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I try my best to keep the language age-appropriate to the film or game; I also warn, verbally or in text before I go into any spoilers, and the reviews themselves seldom contain any. While I love both mediums, I do try to be objective and critical, so that you get an idea of if you'd like the game or movie.
Deliver Us from Evil (2014)
Sgt. Sarchie(Bana, determined, with a past) struggles to balance his job, dealing with gruesome New York crime(such as an early creepy scene at the Bronx Zoo), and a loving family that tries to give him space, but it is starting to strain their relationship. When the latter are put in harm's way by the former, he finds himself teaming up with a priest(Ramirez, exotic and passionate for his calling) that he gets a bit of a bromance going with, and challenging his notion that there's no such thing as the supernatural when he finds himself chasing a serial killer whose rituals don't seem to be only the work of a human.
Part of what makes this work is that there is more going on than the possession. This is driven by the characters, and their very tangible personal issues. You want to see more of them, including the bad-ass adrenaline junkie partner, Butler(McHale, bringing his hilarious snark in, easing up the otherwise constant strangling tension). The atmosphere is amazing, with little sound or light, and an ominous score, similar to Derrickson's earlier work, Sinister. And yet, this isn't the same movie, albeit they touch upon some of the same themes, in different ways: a flawed, non-superstitious, well-meaning protagonist who has to protect his loved ones but also fight the grisly murders that he finds himself pulled towards mirrored by our attraction to his working against it.
The jumpscares are never purely cheap, with new twists put on existing tricks, and with how it builds yes, there is a sudden shock with a cat, but it's part of an on-going thing. Scenes will hold a tight grip on you as you watch on in terror, without it getting exploitative in spite of a lot of bloody violence, and some graphic gore, much of it effective. While attempts to convince the viewer of the truth of religion, Christianity to be exact, are feeble at best and completely unnecessary, this is compelling as an exorcism piece. The grit and grunge of the city plant it firmly in the real world, and make us pray for the release the end credits will bring, not from poor fiction, rather, from seemingly inescapable, actual evil. There are awkward and silly moments in this, and you do have to suspend a sizable chunk of disbelief to fully enjoy it.
In addition to what I've already mentioned, there is some strong language in this. I recommend this to any fan of horror. 8/10
Worse things have happened to the Jews
1987. A bunch of youths who are still stuck living at home with their parents have to save up money for college and take Summer jobs in the titular amusement park. Among the unwinnable games, all of these odd types unintentionally form a sort of dysfunctional family. James(Eisenberg, nerdy and neurotic) starts falling for Em(Stewart, her being her usual moody self fitting this, and him, they're cute together), but things are a little complicated. For one thing, she secretly has a thing with Mike(Reynolds, charming as usual, former big time musician), even though he's married.
Outside of one or two chunks where a lot happens, this is uneventful. It's pretty slow, even though the 96 minutes sans credits(102 minutes with) don't really drag. The teen romance is relatively conventional in its progression, but it's also realistic and engaging. With 40 80's pop songs, this has a very distinct sense of setting. It's very indie small, personal, intimate. This isn't a laugh-out-loud comedy, albeit it can be funny. There's enough quirk to go around, with awkward interactions, especially on dates talking past each other, half-answering, ignoring, misreading nonverbal cues.
This contains some drug content, strong language and sexuality, as well as brief bloody violence. I recommend this to anyone who wants this kind of story. 7/10
Amiable relations with some nuisances
Married with infant daughter Rosie(the twins Vargas, who we all agree are adorable and has some of the best moments) and living in suburbia is boring Mac(Rogen, still wanting to get stoned) and Kelly(Byrne, dying to get out of the house she is allowed to let loose, nearly steals the show, but does also do some of the worst things which makes the lack of consequences for the couple, and the clear way this sides with them). When a frat moves in next door, they both worry about the loud parties(which do get repetitive and exhausting, quick), and see a way to prove, in part to themselves, that they're still cool and irresponsible(for a while, they certainly live up to the latter). And once they call the cops on the bros, an all-out war is declared.
