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Men in Black: International (2019)
Remember Men in Black?
Ok, so 22 years ago Men in Black was out. It was a fun yet grounded sci-fi comedy with good relatable characters working great off each other, a simple story with good dialogues and interactions, a bunch of great ideas about space, discovery and the relativity of big and little things. Very simple, but effective. Surely it wasn't perfect, but one can still go re-watch it for the pure nostalgia, simple comedy, young Will Smith's charisma, simple practical effects, and a great soundtrack.
I really don't want to compare this to the first one, but MiB: International really tries to reinvent the first MiB movie. And it fails so hard. The story is incredibly unengaging, just so dull and uninteresting. No new big fresh ideas, no interesting discovery. Like come on, you have MiB on your hands, do something interesting with it.
The characters are totally unrelatable. Agent M is a Mary Sue, Rey from Star Wars, a perfect character that knows everything and can do anything she wants, without spending any time or effort to be this way. Agent H is pretty much Hemsworth playing his Kevin character from Ghostbusters 2016. Just a brainless handsome dude who provides some eye candy for the ladies. At first, I thought they are trying to pull off reverse sexism of some sort, but they dropped that off pretty fast. 1997 duo had chemistry because Jay was a young inexperienced yet extraordinary young man, while Kay was old, experienced and chill mentor-like character, they balanced each other perfectly. These new ones are pretty much the same one character, with no likable qualities whatsoever.
The world of the movie feels shallow and in no way it interacts with MiB themselves, it's just sets, locations. The first movie had a city full of secrets, aliens, and galaxies within. The world and the aliens reacted and interacted with MiB, they had their place in it. A role, an objective. They were the protectors. They were limited in number and thus much more identifiable. Here they just exist, more, they even have international offices, flooding the MiB with so many unnecessary characters and nicknames I wonder how they deal with that in terms of the alphabet (besides uppercase and lowercase).
It's overloaded with locations, it just feels blown up and all over the place, not as grounded as the previous one, yet they don't expand in other ways, they don't use space, time, anything.
There's a lot of action, but these days it's not easy to impress the audience with action scenes. They use a lot of CGI as well, and partially this ruins the atmosphere that could've been built with practical effects.
While not in action scenes, these characters talk. And it's cringy. Messy dialogue, awkward scenes of MiB superiors acting like little kids, lots of stupidity. I think I laughed once in the whole movie, but it's pretty much every man to his own taste.
It kind of gets slower and more boring closer to the end, and then just rushed straight to it. It ends so fast even the editing gets choppy.
In an alternate Universe, where MiB doesn't exist and this is the first movie in the franchise, I think such a movie would work. But in our Universe, it's just a bland nostalgia cash-in deprived of story, characters, charisma and anything likable.
A movie to feel, to perceive
A small simple movie about hope, survival, doing all it takes and doing it all again. The script was basic, the locations were appropriate, it's not too long, the ending was predictable, and I was sure they were not going to take any risks with this (could've been cool though).
The thing is, I don't think this movie should be reviewed with a set of basic tools. It's more of an experience, Mikkelsen's performance really allows you to get into his shoes, feel what he is feeling, think what he is thinking. It's easy to understand him, to identify with him.
You can't really expect too much story or dialogue in this kind of movie (or even backstory), but I still enjoyed it for what it was. Simple and straight.
Dark Phoenix (2019)
A very confused movie
This was very messy. I love dark movies, but it was way too dark for me, literally, most of the shots are barely lit at all. The story was all over the place as much as it was totally confusing. First, I have no idea WHEN this takes place compared to other X-men movies, some of the things that happen here (no spoilers) make it even more confusing, especially if you've seen X-men: Apocalypse. Second, I was able to understand WHAT was going on only after I read x-men wiki about Vuk and D'Bari in general. Third, the WHY was also messed up because I was given no WHEN. So, when trying to understand Jean Grey, I was not exactly sure which of the Greys is being presented, the old Grey one? the First Class one?
It felt choped up, some of the X-men went off character several times, their motivations change multiple times in a course of one action scene or so. There is no flow to this movie. It's structure feels very ruptured or even misplaced.
The action was ok (confusing at times though), and the CGI was done well, I guess. The X-men use their powers in a creative way and most of them have something to do most of the time, but not always, like Nightcrawler was given a very weak and made up emotional moment with a special forces guy he barely knows, so lackluster.
Anyway, after the final fight has ended...the movie just stopped. This has one of the most lifeless and unemotional endings I've ever seen in a film. They literally had nothing to tell us.
