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Moonfall Review | Sci-Fi At Its Worst



When I told some classmates that Moonfall was the screening I was least looking forward to this week, (to be fair, Jackass Forever and Death on the Nile both bring far more exciting possibilities) people thought I simply “hate sci-fi.” This could not be further from the truth. Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies ever, Arrival and Ex Machina are two masterpieces from the past decade. My love for sci-fi is contingent, I will admit. It has to be well-thought-out. I don’t want to say that every sci-fi movie needs as much depth as Annihilation, but give me something more to chew on than explosions and exposition dumps. That brings us to Moonfall, a Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, Godzilla) film that is exactly what I despise in the genre. And now, in all fairness, Moonfall is never disguising itself to be anything that it’s not. There’s never a moment that Moonfall feels like it’s trying to be serious, much less be taken seriously, but that excuse feels limited to a select few types of movies a la what Fast & Furious has become. Despite this and plenty of gorgeous visuals, Moonfall doesn’t do enough in between the explosions and the exposition that will hold your attention longer than the New York Giants give Daniel Jones to throw the ball.

I guess a premise is in order. Aliens from the moon attack Earth and it’s up to Jo Fowler (Halle Berry), Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson), and K.C. Houseman (John Bradley) to stop them. Sound half-baked? That’s because the plot of Moonfall is exactly that. Sure, it pads its runtime to two-plus hours, but aside from the first ten minutes and the last half hour that give audiences exactly what they’re here to see: aliens and explosions, the middle hour and a half is just generic 90’s action movie slob full of walking clichés. Take Patrick Wilson’s character for example, would it surprise you to know that he is an estranged astronaut who is roped back into a mission? Brian also must mend the bridges between him and his work partner/work wife, Jo, and his son, Sonny (Charlie Plummer), who is at the make-or-break age of his life, 18.

Halle Berry (“Jocinda Fowler,” left) and Patrick Wilson (“Brian Harper,” right) as stranded astronauts in the sci-fi epic MOONFALL.

To reiterate, the intentions of Moonfall are clear, but the human side of all of this is far more boring than the aliens. No one is expecting a character study of Brian’s family as he attempts to rebuild his life. In fact, his ex-wife’s new husband, Tom (Michael Peña) dying might be the only notable thing that happens on Earth. And it’d be far more interesting if they didn’t try to for redemption for him as if he was anything other than a prick. I mean, he literally questions Brian’s decision to go up to space and attempt to save the world saying: “That’s one way to avoid paying rent,” as if he can do anything more than get you a low-mileage lease on your next Lexus. A film like Moonfall is a perfect example of appropriate melodrama; characters like Tom usually come with some sort of catharsis as the bad man is taken down, but the attempt at redemption begs the question of whether or not this decision was due to the fact that Peña is beloved in the MCU.

Brian’s son, Sonny, and his entire arc isn’t much better. Sonny goes down a dark path after his father is basically exiled at the beginning of the movie. 10 years later and Sonny is in a GTA-style car chase. The fact that Sonny and Brian reconnecting is of very little interest to viewers is not the fault of the actors. When your script includes lines such as “Are you, a college boy?” when people are being held at gunpoint, I don’t think there is much hope for any other parts of the script.

Even worse than that genius and witty line is the exposition dump that happens with roughly 20 minutes left. By the time this happens, you’ll already have wanted to leave the theater. But Brian is told the history of humans, aliens, and the moon by alien intelligence a la the Supreme Intelligence in Captain Marvel. “Your ancestors” is used at least five times, and that’s about the most memorable part of it.

For as bad as Moonfall is, at least the visuals are (mostly) captivating. The opening sequence is space is a horrifying abyss, and the alien lifeform looks pretty cool, albeit like the grime from my dorm room shower. But aside from, once again, the opening sequence and the last 40 minutes, these “dazzling images on a huge silver screen” are hard to come by beyond that. And that is truly a shame. I was completely in for the first 20 minutes before being lost in the middle and then regained once it seemed like we were heading to an epic third act climax.

John Bradley portrays Moon conspiracy theorist “K.C. Houseman” peering out the window of the Endeavour Space Shuttle in the sci-fi epic MOONFALL.

A lone standout from the cast is John Bradley. Halle Berry and Patrick Wilson are both fine, but there’s nothing special about their performances that will be remembered after the credits roll. Bradley, however, brings a joyfulness to his characters’ impotence. Think of the opening sequence of Spider-Man 2, where Peter can’t even deliver pizzas on time (Imagine being able to swing from webs and not get across Manhatten in time!) or stay awake in classes (This one is understandable). Bradley’s character, K.C. Houseman except he works in a suburban fast-food chain. His scientific finding and attempt to get NASA’s attention was just seen in Don’t Look Up, which is also funnier and has a memorable script, so don’t expect Moonfall to top it. This isn’t a critique of Bradley, but the ending of the film sets up a sequel that no one wants to see. If it comes to fruition, just imagine Jamie Foxx’s Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with the power of aliens instead of blue lightning.

The Endeavor Space Shuttle dodging debris approaching the Moon’s surface in the sci-fi epic MOONFALL.

Unfortunately, Moonfall isn’t the next great sci-fi epic that will blow people’s minds as Independence Day did so many years ago. It’s a nice return to a different era of mind-numbing action, at least this doesn’t involve Dwayne Johnson or Ryan Reynolds, but in the 21st century, you either need a little bit more sophistication or a full commitment to ridiculousness. Playing both sides of the fence, as Moonfall does, is a disaster of a grand scale like an alien invasion from the moon.