This is very funny, but only the climax is non-stop hilarity. When it crosses the line into the offensive, it does actually make us laugh, it isn't pure shock value. The set-pieces are great, memorable and often inspired. There are some issues with the humor, a lot of it arising from trying very hard to make our sides ache. Too much awkwardness(when some of it, such as the response to a fist-bump, is actually really good), going loud for the end of a scene in place of a punchline, because it's a way to get a reaction(when that, by itself, isn't actually that compelling). And while a lot of solid material comes out of the improvising, it does grind the movie to a halt to let them riff off each other.
In spite of some inconsistencies and vagueness to the personality in the background ones, this does get a lot of strong bits from its characters. Our two protagonists, and how they are together, and it becomes explosive when you add the president of the Delta Psi, Teddy(Ephron, dumb and determined to leave a legacy via a year-end epic blowout and while the whole trio get to play both extremes, his gentle, charming leader-type and his pure, unrestrained psycho are phenomenal). Likewise, this contrasts the two neighbors well(albeit never properly explaining why no one else in the area are bothered by the noise), with both jealous of some of what the other has be it a fun life, or a set future.
This contains constant coarse language, sexuality, drug content, violence, and some nudity. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a raunchy teen comedy. 7/10
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993)
After half a century of occupation, the planet Bajor is finally free of the Cardassians(all but Garak, who remains, seemingly an exile is he really just a tailor? Could he be a spy for them?). Well, more or less the latter will continue to pester them, since there's now a treaty, and they retain some territories. The Provisional Government is a barely cohesive whole and doesn't have much support. Kira(Visitor, speaks her mind even when it'll get her in trouble) is the liaison between them and the Federation, who remain to support the rebuilding effort. The discovery of a nearby wormhole, the only stable known, complicates matters. It will enable travel back and forth between "our", quadrant, Alpha, and Gamma, which, until now, was so far away it made little sense to even consider going there. The orbiting station of Deep Space Nine will be a trading post and dock, dealing also with the plentiful traffic, all of which represents a potential help, or threat to the safety of the war-torn lands. And a few seasons in, also once "the voice" of this has been found, tensions increase and what was a great show becomes an excellent one.
Characters are the core, as with all good Star Trek. Credible, three-dimensional, well-acted(even when they have their body "taken over", etc.), passionate, every last one. Main and even some peripheral, the focus is evenly divided. The show likes and understands them all, and that is contagious. We don't meet as many new species or groups, but this means less one-offs, and most you meet, you will see again, learning more(without the mystery ever being lost) about them, seeing them(heck, everyone in this) in different situations: with or without power, at their peak or their lowest end, and running the gamut of emotions. The status quo will be shaken up... and these changes take time, not happening overnight. I should note that this review is co-written by my ex-fiancée. She has watched these more than I and helped me ensure that I covered every aspect here.
Things are run by Benjamin Sisko(Brooks, wounded badass, not brooding, pragmatic but not jaded, charming). His kid Jake(Lofton, a real teen, unlike Wesley) and he maintain a natural father/son relationship. The latter's friend Nog(Eisenberg, dedicated), a Ferengi(capitalist, "let the buyer beware"), the two from different cultures, and the question is raised, are they a good or a bad influence on each other. His uncle Quark(Shimerman, giving us uncomfortable reminders of our past), who runs the bar/casino and attracts business, and his contacts can get off-the-record stuff done. He has a real give-and-take, banter-driven thing going on with Constable Odo(Auberjonois, using his T1000 powers for sting operations), the lonely, "non-human who gives us perspective on what we are like"(like Data or Spock) of this. I imagine he was based on those with Asperger's, and from personal experience, can say they do it extremely well.
