[EXPRESSO] Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero (2022) | Red Ribbon State

Gotta love the redundant title.

After debutting this summer in Japanese theathers, it finally received screenings here too, and i feel kinda sympathetic for this one, as it had to follow up on the new Broly movie with 3D CG style animation.

But “following up” isn’t quite the right way to put it, as Super Hero was actually written by Akira Toriyama himself, also curating the character design and came up with the story idea, so he’s surprisingly quite involved, instead of just approving concepts and little else.

So it makes sense for him to opt for a smaller story, to bring back the Red Ribbon army, as in a new faction that carries on their will and creates two new androids, Gamma 1 and Gamma 2, calling themselves super heroes and then attacking Piccolo and Gohan….

to my surprise, the 3D CG styled animation it’s up to snuff, you know, being a theathrical full lenght release from Toei Animation and being a frigging Dragon Ball movie, it’s pretty good and i warmed up very quickly to the style chosen here, despite having some doubts from the early trailers.

The main issue is that while it deliberately focuses on a smaller scale story and brings backs a lot of old enemies, playing for nostalgic throwbacks and actually gets Gohan (whipped back into action by a really troubled Piccolo) involved into it…. i just wish they spent the screentime dedicated in remembering the audience this is canon to the Super anime series, well, developing better the new characters or the “superhero” angle that ultimately it’s just a – mostly – meatless hook leading to a bit more reharsh of old material than needed/necessary.

There are some pretty funny scenes, though, and overall it’s a decent movie, quite enjoyable, very entertaining indeed.

Dead Island: Definitive Edition PS4 [REVIEW] #deadislandretrospective

I started playing this mid-summer for kicks, but what do you know, in early september Dead Island 2 actually resurfaced after 8 years of radio silence, multiple developers change, and it’s coming out… in February 2023. Odd date, but i guess Deep Silver isn’t keen on waiting for a timely summer release, after the game overlong stay in development hell, so much that Techland spun another zombie series after basically being denied work on any Dead Island game after Riptide.

Perfect time for a retrospective of the series as a whole, so let’s start from the original Dead Island, in its Definitive Edition form (which on PS4 and X-Box One came packaged as a collection with the direct sequel Riptide and the spin-off Dead Island: Retro Revenge included).

We’re reviewing this version also because i’ve played Dead Island on PS3 when it was new… and this was indeed one of those games that could have used some enhancing and overhauling, etc.

I guess some history won’t go amiss, but if you happened to… not exist in 2012, you missed one of the most perfect example of misleading, bullshit hype trailers ever made, as originally we were fed a non-gameplay trailer that went for shock value (depicting a dead zombie child, among other things), trying to make you believe the game would treat the topic with some seriousness… only to find out Deep Silver were just being the deceitful liars they are, as we had a game where you combine shit to make fire-laden blades and battery-powered electrical pikes, with a slow-mo effect for when you decapite the plentiful undeads, or crush their rotten brains under your foot.

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The Spooktacular Eight Return & starting a Dead Island Retrospective

Yeah i know this is the older logo and art.

Since that thing i improvised last October did okay… let’s try to make it a yearly tradition, why not?

8 selected horror reviews sparkled through the whole month, in a pick-n-mix fashion!

Also, starting from October onwards, each month i will have a full lenght, in-depth review for each installment of the Dead Island franchise, with the retrospective culminating on the release of Dead Island 2 in February 2023.

Yeah, since this time we actually have real gameplay footage, Deep Silver isn’t waiting for a topical release date anymore for its zombie game, and wants this out before the unthinkable happens and they’re forced to restart the project from scratch for the 4th time or something.

Or before Goat Simulator takes further piss of that old E3 trailer with Pigeon John’s The Bomb playing to the sprinting dead.

The ONLY game i won’t be reviewing it’s the smarthphone spin-off Dead Island Survivors, because aside an old EXPRESSO review made in italian years ago (which i’m not unearthing or reusing in any way), i don’t have much written thoughts on it, as i didn’t play it that much when it released, and the game shut down in July 2020, so…

It wasn’t bad either, it was a top down action rpg with tower defense elements, free-to-play with all the shingle that it entails, but it was basically akin to Orcs Must Die, so it’s kind of a shame i can’t revisit it anymore.

That’s free-to-play smartphone games for you.

[EXPRESSO] Full Metal Alchemist The Final Chapter: The Final Alchemy/The Last Transmutation (2022) | Finally Finality Forever

Well, that was quicker than i expected, as part 2 of the finale for the live-action FMA movie trilogy is now available worldwide on Netflix.

For those of you unaware, yep, they made 3 of these things, and btw, SPOILERS beware, because this adapts the final part of the manga, picking up exactly where Scar The Avenger ended, with Envy, Edward and Ling getting swallowed up inside Gluttony… after we’re introduced to Izumi and her husband meeting Hohenheim, father of the Elric brothers.

