Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
La nuit a dévoré le monde (2018)
Paris once looked more lively.
The hardest part is...
not knowing what's happened to them.
If there's one horror genre that pops up ad nauseam, it's that of zombies. Not a month goes by without a release in which undeath feast on innocent non-infected fellow humans. Since the cult film "Night of the Living Dead" by George A. Romero, a countless number of zombie flicks have already been made. Every once in a while they try to give it an original twist to make it more comical or profound. So that for once the emphasis isn't on the bloodthirstiness and the jump scares. Something like "Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies" or "Warm Bodies". These movies bring a smile to your face rather than scaring you. Others try to put in some more melodrama as in "Maggie". "The night eats the world" (original title "La Nuit a dévoré le Monde") is such a film that tries to follow an alternative path in the zombie genre. Just like in "Dead within", the film deals more with the psychological state of mind of a survivor than about the destructive character of the infected persons.
Let's introduce Sam (Anders Danielsen Lie) who dozed off in a back room during a party of his ex-girlfriend. And then he wakes up the next day in an abandoned flat where seemingly a chaos has broken out. Everything is a mess as if everybody left in a hurry and the walls are smeared with blood traces and splashes. Soon he discovers that the streets of Paris are taken over by a mob of zombies. Gradually he realizes that he's lonely and abandoned in the building and that he must do everything he can to survive this holocaust. And that's what you are presented within this movie. A portrait of a solitary survivor whose daily routine slowly turns into a rut. The isolation and loneliness take their toll.
For those who associate a zombie film with bloody scenes and nerve-wracking moments, it will rather be a disappointing film. I'm sure that the words "boring" and "annoying" will be the most common terms used by seasoned zombie fans. But admit it. If you end up in such a situation, you will also have a limited daily life, resulting in a tedious dullness. A walk in the park around the corner, going for a newspaper or drinking a cup of coffee in a local bar are all options that belong to the past from this moment on. Because after the slightest noise, a whole myriad of mutilated zombies will be rushing towards you to consume you as a snack. In itself, the zombies don't look so terrifying but rather moronic and stupid. Only the lack of growling or making creepy noises makes it rather frightening. So don't expect any ominous sounds, bestial growls or threatening teeth chattering.
If you really aren't a fan of zombie movies and you leave skid marks in your underwear every time you see such a hollow-eyed creature appearing around a corner, I guarantee it, you can watch "The Night Eats the World". You won't experience a shuddering moment. The only thing you will feel is compassion. You'll feel sorry for Sam. How he slowly withers away and gradually comes to terms with his fate and the fact that he can't go anywhere. His only problem is his food supply and the lack of company. That's why he keeps an infected old man locked in a blocked elevator and uses him as a partner in dialogue. And to kill some time (how appropriate), he uses the apathetic looking zombies in the streets as a target to improve his shooting skills with a paintball gun.
Even though his part isn't filled with entertaining dialogues or fascinating conversations, Anders Danielsen Lie manages to play a whole range of emotions in a convincing way. I thought the cunningly added twist was quite obvious. Don't you think you'll become delusional from such a secluded existence and the constant fear of an upcoming assault? The behavior of certain undead can even be called hilarious at times. And the relationship between Sam and his trapped neighbor is at least surprising. All in all "The night eats the World" is an original film with a unique view on the zombie genre.
Nope, it's not another Halle Berry kidnap-movie.
It's a satellite phone.
How did this get in my purse?
While looking at the film poster, the first thing I thought was: "Wow, Halle Berry has a thing for films about kidnapping". First, there was "The Call". And then at the beginning of the year, I saw "Kidnap". And now it's a film about human trafficking. In particular, the kidnapping of young women who then end up in a network of prostitution and terrible abuse. But soon I realized I was completely wrong. The woman in question wasn't Halle Berry. But damn, she looks disturbingly a lot like Halle. Now, I didn't like "Kidnap" very much. To be honest I thought it was outright irritating at times. This film is, despite another protagonist (Paula Patton), of the same level.
The acting in itself wasn't that bad at all. Perhaps a bit simplistic and predictable, but certainly not annoying. Only some stupid decisions were made again. But that's typical for these kinds of films, I suppose. Lovebirds Brea (Paula Patton) and John (Omar Epps) are both nice looking persons and form a beautiful couple. When John arrives one day with a classic car as a birthday present and takes Brea on a surprise weekend, you already know this very peaceful scene is doomed to turn into a fiasco.
First, they are being harassed by a motor gang in a gas station. Next, their fantastic weekend full of love and eroticism is ruined the moment super-jerk Darren (Laz Alonso), someone with an ego problem and an agent for sports stars, shows up. And as icing on the cake, there's a satellite phone, with a series of disturbing pictures of abused young women, inexplicably ending up in Brea's handbag.
If only they'd stuck to the idea of making a disconcerting film about sex trafficking, it might have been interesting. But turning it into some kind of Hollywood spectacle, with story twists you could see coming from half a world away and an improbable denouement, wasn't such a hot idea. Human trafficking is a deadly serious subject and a despicable type of crime that needs to be tackled seriously. The fact they try to make people aware of this widespread problem, I can accept. But in the end, this was nothing more than a cheap B-movie about the abuse and exploitation of women in networks. "You were not really here" also brings up this issue, but there it concerns networks with minors. And that message was loud and clear. "Traffik" just uses the cheap solution of showing statistics about the number of women abducted in the US. In other words, I wasn't really impressed by this film.
An extraordinary film about an extraordinary love affair.
There is a fundamental incompatibility.
"Zoe" is not just a film about artificial intelligence and the influence it will have on our society. It also shows how artificially our society will be in the future. A world where feelings are reduced to figures and where pharmaceutical concoctions provide a short but intense expression of love. Both with disastrous results. Couples who are madly in love, without any major relationship problems, grow apart very quickly after hearing the final score of "The Machine". A percentage that indicates how much chance there is that their relationship will succeed. Couples who are about to split up can take advantage of Benysol to experience those feelings of falling in love again. Which in turn leads to the trade of this product in an illegal circuit, as these feelings have an addictive effect. The film "Zoe" was fascinating, intriguing and touching at the same time. A film that kept me busy the days after I saw it. I don't have that often.
"Zoe" is a mixture of "Her" and "Ex Machina". "Her" was also about the love between a person and a non-human entity. Here it was a computer program that communicated sensually and seductively using the voice of Scarlett Johansson. Just because of the sexy voice I would fall in love with this artificially intelligent creature consisting of program lines. In addition to the development of a relationship test program and pharmaceutical love potions, Cole Ainsley (Ewan "Lo Imposible" McGregor), an engineer and expert in the field of A.I. who works at "Relationist", managed to construct lifelike androids. Artificially intelligent beings that function autonomously. Just like Ava in "Ex Machina". Only less futuristic and equipped with all elements such that there is no distinction between them and a human being. Cole himself is divorced and stares every night at his computer screen in search of a possible matching partner. I wonder if his loneliness and lack of female companionship cause his imagination to go in a certain direction, which then manifested itself in the design of these "synthetics". Because his creations are equipped with a voluptuous bosom. Just like Zoe (Léa Seydoux).
The film is pretty slow. There are many moments with a distant and preoccupied Zoe or Cole. Zoe tries to fathom her raison d'être and experiences a personality crisis, asking herself who she really is. Cole is caught in his emotions when it's about Zoe. He's intuitively attracted to her but his sense of reality about the person Zoe bothers him. Perhaps because of that, you feel there's a certain kind of distance between these two individuals. An insurmountable obstacle with disastrous consequences for both. The result is a flee in self-pity for the one. And even doubting the meaning of existence for the other. But not only the romantic problems are central here. Also, the interaction of "Synthetics" with their immediate environment and other similar designs is being covered. And the associated well-known phenomenon of a piece of electronics developing a feeling of life and a consciousness is highlighted as well.
I thought the two protagonists played a sublime role as opposites. Perhaps some will say there that there was absolutely no chemistry between them. But wasn't that the point? It shows how love sometimes has to overcome difficult obstacles. And how ultimate love will circumvent all obstacles. In that respect, their acting was perfect. But especially Léa Seydoux fascinates. The way her mood changes, is wonderful to see. One moment she looks like a teenager whose young life is filled with puppy love and therefore she flutters through the scenes. The next moment she's hurt and looks like a hopelessly lost young woman, full of doubts who plunges into a chaotic love life. It was a pleasant surprise to see Theo James appear in this indie-SF. And to be honest, I found his character more interesting than the one he played in the "Divergent" story. And last but not least, you can also admire Christina Aguilera as a lifelike inflatable doll that entertains lonely fetishists.
Well, I really liked "Zoe". It's a beautiful film and a bit of a relief after a number of less successful films. But I'm guessing you figured that out already, after reading this long lyrical review. Even though I feared it would be a boring average movie at the beginning. The different story layers fascinated me and kept me riveted to my screen. It's an extraordinary film pointing out that future relationships with artificial beings will be more complex than the human relationships as we experience them today. Sure enough, I could predict in advance how it would end and what a final picture we would get with Zoe in close-up. But, for once, that didn't really bother me.
A Quiet Place (2018)
Those things have ears my kids are missing.
Who are we?
We can't protect them.