Officer of not techno-babble but actual science is Dax(Farrell, with the Dax symbiont in her giving the weight of many lives and their memories). Chief of Engineering Miles O'Brien(Meaney, an everyman) and his wife Keiko(Chao, a botanist), who have a Homer/Marge marriage he may not always know how to make her happy, but he does love her and his efforts show that. And finally, Doctor Bashir(Siddig, young, arrogant, eager to prove. He has studied, not experienced). Prominent guests include Jeffrey Combs, who is always enjoyable to watch. Always present at the bar is Morn(Shepherd, a big, cute guy, who doesn't speak and hardly moves, we know about him from what others say about or to him, such as in response to an off-screen exchange. He has a ton of personality, and it's consistent, with the use of mostly just his eyes and gestures, reminiscent of Kevin Peter Hall, R.I.P., who performed The Predator, among others), a tribute to and anagram of Norm, of Cheers.
This favors tense episodes with a climax and then a short wrap-up over an in-depth explanation. Like other sci-fi, it works on multiple levels, such as 'just wanting to enjoy the story' and 'thinking about/debating/analyzing', repeated viewings will allow you to think about the layers. It seems to have learned lessons from The Next Generation, it's so tightly written and executed. The theme of religion explored, almost every single idea explored in the show has, and is fair to, both sides. The Prophets(or to others, aliens) offer spiritual guidance, "helping people to accept situations, and to grow" without forcing rules upon people(though the people come up with some. They see everything, without time or context, but they show you only glimpses of your future, often something truly important to you.
This features amazing production design, with tremendous attention to detail and credibility. It meticulously ties up anything resembling loose ends and plot threads. This is even more relevant now, 20 years later. It is the first Star Trek with a regular straight-up comic relief character, and it can be a tad annoying, and doesn't always fit with the otherwise mature content. They do stories, scenes and concepts that you've seen before, but they do them so well that you don't mind, and at times you'll even be happy to see their take on it. Politics, philosophical ideas and compelling SF concepts are explored, but that happens in other ST, as well... so here, there's the added dimension of inner conflict in the core group. Half of them have different backgrounds, goals and points of view than others, and this comes across. The tension is felt.
There is disturbing content and some bloody violence in this. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys fiction
this has the closest to real people and the most universal stories of the franchise(you should have a basic understanding of the tech, since there is so much else going on here, it's too much to pick up), and if you watch only one series, it should definitely be this one. 10/10
Hansel and Gretel (1982)
Almost everything in my house is... edible!
Two children are lured into the woods and left for dead by their stepmother, who claims she cannot feed them(me, I think it's because she unfairly portions the... slop). They come upon a house made of cake and faces(!), and comfortably eat, even agreeing to come in... only to find that the woman who owns it is a witch.
We all know the fairie tale. This follows the structure and, in general, a lot of elements, including ones often changed, like the swan. It does, however, change... some things. Because of(?) the Asian cast, there is martial arts, complete with shurikens. What is meant to fatten Hansel is a gingerbread man. That talks. And demands he eat it. A kid is grabbed by several of the hands attached to the marshmellow bed he was sleeping in Craftmatic charged extra for that. Both of the wicked women in this are played by the same person, a guy no less, and he eats *all* of the scenery, sugary or otherwise. Yama's performance alone is worth watching this for.
Yes, this is disturbing. One of the ingredients here is concentrated nightmare fuel. Before you ask "isn't this a children's film", yes, but it is also a Brother's Grimm tale, and, also rather explicitly, a Burton piece. His trademarks are very present: Gothic, surreal, creative design/visuals, exaggerated features and the like, such as their huge dinner table(I swear, that thing'd seat a dozen people, easily), and the same object can be both creepy and cute. The father is a toymaker, allowing for a lot of wound-up figures, largely gratuitous and confined mostly to the opening sequence(did I mention that one of these eats another? Hey, it's thematically consistent).
This is made of both stop motion and live action, and, sadly, you can usually tell where one ends and the other begins. Sets look cardboard-y, some of the props don't feel "real". This is separate from the cleverly done "unreal", imagination-driven atmosphere, which was, of course, intentional. I don't know if the colorful candy is supposed to look as nasty as it does. The two titular characters deliver OK performances... not many actors their age are stellar. Cinematography is good. The 34 and a half minute running time is decently paced. Considering the budget, even for TV, this could have been better it's probably more that this is Tim's first chance in the chair.
