ANDREW COLLINS: FILM OF THE DAY
Independence Day ★★★★
With belated sequel Independence Day: Resurgence in cinemas from Thursday, it may be wise to revisit Roland Emmerich’s original alien-invasion epic before sampling the bigger, louder, more pixilated follow-up. It will seem quaint to students of 21st-century CGI, although Emmerich and co-writer Dean Devlin’s defining image of 15-mile wide motherships hovering above Earth’s major cities remains powerful, even 20 years later. Expunge all thoughts of Resurgence from your mind – even knowing which actors return will act as a spoiler! – and enjoy what was nicknamed ID4 for what it is: a wryly comic global disaster movie told from a shamelessly American perspective, bulging with fabulously offbeat casting decisions, from Will Smith’s brash fighter pilot to Jeff Goldblum’s scatty IT expert via Bill Pullman’s ridiculously hands-on, Clinton-esque president. The wanton landmark destruction was actually quite new in 1996 — and is still endlessly mimicked — but from Brit David Arnold’s brilliantly over-patriotic score to the preposterous ending, it remains a gloriously silly treat.
Star Trek: First Contact ★★★★★
It takes a lot to please a Trekkie, but this story about Captain Picard and his Next Generation crew going back in time to man’s first encounter with aliens got universal praise.
Safe House ★★★
Rookie CIA man Ryan Reynolds has to figure out who are the good guys and who are the bad when he’s put in charge of rogue agent Denzel Washington.
Sleepy Hollow ★★★★
Don’t let the title lull you into a false sense of security as Tim Burton and Johnny Depp take you for a wild, gothic ride on the trail of the Headless Horseman.
Django Unchained ★★★★
Think “Once upon a Time in the South” with Jamie Foxx as a former slave whose fury is unleashed in Quentin Tarantino’s audacious genre mash-up.