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Harmony: Despite All Its Vagueness, This Film Isn’t That Bad

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Even in love, there’s fear.
You can’t have one
without the other.

Do you know that feeling when you drove with your bike somewhere, look surprised at a road map and realize you don’t have any idea where you were? Or that time when you were looking at the blackboard in disbelief, while the professor wrote down a mathematical theorem? I also had that surprised, open-mouthed, slightly panicking look when watching “Harmony“. This Australian film (with Australian actors who did their best to hide that well-known accent) is now really the vaguest of all the films I’ve seen so far. Somewhere deep inside there might be something original in it. But it really didn’t seem to want to rise to the surface.

 

Harmony

 

A confusing movie.

After an hour I still didn’t understand what was going on with Harmony (Jessica Falkholt). And her relationship with Mason (Jerome Meyer) and Jimmy (Eamon Farren) remained a complete mystery to me. The denouement was again kind of obvious. And of course, you get once more such a typical ending that affords room for several follow-up films. Apparently, that’s been the idea all along. They were planning to create a 5-part saga of which this film “Harmony” is the first chapter. Unfortunately, the lead actress Jessica Falkholt died in a car accident before the movie premiered. And preparing follow-up stories without this character may be problematic. Or they are devoting the following four sequels to the other 4 newborns, each of whom has their own specific, special power.

 

Harmony

 

It’s all a bit too vague.

Perhaps that was the most positive thing about the entire film. The gift of Harmony to remove negative feelings and fears from random people, sounds rather intriguing . A not so pleasant experience for Harmony. The inherited burden causes both psychological and physical pain. The only way for Harmony to free herself from this burden is to take a shower after which these negative feelings run away like black ink.

How come she’s blessed with this power? Does it have to do with the death of her mother during birth? And what is her motive for wandering through dark streets at night and saving hopelessly lost souls? Who’s the woman who takes care of neglected animals? How does she know that Harmony should use her gift on as many people in need as possible? And does she know the others who also have a certain power? It’s all a bit too vague. I suppose when the sequels are made, it will all become a bit clearer.

 

Harmony

 

More question marks.

Film technically, the film looks flawless. The gray and dark images fit wonderfully with Harmony’s character. Her appearance, a goth-like young girl in black, also reinforces this depressing feeling. Jimmy, the rebellious punk who treats others like dirt, is also such a dark figure. Why he shows an interest in Harmony and at the same time radiates a kind of hate is again vague. Mason, on the other hand, is a real “jump for joy” guy. His colorful outfit and innocent, naive and weird behavior ensure the bright, happy moments. Also here it isn’t clear why Harmony continues to function flawlessly in his presence. Is Mason an insensitive and numb person? Does he go through life without fear or negative feelings? Does he have a mental disorder that makes him appear eccentric? Well, again I haven’t the faintest idea.

 

Harmony

 

The story itself wasn’t in harmony with the rest.

Perhaps a few missing puzzle pieces are necessary, so we understand this idiosyncratic film a bit better. As you’ve read, everything remains fairly vague and incomprehensible. All in all, despite all its vagueness, this film isn’t that bad. The acting is of an acceptable level and the way in which everything was portrayed also has its charms. The film also fits the image of our current society perfectly. A society where fear plays a major role nowadays. And I’m sure that many teenage girls will be enthusiast about the romantic part of the film. On a narrative level, I thought it was inadequate. Too many question marks and blanks. In short, the story itself wasn’t in harmony with the rest.

 

 

My rating 5/10
Links: IMDB

 

fantasy

Emma Roberts Shines in the Feminist Fantasy ‘Paradise Hills’

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Genre : Scifi-Fantasy
Rating : Unrated
Director: Alice Waddington

Cast:
Emma Roberts
Milla Jovovich
Eiza Gonzalez
Awkwafina
Danielle Macdonald

In the not-so-distant future the rebellious Uma (Emma Roberts) suddenly finds herself on an isolated island known as Paradise. Part reform school and part conversion therapy Paradise is a re-education camp run by the The Duchess (Milla Jovovich) and her all-male staff. Greeting Uma as she wakes are her roommates, the overweight Chloe (Patty Cake$‘s Danielle Macdonald) and metalhead Yu (Awkwafina). With her friends by her side she is forced into several different regiments ranging from make overs and yoga to “mirror therapy” with The Duchess and brainwashing sessions meant to turn Uma into the kind of subservient wife her mother and her rich suitor dream of. Things seem bleak for Uma and her companions until they get to know Amarna (Baby Driver‘s Eiza Gonzalez). Sent to Paradise for her lesbian tendencies she has concocted a plan to escape.

