Tag Archives: Edwin Hodge

The Tomorrow War (2021) Review

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The Tomorrow War

Time: 138 Minutes
Cast:
Chris Pratt as James Daniel “Dan” Forester Jr.
Yvonne Strahovski as Colonel Muri Forester
J.K. Simmons as James Daniel Forester Sr.
Betty Gilpin as Emmy Forester
Sam Richardson as Charlie
Edwin Hodge as Dorian
Director: Chris McKay

The world is stunned when a group of time travellers arrive from the year 2051 to deliver an urgent message: thirty years in the future, mankind is losing a global war against a deadly alien species.

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I had seen The Tomorrow War advertised a lot, an Amazon Prime sci-fi movie starring Chris Pratt. I wasn’t that interested in it initially, it looked a fairly generic sci-fi action movie about an alien invasion. Still, I heard that some people liked it, so I decided to check it out. It has its issues, but it was better than I expected it to be.

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A lot of the writing for The Tomorrow War is quite generic, but it was better than I thought it would be. The story is reasonably easy to follow, and it had more heart than I expected, with good character drama which doesn’t feel forced and elevates the movie a bit. The dramatic and tragic moments don’t quite have the desired impact that they could have, but again it was more than I was expecting. Really this aspect with the drama without spoiling anything is really the most surprising aspect of the movie. The rest of it isn’t anything special, which is disappointing because it actually had a lot of potential to be more. The premise is quite interesting, but they don’t really do much with it, and by the end of it is only just Chris Pratt vs Aliens. The writing involving time travel is rather lazy, and there are certain points where you don’t want to think too hard about the story because you’ll notice how convenient many of the events and plot points are. A lot of the characters aren’t that special, the protagonist is the only person here that gets fleshed out enough. Some of the side characters move in and out of the plot like they’re passing back and forth through a revolving door, a few of them are interesting but we don’t get much time to learn about them. There are some long action sequences, and it seems like that was the main focus, thankfully the film delivers on those. Despite the drama in the film, it doesn’t take itself too seriously and you can have fun with it. There’s a number of jokes in the movie, most of them don’t work but are fine enough. It can have some bad dialogue but you can get past them. The movie is quite long at 2 hours and 20 minutes long, and it’s at least 20 minutes too long. The pacing works at some points and doesn’t work at others. Some scenes drag on a bit but the pacing isn’t terrible.

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Chris Pratt in this movie is just playing Chris Pratt, much like many of his other film appearances. To be fair, he was better than I thought he would be. He’s not great, but he delivered the role just well enough for me to follow along with him as the protagonist. Yvonne Strahovski was really good, Sam Richardson is funny and entertaining whenever he’s on screen, and J.K. Simmons makes his presence felt despite his limited screentime. Betty Gilpin is in this movie as Chris Pratt’s wife, she is rather underutilised but does a lot in her scenes. I know that I’m not the only one to think this, but I think that the movie would be a lot better if the two of them switched roles.

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The director of the movie is Chris McKay, who previously made The Lego Batman movie. This makes The Tomorrow War his live action debut, and it was pretty good. Amazon put a lot of money into this movie and you can definitely tell, it certainly looks very expensive. The visuals are stunning and on the whole, the movie is very well shot. The special effects generally work, though the climax goes particularly CGI heavy, and some of the effects look a little odd in places. There is a lot of action, with some fun and satisfying set pieces, I think there’s enough good action to make it worth watching for that alone. The action definitely has some issues, there are some periods where characters would continuously fire endless amounts of bullets without reloading, an example being in the first half of the movie where characters descend stairs and keep shooting at aliens without reloading. Speaking of which, the aliens are one of the highlights of the film. There are plenty of sci-fi alien invasion movies and with the movie seeming quite typical of the sub-genre, I wrote off the aliens pretty early on. That is until they actually appeared on screen. Not only was the alien reveal done very well along with the effective build up, but their designs and movements were well done, and they managed to be threatening and dangerous. The score from Lorne Balfe does feel a bit derivative of other sci-fi scores but was a nice addition, and it does add a lot to the action scenes.

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The Tomorrow War is another typical sci-fi alien invasion movie and unfortunately doesn’t become more than that. However some of the performances, the action, and even some of the drama makes the movie a decent and enjoyable viewing. So if you enjoy sci-fi action movies, it might be worth a watch.

The Purge (2013) Review

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The Purge

Time: 85 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Ethan Hawke as James Sandin
Lena Headey as Mary Sandin
Adelaide Kane as Zoe Sandin
Max Burkholder as Charlie Sandin
Edwin Hodge as The Stranger
Tony Oller as Henry
Director: James DeMonaco

In 2022, the United States of America celebrates once a year “The Purge”, a 12-hour period when any crime is allowed including murder. The result is an economical growth and society free of homeless, sick and unproductive persons. James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) is a successful salesman that sells security systems for the houses. He lives with his wife Mary (Lena Headey) and his teenage son Charlie (Max Burkholder) and daughter Zoey (Adelaide Kane) in a house in the suburb. During the purge, James seals his house, however, Charlie sees a stranger (Edwin Hodge) fleeing from a group that is hunting him down and he disarms the security device and lets the man in. But the leader of the group (Rhys Wakefield) gives an ultimatum to James: if he does not deliver the man to the group, they would kill the whole family.

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At first glance, The Purge seems interesting, with the purge aspect potentially leading to an interesting plot if it’s handled right, however in this case it isn’t. These two elements are a bad mix which end up with an absurd and at times stupid movie with a badly written plot.

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The biggest flaw I feel is the actual idea behind the purge everyone says that the purge works but I just don’t get it. The way that many people on some news screens talk about, they seem to say that the reason crime exists is that we have to ‘release the beast’ that’s inside of us. I also can’t get how having a 12 hour crime free time works and everyone is going by the honours system and not committing any crimes. Another big flaw is that you can tell that this film could be a home invasion movie without this purge aspect, in fact it would’ve been better. They also take this thing seriously, if it was satire I could see how it would work but that’s not the case. Even the pacing isn’t that good. The first act isn’t interesting at all and the second act of the movie is the family looking for this one homeless guy with no tension. The characters make very stupid decisions, like when the daughter runs off further into the house when the lights go out (when the family should stay together). The villains are also just over the top goofy, they are just dancing and mucking around in front of the camera for about half of the movie and are apparently supposed to be ‘creepy’. I do wonder why they are focussing on getting this one guy, they have 12 hours to do pretty much do what they want but this guy is apparently so worth their attention. When they finally get into the house they become quite possibly the dumbest house invaders ever by just messing around. This film’s plot really does deconstruct itself and is one of the worst attempts at being smart.

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Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey do the best with what they have in this movie, however the kids weren’t that great. There is one redeeming aspect of this movie which is Rhys Wakefield as the leader of the gang. He tries so hard to act evil and his hammy performance is at least entertaining to watch.

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On the technical side, The Purge doesn’t really have any problems. The shots are well set up, the lighting is effective, and soundtrack is fine, but it isn’t enough to take away the flaws of the story.

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The Purge is a failed attempt at a cross between a smart film and a home invasion movie. The film is well shot and the soundtrack is fine but besides that, this movie didn’t work at all. The characters are poorly written and its very premise is flawed. I’ve heard that its sequel is better so at some point I’ll give it a chance but I can’t imagine it being that much better this film.