Remember Logan? Polar opposites.
Captive State (2019)
Cool 30 mins of story watered by 1 hour of people doing stuff with music
First of all, beautiful movie. Great cinematography, color correction, nice locations. Looks and feels good for its budget that's for sure.
The first like 40 minutes were almost unwatchable, really messy dialogue combined with people doing stupid things with "tension" music playing over. At some point, I thought this was meant to be a comedy or a satire. But no, it's serious.
These first 40 or so minutes were so unfocused I barely understood what was going on. The movie also borrowed from (or was inspired by) the classics, like the Matrix movie (style and color correction) and the idea of resistance from Half-life 2 video game. The latter was very obvious in the style and overall presentation.
After such an introduction the movie gets a little confused and starts moving the plot, kind of, completely abandoning it 30 mins or so later. This really felt like bits of the story were stitched together. It's like the movie had an intro and an outro, almost like a video game.
The twist of the movie becomes fairly obvious after the two important plot devices are introduced, and by the end, it goes slow motion one more time, but at that point, you kind of got used to people doing stuff with music so it's fine.
Not a complete waste of time, and once again, beautifully shot, but I'd really enjoy these characters getting more developed rather than getting 20 min long scenes of people sharing messages in the most stupid ways possible.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
I appreciate it for what it was but it just didn't work for me
This was a very well made movie. They pulled off a good job trying to mash all the characters into the film, and the movie just had to have a huge epic battle in the end. Otherwise, most audiences would instantly hate the movie. They tried to give all the characters something to do like they did in Infinity War, and it worked (yet they had to get rid of Captain Marvel for most of the movie to have this structure somewhat functional, like DC did with Superman in Justice League).
They've established that their time travel is different from other movies, but it still felt inconsistent and confusing. Long story short this just allowed them to shape the story as they needed it without the need to follow basic time travel rules.
Infinity War worked because it was a basic comic book movie with a twist ending nobody expected and an untypical villain. This one was reverted to basics. I knew they were doing time travel, but I thought that they would play this around Thanos and his re-thinking of his decisions from other time parallels. This never happened, even more, his character in the past is much more cliche and uninteresting (also much more stronger than without the gauntlet).
All the drama didn't work for me either. They always put a joke here and there to lighten up the tension and just because most of the characters are basic superheroes who spill one-liners here and there. Thus, all the dramatic moments were sacrificed to stay in-line with the characters.
The epic battle was confusing and felt like the mess they did in Ready Player One, just tons of hours of CGI artists' work. It's just me, but I get bored fast of these things. This is why all the fan service of putting all the characters into the movie didn't work for me. Infinity War had them all grouped and positioned for better understanding, here it's just a mess. But they really couldn't do this otherwise anyway.
I genuinely enjoyed only three moments in this movie, Tony Stark talking to his father in 1970, Thanos seeing the memories from the parallel timeline of his success and his death (which they wasted anyway later making him even more stupid than a basic comic book villain, hence his dialogue), and Cpt. America acting up "Heil, Hydra" in the elevator. These were amazing.
Other than that, even fat Thor and the Hulk hating stairs didn't even break a smile on my face (as most of the out of place humor). The theater actually laughed more when Red Skull said "Welcome, Natasha, daughter of Ivan." I live in Ukraine and these names are very basic for us, so it just sounded like he'd say "Welcome, Jenny, daughter of Billy".
Anyway. I did not feel the satisfaction or the emotion I thought I would. Stark's sacrifice was justified, yet again, the drama in this movie didn't work for me. I didn't feel changed emotionally and for me this means that this movie was unable to touch me in the rights places.
Triple Frontier (2019)
The setup was good, but the movie never really got even to the second act. It felt like it just paused right after all the introductions.
Again, this is nothing new, Netflix movies are often like this. Good cast, beautifully shot, empty in essence or plot. Run time is also an important factor in these, most of them are around 2 hours for no real reason but some sort of internal requirements of the production.
What sucks is that they had the talent to play good characters, they just weren't written into the movie. So even by the end you don't know any of the guys (besides greed being their only motivation) and they often contradict themselves in their actions.
The ending is understandable but it sort of defeats the purpose of the whole movie. I mean, the moral of the story is on the nose anyway.
Although I enjoyed how grounded the movie was, I don't think I will remember this movie in a week or so.
Don't Leave Home (2018)
A good short story stretched x10
This could've been a good short for a horror compendium like V/H/S or Southbound. Instead they stretched it out while not filling the gaps with anything interesting, some characters had no development at all, and the mechanics of this mystery are left unclear.
