Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

The Oscar for Best Motion Picture is a fantasy fairytale set in the cold war era about the love between a mute cleaning lady and an amphibious ‘asset’ that is kept from the outside world in a government facility.

It’s a unique movie experience. It’s not all that original as it’s a homage to the monster movies from the late fifties and early sixties, but it’s shot with the utmost care for details. It has a bit of an Amelie Poulain feel to it. Everything just looks really good and there’s off beat humor and weird charm.

If people get offended by the age gap between the two main male characters in Call Me By Your Name, then maybe they also won’t like the romance between a woman and an animal. It’s awkward as well to imagine a human having sex with a human like amphibious water animal. But hey, it’s a fantasy movie. It’s fictional!

This is an entertaining movie. Never boring. Great to look at. And with a good soundtrack. But again, the story just isn’t all that original or intriguing.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5580390

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No theatrical release in Europe for Annihilation. It’s still playing in the US though. But with little success. So in comes Netflix, who’s distributing it all over the world via their streaming service. Great!

This is an entertaining science fiction adventure drama about a biologist who joins a team of women on a mission to discover what exactly is hidden in the Shimmer, a weird extraterrestrial phenomena covering a natural park and spreading fast. The biologist is determined to find out what damaged her husband, who joined a previous mission and is now put in quarantine.

Nathalie Portman is excellent as the biologist. She’s a great asset to this production. But you really want to watch the movie for the atmosphere it evokes. The directing is great. The build up as well. The haunting soundtrack helps as well. It’s more accessible than you’d think. The horror and suspense aren’t scary, but present nevertheless. The story makes more sense than the one in Arrival. It’s all (science) fiction, but at least the dialogue and actions feel real. It’s good to see five women go on an adventure (strangely enough quite unique) and it’s great to see a movie where the editing doesn’t make you naucious.

It’s not an instant cult classic, but it could become one. For now it’s just good entertainment.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2798920/

Review after three episodes (six more to go) – *(*)

Part fantasy horror film, part mystery thriller. The first three episodes are confusing. Which is the whole point. The main character has amnesia, but is the key witness in the disappearance of Thomas De Geest. She’s been interred into a psychiatric hospital and gets questioned by both her shrink and a detective. She’s an odd woman. She claims to have amnesia, but the viewer gets to see all kinds of memories in flashback. Why? She’s clearly lying to the shrink and the detective as she remembers snippets of what happened to her in the past and then claims to not know anything. But why?

There are nine episodes. It was a big success on television. It has a lot of renowned actors in the cast. And it is somehow intriguing. Maybe it’s worth watching it until the end. But my god, is it boring. And slow. And the set design is terrible. Several scenes don’t make sense. Give me realism over fantasy anytime. There is no suspense, just weird scary scenes stolen from the vast catalogue of horror movies. Even if you’re not a fantasy film lover, it all feels like it’s been done before a zillion times. A haunted house, a devilish child, electricity blackouts, cape wearing figures, scary dolls, a mysterious man in the forest. Add a cheating husband, a sexually comfortable sixty year old, a foreign looking caretaker/gigolo, weird patients in the psychiatric ward, etc… It’s a mess.

Review after nine episodes – *(*)

So yes, it’s worth watching the series until the end. The final episode does have some surprises in store. But you can’t really talk about a plot twist. The actual plottwist happens at the end of episode 5. It’s not a big surprise for the viewer, but it kind of changes the series from a fantasy thriller to a regular detective drama. The flashbacks are no longer memories of the main character, but rather added for the viewer’s benefit. Which feels like an inconsistency. The acting is ok. But it’s so boring at times. And all these hyped kudos to the director for showing a) depth to the characters and b) beauty in the visuals. Bull. The characters are pretty one-dimensional and the scenes look messy. Also, the way psychiatry is depicted here, is terrible. It’s stereotypical and unoriginal.

Sometimes, a hype is only a hype if you want it to be.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5197860/

Black Panther – ***

Posted: February 22, 2018 in 2018, Action, Fantasy, USA, XXX

There hasn’t been any bad review for Black Panther in the US. It’s such a politically, socially and culturally sensitive release… it’s a bit frightening really. It’s so hyped in the media, it’s scary. What if you don’t like the movie? Are you allowed to even express it?

