My Five Cents Movie Review

Well so began another movie double bill for me and with the same theme as last time. The first feature was a hard core action flick, The Equalizer 2 with Denzel. And the second was the animated movie of Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.

Denzel’s character McCall is a former soldier who still believes in being on the side of the angels. He ventures forth to right the wrongs that the evil men continue to perpetuate on the innocent. Only one day his friend from the old days is murdered in what looks like a robbery in her hotel. But something smells funny, as she was investigating a CIA asset that by the looks things murdered his wife and then turned the gun himself. Something doesn’t add up and he informs a former partner of his suspicions. Unfortunately it has been many years since he worked in the shadows and people either run from their dark embrace or are swallowed up by it. Denzel ran. His partner wasn’t so lucky.

To be honest the plot twist was easy to spot. After all these years of action flicks it’s hard to be subtle anymore. And the movie was slow. It maintained focus on the people Denzel was determined to help, whether that was an old man who had lost his sister during the Holocaust or a young boy about to be swept up in the gangster life. The movie also delved a lot on McCall’s wife and it even had him return to his old home to face down his old life.

The movie was fair. Denzel really embellished McCall’s meticulous nature, which bordered on OCD and of course how he was able to go over in his mind just how he would kill each man and then act it out in real time.

SSSSLLLLAAAAAADDDDDEEE.

Okay I have no idea how I came to watch Teen Titans Go! The episodes are only 15 minutes and things happen so fast and furious that you don’t really have time to turn your brain on. So you just lock onto the show and hold on. But there was certain charm with the show. Nothing really happened. There was no superheroing at all by these guys. They just cruised through life really, getting into wild antics. It was like Seinfeld, only it was funny and I could watch it all the way through.

Well now its 2018 and every hero has a movie of their own. Which prompts Robin, perhaps the most self-conscious and fragile member of the team with the hope that he will be next. Only the other heroes think they’re duffoses. Robin is devastated. But the team want to help their leader. So they need to up the ante with their heroics. And that calls for an archenemy. So they decide on Deadpool….I mean Deathstroke….I mean SLADE! You know, the guy with one eye and half an orange mask. Him. SSSSLLLLLLAAAAADE. Only Slade thinks they’re a joke too. But the kids won’t be denied.

Okay I had fun in this flick. It was awesome picking out all the little nods and winks to comics/comic movies in the background, as well as DC Comics in general. This movie shows that DC can laugh at itself better than anyone. This gives them a tonne of cred with the audience. Sure DC may be ‘dark’ and ‘brooding’ and junk, but Marvel takes itself way too seriously. This is DC saying “comics are fucking fun, you idiot fans, so have fucking fun, for fuck’s sake”. Or maybe that’s me saying that.

Anyway, comics are fucking fun and Teen Titans Go! was fun too. The animation had the same look as the show but was cleaner and more refined, as well as some enhanced animation during the action sequences to give things some oomf.

And on a personal note it was nice to Cyborg where he belong, on the Teen Titans and not the frickin Justice League. Don’t understand that at all, really.

Another double feature of heroes being heroes. Of doing the right thing while the rest of the world doesn’t want you to or doesn’t believe you’re up to the challenge.

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‘My Five Cents’ Movie Reviews

 

For the first time in many years I went to two movie back to back in a single afternoon. I had just finished one movie and noticing it was still early I decided on seeing a second movie as it was in half an hour. Of course they couldn’t be more different.

The first movie was Sicario: Day of the Soldado. I was quite impressed with the first Sicario movie, as it was very gritty and grim, as well as being visually stunning and well-acted. If I had a complaint it was Emily Blunt’s character was a tad too naïve to be a FBI agent. But she wanted to do what is morally right, alas she was shown that not everyone feels the same way.

In Sicario 2 we are shown that the world has become even more grim. Terror strikes the American Heartland and the US vows revenge. Initial investigations show that one of the terrorists was smuggled across the US border from Mexico by one of the Cartels. Well that gives DOD the impetus to declare Drug Cartels as terrorists groups. And they send their best man CIA Spook Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) to go down there and stir the shit.