For me, "Upgrade" deserves the title "Best SF of the Year". And unhesitatingly I call "A quiet place" the best horror of 2018. Even though it's more Science-fiction than horror per se. I've been watching horror movies all my life and have already finished a whole list. Frankly, I was terrified of creeps like Dracula and Frankenstein until I was about 14 years old. If I even had seen a small fragment, I would go to bed shaking like a leaf and I'dd crawl behind a giant teddy bear. In my youthful fantasy, this bear was my protection against the creatures of the night. And when I saw "Evil Dead" for the first time and, to my astonishment, watched it without too many problems (as if I was numb), I knew my fear of horrors had disappeared from the face of the earth. Since then, I watch a horror with a certain kind of indifference. Last week I saw the articles about the trailer for "The Nun" and the fact they've removed it from YouTube after jump-scare complaints and people saying it's too scary. At the end of the trailer, I wondered when it would start to be frightening. Well, never. But "A quiet place" ... that's a different story.
It's not that I broke out into cold sweat constantly or that I wet myself because of the rising tension. But I admit. At a certain moment, I sat on the edge of my seat and the tense atmosphere, in the end, made me gasp for breath. I can't remember a film in which the constant threat and fear were so explicitly present. And the constant silence in this film is deafening. Yet a daring choice to use this necessary silence in a horror film where usually sudden loud sound effects cause a jump-scare. The scriptwriters of "A quiet place" didn't have a lot of work with dialogues in this film. For the greater part of the film, they used hand gestures and occasionally they were allowed to whisper. A necessity, otherwise you won't be having a long and prosperous life.
At the start, you're wondering (at least if you go in without any prior knowledge) why this family behaves in this way and what the result will be if they don't stick to the imposed rules. Believe me, you will soon find out. First in a really cruel way. And then through the sporadic displaying of news articles that Lee (John Krasinski) collects. In my opinion, the things that harass this family and react to any random sound are the most frightening creatures I've ever seen in a film. They are as murderous and cruel as a Xenomorph from "Alien". I looked breathlessly at the design and anatomy of these deadly creatures whose most important body organ is a freakishly large and sophisticated auditory organ. They made quite an impression on me. So fascinating.
In retrospect, this film is almost perfect. On all levels. In terms of content, it's a brilliant story. The special effects are amazingly good. The acting is sublime. Each character delivers decent acting. John Krasinski as Paterfamilias and who acts as a protector for his family. And he also (in complete silence) tries to develop a working hearing aid for his deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds). Without a doubt, the best interpretation is delivered by her. And not only because she's actually deaf in real life and thus plays this role in a realistic way. But as part of the story, she captures the imagination the most. Emily Blunt plays the pregnant, caring mother Evelyn who's about to give birth. A happy event that brings the necessary headaches. And lastly Noah Jupe in a perhaps smaller role as the youngest son Marcus, but still of crucial importance. And then there's Cade Woodward. But unfortunately, his contribution was really short-lived. All of them deliver a top performance.
So be warned. This brilliant film is an outright nail-biter and will make your blood run cold at certain times. And this thanks to the tight script and the scary atmosphere supported by a threatening soundtrack. Sometimes a horror cliché is used. In a world of silence, for example, an upstanding nail in the wooden cellar staircase will cause the necessary consequences of course. But that's the only thing, in a film which excels in originality. What you do realize after watching this film, is that we humans live in an extremely noisy world. And there's no "mute" button you can use when such creatures come to visit you. I bet it'll be quiet subsequently. No doubt about that.
A Prayer Before Dawn (2017)
Brutal, intense and realistic.
I don't know
what you're fucking saying,
I don't understand.
What an impressive film. You won't get a feeling of excitement or relaxation after watching it. It'll rather leave a bad taste in your mouth. It was as if the smell of blood, rancid food, vomit, and sweat has nestled itself in my nostrils. I had this annoying, uncomfortable feeling afterward. I'm convinced there are other places in this world where you don't want to end up and which aren't good for your health, both physically and psychologically. But the Thai prison Klong Prem seems to me the most damned and inhumane place on our planet. A place where you stop being a person and where you try to survive in any way you can. I'm strongly in favor of setting up an exchange program for prisoners worldwide. In such a way that prisoners from wherever, get the chance to taste the prison climate of these regions. I'm sure many will start realizing how privileged their treatment is in this part of the world. Who knows, maybe even a few will come to their senses.
"A prayer before dawn" feels like a documentary. It's as if the camera is filming over the shoulders of Billy Moore (Joe Cole) all the time, a Brit who's a boxer in Thailand and is being arrested for selling drugs. The nightmare in which he's imprisoned for three years and the daily struggle in this hell hole is the basis for his book that he publishes later on. It's titled "A prayer before dawn: A nightmare in Thailand". Don't expect long dialogues. Or you are someone who understands Thai quite well. That alone would drive me crazy already. The endless whining and shouting of those tattooed, golden-toothed Thai criminals. You have no idea what they are talking about. You can only guess whether they ask a very ordinary question or threat you.
The number of films that take place in prisons is almost infinite. But there are none so realistic and painful to behold as "A prayer before dawn". Even "Brawl in Cell Block 99" doesn't seem to be so brutal and intense, despite the extremely violent images. Why? Because "Brawl in Cell Block 99" is a fictional story. The story about Billy Moore shows an unambiguous, unvarnished picture of his struggle for survival and his perseverance to maintain himself in this barbaric environment. A story about how an individual has to push his limits both physically and psychically. A black and white portrait with a thin dividing line between life and death. One moment you see how Billy almost kills a fellow prisoner at the request of a corrupt guard. The next moment you see a tender moment between him and the transvestite Fame (Pornchanok Mabklang). A moment to catch your breath after all the brutal violence.
The acting of Joe Cole is extremely convincing. You can simply feel his fury, despair, and fear. Cole's acting is purely en simply physical as there is practically no dialogue to be heard. A shrill and threatening "Fuck off" is the main thing that comes over his lips. You are witnessing how the accumulated tension and frustration suddenly flares up during confrontations and his Thai boxing. And at the same time, you see Cole fighting against his addiction. The Thai inmates are all amateurs in the field of acting but apparently, a large number of these side characters actually have spent time behind bars. Maybe that's why it all feels so real.
No, "A prayer before dawn" is no fun to watch and will certainly still haunt you the next days after. If you expect a detailed story, you will certainly be disappointed afterward. The narrative is reasonably straightforward and concise. It's nothing more than a report of Billy's stay in this hellish place on earth and his constant fight to get out of it unscathed. But, as I said, this film will certainly stay with you. It's, as it were, beaten into you.
I knew this would be a great movie. Never thought it would be so freaking awesome.
You're the one doing it all.
You're not a robot.
In my film review of the movie "The Hollow Child", I started again with a plea about trailers and I summed up the reasons why I avoid them. I saw the trailer from "Upgrade" by chance at the beginning of this year. Believe me, I was ecstatic and enthusiastic. "I HAVE to see this movie", I thought. There are trailers that look inviting and afterward, the film looks very disappointing. But "Upgrade" certainly doesn't belong in this category. On the contrary. This is one of the best films of the year for me. An excellent SF provided with a wonderful concept and which gradually switches to a tough revenge film. For me, it was an exciting mix of "Robocop", "John Wick" and "Demon Seed". "Robocop" because of the cybernetic aspect. "John Wick" because of the extravagant violent part. And "Demon Seed" because of the overall moral of the whole story. A successful cocktail that results in a titillating film.
"Upgrade" tells the story of Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green), an old-skool-styled guy who is restoring old-fashioned Pontiacs and who's horrified by everything that's related to high-tech stuff. The evening Asha's (Melanie Vallejo), his wife, fully automated design car malfunctions and crashes, they are being attacked by some violent gang. The result is a lifeless girlfriend and Gray having a shattered spine. And that's when the millionaire Eron (Harrison Gilbertson) appears and presents his latest revolutionary chip STEM. An artificially intelligent microchip that functions as a superior brain so the paralyzed Grey can lead a normal life again. And even more.
When you're able to watch this movie with the necessary skepticism and you don't take it too seriously, then this B-movie styled, action-packed SF is a welcome change and a way to de-stress after a hard day's work. The story itself can't be called groundbreaking or original. It all seemed a bit too predictable even to me. There's only one thing I hadn't seen coming. And that's the final twist. What a pleasant surprise that was.
And when you like neatly-filmed action scenes, then you'll enjoy this flick as well. The confrontations in "Upgrade" are such that I gladly re-watched the same scene over and over again. Not because I enjoy seeing bloody, horrible scenes. But because the choreography looks extraordinarily good and in a certain way, they managed to provide it with the necessary humor. The tilting camera. Grey's surprised face. And the way the bad guys are killed. It all looks damn perfect.
I can't think of anything bad about the acting. Logan Marshal-Green knows amazingly well how to show different emotions. From helplessness to bewilderment and purely evil. The entire pallet of emotions is shown. And the opponents all look fearless and ruthless. Equipped with ingenious cyber-like assault weapons and futuristic deadly gadgets (even an innocent sneeze is deadly). The only thing I was annoyed about is Gray's way of moving. Although he was told at the beginning that he wasn't really a robot, his body moves like a purebred Robocop. But that's the only remark I can think of. My advice is to go and see this highly entertaining cyberpunk SF as soon as you can. Just do it!
More reviews here : movie-freak.be
Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018)
I should stick to my plan not to watch sequels anymore.
