Archive for the ‘Science Fiction’ Category

This is quite a unique socially critical science fiction comedy! With a great lead. Lakeith Stanfield is the kind of actor who’s been in a lot of movies recently, but hasn’t quite had a major hit as a lead. This wasn’t a hit either. But it got him noticed a bit more.

He’s Cassius Green, a young man ready to start a career in a telemarketing company. When he starts using his white voice, his sales performance goes up and he’s ready to get promoted to be a Power Caller. But that promotion isn’t without consequences. He’s losing his friends and his girlfriend and he’s entering a world he can’t seem to escape.

The first half of the movie is great. It shows a guy who’s questioning his lack of ambition and then suddenly finds the talent that can bring in the big bucks. It comes with a lot of quirky humor. And some visual surprises as well. Then the social critique becomes stronger and it almost becomes too much of a pamflet against capitalism. Luckily, the last part becomes so bizarre that it kills the seriousness. If you wonder what equisapiens are, watch until the end.

It’s not by Michel Gondry. But feels inspired by his movies.

www.imdb.com/title/tt5688932

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Watched this a week ago.

Kinda forgot what it was all about.

Ah yes. Marvel Universe. Female heroine. Sassy Brie Larson. Funny Samuel Jackson. Chase scenes. Aliens. A plot twist. A lot of confusion. Earthlings bonding with aliens against a common evil force. Nineties. Cool soundtrack.

www.imdb.com/title/tt4154664

 

Bird Box – *

Posted: January 6, 2019 in 2018, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction, USA, X

45 million Netflix users have watched this apocalyptic horror movie within a week of its release. According to Netflix of course. It may be true though. And even when it isn’t true, the media picked up on it and made it the popcorn movie everyone is talking about.

But no-one is talking about it positively. The overall feeling is that of disappointment. This is not a good movie. It’s not living up to the hype. Earlier this year a similar movie scored really well at the regular box office and was far superior. A Quiet Place had the perfect balance between drama and horror. This one has no balance at all. It’s a mess.

The story is absurd. Out of nowhere a ‘presence’ makes people commit suicide on the spot. The only solution is to survive with a blindfold on. Sandra Bullock plays one of those survivors, who finds refuge in a house. Five years later, she’s urged to escape with two little kids as the house isn’t safe anymore. A new rescue centre is welcoming her but getting there is tricky as it’s down the river.

A Quiet Place made more sense, even though it’s also about a supernatural ‘presence’. In that movie people couldn’t make a sound and had to be quiet to survive. The audience could easily relate and feel the tension when a sound was made. In this movie in order to survive you have to be blind. So, the only way to feel the same tension as the characters is to not look. Well, that’s not really working if you’re watching a movie, is it?

Go watch Roma instead.

www.imdb.com/title/tt2737304

This is one weird series of single episodes about ventures into the world of the not so distant future with its scary technological changes. Some episodes are excellent, others are crap. Some episode makes you feel uncomfortable and lead to debates with friends. Others are so far-fetched that it’s difficult to get into the story.

As it goes: here’s the list ranked from best to worst. And the new episode is at the bottom.

A nerdy game developer that started up a successful company with his former best friend, is now being bullied at the office. However, at home he dives into his own creation of a Star Trek like game in which virtual reality versions of his colleagues are now under his command. USS Callister *** (S4/1) is a riot.

In Hang The DJ *** (S4/4) couples are matched by a system. People are forced to go on dates that are chosen for them. Two first time daters kinda like each other but the system only gives them 24 hours on the first date. Can they beat the system? Really clever episode. 

Arkangel *** (S4/2) is directed by Jodie Foster. A mother is so obsessed about losing her child that she has an implant put into her that is linked to some kind of tablet on which she can check the location of where her kid is and also see what she is experiencing. Once the child becomes a teenager, she lets go of the control system until she re-discovers the app several years later when she’s worried about her daughter’s behavior.

