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Rebirth (2016)

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RebirthA white-collar suburban father Kyle who is surprised at his office by long-lost college buddy Zack. Zack is as wild and crazy as ever, brimming with excitement about the self-actualization program he’s just finished called Rebirth. He talks Kyle into going on a weekend-long Rebirth retreat,handing over his keys, wallet, and phone. Thus begins his journey down a bizarre rabbit hole of psychodrama, seduction, and violence.

Genre : Thriller
Country : USA

Cast :
Fran Kranz : Kyle
Adam Goldberg : Zack
Nicky Whelan : Naomi

Director :
Karl Mueller

My opinion on “Rebirth”

Hey, you still have the Manifesto?
The what?
The Manifesto, man.
Don’t tell me you threw it away.

Rebirth” is a psychological thriller of the Netflix collection. I certainly won’t deny that I have become a fervent supporter of the Netflix Originals series. I’ve seen already some great movies (“Spectral“, “iBoy“, “Before I Wake” and “Message from the king“). And also some less successful experiments (“Mute” and “Death note” eg). “Rebirth” is a special case and ends somewhere in the middle. In essence, it’s not such a bad movie, but there were certain aspects that made me really hate it. Some will even find it an annoying film. I still don’t know whether I should take this film seriously or not. If it was meant to be serious and tried to create an image of how similar organizations function, then it was rather frightening. If, however, it was meant to be satirical, I guess I haven’t noticed it then. For me it wasn’t really funny.

Rebirth

Don’t be boring.

For Kyle (FranThe LivingKranz) every day is a duplicate of the previous day. He can be seen as a settled and satisfied model citizen who carries out his day-to-day job. This seemingly carefree existence is thoroughly shaken up the day his crazy, hyper-kinetic ex-school friend Zack (AdamOnce upon a time in VeniceGoldberg) turns up in Kyle’s office and reminds him that they once wrote down a promise. A “Manifesto” with one important slogan : “Don’t be boring“. And that’s something Kyle, after agreeing to go to some bizarre reorientation weekend, is told several times. Unfortunately, “Rebirth” turned out to be somewhat boring with a disappointing final piece.

Rebirth

Don’t like your life. Love it !

Fran Kranz convincingly plays the confused and panicky Kyle, who sees his smooth going civilian life reduced to a chaotic, uncontrollable nightmare. It’s obvious the propagated message of the “Rebirth” program is all about self-control. “Rebirth” is about getting a grip on yourself and not apathetically following the course of the system (as zombies). According to Zack, it’s all about rediscovering yourself and start loving life back again. The only thing Kyle seems to experience is that it’s an insane and degrading program. The fact that Zack looks as if he has eaten too many psychedelic mushrooms, doesn’t seem to help him either.

Rebirth

I’d join this, just to experience the “Honesty Circle”.

To be honest, the film really got on my nerves at certain moments. For example, there is the dazzlingly handsome Naomi (Nicky Whelan) who has the annoying habit of answering every question with a question. It was driving me crazy. The exaggerated group events also felt like a sort of mass hysteria. And it became a bit too predictable when Kyle ended up in a pillow-filled room with a couple lovely, very tasty looking women whose sex lives are clearly as exhilarating as watching a chess game. It looked like a hippie commune. It also felt rather surreal and unearthly.

The denouement is kind of disappointing.

As I said before, specially the end is disappointing. Initially, you see an organization trying to recruit members by means of brainwashing and psychological pressure. I admit it was intriguing. But in the end it felt incomplete. Perhaps also due to the lack of any explanation. Initially, “Rebirth” looked like a sort of sect, full of esoteric ideas and dogmas, with the aim of allowing the participants to experience a rebirth in which all connections with their inculcating, self-centered living environment are cut. It wants to hold an imaginary mirror up to them and show that the participants are living in an artificial world controlled by others. That they are puppets in a social puppet theater where others pull the strings. Or also, an artificial bubble that you don’t want to pierce because of the comfort, their acquired status and financial security. Afterwards, it seems to be nothing else than a cheap sales organization of food products, which they try to sell through networking at well-organized home parties. In the end it felt like I had just attended a Tupperware demonstration.

My rating 5/10
Links : IMDB

Drama

The Perfection: It Never Gets Boring

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All that time with Anton,
the practice,
the performances,
the pressure to be perfect.