Then we’re up to the frozen fort of Briggs, meeting Olivia Armstrong, and the whole conspiracy behind the Homunculus, Van Hohenheim and the foundation of Amestris is revealed.

As with the previous movies, there are some changes and cuts to the plot (including some axed characters), , but – as said before – it’s fairly faithful all thing considered, and as one would expect it’s the longer one, almost clocking at 2 hours and a half.

Though i wish it was a bit longer, as in some istances they kinda overdo it and you get the feel that you somehow missed some scenes, as the editor just assumes the audience to already know exactly what was supposed to happen, while rushing, abridging the shit out or outright cutting sequences that were reasonably expected to be included.

Even more odd as this issue could have mostly resolved with 10/15 extra minutes, it’s the final movie of this trilogy and it’s already pretty long, but still, nothing that seriously harms the experience, same for the somewhat inconsistent quality of the cheapish CG for the Homunculus.

Overall, The Last Transmutation it’s on par with the previous FMA live-action movies in terms of quality, it’s decent and mostly faithful, regardless of any “need” for these to exist in the first place.

[EXPRESSO] Don’t Worry Darling (2022) | Sure It’s The 50s

Leaving aside the absurd controversy that surrounded the movie pre-release and pretty much – as it usually does- dominated the discussion instead of the movie itself, the trailer itself immediatly shot most of the interest i had in Don’t Worry Darling, because it basically gave away the whole thing.

It’s one of those trailers.

Then i went to see the movie in theathers… and yep, my fears were correct. Mostly.

I wasn’t expecting the specific kind of the twist the movie pulls, which i won’t comment on since it’s pretty spoilers and any direct comparison will give it away, but if you think you know where this movie it’s going from the trailer, you’re right.

The premise sees Alice live with her husband Jack, living in the experimental 50s community of Victory, an utopic gated paradise where the men go to work on “innovative material developments” and the wives tend to the house and prepare to welcome them back.

Obviously the facade starts to crack as Alice starts asking questions about’s Jack actual work, and notices some odd things that do not match their perfect lives…

It’s a shame the visuals are great, as there are some good ideas here, but the script it’s really flawed, like, even the actual reveal of the twist and its implications are undermined by how the writing it’s overreliant on pure narrative commodities (characters are mostly infodumps for the audience), some notable repetition, notable holes and “horror allucinatory sequences” that deliver some solid visuals but are also just.. kinda randomly there.

While flawed, Don’t Worry Darling it’s entertaining and pulled through by the performances (Florence Pugh alone carries the whole thing), the excellent cinematography and some remarkable directorial ambition, so overall i’d say it’s ok, i liked it more than i expected to, honestly.

[EXPRESSO] Beast (2022) | Lion Puncher Idris Elba

I know what some of you thought when this one was announced.

“Isn’t this basically a remake of the movie “Prey” from 2007, but with Idris Elba?”

And indeed i thought the same, but luckily i forgot pretty much anything in detail about that movie, despite watching it in theathers when it came out, i only remember it being either quite shit or not good.

But yep, the premise it’s the pretty much identical, with a family going on a safari only to be forced into confronting a killer lion on a revenge mission against humans, after it survived an attack from some poachers. Don’t worry though, this potentially interesting facet it just mentioned and never explored, because it would cut into the cliched interactions between the family members.

Just some minor differences as it’s just the dad and the two daughters, since the wife died and this safari was meant as an experience to elaborate grief together, this type of mild tripe layered on top, but it’s kinda different as it’s a modern killer animal movie, so it not a full-on horror-thriller affair, it has horror elements but – curiously enough – it’s more about very old school adventure style scenes, despite the big antagonist being a lion acting pretty much like a slasher villain.

Keeping in mind it’s not really a horror (or horror-thriller) film, Beast it’s fairly entertaining, the acting is solid, good production values, and its hard to dislike a movie where Idris Elba punches a lion in the face multiple times, but the script is too cliched, generic and uninterested in actually explore any of the potential themes the premise provides, the characters don’t fare much better, so it ends up being a pleasing enough, fast moving experience but also quite a throwaway one.

Student Bodies (1981) [REVIEW] | Comedy Dies Tonight

In the spirit of school season, here’s a rewrite for Student Bodies, the 1981 slasher parody direct by Mickey Rose (writer of Woody Allen’ Bananas and Van Dyke And Company, among others) and Micheal Ritche (Bad News Bears, Wildcats, The Golden Child), which is notable for being the first movie to parody the then rising slasher genre, which at the time had success stories like Halloween and Prom Night.