It does not matter who your parents are,
where you came from,
who believed in you
and who didn't.
We are a family now, and we are earth's last defense.
What amazed me the most was the fact that I couldn't remember much of "Pacific Rim", even though I thought it was an original-looking film years ago. No worries. Little by little everything is explained again in such a way that I partially knew it again. And even though "Pacific Rim" wasn't high-quality cinema and simply a very expensive monster film with superb looking computer-generated images, the film impressed me at the time. "Pacific Rim" was brainless amusement with a high entertainment value. This sequel is simply a duplicate with other main characters in identical Jaegers. But it's so irritating and annoying mostly. I was hoping this time the Kaiju's took control and destroyed planet earth. That way we don't need to be afraid of a possible sequel in the future.
Since the design and subject are identical to that of the initial film, one could say that it's thanks to Guillermo Del Toro the first film was kind of a success. But that's a bit simplistic to state, in my opinion. I rather think there are several factors that ensure that you can't really call this a successful film. This time the entire Jaeger program shifts from a mature world to that of teenagers. We end up in a cadet school where young people are trained to become Jaeger pilots. A bit like in "Ender's game" but now it's not in space. And of course, there's one of the cadets who can't stand the newcomer Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny) and believes she doesn't belong there. And who will be the hero in the end? Yep, not hard to guess. Anyway, it all feels a bit like a kindergarten. The Goonies in giant robots who save the world. Haven't we seen that before?
Also, the acting wasn't something to get enthusiastic about. Cailee Spaeny was acceptable with her youthful enthusiasm and rebellious behavior. John Boyega sometimes played the indifferent Jake with reluctance. Scott Eastwood was again suitable for the character Nate. And not only because of that creepy resemblance to his famous father. But the acting by Burn Gorman, Charlie Day and Tian Jing was at times simply bad. Bad enough to make me squirm.
Only the graphical part remains. Just like the 2013 film, it's a visual spectacle. And just like the acting, there are also ups-and-downs here. It's fun to see huge robots and enormous monsters smashing into one another. But to be honest, it's the same old thing as in the previous movie. And the final battle in a Japanese city close to "Mount Fuji" just looked ugly. It wasn't as if this clash of the titans took place in between blocks of flats made from cardboard. Just like in those ancient Godzilla films. But it's a close call. The duel on the ice, on the other hand, looked extremely great. A computer-graphic masterpiece.
Do you like to watch huge robots and by extraterrestrial created monsters battle each other? Then I guess this film is right up your alley. Have you seen "Pacific Rim" years ago? Then you can safely skip this one because you won't be seeing something really new here. To be honest, I sometimes had the feeling that I was watching a modern version of the Power Rangers. Only the creatures who emerged from another dimension resembled those that the Power Rangers fought against a long time ago. Ridiculously long time ago.
The Hollow Child (2017)
It's not just the child that's hollow.
"Run before it turns everyone against you."
The reason why I try to avoid seeing trailers is twofold. Or they are so revealing that you actually saw the film in advance. Either the trailer is inviting and arouses your curiosity, but afterward, you come to the conclusion they better limited themselves to making this trailer alone. Better yet. Perhaps they could have made an extended version of it because the film really doesn't have more to offer. "The hollow child" belongs to this last category. The initial idea had potential. The end result was disappointing again. Or maybe the subject was a little too limited to make a full film of it.
I think it's a bit exaggerated to call "The hollow child" a horror. It was never really scary. And the revelation of what's hiding in the dark, murky forest was so momentary and so late, that it seemed completely irrelevant. To be honest, I thought the main theme was the daily struggle of Samantha (Jessica McLeod) against the lack of understanding and the desperation about where she could feel at home. It felt as if the disappearing and reappearing of Olivia (Hanna Cheramy), daughter of the foster family where Samantha stays, was just a secondary subject. Although her personality changed. I got more shivers from what Samantha was doing to herself with scissors than from Olivia's behavior.
But no worries. There are also some positive aspects. The beginning certainly isn't bad and shows some atmospheric images of the notorious forest where the youngsters walk through after school. Apparently, it's also an enchanted forest, because after 30 years it still looks the same. Then there's the acting part. First of all, Hanna Cheramy delivers an admirable performance. For children of that age, a leading role is certainly not self-evident. But it's Jessica McLeod who deserves appreciation. Her acting never felt forced. The way she evolves from a rebellious teenager to a responsible daughter who sincerely regrets her mistake looked credible. On the other hand, there's also the irritating acting of John Emmet Tracy, the unsympathetic stepfather and Johannah Newmarch (A ravishing beauty by the way). The latter is portrayed as the crazy woman who burned down her parental home in the past because she claimed her returned sister was an imposter. To be honest, she didn't look that crazy.
"The hollow child" has its good and bad sides. But what it fails to do, is to create a creepy or frightening atmosphere. It's far from horror and will certainly not stand out among all other releases. Don't be misled by the movie poster. This radiates more horror than the film itself. You can call "The hollow child" a drama with some horror elements. And unfortunately, the end was too predictable. So if you have too much free time and you don't know how to fill it, you could give this average horror a chance. However, I'm sure that afterward, you'll use a statement that sounds like: "Maybe I should have spent my spare time doing ....".
Don't Hang Up (2016)
What a pleasant surprise this fast-paced slasher.
Maybe it's time for someone like me...
to come over there and wipe that smug grin off your face.
You know what's fun sometimes? Haphazardly starting a film without knowing what it is about and afterward admitting you were pleasantly surprised. That's my experience with this film. A film with a bit of suspense and tension. And thanks to the short playing time you don't have the feeling it was a waste of time. Even though it isn't a blockbuster. It's also the first time that I didn't feel sorry for the two teenagers Sam (Gregg Sulkin) and Brady (Garrett Clayton). In this movie, these two spoiled, annoying brats reap what they have sown. And the whole time I was expecting the rest of the gang to pop up suddenly and announce it was all one big joke.
Like many others, I found the two main actors irritating. But then you have to admit their acting was masterful. Because wasn't that the whole point? After all, they are two obnoxious young boys who pull pranks on others. They make extreme prank calls. The only thing I couldn't believe was the fact that those pranks were watched so massively after posting them online. Is that a reflection of what our society is evolving into? A society where gloating is self-evident?
"Don't hang up" is a low-budget film. That's noticeable. Everything takes place mainly in the parental home of Sam. The camera work is uncomplicated but to-the-point. Besides a camera moving through the set in a penetrating way, it generally looks mediocre. It gets bloody in this film, but the used "practical effects" don't look spectacular either. And yet this film was worth a watch and can easily be added to a whole series of other films from the same mid-level.
Because of the short playing time, the pace is swift in this movie and you don't have to wait long before the unwanted caller turns up. And still despite the pace, one manages to increase the tension gradually. The sinister caller has a rather frightening voice (a Jigsaw-like tone), which in turn makes it extra creepy. His technological omnipotence was slightly exaggerated though. And despite the fact that it's about pretty arrogant and unsympathetic youth, I found the friendship and expression of sacrifice commendable. But all in all, I couldn't avoid gloating and a convincing inner "Yes!" resounded at the end.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
I'm not a superheroes-flick fanboy. But this was fun to watch.
For even in death, you have become Children of Thanos.
Me and superheroes. We have a kind of love-hate relationship. One moment I'm really enjoying the character or the story. At that time jealousy bubbles up and I wished I had those specific powers in my daily life. And sometimes I have absolutely no feelings about the superhero or I find the story not so fascinating. I surely can enjoy a Hulk movie because of the devastating power this superhero possesses. From "Spiderman", I like that youthful enthusiasm that Peter Parker radiates when discovering his new power. And in "The Guardians of the Galaxy", I appreciated the humor. Finally, "Deadpool" and "Ant-man" were refreshing. But when I watched "Thor: Ragnarok", I simply fell asleep. "Avengers: Age of Ultron" I found so terribly confusing. After 20 minutes I no longer understood what it was about. And the whole "X-men" universe left me indifferent because of the lack of affinity I have with this club. It will be due to my not so great interest in superheroism. And every time, I come to the conclusion that all those superheroes are connected in one way or another, which makes it look like a web of facts and events.
But "Avengers: Infinity war" was entertaining. First of all, because a large part of the Marvel clan appears in it. It's like a grand finale of all Marvel heroes. Together they try to join forces to prevent Thanos (Josh Brolin) from grabbing the six Infinity stones, so he can destroy half of the population in the universe with the snap of a finger. A simplistic idea of this super-villain to make life more pleasant on overcrowded planets. A purple environmental activist. He quickly gets hold of the first stones. However, the other two remaining stones are on Earth and require a little more effort from Thanos because they are surrounded by the remaining superheroes. What follows are sometimes hallucinating-looking battles and superhuman confrontations. As we are used to from the Marvel clan.
I have to admit it. I was able to follow the story without difficulties (and that might have something to do with my age). Usually, the story isn't so clear for someone without much knowledge about this world of superheroes. You could even call the film exciting. That's no self-evident fact when it concerns unbeatable superheroes with unprecedented forces who seldom fear to be defeated. And you know they are going to use the well-known trick of resurrecting the seemingly defeated hero. Even though the situation seems hopeless, you can be sure that one of the heroes will put his butt on an intergalactic toilet where, after the necessary superhero-pushing, he'll produce some super weapon with which they shrink the bad guy to the size of a smurf, such that the universe is again saved from a catastrophe.
