Solo: A Star Wars Story (Review – NO Spoilers)

Solo

Solo: A Star Wars Story, is an awesome movie that is action packed from start to finish. If I had to offer up a complaint it’s the cinematographer (it’s always the cinematographer!!!) for using those damn gray/blue filters that make everything so damn dark. Otherwise, it is an excellent heist film in the Star Wars universe where you get to see the Kessel Run, Han meeting Chewie, the winning of the Falcon in a card game, and so much more!!!

Those bullet points above are NOT spoilers because we know from previous movies they happen. So go see Solo!!!

 

 

Anon (Netflix)

large_aannnoposter

Let me just start by saying… I would buy this movie. This has the total cyberpunk/Sci-fi/BladeRunner “feel” to it. It has “speculated reality,” as in this is stuff we will probably see in upcoming technology. AR has way more potential than VR will ever have. Mark my words here. The reason… AR gives companies way more advertising potential. Sad but true. Damn marketers and advertisers. But I digress…

movies-on-Netflix-anon-netflix-may-2018

Anyway, Clive Owen is a detective who is investigating killings done by a woman who is completely anonymous. She can hack the system and disappear from everything. In this world, you can see the overlay (AR) through your eye and you have a “life record” that records everything. Basically, no privacy at all. So Amanda Seyfried has the ability to hack this system and stay anonymous, which makes her the perfect person to be a contract killer.

anon2-1525305708174_1280w

The movie has a unique premise, really good acting, and it really draws you in. Bravo to Netflix for grabbing this one. This is truly a quality movie!!! On a side note, why is Amanda Seyfried not in more movies???

 

 

Avengers: Infinity War (NO SPOILERS)

Marvel-Avengers-Infinity-War-Poster

This is an epic once in a life time movie and the first part of the magnum opus that will end in Avengers 4 (May 2019). This is Marvel’s version of Empire Strikes Back. If you cry at movies, bring a hanky. Lot’s of people in tears when leaving the movie, even after sitting through the credits for the VERY important one scene at the very end. For those that have not read the comic book arc this is based on, this will be harder for you because you have no idea what is to come. For those who have read it, and knew this reckoning was coming, you will leave in a dark place but ready for the battle ahead.

Make no mistake, this is Thanos’ story. And one that is ripped right from the comic book. Truth be told, he actually has a very good point when you really think about things. Unlike the misguided hunters who believe it is their duty to cull animal populations, but scoff when the same is said about humanity, Thanos does NOT stand on a foundation of hypocrisy and he believes all life must be culled by 50%. So if you hunt, look in the mirror at your own hypocrisy. I don’t believe Thanos is correct in his undertaking but be that as it may, he has a VERY good point about overpopulation. No species should be culled or hunted by another intelligent being may be my belief, it isn’t his. But I digress… It is up to the cast of characters of the Marvel Universe to try and stop Thanos.

There are battles on an epic scale. There is the most moving music to ever be featured on film. Yes, the Avengers music may even hover higher than that of Star Wars now. You have to see this movie because it is very true, no other movie ever made is this epic. And this is only part one.

As a side note, The Scarlett Witch has really become one of my favorite characters and she is definitely one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe.
GO SEE THIS MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Thor Ragnarok (Review)

What the hell did I just watch???

I understand that they said 80% of the movie was improv and it shows. Believe me it really shows. The acting is awful. The dialogue is cringe inducing. The CGI is terrible. SIDENOTE: YOU PEOPLE WHO SAID THAT THIS CRAPPY CGI WAS BETTER THAN THE CGI IN JUSTICE LEAGUE ARE BLIND. This movie was green screen hell. Virtually every location just looked fake. Everything about this movie was juvenile and hokey!!! Definitely the WORST Marvel movie.

Did I forget the story? The director and lack of writers sure did. Thor’s sister comes back to take over Asgard but…… Who cares??? This movie takes place on a world that is a nexus to trash. Jeff Goldblum is the grand master here and he skitters and stutters about enjoying his fighting matches that put Thor up against the Hulk. A rolicking, bad acting, and over the top time happens here. Thor has to get back to Asgard to fight his sister but don’t worry… seriously… He’ll take care of her in the last 20 minutes or so. She’s really not the point here. She’s a window dressing baddie. Nothing more. For that matter, none of the characters are more than shallow skit level characterizations. You know how Guardians of the Galaxy uses humor perfectly? Thor Ragnarok doesn’t. At all.

I see how people online either love this movie or hate it… no inbetween. I can see that. I fall on the “hate it” side and well… I’m right. My blog my rules. You people that liked this over something like Justice League (since that was what the comparison was that month), should not be trusted with movie reviews, opinions, or sharp objects of any kind, because you people are nuts.

Movie Reviews from the Stream 2/20/18

Alien Arrival (Netflix)

This one is a low budget sci-fi flick where a man who infiltrates an experimental ship crashes on a moon and then must survive. The alien, becomes himself when the moon, or creatures there, or some top secret experiment keeps bringing him back to life over and over. I’m a little unsure of just how or what was bringing him back to life. I know he gets “snatched” (a la Body Snatcher Aliens) but I’m not clear on if that is all part of the secret experiment or not??? It’s a decent movie to fire up if you like the single survivor and sidekick AI dynamic that seems to work so well ever since 2001: A Space Odyssey. The acting is pretty good for being low budget and I never got bored with what was taking place on screen.

Sidenote: It was filmed in Australia and I never knew that they had so many flies!!! In many of the outdoor scenes the actors were surrounded by flies.