Of course the plan is as half assed as the one they came up with in the first movie. Seriously, does the US really think they can control the drug trade even if there is only one major group calling the shots? Please. The new plan is to start a war between the Cartels. Okay how to do that? Matt has an idea. Killing the King (the head of the Cartel) ends wars…killing the Prince however starts ‘em. So they decided to kidnap the daughter of one of the Cartel leaders and blame their rivals. Yeah. Okay.

So Matt and his birddog Alejandro Gillick (Benicio Del Toro) set the plan into action. They snatch Isabela Reyes (Isabela Moner) the daughter of the biggest Cartel chief. Only things don’t go according to plan. Fancy that. In fact shit goes sideways fairly quickly and Isabel escapes, not knowing what else to do and Alehandro is in pursuit. Unfortunately because of the shit storm that erupted the mission is shut down by the powers that be and Alehandro and Isabel are deemed as expendable.

The tone of this movie is very different from the first one. The first one had an underlying message, this time the movie plays more like a yarn and the Cartels and migrant smuggling are just the background for the plot. This isn’t a bad thing, but it did force me to change my perspective of how to judge the story. As well, Matt and Alehandro are the main players, rather than being shadowy figures manipulating things in the background. Now they are the ones being manipulated and they don’t much like it.

This gives those two characters previously unseen humanity and even instills empathy in the audience. Again that forced me to change my initial perception of the characters. Did I believe it? To a point. Alehandro sees in Isabel his own daughter and must prevent her from suffering the same fate as she did. Matt could simply be telling his bosses to go fuck themselves simply to say it and not because he cares about the shit he put Isabel through cuz of his half-assed plan. Isabel herself went through some evolution too. She was shown at the beginning as being a spoilt brat imbued with the full knowledge of who her father is and what he does for a living and loving every minute of it. Of course she is shown the dark side of that that world and boy does it fuck her up.

The movie has the same look and same pace as they first movie. The writing is good and the dialogue is sparse, which I like. If I have one complaint is ends rather abruptly. It took me a moment to adjust to the next scene, and a moment further to understand what happened. In truth once the Isabel was rescued once again there was no need to delve deeper into her story. As I mentioned, she is fucked regardless of where she ends up. In truth the ending shows that everyone is fucked and the horror never ends, cuz we secretly don’t want it to.

….

Okay the next movie I watched yesterday afternoon was Incredibles 2. Yeah, I know. But hey it was the only movie that interested me and it started in like half an hour.

First off, let me get to the elephant in the room. Elastigirl is MILF. There I said what everyone was thinking. Seriously though there was hardly a scene with Helen Parr that wasn’t being ‘provocative’. That damn outfit, her curvy hips…c’mon now. I blame the artists first and foremost for making me feel social awkward in kid’s movie. It has nothing to do with my years of being a comic nerd and surfing the dark corners of the internet. No way.

Anyway…

The movie was fun. Absolutely fun. It takes places mere seconds after the first movie ended. And though the Incredibles save the day, well in doing so they caused a fair bit of damage and the powers that be are a tad miffed. Enter Winston and Evelyn Deavor, Billionaire siblings who are fans of Supers and they want to change the perception people have of their efforts. So using their vast wealth and superior technology, along with their Super powers, together they will change the world. Only they want Elastigirl to be the face of the message. Her Husband Bob, is a bit miffed at that of course, but he resolves to be the homemaker while Helen goes after the bad guy.

The villain in question is someone called “Screenslaver” who has a beef against Supers and society in general. The villain hates how lazy society has become, the pre-packaged nature of our social order and our willingness to let others save us while we indulge in our own pleasure. Now this is where the movie seemed a bit off to me. I don’t know if the kids would readily grasp such a deep message, especially considering how immersed they are in the electronic super highway. Cynical old schmucks like myself enjoy waggling our fingers at the ‘laziness’ of youth, but it’s ridiculous really.