I recommend this to anyone curious, though this shouldn't be the director's first work you see. It is memorable, for reasons both positive and negative, and it is currently, legally, free to watch online. 5/10
Beneath a Steel Sky (1994)
It is the future. Time unknown. The nature of this dystopia is hampered by pollution and/or nuclear fallout. The "Euro-American War" has ended, and Union City, which you spend most of this trying to get back out of, has removed all labor rights. You are Robert Foster(yes, named after the beer), having grown up in the care of Aboriginals in the wasteland that is The Gap(I guess the store really took a turn for the worse) where you were abandoned, and now taken back to "civilization", to find that it is a 1984-ish Cyberpunk nightmare. You were apprehended by security officers who show immediately they mean business(I won't give away how), but they put you on a chopper and it doesn't land on its feet. One way or another, you have to get to the bottom of what's going on. You seem to be connected to it, too
This opens with something of an exposition dump, but it's also absorbing and drenched in atmosphere from right away. The few cutscenes are like reading a comic book, with panels, and it's mostly "still", just going to different frames when necessary rather than trying to fit it all into the typical in-engine stuff. Part of the reason is that art and plot were done by Dave Gibbons, who co-created Watchmen(!). He was chosen because the developer was a fan of the novel. The graphics are great, with natural-looking movement animations and dynamic backgrounds, such as mechanical equipment that may well be running on a loop. There is a tremendous amount of detail, and you believe that the computers, manufacturing machines, etc. can actually run.
You start at the top of a building having to make your way down to ground level, with the separate floors being like social classes, and as you progress, it increasingly opens up, since you can(heck, you have to) often go back to areas you've already been to, for further challenge. Arguably, it does get excessively difficult near the end, and it definitely is too easy to die in this. That in spite of the fact that you can save(and load) anywhere, anytime, outside of "conversations" and such.
You've got your best friend Joey, a robot moved from one shell(and he can use abilities of his current one to aid you) to the next, such as when one is destroyed. When you move to a new area, he'll drive(or occasionally fly) in from the area before it(though he at times moves very slowly, and often needs to be in an elevator with you when you move between floors). He also won't always follow you to the next area, meaning you may have to wait for him, at times not even certain if he's on his way or not. The two have a buddy dynamic relationship, tease, argue, etc. Characters can get "stuck" between each other, which can be annoying in cramped and/or crowded spots.
The plot is engaging and intelligent. It is indeed strange how everyone allows you there(you usually claim to be Security or a Safety Inspector), and, more so, comfortably answer your questions, even when they're about the very fabric of society the core concept is cool and the exploration of it interesting, if clichéd by today's standards. With that said, this is still well worth playing, and today, it's freeware(so the price is right), and plays on Windows and other systems. It took me about six hours to complete. Of course, once you have beaten it, it doesn't have a lot of replayability, depending on whether or not you looked(and if you'd care to go back for it) absolutely everywhere and tried everything you could say to others and such.
This is a point and click adventure game, with simple, intuitive controls. Point to get "title/description", left-click to move/state what you can see and right-click to use/pick up. It will do the most logical action when you press something, such as open a closed door or close an open door, press a button, etc. Point to top of screen to open inventory, where you can combine, use, and examine objects. You also talk to NPCs and explore different places.
Puzzles are logical without being too obvious, with misdirects/red herrings. You meet memorable people, some of them bizarre and/or crazy, including some of the ones in power. There's definitely some Kafka going on here. The voice acting is very good, if some of it is goofy. Sound is well-done all the way, albeit some bits have an irritating repeating noise, such as a fish in a tank swimming loudly back and forth. You visit a multitude of different locations: swanky apartments, a park, a courthouse during a trial, etc.
