[EXPRESSO] Disney’s Strange World (2022) | The Ventures

Apparently Disney’s latest animated film (no, it’s not a Pixar joint) is bombing in theathers, and i do wonder why exactly, especially in its home market where people celebrate “turkey day”.

Probably the choice to market it a little too late to generate some online buzz, and as much it’s funny to point out how many “first gay character in a Disney movie that can be easily edited out for China” Disney seems to possess and parade about… in this case the discussion distracts from the fact this one it’s pretty good.

Strange World is a surprisingly good throwback to adventure films of yore, pulp adventure comics, and of course the old literary classics involving discovering new worlds with bizarre or extinct animals and fauna, especially Verne’s Journey At The Center Of The Earth.

The movie starts with a Davy Crockett-esque tale of Jaeger Clade bouts of ventures alongside his son Searcher, then we see Jaeger continue alone his voyage to find out what lies behind the enormous mountains that surround their village, while his son decides to remain to study a rare plant they found while exploring.

25 years later Searcher has basically created a new utopia as his botanical discovery led to them farming the plant (named Pando) and using it as an energy source/fuel that powers everything.

He lives with his wife and his son Ethan, but as the Pando plants begin to suffer from a sort of disease, he’s forced to journey into the inner depth to find out why, but it accidentally leds to them discovering an entire new world full of bizzare creatures, alien flora and living “isles”.

Likeable characters, fun interactions, lots of adventure and action in a world that does amaze and inspire in its oddities, and solid themes of enviromental coexistence.

[EXPRESSO] Knives Out: Glass Onion (2022) | Greece Getaway

Managed to catch this one in theathers during its premiere week, before it arrives on Netflix, as i planned to since i also saw the first movie in theathers.

This follow up arrives with some delay, as you could guess since the movie it’s set during full COVID-19 pandemic swing, not that it matters much outside of the intro part, which has world famous detective Benoit Blanc receiving the mysterious invitation (via a puzzle-operated special box delivered to him) to a secluded private island in Greece, where tech mogul is holding a private getaway with some of his old friends, inviting them to solve the mystery… of his own murder.

And before you go on a tangent, this was in the trailer and actually isn’t the big crux of the plot, at all, which indeed continues the type of comedy mistery affair that subverts or surprises the viewer by working with the classic elements of the murder mystery, the expectations it brings, while bringing in a new set of horrible people as potential suspects when the murders start happening, keeping the theme of “eating the rich and eat em hard” while delivering plenty of twists, reveals, laughs and damn satisfying bombast too, in some part.

There’s very little way to discuss the movie in any more detail without giving away or hinting at what actually happens in it, but i will say that this time Benoit Blanc it’s “proper” gay now.

Does it matter? Not really, as Bautista it’s playing a nerd streamer.

Now that i have distracted you, i can say that indeed Glass Onion it’s a pretty good follow up to the first movie, not a redo, but a new chapter/story, and i’m quite glad there will be more mysteries for Benoit Blanc to solve in the future.

[EXPRESSO] Prey For The Devil (2022) | Mid-sorcism

As much i’m very much kinda fed up with horror movies about haunting or possessions and/or about exorcisms… i’m still a horror fan/buff, so i’m up to support horror movies when they come in theathers, even if there’s the chance i’m walking into a turd. You never know, etc.

And this one didn’t look too bad from the trailers… nor did it look stunning, but whatever.

The plot of Prey For The Devil sees the Vatican secretly reopen schools for exorcists, in response to the numerous cases of demonic possessions, so they can fight back this reborn tide of evil.

But sadly for sister Ann, a young pious woman, it’s only men who are instructed to practice exorcisms, though her convintion in being gifted exactly for that purpose/role leads her to be noticed by a professor/priest that indeed believes in her gift, letting her attend the exorcism classes and perform the rituals when needed.

This leads to Ann meeting a powerful demonic force via one of the patients in care there, which spreads to the whole institute, and the demon itself has ties with Ann’s traumatic past…

Aside from the school/church/hospital setting and the more progressive idea of “female exorcists”, all of this sounds very familiar, overly so, and it’s not like there big surprises, i mean, we do have the demon possessing a little girl, the jumpscares, all the shizzle you expect to see.

Yes, indeed, but i won’t deny i was actually somewhat invested in the story, the characters are surprisingly likeable, acting it’s quite decent, the possession stuff has some flair, stuff happens at a good pace, and the movie isn’t overly long, quite the opposite.

It’s a predictable, mediocre and kinda throw-away exorcism film, run-of-the-mill even, but it’s perfectly watchable, you can do FAR, FAR worse.