In Europe, it’s less of a big deal. It was released a week earlier. People went to see it. Fans of Marvel Comic movies especially. Nobody else really cares. Arthouse movies critics hate it. Because, to be fair, it’s not an arthouse movie. No matter how revolutionary it is to have a black director make a black superhero movie that’s successful at the box office.

I loved it though. It’s a fun movie. It’s entertaining. It’s colorful. The costumes are amazing. The soundtrack really works well. The main lead is excellent. In every single outfit! The women are fierce. (Lupita Nyong’o ! Danai Gurira ! Letitia Wright!) There’s non stop action. Some drama. Family drama even. Some humor. It’s unique. Especially if you haven’t seen any other Captain America / Avengers / Thor movies. Bring on the sequel!

There are flaws though. That W’Kabi character (Daniel Kaluuya) is pretty one-dimensional. The war rhinoceroses are ridiculous. And what is it with Hollywood when they create fictional countries? When they create a fictional ‘European’ country, they mix elements from the entire continent. Same here. Wakanda is supposed to be a small country hidden from the outside world with 5 tribes, which get introduced in the beginning. The mix just doesn’t make sense. It’s like Hollywood has no idea that Ethiopia and Benin and Namibia are different nations and different cultures. (no Himba tribe is introduced in the beginning, but then suddenly there’s a Himba woman next to the Queen!!) It’s like Hollywood thinks sub Saharan Africa is one country.

Still. Great entertainment!

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1825683/

 

Everything works in this sequel. All the great elements of the first season are still very present. The budget was better, so this leads to better special effects, better acting (more takes) and an even cooler soundtrack! 1984 is the year and the eighties references are legit (if that’s a word they already used back then). They even got original Goonie Sean Austin to play a new character, Winona Ryder’s love interest! Excellent. There are more new characters and they all are a great addition to the already amazing cast. It’s brilliant how the story writers were able to still have the diverse bunch of people from the first season work together again. And even though it’s a science fiction fantasy trip, you believe everything these characters do and say. Yep. The first season as just an introduction. This is perfection.

 

I’m finally contemplating getting Netflix. BUT it will ruin my life. Binge watching will lead to gaining dozens of extra pounds and sleepless nights. However, there’s stuff on Netflix that you can’t find anywhere else. Stranger Things for instance, which hasn’t been released on dvd (yet) in Europe. A series that everyone raves about and recommends.

Well. A visit to a friend with Netflix solved the problem. It led to a night of binge watching the eight episodes of this science fiction drama, focussing on the mysterious events taking place in a small midwestern town and affecting several high school kids. However, it’s not aimed at kids, but at those adults who were high school kids in the eighties and who grew up with Spielberg produced or directed movies and tv shows.

Sure, the eighties vibe is cool. But it’s just a gimmick which is consistent throughout the series. That alone wouldn’t make it a great series. But the story, acting and atmosphere do. Winona Ryder is back! And she’s really good as the mother of a missing kid, who disappeared without a trace, but somehow communicates via the electricity. His best friends (a bunch of nerdy kids who get bullied in school, but are quite adventurous) decide to go look for him. In the mean time the troubled police officer of the town is leading the investigation as well. And all clues lead to an electricity company nearby, which operates as a secret governmental research center (lead by Matthew Modine!). There are other subplots of course. But you don’t need to know about them. Let yourself emerge in the story. The first six episodes are great. There’s humor. There’s tension. There’s a bit of horror. There’s a bit of drama. The balance is perfect. The last two episodes feel different though. As if the production team ran out of money and the story needed to be told fast within two episodes with as little expenses as possible.

The second season is available on Netflix. So maybe I’ll just have to go subscribe.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4574334

Damn. The expectations were too high. The anticipation too great. Episode VIII disappoints. Bummer. It’s still a great movie though. Entertaining and funny. A few new creatures and settings that look generally good. But there’s just so much going on (it never bores) that it doesn’t really focus on anything in particular. Apart from the ‘new’ connecting force between Kylo Ren and Rey, which intrigues, but not quite captivates as much as you want. It’s all pretty superficial.

Go see it anyways. It’s fun. And don’t listen to all the negativity.

Great trailer by the way.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2527336