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One of the best SF TV shows ever
SF series take a variety of forms; Battlestar Galactica (space opera), Star Trek original (action), West world (robots vs humans) and many others. Incorporated takes a dystopian future, combined with a high-tech world, and human intrigue. It is truly excellent. The futuristic details in Incorporated lend it a ready air of believability; in-body tech, driverless cars, mind-reading machine, corporate warfare, all contrasted with poverty, climate refugees, and people doing anything to get by. Each character is made clear, their motivations explained, their actions understandable even if nasty. People are believable and it's easy to love and hate them. Well written, well filmed, intriguing, exciting, dramatic, Incorporated is also subtle and complicated with details revealing much, if not at first. Maybe too subtly for some viewers. Inception meets Cypher (2002, Jeremy Northam, Lucy Liu). Sadly, the powers that be have decided not to renew for a 2nd series. Viewing figures were low, I really cannot understand why. If you like your SF tense, believable, and thoroughly engrossing you can't do better than Incorporated.
Watch without reading any reviews
Nearly every review has outlined the film; key characters, plot, etc. I watched this film knowing nothing about it. As a result, I was wondering for a large part of the film who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. Which is rather what the film is all about. People have shown in their reviews the key point, which spoils the film.
The film surprised me in that the frenetic pace and what people have called "bad editing" only make sense if you don't know what is going on. When I finally realised what was happening the whole film fell into place.
I liked the craziness of the film, the running back and forth, the bits that were like real life in that people are not logical, fly off the handle and are generally unpredictable.
If you know what the story is, the film could be tedious, but coming into it fresh, I found it well-acted and directed.
An unneeded remake of the Equalizer
Why oh why are Antonio B and Ben K in this utterly predictable (I knew the ending after 35 minutes down to the exact scene), lame and unoriginal film? Boring, pointless and without anything new, Security is mostly the same as Denzel W's The Equalizer. Except it's not nearly as good. After Gandhi, Mr K always plays bad guys. Psycho bad guys if possible. And Mr B is a fine actor (who can forget his Puss 'n Boots? ;) ) who can really bring mystery and menace to a role. But this? It gives turkeys a bad name.
A Cure for Wellness (2016)
Somehow overlooked classic
Had I known what kind of film (gothic creep) A Cure was, I wouldn't have watched it. Had I known Gore Verbinski directed it, I'd have eagerly looked forward to it, expecting something along the lines of the Pirates of movies and Rango. Instead, I was treated to a tour de force in cinematography, superb acting, and a tense and exciting ride. A Cure is not an easy film to watch. While it is not exactly full-on horror, it certainly ratchets up the tension with music, atmosphere, and uncertainty about what is real or not. It is a long film, but I never felt it drag or that any scenes were wasted. And oh what scenes! Something as simple as a car driving up a hill - stunning reflections glimpsed on the bonnet (hood). Half-face lighting highlighting the descent in madness - or not. Gorgeous architecture contrasting with sterile settings of a sanatorium. Hardly a scene went by that was not an iconic shot. DeHaan was perfect in the role, as others have mentioned reminiscent of de Caprio in Shutter Island. He held the tension between confidence and possible insanity very well, leaving you wondering which way the film would turn. Jason Isaacs was excellent as the doctor you suspected all along, but were you right? And Mia Goth (talk about nominative determinism!) brilliant as Hannah. I can't say I 'enjoyed' A Cure, but it's been a long time since I have relished a film so much for its filmic qualities. If you just want entertainment, this probably won't be your thing. If you are into film and want something a little unusual, I highly recommend A Cure.
It's a bad joke, right?
Take a bunch of moody twenty-something Madrileńos, give them a camera, see what unmitigated rubbish they can produce and call it a film. It's an experimental, meaningless, life-stealer. I watched this so you don't have to. Calling it sci-fi is like calling a piece of toilet paper a 1000-page trilogy. A man is walking through scrubland, then he is in his apartment breaking up with his girlfriend. She leaves, he gets a bit sick. He moods about for hours, or is it days? He's in the scrubland again, his mate comes over to the apartment to move ex's boxes. The hooker comes, doesn't go well. The neurologist comes. WTF? More in the desert. Have to give a bag to someone. What's in the bag? Oh, my salad is talking to me. Look in the ex's boxes. Nothing. Sick. Mooding about. Scrubland. Man steals bag... I can't go on writing about this drivel. I've lost the will to live
A flawed gem of period drama
Allied is a good film that is marred by serious failings.
1 Brad the Pits. Seriously, this guy cannot act. He has three stock expressions; grinning like an imbecile in a self-conscious "I'm a Hollywood star" way, the bafflement of a man who can't find his underpants, and the confusion of a twit who cannot tie his shoelaces. Any scenes that call for anger, fear, sorrow etc are filled in with one of the above three. For a romantic period drama he is painfully out of his depth. He is 'boy-man' not 'man-man' and any rumours of a romance between him and his co-star during the making of the film can be seen to be ridiculous.
2 The pacing of the film is strange. LONG periods that are slow and moody (tedious for some in the theatre!), interspersed with intense moments that were well telegraphed. In this respect it was like a horror film. I found myself fidgeting, then sudden moments of adrenaline. This pacing gets better in the last half hour, and it reads much better.