It had some good looks and views, some good and some bad acting, the story was comprehensible, but the ending, while being predictable, still feels a little confusing on why it worked like it did. Overall, this still isn't a good watch even for the fans of small horror/mystery.
This movie is a lot to talk about (spoiler-free)
First of all, this movie is a much better experience for new viewers than it is for the people who watched the first two movies. I think it plays different for the people who are more familiar with the comic and thus are used to its style, cause I've heard that it is more faithful to the material it is based on (haven't seen the comics myself). It is also important to note that this movie looks and feels like it was around 4 hours long initially (maybe even a series) and was heavily cut.
The plot in this is just a vehicle for character introduction,as it happens in many movies. This one handles it poorly. I'm ok with having a couple of flashbacks to fill me in on what's going on, but here they take around 30% of the movie combined. Besides this, the characters themselves dump a lot of expository dialogue. There is a couple of scenes where the characters do an actual real dialogue but it's not enough. A good story is told through character dialogue and interactions, not through simple exposition and tons of flashbacks. I know this was done for new audiences though. This way, we know who the characters are and where they came from, but we don't know their essence at all. So when they start to express themselves this is where it gets really confusing. This threads the whole movie as well.
Like Hellboy himself, one time he's talking about being a weapon, a misfit and that he has his own way. Yet people's attitude towards him is still unclear, people kind of know about him, but they never show any disgust or fear towards him, more like slight surprise (opposed to Del Toro's version, where it was clear). Fast forward to him gloriously killing humans left and right. The Queen's intentions were also unclear, she was never seductive or deceptive. This was so underplayed, they never make you doubt, believe her, because she has no clear motivation and she's not a character. This is when I understood that:
There are no character interactions or chemistry between them. This way, the plot just drives itself to introduce the non-existent characters through exposition and flashbacks, yet they still end up underdeveloped and don't play off each other at all. Seems simply bad? But no, not quite. There is one more important element here.
The style. Del Toro's movies are always rich with his style and ideas, the shine with it. The first Hellboy and the sequel were both audio-visually rich and stylish. The production design was probably divorced from the source material, but it had it's own style. This one either has no style and vision at all or was intentionally made to look this way. This shows everywhere, weird jump cuts, tonal shifts, out of place music tracks, questionable design decisions and more. It hurts much more if you're familiar with the first two movies.
What else is there? Humor? I watched this on Saturday night, the city's only IMAX wasn't even half full, yet there were some relatively young groups of people. I wasn't laughing just as everyone else. Maybe I can blame the dubbing for some of the bad jokes though. At times I caught myself thinking: "wait, that was a joke, right?"
CGI quality ranged from free animation presets from YouTube to pretty well done ones. They probably didn't have enough budget so they've decided to spend more money on more important characters and scenes and make the less important ones "watchable". I mean, Gruagach was awesome and the giants were horrible.
The action was not only very shaky, it was filmed like a bad video game cutscene. They wanted to make it flow by introducing long shots with constant camera movement but this just made it so confusing at times I was unable to tell what is going on. The ending action scene actually made me yawn just because I was so uninterested in what was going on.
I didn't get used to the new Hellboy look yet as well, in some scenes he was looking like a dead guy, like a corpse of the Red Skull, but I guess this represents his comic look better? I don't know. His hair was also very weird. Can't say much about his personality since he didn't get much characterization here anyway. They do play the old "father-son" relationship and the adolescence drama but they forgot to tell the audience that Hellboy is supposed to be a kid (yet again, opposed to Del Toro's version). This is super important to know.
It looks like I'm just bashing on this movie, so I do want to say that I liked some of the stuff. Some practical effects in some shots were good and Baba Yaga was cool (liked her even more since I live in Ukraine and she is also a part of our folklore). Gore was a good thing to see in modern cinema, but at times it even felt too much. Also, some of the creatures were really cool, but I can't really say more since they fall under spoilers category.
Overall, this was either just an incompetent movie, or a faithful adaptation that tried to be more of a comic and less of a movie. I know that they've put in two post-credit scenes, but I was so bored I didn't feel like watching them. And seeing the response this movie gets, I don't think we will see sequels any time soon.
I really hope that it was intentionally made this way and this is what it should be...Then I can just say that I loved the first one much, much more.
Green Book (2018)
Tries to pull off a safe approach to a complicated issue (spoiler-free)
This was a good film and on an EMOTIONAL LEVEL I did enjoy it. The performances were amazing yet I loved Mortensen's one better (hard to believe he's Danish).