To keep things simple, they've split the whole into a number of different storylines in different locations where a group of heroes each has their own fish to fry. This ensures a pleasant change and amusing interactions. Personally, I thought the conversations between Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Ironman (Robert Downey Jr.) at times quite hilarious. Even the inner battle of Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) with his character Hulk caused me to chuckle. Only occasionally the coincidence is really laughable. But isn't this characteristic of such a superhero flick? For example, Hulk is catapulted from an Asgardian spaceship and flies several light years through the universe, after which he lands with an immense smack on earth. And where? Through the roof of Dr. Strange's house. What a coincidence.
When you think there's an oversupply of movies with superheroes in a latex suit and that the point of saturation had already been reached, then you can call this film an orgasmic highlight. And hats off to the makers for transforming this heterogeneous mixture of characters into a colorful whole. Certainly not a simple task. And even though I'm not a big supporter of sequels and I'm allergic to anything that smells like serials, I still look forward to the second part of this epic story. I wonder what one has to come up with in order to exceed this. That will be an impossible task. Even for superheroes.
You Were Never Really Here (2017)
A film that really gets under your skin.
McCleary said you were brutal.
I can be.
I want you to hurt them.
It's not just the fact that defenseless young children are victims of unscrupulous people who use them in networks for pedophiles. The most disgusting aspect of this is that these circuits are visited by people who occupy important positions in daily life. Individuals who show a respectable and neat appearance to the outside world. But once they show up in this nauseating business, their fortune is their entrance ticket so they can abuse these innocent children. Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) is someone who wants to set things straight. Armed with a heavy hammer, he beats those perverts from their victims. But "You were never really here" is not just about the existence of children's networks. The film also tries to paint a picture of the person Joe who is daily tormented by his own demons.
Every time Joe gets on screen, you just feel that heavy burden on his shoulders. He's suicidal and exposes a murderous resentment. And this because of a youth full of violence, which is sporadically portrayed in haunting flashbacks. But also because of his war record. His scarred upper torso is probably caused by these events. And perhaps mentally there are even more profound wounds. Hence his fatalistic attitude. A "Je mon fou" posture which makes him walk into a lion's den without hesitation. And as a result, he also carries out life-threatening or self-mutilating actions. Pulling a plastic bag over your head isn't exactly something normal functioning people do on a regular basis. It's clear that PTSD also has something to do with this.
Are you expecting to see explicit violence? You'll be slightly disappointed. Violence is abundantly present but is always kept out of the picture in a strategic way. There are a modest number of bloody scenes, but predominantly the violent and repulsive images are kept out of sight. But don't doubt it. Joe is an aggressive and insensitive (At least at that level) disposer of persons of poor moral character who'll split the skull of these persons in two without hesitation. However, his last intervention sets an influential mechanism in motion where he himself threatens to become a victim.
Perhaps for some, it's a tad too arty and the speed of the film a bit too slow. Yet Lynne Ramsay knows how to make a stylistic revenge film. The entire film is filled with dreamy (almost hallucinatory) fragments and perfectly framed snapshots. A child's voice counting down softly. The sinking of a human body into the water. A close up of dripping wet hair. Joe staring into the distance. The biggest part of the film is also filmed in a dark and murky set-up. Probably as dark as the deformed and pained spirit of Joe. The interpretation by Joaquin Phoenix is breathtaking. Maybe rough around the edges, but deep inside a softy. A man without too many words, with a raw personality and with an impressive beard. As he strolls through New York, he looks like a homeless bum on his way to the soup kitchen at some community center. In reality, he's a man with a well-defined mission.
"You were never really here" certainly doesn't belong in the list of boring uniformity that's lately being produced in Hollywood. The film is more a character study than simply a revenge film. It's the kind of film that gets under your skin. I was a fan of Joaquin Phoenix anyway, but because of his undeniably fantastic acting performance in this film, he rises a bit more into the leading group of actors who are unmatchable in terms of acting.
Future World (2018)
The first crap movie warning of the year. Yep, it's about this one.
There's no medicine out there.
There's just death and hate.
The future world looks fairly simplistic. Mankind has been transformed into a superficial society in which the truly kindhearted population has nestled in one or another oasis, while the riotous part indulges in looting and hanging out in a striptease/dance temple or drug centers. Also choosing names will be simpler in that period, as it seems. When you are the leader of a motorcycle gang, who wander around on their dirtbikes to terrorize innocent people (such as pirates and barbarian tribes did in ancient times), you simply call yourself War Lord (James Franco). When you run a place where drugs are being used somewhere on the American coast, you call that place "Paradise Beach" and yourself simply Drug Lord (Mila Jovovich). The idolized woman of the peaceful tribe who lives in tents between the palm trees is then conveniently called Queen (Lucy Liu). And you'll never guess it. Her son is called Prince (Jeffrey Wahlberg). The scriptwriters of this somewhat unsuccessful Mad Max clone have given this a lot of thought. Had there been a person who owned a stall where he sold mineral water, they certainly would have called him Water Lord.
"Future World" just exudes an atmosphere like "Mad Max". It has identically scenery. A world affected by drought and full of sand, where lawlessness rules and everyone apparently pillaged the local leather goods store at the start of the Apocalypse. Most traveling is done using transport that can handle sandy surroundings. And furthermore, you can be sure your head is being smashed by some brutal-looking colossus of a guy just because you're near him. Apparently, the only thing that still makes sense in this long-lost world is the opening of alcohol, drugs and dance facilities (where functional nudity is obviously necessary). To be honest, "Future World" looks like a trial version of "Mad Max: Fury Road". The similarities are sometimes so obvious. I think Franco, who's not only playing a leading role but also directed this, will be bothered by the copyright commission.
You got to hand it to Franco, he's quite busy in film land. The number of films he played in as an actor and the amount he directed, is impressive. One wonders whether Franco has quantity as the main goal instead of quality. Well, you can't call "Future World" a quality product. The story is meaningless. The combat actions and pursuits look dull and uninspiring. Even the aspect of the high-tech android Ash (Suki Waterhouse), that suddenly proves to be in possession of a consciousness, is something that we have already experienced in a better way in "Ex Machina". Ash doesn't look very expensive here and its malfunctioning is only made clear by a sizzling, crackling sound and a short-term non-functioning. Furthermore, it's as if Suki Waterhouse just came from "The bad batch" set. Apparently, deserts are a fetish for her.
It's also quite disappointing when talking about acting. And then to think that they have managed to get a few big names for this production. James Franco is widely known (not difficult if you see his resume of films) and he did a better job in for example, "Rise of the planet of the apes", "Homefront" and "Oz the Great and Powerful". I thought Mila Jovovich was the most interesting character. But she's not as intriguing here as in the "Resident Evil" franchise. Lucy Liu has a rather limited role. Luckily her part was of more importance in "Kill Bill" and "Charlie's Angels". James Wahlberg (He says uncle to Mark) is actually one of the leads but is so uninteresting it's as if he blurs with the background. Even Snoop Dogg shows up as the owner of the seedy striptease-joint Love Town (And yes, his name is Love Lord. The creativity kills me). A small contribution but highly entertaining.
The most positive thing I could think of about this film is related to the dedication and enthusiasm of James Franco. If you continue to produce films as if they rolled off an assembly line, someday there will certainly be an exquisite result. But to be honest, this boring and meaningless creation is just a failed attempt. A sloppy and superficially made film that seems so ridiculous that it's not even funny. No, this film can be avoided like you'd avoid a cheap holiday offer to stay for 2 weeks without drinking in the Sahara. It'll kill you.
The Commuter (2018)
Come on Liam. You can do better.
You work hard,
you play by the rules,
you're a good soldier,
and you don't deserve it.
But the reality is sometimes
soldiers end up casualties.
Do you want to know what I still remember from "The Commuter"? Well, actually it's not that much anymore. It's that kind of movie. Only the opening scene where you see Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson) performing his recurring morning ritual. From getting up to the ride to the metro station with his wife. A unique piece of film? Or is it a copy of the opening scene from "Rebirth" where you see the protagonist performing his daily morning activities as well? A way to demonstrate the daily grind of working people. Only Michael's daily pattern is being discontinued in a rather harsh way when he's being fired at work, where he has been selling life insurances for over 10 years, at the age of 60. And after that, there's this unknown beautiful woman (Vera Farmiga) who makes a hypothetical proposal. He has to take a bag from another traveler on the metro in order to protect himself and his family from a financial catastrophe. Sounds simple but essentially it's a task that should not be underestimated.
It seems as though Neeson got a patent on this type of film where he has to work against the clock to complete a task, commissioned by unscrupulous criminals. And time and again it is his family that is also threatened. "The Commuter" is a bit "Non-Stop" and a cross-section of all the "Taken" episodes. And this time it takes place on a train. But to be honest, at a certain moment I thought it was enormously exaggerated and implausible. For a movie night where you can turn off your brains for a while, such that they can enjoy a well-deserved rest, and you can gorge on homemade popcorn, this film isn't that awful. But dear Mr. Neeson. Isn't it time to take a different road and diversify your work a bit? Don't be tempted always to play in the same kind of movies with just a different environment and set-up? After all, you aren't getting any younger. Right?
A love story with two souls drowning in despair.
