Tom Green

BFI

Gareth Edwards’ 2010 film Monsters presents a refreshingly subtle allegory via the slow-building romance of two developing characters amid gorgeous cinematography and a world with a growing extraterrestrial population. Edwards went the Godzilla route for his follow-up and passed the sequel torch to first-time film director Tom Green for Monsters: Dark Continent. Green frustratingly takes Dark Continent in a grandiose political direction resulting in a film that lacks nuance and the specifics to back it up. Ten years after Monsters, the Middle East had become the new “infected zone” in need of some good ‘ole American intervention. The United States has been dropping bombs on the worst of the infected region in an attempt to eradicate the creatures unsurprisingly killing innocent civilians in the process. This logically makes the locals hate Americans even more, and the ongoing war in the Middle East now has a whole new level of tension. Hometown boys turned rugged soldiers, Michael (Sam Keeley), Frankie (Joe Dempsie), and a handful of the kids they grew up with, find themselves fighting for a metaphor under the guidance of Sgt. Frater (Johnny Harris).

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Despite its slim runtime (93 minutes) and bare bones cast (it essentially starred just two people, including rising star Scoot McNairy), Gareth Edwards’ remarkable 2010 indie, Monsters, didn’t balk at crafting a mythology that’s primed for expansion (and, in Hollywood-speak, primed for sequels). And though Edwards will not be returning for the film’s sequel, Monsters: The Dark Continent, his structure and ideas appear to be quite present in the new film. At least, if the project’s first synopsis is to be believed. ShockTillYouDrop (via ComingSoon) has reportedly gotten a hold of the official synopsis for Monsters: The Dark Continent, and it tells us in no uncertain terms that the film will see a return to the “Infected Zone.” The first film introduced us to the area – nearly one half of Mexico bordering the United States – as our protagonists journeyed through it, encountering terrifying creatures who apparently came to Earth six years prior, thanks to a NASA probe that went awry. The film ended, however, with (spoiler alert!) both our heroes and the electricity-hungry creatures reaching American soil. So, if our “monsters” have broken free of their zone (and, indeed, they have), why head right back into the place it all began?

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That Thing You Do! is the kind of movie only a man with a particular amount of clout can get made. An off-beat comedy about a fake rock band from the ’60s starring a bunch of unknowns and unfamiliar songs to boot? Maybe if it was a comic book first. But thank the powers that be for Tom Hanks and his odd sensibilities. He may be a two-time Oscar winner and an impassioned producer of WWII serialized dramas, but when it came to his directorial debut, the end product was something closer to his Bosom Buddies/The Man with One Red Shoe days. When That Thing You Do! hit theaters it bombed, barely making back its budget and putting Hanks’s directing career in question. Not even Tom Freakin’ Hanks could get his passion project to play with audiences. That very well could have been the end of the actor behind the camera. But lo and behold, a decade and a half later, Hanks returns this weekend with another oddball flick, Larry Crowne. Whether the new comedy (sporting plenty of familiar faces) can counter-program Transformers 3 and survive the competitive summer isn’t the point — we should be happy enough he made something. With Larry Crowne, Hanks has succeeded in doing what so few of his actor-turned-director friends have managed: to make a second movie. Here are a few thespians who took the plunge into filmmaking, only to return to their day jobs after one outing.

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decade-worstmovies

There were a lot of bad movies released during the past decade. That’s not anything that distinguishes the aughts from any other decade before it, but then most of these movies were bad in the usual, torturous ways.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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