That message is offset by Bob trying to be the homemaker and failing miserably. But it’s not his fault really, as he has no experience raising children. The one person that the kids could empathise with the best is Violet, as she struggles with trying to be a regular girl and coping with her parent’s vocation and her own powers. But in the end, Violet is a frickin Superhero and she knows that when evil strikes she has to do the right thing.

The movie was visually stunning. Everything was big and bold and colourful. I loved the 60’s vibe too, the cars and the architecture and especially the music. It had that hip jazzy sound that just got my toes a tappin. Hell I may even get the soundtrack. There was slight anachronism in some of the technology that was created, but that could be easily explained away as it was an ‘alternate reality’. And I was easily distracted by that flaw while watching Elastigirl riding her motorbike. Shut up.

 

So two movies miles apart in theme, but both had their charms and were enjoyable. One made you think about the seemingly inescapable evil of the modern world, while the other reinforced our notion that people will always do the right thing even if others don’t like it.

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Hollywood: The Broken and the Botched

three

I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who thought that Killmonger in Black Panther wasn’t entirely villainous, at least in the traditional moustache-twirling sense most comic fans have. He was really just damaged goods. But a black orphan in Oakland in the early 90’s has the deck stacked against him. If he had been brought back to Wakanda he would have been fine (fuck anyone would have a better life in that place) but he suffered in a world that had turned its back on him. So he became the bad guy.

But it wasn’t simply in Black Panther that I noticed a sudden new trend in Tinsel Town. As luck would have it a friend (who was becoming tired of all the damn comic book movies I kept dragging her to) wanted to go see a couple flicks you could actually call adult. These were “Three Billboards” and “Shape of Water”. And I must say I enjoyed them both immensely for various reasons. Mostly cuz they were mature. I’ve been frying my brain for far too long on the damn comic book movies.

At any rate, those two movies, along with another, “Annihilation” has led me to believe that Hollywood is subtly moving away from the perfect fucking heroes and bring humanity back down to earth. What I mean is, today Creators are once again embracing the flaws in the human condition. Allow me to explain:

Three Billboards:

The movie is breathtakingly simple: A single mother is pissed at local cop for not bringing closure to her murdered daughter. When I saw this movie I was so impressed with the rawness of the emotions the characters had. The overwhelming sense that they were helpless before the randomness of life and that we never really get the answers we’re looking for. But I also enjoyed just how tragic everyone was. Not one person, even the cops had the wherewithal to deal with any sort of crisis.

To me everyone before the event was a sad non-entity, bravely going through life without making a statement to their existence. In truth the girl’s death actually bestows poignancy and catharsis for everyone, including the girl herself, who was fast becoming much like her mother. I’ve heard it mentioned that peopled resented how the racist cop gained some redemption with his actions. I don’t agree. All he got was beat up. There was no redemption. For anyone. France McDormand and Sam Rockwell drive off together because they are both unfit for human contact. They are shattered inside both by outside forces and their own inadequacies. They need each other for validation and to keep some semblance of normalcy. It wont last. They wont succeed in their mission to get revenge. They’ll remain like they are, lost and forlorn.

It was that grim reality that I enjoyed, albeit in a train wreck sort of way. We all need a reminder of the tragedies of the world, especially in the West. We find it so easy these days to tune out the raging maelstrom around us. Art is the light in that darkness.

Shape of Water:

I only realised what kind of movie I was about to watch when we see Sally Hawkins fully naked enter the tub and begin to masturbate. I smiled. Alrighty then. Let’s get this party started. The plot moved surprisingly quickly. Sally’s attachment to the Creature happened immediately. It had to be love at first sight.

Naturally she wants to save the Creature. And so she gets her posse together to do just that, guided by love, luck and the fact that no one ever pays attention to the servants. Considering the movie is set in 1962 the posse is composed of every outcast social group imaginable. There is the physically flawed mute heroine, her old-gay neighbour and of course a Black woman. Wow, talk about the broken souls.

