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Annihilation (2018)

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A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition into a mysterious zone where the laws of nature don’t apply.

Genre : SF/Drama
Country : UK/USA

Cast :
Natalie Portland : Lena
Oscar Isaac : Kane
Jennifer Jason Leigh : Dr. Ventress

Director :
Alex Garland

My opinion on “Annihilation”

“Blackwater National Park reported that a lighthouse was surrounded by something they termed “a shimmer.”
One of the wardens went in to investigate.
Never returned.”

Let me get right to the point. Annihilation” isn’t exactly an easy SF. This horrifying SciFi can join the group of “the more intellectual looking SF films” where “Arrival” can be found as well. The more subtle form of SF, where you wonder all the time what is actually going on (just like the protagonists in this movie). And in the end you still have a lot of questions. In terms of imaging, it looks like “Predator” mixed with influences from “Invasion of the body snatchers“. And it all takes place in a giant soap bubble. One moment the group of five women stumble through a jungle where they are attacked by grotesque, mutated predators. The next moment it looks like a fairytale forest with strange, colorful vegetation and exotic flowers. I guess this group of women don’t know exactly what they are looking for. To be honest, they are complete lost and their sense of time and place is off.

Annihilation

“The Shimmer” is a no go zone.

It all starts with the impact from a meteorite, close to a lighthouse somewhere off the coast of the USA. And before Lena (Natalie Portman) realizes it, her husband (an American soldier who was MIA) is back siting with her in the kitchen, she’s taken to a military base and she’s informed about the mystery that now exists after the incident with the meteor. After that impact a huge zone has arisen, which they call “the shimmer” and where no one has ever returned from. Except for her husband, who came back in bad shape. This first part is already difficult to get through. It’s terribly slow with a lot of flashbacks. Not exactly easy to follow, but fascinating enough to arouse curiosity.

Annihilation

Netflix tries to be a better SyFy channel.

This is yet another original SF that Netflix tries to launch after “The Cloverfield Paradox” and “Mute“. And this time it’s exclusive for the viewers of Netflix, because you can only see it in a limited number of cinemas worldwide. Maybe that’s a point of discussion. Wouldn’t it be better to watch this movie on a big screen ? Because the scenery looks exceptionally beautiful at times. And it’s also very exciting and super mysterious. The footage they see on a camcorder, looks bizarre. The discoveries they make at the military base are really frightening. No surprise that there are some who want to pack their bags as quickly as possible. The only question is where to go. Disorientation and mutual mistrust aren’t exactly helpfull aspects. And when they start to encounter all kinds of murderous creatures, there’s the obvious comparison with certain action-packed scenes from the “Alien” series.

Annihilation

I’m a Netflix Originals fan boy.

Annihilation“, a film directed by Alex Garland who’s responsible for the magisterial film “Ex Machina“, can certainly be called successful. Maybe it’s a tad too complicated and you scratch your hair several times. Yet this film is unique in its way and as a viewer you can interpret it in your own way. I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece though. The group of women who volunteered for this expedition, may look like the jungle version of those that hunted other ghosts in “Ghostbusters“. But this film is of a different level and certainly not as disastrous as the latter. This quirky SF has made me an even bigger fan of the Netflix Originals.

My rating 7/10
Links : IMDB

Comic Book Movies

Joaquin Phoenix Stares Into Your Soul As The Joker Via “il venerdì di repubblica” Cover

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“Cinematic achievement on a high level.”

Director Todd Phillips has gone on the record stating, his film is going to piss off hardcore comic book fans. The upcoming ‘Joker’ movie will not follow any comic book plot lines or continuity for the villain, and will in fact be its very own stand alone film. With that being said, the movie is already garnering praise from select audiences. Cameron Bailey, co-head and artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival, went on record with Toronto Sun, hailing the film as “Cinematic achievement on a high level.” Bailey continued on, saying:

“First of all it’s terrific. So it should play on our largest stage. But it’s a really original take on comic book movies and on the Joker character in particular. It’s not based on an existing story, it has one of the greatest actors in modern cinema, Joaquin Phoenix, in the lead, and Robert De Niro is in it as well, one of the best actors that has ever lived.”

Bailey, also went on to say, the film is “Very cinematic,” for a low budget feature.

“Has an interesting tone and approach to it. It’s set in the late ’70s, early ’80s and it feels like it was made then. It’s gritty in its look, it has references to Martin Scorsese’s filmmaking and it feels like a cinematic achievement on a high level. Although it’s working with very populist material, it has great ambition. That’s why it’s a Gala.”

Check out the newest ‘Joker’ magazine cover via il venerdì di repubblica.

‘Joker’ hits theaters October 4, 2019

 

 

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Brightburn – This Superhero Parody Peppered With SF And Horror Elements Is Simply Sublime

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Take.. The.. World.
Take the world.

Superhero-movie-haters unite. Run to a nearby movie theater to see this movie. Because “Brightburn” is the ultimate anti-superhero-film of all time. The moment I realized which direction it was going, I cursed myself because after seeing “Avengers: Endgame” I’d decided to have a little sabbatical. I was going to avoid movies with characters in tightly fitting latex suits and superhuman powers. But as it became clear that it wasn’t what I expected, my enthusiasm grew all the more. My enthusiasm for films such as “Deadpool” and “Ant-Man” (because of a touch of whimsy and the originality) was effortlessly overtaken by this highly original anti-superhero film. And if one also mixes the superhero genre (of which they are continuously producing sequels and prequels) with my all-time favorite genre horror, it simply can’t go wrong. I am indeed enthusiastic, yes. Extremely enthusiastic!

