‘Independence Day: Resurgence’
(PG-13; 119 minutes; 20th Century Fox): A genial diversion for the undemanding, “Independence Day: Resurgence” doesn’t hesitate to go where many films have gone before. Less a sequel than a spiritual remake of 1996’s “Independence Day,” this preposterous new film by Roland Emmerich is both impossible to take seriously or seriously dislike.
It not only uses many of the same stars as its alien-invasion predecessor, it basically duplicates its plotline. But the grotesque invaders have gotten smarter and more devious in the two decades since the last incursion, and their spaceship has gotten way bigger.
Though Will Smith’s character does not return, he is represented by his hotshot pilot son, Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher), who is one of a group of younger folks as determined as their elders to give those aliens what-for. Most entertaining of these is the man Hiller can’t abide, cocky fellow pilot Jake Morrison, played with a nice sense of macho nonchalance by Liam Hemsworth.
Contains sequences of sci-fi action and destruction, and for some language. Los Angeles Times
‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’
(PG; 108 minutes; Walt Disney): Lewis Carroll’s book about Alice and her adventures in Wonderland, “Through the Looking-Glass,” proves to be only a suggestion for this Tim Burton film. It takes wild liberties with the book’s plot and manages to feel largely unimaginative.
A grown-up Alice, played by Mia Wasikowska, has been off captaining ships in China, but when she’s expected to conform to a more appropriate career for a lady, she escapes through a mirror to the magical alternate universe where her friends the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) share a wary co-existence with the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter).
The premise is so thin that it wears out its welcome before the first act is up, and not even the visuals can save it. The art direction and design are uninspiring. It’s dour and dark. But the real problem is that there isn’t enough whimsy in the world to save this unengaging story.
Contains fantasy action/peril and some language. Tribune News Service
(PG-13; 85 minutes; Perdido): With white on black titles on the screen and vintage jazz on the soundtrack, “Cafe Society” opens the way Woody Allen films have opened for time out of mind. But this one, this one does things a little differently. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and the protean Steve Carell, “Cafe Society” is of course funny, but it also ends up, almost without our realizing it, trafficking in memory, regret and the fate of relationships in a world of romantic melancholy.
Three-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro’s lush color images do complete justice to “Cafe Society’s” strong element of visual fantasy, recreating an ideal version of the long-gone glamour of both Hollywood and New York that is the film’s 1930s setting.
In the best sense, “Cafe Society” presents itself as an older director’s film, dealing as it does with the difference between dreams and reality and the presence and persistence of regret. Yes, someone says, though the unexamined life may not be worth living, “the examined one is no bargain either.” Unless it’s Woody Allen doing the examining.
Contains some violence, a drug reference, suggestive material and smoking. Los Angeles Times
Also out Oct. 18
- “Our Kind of Traitor”
- “Ghost Team”
- “The Night Of”
- “Bates Motel: Season 4”
- “Guilt: Season 1”
- “Teen Wolf: Season 5, Part 2”
- “The Good Neighbor”