This is juxtaposed with Michael Shannon’s All-American character, Richard Strickland. But I thought he was just as tragic as everyone else. Sally and the others are limited  by social prejudices. He wants the American Dream, bad! He has the house, wife and two kids. But they are just for show. He doesn’t noticed them. He doesn’t hear them. But he keeps going. He even gets a Cadillac, the very symbol that you made it, my man. But the more he gets the harder it is to hold on to it all. And then the Creature escapes. When Strickland is confronted by his Boss, he asks in the most desperate voice possible “When does a man stop having to prove himself”. Never. And it’s then he realizes that the American Dream is a nightmare. That doesn’t make him necessarily sympathetic, it just adds a wonderful layer to the character and makes him more like the people he’s pursing.

So many shattered lives and we’re still not certain if love prevailed in the end. Perhaps the Creature and his lady are living together on the ocean floor. One can only hope.

Annihilation:

I wanted to see this movie mostly due to its unique casting of all female leads. But it didn’t take long for the concept of our flaws governing our reactions and defining us came into play. Of course there is one catch to this, as we are blessed with the “Unreliable Narrator”, but seeing as it’s Natalie Portman, I’m willing to roll with it.

There is a line early in the film “Not everyone is suicidal, but they are self-destructive”. That explains why people tend to give up on the familiar and the reliable, like a good job or a marriage for something that may not succeed. And it that self-destructive tendency in all of us that is at the heart of the movie.

Natalie is a Scientist who did a stint in the army (cool) where she married another soldier who is still in the life. He’s sent on secret mission and vanishes. A year passes, and Nat tries to move on. Until one day he appears in her home. Dun-dun-dun!

Okay, seems a meteor struck the earth, creating a anomalous region called “The Shimmer” and it’s changing the environment. Teams have been sent into it to see what the hell is happening, but none have returned. Until Nat’s husband. Dun-dun-dun!

So she and her intrepid team of Scientists (who are all ladies, which is super fucking cool, btw) step off to see if they can do any better. We are informed that each member has their own demons. We know Nat is carrying a lot of baggage and not simply a lost husband.  What they find is the world inside the Shimmer is being fucked around on a genetic level, including humans. Dun-dun…okay I’ll stop.

This messes with the womens’ minds of course. Recriminations and accusations are made. Violence ensues. Tragedy and revelations, personal and in keeping with the situation are exposed. No one is free from being transformed by the events.

Natalie wants to find out about what happened to her husband. She wants to save him, as she had abandoned him more or less in their marriage, which drove him away in the first place. She needs to know the truth about what is in the Shimmer. Well she does…

I was on the edge of my seat for this flick. It’s pace and tension were excellent. Most of all Natalie Portman was rock solid in her role. In my mind I was screaming “C’mon, Natalie, save the day, I know you can do it. C’mon, girl”. And we really need to see more women press an M4 into her shoulder and put rounds down range like Nat did, cuz it was dead sexy. I did hate the usual thriller/horror ambugiuous ending though. Erggggh!

In conclusion:

These three movies show that perhaps Hollywood is shifting, albeit slightly toward showing human frailties again in movies. To show that people fail to get the answers they need to make it through life. That many times their decisions do more harm than good. And no matter how hard you love something it doesn’t always love you back.

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Black Panther: I really expected the token white guy was gonna die.

BlackPanther-WomenI don’t think any comic book movie has garnered so much attention than Black Panther has. Taken from a comic fan point of view, I thought its inclusion in the Marvel universe to be right up there with Guardians of the Galaxy. It was an odd choice, as it was a niche character, much like GoG was. I was aware of the excellent series in the 90’s that defined the character, but I never followed it (the 90’s were a dark time for me, comic wise). Still, the movie gathered a considerable amount of momentum and I became intrigued. As well it’s obvious now that Marvel is swinging for the fences with the movies.

I watched on social media (albeit from as far away as I could get) as lines were being drawn concerning the plot and the overall motivation of the story line. I could see that it was to be the most politically charged movie Marvel had ever attempted. And I dare say Hollywood has ever attempted. Though the main points had been shown many times before, Black Panther was destined to reach out to a wider audience than any of those previous movies could ever dream of.