Nosedive *** (S3/1) makes for uncomfortable viewing, because you see a beginning trend around you all the time. People seem to only do thing for the amount of likes they get on Instagram or the amount of followers they have on twitter. But what if that amount dictates your life and what if you get discriminated when the amount goes down? How far will you go to get more likes? Scary shit.

 A rather reserved girl meets an extrovert woman in a club at the beach resort town San Junipero. Maybe this can be her first romantic and sexual experience? Unfortunately at the strike of midnight, life stops and can only be taken back a week later. Most of the episode takes place in 1987 and has the coolest music and outfits you can think of. But then the twist happens and it’s over. San Junipero **(*) (S3/4) starts of great, but finishes soft.

The Entire History Of You **(*) (S1/3) is the strongest episode of season 1. But it’s a BBC series, so season 1 only has three episodes. It’s a scary episode that makes you feel very uncomfortable. The idea of having a chip implant that records everything you see and do as some advanced camera diary is terrible! frightening! Well done episode.

A series of people die after they have been bullied on social media with the hashtag #deathto. A team of investigators quickly find out how they got killed. They were attacked by artificial bees, mini-drones. But who’s behind it all? Hated In The Nation **(*) (S3/6) is a great episode with a good twist near the end.

A neuro-scientist has opened a museum along a desolate highway focussing on his breakthrough achievements. A young girl stops to visit and learns about three particular cases, of which something is at display. They are bizarre and scary. There’s a lot of talk in this episode, but there’s room for some humor as well.  Black Museum **(*) (S4/6) is worth the watch.

Soldiers get an implant that makes them see the enemy as cockroaches. A new recruit discovers that his implant is a lie. It’s a scary theory. It makes you think about how we see others. Directed by a Flemish movie maker and quite a thrill, but not as unique as other episodes. Men Against Fire: ** (S3/5)

A young woman has a terrible time mourning over the death of her boyfriend. Until someone mentions a certain application that can recreate the deceased person digitally based on whatever the person has posted online. Be Right Back ** isn’t one of the best episodes, but captivates until the end.

In The National Anthem ** (S1/1) a prime minister is forced to have sex with a pig in front of a tv audience in order to save the life of a kidnapped royal. It’s freaky. You constantly wonder how far you would go? It’s explained why the prime minister actually considers doing it, but still, it’s a non dilemma. Weird first episode.

In Playtest ** (S3/2) a careless world traveller likes the idea of playing a new kind of videogame where you emerge into a phantasy world by yet another kind of implant. It’s classic horror. It’s scary and feels really weird. It’s too far-fetched to be uncomfortable though.

A successful woman is confronted with her past when her ex boyfriend is ready to reveal a secret. This has to be stopped and murder is an option. At the same time an investigator for an insurance company uses a special technique to record the last memories of a witness. Both will meet. And when they do it gets scary. But before they meet, it’s kind of boring. Crocodile ** (S4/3) isn’t so exciting.

In Shut Up And Dance *(*) (S3/3) an anonymous source has hacked the computer of a teenager. They filmed him jerking off. Then threaten to expose the video if he doesn’t do what they tell him to do. Along the way he encounters others that have been filmed by that network. It’s well acted and has some surprises, but ends really predictable.

A comedian doing the voice of an obnoxious cartoon in a late night tv show, starts questioning the point of it all when his producers want him to start a show on his own. Or better run for elections. It’s a good idea, but The Waldo Moment *(*) (S2/3) is too short to make a real impact.

The White Christmas * (special) is a mindfuck. It’s a series of stories that all lead to a predictable end. The whole episodes feels like a collage of previous black mirror stories. People can see through other people’s eyes, ‘cookies’ (copies) are taken out of people and placed in an alternate world, etc.. yawn.

A woman wakes up with amnesia and needs to escape certain hunters while everyone is just taking pictures of the whole event. White Bear * focuses on public shaming and the obsession of people to record everything. It’s short. Luckily.

15 Million Merits * (S1/2) is a bore. It’s very futuristic and depressing. It’s frightening to see that this could be a future we are heading to. It’s a world filled with reality tv shows and it’s disgusting.

