Title: The Invisible Man
Director: Leigh Whannell
Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Storm Reid, Harriet Dyer, Michael Dorman
Oh, boy. This movie is insanely good. I was one of the ones, who had hope for this after the trailers got trashed on. Everything that was in place, told me this was going to be something special and different. My word, is this thing good. Leigh Whannell, has come a long way from penning a tiny torture porn diddy, that exploded into a mega franchise. Of course his cohort on that film, James Wan, has also gone on to great things. Whannell, proved himself a capable director with Upgrade. We're going to forget about his Insidious outing behind the camera. He is also a solid writer, and his talents shine through with The Invisible Man. This is Hitchcockian 101. The film is boiling over at the brim with tension, suspense, drama, action, and everything in between. Elisabeth Moss, is great as Cecilia Kass. She's so good at both making you feel for her, and also taking you to the edge of insanity. The surrounding cast is also great. Aldis Hodge is fantastic, and young Storm Reid is also good. Oliver Jackson-Cohen, is delightfully devious too. The direction this film takes, and how Whannell grounds this story for our time, works really, really well. There's a lot of smart in The Invisible Man. I love the camera work here. It adds to an already healthy supply of tension. The score by Benjamin Wallfisch, is superb. It has a nice string vibe, that echoes to the original Universal Monster films. There are a lot of surprises here. Try not to be spoiled, and let this thing take you on a journey. Run, do not pass go, do not collect $200, to see The Invisible Man.
Title: The Call of the Wild
Director: Chris Sanders
Starring: Harrison Ford, Omar Sy, Cara Gee, Dan Stevens
The Call of the Wild is a very weird movie to talk about. On one hand, Harrison Ford, is pretty good in it. His interactions with the MOCAP man playing Buck on set, almost sells this whole thing. Almost. The problem is, the all CGI Buck doesn't always work. In fact at times, it is downright distracting and takes you completely out of the movie. I get it, they wanted a little bit more expression from the dog. However, I don't think it was entirely necessary. Sure, there are some things a real dog couldn't do. However, they would have just CGI'd that anyway. The normal Buck interactions, could have easily been played by a real dog. That being said, there are moments that work, but the vast majority of it comes away with middling results. The more CGI, cartoony dog works for the little ones. They go for more expression, and more "awareness" from Buck. Buck, understands and responds to humans, with more purpose than most humans these days. Dan Stevens, is chewing the scenery as the bad guy, and there are few walk-on roles that while cliche', work just fine. All in all, The Call of the Wild is an average family film, with a solid performance from Harrison Ford. The book is timeless, but I'm not so sure how this adaptation will fare in time.
Title: Sonic The Hedgehog
Director: Jeff Fowler
Starring: James Marsden, Ben Schwartz, Jim Carrey, Tika Sumpter, Lee Majdoub, Adam Pally
We live in a very cynical society today. Hard to believe, I know. I would like to think that Sonic The Hedgehog, is a positive product to come out of internet cancel culture. Even before the character design backlash, people were ready to kill this thing before seeing a single frame of footage. While I don't think Paramount should have caved, it's easy to see why. Someone recognized that they had an enjoyable film on their hands, and something that would settle well with general audiences. So, they did what was best for the film. While the more cartoonish version of Sonic running around the real world may not totally go with the realistic vibe, it works within the context of the film. The cartoonish version only enhances what is an enjoyable, fun, and often times sweet ride. Sure, the story isn't going to break new ground, however, Sonic The Hedgehog is a lot of fun. James Marsden and Tika Sumpter, are really solid here. They have great chemistry with each other, and I'm glad that Tika wasn't just sidelined as a character. She has stuff to do, which is nice. Ben Schwartz, is great as Sonic. He's manic, but grounded, and adds some heart to the character. However, lets talk about Jim Carrey. Forget the Sonic redesign. This film wouldn't be half as good, if Jim Carrey wasn't in this. He is dialed up to a trillion here, and it is glorious. Imagine if Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor, was doing an impression of Ace Ventura the entire time, and you have some iota as to what to expect. His performance needs to be seen to be believed. It's great to watch. Overall, Sonic The Hedgehog is a good time. I'm glad it turned out the way it did. There will be sourpusses who will shit all over it, but it's not bad. It may not be Oscar worthy, but it's enjoyable, and a pleasant surprise.