Tag Archives: Will Smith

Eavesdropping at the Movies: 187 – Gemini Man

Gemini Man lacks charm, wit, originality, intelligence, any real sense of understanding how to shoot action… but it’s a technological showcase, and with 3D glasses on, sat in a cinema with a 60fps projector (120fps screenings, the film’s native frame rate, are nigh-on impossible to come by), it provides a certain pleasure. We agree that the high frame rate, so widely criticised in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy – and along with the rest of the world, neither of us liked it at all – works surprisingly well here in Ang Lee’s hands, and Mike argues that it’s not only visually enjoyable but genuinely aesthetically valuable, picking up on shots that it noticeably contributes to and considering the way Lee uses stillness early on to help the audience adjust to its look and feel.

We can’t see eye to eye on the film’s other technological showpiece, a fully CGI Will Smith, motion captured but rendered as his 20-something-year-old self. Mike thinks it’s remarkably convincing, truly evocative of the Fresh Prince-era Will Smith with which we’re all familiar and, again, a visual treat, but José finds it a lifeless failure. That’s a criticism, though, that can be made of the film as a whole, and we can’t compliment the screenplay, direction or performances very much at all.

Without HFR 3D, Gemini Man really isn’t worth your time to see. With it, it’s surprisingly attractive, but that can’t rescue the script.

The podcast can be listened to in the players above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

Independence Day: Resurgence (Ronald Emmerich, USA, 2016)

resurgence

Independence Day: Resurgence is filmmaking-by-focus-group: dumb, ugly and deserving of the contempt with which it treats its audience. I haven’t snorted this much at a movie since Oliver’s Story (John Korti, USA, 1978). Some of the cast of the 1996 Independence Day (Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum) returns, looking 20 years more tired and 20 years less attractive; others are sentimentalised in their prime as tacky oil paintings (Will Smith). Liam Hemsworth is meant to be the current eye candy: he is a pretty face, an ineffectual talent and lacks the threat of danger or surprise that could make him sexy. The film can’t decide whether to jingo it up for America’s 4th of July or to more directly address the Chinese market. The special effects look like two-dimensional cartoons. It’s so dispiriting you can’t even take pleasure in your own jeering; it left me too sad and tired to even walk out before the end; it’s Ronald Emmerich’s fault.

 

José Arroyo