The big problem about it though is that it tries to be too safe and kid-friendly. At times it really feels like it was written as a cristmas miracle story for kids to enjoy.
It kind of wants be a serious story about the morale and the people of the time, but everyone besides the main duo are too cartoonish to be beliveable. It kind of brings up the issues of racial segregation but it's afraid to show real racist white people and the negatives from the other side. It shows hard working African Americans on the field to give contrast to the Doc (and to show later that he doesn't feel like he belongs to anyone, even his own people) but it falls into some sort of social justice commentary, when the whole point of capitalism was to give equal opportunities, so if the Doc was educated, worked hard and was paid well it doesn't mean he has to feel guilty before those hardworking farmers. The YMCA reveal scene was kind of made to show why Frank is called "Tonly Lip" but the set up was so unnecessary forced I can't really tell why they went for it in the first place. The ending was cartoonish and family friendly, which is ok, but it really goes on big stretches with some stuff, like the Doc wishing a Merry Christmas to his butler Amit, who's clearly far from being a christian, I mean... You see? It's clearly trying to hard not to offend anyone.
I loved that movie, mostly for the duo, the dialogue and overall chemistry between them, great stuff. But the social commentary, the simplification, the idea behind making this a "based on a true story" movie... If they were real people - show us what they were, if not - make this a separate story "inspired" by real events.
I just wish it was so much more grounded, I'd enjoy it much more.
Open Grave (2013)
Almost reaches it
Great opening, nice set up, good direction and acting at first. Sadly, as it keeps going you kind of start losing interest a little since it becomes somewhat disconnected and it loses its focus while repeating itself. Nice characters, even though not all of them had enough screen time. Maybe if they would've re-structured it a little it would've worked better, probably.
In any case, this was made with care and it shows. Compare this one to tens of good looking movies Netflix buys/produces today and this one will surely prevail.
Still recommended watch if you're in a mood for some light mystery drama that won't blow your mind but will still entertain.
Just a movie about all men being rapists
Nothing particularly interesting, really. The script is confusing on its own (with lots of deals/dealbreakers, double crosses and stock manipulations and is also riddled with holes that make it even less understandable. Nothing feels close to reality, characters are inconsistent, their reactions and motives are random and unrealistic, the action is shot incompetently, there's lots of forced dialogue and drama. The product placement made me smile though, they really wanted to have as much as possible in some scenes.
The message of the movie, however, is very clear - all men are rapists and their only intent is to rape you. You have to fight back (which they do in a very unconvincing way in the movie). I mean, if you want to show a strong woman overpowering men do it like they did it in Atomic Blonde, the action there was so grounded yet so intense.
I mean, I can go further into explaining why this movie doesn't work, but I don't think this movie is worth it. I like to criticize good movies in detail, but this one just wasn't good.
I'm only sad for Noomi Rapace, they clearly wasted good acting talent with their movie.
Await Further Instructions (2018)
Bait and switch
Wow, I actually god tricked by somewhat good direction for like the first 30% of the movie. Then it all just shatters completely. It's not long before you understand the super straightforward message they are trying to deliver. Around 1 hr in the script ended and it sort of just dragged along for another 30 mins of nothing (they just kept repeating themselves in cause you're completely braindead so you won't understand what they mean). It lets you know in advance that there will be no interesting resolution, so you won't get disappointed anyway.
None of the characters make any sense and they change their decisions so often you can' really take them seriously. The effects are passable yet some of the stop motion was just too hard to believe. I actually feel bad that I let myself get baited on this one.
P.S. Kudos to the writers for writing the most ignorant and disgusting character I've ever seen in a movie (and I've seen lots of them) - the dad. They should've called this - "Hateful Ignorance: The Movie"
Trench 11 (2017)
Didn't get me hooked
I can see the effort behind this movie, and it kind of looks ok for a low budget project.
But as it goes on it just fails at everything (with an exception being probably some of the acting and some of the practical effects, which are good for a low budget movie).
There are so many things that could've been improved without buffing the budget. The bunker itself doesn't project any claustrophobia, it's very wide and clean; even though the uniforms represent the time period everyone looks like an actor, a model, instead of a soldier of the Great War ending. There is no suspense, the mystery dies off very fast, some of the scenes are shot incompetently.
I mean, isn't the art of moviemaking after all like squeezing the most out of your opportunities? I can go and re-watch the original Terminator and still enjoy it, and Cameron had no budget to back that up as well.