 

Brightburn

 

Is it a plane? A bird? Is it Superman? Uh, nope.

It all starts as a sort of Superman parody or reboot (another favorite Hollywood term these days). Here too, we meet a young couple who have been trying to have a child for years. Even spicy lingerie doesn’t do wonders because farmer Kyle Bryer (David Denman) (and yes, the location is again a big farm) is rather clumsy, which means that his watch always gets stuck in his wife’s hair. BANG! Before they realize it, some object out of space crashes nearby. Right in their back yard. And as if it’s the most normal thing, Tori (Elizabeth Banks) finds an innocent, sweet little guy in this comet or spacecraft. They adopt him instantly and call him Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn). All peace and light, you think. Until the boy realizes that something is wrong. Especially when he tries to start the lawnmower and suddenly the thing ends up at the neighbors. A few meadows further.

 

Brightburn

 

An evil superhero with an attitude.

With the well-known figure Superman, the parents didn’t waste any time and told young Superman to keep his growing powers under control and only use it to help humans. In the 70s this fact was acceptable. But after the trillionth superhero movie, that concept really starts to sound boring. And that’s where “Brightburn” starts to deviate substantially. As soon as it seems as if puberty hits Brandon, and no it’s not about hair growth and other side-effects, and he wanders around the farm at night looking for something that seems to call him, it becomes clear that a constructive parent-child conversation is not really useful. When Brandon feels disadvantaged, it’s best to stay away from him. The consequences of a tantrum can be disastrous. You could end up flying into a closet or have a crushed hand as a result. So they are stuck with a teenage son with issues who has superpowers. A “Dennis the Menace” with an attitude. You don’t have to be smart to know what’s going to happen next.

 

Brightburn

 

Not really horror.

Let’s talk about the horror part. For those who are only used to super-hero films, it will be a shock. For a seasoned horror fanatic, it’s all just ordinary. It’s not terrifying or too bloody. There are some excellent gore effects in it, though. I personally found it simply exciting at certain moments. Exciting as in how the story will continue and end. And they even tried to tackle that part in an original and quirky way. The majority of blockbusters always have such a predictable outcome. In a western, the bad guys always eat dust in the end. A romcom has a happy ending in most cases. And even superheroes on the verge of despair will eventually prevail (such as The Avengers, for example). If you expect this to happen here as well, you’re absolutely wrong. But there’s one thing I’m sure of. The marketing department of Marvel already smells money. I bet they are planning a sequel already with The Avengers trying to beat the unstoppable Brandon.

 

Brightburn

 

Excellent acting.

About the acting, I can be brief and concise. Simply excellent. Especially the mother and son bonding was worked out and portrayed in a proper way. The desperation and motherly love that Elizabeth Banks radiates is simply wonderful to see. And even though Brandon seems incomparably innocent at times, the moment his evil ego pops up, he can conjure up a frightening and impressive facial expression. It’s just a shame he didn’t focus his anger on the annoying class bully as well.

 

Brightburn

 

I repeat it once more: a brilliant film.

Brightburn” definitely will end up in my top list this year. The only downside was the duration. Far too short of course. But otherwise, this superhero parody, peppered with SF and horror elements, is simply sublime. The fact this film has a go-against-the-rules attitude and the idea of a superhero who doesn’t care about humanity is a pleasant and refreshing change compared to the commercial one-size-fits-all releases nowadays. Just something as simple as Brandon’s costume. Has anyone ever wondered who actually made the Spiderman suit? Or did Peter Park have a Sewing and knitting diploma? Brandon uses a piece of woolen textile and a bedspread as equipment. Ingenious anyway. As brilliant as the film itself. I keep repeating it. It is hoped that it will stay with this unique film and that they won’t come up with a miserable number of sequels.

 

My rating 9/10
Links: IMDB

 

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Action

Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ Gets First Motion Poster

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“An action epic evolving from the world of international espionage.”

Christopher Nolan’s 2020  film, ‘Tenet,’ has been shrouded in secrecy for quite some time. Recently a teaser trailer was dropped, slightly lifting the veil as to what we can expect from the highly anticipated thriller. The star studded cast includes John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Clemence Poesy and Kenneth Branagh amongst others. The recent teaser trailer only gives a small tidbit for fans to grasp onto, showing the lines: “Time has come for a new protagonist” and “Time has come for a new kind of mission.” The trailer is said to depict Washington’s character seemingly moving in a time loop of some sort.

Many fans are going with the idea that ‘Tenet’ is some sort of ‘Inception’ sequel, which is highly unlikely. But based on the plot description, it sounds as though it could be loosely connected:

“An action epic evolving from the world of international espionage.”

Some have pointed out that Michael Caine is listed amongst the cast but is the only character returning from the original film [Inception], which went on to gross $828.3mill worldwide while being nominated for eight Oscars and bringing home four. ‘Tenet’ is set to arrive in theaters July 17, 2020

 

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