Lionsgate will release Moonfall on February 4.


Andrew is an entertainment journalist and film "critic" who has written for the likes of Above the Line, Below the Line, Collider, Film Focus Online, /Film and The Hollywood Handle among others. Leader of the Kaitlyn Dever Fanclub.

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The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes | Official Trailer 2 — In Theaters November 17th, 2023



The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (Lionsgate Films)

The following piece was written during the 2023 Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie material being covered here wouldn’t exist.

Genre: Dystopian Science Fiction

Release Date: 17 November 2023

Director: Francis Lawrence

Screenplay Writers: Michael Lesslie & Michael Arndt

Distributed by: Lionsgate Films

Production Companies: Colour Force & Good Universe

Cast: Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Peter Dinklage, Hunter Schafer, Josh Andrés Rivera, Jason Schwartzman & Viola Davis

Did You Know?

This movie is based on a book by the same name that was written by Suzanne Collins. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a dystopian action-adventure novel by American author Suzanne Collins. It is a spin-off and a prequel to The Hunger Games trilogy. It was released on May 19, 2020, by Scholastic. 


Experience the story of The Hunger Games, 64 years before Katniss Everdeen volunteered as tribute, and decades before Coriolanus Snow became the tyrannical President of Panem.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes follows a young Coriolanus (Tom Blyth) who is the last hope for his failing lineage, the once-proud Snow family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol. With his livelihood threatened, Snow is reluctantly assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), a tribute from the impoverished District 12. But after Lucy Gray’s charm captivates the audience of Panem, Snow sees an opportunity to shift their fates. With everything he has worked for hanging in the balance, Snow unites with Lucy Gray to turn the odds in their favor. Battling his instincts for both good and evil, Snow sets out on a race against time to survive and reveal if he will ultimately become a songbird or a snake.

Catch the trailer online and get ready to return to the Hunger Games!

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes Official Trailer 2 (Lionsgate Movies)

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Woody Harrelson Joins Apple Film ‘Project Artemis’ with Channing Tatum and Scarlett Johansson



Following the news from Deadline of Greg Berlanti (Arrow, Love, Simon) signing a massive exclusive deal with Warner Bros, it seems he’s rounding out his cast for his upcoming film with Apple. Coming from a separate exclusive from Deadline, Woody Harrelson (True Detective, Natural Born Killers) will join the cast of Project Artemis

The three-time Oscar nominee joins an already exciting cast that will be led by Channing Tatum and Scarlett Johansson. Additionally, Ray Romano and Jim Rash are expected to play important supporting roles in 60s set film that takes place during the space race. Berlanti is best known for setting most of DC’s television universe that includes shows such as Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Superman & Lois, Titans and Doom Patrol. He also serves as an executive producer on other popular Warner Bros. streaming series such as You and The Flight AttendantProject Artemis marks Berlanti’s first collaboration with Apple.

Harrelson is coming off leading roles in Netflix’s The Man from Toronto alongside Kevin Hart and the indie film, Triangle of Sadness in 2022. He recently wrapped filming Suncoast with Laura Linney but will be seen this year in film and television. First, the actor will star in Bobby Farrelly’s sports dramedy, Champions before returning to HBO to star in the Watergate-set miniseries, The White House Plumbers with Justin Theroux. Both the film and series will release in March.

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Henry Cavill to Headline ‘Warhammer 40K’ Series on Amazon Prime Video



With much of the talk surrounding Henry Cavill regarding his exit from Netflix’s The Witcher along with the shift of mentality from new DC Studios leadership, the actor is in need of a new franchise to jumpstart. It appears that Cavill has done just that with the latest news that comes from The Hot Mic podcast via Above the Line.

It appears that Cavill (Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice) will steer head an adaptation of Warhammer 40,000 for Amazon Prime Video. Cavill confirmed the news this morning via his Instagram. The property started as a miniature war game akin to Dungeons & Dragons where players control different characters across a battle board, so to speak. The game was a staple in England where Cavill played it much as a kid and his passion for the property has stuck ever since. So much so, that the actor still paints figures to this day for when he engages in play.

The property which is often abbreviated to Warhammer 40K, features a fictional war set 40,000 years into the future between humans and other mystical beings that include orcs, gods, demons, elves, aliens and supernatural entities. The game eventually was brought to the video game space where it amasses tons of players across the sci-fi fantasy gaming landscape. The property also lends itself to novels leaving a lot of room to grow as a franchise in the entertainment space with lore to play with.

Amazon continues to take steps towards building out large franchise plays for their streaming service, Prime Video. In addition to the acquisition of the rights to Warhammer 40,000, the streamer has recently made deals for video game properties like God of War, with creators like Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House) and of course, a 2022 that was massive for the streamer with the launches of the pricey Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and Thursday Night Football. As they look to compete with Netflix, Disney+ and other streaming services, it’s a clear shift from Amazon to take some bigger risks for bigger rewards. 

Cavill was most recently seen reprising his role as Sherlock Holmes in Netflix’s Enola Holmes 2 starring Millie Bobby Brown. In 2023, Cavill will star in Matthew Vaughn’s Argylle which aims to kickstart a new spy-based franchise similar to Mission: Impossible which Cavill also appeared in. He will star in Argylle alongside an all-star cast that includes Catherine O’Hara, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Cena, Ariana DeBose and Dua Lipa.

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