This is a good example of a movie that felt great in the director's mind and on paper, but crumbled when they started bringing it to life.
I hope the director will grow on this and his future projects will improve (and I wish him a bigger budget to back that up).
True Detective: Now Am Found (2019)
I see some people getting disappointed over the ending but I'm not disappointed at all. I knew how it will end, I predicted like 90% of the finale in my review of the previous episode (you can check my reviews if you're not lazy).
Yep, the story was as simple as I thought it was. What's even more fun is that while I knew that there will be no real mystery and no deep or shocking ending, they still managed to stretch the finale and make it so slow and diluted I wasn't sure it was ever going to end.
I appreciate the season for what it is though. They tried to do something else, they failed, it's ok. The production, the cinematography, the make up and the acting were great. Roland West is not my next fav character after Marty and Rust. The only problem of the season is that this concept just doesn't work. Having a very basic and predictable story and building hours of slow dialogue on top of it just isn't a great experience. A viewer will get bored eventually.
As for the episode itself, it had even more forced dialogue, some of which (like the Hoyt scene) was yet another empty cliffhanger follow-up that lead absolutely nowhere. The overly happy ending was a little forced, but I can deal with that.
Overall, I can't say this was worse than S2, but I'm quite sure I'm not going to try to re-watch this ever again.
Amateur film-making (in a bad way)
I've seen the original Suspiria and I enjoyed it in a special way.
This one I did not enjoy at all. The story was very basic and it could've been done in about 90 mins. I mean, this would've been a passable movie about witches, not good, but watchable.
Instead they call it Suspiria, tie it with the original in many ways (even having the original lead play a different role in this one only to confuse you) and crank the run time up to 2 hours and 30 minutes.
At first I thought it was just a way of atmosphere building, but no. There are so many scenes of people walking, waiting, rehearsing, flashbacking, indistinguishable nightmares that lead nowhere and mean nothing and all of these are stretched fourfold. Lots of pointless scenes, forced dialogue and characters, unnecessary symbolism that provides for childish-level social commentary and even a post-credit scene (a very stupid one) to bait sequels and to troll you. So much wrong...
Let's get this straight, a movie is a form of art, especially a movie of a specific genre for a specific audience. Some things work and some don't, and if you manage to get something to work in your movie where everyone else fail - you are a talented filmmaker.
But just piling up scenes of whatever comes to your mind when you're drunk or high does not qualify for art. I'm sorry I have to say this. If something happens in a movie, this means that you have something to tell, to show us. The perspective and the tone is important to project your view of the thing you're showing us. Let us think of what you're showing, plant a seed in a viewer's mind, a thought, an idea, a question.
It really feels like someone approached the director and said - put everything in this, we don't care, here's the money. Just show us how much random stuff you can put it. I mean, at some point after the very obvious and disappointing resolution with Jedi decapitations (hi, Nearly Headless Nick) I wasn't sure if the movie is really going to at all. Why didn't the director just look at a mirror (embracing the movie's symbolism) and said - "It's time to stop"?
This was very bad, and the saddest part is that the movie thinks it's smart or artistically enriched. (I mean, it doesn't even qualify for a style over substance movie, I love some of style over substance movies, like A cure for wellness).
While watching this I wanted to say that I liked some things it had, but when I finished it - I took back my decision. I mean, the style elements worked great at first, the color grading, the film grain, the overall atmosphere of the time period, the lighting. But after enduring 2 more hours of barely lit senseless scenes...I can't. (And the overall 1.85 : 1 aspect ratio gimmick didn't work for me, especially watching this on a 21:9 display).
True Detective: The Final Country (2019)
Predicted most of the stuff in this episode though
Even though this episode didn't give us much, as they all do, the finale is pretty obvious by now.
Hoyt's daughter lost her child and to help her cope with this they were paying out Lucy and O'Brien to "rent" Julie as a replacement daughter or something. Seems like Tom didn't know anything, at least for some time (and Julie was convinced that he knew by someone else). At some point they wanted to have Julie for good and they kidnapped her, the boy tried to protect her and was probably accidentally killed in the process. At some point Julie was released (she got more and more free roam through the building, as indicated by the maid) and she even contacted Hoyt on several occasions to get more money from the family. She called the hotline for one of these reasons, either because she thought that her father has sold her or because she wanted to protect him because she knew what happened to her mother after she called Harris James to extort the family and got killed in Vegas.
The one-eyed kidnapper was upset at Amelia because she presented the facts wrong in her book, since he was actually caring about Julie and only wanted good for her.
All that is left now is for Hays to remember how he lost Amelia and for his brain to completely collapse with all the timelines mixed.
The Discovery (2017)
If you love low budget sci-fi with interesting ideas - this is a miss for you
They bait you into thinking that this will provide for some interesting ideas for you to reflect on, but nope.
The main problem is that the story doesn't hold. I mean, the message of the movie is good and inspiring, but the story is just a mess that is full of holes.
They just took one good old movie and re-told it slightly adjusting the focus. I won't spoil it for you so check this out if you're interested anyways.
But be warned, this movie is slow and packs quite a run time. What's more interesting is that they actually stretch it out intentionally, it has a lot of unnecessary scenes they should've cut and it wouldn't hurt the movie. Probably they had a run time to meet or something.
The dialogue is often forced, some scenes are written so badly they are barely believable. Also, the lead seriously underperforms, his acting is unconvincing and he is unable to deliver emotional moments (you'll see).
If you're a hardcore sci-fi fan, the ending will disappoint you (mostly because of how random it is). But you will know long before that the movie is going nowhere.
Just end it already
The structure of "slight continuation on a cliffhanger -> slow dialogue from 3 timelines -> new cliffhanger to be slightly elaborated on in the next one" continues.
The story sort of moves, but if you pay closer attention, you'll see that it doesn't. What we know for sure is that the man with a scar who was meeting the kinds in the woods (not even the kidnapper) has surfaced (at the book presentation) and that he might be connected to the absence of Amelia (was surprised to see the first Mr. X from the X-files). The pink castle exists and Julie was probably held there for some time. Her father, Tom, obviously didn't see Julie in there cause she was nowhere to be found and she was clearly out of the castle for quite some time, wandering with "the group". This suggests that Julie's mother knew more than she ever told anyone before she died. Harris James was obviously bribed to plant the evidence with a job opportunity in Hoyt Foods and Gerald Kindt is also in this somehow. The kidnapping itself is either a basic "rich men fetishes" story (I seriously doubt they would go for occult stuff again) or something more, but the latter will be hard to substantiate since the story didn't move at all and there are no enough facts and clues to make such an ending believable. O'Brien as well as Tom Purcell were both probably killed by Harris James. We are still 6 episodes in and the boy's death is still not explained even by a bit.
They have now two ways they can follow, either make up something completely random to surprise everyone who thought the story was as basic as it gets (and fail, because again, we had only those little portions of actual story spoon fed to us). Or go with something basic and grounded as the things I suggested above.
I sort of got used to the structure of the series, and now I just want it deliver a somewhat of an ending, but I'm afraid we will not be getting a real "villain" at all. I think the whole addition of the third (2015) timeline is necessary only so the ending can take place there, Hays remembering what happened and finally dying in peace or something like that, cause if you backtrack the aired episodes you can see that the whole 2015 timeline is there only to provide for character interactions and dialogue.
The next episode will surely focus on 2015 timeline, bringing Becca Hays into play since we've only had a glimpse of her up to date. It will end by slightly moving the cliffhanger we had in this episode while the rest of the resolution will happen in the last episode.
Look Away (2018)
Perfect fetish movie disguised as a psychological thriller (light spoilers)
There's a lot to talk about in this movie. And I'm not sure my English is good enough to express everything.
First of all, I'm not exactly sure, but it doesn't look like sex was the prism through which the movie is supposed to be projected. So I think I can judge these additional fetish elements as mostly being there for the director's pleasure.
I mean, Assaf Bernstein does know his stuff. This has lots of fetish themes: many schoolgirl almost-upskirt and other quite uncomfortable shots, teenage girl touching herself, insane amounts of gratuitous nudity (I mean, the lead actress is stunning, but we really don't need to see her naked breasts so much), some Nabokov's Lolita themes and more. I feel uncomfortable even trying to list these.
The plot didn't feel believable at all. It was hard for me to believe in a beautiful young rich lady going to rich school by bus, getting bullied and overall not enjoying her perfect life. Well, I guess this can happen. And she acts like that because she was abused by the fetus of her unborn deformed twin sister? (I guess, but I'm not sure).
There was a moment in the middle of the movie where I completely lost her motivation and started getting more and more confused why is she doing what she's doing. This is where the horror/psycho element came into play and it kind of worked great. Even more to it, every major character in this movie had a purpose and was essential. Best friend rivalry, jealousy, adolescent angst and more, everything was projected through these characters onto our lead while she struggled to find a balance in life.
I'm really not sure why people struggle with the ending though, it was explained by the most obvious basic symbolism possible.
Bernstein is a true master, he managed to pull together a good atmospheric and moody movie based on a bad script while enjoying every second of filming sweet looking schoolgirls from behind.
I mean, I can't really call him a pervert since the movie is not there only to serve these scenes, it's much more on its own. In other words, this is a perfect mix of moody visuals, interesting emotional manifestations and lots of sexual fetish eye candy (and slutty schoolgirls if you're into this stuff :D).
The trailer fooled me
Or did I miss something?
I had totally different expectations after I've seen the trailer. I thought this was going to be a good mystery/horror trash (set in WW2 times), like Frankenstein's Army (2013), The bunker (2001), Deathwatch (2002), Outpost (2008), R-point (2004), GP506 (2008). I love these kinds of movies and I love getting back and re-watching those I've mentioned. But no. Does it have a good mystery? Does it feel like classic Return to the Castle Wolfenstein or the new Wolfenstein games? Nope.
The focus is always in the wrong places. It never holds your attention or keeps you guessing mostly because for the first 1 hour of the movie absolutely nothing happens. The movie really feels like it is a written story rather than a real life scenario, which really hurts. The soldiers act in a way a writer would want them to. Some of the side plots get abandoned mid movie and lots of character actions really leave no impact on the world they are in. It's like the world build itself around them and not them trying to live in it. At times it feels like there was a lot of cut material or some scenes are incredibly forced (kid scene closer to the end).
I think this my biggest problem - the script is just bad. It never feels believable and thus it's much harder to identify with the characters or feel what they are feeling.
Other than that, while the whole mystery is never explored and sort of comes flat, I enjoyed the first 20 mins or so, while I was still guessing what they are up to. Also, the make up effects were good as well as some of the imagery. Yet it still feels like a waste of a good R-rated mystery trash.
I even bought the tickets for this and I'm glad I missed it due to heavy workload, I surely would've been disappointed.
Mortal Engines (2018)
I wish they would've split this movie in 2-3 parts (detailed look + major spoilers)
I mean, there is so much wrong with this movie, and at the same time it has some things it does very well.
What's bad: the main story is given away in full in the first 5 minutes, no surprises; the movie really lacks subtlety, sometimes it introduces a good commentary (probably from the book) or an idea it drops it instantly and switches fast to something else; it does overexplain almost everything, first they show it to you, and then make sure to tell you what happened with words; most of the dialogue was cringe; none of the humorous parts worked for me, it just wasn't funny; the lighting was flat like in 70s TV shows (probably to make sure it's not too dark for a theater); some of the green screen effects were terrible; it's too long and the story's predictability made it even worse; it tried to focus on so many things altogether and it just didn't work; also, the world itself made no sense in some parts so I had to suspend my disbelief; it was so much less steampunk that I expected it to be; also, the casting was hit and miss, Hester and Thaddeus were great, while Tom was miscast and Chudleigh's accent just made me burst out laughing.
I appreciate the effort though.
Yet my main problem was that I actually was hooked by Hester/Shrike story and I wish this plot line had much more time put into it. Shrike design was cool and I really want to see a whole movie about her growing up with him. His struggle on realizing what he is and just how much humanity is left in him. The understanding that she cannot be with him, her guilt and the feeling that she owes him. Instead they just rushed through that part and when Shrike died at 1 hour 30 minutes the movie pretty much ended for me there. I knew everything that would follow so the next 20-30 minutes were tedious and boring.
What was good: most of the visuals were done good, some of them were even creative in some ways; Hera Hilmar is a beautiful woman and she was always a pleasure to look at.
Also, the doomsday weapon design kind of reminded me of old Red Alert games, when it opened up I instinctively said to myself: "Be one, with Yuri..."
I wish they would split this into 2-3 movies, polishing all the side stories and delivering a truly satisfying ending.
P.S. Next time, shoot the bottom of the wall first. ;-)
Yep, still nothing
While this episode was much more emotionally packed, had some interesting character moments and interactions, the story still didn't move a bit and we're stuck with the "wait and see" and "what have we done" kind of haunting past.
The next episode will have a spoon of an actualy story progress and 55 more minutes of somewhat interesting dialogue and overly long slow scenes (and more awkward racism comments out of nowhere).
Classic hype building up to a disappointing ending.
Event Horizon (1997)
This needs an R-rated re-make
I've seen this around 4 or 5 times now, first at release and the last time pretty much just finished it.