Our world is
firstly about power,
it's only secondly
A calm movie from time to time is something I welcome. Not again such a flashy, action-packed hero film where you'll get nervous because the scenes follow each other in a rapid pace and stroboscopic effects get you a cutting headache. "Submergence" undoubtedly belongs to the first category. So, no nauseating headache. No disorientation feeling. You will certainly not experience that with this ultra slow film. The only thing that made me nervous was the forth and back jumping between the stories of the two protagonists Danielle Flinders (Alicia Vikander) and James More (James McAvoy).
James is the kind of guy who knows something about every subject. A whiskey connoisseur, people connoisseur (one look and he knows that the bartender was an ex-rugby player) and also a literary man. He's such a man who'll sweep any woman off her feet. And not only because of his good looks but also because of his engaging and charming behavior. And mainly because he has mastered the art of listening. James works in Nairobi where he consults on water projects. In reality, he works for the British Secret Service. Well, I guess he does, judging by the mysterious briefing he got while walking around in an art museum. And also the situation he's in afterward, has nothing to do with water sources.
Danielle is a bio-mathematician (and not an oceanographer as James calls it) and is looking for proof that life exists in the darkest depths of the ocean. A pioneering (and Nobel Prize-worthy) research that can result in eternal fame. So expect a lot of incomprehensible, scientific gibberish. Like this for example: "Some of the most common pathways of energy production in microorganisms, who live along the hydrothermal vents, are oxidation or reduction of sulfur compounds. The most common electron donor along the vents is hydrogen sulfide, making oxidation of sulfur-containing compounds the base of the food web in this environment." Not exactly fodder for an average conversation. Danielle is such a typical female nerd whose work determines and directs her entire life.
In fact, they are two realists whose profession plays a central role and who probably don't have the time or desire to make an eternal bond with someone of the opposite sex. Until they happen to meet on a Norman beach.
"Submergence" is not exactly an exciting movie. It all feels rather poetic. Even the title is an abstraction of the different facets of the film. The sudden blazing love. The predicament that James finds himself in Somalia. And the claustrophobic situation in a (Yes it's yellow) submarine for Danielle. And the whole film gently bounces back and forth between all these storylines. To be honest, I found the romantic part the most impressive. It was a pleasure to watch how these two lovebirds explore and discover each other in one long passionate mating dance. Every time the film returned to this part, it became fascinating. I looked at the other two parts with a kind of indifference. Still weird that Alicia Vikander seemed too young to me in the role of Lara Croft in "Tomb Raider", while in this film I didn't have that feeling. I do understand the metaphors used in this film. But to be honest, I think it was neither fish nor fowl (no pun intended). In the end, I thought the storyline in this potpourri of romance and drama was pretty thin-skinned.
Plain simple. "Euthanizer" is an extraordinary flick.
"Everyone has to pay for the pain that they've caused.
Pain needs to be balanced."
Every detail was just perfect in this Finnish low-budget indie. From the first second, this film intrigued me and managed to hold my full attention. Not only the magnificent acting of Matti Onnismaa and Hannamaija Nikander, as the bitter and sinister person Veijo and the strange figure Lotta whose sexual preference is also rather lugubrious, caused that. The narrative and the message that simmered under the surface also fascinated me. Yet it's not an easy, everyday film. On the one hand, there's the language. Finnish isn't something I'm confronted with on a daily basis (well, for everything there's a first time), so I understood absolutely nothing. On the other hand, the story itself is rather unorthodox with the euthanizing of pets as a central topic. Not exactly cheerful material, even though it sometimes felt comical.
Veijo is the local freelancer who offers his services to help pets out of their misery in an inexpensive way. He's, therefore, a not so well-liked competitor of the local veterinarian. To be honest, nobody likes him. Veijo thus creates its own Pet Sematary. Dogs are simply shot in an adjacent forest, after which their necklace is dangling from a branch as the only remembrance. Cats and other minuscule creatures from the animal kingdom are gassed in a pimped station wagon. A cat carrier graveyard next to his meager shed is the final result. The first ten minutes alone made it clear an extraordinary film was presented to me.
Euthanizer is a film about pain and suffering. And according to Veijo, pain needs to be balanced. And that's something this pipe-smoking anti-social person applies in his life. Also on himself. The owners who bring their sick, disobedient or simply annoying pets can expect a psychological analysis first. Veijo apparently has the gift of being a dog whisperer. And some of those owners get a similar treatment as their pet. In the same way, he approaches his dying and suffering father, an alcoholic who apparently treated Veijo very badly and brutal during his childhood.
The moment Lotta enters Veijo's life, a life in which human contact is quite an obstacle for Veijo, I can vividly imagine his confusion about his feelings towards her and at the same time about her reasonably perverted fantasy. The reason why she feels attracted to Veijo was unclear to me. Was his aloofness or morbid profession something she related to? Or did she have suicidal thoughts for herself? Is she fascinated by death in a macabre way? It was a mystery to me. But they certainly go down in history as the most bizarre couple.
The weakest element in the whole film was for me the would-be Finnish neo-Nazi club "Soldiers of Finland". Notwithstanding that Petri (Jari Virman), who is only too keen to be part of this gang of jackasses, has an important part in the denouement, I thought it was a laughable fact. Apart from stealing some car tires and some provocative behavior, they seem far from being dangerous. And when they are singing as four choir boys for a karaoke machine, the image of these pseudo machos changes into purebred sissies. There's even one of them who can't control his emotions during that musical moment.
Euthanizer is a cruel and filthy film. Filthy in multiple ways. A film that shows how cruel people can be. A film with contradictions as well. Gasifying animals with the exhaust fumes of an old station wagon is, in my opinion, not a peaceful and pleasant way. And yet Veijo is an animal lover who wants to put these poor creatures out of their misery. Euthanizer is breathtaking. A gem. Fans of small-budget non-mainstream films will enjoy this. I did for sure.
12 Strong (2018)
Fighting against tanks with horses. That's kind of unique.
This is Afghanistan.
Graveyard of many empires.
Today you are our friend,tomorrow you are our enemy.
It won't be any different for you.
Soon America will become just another tribe here.
You will be cowards if you leave.
And you will be our enemies if you stay.
I only asked myself one question, after seeing "12 Strong". Why didn't the American authorities send 1200 of those well-trained, experienced soldiers instead of this limited group of 12? Then in one fell swoop, they could have wiped out the entire Taliban and the scum that belongs to it. Now after more than 15 years, the American troops are still there and the living conditions and the political situation hasn't improved much. I can believe that these 12 elite soldiers have made a breakthrough in the fight against the Taliban there. That the entire film is based on true facts, I also want to believe. But I think that the event between dropping these soldiers and their homecoming should be taken with a fat grain of salt. It felt like a superhero movie at certain moments and it's the textbook example of displaying American patriotism. The latter a bit too much for my taste.
Any idea how many Taliban fighters these 12 super-elite soldiers had a clear shot at? And how many were eventually sent to the afterlife, where they are awaited for by a harem of virgins, with a well-aimed shot? I lost count after a while. I'm sure that the automatic rifles of the American soldiers were equipped with an auto-aim function because the number of headshots was shockingly high. I suppose the Taliban fighters were equipped with obsolete Soviet arms or weapons from other parts of the world because their shooting skills left much to be desired. Or perhaps they had desert sand in the eyes. Or the American soldiers chose a perfect time to attack. Maybe these Muslim warriors were attacked the moment they rolled out their Persian carpet and knelt down towards Mecca for their prayers. I don't have another explanation. Either that or they are just extremely bad at shooting.
I did admire these elite soldiers because they had to move on horseback through this country. Nothing special, you might say. But not when you find out only one person has experience in this discipline. It's surprising no one fell off an Afghan ridge. They also had an additional obstacle. Not only did the local warlords such as Dostum (David Negahban) thoroughly hate the Taliban regime. There was also the mutual rivalry between the various Afghan warlords. Afghans apparently all have a short fuse (stressful for suicide terrorists). However, I don't understand how they knew at a given moment who they should shoot at, because those Muslim fighters all look identical. "12 Strong" is a war film like so many others. Apart from the fact that they go to battle on horses against a force majeure with a hypermodern weapon arsenal. This gives us impressive but at the same time dubious images. It looked like "The magnificent seven" mixed with "Hacksaw Ridge".
The honor of being the captain of these elite troops was given to Chris Hemsworth, who played it with bravado and conviction. Mitch Nelson is an officer without war experience but with a charisma and intellect that ensures that this impossible operation is fully successful. He manages to convince a general after he interrupted him several times during his briefing (apparently this is not done in the US Army). And he manages to persuade an Afghan warlord in a decisive manner so he forgets a year-long feud for a short time and buries the battle ax briefly. "12 Strong" is certainly exciting, contains a whole series of action-packed scenes and shows in a clear way how chaotic the political situation in that country is. My personal opinion about the whole problem is of a very different nature. And many will disagree with it. Let me put it this way. I am convinced that as long as there is money to be earned from these sad conflicts, with ordinary and innocent people being the victims, these tragic conflicts won't stop and nothing will change. Viola, my two cents.
A would-be thriller with a failing story.
I want you to tell me your name.
My name is Cathy Noland.