The humor and the tone in general is decidedly Australian, even if some of the recorded lines were Americanized: it's offensive, doesn't hold back, and nothing is really off-limits(did the release of this just barely beat the founding of the ESRB ?). An early example is when a cop responds to your shock that your helicopter crashed into a hospital with "it could have been worse, it could have hit the factory." The comedy gets black, verbal, clever, silly, there are references, etc. This is seen in the dialog choices, and responses either you or others have to things("most doors are boring, but *this* one !" when you check it out). It also manifests itself in events, etc.
This is one of the pieces of fiction to imagine the internet as a surreal, visual world that you plug your own form into, and it's fun to walk around in it. It goes into other sci-fi ideas, and while I can't say too much about which, they all fit here and are each interesting.
In addition to what I've already mention, there is some gore, disturbing content and bloody violence in this. A bit of it is played for laughs(!). I recommend this to any fan of this type of game. 8/10
In 1988, Barnum(Cleve Broch, author with writer's block and low self-worth) is by himself, in a hut on Røst. 1987, he's with Vivian(Kittelsen, very in love with him and she wants a child with him), they just moved in together. In 1945, on the day of liberation in Norway(the setting for all of this), our story starts proper, with the conception of his half-brother, Fred(Kjosås, an anti-social former promising boxer, who, we are told, later disappeared. He's also one of the two most compelling characters the other is his step-father Arnold(Øigarden, charismatic, and we're not quite sure what he does during the day, and where his money come from)). These three timelines will meet, and we will learn a lot about everyone's background, several generations(albeit the stubborn reliance on age make-up over recasting can be awkward). It's mostly linear with a few flashbacks. In part, it is a detective story, a search for a missing male relative.
The rest of the perfectly cast(everyone gives absolutely solid performances, even the child actors) group of main characters are well worth mentioning, as well. Their mother Vera(Hole, often repressed but doesn't take just anything), her mother Boletta(Nielsen, "fun"), her mother and matriarch Den Gamle('the old one', Nørby, speaks her mind and protects the three generations in a house that, for a very long time, is without a man). All they have left of the latter's late husband is a letter detailing a hunt. It's about relationships, sometimes abusive, between people, family members, friends. Themes include the importance of the formative years, people having children to fix their own messed up childhood and the worth of a child to its parent(s). Everyone in some way in their specific situation, and hurt in different ways, by different people. Young men shunned by their fathers may pull away from the outside, and possibly becoming dangerous, detached the importance of a strong male role model cannot be overstated.
This is complex, such as in the psychology. It is at its best when the focus is on family: tense, atmosphere-laden and addictive. It smoothly mixes in quirk and black comedy. There is some social realism. It does assume the viewer has knowledge of the culture and recent history of Norway and Denmark. There are weak links along the way: a couple of episodes end in essentially the same way, and near the otherwise satisfying conclusion, it loses something. I have not read the novel that this is an adaptation of.
There is a lot of disturbing(some of it sexual) content and strong language, as well as some bloody, brutal violence in this. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys drama. 8/10
Thief: Deadly Shadows (2004)
Not amazing but not bad
Our Garrett(Russell, snarky and out for his own neck) is "recruited" by the Keepers, who in addition to being the focus for this, the final entry in the trilogy(which was always the idea), come off planless, powerless and not guides, so, the exact reverse of before. They have him steal(which is almost always your objective in this, where it used to include eavesdropping, following, etc.) a few MacGuffins, he gets to listen in on a prophecy, and for some reason, he, and we, keep at it, even when what he hears, and the plot itself, remains vague. When something more substantial eventually happens, it's far too little, and much too late.
This takes away a lot of the mystery, because we see too much and everyone talks constantly. Literally, the only ones in this who do not are the Undead(!). The bland and/or derivatively designed creatures included. Everyone walks, runs, and more or less master English, if some have bad grammar and such. A lot of variety and flavor is lost this way. Too humanoid, and usually just people, not other beings. Armed with a bow, a sword or a wand, and all moving like, well, like we do. It looks natural, but, well, in some cases it really shouldn't there are fantastical life-forms at play, why are they so similar to us?