In Metalhead (no stars) (S4/5) a woman is being hunted by some robot dog that guarded items that were stolen. It’s a mess. It’s boring.

A game developer creates a game based on a book with alternate stories. However, while creating the game, he feels like someone else is controlling his actions. In the new Bandersnatch (no stars) (special) the viewer needs to select how the story will evolve. It’s a unique concept, but it’s annoying. Watching tv with a remote control and having to do all the work? No thanks. They make you go back and revise your choice anyways. So much for being in control.

www.imdb.com/title/tt2085059/

 

Downsizing – *

Posted: August 15, 2018 in 2017, Drama, Science Fiction, USA, X

What a disappointment!

It starts off great though. The world is overpopulated and Norwegian scientists have discovered a way of shrinking people. Several people are attracted to the idea of living as ‘miniature’ people. Some do it because of their concerns about the environment. But most do it because you can afford much more luxury in the small world. Somehow, a dollar in this new world is worth the same as in the real world.

Paul can’t afford a big house in the real world and decides to ‘downsize’ with his wife. The set up is great, the process of moving from the big world to the small world is nicely detailed. But minutes after Paul has started the medical treatment to become small, his wife backs out and so he ends up alone in this miniature world. The start of a new journey in his life.

And the start of a very boring second and third part.

The movie really starts off well, but once in the miniature world the story becomes a mess. It’s sad. The intriguing thing is this relationship between people in the big world and people in the small world, but that’s all gone. In stead we learn about how life in this alternative world isn’t so much different from life in the original world (duh). A few new, unappealing characters make their entrance. One is a larger than life neighbour. The other is a one-legged housekeeper from Vietnam, who somehow is the only survivor of mini refugees, arriving in the US.  In the third part, all of these characters move to the original miniland in Norway, which has turned into some hippie cult community. It’s silly.

No. Another Matt Damon movie from 2017 that just doesn’t work.

www.imdb.com/title/tt1389072

Dark is a German netflix original. It’s riding on the hyped wave of Stranger Things. It has some similarities. Events take place in a small town, surrounded by a forest, close to a well-secured nuclear energy plant. Kids get missing, locals all seem to know each other and a large part of the story takes you back to the eighties. But that’s about it. The atmosphere of the series feels more like Twin Peaks. It’s darker, more mysterious, more dramatic, more philosophical and messier.

The story takes place in 2019, 1986 and 1953. This is important information, because that’s not really clear in the first two episodes, which take place in the present and feel messy. As of episode 3 you feel this series may be worth the watch. Several characters that are introduced in that episode are younger versions of the characters that you already familiarized with. It’s intriguing. A kid gets missing in 2019 and somehow ends up in 1986. But this is no Back To The Future. There is zero humor. Zero romance. Just a lot of dark negativity.

The kid who gets missing in 2019 starts a new life in 1986. So, by 2019 the kid has lived a lie for 33 years! This is pretty unsettling. But intriguing. A lot of questions arise. But only few get answered. The series keeps on introducing subplots and new characters, but never focuses on the main question: how on earth did a guy live for so long next to a younger version of himself? It’s not a plot spoiler. It’s a key element to attract viewers to the show.

By the end of the series pseudo-philosophical and neo-scientific theories are uttered and explained concerning time and space. That’s all intriguing, but it doesn’t really help you explain the plot. The writers must have had fun preparing the script. The preparation desk with all the written-out biographies of each character must be tremendous. All these characters are all intertwined. Some are even related to each other. It’s fun.

BUT… the story doesn’t make sense. Yes, it’s about time travel and yes, it’s (science) fiction. But in the end, it should still feel logical. Which is far from the case here.

But the atmosphere is excellent. The long shots are great. The sun never shines. It rains a lot and it’s always ‘dark’. The soundtrack is creepy. The acting is fine. The concept is brilliant. Time travel isn’t a new theme in cinema. But this time they focus more on the thought: if you could change the past, would you? and what would it mean for the present and the future?

For you to binge-watch and get disturbing nightmares…

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5753856

 

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