What intrigued me the most about Black Panther was that it delved into a question I’ve asked several times about the world of comic books. Why don’t the heroes save us from ourselves? Why doesn’t Reed Richards make some device that cleans the oceans and the air? Why don’t the Avengers go after DAESH and the Taliban? Are they not villains too?

Of course the usual response was ‘well the heroes would demand to be worshiped like gods or something and we’d lose our freedom in the end’. Okay sure. Or people would resent the heroes telling them what’s right and what is wrong. Well, it is 2018 and I think common sense has evolved from such narrow thinking. We could use all the help we can get right now. And I for one would welcome our spandex overlords. Sure beats the woefully human leaders we’re plagued with lately.

And it is that sentiment that is at the heart of Black Panther. Should T’Challa use Wakanda’s vast wealth and technology to save the world from the capricious wants and desires of the rest of humanity? But the motivation of the story is how the past can come back to haunt the present. How the sins of the past never really leave us. The sins of the father, the sins of other nations and the suffering those sins cause the innocent.

So did it work? Let me step back again and review the movie beyond the story. Black Panther remains very much a comic book movie. It is big and bright, with bold colours and exquisite scenery. There is plenty of CGI action and with the requisite laughs interspersed. But like all comic book movies the action is bloodless and rather tame. There was never a sense of ferocity in any of it, but that has been usual in all the movies. As well, there were hardly any surprises, every box was checked, every i was dotted and t crossed. Again not a quibble will come from me about that.

So in truth the only aspect that made Black Panther unique was its message. That Marvel embraced a story concerning the suffering of Africans by Europeans and Black people in America was inspiring. The protagonist Killmonger was not entirely a villain, as he was right in his indignation, but wrongheaded in how to bring justice, which made him a sympathetic character. So in that Black Panther rises above the other comic book movies.

As for the performances Chadwick Boseman just killed it as T’Challa. He played the role tightly, but conveyed just enough emotion to give his character weight. The King knew when to cry. But seriously it was the ladies that just stole this movie for me. I have never seen a movie so jam-packed with strong female characters, but they all had depth and personality. It was refreshing, to say the least. My favourite was Okoye, played by Danai Gurira; she just oozed awesome in every scene she was in. And of course the incomparable Angela Bassett, as T’Challa’s mom, was a joy to watch.

If the movie suffered from anything it was that every character was so damn cool. They were all tough and smart and brave. They had the noblest of intentions but were undermined by hubris and wilfulness. And most of all everyone was beautiful. Not an ugmo in the bunch. And really, who wouldn’t want to be a citizen of Wakanda? I’d out Wakanda the locals in less than a year. Wow, just wow.

Black Panther is unique as it had a message beyond the usual good versus evil to tell the world. It succeeded in conveying that message, while still being a rip-roaring thrill ride. But seriously, I thought Ross, the CIA agent and one white guy in the flick was gonna buy it, as he helped save the day. You could knock me over with a feather when he lived.

4.5/5

 

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Justice League: Sorry, this movie won’t cure cancer.

justice league

Well, comic book movies have been around for a while now and I have to say they’ve been a mixed bag for me. Some series I’ve never entertained the notion of watching (Spider-Man, all of the ’em), others I only dabbled in (Thor Ragnarok was the only Thor film I’ve sat through) and only a blessed few were excellent cinema (Winter Soldier is pretty much the Casablanca of all comic movies IMO).

I believe it’s safe to say that Marvel is the gold standard of comic book movies. But that’s because they happened on the perfect business strategy: just hit the ground running and don’t give a shit if you stumble. Just keep churning out the product and it will make money. Brilliant.

For DC its a bit harder. Marvel had a clean slate to work from. DC has half a century of baggage to lug around, and not just comics, but TV shows, and previous movie franchises. Hell, DC has four steamer trunks full of fucking baggage.

This of course limits them. And the fans are merciless these days. Stray too far and they look like they’re ignoring the history. Stick too close and they look scared. And of course they have to work around their competition too.  Try too hard not to be Marvel and they look desperate. Superman kills. Batman broods too much. Martha, save Martha! Ugh. Poor DC. They just couldn’t win.