Expelled from Paradise (Netflix)

This is another excellent anime that’s on Netflix right now. The premise is that a hacker (Frontier Setter) is breaking into the satellite paradise called DEVA and offering humans the chance to explore the stars. 99% of all humans are now digitized in DEVA while the rest live in the wastelands of Earth. Angela Balzac is a security agent on DEVA and is sent down to Earth on a body grown from her original genetic material. There she hooks up with Dingo, an Earth liaison, who will assist her in tracking down the hacker. Things are more than they seem though and when Angela is faced with the truth, will she finish off Frontier Setter or go against all that she has ever known and take on DEVA?

The animation is phenomenal and the colors pop off the screen. The final mech battle is how I see my first anime experience with Robotech, in my head. Granted, if you go back to Robotech now, those fights with that animation doesn’t hold up well, this is how I still remember it going down though!!! If you like anime, like mech fighting, and like cyberpunk style hacking and maybe even a little Mad Max… Then Expelled from Paradise is for you!!!

30 Years to Life (Amazon Prime)

This one is a low budget speculative sci-fi flick from 1998. Instead of sending people to prisons, society has come up with a way to age people the number of years that they would serve. When a 15 year old kid is framed for a murder, he is aged 30 years and then must find a way to prove his innocence. Would that be more of a deterrent than spending years in a prison? Maybe, maybe not… The movie speculates it would be and the thought of being prematurely aged is a frightening thing to think about. It’s an intriguing premise to say the least.

The acting is serviceable, the effects are on a shoestring budget, and the music is all old school synth. Should you take the time to check it out? I guess that really depends on how interesting you find the premise. It’s a B movie in pretty much every way, with an interesting premise. But if that doesn’t do it for you… You should probably move along.

Movie Reviews from the Stream

Magellan (Amazon Prime)

This is a low budget sci-fi flick where scientists find that 3 signals (of intelligent design) have started broadcasting, and they are all in our solar system. In a race against in other nations (Chinese), the US is sending a one man 10 year mission to each of the moons where the signals are coming from to investigate the source.

Right off the bat you notice just from the camera work that this is very low budget. The sets are sparse spaces, the astronaut suit looks like the best interpretation of a suit on a lo-fi budget, and the CGI is below video game levels. Still… What is broadcasting? What happens when all of the artifacts are found and are put together? I admit, I stuck with it to find out. So even though it is very low budget, I wanted to see where the story went. In that regard, it does draw you in. The resolution was interesting though it set up more questions and left us on a bit of cliffhanger where a second movie could be done (I hear they are doing an eBook sequel).

After watching this, I found out they had done a Kickstarter, not for making the movie per say, but more for the funding of getting it released and put on display. Should you watch it? That’s a tough call… if extreme low budget flicks check you out of the experience then this is probably not for you. I however could see what they wanted and intended in the grasp of what was probably unaffordable in a sci-fi budget. At least they shot for the stars and I give them credit for that. I’d check out the sequel if they followed it up.

 

Blame! (Netflix)

Blame! is an excellent anime that is on Netflix. It tells the story of a human group who has to hide in a safe zone from the machines that want to terminate all humans in the city, which it keeps building. Humans lost control of the machines due to a virus and now only someone with the Net Terminal Gene, can access those controls. So a mysterious man named Killi wanders the city looking for any human that may possess that gene. He ends up helping this group of survivors in their quest for food and safety from the machines.

The CGI is beautiful and the story elements between drama and action are very well balanced. This is a universe that is heavily influenced by dystopian cyberpunk and one that I would love to see more stories happen within. If you like anime or cyberpunk then definitely check this one out!!!

 

The Ritual (Netflix)

This may be the first spooky, terrifying, make you jump, horror thriller I’ve seen in a long time. When four friends do some hiking in Northern Sweden, they get off the normal trail and then are hunted by… something. The fact that this “something” is rarely seen, makes the movie all the more creepy. Normally horror movies are plagued by cliche after cliche but The Ritual kept me guessing and interested in what was going to happen next all the way through. The underlying message of “facing your fears” also plays out in a very intriguing way. So much so, that when you reach the end, there is a feeling of accomplishment in the resolution. I know that sounds vague but I honestly do not want to give the plot away because it is so good. Go watch it!!!

 

The Cloverfield Paradox (Netflix)

I’m not sure what many of the jaded critics out there were smoking but this is a really good movie. It’s pure “Cloverfield” for one. Secondly, it has that “Alien” feel to it, as far as building tension. Having said that, it was much better than the last Alien movie. The ending wasn’t your average cliche ending that you seem to get with every female led group movie since the dawn of Alien. The acting was good, the music works, and the CGI was done well too.

Part of me just thinks that sci-fi fandom has become jaded. They claim they want more varied sci-fi media but then when they get it, they rip it up and hold it up to the same old same old movies and TV that came before. The Cloverfield movies tell different stories, not really linked, but possibly linked, and give us interesting characters to follow throughout.

Regardless what the hive group mind of sheep on the internet think, I think Netflix has a winner here and it is definitely worth checking out for any sci-fi fan out there. I also applaud Netflix for debuting the trailer at the beginning of the Super Bowl and dropping the movie on the platform for all to stream right after the game. I wish more movies would go direct because the “theater experience” these days leaves much to be desired. Give me my HD screen, home sound system, and a pause button. You can keep your fight for the middle good seats, theater screens or sound systems that seem to always have issues, and the smell of jalapeno nachos wafting strongly through the air. Home viewing is just better in my humble opinion.