[EXPRESSO] The Cuphead Show (Season Three) 2022 | Devilicious

I’m gonna be brutal and make it extra clear (in case you didn’t read the reviews of the two previous season/slices/cours): i’m kinda glad this is the end and i hope there’s not more of this to come.

Unsurprisingly so, the whole cliffhanger with Mugman dragged to literal hell by the Devil and Cuphead finding a way to rescue his brother is immediatly dealt with in the first episode, though at least it’s a longer opener to better make the Devil… basically Squidward. Even more than before.

After that we’re back to the usual episodic fair, but there are still some notable moments that also elicit some legit laughs even for the older audiences, and guess what, once again it’s due to the Devil being such a big pile of luciferian ham.

Just in time for some delightfully long christmas themed shenanigans, with a 30 minutes Devil-centric Christmas special that also happens to be the best episode, hands down.

Actually, to be fair, this season does involve the Devil more into the various episodes, might as well since his presence stopped being special, and he still the best character by far (alongside Porkrind and King Dice, of course).

As much i really forced myself through all of The Cuphead Show more for completition sake after season one, i can’t deny this show can still whip up some intriguing visuals and show off some nice editing and composition, alongside some decent jokes, not too bad for something that it’s aimed at kids and just isn’t interested in the amazing opportunity brought by its license…. to do anything that resembles the Cuphead “inspiration materials” aside from the looks.

It’s a Netflix style adaptation of a popular franchise/brand alright, but keeping all THAT in mind… it’s alright, it’s inoffensive. It sure is content.

[EXPRESSO] Diabolik 2: Ginko Attacks! (2022) | Color Cinecomic Photoplay

After the Diabolik revival movie of 2021 was surprisingly succesfull, we now have the sequel, Ginko Attacks, with inspector Ginko pressing its dogged hunt for master criminal Diabolik, managing to find its hidden lair, and eventually collaborating with a betrayed Eva Kant.

Though Diabolik himself was recast, here being played by Giacomo Gianniotti instead of Luca Marinelli from the 2019 movie.

As of why, Gianniotti does look almost identical to Diabolik as depicted in the original comics, but it’s a bad trade-off as Marinelli was by FAR a better actor, and a better Diabolik.

He doesn’t even feel like the same character either, but then again almost no character in Ginko Attacks has a semblance of personality, just existing as barren narrative gears.

Cumbersome pacing (for a 2 hours and 20 minutes movie) doesn’t help, nor does having Monica Bellucci in the cast.

Dialogues are pretty awful too, and tipify the whole problem with the movie, as it feels excessively faithful to the source material, making one wonder if they lifted the text verbatim from the comics, without ever considering how (or if) they would work in an actual film, or to actually update the literal decades old material for modern cinema standards.

So it’s no wonder the plot it’s also bad, utterly predictable from the get go regardless, with the twists/reveals actually making thing worse, because the entire narrative relies on almost every “character” being way too fuckin stupid to predict what the audience did hours ago.

Though it’s hard to get angry because it’s such an alienating, empty experience, with some style backed…by absolutely zero substance, and it’s very disappointing since the first movie was flawed, yes, but also WAY better.

So i’m not exactly looking forward to the third one already in the works.

Awful. Disappointingly awful.

[EXPRESSO] The Menù (2022) | A Meal To Remember

Went in blind and i can say this is a delightful surprise of a release, i mean, a black comedy horror thriller about haute cuisine with a stellar cast in it? Of course i’m in.

The premise of The Menù sees a dozen of influential, wealthy or otherwise high society people get invited to an exclusive dinner party on a remote island by worlwide famous and extravagant chef (played by Ralph Fiennes), eager to see what this year’s menù has in store for them.

Among them there a couple that will be enthralled not only the incredibly elaborated, inventive and maniacally detailed meals, but also by the many shocking events that make the already weird dinner go even more south.

And not always in ways you’d expect.

No, thankfully this one doesn’t go through the fairly overtrodden, predictable “cannibalism route”, not that it would have made quite sense to see Ralph Fiennes asks its dinner guests if they ever eaten “an egyptian FeAsT”, it’s not that kind of movie, it’s indeed a dark comedy horror that presents a robust mix of familiar elements, like the sympathetic villain that planned an elaborate revenge scheme that also steer into cult territory (not in the sense of waiting decades for critics to revaluate it, but the literal one), and also a touch of The Most Dangerous Game to it.