The graphics, technical aspects in general, are solid. They even hold up fine for their age. Certainly, there are things this does just right. The stealth remains you working with light and sound to remain hidden, to distract, and to detect others. Now shadows are dynamic and everything casts them. Open/close a door, a stone-oven, a window, etc. and it will change how much is lit and how, not to mention that it will be discovered if you leave it in its altered state. The physics system allows you to pick up and throw any object you would expect to be able to, and loot items will now glint, at least at a distance, so you don't mistake one for the other, well, as much. Carpet, wood and rock transmit at different volumes from you walking, running or even jumping. You move from one safe space to another, always careful to time it just right and watch your surroundings.
You get equipment healing potions, flashbombs, explosive mines, etc. Now you don't have to scroll past anything not useful in the immediate situation to get to them. Most of the other things are in the menu, out of sight unless you need to recheck. Backstabbing and Blackjacking(knocking out) are granted a visual cue so you never miss, albeit they also can't happen if the improved AI is suspicious. You can outrun them, and there are things you can throw their way. Oil and holy water causes puddles, the latter specifically for zombies and their ilk. Lure foes into them, and voila! Heck, the former can be set ablaze. Special arrows are useful. Moss to form a small area that is silent to move across, or choke(!) someone, Water to douse flame and wash away blood, and Gas and Fire are self-explanatory.
Time to tackle the elephant in the room. With Looking Glass(R.I.P.) having gone under, Ion Storm took over developing this. They clearly had the best of intentions. The thing is, they were making Deus Ex(before and during this), and that isn't Thief, nor vice versa. This doesn't fully pursue either of those franchises, and ends up in the middle between them a bland, unmemorable, if not poorly made, affair. A lot is brought to this that belongs to that but not this. Open-world exploration of The City, conversations that exposit and spells things out, and the fact that you can now ally yourself with both, either, or neither of the other major Factions, the nature-like Pagans and the technology-worshipping Hammerites. Not that those traits play into their presence here. They will let you into their bases and fight for you, provided you do a few things for them, and, well, don't hurt or rob them.
The bleak atmosphere is less present, and no one level(now 1/4 of the size they were. Still open, though the small areas are connected by mist that also doesn't carry over conflict, limiting the amount of routes. Also, one of these is a detour to Silent Hill - well done, absolutely, but really doesn't fit) is as captivating as some of the ones of the first two. Locations aren't bad a church, caves, the gears of a clocktower, etc. Missions have you infiltrate, accomplish, and get safely back out. You don't feel like you're getting anywhere in the story, that what you're doing is important, or that where you are really makes a difference. The four difficulty settings determine the following requirements: The percentage of total loot, the number of unique loot items(0-3) and sometimes conditions, such as no killing non-combatants. It also sets AI perception, damage player takes, amount of enemy units and their combat ability. Challenge for newcomers and veterans alike.
Cutscenes are now in-engine and, again, mainstream. Silhouettes remain, but angles they're constantly showing faces! A lot of the twisted, surreal, Gothic elements are just about gone. You can still sit down and immediately start playing, but getting skillful at it will take time. FPS controls and the earlier-described organic hiding are all you need to know. Lockpicking is now a prototype for that of Splinter Cell move around the mouse to look for a "sweet spot", when you've found one, move on to the next. They will automatically be brought out or put away when you start/stop working on a lock.
