The fourth Die Hard film, released as Live Free or Die Hard in the United States and simply Die Hard 4.0 elsewhere, came out in 2007, twelve years after the release of Die Hard with a Vengeance. There had been gaps in the series before (there was a five year gap between the second and third films), but nothing quite like that. So there was some question as to whether it would be a good entry in the franchise… especially as the 2000s and onward have been full of very-belated sequels that don’t live up to the originals.
Len Wiseman, director of the first two Underworld films, takes the helm here. Bruce Willis returns, of course, as John McClane, and of course John’s life outside of fighting crime and terrorism hasn’t gotten any easier. His daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is estranged from him, refusing to even use the same last name, but has a lot of the same belligerent attitude John himself has. But he soon has little time to worry about that, as FBI deputy director Bowman (Cliff Curtis) calls in a favor to NYPD to bring in a hacker that the FBI is interested in after a cyber attack. McClane arrives just as assassins try to kill the hacker, and we’re off to the usual assortment of shootouts and explosions. Hey, we all know why we’re here. Trying McClane’s patience is the hacker himself; Matt Farrell (Justin Long) is hyperactive, needy, and prone to rant on anti-corporate conspiracy theories, and quickly gets on McClane’s nerves. Continue reading →
Battle for Terra, previewed in 2007 and given a full release in March of 2009, is a relatively short (85 minutes) science-fiction animated film that is absent of attempts at comedy or musical numbers, instead seemingly aiming at the young adult crowd (though it still had a PG rating). I give it credit for not going the easy comedy route established by fellow CG films such as Shrek, Ice Age, Hoodwinked, and so forth. I also give it credit for not aping the art design of any other movie, and for recruiting a surprisingly large number of known actors for the voices. Seriously, the number of minor-to-major roles filled here by actors who are seldom headliners anymore but are solid performers is really surprising.
Sadly, I cannot give it credit for being a great movie. When I saw it was available on Hulu, I was curious as to why I hadn’t heard of it; after watching it, I can see why it didn’t generate much buzz. It’s just not a very good movie, nor a very memorable one. Continue reading →