 

 

Perhaps the most noticeable part of Paradise Hills is how absolutely gorgeous it is. Opening to a lavish reception for newlyweds Uma and sleazy socialite Son (Arnaud Valois) you are immediately sucked in by its mix of tradition and opulence as revelers twirl around Uma with streams of white chiffon creating abstract shots as beautiful as a painting. All of which is topped when Uma reaches Paradise. With obvious inspiration from Alice in Wonderland and 1960’s television show The Prisoner it’s pastel flowers and deep primary colors are able to make the film look idyllic without ever really losing that bit of magic. Even as trouble begins to rear its head you can’t help but marvel at Waddington and production designer Laia Colet were able to do on their limited budget. As much as Paradise Hills excels visually its story can feel lacking at times.

 

With writing duties handled by author Brian DeLeeuw (Some Kind of Hate) and Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo (Colossal, Time Crimes) high expectations are to be expected. Vigalondo in particular has done a great job playing with sci-fi tropes in films such as Colossal. Instead what get is a pretty thin science fiction tale. Vaguely mentioning a class system and insight any attempts at commentary are brief. For the most part it follows a cliché-ridden story more appropriate for a YA novel than some of the more imaginative minds in genre film today with most of the story being fairly underwritten. Our world lacking any detail with hints like why The Duchess runs Paradise or the background of Uma’s new friends being vague and quickly glossed over. Instead most of the focus is on Uma who follows the same heroes journey we’ve seen a thousand times over.

 

 

Despite being given a role Emma Roberts could sleepwalk through she does an admirable job as Uma. Her evolution from rebellious prisoner to the leader of a prison escape never feeling forced thanks to her relationship with Amarna. Bonding over their need to break free of Paradise their companionship builds naturally with any hints of Amarna’s romantic tendencies never feeling too exploitative with their sisterhood taking a much bigger role. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same of Chloe and Yu. Despite being brought to life by the always good Danielle Macdonald, Chloe never really rises above playing supportive friend before blending into the background. Yu is given more to do but not much. Sent to the island by her family for anti-social tendencies before moving to mainland China. Whether intended or not it could have been a particularly poignant role had a the always game Awkwafina been given more screen time.

 

There’s no denying how beautiful Paradise Hills is. Showing herself to be a real visionary director Alice Waddington and production designer Laia Colet use a mix of Elizabethan glamour and futuristic technology to create a gorgeous world that looks unlike anything in movies today. Sadly, the same can’t be said for the story which feels like it came from the YA novel starter pack. With a story carried by some great performances Paradise Hills ends up being an engrossing, if somewhat hollow, experience.

Rating 7/10
Links : IMDB

Paradise Hills is now in theaters and on VOD

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Action

Bloodshot | Official Trailer -HD

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Genre:

Action, Drama, Fantasy

Release Date:

February 21, 2020 (Post Production)

Director:

Dave Wilson

Cast:

Vin Diesel, Eiza Gonzálaz, Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell, Guy Pearce, Lamorne Morris

Plot Summary:

After he and his wife are murdered, marine Ray Garrison is resurrected by a team of scientists. Enhanced with nanotechnology, he becomes a superhuman, biotech killing machine – Bloodshot. As Ray first trains with fellow super-soldiers, he cannot recall anything from his former life. But when his memories flood back and he remembers the man that killed both him and his wife, he breaks out of the facility to get revenge, only to discover that there’s more to the conspiracy than he thought.

 

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Finally Official – ‘Matrix 4’ Is On The Way With Original Cast

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“Lana is a true visionary, a singular and original creative filmmaker”

This time it’s for real! This is not a drill “Matrix” fans. Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich has confirmed, the computer generated world of ‘The Matrix’ will be returning to the big screen. The original cast will be reprising their roles, while Lana Wachowski will be sharing co-writing duties with Aleksander Hemon and David Mitchell. Lana will also be directing the future installment, with no word as of yet if her sister Lilly Wachowski will sign on. But chances are, that may change once things get further underway. Toby Emmerich released an official statement on the project, here’s what he had to say:

“We could not be more excited to be re-entering ‘The Matrix’ with Lana. Lana is a true visionary, a singular and original creative filmmaker, and we are thrilled that she is writing, directing and producing this new chapter in ‘The Matrix’ universe.”

Though Plot details haven’t been worked out. Lana Wachowski shed some light as to the direction we can expect:

“Many of the ideas Lilly and I explored 20 years ago about our reality are even more relevant now. I’m very happy to have these characters back in my life and grateful for another chance to work with my brilliant friends.”

Keanu Reeves is set to return as Neo with Carrie-Anne Moss reprising her role as the infamous computer hacker, Trinity. How this will all work has yet to be revealed, considering both characters met their demise at the end of the current trilogy. There’s is also no word yet on whether  Laurence Fishbourne will return as the rebellion  leader, Morpheus.

Production is set to begin 2020

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