But then something happened. They had a hit and it came from the one character no one thought would succeed. Wonder Woman pushed all the right buttons with the fans (though I thought WW1 was an odd setting, and there wasn’t a lick of blood) and that turned out to be a game changer.  Now it looked like DC had something to work with. Finally.

Which brings us to Justice League. I wanted to see what DC could do when they finally were able to cut loose. So I ignored the trailers, whether online or on TV. I even avoided any news about what the flick is about. Thus, when I watched it, well, well, it was all fresh and new.

So the story…

The death of Big Blue seems to have set into motion a terrible new force to destroy the human race. Bats tries to gather a team of heroes in the hopes of stopping the menace. But it’s hard going. They are all reluctant to join, as they’re all struggling with their own inner demons and frailties. But eventually…

Hey, you know what? That plot sounds like every frickin comic book Big Event I’ve read in my bazillion years of collecting comics. There is absolutely nothing new in this movie. Nothing. Natta. Zilch. Zero. Been there. Done that. Gonna see it again in the sequel.

All any comic story can do is delve into those demons and frailties, with the limited time constraints of a 2 1/2 hour movie to give it some emotionally weight. And wow, they did! We see Bruce mired in guilt about what happened to Clark. We see Diana reluctant to lead the team, cuz she doesn’t want to be the one to send a friend into certain death.

I was surprised to see that every member of the team had a moment of introspection. Each member had a moment to shine and be the centre of the action. But if I had to pick one character that really glued everything together it was Diana. She really stood out in the group, she fought the hardest and showed the most courage. I would love to see her become the full leader of the team. Bruce has the brains. Clark the heart. But Diana has the spirit.

There were plenty of little moments that kept the momentum. Clever lines like when Barry asks Bruce what his super power is. “I’m rich”. Nice. Or seeing Diana walk around in tight leather pants. And goodness me, Gal Gadot has the most beautiful brown eyes I’ve ever seen.

The special effects were first rate, though the climactic battle scene suffers from the usual CGI overload. But meh, I can’t and won’t quibble about that. The movie was too much fun. The dialogue wasn’t too clunky, there were laughs in all the right places and not a hint of brooding. They’re heroes now. They understand what they have to do and that they have to do it together. Though they could have cut back on the number of panoramic ‘hero shots’ of all the characters standing side by side. But that is another quibble.

Justice League didn’t stretch the genre all that much. It didn’t say anything new or try to be anything more than a fun and entertaining movie. Isn’t that why we go to the movies in the first place? To expect more is really missing the point of what comic books are about.

Rating:

4/5

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Blade Runner 2049: The Bladenning

blade runner

So I’m an old nerd, which means I know a little bit about the movie Blade Runner. I’ve watched it a billion times, I’m can recite the dialogue, and I’m always on the lookout for something new in every scene.

In time the movie became the standard for every sci-fi flick that came after it. It began the idea of a dystopian future for the human race and more movies than not made the planet earth resemble Los Angeles 2019 in one form or another. Since it became so influential and ground breaking everyone thought it was impossible to make a sequel. Well twenty-five years is a long time. So the powers that be in Hollywood decided to take a shot.

Ridley Scott is back on board, but with a new director Denis Villeneuve. They even managed to score good old Harrison Ford to reprise his role as Deckard. The new kids are Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, Jared Leto, Ana de Arma and Sylvia Hoeks.

The plot takes place in 2049 and Ryan plays ‘Blade Runner’ K, who is a Replicant himself, but programmed to obey implicitly. While out retiring an old Nexus model, he finds a grave filled with bones. They belonged to a female Replicant who died in child-birth. Dun-dun-dun. A Replicant that can replicate? Well that sets all the shit in motion.

K is sent to investigate and find the child and retire it, cuz it could jeopardise the delicate social balance on earth. But he has his own reasons to find the child and discover the true identity of the mother.

The premise is much like the first movie. It’s all about identity. What makes humans human? A question we’ve been asking for a long time now. We watch as K struggles with his own identity. We feel that he is coming closer to finding the truth about who he really is and the quandary that he find himself as a result of his quest.

