Disaster abounds: ‘Geostorm’ and ‘Happy Death Day’

By on October 25, 2017


I’m big into disaster flicks. So, when I first spotted the trailer for “Geostorm” I knew I was going to have to see it — whether it looked good or not. The trailers for the sci-fi, end-of-days movie studded with a bunch of actors I find hard to take seriously did little for me. But, they had me at “IMAX Experience.”

Maverick Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler) is the mechanical genius who created the Dutch Boy Program, a series of satellites interwoven to control the Earth’s atmosphere and end natural disasters. He’s reined in by his brother and new boss, Max (Jim Sturgess, “21”), after the program begins to malfunction — or is it sabotage? Dun-dun! Spoiler, it’s sabotage, at the “highest level” — yes, it’s that cheesy. Max and his conveniently compromised, secret service wife Sarah Wilson (Abbie Cornish, “Sucker Punch”) must force the President to act and save the world from the clutches of Secretary of State Leonard Dekkom (Ed Harris — poor Ed, this just after his great performance in “Mother!”).

Even the mighty screen of IMAX couldn’t save this movie. From poorly written dialogue to cheap CGI, “Geostorm” is a disaster all around. As I assumed, the actors were a detriment to the film (gosh, if that was even possible). I couldn’t help but anticipate our main character screaming, “Sparta!”

Garcia is such a lackluster POTUS in a role written for a B-movie wannabe. Although “Geostorm” is set up for a potential sequel, don’t count on it. The box office numbers were abysmal. “Geostorm” is far from cashing in on a reported $120 million budget after finishing with a meager $13.3 million on its opening weekend. Don’t be like Warner Bros.; save your money.

“Geostorm,” currently in theaters, chronicles what might happen to a world where we develop technology to try to curb natural disasters. It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature — or moviegoers, apparently.

‘Happy Death Day’

No one should be surprised a horror flick ranked number one at the box office on its opening weekend (Oct. 13, 2017).*

“Happy Death Day” was a hit for the hot and hip production company Blumhouse Productions, but there were skeptics this movie might fall flat even with Halloween approaching. Blumhouse first made their low-budget concept splash with “Paranormal Activity” and followed up that resounding success with “The Purge,” which has become a bit of a modern cult classic. More recently, Blumhouse has even received statue-worthy chatter for “Get Out” and “Split.” However, the brainchild of producer Jason Blum has thrown out some junk, too. Remember the “Jem and the Holograms” reboot and the most recent, “Birth of the Dragon?”

So, it was with trepidation I approached “Happy Death Day,” the story of sorority sister Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe, “La La Land”) who is stuck in a death warp and is forced to relive her last day over and over until she can figure out who her killer is. (What kind of name is Tree?) On her quest she enlists the help of her one-night stand Carter Davis (Israel Broussard, “Good Kids”) and wreaks havoc on her own world.

“Happy Death Day” goes beyond mere slasher flick — which it totally is — to step into a bit of modern coming-of-age story. It’s a bit cliché and worn out, but it seems to work. This movie could have been made in the 90s with Sarah Michelle Gellar and James Van Der Beek and it would have been an equal success. All in all, this is a fun movie; it’s an hour and a half of escapism.

* Far from horrifying, “Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween” also took an opening top spot this past weekend.

Agree or disagree? Reel Reviews works like this: 1) Watch a movie; 2) Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at SomeProMCU@gmail.com.

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