Archive for the ‘Science Fiction’ Category

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.

 

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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

This sequel to the eighties cult classic feels like a Radiohead concert from their recent festival tour. It’s very long. Some moments are awesome. Others are confusing. A few are obsolete. But the end result feels good. It’s a trip. You either get into it, or you don’t.

Don’t worry about the story. It may be science fiction, but it kind of makes sense. It’s not that difficult either. The setting is described in a few sentences during the opening credits. You don’t really need to know what it’s about. You don’t need to have watched the original movie. Just be prepared for a trip. A beautifully filmed trip. With brilliant sound effects (Oscar guaranteed) and a lead actor who carries the movie all the way through. Ryan Gosling is excellent. The movie would not have been the same without him. Imagine Jared Leto playing the main character! The movie would have totally sucked. That said, Leto is good in the five minutes he’s on-screen. And then there’s Harrison Ford of course, reprising his role. It takes a LONG time before you get to see him, but it’s worth it.

It’s too long and slow to watch it again. Too bad. It feels like an extended director’s cut. Maybe a cut version would make it better.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1856101

The six episodes of season one didn’t quite do it for me. Not sure what all the fuzz is about. It starts off like 28 Days Later, with a guy waking up from a coma in a post apocalypse world where zombies are roaming the streets and where survivors are trying to fight back and secure themselves from the zombies and other survivors. It also makes you think of the canceled BBC show Survivors and plenty of other shows that feature a very diverse group of people needing to live together by force.

The story isn’t really captivating. Nor realistic at all. The metropolitan area of Atlanta has about 6 million inhabitants. You get to see maybe 150 zombies and some 500 dead corpses. Plus a few dozen of survivors. The main character can ride on a horse into the city and not see ANY zombies or dead corpses, but then he gets to Midtown and suddenly he is surrounded by not all that many really. That just doesn’t make sense. Then he reunites with his wife and son after two episodes! Sure it adds to the drama because the wife has started an affair with his best friend in the mean time, who helped her escape. But seriously, after 2 episodes? Then of course you have the horror cliché of always wanting to go back to the horror scene. Also, what is this urge for people to keep living and fight back? Why would you choose to continue living under a constant treat of being killed and eaten by the undead?

You’d think the zombies would be scary, but they are not. They are silly. So the series doesn’t work as a horror show either. And the characters? Well, you have the racist one. The clumsy, chubby African-American one. The wife-beating redneck one. The nagging, cheating wife. The cheating on his best friend aggressive one. The geeky Asian one. Etc… Not really an interesting bunch.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1520211

The third installment of the recent Planet Of The Apes trilogy kind of disappoints. It’s a very dark movie. Very serious as well. And very slow. There isn’t that much action or adventure. Hey, the second half takes place in a sort of concentration camp. There are some excellent elements that still make it a great movie experience, but somehow the end result is just okay and not great. The new talking ape character brings laughter. Several times. And that’s good. Because the rest of the story is very depressing.

The GCI animation is breath taking. In combination with the acting by Andy Serkis the main character Caesar (the leader of the apes) looks so realistic. It’s quite a feat to create a talking chimpansee, whose emotional expressions look so real that at no time you are realizing how impossible the story is.

For those who don’t know the story: after a virus has almost wiped out human kind, the survivors are at war with a population of apes that are resistent to the virus and have evolved. The virus in the mean time, makes humans become more animalistic. It’s the third installment. If you haven’t seen the previous movies in the trilogy, don’t bother starting with this one.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3450958/

Why did this movie flop and get bad reviews? It’s intriguing until the end. It stars two popular actors (Koen Degraeve and Matteo Simoni) who perform really well. It’s a universal concept that doesn’t have any reference to anything Flemish at all. (So, recommendable for anyone abroad). And it makes university town Leuven look like a place you want to visit soon.

It’s a science fiction take on the Groundhog Day principle. Two scientists find a way to send emails to people in the past. They do small  innocent, but successful tests and then decide to no longer use the technology  One scientist is married to a disabled woman though and cannot resist messing with history to make sure she doesn’t end up being as disabled as she is. And that’s when all goes wrong.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4085502

If you’re a fan of Batman or Superman or any DC comic, you may appreciate this action vehicle. If you’re not, you’ll get easily bored. In fact, after half an hour, you’ll be checking your instagram account, getting something out of the fridge, go to the washroom, make a phone call, chat a bit on whatsap, check the score of the movie on metaritic and leave twitter with the hashtag #whydowefeeltheneedtowatchbadmoviesuntiltheend .

The first half hour is okay though. Kinda looks promising with its stellar cast. It has Amy Adams as Lois Lane! But no-one stands out. There are absolutely no acting skills required for their parts. They could have just used debutants. The action is ok. The special effects as well done. Probably more efficient in a movie theatre than at home. But the story. There’s just too much going on. And none of it makes sense. What’s the deal with alien-phobic humans and Batman being afraid of the supernatural powers of Superman who only means well. And what’s the beef between Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne? Go dig deeper, team of scriptwriters!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2975590/