Custom Search





Independence Day:

Resurgence • The BFG

June 30, 2016

Independence Day:

Resurgence (**) PG 13

Independence Day: Resurgence is one of those films that critics were not allowed to screen before its official release. In other words, the studio seems to have no faith in the picture so the feeling is that banning press screenings is an attempt to unleash the thing on an unsuspecting public with as few reviews as possible in an effort to cash in before the bad word gets out.  In the case of this film—a sequel that was, by the way, twenty years in the making—it helps to remember that the initial Independence Day outing back in 1996 was not the great film that our nostalgia tinged memories may have us believe. It was basically just an updated 50s sci-fi film that was as derivative as the worst films that came out of that era, but mainly got a pass due its special effects that looked pretty good back then. The characters were all stock but filled with good performances from great actors who were trying to do their best with the hackneyed material. Even though it had its flaws, it was easy enough to take.

So now we have the long gestating sequel, a film that brings back pretty much every actor from the original’s cast with the exception of the MIA Will Smith, who presumably was busy working on the forthcoming DC comics film Suicide Squad.

William Fitchner, Jeff Goldblum & Brent Spiner in ID: R

Or maybe Smith just felt the material was beneath him. Who can truly say but the writers do make it a point to let the audience know that his character is as dead as disco.

The plot involves the aliens perpetrating another attack on mankind after gestating for twenty some years. Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Brent Spiner, Judd Hirsch and Viveca A. Fox all return from the first film and are joined by fresh faces such as Liam Hemsworth. With such a great cast it’s too bad that the film chooses to focus on the generic action set pieces rather than the human drama. The first film managed to successfully balance the action stuff with the character driven scenes but the balance is much farther off target and it hurts the film in the long run. It doesn’t help that the film has five credited screenwriters either, which is never a good sign.

The humans do their duty and I guess I don’t have to tell you how it all ends up except to say that, yes, the door is left wide open for a another sequel possibility wherein we take on the aliens on their home turf. Come to think of it, perhaps they should have used that idea for this film and maybe things would have gone a lot more in the film’s favor.
The BFG (** 1/2) PG

The letters BFG in the title of Steven Spielberg’s new film are used to describe the lumbering giant at the center of the picture, who kidnaps a young orphan and whisks her away into a land of similar sized beings, developing a friendship with the girl along the way. And no, the letter F in the acronym of the film title doesn’t represent a certain word ending with an ING that you might think that it does, although the title character is a pretty big fella. No, the giant in this film is of the friendly sort, hence the abbreviated title, which actually stands for Big Friendly Giant. In fact, he’s such a likeable chum, spouting gibberish and malapropisms, that he almost saves the picture from a story that meanders way too often. Almost, but not quite.

The BFG is based on a book from the pen of Roald Dahl, most famously known for another children’s book you may have heard tell of called Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Mark Rylance and Ruby Barnhill in Spielberg's The BFG

Not as many folks realize, however, that the writer also penned the script for a James Bond film once upon a time, You Only Live Twice. Even though Dahl was adept at scripting films, I think there’s a reason why, to my knowledge, he never took a stab at BFG. The book was too thin to sustain a 110 minute running time and he probably instinctively knew that somehow. For some reason, director Spielberg felt the burning desire to turn the book into a film and enlisted his former screenwriting collaborator from days gone by—Melissa Mathison, writer of E.T., who passed away last fall and has a dedication reading ‘For Melissa’ in the film’s credits—to handle the task. Mathison has done what should she could but there’s simply not enough of a substantive story to warrant a feature film and that’s the film’s major flaw.

The film works best during the opening and closing half hours. In the first half, the giant, Runt, (Mark Rylance, fresh off his Oscar win for his supporting role in Spielberg’s previous film Bridge of Spies) kidnaps Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), an orphan who happens to catch sight of the giant one night. Afraid that Sophie will tell the world of his existence, Runt takes Sophie off to his world where he’s constantly besieged by bigger and meaner giants and is unable to stand up to their bullying nature. Sophie and Runt eventually wind up as a guest of the Queen of England during a final sequence that also includes probably the single best flatulence gag you’re likely to see this year.

The special effects in The BFG are simply amazing to behold and are, perhaps, enough reason to warrant seeing the film on a big screen. If it’s a compelling story you’re looking for, however, then you may have to look elsewhere, I’m afraid.

Both movies are at the Carmike in Hickory & other area theaters.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at filmfan1970@hotmail.com.



Free State Of Jones & DePalma

Now You See Me 2 & Finding Dory

The Conjuring 2 & Me Before You

X Men: Apocalypse Love And Friendship

The Lobster & The Meddler

Money Monster • The Nice Guys Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

Miles Ahead

Elvis And Nixon Green Room

Midnight Special Everybody Wants Some

The Jungle Book

I Saw The Light • The Boss

Hello My Name Is Doris & Krisha

Divergent: Allegiant & Batman v Superman

10 Cloverfield Lane & Brothers Grimsby

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot & London Has Fallen

Triple 9 & 45 Years

Eddie The Eagle• The Witch

Where To Invade Next & Son Of Saul

Deadpool • The Choice • How To Be Single

Hail Caesar & Fifty Shades Of Black

The Finest Hours & The 5th Wave

Mustang & The Lady In The Van

Anomalisa • 13 Hours: The & Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi

The Revenant • Youth

Carol • Joy • The Hateful Eight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens • The Big Short • Concussion