One thing is certain. "10X10" breaks all records when speaking of resurrections. The number of times you see one of the two protagonists getting back on their feet again seemed endless. It looked like a newer version of "Night of the living dead". But this time with two stubborn non-zombies playing in it, whose resilience seemed superhuman. At one point I was more concerned with figuring out which of the two had the lowest IQ. Because you can't keep up with the number of stupidities after a while. And finally, I also wondered at the end what statement Lewis (Luke Evans) would give about the whole event when the police show up on his driveway. It's clear I didn't really like this film. And that because of the accumulation of absurdities.
I wanted to see this movie solely because of Luke Evans appearing in it. Personally, I don't think he's a bad actor. He has a certain likable appearance. In my opinion, he didn't act so bad in "No one lives" and "Message from the king". He radiates a calmness and coolness. But here he also seems to have the gift of stupidity. Or they tried to portray him as a real amateur. However, it all starts fairly intriguing. The patience with which Luke observes his future victim Cathy (Kelly Reilly) and the seemingly perfect way in which he carries out the abduction. From then on it started to look more like a slapstick than a nerve-racking thriller. The abduction wasn't perfect, but rather a combination of coincidences and pure luck. But for all we know, he could have been caught red-handed and taken into custody. On the other hand, would that be the case, this would have been a short movie. Speaking of luck-pushing.
The next hilarious moment (intentionally I suppose) is the arrival at his hypermodern, tastefully decorated house. There the victim awaits an ingenious installed, low-noise isolation cell of 10 by 10 meters. Luke turns out to be a regular do-it-yourself shopper because he made it all by himself. He did manage to do that. But apparently, a perfectly functioning garage door was a bit too much. And from then on a psychological cat and mouse game starts that only revolves around revenge. It's best I don't tell more specifics of this less successful film. Contentwise, it's already nothing much. Let alone I'd reveal more. Actually, the content is so limited that they decided to fill it up with irrelevant trivialities and artificial emotional moments. You have to admit that the creators of this film ensured that the pace is high. Only half an hour has passed and poor Cathy is already gagged and screaming anxiously in her cell.
The fact that "10X10" didn't meet my expectations is, in my opinion, not due to the acting itself. That wasn't so bad. It was even reasonably convincing at times. I think that the script is the cause of this disappointment. And this because of a too limited story. How can you make a whopper of a film from a wafer-thin, simplistic plot? Even the Spielberg's and George Lucas's wouldn't figure out how to do that. To be honest, it didn't matter to me anymore who would die in the end. I was already satisfied that at least an acceptable playing time had been provided.
Ready Player One (2018)
No need to say I was thrilled. But that's because I'm a VR fan myself.
James Halliday saw the future.
And then he built it.
He gave us a place to go.
A place called ... THE OASIS.
Recently I got a Playstation VR set for my birthday and since then I've spent a lot of hours in different virtual worlds. So I understand very well that in films such as Ready Player One the population spends more time in this artificial environment than in the actual world. As one already suggested at the beginning, this virtual fantasy world is alluring because there's so much to experience. But also because you can be so much. Just like in "2047: Virtual Revolution", it seems as if all of humanity has lost its contact with reality and is wasting their entire fortune on digital upgrades and gadgets and spend all their free time walking around in futuristic-looking VR glasses. Unfortunately, the moral is the same as in the film. Namely, that one has to cut the virtual bonds and live back in reality. Perhaps there's an element of truth here. In today's society, the art of communicating and socializing is going to waste because we do this only in a digital way.
The story itself was a bit straightforward and simple. The day one of the designers (James Halliday) of the virtual playground OASIS drew his last breath (in reality), he reveals that he has hidden a so-called "Easter egg" in OASIS. Who finds it wins a mega top prize that gives the honest finder total control over OASIS and inherits Halliday's fortune. We, of course, get a race between two camps. On the one hand, young Wade (Tye "Joe" Sheridan) who, along with some of his online friends, eagerly starts looking for the hidden keys. Not only for the fame and fortune but also to get back at IOI (Innovative Online Industries). This company wants to win the main prize at any cost so it becomes the largest company in the world. So, Wade gets the CEO Nolan Sorrento (Ben "Mississippi Grind" Mendelsohn) as a formidable opponent whose inexhaustible source of income gives him an advantage. Needless to say who will finally get the virtual short stick.
No, the story itself is not really epic. The images and the overall atmosphere, however, are. The first assignment with the extremely difficult road race packed with obstacles was something to drool over. The fact that a T-Rex and a frantic King Kong appeared in it was perhaps slightly exaggerated. But for the rest, this part did look exquisitely and flashy. I would also like to participate in that race. Ditto for the Doom location. To experience a death match on that planet must also be extremely energetic and exciting. But mainly Ready Player One is a huge wink and nostalgic look back on the 80s. And this in all sorts of areas. The music, the film, and the game world from this era are extensively praised. So the whole film is stuffed with references to it. The DeLorean from Back to the Future, a floating dance floor with the soundtrack of the Bee Gees, the Atari games, and a Joy Division t-shirt. And a multitude of famous characters who come to act as avatars in the VR world. You can be sure that every scene contains a reference. It's as if Steven Spielberg not only sends the heroes in search of the easter egg but also assigns the audience the same task. Find as many hidden references as possible.
If you are an avid gamer, you'll be thrilled by this film since most of it is purely a graphic spectacle. The opening scene where the world of OASIS is presented is a breathtaking and impressive spectacle. For others, it may be a bit too much. It's as if you're at a friend's house looking at the tube, while he's playing a super fantastic game. A little frustrating. But, I was amused by this movie. Apart from a few issues (I don't understand how Wade could get his installation working in the back of a van in the middle of a junkyard), for me, this film was really quite wonderful. And it was pretty self-explanatory that the girl behind the avatar Art3mis (Olivia "Me and Earl and the dying girl" Cooke) also be a natural beauty in RL. I'm not really a big fan of Steven Spielberg and think some of his films are really weak, but here he succeeds again in making my film heart beat faster. And not only because I'm actually a bit hooked on the VR phenomenon (even though it hasn't yet achieved the sharpness shown here). Ready Player One is a bit like The Goonies meets Tron. But with more technological wizardry and a different kind of treasure as a reward.
Who's Watching Oliver (2017)
A slasher film with a brilliant twist and a profound message.
"Who's watching Oliver" will certainly not be appreciated by everyone. It's a film about voyeurism, sadism and total insanity. At first sight, the film seems meaningless in terms of content. But as the film progresses, you'll conclude it contains a more pronounced message. The moment Oliver (Russell Geoffrey Banks) begins to abuse and torture a girl like a madman, under the watchful eye of his authoritarian mother (Margaret Roche), who's watching the whole show via a webcam, you assume that this is the umpteenth morbid torture film. But as soon as the handsome Sophia (Sara Malakul Lane) comes into the picture, the storyline tilts slightly. From that moment on it is no longer the Oliver who has to tolerate the whims of his mother, routinely take his two pills and goes off to search his next victim. No. Now he's the Oliver who realizes that there may be a way out of this violent existence.
Is "Who's watching Oliver" an excellent film? Well, I wouldn't say that. But it's a damn shocking and confusing film. Needless to say that I found the acting performance of Russell Geoffrey Banks sublime. The way he portrays Oliver is magisterial. That foolish expression on his face with his protruding lower jaw and crooked teeth. His silly glasses and backward combed greasy hair. The retarded mumbling and the in-mouth muttering. All this makes him look like a mentally disturbed individual. And the moment he bursts out laughing is both touching and frightening at the same time. The laughter of a fool or a schizophrenic madman. It's also obvious that Oliver's condition is directly related to his mother because she's on the same level. Also a totally insane woman. Even though we see Margaret Roche only on a monitor. The way in which she addresses the victims in a denigrating way and laughs with them felt outright diabolical. And the moment you find out what happened to her husband, you realize just how crazy this woman is.
And then you have the naïve and angelic Sophia who spontaneously seeks contact with Oliver in the amusement park. A place where Oliver comes to rest on a daily base. In retrospect, she's just another restless soul who's seeking comfort. It's not that you get a pronounced explanation about her past. But between the lines, you can assume that she also knew a past full of abuse and grief. Why Sophia approached him, ultimately remained a mystery to me. The final scene provides a variety of interpretations. Will Oliver escape from the grip of his mother at that moment? Or did he find his "partner in crime"? Your guess is as good as mine.
And there are more of those ambiguities. Why is Oliver wandering around in Thailand? And where does all that money to lure girls to his room come from? "Who's watching Oliver" is such a film where you as a viewer can't predict which direction it'll go. But if you leave out the explicit nude and bloody scenes, a fragile love story remains. But in a bizarre way. Everything feels rather absurd. Especially with that cheerful jazzy music playing while Oliver chopping up the dead bodies. And the daily trip to the amusement park in this Asian country emphasizes the absurdity of the whole. For those who love slasher films with a psychopathic character whose ruthless behavior causes bloody situations, this is definitely a must see. But this flick gives it a brilliant twist as well. Therefore it's no surprise this film has already won some rewards at a few film festivals.
A fun movie full of nonsense and total mayhem.
"Like my grandpappy always said: us assholes gotta stick together."
An obscure company conducting scientific experiments related to genetic manipulation on animals on a space station, get the horrible news something terrible has gone wrong. Then you see one of the female crew members getting away by means of an emergency capsule, while a terribly mutated rat is chasing her. And yes. She managed to secure some canisters with samples of the genetic material. Until the emergency capsule explodes and the samples end up on the earth. The result is a trio of random animals that bump into the canisters by accident and inhale a strange looking green smoke. And that is when trouble starts. The result is Chicago being reduced to rubble by the three cooperating giant monsters. Chased by the military and getting nuts due to some kind of radio signal that the obscure company broadcasts so they can regain the genetic material, the three primates leave a trail of destruction behind them.
