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Ready Player One (2018)

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James Halliday saw the future.
And then he built it.
He gave us a place to go.A place called … THE OASIS.

Recently I got a Playstation VR set for my birthday and since then I’ve spent a lot of hours in different virtual worlds. So I understand very well that in films such as “Ready Player One” the population spends more time in this artificial environment than in the actual world. As one already suggested at the beginning, this virtual fantasy world is so alluring because there’s so much to experience. But also because you can be so much. Just like in “2047: Virtual Revolution“, it seems as if all of humanity has lost its contact with reality and is wasting their entire fortune on digital upgrades and gadgets and walk around their entire free time with such futuristic-looking VR glasses. Unfortunately, the moral is the same as in this last film. Namely, that one has to cut the virtual bonds and live back in reality. Perhaps there’s an element of truth here. In today’s society, the art of communicating and socializing is going to waste because we do this only in a digital way.

Lets find the Easter egg …

The story itself was a bit straightforward and simple. The day one of the designers (James Halliday) of the virtual playground OASIS drew his last breath (in reality), he reveals that he has hidden a so-called “Easter egg” in OASIS. Who finds it wins a mega top prize that gives the honest finder total control over OASIS and inherits Halliday’s fortune. We, of course, get a race between two camps. On the one hand, young Wade (TyeJoeSheridan) who, along with some of his online friends, eagerly starts looking for the hidden keys. Not only for the fame and fortune but also to get back at IOI (Innovative Online Industries). This company wants to win the main prize at any cost so it becomes the largest company in the world. So, Wade gets the CEO Nolan Sorrento (BenMississippi GrindMendelsohn) as a formidable opponent whose inexhaustible source of income gives him an advantage. Needless to say who will finally get the virtual short stick.

The number of references to the 80’s? I lost count ….

No, the story itself is not really epic. The images and the overall atmosphere, however, are. The first assignment with the extremely difficult road race packed with obstacles was something to drool over. The fact that a T-Rex and a frantic King Kong appeared in it, was perhaps slightly exaggerated. But for the rest, this part did look exquisitely and flashy. I would also like to participate in that race. Ditto for the Doom location. To experience a death match on that planet, must also be extremely energetic and exciting. But mainly “Ready player one” is a huge wink and nostalgic look back on the 80s. And this in all sorts of areas. The music, the film and the game world from this era, are extensively praised. So the whole film is stuffed with references to it. The DeLorean from “Back to the future“. A floating dance floor with the soundtrack of the Bee Gees. The Atari games and a t-shirt from Joy Division. And a multitude of famous characters who come to act as an avatar in the VR world. You can be sure that every scene contains a reference. It’s as if Steven Spielberg not only sends the heroes in search of the Easter Egg but also assigns the audience the same task. Find as many hidden references as possible.

It’s one, big, vivid video game.

If you are an avid gamer, you’ll be thrilled about this film, since most of it is purely a graphic spectacle. The opening scene where the world of OASIS is presented in is a breathtaking and impressive spectacle. For others, it may be a bit too much. It’s as if you’re at a friend’s house looking at the tube, while he’s playing a super fantastic game. A little frustrating. But, I’ve amused myself with this movie. Apart from a few issues (I don’t understand how Wade could get his installation working in the back of a van in the middle of a junkyard), for me, this film was really quite wonderful. And it was pretty self-explanatory that the girl behind the avatar Art3mis (OliviaMe and Earl and the dying girlCooke) also be a natural beauty in RL. I’m not really a big fan of Steven Spielberg and think some of his films really weak, but here he succeeds again in making my film heart beat faster. And not only because I’m actually a bit hooked to the VR phenomenon (even though it doesn’t yet have the sharpness as shown here). “Ready Player One” is a bit like “The Goonies” meets “Tron“. But with more technological wizardry and a different kind of treasure as a reward.

My rating 8/10
Links: IMDB

Action

Alita : Battle Angel – Fast Paced Action-Rich Combat Scenes

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While I’m learning name, do you have one for me?
Alita.
It’s a nice name.
I love it!

I was really looking forward to this movie “Alita: Battle Angel“. A cyber-punk setting and unparalleled computerized images that are perfectly injected into a real-life environment. Of course, you know Alita (Rosa Salazar) is the result of a hard-working graphic designer who has been sweating for hours behind his computer screen to project a graphic shell onto a real-life person. However, it didn’t bother me. Alita seemed like a lifelike person. Even though she had those unnatural large Bambi eyes. I admit that at the beginning, my eyes always wandered down to her derriere to see if there was such a sweet little wagging tail. But eventually, how strange it might sound, I thought the end result was quite meager. Poor in terms of atmosphere and narrative.

 

Alita : Battle Angel

Cheesy father-daughter story.

Maybe my expectations were a little too high. Or was it the cheesiness of the father-daughter story? There’s the all-consuming grief after the loss of a daughter. A search for a surrogate daughter to appease this sorrow. And that causes Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) scouring the dump of Zalem (the last air city that immediately reminded me of the movie “Elysium“) for discarded cyborg parts, so he could construct Alita. He’s a kind of Frankenstein. But this time using non-human parts.