3 I posit that, famous though he is, Zemeckis hasn't made a decent film since Castaway (Polar Express not withstanding ;) ). Here, in Allied, he is seen to be trying to make a Hollywood romance, he is trying to ignite that indefinable spark between the stars, he is trying to build the tension. None of it seems to flow naturally. As mentioned in other reviews, naturally one turns to The English Patient and Casablanca to find parallels, but Zemeckis has missed the beauty and romance of both, respectively.
4 The score. Very weak, especially in the romantic scenes, more like Disney than serious drama.
Now for the good.
1 Marion Cotillard. Her performance here alone is worth the price of a cinema ticket. Every mood, nuance, expression, glance, conveys volumes. Absolutely stunning. By Hollywood standards she is not particularly attractive, too slim and coquettish, yet in Allied she is sexy, beautiful, pretty, vain and desirable. A lingering shot of her thinking says lines of dialogue. I cannot believe Zemeckis directed this to happen, she just took the role and flew with it (in the process making Pitt appear even more out of his depth). She carries the film and makes it interesting. Tour de force. An Oscar is not good enough for this performance.
2 The cinematography. Really well filmed. Many interesting shots, great editing. A scene in a car in a desert is excellent, conveying the feelings, the passions, the fears far better than any acting could. But again, Cotillard is superb here. The camera catches her well, she appears very natural on screen - and hence believable.
3 It's a good story, and I wasn't sure what was going to happen. I liked the tension, the denouement in the last half hour, the ending (apart from Pits lamentable acting). I came out of the cinema thinking what I would have done in those circumstances, how would I have felt. It stayed with me for several days.
4 The attention to detail of recreating the 40's is good, only one anachronism I could spot. Some of the sets really look like sets, which spoils the effect, but mostly I found it a well-constructed period drama with little quirks that made you wonder "Was it really like that?!"
All in all, Allied is worth watching for Marion Cotillard, if nothing else. It's a good story, reasonably delivered, and I left with that warm feeling of satisfaction of having seen something I enjoyed.
Sunday evening snoozefest
I love SF, but I didn't love this. First, it is slow. It is so slow I nearly fell asleep. People were leaving the theatre. Agonisingly long shots of the heroine with quivering lip trying to show fear, instead showing angst and indecision. 'Mood' shots that bore. Repetitive motifs that are simply dull. Second, it tries to be dramatic and fails. Horribly. Overly loud music/sound effects (think Cloverfield without the menace), super-slushy strings for emotional scenes that are not that emotional and I found it difficult to care about, and a score that is just odd, like bad ambient music. Third, the actual story is nothing special. Heroine is called in to save the day, after difficulties, she does. Wow. The 'reveals' are not exceptional, and the whole basic premise of the film, the 'thing that makes it special' is so contrived that no matter what happened or you wanted to happen could be inserted and explained away. It's like a McGuffin. Fourth, the plot has a glaring hole in it, you wonder why 'they' did what they did in tat way. It just doesn't make sense. I liked the idea of the film, but the execution was really poor. Sunday evening with partner on the sofa, under a blanket with a bottle of wine.
Keep your nerve - keep watching
As a teen/YA movie, Nerve is about what could be expected: BFF relationship difficulties, new hot guy, geeky nerd, high school jocks, etc. So we know where we stand. Where Nerve differs is that, eventually, it becomes darker and much more interesting. The world of teens is hard for adults to understand as so much of their lives are spent on mobile phones. While adults use the Internet, teens rule the mobile world. And for this reason Nerve is quite believable. As an adult I am blasé and disinterested in many things, but for teens Nerve sets up a world of unpredictable excitement. It's just that the film took a long time to get there. The acting between the two main protagonists is well done, with Franco giving a far more nuanced and in-depth performance than in the Now-You-See-Me's, and Roberts moves well from ingenue to smart survivor. Naturally, the film is rapidly cut, with hardly a shot longer than three seconds, and especially at the beginning, this pace jars. Still, as the film develops the editing is appropriate and the outcome satisfying. Worth a rainy weekend evening.
Central Intelligence (2016)
Dumb, stupid, predictable - and very funny
I'd never normally choose to go and see a film like this, but free ticket. Happy I went. I don't normally laugh out loud in a cinema, and this had me chortling throughout. Many other reviews explain the story and the 'chemistry' between the two main actors. But what really struck me is what a fine actor Dwayne Johnson is. I guess all those years in WWF have paid off. In the movie he plays two very different people, and very believably. He switches effortlessly from one role to another, and can really bring menace to his part. His comedic side was excellent, playing the over-enthusiastic buddy, and delivering banalities with such sincerity you almost forgot it was scripted. Well written, though sometimes Hart's black shtick was a bit overdone, nicely paced after a slow start, and really good fun that doesn't take itself too seriously. Great date film, she'll love you for it :)
Where to Invade Next (2015)
Cute puff piece without teeth
We know that Mike Moore's 'documentaries' like to take a swipe at the icons of America, but this one is just too cute.
While he finds that which is good in other countries and contrasts it with the situation in the USA, the movie views like a travelogue rather than documentary of substance. Overly long shots, lathered on emotions and music, the feeling is more of a eulogy to great philosophy than an indictment of the brutal inequalities in the USA.
This is especially true of the ending, which is more "Leave it to Beaver" than Breaking Bad.
Pleasant enough to watch, little substance, more of a Sunday afternoon snooze than a Friday night rant.