There is some disturbing, violent, bloody content in this. I recommend it to any fan of sneaking games, provided the change in quality is surmountable to you. Remember: with how incredible the ones before this were, even with this being much less impressive, it can still be quite good. 7/10
Middle of the road
Albert(MacFarlane as a nerdy, cowardly sheep farmer you'll note that almost all of these characters are broad stereotypes, and not even well-done at that) gives up on the a duel(the first of three in this, each a "touch base", show where he is, growth-wise), and his girlfriend Louise(Seyfried, as the bitch ex who only wants successful men) leaves him for Foy(the douchy new boyfriend). He challenges the latter, and he will need all the help he can get on gun-fighting. He will receive it at the hands of Anna(the female wingman, who, you never know, may just end up falling for the lovable ugh). But then her husband, Clinch(Neeson, the toughest criminal around), comes to town
This is surprisingly conventional. The story structure is like that of a romantic comedy from 20 years ago. It doesn't even do anything interesting with the scenes that you see coming a mile away showing up at her place drunk at night, showing up at the workplace of the new guy to confront him, trying to "win" over him, etc. The considerable talent here are utterly wasted. They get almost nothing to do, when they genuinely feel like they showed up to give it their all. This does look and feel like a Western. The focus is purely on the pathetic males, and them looking like fools in public so many awkward silences, supposed shows of strength, etc. and any woman in the cast is there to support them.
When this goes for laughs, the material is actually pretty good, sometimes even hilarious, such as the comments on how sucky it was to be in that particular place and time. I'd say a good 2/3 of the jokes work certainly this could do with some trimming for the rest of those, and in general the 110 minute running time is a good ¼ too long(no, I did not just learn fractions why would you think that?). The thing is, a lot of this just isn't really trying to be funny. That goes for the earlier-mentioned slog through bits you figured they'd skip, and humor is stripped from any scene that's meant to be sentimental, tense, or even forward the story. Some bits go on for too long. All offensive/ethnic/gross-out gags intentionally go really far, without being funny it's as if those are trying to stick in your mind not for any enjoyment value, but for how aggressive they are.
This contains some brutal, gory, bloody and disturbing content, in addition to what I've already mentioned. I recommend this only to the most forgiving fans of Seth. 6/10
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
A not-too-bad future
Bill Cage(Cruise, charming as always, here in spite of a role that starts out thanklessly grating) is the strawman coward nothing' like those self-sacrificing warriors that we need in order to win! Seriously, it's not new that Hollywood can be years behind reflecting the actual public opinion, but for it to be this aggressive and while pro-war is by its nature on the wrong side of history, regardless of what people think at the time, now, today, with a couple of recent(some unfinished) wars that should never have been started just, wow. Anyway, he has to go with the memorable lot(if it does feel a tad like they were just going through the token minorities to stock the group; in general, characterization is good, albeit no one gets to be all that deep), J Squad, into the Invasion-of-Normandy-like(rather well-done) retaking of France. He gains the ability to repeat the same 24 hours infinitely, and trains as a soldier and works towards victory.
Let's deal with the other elephant in the room immediately. Yes, the core concept is doomed from the onset for this genre. There is simply almost no tension for the 110 minute running time(not counting the end credits). Surprise, yes, because we don't know what'll happen. Our protagonist, however, does, and since he feels no fear, neither do we. This does get a lot of its solid humor from the repetition that tends towards not being tedious, but rather imaginative. But yes, sad as it is, this has no real excitement. And it is a real shame. Because the action is fun, well-choreographed, as well as personal and intimate in its perspective, making it chaotic(without ever being overpowering or unpleasant to watch). The gags are great. Still, for "lots of epic stuff-go-boom with little consequence 'cause that's hard", this is by no means, yet easily the worst.
With a mix of practical and CGI, the FX are another strong suit. The 3D is barely noticeable, though. The look is at points similar to Terminator for the post-apocalyptic war-zone(other spots in this are just abandoned), with Matrix-like Sentinels, without any ripping off of other, better movies. Y'know, other than at least two bits it lifts directly from Aliens(and they're not even related to Paxton he does enjoy himself, and so do we). Little insight into the outer space threat is nothing new, especially these days, but we know so little about the Mimics that we viewers can't "play along", such as the few times where our guys hide when we, the audience, have no clue how they detect humans!
This has a lot of implied violence and a little brutal, bloody, gory and/or disturbing content. I recommend it to those looking for light(outside of maybe the sci-fi) Summer Blockbuster. 7/10