levinson discovers hidden satellite transmissions which he believes the aliens are using as a timer to coordinate a synchronized attack.

David and his father Julius manage to gain entrance into the Oval Office to warn U.S President Thomas J. Whitmore of the impending attack by playing on David’s relationship with his ex-wife Constance who is on the President’s staff. Although there is long time animosity between David and the President, nonetheless, The President is convinced to listen to David’s theory on an immiment attack. He immediately orders large-scale evacuations of the targeted cities, but the aliens attack with advanced directed-energy weapons before these could occur. The President, his daughter, portions of his staff, and the Levinsons narrowly escape aboard Air Force One as the destroyers simultaneously lay waste to Washington, D.C, New York City, Los Angeles, and several other major cities around the world. Meanwhile, the President’s wife is at a speaking engagement in Los Angeles and is evacuated, however the helicopter sustains major damage and she is severely injured.

Captain Steven Hiller is at his girlfriend Jasmine’s home for the holiday weekend when he is recalled to his squadron due to the emergency. Leaving Jasmine and her son behind, he prepares to join the attack against the aliens and asks her to meet him later at his base. Russell Casse is a former pilot believed to be suffering from PTSD or some similar disorder after claiming to have been abducted some years earlier by aliens. Russell and his 3 children drive through the desert with a caravan of like-minded people, in an effort to escape the populated city centers.

On July 3, the United States conducts a coordinated counterattack; the Black Knights, a squadron of Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornets, participate in an assault on a destroyer near the remains of Los Angeles. Their weapons fail to penetrate the craft’s force field, and it responds by releasing scores of smaller “attacker” ships which are armed with similar shields and weaponry, and a one-sided dogfight ensues. Captain Steven Hiller survives by luring a single attacker to the Grand Canyon,[4] where he causes it to crash and then subdues the injured alien pilot. The aliens launch a fighter-based counter-attack on NORAD, destroying the base as well as killing the VIP’s who had retreated there, including Joint Chiefs of Staff and Vice President. Hiller is subsequently picked up by Russell Casse in the desert with a group of refugees. They take the captured alien to nearby Area 51, where the President and his remaining staff have also landed. Here, it is shown Area 51 conceals a top secret facility housing a repaired attacker and three alien bodies recovered from Roswell in 1947.

Jasmine and her son make their way to the base only to find it completely destroyed. They stumble upon the First Lady who is severely wounded from the helicopter crash and care for her along with other refugees. Captain Hiller steals a helicopter in order to make a desperate search of his base for traces of his girlfriend and her son. Finding them with the First Lady, he returns with them to Area 51.

The specimen regains consciousness while quarantined in the Area 51 lab, and reveals through a telepathic connection to President Whitmore that its species travels from planet to planet, destroying all life and harvesting a planet’s natural resources before moving on to the next planet. The alien attempts a psychic attack against Whitmore, but is killed by secret service agents. Whitmore orders a nuclear attack on a destroyer. The first nuclear attack against the alien ships is above an abandoned Houston, Texas, but the mission is aborted when the first nuclear missile also fails to penetrate the shield. It is soon found out that Chicago, Atlanta and Philadelphia were destroyed. The injuries to the First Lady prove to be fatal, however the President and his young daughter have time to say their goodbyes.

On July 4, David devises a plan to use the repaired attacker to gain access to the interior of the mothership in order to introduce a computer virus and plant a nuclear bomb on board. This, it is hoped, will cause the shields of the Earth-based alien craft to fail long enough for a coordinated worldwide attack to eliminate them. Hiller volunteers to be the mission’s pilot, with David accompanying him to upload the virus. Before leaving on the mission, Captain Hiller and Jasmine are married with David and Constance as witnesses. With few military pilots to man all available aircraft, the battle requires several volunteers, including President Whitmore and Russell, who have previous combat flight experience. Morse code is used to contact armies around the world in order to coordinate the attack without raising suspicions of the aliens.

After the successful implantation of the virus, President Whitmore leads jet fighters against an alien destroyer on approach to Area 51. Although the aliens now lack shields, the fighters’ supply of missiles are quickly exhausted against the colossal craft and its large complement of attackers, and the destroyer prepares to fire its main weapon at the base. Russell possesses the last remaining missile, but his firing mechanism jams. He pilots his aircraft into the center of the alien weapon in a suicide attack, and the ensuing explosion causes a chain reaction which annihilates the ship. Using this same method, human resistance forces around the world destroy the remainder of the alien ships. Captain Hiller and David are unable to make their planned escape from the mothership and therefore decide to launch their last ditch effort, releasing a nuclear weapon into the center of the mothership. After releasing the nuclear weapon, they suddenly find themselves released from the docking mechanism and have mere moments to escape before the device detonates. Hiller and David return unharmed, crash-landing their captured attacker close to Area 51. The world celebrates, and the main characters watch debris from the mothership enter the atmosphere like fireworks.

REVIEW:

Seeing as how today is the 4th of July, we here in America are celebrating a little holiday called Independence Day, so I figured what better film to watch than the one that shares its name with this day, Independence Day.

