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Zoe (2018)

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There is a fundamental incompatibility.

Zoe” is not just a film about artificial intelligence and the influence it will have on our society. It also shows how artificially our society will be in the future. A world where feelings are reduced to figures and where pharmaceutical concoctions provide a short but intense expression of love. Both with disastrous results. Couples who are madly in love, without any major relationship problems, grow apart very quickly after hearing the final score of “The Machine”. A percentage that indicates how much chance there is that their relationship will succeed. Couples who are about to split up can take advantage of Benysol to experience those feelings of falling in love again. Which in turn leads to the trade of this product in an illegal circuit, as these feelings have an addictive effect. The film “Zoe” was fascinating, intriguing and touching at the same time. A film that kept me busy the days after I saw it. I don’t have that often.

 

A.I. is sexy.

Zoe” is a mixture of “Her” and “Ex Machina“. “Her” was also about the love between a person and a non-human entity. Here it was a computer program that communicated sensually and seductively using the voice of Scarlett Johansson. Just because of the sexy voice I would fall in love with this artificially intelligent creature consisting of program lines. In addition to the development of a relationship test program and pharmaceutical love potions, Cole Ainsley (EwanLo Imposible” McGregor), an engineer and expert in the field of A.I. who works at “Relationist”, managed to construct lifelike androids. Artificially intelligent beings that function autonomously. Just like Ava in “Ex Machina“. Only less futuristic and equipped with all elements such that there is no distinction between them and a human being. Cole himself is divorced and stares every night at his computer screen in search of a possible matching partner. I wonder if his loneliness and lack of female companionship cause his imagination to go in a certain direction, which then manifested itself in the design of these “synthetics”. Because his creations are equipped with a voluptuous bosom. Just like Zoe (Léa Seydoux).

Falling in love can be hard sometimes.

The film is pretty slow. There are many moments with a distant and preoccupied Zoe or Cole. Zoe tries to fathom her raison d’être and experiences a personality crisis, asking herself who she really is. Cole is caught in his emotions when it’s about Zoe. He’s intuitively attracted to her but his sense of reality about the person Zoe bothers him. Perhaps because of that, you feel there’s a certain kind of distance between these two individuals. An insurmountable obstacle with disastrous consequences for both. The result is a flee in self-pity for the one. And even doubting the meaning of existence for the other. But not only the romantic problems are central here. Also, the interaction of “Synthetics” with their immediate environment and other similar designs is being covered. And the associated well-known phenomenon of a piece of electronics developing a feeling of life and a consciousness is highlighted as well.

Some brilliant acting.

I thought the two protagonists played a sublime role as opposites. Perhaps some will say there that there was absolutely no chemistry between them. But wasn’t that the point? It shows how love sometimes has to overcome difficult obstacles. And how ultimate love will circumvent all obstacles. In that respect, their acting was perfect. But especially Léa Seydoux fascinates. The way her mood changes, is wonderful to see. One moment she looks like a teenager whose young life is filled with puppy love and therefore she flutters through the scenes. The next moment she’s hurt and looks like a hopelessly lost young woman, full of doubts who plunges into a chaotic love life. It was a pleasant surprise to see Theo James appear in this indie-SF. And to be honest, I found his character more interesting than the one he played in the “Divergent” story. And last but not least, you can also admire Christina Aguilera as a lifelike inflatable doll that entertains lonely fetishists.

“Zoe” is an extraordinary film.

Well, I really liked “Zoe“. It’s a beautiful film and a bit of a relief after a number of less successful films. But I’m guessing you figured that out already, after reading this long lyrical review. Even though I feared it would be a boring average movie at the beginning. The different story layers fascinated me and kept me riveted to my screen. It’s an extraordinary film pointing out that future relationships with artificial beings will be more complex than the human relationships as we experience them today. Sure enough, I could predict in advance how it would end and what a final picture we would get with Zoe in close-up. But, for once, that didn’t really bother me.

My rating 7.5/10
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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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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