It is old Will Smith vs. young Will Smith in Gemini Man, a globe-trotting action thriller that uses technological razzle dazzle to hide the fact that it is really just a routine clone of the Jason Bourne movies and all their imitators.
That makes sense since it has been in development for two decades, with a number of major stars rumored to take on the role of key government assassin Harry Brogan. It finally went to Smith once the filmmaking team cracked the code of de-aging its star and effectively giving us two — count em! — Smiths for the price of one. The actor actually is quite game in the role(s), never missing a beat in convincing us his 25-year-old exact clone is on the hunt to do away with his 51-year-old doppelganger. Its the script credited to Billy Ray, David Benioff and Darren Lemke (from the latter pairs story) that cant keep pace.
The plot, dopey as it is, has Brogans old Army buddy Clay Verris (Clive Owen), now running his own private assassin business, secretly extracting a sample of Brogans DNA 25 years earlier and creating a test tube version of the master sharpshooter, bringing him up as his own adopted son named Junior. The goal is simple, create the best in the world and then do away with the guy who really is the best there is. This sets up one chase and perilous situation after another across a number of locales including Colombia, Hungary and Georgia as Junior pursues his prey — himself (sort of).
Along for the ride is Brogans fellow Defense Intelligence Agency colleague, Danny (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and for laughs, their pilot Baron (Benedict Wong). Brogans ideal plan of retiring to a small village to fish all day is rudely interrupted when Verris plan starts to take shape and he is called back into action. And there is lots of that in store for audiences content to watch Smith vs. Smith going for each others jugular.
In the past year we have seen a number of films using the de-aging technique on their stars, including Michael Douglas in Ant-Man and Avengers movies, as well as Samuel L. Jackson in Captain Marvel to name two examples that were somewhat jarring. In the upcoming The Irishman, the technology is used to greater success in wiping 30 years off Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino. Lee has been a leader in breaking the mold in storytelling through the use of advancements in filmmaking tools, such as the extraordinary, Oscar-winning 3D effects in his Life Of Pi and less successful with higher frame rates in the abysmal Billy Lynns Long Halftime Walk. This is, at least as a popcorn picture, a step from the latter. Lee incorporates those technologies as well; mix that in with the yeoman-like effort to make Smith believably youthful again, and voila! — you have the future of movies. Except unfortunately he forgot what was so great about movies of the past: the content. Instead what we get here is a by-the-numbers thriller with a lot of bells and whistles. It is entertaining on a base level, but for all the effort you might hope for something a little less forgettable.
My pet peeve: As with Billy Lynn,Read More – Source
‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.
Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.
More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.
The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.
Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)
The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.
Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”
“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.