 

Alita : Battle Angel

 

Oh no. The romantic part.

Or maybe it was the romantic part. The last thing I needed. Really. The moment Hugo (Keean Johnson) came into the picture, I already knew that this rebel-looking hunk would make a romantic connection with this artificial being. And I really didn’t feel like witnessing romantic frivolities that make young teenage girls float. The only thing you aren’t sure about is the outcome. A happy ending? Or a catastrophic one?

 

Alita : Battle Angel

 

The visuals are tremendous.

The only thing I regretted afterward, was that I hadn’t seen it on the silver screen. Probably it will all have been bigger and more impressive. Because frankly, the visuals are really amazing so to call (Not so hard when you see the budget they had). Great eye for details. A city that looks like a run-down anthill where metallic constructions stand next to remnants of the past. And a whole bunch of futuristic technologies and vehicles.

 

Alita : Battle Angel

 

Past-paced, action-rich combat scenes.

And also, the action-rich combat scenes look great actually. Swirling images in slow motion and impressive choreography you might say. Especially the fight in the bar with Zapan (EdThe transporter refueledSkrein), the skirmish in an alley after she followed Ido and the underground fight with Grewishka (Jackie Earle Haley) appealed to my imagination. And finally, there are also the Motorball competitions. Action-packed, fast-paced and mouth-wateringly brought into the picture. It immediately reminded me of the old film “Rollerball” from 1975.

 

Alita : Battle Angel

 

Impressive visuals, poor story.

But despite all the graphic power and hard action, I found it overall disappointing and moderate. Even though the fighting was extremely solid in terms of views, it was too safe and colored inside the lines. Perhaps because they were aiming at a young audience. But most of all I missed a solid and clear story. The so-called Great War was mentioned, but they didn’t do much more with it. The flying cities were also a complete mystery to me. There was no explanation. Beware, I had the same thing with “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets“. Also, a visually overwhelming film where the story is difficult to understand. This last film is also based on a comic, just like “Alita“. I can imagine that fans of these comics can empathize better with the story. But my biggest annoyance was that at the end I realized that I had watched a lengthy intro to the sequel that is probably already on the table at Twentieth Century Fox. And I hate sequels. Good advice Fox. Provide the continuation with a touch of humor, because that was missing too here.
Conclusion: a film that looks magnificent with a not so impressive story.

 

My rating 5/10
Links: IMDB

 

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Good Boys | Official Red Band Trailer – HD

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Genre:

Adventure, Comedy

Release Date:

August 16, 2019

Director:

Gene Stupnitsky

Cast:

Jacob Tremblay, Molly Gordon, Lina Renna, Will Forte, Keith L. Williams, Retta, Brady Noon

Plot Summary:

Invited to his first kissing party, 12-year-old Max asks his best friends Lucas and Thor for some much-needed help on how to pucker up. When they hit a dead end, Max decides to use his father’s drone to spy on the teenage girls next door. When the boys lose the drone, they skip school and hatch a plan to retrieve it before Max’s dad can figure out what happened.

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Action

Daisy Ridley Promises Epic Lightsaber Duel In ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’

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“We in this film actually have perhaps one of the most epic fights in Star Wars.”

The lightsaber duel is a staple of Star Wars lore. Every episode has featured some of the most iconic battles in cinematic history. Many fans were disappointed with the lack of saber action in Episode VII, even though the film primarily focused on Rey trying to discover her true place within the universe. ‘The Last Jedi’ attempted to give us more action but was over shadowed by Director Rian Johnson’s character arc choices. Going into ‘Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker’ J.J. Abrams knows what’s at stake, while bringing us the conclusion to one of the most beloved franchises in movie history. In a recent interview with Wired about Episode IX, Daisy Ridley shed some light on what we can expect in the final installment:

“The interesting thing about this film is that we concentrate more on the fact that [the lightsabers] are light,” Ridley told the publication, “Because the [old] lightsabers were so heavy, as Eunice [Huthart] said, who is our new stunt coordinator, that it was more like broadsword fighting, which isn’t technically what it’s supposed to be because lightsabers are supposed to be light, by nature.”

Since the “Skywalker” lightsaber that was a focal point in ‘Episode VII’ was destroyed during ‘The Last Jedi,’ it would appear that Rey will be getting herself a new “Lighter” saber. Daisy also, went on further to suggest we will be witnessing one of, if not the most epic Star Wars lightsaber duels of all time via Episode IX:

“So they actually made them lighter for us,”the actress continued “We in this film actually have perhaps one of the most epic fights in Star Wars.”

‘The Rise of Skywalker’ has a lot riding on it to properly conclude the “Skywalker Star Wars Saga.” J.J. Abrams is well aware of what’s at stake. One can only imagine that he will pull out all the stops to ensure one of the greatest endings in recent cinematic history.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters December 20, 2019

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