This film is already in history as the picture that truly launched Will Smith into superstardom and was the start of “Big Willie Weekend”.   It also was one of the highest grossing films for all time. I think it is still on that list, but has fallen a few notches thanks to the advent of higher ticket prices and 3D hoopla.

I’m sure we’ve all seen the iconic scene from this flick where the alien ship is hovering above the White House and blows it up in one shot. The action in this film is pretty much the same. Building gets blown up and people run. However, when it comes to fighting the aliens, I was reminded of the original Star Wars. I wonder if that was intentional by the filmmakers, because the way some of the contours of the alien ships looked, it was like it was straight out of the Empire. It makes one wonder.

The story is typical of any alien invasion film. Aliens are coming to take over the world and the military with their shoot first attitude is going to end up causing a war. The difference here is that the aliens never had any intention of peace, but rather wish to wipe out all human life and take over the planet. Oh, and there are some subplots with the humans, but that’s mostly useless drama.

The special effects here are what you would expect from a sci-fi film of the mid-90s. Not on par with today, but still impressive. Nothing looks fake, and they don’t overtake the film, which is a good thing.

As far as pacing goes, I sort of feel this film was bit on the long side, but as I’ve said in previous reviews, long films are not my cup of tea, so that’s more of a personal bias rather than a complaint.

While this may have been a vehicle for Will Smith, he isn’t in it as much as you would think. Everything that Smith has shown in his roles is present here, and it is quite obvious that he destined for bigger things on the horizon, but wha ta way to truly be introduced to movie audiences (not counting his role in Six Degrees of Separation),

Jeff Goldblum is perfectly cast as a neurotic scientist. This seems to be his best character, but you throw in the whole saving the world part here and he shines. The chemistry he has with Smith as they are headed up for the climactic battle aboard the mother ship is priceless.

The rest of the cast is outstanding. Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox, Robert Loggia, etc. all shine in their respective roles.

I would have liked for Harry Connick, Jr. and Kiersten Warren to not have come to such tragic ends early on in the film, but what can you do, right?

These aliens don’t have vocal chords and only communicate with the humans once and that is through a dead scientist. It was a bit random, if you ask me, as they made this whole big deal of letting the audience know they have no vocal chords then all of a sudden they’re somehow talking through a dead scientist, but it is never explained how that happened.

As far as sci-fi flicks go, Independence Day is one of the better ones. No, it isn’t on the level with the “holy trilogy” of the Star Wars franchise, but then again, what is? This is, however, a great, action packed film that is sure to leave you entertained, and in the end, isn’t that what movies are supposed to do?

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Master of Disguise

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on March 24, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The plot is centered on Carvey as “Pistachio Disguisey”, a simple-minded member of an Italian family with supernatural skills of disguise. The patriarch of the Disguisey family (Brolin), Pistachio’s father, is kidnapped by archvillian Devlin Bowman (Spiner), who plans on brainwashing him to steal a variety of priceless artifacts and sell them on the black market.

A prominent subplot in the film is Pistachio’s propensity to be attracted to women with unusually big butts, and his frustrations in love. Despite initial hesitation, he is eventually drawn to his assistant (Jennifer Esposito), despite her relatively small backside. The film also acknowledges “The Godfather” when the grandfather comes out of a car in the night with blue light and Tubular Bells played.”That is crazy… so crazy it just might work.” an overused catchphrase of Disguisey.

REVIEW:

Ever have one of those films that holds special memories for you, no matter how good or bad it is? Well, for me, Master of Disguise is such a picture. When this came out in theaters, I didn’t see it in a theater, but rather at a drive-in. Yes, I said drive-in. It was actually a double feature with Men in Black II.

So, nostalgia aside, this comedy vehicle is meant to do one thing and one thing only, showcase Dana Carvey’s talent at doing voices. It does that successfully, but every other aspect of the film falls flat

Jennifer Esposito makes for good eye candy, but that’s about it. She makes an attempt to actually give her character some depth nad feeling, but it just doesn’t work.

Brent Spiner looks hilarious with the goatee, but for some reason he works as a villain. At the same time, I can’t help but think that he’s just Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation gone haywire.

Harold Gould is good as the grandfather, but why did they make him disappear for more than half the film? He could have been used for so much more during the picture.

Plotwise…well,it has its ups and downs. I like the fact that he’s trying to live up to the family name and save his parents, but were all the big butt jokes necessary? On top of that, the mind control drugs just didn’t work for me. I’m not sure if it was the fact that they only mentioned them in passing or if I just didn’t belive them, but something didn’t click about that part of th plot.

There are funny moments. This is Dana Carvey after all. The best of which is the scene in the turtle club, but for the most part, I was let down on the comedy front.

It is so hard to find a good family comedy these days. This could be one of those, if you take out the butt jokes. I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch this, though. Save for a couple of redeeming factors here and there, you’d really be wasting your time. I hate to sound like I’m bashing this film, but I honestly can’t find enough redeeming qualities to give it a good rating.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars