Tim Story takes a classic movie franchise and drains it of all the action, sex and topicality that made it worth revisiting in the first place. Jackson, Roundtree and Usher have star power to spare but they’re asked to perform embarrassing and ignorant comedy routines, and the action is so unremarkable that the movie can’t even rely on that spectacle to compensate.
he Secret Life of Pets 2 is a fast-paced string of mostly mediocre jokes that younger audiences will enjoy, but aside from a few centerpieces, there's not much here to capture the attention if you're older than the intended audience.
Dark Phoenix is ultimately yet another fumbled take on the classic saga from the Marvel Comics, albeit one without the side plots of The Last Stand. Add to it a jarringly uneven latter half and some underdeveloped cosmic villains, and Dark Phoenix is fortunate to have not fully ended the X-Men’s current big screen run on a completely down note.
Trover Saves the Universe is a short and sweet VR platformer wrapped in one of the most ridiculous video game stories you’ll ever see. Justin Roiland and Squanch Games have done an excellent job of taking the ludicrous, freeform humor of Rick and Morty and molding it around a straightforward but enjoyable 3D brawler – even if it’s lacking the complex and well-crafted plots the best episodes of that show is known for. It loses something when played in 2D, but takes such great advantage of its unique VR mechanics that it’s one anyone (or at least anyone over 17, given its rating) with a headset should try.
A fun exercise in giant monster madness that indulges in all the kaiju fights fans and even casual viewers could hope for. It looks amazing while also giving its human characters a chance to stay interesting amid all the battling beasties by providing them with some really cool tech -- and some great one-liners among the supporting players. Unfortunately, the film’s plot is needlessly confusing, and not all that smart at times, and the lead characters could’ve used a little more fleshing out.
Carried by hauntingly beautiful writing and an unsettling atmosphere, Layers of Fear 2 is one of the most stunning horror games of this generation. Using classic film and a descent into madness as its anchor, its rich ocean liner setting changes at every turn, producing constant unease in just the right way. With unique puzzles and expert pacing, Layers of Fear 2 is a harrowing and consistently exciting endeavor.