 

Whenever I read newsflashes about films that make people suffer from migraine attacks and even make them sick, my curiosity is immediately awakened. The final verdict can go two ways. Or the film indeed has an ingeniously elaborated story and is provided with images the average stomach can’t bear. Or it’s the umpteenth overrated movie of which you ask yourself afterward “Who on earth made such statements?“. Are those people who’ve never seen a similar film as “The Perfection“? Are they film lovers who limit themselves to innocent rom-coms? Or supporters of superficial films such as “The Sound of Music“? No idea. In any case, I couldn’t find any nauseating fragments or rancid footage in this Netflix Original. But that doesn’t mean I thought it was a terrible movie. On the contrary. “The Perfection” contains a cleverly put together story, some successful acting, and a surprising denouement. So, highly recommended.

 

The Perfection

 

A bit suspense. A bit erotism.

I myself thought that “The Perfection” was nothing more than a psychological thriller with a bit of erotism and a few lurid events. Admittedly, the denouement will look pretty disturbing for some. But I assure you that this film will mislead you from the start. The goal that Charlotte (AllisonGet outWilliams) has in mind and the reasons for this are of a very different nature than you would expect. If you realize what a dark secret the Bachoff Institute is hiding, where Charlotte has taken lessons for years as a gifted cellist, it will give you more chills than the bus ride through rural China. The film fits in perfectly with our modern zeitgeist where there’s a “Me too” movement that explicitly tries to draw attention to sexual harassment and sexual assault. How the renowned academy Bachoff can be associated with this is something that you have to discover for yourself in this original film.

 

The Perfection

 

A mixed bag of different genres.

It’s quite clear that this film is difficult to catalog when it comes to the genre. It’s actually a mixed bag of different genres. It’s a light-erotic thriller with a dash of horror. For experienced horror enthusiasts, the horror part will be slightly disappointing. You could describe it as an ultra-light version of “I spit on your grave“. But without explicit visual material and a wide variety of horrifying revenge actions. And from the beginning of the film till roughly halfway, it’s a mild drama where you are introduced to the most important protagonists. Charlotte, a talented cellist who, after years of absence (taking care of her sick mother), seeks contact again with her former music teacher Anton (Steven Weber) and his wife Paloma (Alaina Huffman). But especially the meeting with the new star of the academy, cellist Lizzie (Logan Browning), is causing some stir. First of all, you can feel the competition between the two cellists whose finger-fastness and sensitive handling of the fiddlestick create magical sounds the moment they squeeze a cello between their knees. As these two, not bad-looking classical musicians spend more time together, the sexual tension between them increases. And before they know it, they make use of the skills they use while playing the cello, when they are all over each other when lying naked under the sheets.

 

The Perfection

 

It’s not perfect but still.

Once this introduction took place and the two lovebirds are sitting on a local bus on their way to some small town in China, the film goes in a higher gear. The frivolous atmosphere makes way for exciting situations and horror elements. It feels rather mysterious. Even the rewind moments won’t really clarify it. On the one hand, I thought this technique was kind of an original approach. On the other hand, it seemed rather pedantic. Let’s say something about acting. There’s actually nothing negative to announce. You can safely state that the two main characters almost reach perfection when it’s about that. The chemistry between the two girls is realistic. The different moods that they struggle through are convincing. Steven Weber and Alaina Huffman also fit perfectly into their role. An illustrious couple consisting of dark personalities. Perhaps it seems as if they have mixed a number of different genres and it feels as if they didn’t know which direction to go. But it never gets boring. No, “The Perfection” is certainly not perfect. But it wasn’t very far from perfection.

You can watch “The Perfection” on Netflix now.

 

 

My rating 7/10
Links: IMDB

 

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Adventure

IO: An Orgasmic Experience For Global Environmentalists And Defeatists

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Sam, we have to leave this place.
Sooner or later you’ll have to.

 

IO” will certainly be an orgasmic experience for global environmentalists and defeatists. Supporters of global protest movements about global warming and the destruction of our balanced eco-system will certainly use this film as an example to reinforce their apocalyptic disaster scenarios. Can you already imagine it? Such a television program where they put a microphone under the nose of such an environmental adept? You can bet that comments such as “You see. Any idea what misery we’ll get into if we don’t intervene now?” will be flung at the interviewer. In my humble opinion, all this is a storm in a glass of water (And no, global warming didn’t cause that storm). I blame it on the natural evolution that our planet is undergoing. An evolution in cycles in which we as humans only speed up the process because of our polluting behavior. Soit. I should stick to just one particular thing I’m good at. And that’s to write down a review of the movie in question. Short and concise: the film is as boring as any environmental debate of today.

 

 

IO

 

Planet Earth on the brink of destruction.

For those who didn’t know yet, “IO” shows us for the umpteenth time a deserted, uninhabitable planet Earth. This concept has been used to a great extent in multiple films with a different cause each time. Either it’s because of a zombie outbreak like in “World War Z” and similar zombie movies. Or it’s prehistoric creatures like in “The Silence” that cause a global slaughter. And let’s not forget aliens? They appear all the time to plunder our blue planet because they themselves are without resources. Viruses, impulses via mobile telephones, an innocent text message, a computer virus or simply a world war. An enormous number of causes have already been used to create chaos with an extinct planet as a result.

 

 

IO

 

Everybody left. Sam stayed.

Here in “IO“, it’s toxic fumes that cause the population to die en masse. Choking and blood transforming into a black liquid. Scientists claim the reason is an unexpected change in atmospheric composition. Smart people with common sense realize that it’s only Mother Earth who is thoroughly sick and tired of us and tries to get us off this planet with a well-aimed ecological kick in the butt. The result is a massive exodus to IO, a planet floating around somewhere near Jupiter. But that doesn’t apply to teenage girl Sam (Margaret Qualley) who stayed behind on Mother Earth, living in a house somewhere on a mountain where the toxic fumes can’t reach. When she looks over the valley, this smothering smog hangs like fog in the valley. Even a storm cannot blow these toxic fumes over the ridge. What the storm surely did, was blowing away a bee colony, necessary for the scientific research Sam and her father, who initiated this research and apparently didn’t survive the disaster, were doing. Or he went up in smoke. I cannot judge what this scientific research actually meant or if it made sense. That’s probably due to my limited intelligence.

 

 

IO

 

Dullness and slowness.

All in all, the beginning of the film wasn’t bad. Sam wearing an oxygen mask, traveling through the deserted streets of some American city with the help of a quad (equipped with a trailer). Images of a dead city and horribly dark underground corridors where rainwater drips from the ceiling. And the realization that her visiting time is limited to the content of the oxygen bottles. A miscalculation and she falls prey to the toxic fumes. Exciting. Captivating. But at the same time, it’s not groundbreaking. Even when Micah (AnthonyFalconMackie) arrives in a Jules Verne-like balloon, it doesn’t get much more fascinating. What follows is a conflict between these two main characters. Sam wants to continue her father’s life’s work and prove that life on Earth could be possible in the future. Micah wants to board the last spaceship that leaves for IO but needs some extra help. When the romantic get-together comes into play, I immediately thought of “Z for Zachariah“. A similar film that starts interesting but is characterized by a general dullness and slowness.

 

 

IO

 

Dissappointing.

The two main characters weren’t the problem. Margaret Qualley is a good-looking appearance and shows in a solid way how determined the character Sam is. Only the decisions she made were a bit implausible. Anthony Mackie manages to play the unsympathetic balloonist with a self-control problem effortlessly. The script was too nihilistic for me. The pace was irritatingly low. And the story itself was extremely boring. Many technically perfect still lifes. Lots of musing and breaks full of drama. Even the hopeful ending with a mythological-religious message couldn’t raise the level. Well, “IO” was a bit of a disappointment for me. I didn’t expect a “Lucas Arts” kind of movie where everything “explodes and blasts and bleeps”. But in terms of dullness, this Netflix Original still beats many competitors.

You can watch “IO” on Netflix now!

 

My rating 4/10
Links: IMDB

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Streaming & TV

Netflix: Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy: Siege – HD

In the midst of ongoing war on Cybertron, forces of good and evil clash as they search for the source of their power: the Allspark. This may not be the life they imagined, but it’s a life worth fighting for. Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy: Siege is coming soon, only on Netflix.

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Genre:

Animation, Short

Release Date:

Coming Soon (Netflix)

Plot Summary:

In the midst of ongoing war on Cybertron, forces of good and evil clash as they search for the source of their power: the Allspark. This may not be the life they imagined, but it’s a life worth fighting for. Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy: Siege is coming soon, only on Netflix.

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