It all sounds pretty bizarre and ridiculous. "Rampage" isn't meant to be taken seriously and you should watch it with your mind turned off. But boy, what a joy to watch it as soon as hell breaks loose. Occasionally I like to watch such a pulp film. You can look at it as a mixture of "San Andreas" with "Godzilla" and a King Kong movie. And who to ask best to play the leading role in such a film? Exactly. Dwayne Johnson. Not exactly an actor who you'd associate with high-quality films. But since "Jumanji: Welcome to the jungle" I appreciate this guy and realize that he has more qualities than just inflated biceps and an impressive chest. Perhaps his acting is sometimes terribly exaggerated and it's filled with some bad jokes. But I admit that it's a pleasure to see the man at work. The enthusiasm and his empathy are phenomenal.
However, the one who steals the show is the albino monkey, George. A computerized, motion-captured character who'll charm you from the start and guarantees some funny moments. It's a gorilla who masters sign language and who has a weird sense of humor. George fits perfectly with the rest of the film. It's utterly ridiculous and sheer nonsense packed in a destructive and action-rich whole. The supporting actors were already standing in George's shadow. But as this monkey starts to grow into something enormous and begins to slam things around, those supporting actors are really tiny, so to speak. The clash between the oversized George and the mutated alligator is brilliant and a joy to watch. It reminded me of those old monster movie like "King Kong v. Godzilla ". A clash between two titans in the city of Chicago. A city turned into a battlefield with those two creatures creating havoc.
"Rampage" is no more than an exorbitant disaster film, full of spectacle and sometimes enjoyable humor. The film is overloaded with improbabilities, you don't pay attention to after a while because you automatically shift into a sort of nonsense mood. I still don't understand why this multinational didn't use a remote facility with heavy surveillance to perform these genetic experiments. And why lure those huge, destructive creatures towards you? When an arsenal of military missiles doesn't even cause a scratch, how were they going to get the genetic material? But again, don't pay attention to that so you can enjoy this blockbuster, full of graphic wizardry and spectacle. It's certainly worth it.
Tomb Raider (2018)
Don't sulk Lara ... you're an adventuress.
"Vogel can't find the tomb without me,
and since I'm dead and...
since you've burned the rest of my research,
he will never find it."
I was actually looking forward to watching this new version of "Tomb Raider". Not only because I had a lot of fun with the PC game years ago (and amazed by the used graphics in those days). And not because Lara Croft was a hot and good looking video game character. Equipped with a couple of huge boobs, wearing tight hotpants and she used to make those horny little cries whenever she bumped into something. No wonder she had a large male fanbase. But also because I appreciated the film with Angelina Jolie. And at the same time, I was curious how her successor Alicia Vikander would handle it. And to be honest, that was the biggest letdown of the film for me. Not that Vikander acted badly (Good acting isn't really a requirement when playing a part in Tomb Raider. Right?). She just looked like an innocent teenager who first got slapped around during kickboxing and has fun with a chasing-game on her bike. And before you know it, she's traveling to Asia to follow a trail that leads her to a place where her father supposedly deceased and turns into some kind of ass-kicking female action-hero.
So they got rid of the sensuality and the over-the-top femininity. Don't get me wrong. I don't think it's really necessary, of course. But there should be a decent alternative instead. An intriguing and fascinating story, for example. Ultimately it's a female version of "Indiana Jones". But this time they've removed the facet of humor and replaced it with serious drama. Once Lara and her companion Lu Ren (Daniel Wu) arrive on the island, it's just Lara who continuously runs, jumps, dives, fights and tries to survive. It wasn't really exciting. And at certain times it seemed as if Lara possessed superhuman powers. I'm sure Wonder Woman would be jealous.
Perhaps it was intentionally done to present Lara Croft in this film as more serious and humane. For example, there's this dilemma about her signing some contracts which are important for the continued existence of "Croft Holdings". Particularly because signing these documents is actually a confirmation that Lara's father is really dead. Something Lara stubbornly denies since she's convinced he's still alive. But is a movie like "Tomb Raider" suitable for using such profoundly human themes? Not for me. I'm not waiting for that when I watch this type of movie. I want adventure and mysticism. A battle for life and death between heroes and "the bad guys". A trip through jungles and caves full of booby traps and difficult puzzles to solve. And that's the positive side of this film. The film is crammed with (sometimes slightly exaggerated) action scenes and riddles. And that corresponds to what one could experience in the PC game
"Tomb Raider" certainly isn't bad but didn't really impress me. This flick is perfect for a relaxing movie night. Even though the character Lara Croft has become immensely popular over the years thanks to the pioneering games from the 90s and the lascivious performance by Angelina Jolie, this film doesn't succeed in eliciting that same feeling. This shows once again that making a movie of a video game certainly isn't an easy task.
Death Wish (2018)
One wonders whether this remake was necessary or not.
Should I take the risk and watch a Bruce Willis movie again? All the previous films with this action hero were almost one by one (with the exception of "Once upon a time in Venice") sources of annoyance in which Bruce acted uninspired and without enthusiasm. I'm sure his facial expression showed more enthusiasm when he looked at his paycheck. But I thought, let's just bite the bullet and get this over with. And to be honest, this remake of "Death Wish" wasn't so bad. It's not possible for me to compare this movie with the series of films from the 70s and 80s with the legendary Charles Bronson, because I just can't remember ever having seen one of them. Maybe Bruce Willis is a kind of icon in Hollywood. But compared to Charles Bronson, he's just a teeny, tiny icon.
There's one thing he doesn't show here. And that's the lack of enthusiasm. I only had the impression that the part of Paul Kersey wasn't really written for him. It felt a little weird to see someone like Bruce Willis acting as a top surgeon who transforms into an angel of revenge, but shows total clumsiness and amateurism when it comes to handling firearms. While he has a past as a tough crime fighter who isn't afraid of harsh confrontations and gunfights. It's a bit like Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Twins". A role that also clashes a bit with Arnold's career as action-hero. I got nothing against an actor who wants to try something else in his career that's not in line with the expectations. However, this doesn't fit with some. The same applies to Willis.
The film doesn't surprise since it's based on the well-known clichés that occur in most revenge movies. You'll see the self-taught avenger evolve from a kind-hearted soul (Paul Kersey doesn't shrink from saving some scum's life who just killed a policeman) to a self-proclaimed judge with a ruthless vindictiveness. The sale of arms is also denounced here, where once again it's unambiguously shown how easy it is to get a deadly weapon. And of course, the police are too lax or too stupid to take action against the criminals. The coincidences also play a major role in this film. The highlight is a bowling ball on the loose. At that moment I didn't know whether this had a parodying function or was intended intentionally.
In these days when a lunatic starts shooting at a square-dancing crowd in Las Vegas or a frustrated teenager starts mowing down a dozen fellow students with daddy's automatic machine gun, you could argue that a movie like "Death Wish" is kind of unacceptable. And I'm sure some will become sarcastic about it and use this movie title and the term "N.R.A." in one slogan. To be honest, there will never be a good time to release a movie like "Death Wish". As long as the government of the U.S. refuses to see that the second amendment belongs to the era of the Wild West, the problem remains. Instead of arming every individual, they should send a stronger signal to criminally minded fellow men. Allow me to cough up a sarcastic remark myself. I'm sure that the N.R.A. watched it approvingly and sponsored this film. That way their conviction that one can only fight the bad guys by providing the good people with weapons, remains intact.
Compared to previous films where Bruce Willis showed up in, this film isn't really that bad. The only thing Willis is certainly not capable of is showing emotionality. How he responds to the news that his wife has died, raises questions. Has his profession as a surgeon made him numb? Or is it just Willis? "Death Wish" is a remake of a film that fitted in that particular era. The use of YouTube videos that go viral and at the same time Kerry who wears a hoodie won't make this a film that fits with our current conception of society. Let's hope Eli Roth made this film to provoke and stir up reactions. And hopefully, the statements about the mismanagement of weapon regulations by the busty blonde saleswoman at "Jolly Roger" were also fictional. However, I doubt the latter.
The Hurricane Heist (2018)
A dumb movie with some morons planning a heist during a hurricane
Sometimes a person wonders why nonsense movies like "The Hurricane Heist" are being made. It's a mixture of "American Heist" with "Into the Storm". Actually, this disaster film (all aspects of this movie are kind of a disaster by the way) looks like "Den of Thieves". Here too a gang of criminals get the bright idea of stealing money which is doomed to go through the paper shredder. Money that's about to be taken out of circulation and so no longer will exist. Only the savvy bank robbers hoped that the authorities would think that the stolen money (squeezed in three whoppers of trucks) disappeared because of an onrushing hurricane (category 5). The amount of money they want to steal is around $ 600 million. The makers had better raised their budget with a few million too, so they could improve the rattling script, a few failing actors and the lousy special effects. At some level it really was a disaster.
So, you won't be blown away by "The Hurricane Heist". However, the beginning was very promising. A flashback in which the young Will and Breeze try to escape from another impressive hurricane, together with their father. An ill-considered and stupid decision makes that the boys have to watch with dismay how their father is being steamrolled by a flying silo. Trust me. There are more stupidities to admire in this film. This disastrous event affects the lives of both boys to some extent. Will (Toby "Kong / Koba" Kebbell) becomes an experienced and expert meteorologist (although he's more of a storm chaser). After all these years he still tries to find the cause of these weather phenomena. And of course a solution to prevent them. Probably a sort of Freudian reaction to save his father after all these years. Breeze (Ryan Kwanten) is completely the opposite. A fatalistic nobody with a "je mon fou" attitude. Probably he tries to forget the event in this way.
Will should have checked with the robbers. Apparently they were initiates in the secrets of the origin of hurricanes. You have to be a Nobel Prize winner to know weeks beforehand that in the vicinity of a U.S. Treasury facility a hurricane of category 5 will show up. And they could determine exactly that the eye of the hurricane would cross that place. The timing was crucial. Otherwise they wouldn't know when to hack the paper shredder (ever heard of a paper shredder connected to the internet?) and disable them so that the money would pile up. What follows is a "Die Hard"-like rescue operation with the meteorologist Will playing the role of knight in shining armor who's willing to help the lovely, female security guard Casey (Maggie "Aftermath" Grace) in derailing this inventive, malicious plan.
The gang is led by the self-assured Perkins (Ralph Ineson). The most humane bank robber I've ever seen in a movie. This villain doesn't want the robbery to become a bloodbath. So everyone is neutralized with a sedative they probably use for elephants I guess. He also has an exceptionally deep voice. I'm sure the singer of The Crash Test Dummies would be jealous. What this gang has not taken into account is the fact that hurricane Tammy has a sense of justice. It always acts in favour of the honest trio. The bank robbers fall prey to the rough elements of nature and they have to hold on to anything they can grab. While cars are blown away like feathers by Tammy, you see our heroes calmly standing with still a perfect looking hairstyle. The hubcaps Will uses as a projectile, won't hit him in the face, but are accurately flying around the corner by use of the powerful hurricane. And wait for the scene in a mall where the roof is torn off and our heroes are catapulted into the air while hanging on a cable. And next you'll see them descending as angels on a rope. No need to say it doesn't end well for the bad guys. In other words, it looks ridiculous sometimes.
"Hurricane heist" may be about a category 5 hurricane. The film itself is no more than a weak low pressure area. Perhaps it all looks action packed and swirling (how appropriate). And perhaps it's a film where exceeding the limit of credibility is allowed. But this was a bit exaggerated. To be honest, already from the beginning I had a feeling this movie might be a disaster. The moment a skull appeared in the black storm clouds (something similar as in "The Mummy"), I was sure of it. Indeed, "Hurricane Heist" is about a robbery during a hurricane. But it sure isn't "The perfect hurricane heist".
A revenge-movie at best. Bloody with stylish footage.
Even for your tiny little oyster brain, it shouldn't be too difficult to understand.
So, I'll ask you again.
Did my height change since yesterday ?
I was watching "Revenge" already for a while and I was still wondering who played Richard. I was stunned when I found out it's Kevin Janssens. He appeared on Belgian Television for years in well-known Belgian TV series such as "Vermist" and recently "Salamander". I was completely surprised to see this Belgian actor in a sadistic, partly French-spoken revenge film à la "I spit on your grave". That's one thing I was enthusiastic about. But to be honest, I thought the film was sometimes a bit too much.
For many, a rape-revenge movie is not exactly something they were waiting for. Personally I thought "I spit on your grave" was a bit too disgusting to watch and the rape scene was too realistic. In fact, this last shocking film can be divided into two parts. The revenge part is almost equivalent in time to the terrible first part. On that level I found "Revenge" more bearable and the woman-unfriendly part is more limited in time. The survival and revenge part covers most of the film. But this part is so full of improbabilities and exaggerated actions that it seems rather laughable.
Do you believe that films made by Quentin Tarantino such as "Kill Bill" or "From dusk till dawn" use a ridiculous amount of blood on screen? Well, you'll be surprised here. The main characters have an impressive amount of blood. I'm sure that employees of a blood bank will burst into tears at the sight of all that wasted life-juice. Vincent Castiglia could paint a mega-oeuvre with it. The blood flows in such amount, that I felt they should wear some flip-flops so that they wouldn't start sliding and break their neck. Admittedly, I like films that are rather bloody. But this was also a little bit over the top.
And that wasn't the only thing I looked at in disbelief. At one point it seemed as if I had been catapulted back to my youth, watching an episode of "Roadrunner". With Jen (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz) as poor Wile E. Coyote, who always got his butt kicked. No matter what this cartoon figure had to endure (a chest of dynamite that exploded in his hands or a gigantic rock that crushed him into a dime), the darn coyote appeared in the next fragment intact again. Similarly Jen, who makes a fall which was (in my opinion) impossible to survive. And the gruesome wound, which is fatal for most victims, didn't seem to bother her that much anymore after a while. Let alone how she resolves this painful problem. But this, and other, nauseating, bloody scenes ensure that little bit of realism.
In itself, "Revenge" isn't really a film that only revolves around revenge. For Jen, the most important thing is to survive and not to get caught by these ruthless hunters. The fact that these macho men ultimately find themselves on the short end, isn't only because of their overconfidence and underestimating their female opponent, but also because Jen's self-defense instinct comes into effect. I also thought it was fantastic how the film completely transforms the image of Jen. From a lascivious, scantily clad and temptingly dancing, self-confident young woman, into a wounded and fierce fighting female Rambo with a hell of a killer instinct. From sex object to a dangerous Lara Croft. Matilda Lutz, for me a totally unknown actress, fits perfectly in both roles.
Don't expect a revenge movie to be filled with intellectual dialogues and a magnificent storyline. The principle is dead simple. An individual is abused in a certain way. She or he manages to escape from his or her attackers. And then takes revenge as cruel as possible. The only thing that can distinguish such a film from similar films, is the creativity and the gore being used during the revenge sequences. "Revenge" still has an additional asset. And that's the way in which everything was imaged. The shimmeringly hot, golden brown desert that contrasts with bright colors. Like the pink and blue windows in the weekend house. The light blue leather jacket from Richard (Kevin Janssens) and the red sexy bikini from Jen. But especially the richly flowing bright red colored blood. And all of this is done together with a subtle montage of short close-up fragments such as a rotting apple, ants hiding for dripping blood, someone chewing a bar of chocolate, the shadow of moving jeeps and the urinating on a desert insect. In short, an ugly story wrapped in a stylistic framework. In this time of indictments against improper sexual behavior, "Revenge" will be the cause of a lot of discussions. I only hope that the members of the "Me Too" movement, won't apply such practices on their assailants.
Bullet Head (2017)
"Cujo" meets "Reservoir Dogs" according to some.
Beware of still water or a silent dog."
I'm sure they meant well while creating "Bullet Head". But the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The end result may be called original and quirky, but there are also a few flaws in this film full of wellknown moviestars. Did Adrien Brody and John Malkovich (respectively Oscar winner and repeatedly nominated actor) opt for the easy money? I had that feeling sometimes about Antonio Banderas while watching him play in "Security", "Acts of Vengeance" and "Black Butterfly" for example (although he's not of the same caliber as Bruce Willis). So I found that quite obvious. Adrien Brody also has some misses to his name (remember "American Heist" ?). But I didn't expect this from a legendary actor like John Malkovich (who stole the show in "Unlocked" and "Cut Bank"). But, looking back on this fairly unknown film, there's more to it than just a clichéd tough-guy routine and flashy action scenes. As someone mentioned somewhere, it's a mix of "Reservoir Dogs" and "Cujo".
To be honest, I thought the main story was the least interesting. Three robbers who are forced to hide in an abandoned warehouse where they are waiting for new transport. To their horror they discover that the empty building was once a place where illegal dog fights were organized. And such a bloodthirsty specimen walks freely around in the building and instinctively starts chasing the three unfortunate criminals. Probably conditioned by animal-unfriendly practices and transformed into an insane fighting machine. And that's when Antonio Banderas shows up. He's the owner of this schizophrenic beast and looks like a tough guy from the criminal underworld.
This sounds promising. Trapped criminals and a foam drooling killer dog who loves to tear them into pieces. And a kingpin in a long black coat and leather gloves who's waving dangerously with an automatic gun when he discovers that the three have accidentally found his money in this dilapidated building. Ultimately, this part of the film complements the most important theme. And that's actually about these three robbers and their attitude towards animals. And also the mutual respect that can arise between humans and animals. "Bullet Head" is richly filled with dialogues between the three cornered robbers. The conversations between Adrien Brody and John Malkovich are entertaining. Especially the individual stories they tell each other are on the one hand hilarious and on the other hand very moving. The story of Malkovich and his tropical fish is extreme funny.
I don't know why the dog got the name De Niro (which would also be the film title initially). Maybe because the dog has a muscular physique and a notorious reputation. Or because the name matches the star cast. The only one who doesn't have an extensive repertory to his name yet, is Rory Culkin (who in my opinion delivered a better acting performance in "Jack goes home"). If you expect an action-packed crime film, you'll be a bit disappointed. Apart from the exciting confrontation between Brody and the imposing fighter dog, with a piano drawing all attention, it's mainly the dialogues that play a central role. All in all it was an entertaining film.