Daddy’s Home • Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Road Chip

In The Heart Of The Sea • Krampus

Creed • Brooklyn


‘Mockingjay Part 2’ • All Things Must Pass • The Night Before


Spectre & The Peanuts Movie

Steve Jobs & Our Brand Is Crisis

Crimson Peak & Room

Bridge Of Spies & Goosebumps

99 Homes

The Martian • Sicario & The Walk

The Intern • The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials • Everest

The Visit & Black Mass

Mistress America

The Diary Of A Teenage Girl A Walk In The Woods

American Ultra • No Escape • Sinister 2

Straight Outta Compton, The End Of The Tour, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Irrational Man & Fantastic Four

Ricki And The Flash & The Gift

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation • Southpaw • Vacation

Ant-Man & Trainwreck


Amy • Magic Mike XXL, Terminator: Genisys

Me & Earl & The Dying Girl, Ted 2

Inside Out & Dope

Love and Mercy & Jurassic World

Insidious Chapter 3

San Andreas & Aloha

Poltergeist &

Mad Max: Fury Road

Hot Pursuit

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Ex Machina

While We’re Young & Unfriended

The Longest Ride

Fast & Furious 7

It Follows




Focus & The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Fifty Shades Of Grey

Jupiter Ascending

Still Alice

The Imitation Game A Most Violent Year

American Sniper Inherent Vice

Selma & Taken 3


Big Eyes • The Interview

Night At The Museum The Secret of the Tomb • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Top Five • Wild • Annie


Whiplash & The Theory Of Everything

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 • Horrible Bosses 2

Dumb And Dumber To

Birdman & Interstellar




The Judge

Annabelle & Gone Girl

The Equalizer & Happy 75th, GWTW!

The Drop • A Walk Among & The Tombstones

No Good Deed

The Identical

As Above, So Below & November Man

If I Stay & Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

The Giver • Code Black & The Expendables 3

Boyhood • Into The Storm & Magic In The Moonlight

Get On Up & Guardians Of The Galaxy


Begin Again & The Purge: Anarchy

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Chef & Tammy

Transformers: Age Of Extinction

Jersey Boys

22 Jump Street & How To Train Your Dragon 2

The Fault Is In Our Stars & Edge Of Tomorrow

A Million Ways To Die In The West

X-Men: Days Of Future Past Maleficent

Godzilla • Summer Preview

Neighbors • Godzilla

The Amazing Spiderman 2 & Belle

The Other Woman & Brick Mansions

A Haunted House 2 & Heaven Is For Real

Oculus & Rio 2

Captain America: The Winter Soldier



The Grand Budapest Hotel & Veronica Mars

300: Rise of the Empire

Non-Stop & Son Of God

Three Days To Kill

Robocop & The Past • About Last Night

The Monuments Men

Labor Day

I, Frankenstein

Inside Llewyn Davis & Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Lone Survivor & August: Osage County

Her • Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom & The Wolf Of Wall Street

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Saving Mr. Banks, American Hustle, Anchorman 2

The Hobbit: The Desolation & Of Smaug • Nebraska

Dallas Buyers Club & Oldboy & Out Of The Furnace

Philomena & The Book Thief

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire & Delivery Man

About Time & All Is Lost

Thor: The Dark World & 12 Years A Slave

Ender’s Game & Last Vegas

Bad Grandpa &The Counselor

Carrie & The Fifth Estate

Captain Phillips, Enough Said & Machete Kills

Gravity & Runner Runner

Metallica: Through The Never , Rush & Don Jon

Prisoners & Rush

Insidious: Chapter 2 • The Family & The Spectacular Now



The World’s End You’re Next

Lee Daniels’ The Butler • Jobs • Blue Jasmine

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters & Elysium

2 Guns

Blue Jasmine • The Wolverine & Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station • The Conjuring & The Way Way Back

Pacific Rim & Grown Ups 2

The Lone Ranger & Despicable Me 2

The Heat & White House Down

Monsters University, World War Z, Before Midnight & The East

Man of Steel & This Is The End

The Internship & The Purge

After Earth, Now You See Me & Frances Ha

The Hangover Part III Before Midnight

Star Trek: Into Darkness & Fast and Furious 6

The Great Gatsby & Frances Ha

Iron Man & Peeples

Pain and Gain & Mud

Oblivion & Lords of Salem

42 and Scary Movie 5

Evil Dead & Jurassic Park 3-D

G.I. Joe: Retaliation Tyler Perry’s Temptation

Spring Breakers Admission

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone • The Call

Oz: The Great And Powerful West Of Memphis

Jack the Giant Slayer The Last Exorcism, Part II

Dark Skies & Snitch

A Good Day to Die Hard & Safe Haven

Side Effects & Identity Thief

Bullet To The Head Warm Bodies




BannerEventAd-01.jpg   fanjoylabrenz.jpg

PO Box 1721 | Hickory, NC 28603 | 828.322.1036 | Office Hours: Mon. - Fri. 9am - 5pm | focusnews@centurylink.net

Home • Reviews: MoviesAdam Long • Editorials: FocusHave Chainsaw Will TravelSid On SportsBobbi GSara MawyerPeople PicturesPlaces/PeopleExtra Events Listing
Out Of Focus • News: Local NewsNational NewsHoroscopes • Info/Links: Staff/ContributorsList Of AdvertisersOnline AdvertisingOnline ClassifiedsContact UsFocus BLOGStoreLinks

© 1978 - 2018 Tucker Productions, Inc.