It’s an interesting artifact of the era, which is why this isn’t so much a rewrite but a new review built from scratch (i did cover it years ago in one of my italian blogs, FIY), despite the fact this movie would have deserved me just unearthing and traslating my old review with barely any edits, but its historical importance it’s enough for me to overlook the fact i kinda hate it a lot.

After all, it’s something to have modern movies take the piss of the slasher subgenre, so i’ll have to give Student Bodies some credit for being the first of its kind, decades before Scary Movie and its spawn run the parody subgenre to the fucking ground (with the internet age subsequiently making them redundant as big studio productions you went to see in theathers), and here you’re kinda looking at the genesis of those misbegotten films, an ancient prototype if you will.

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[EXPRESSO] Broker (2022) | “Your Baby, Delivered To You, In A Box”

I was miraculously able to watch a preview screening for this one, which competed in this years’ Cannes Film Festival, and is a South-Korean drama directed and written by Hirokazu Kore-eda, better known for Like Father, Like Son, Shoplifters, Maborosi, also director of The Truth/La Veritè, a french film starring a very international cast and his first movie not set (or filmed) in Japan.

Given the director’s well known penchant for family dramas, it’s not surprising his new film it’s about the theme of family, but here touched upon in a more unique way, as it involves a woman who leaves her newborn in a baby box, only to be stolen by child traffickers with a proven scheme.

The mother of the child does come back, tracks down the two traffickers, but instead of ratting them out or worse, she decides to go along on a roadtrip with them so to interview potential new parents for the baby. But eventually this unusual crew is finally tailed by two police officers that are also investigating a murder…

If you’re expecting this to turn into a Hangover style roadtrip movie, you clearly haven’t been paying attention to the premise i just wrote, because rest assured that Zach Galiafinakis isn’t gonna show up and play a mentally challenged manchild, as Broker deals with the themes of child abandonment, criminality and family as seriously as you would expect from a movie that touches upon such serious and real situations.

Though, it manages to sport a surprising amount of levity and tender moments, quite needed in this delicate drama about murder, pregnancy, adoptions, etc, because Broker it’s good & depressing. Quite depressing, but not entirely hopeless.

My kind of movie… though Broker felt a bit longer than necessary, for me.

Still, a solid, good drama.

[EXPRESSO] Moonage Daydream (2022) | Sovereign Supreme

There are many kinds of films based on and featuring music behemoths, but when we step outside of fully fictionalized retellings with a proper plot, we often see two specific kinds prevail, the docufilm, the mixture of live recordings with some talking heads providing hindsight and opinions on the importance of the band/artist at various points in time.

Sometimes it will be something else entirely, be it the full lenght silent anime film/music video of Interstella 5555, or the mix of a music video-style narrative wrapped around live recordings done in Metallica: Through The Never.

But usually, the promotional pieces will tut about this not being another docufilm based on a popular, world-beloved music legend, as if the word “docufilm” itself has become dirty.

Though, in the case of Moonage Daydream, the claim of this not being labeled as “just another music docufilm” is actually true, as this it’s a full on experience, a proper spaceborn roller coaster into the life of David Bowie, trying to understand the nature and intimate essence of the chameolonic rockstar, helped by the privileged access of director Brett Morgen (Crossfire Hurricane, Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck) to the complete catalogue of archive footage and with full blessings from Bowie’s estate.

It’s a tall order to make justice of the incredible, majestic and ever transforming figure of David Bowie, but Moonage Daydream actually manages to do it, marrying rare archive footage, previously unreleased live performances, stunning visuals (that i feel benefit from the IMAX treatment) and depth without being bond to a strict linear narrative or having things overexplained by other people telling what they think David Bowie was as a person and rockstar,

It’s also incredibly well edited, with a delightful smorgasboard of movie references that are just the cherry on top. Masterpiece? Masterpiece.

Prey (2016) [REVIEW] | La-la-lion Goes To Amsterdam

Since that new movie about the killer lion with Idris Elba (simply called Beast) is coming out soon here too, let’s pick one of the currently available ones on Amazon Prime Video that fit into the subniche of killer lions flick, at least at the time of writing.

As in, i wanted to review Prey… the 2006 one, but since it’s not streaming there, the other killer lion flick from 2016 will do, and because originality it’s an ephemeral phantom, both movie are simply called “Prey”.

Not be confused with the new Predator movie.

Or the Netflix german horror thriller of the same name.

Or the two similar-yet-unrelated Prey games.

This is 2016’s Prey (since “Prooi” translates to that, also known as Violent Fierce Lion, so whatever, you can call your movie “Prey”, whatever), and it’s by dutch director Dick Maas, better known for Amsterdamned, the Flodder comedy series, but also behind the horror christmas movie Saint/Sint, and the often forgotten entry in the “killer elevator” subgenre with 1983’s The Lift, his debut film, which he actually remade with american actors in 2001 as Down/The Shaft.

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