This movie actually makes me sad since it's underdeveloped in almost every aspect.
It is weak as a sci-fi movie, it sucks as a horror since it uses only the most obvious jump scares. The pacing and the editing is clunky. When I watched it the last time I caught myself thinking on how each individual scene could've been easily improved. This movie was clearly inspired by Alien, Aliens, Hellraiser and DooM game series (there are even some Doom easter eggs in the movie). Also, it's hard to watch this in 2019 since the effects really don't hold up, some of them look so bad I don't think they were good even by 1997 standards.
This is frustrating since the movie has some really good gore (and it obviously had more, but it was severely cut by the studio), and a very distinct style in set (and ship) design. Some of the sets they have are amazing, and even though it makes absolutely no sense in terms of actual engineering it still looks amazing. Very nice craft. The actors did their best with a script like that. I mean, some of the ending scenes are so comical and unintentionally funny you really can't handle those any better.
No real point in watching or re-watching this in 2019, but there is a need to re-make this ASAP. I can see this as a kind of slower psychological horror about space isolation with a tint of supernatural. Get a competent director and this would fly for sure.
This is the new Lost
The structure of every episode after the pilot goes like this:
85% of the episode absolutely nothing happens. Then in the last 15% they suddenly realize "oh yeah, we have a story to follow up on" and they give you another cliffhanger just so they don't lose your attention and make sure you come back.
So if you really want to enjoy this you can watch the last 15 minutes of each episode and you won't miss anything at all. I'm of course joking.
Seriously now, exploring the characters and their lives through these tragic events is one thing, but the way this is done here it's like watching as the water starts boiling for your pasta. Like come on, so many scenes are stretched out to infinity. After a 7 minutes long restaurant scene I really asked myself "do they even edit their footage at all"?
Why not have both the plot movement and the characters discovery. Why does it have to be one or the other.
Season one had both and wasn't this excruciatingly slow. I just don't understand why if they already had chosen such storytelling structure can't they at least make it a little more dynamic.
I was waiting for the follow up on the Trash Man wondering if they did forgot about him and surprisingly enough they did wake me up with something actually happening and it was the follow up I waited for. Brilliant. I really hope the ending will redeem this since I can't see myself coming back and re-watching this later.
Didn't expect much and wasn't really disappointed.
The story was 100% predictable. Everything was obvious from the start and there was really nothing the movie could've impressed me with.
Around 70% of the dialogue was expository, 20% was people saying really stupid things and 10% of really awkward humor. I did laugh at some of the lines though, but those were unintentionally funny. They did sometimes make fun of some things showing that they are aware of some of the stupidities they have there only to stay true to the source material. They did, however, spend a lot of effort to make sure you understand everything that is going on. Everything that happens or even gets mentioned is explained in a flashback scene or by characters in full. Even before the giant sea beast attacks it makes sure to give you some exposition at first.
Most of the visuals were ok but not very creative or interesting. They did have some good ones though, like 2 or 3. From the top of my head, the starting lighthouse fight scene was cool, the trench dive and the wine magic scenes were also pleasant to the eye.
Most of the acting was good (would've been strange if it was otherwise with such cast). Except for our two leads, Mera and Arthur. I didn't like both Aquaman as a character and Momoa's performance. First they set him up as a guy with super powers and an enormous ego. I though this was made intentionally to show his path and his growth as a character in the end. But this wasn't the case, he just was lucky to get a better weapon and randomly rescue his mom in the process (side quests, right?). He's still the same egocentric guy with super powers. And this is pretty much what he was, the movie even emphasizes on that since the ending is extremely dull, they even go for the basic "become the king and get the girl" thing. Super one-dimensional. I'm not familiar with the source material so maybe this was just them staying loyal (just as having a laughable costume for the Black Manta).
Mera's motivation as a character was unclear yet she seems to care so much (not sure about what particularly) throughout the movie. She was ruined mostly by Amber Heard's performance. She was horrible, she didn't care for a second about her acting and it was obvious. They did gave her nothing to work with though, she's just a plot device, a girl the main guy gets in the end. At least I did enjoy her costume :)
There was also some sort of an environmental message but it was so bleak I almost forgot about this when I finished the movie.
The main problem of this movie is that it's around 7 years late. This would've worked so much better if made around 2012. The hero is not impressive, the story is not particularly interesting, the lore is stupid and unintentionally funny.
They did know what they were doing and there clues in the movie to substantiate that. I don't think that there was a better way to make an Aquaman movie, but this is still instantly forgettable.