Ryan plays the role very tightly. But he has to, as he’s essentially an emotionless machine. He has an emotional foil in the form of a female holographic companion named Joi (Ana da Armas) who in truth seems a bit too good to be true. But she offers him reassurance and release. Everything he needs to endure his life.

There are other Replicants in the story. There is Luv (Sylvia Hoeks), a sort of girl-friday for psycho business douchebag Niander Wallace (Jared Leto), who wants the secret to get Replicants pregnant cuz they’re so damn expensive to make. She obviously wants to impress her boss and make him proud of her, so does all the dirty work he demands. There is also a cabal of old and new Replicants working for a revolution over the Normies (I just made that up, it’s not in the movie) and yearning to be free.

The movie is long and slow. But for me I didn’t mind the pace at all. Case in point there was a scene involving Ryan and his boss, Lt. Joshi (Robin Wright) where she subtly tries to seduce him, but he rebuffs her coldly. She looked a bit miffed at that. It was slight, but poignant scene for both characters. I’ve come to loathe the quick cuts in many movies and rapid fire dialogue shouted at me for two hours. Blade Runner 2049 takes its time, much like the original. Which I think today’s audience doesn’t appreciate, as there was one guy who yawed quite loudly at one point during the film. I had recently saw the original on the big screen and it was much the same thing. There is little action, so people were squirming in their seats. Ah well.

As for the effects and cinematography, well it seems the world has become even more bleak than in 2019. The world is mud brown, covered in dust, greasy rain and sickening snow. All that’s left is the human spirit. The effects are crisp and clear, and very well rendered. The sets have a worn out feel to them. There is nothing left on earth that is pristine anymore.

I found this movie to be fine companion piece with the original, but it does not surpass it. I don’t think any movie could. As I nerd I look for all the little nods to the original, and seeing Edward James Olmos (who stole his brief scene with ease) and Sean Young was a real treat. But this was Ryan Gosling’s movie and he did a man’s job, as he had to convey emotion very sparingly, which made him seem wooden. But he wasn’t. His performance was a slow-burn and it worked.

Blade Runner 2049 is a product of our times. The bleakness of the future. The questioning of identity and purpose. But in the end all we want is love and to be treated with respect and dignity like human beings. Is that so much to ask?

Rating:

4/5

 

 

 

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GitS ~ an aside…

flat

All nerds have pet-peeves. In fact the very nature of being a nerd is having something about pop-culture that irks or vexes you in some way. For some it’s the constant changing of a character’s origin or the character suddenly becoming evil for no reason. For me it’s heels.

Seeing super-heroines wearing heels in combat just irks me to no end. You can’t fight in heels. You can’t run in heels. You can’t leap and jump and land safely in heels. But there they are, lady heroes dropping ten meters onto stilettos and they aren’t ramming up into their feet. They must be magic or made of unstable molecules or something.

Now being one of the few people who liked Ghost in the Shell, one of the things I did notice was that the Major never wore heels once in the entire flick. When she was in her therm-optic camouflage it was comprised almost like a onesie. And when in civilian clothes she was in boots, low-heeled boots and not something designed by Jimmy Choo. Same for when she’s combat. The Major wore proper footwear. Oh yeah. This is a detail that speaks directly to me. I understand that comic based movies are a fantasy but to have just a hint of realism is what draws my attention to the story that is being told. The Major is a soldier and she is behaving as such.

And as an aside within an aside, what I also liked is how the film never made the attempt to show the Major as being 6 feet tall. That was especially on display when the Major talked to Batou on the boat. He is a big guy, a good two heads taller than the Major, but the camera did nothing to hide that discrepancy. I don’t mind seeing that. She’s the Major. People respect her, regardless of her height. The Director must have felt the same way.

So I guess something Ghost in the Shell worked for me. I noticed the same flaws as everyone else did. But I just was able to looked beyond them. At this point in my life I don’t seek perfection anymore. I’ll leave that to the young. And in time they will discover that they wasted so much time and energy on searching for something that doesn’t exist, even in art.

 

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