Eppler: Reviews of 'Tarzan,' 'Free State,' 'Independence Day'

Eppler: Reviews of 'Tarzan,' 'Free State,' 'Independence Day'

Were you anxious for a new Tarzan movie? Me neither. But at least this one tries to do the same thing we've seen so many times differently.

In "The Legend of Tarzan," he's already a legend and has to return to the jungle on a mission with Jane, who of course gets captured and has to be rescued. But she's not a damsel in distress because she insists she's not.

Christoph Waltz is still a good villain, but I wish someone besides Quentin Tarantino would find something else to do with him. Margot Robbie continues to prove why she's the next big thing, but Alexander Skarsgard is pretty flat as Tarzan, but in fairness, he's probably just so focused on flexing as hard as he can in every scene. 

Director David Yates, who made the best "Harry Potter" movies, has crafted a gorgeous film, the CGI animals are mostly convincing, and I was never bored.

"Free State of Jones" is an urgent Civil War drama with Matthew McConaughey playing Newt Knight - a real life Mississippi farmer who deserted the Confederate army and fought back with a band of runaway slaves.

McConaughey is fantastic and leads a cast giving some excellent performances, and even though writer and director Gary Ross tries to pack too much in - especially in the final quarter - it feels like a story that needed to be told right now, considering the current political climate.

Some things are worth waiting for, but 20 years after "Independence Day," we're given a sequel that's so aggressively awful it feels like the filmmakers are mad at us.

The 1996 movie is a classic and changed the formula for summer blockbusters. "Independence Day: Resurgence" is everything bad that genre has become with a nonsense plot it takes forever to set up, wooden characters with cliched arcs and special effects that look cheap.

Will Smith smartly sat this one out, but Jeff Goldblum is still a treasure. He looks as bored as I felt. If the aliens ever do come to wipe us out, it'll be because they saw this. And I won't blame them.

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