I’m not gonna go in further details to avoid spoiling the whole movie, but i will say it’s also fairly funny in his rampant pisstaking of haute cuisine and its pecularities, from the chef/ringmaster/performer/divinity, the kind of peculiar yet expected clientele it attracts, the behaviours and expectations they come with, while retaining wit through the mostly symphatic gaggle of people that maybe didn’t deserve it that badly.

A pretty robust, strong serving indeed, recommended.

Dead Island 2 got delayed (again) and what it means for the #deadislandretrospective

So yeah, i just found out that 4 days ago Dead Island 2 was yet again delayed, this time though NOT as much as it had already been, so instead of early February it’s now shooting for a late april release, as displayed in the above “delay communication post/image” (which are by now a specific brand of art in themselves), which at least acknowledges how ridiculous (yet fitting, i would add) is for a game that spent 8 years in development hell to be delayed so soon after reemerging as something else entirely.

Which in itself it’s fine by me, i can wait, we can wait at this point (and it’s also savvy given what’s releasing that month in terms of videogames), but i wish they announced this sooner, as now the original plan for the retrospective on the Dead Island series, with a review each month, it’s busted, so instead of releasing a review of Dead Island Riptide – Definitive Edition at the end of this month, it’s gonna skip November entirely and instead go for a December slot.

Same for the remaining two games (again, i’m not counting the defunct spin-offs Survivors and Epidemic, here is a reminder as of why), so those reviews will come out bi-monthly to coincide with the new release date of Dead Island 2.

Hoping i don’t have to do another of these post by then, who the hell knows.

[EXPRESSO] Nikke: Goddess Of Victory iOS | Anime Asses Frontline

Time to try my hand at another anime gacha with anime girls using rifles or being rifles or the usual military themed shit, because it scratches many itches, especially if your game lives by the profitable (and Houshou Marine-approved) “i don’t want to be happy, i want to be horny” motto.

Especially anime asses wrapped in spandex, because that was how i found about this game pre-release, by v-tubers laughing their butts off… due to incredible jiggle physics.

And yes, this is one of these that doesn’t even try to hide it, or to be also cute, no no, Nikke Goddess Of Victory is incredibly horny from the get-go (it’s from the Destiny Child developers, after all), so i guess points for brazen honesty.

Yeah, the premise is that you’re the ever-so-common amnesiac rookie commander ordering around anime girls with guns in a war against machines. So basically a worse Girls Frontline that wants to have it serious but also alternates between shock value scenes and abudant anime asses. It’s trash, but the dialogues can be somewhat engaging at times, the game looks pretty good, has nice UI, a good soundtrack, even a good english VA and some nicely animated cutscenes.

Gameplay its where things are a little different than the usual, as it’s… a on-rail shooter , basically a touch version of Time Crisis without the “rails” part, with 5 characters team, rpg elements like skills to activate and chain, alongside the usual modern on-rail shooter stuff.

This choice of gameplay also makes it easier to flash the player with pantyshots and latex wrapped anime dumparoos jiggling due to recoil, but it’s fun enough to be played in short bursts, the bosses thankfully provide some challenge not found in the normal stages, and the free-to-play trappings aren’t that awful.

[EXPRESSO] Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) | Vibranium Wars

For the record: i did enjoy the first Black Panther movie quite a lot when i saw it in theathers.

But i also saw how flippant is the quality of the MCU theathrical offerings, so expectations are as low as they have been for years. Especially with the passing of Chadwick Boseman, which is also honored and diegetically considered, as the death of T’Challa leaves Wakanda open to other nations trying to rob them of the Vibranium, forcing the reigning queen, the princess Shuri ( sister of the late T’Challa) and the remaining warrior women to fight for their land as Namor (i guess a different one from the Aquaman lore, despite the identical name) the king of a secret underwater-dwelling meso-american tribe rises up to force Wakanda into war.

After they take their sweet time, let’s be blunt, this one it’s almost 3 hours long, and boy you’ll feel it. It’s not even correct to say the movie it’s unnecessarily long, but it does take its time to set up various subplots and elaborate on the themes of legacy, inheritance and will that connect the Phase 4 Marvel movies together, as the characters deal with the emotional baggage left to them, which it’s fine but it feels like them ruminating/depending on the first movie to make you care this time too.

It’s the same issue plenty of these new Marvel movie have, and Wakanda Forever it’s no exception, arguably a little worse, which is a shame since the plot has some promise but never feels properly coherent, the cast it’s great, the villain is quite decent, but i found myself not really that invested in the new characters, the new kingdom and the new struggles Wakanda and its warriors face.

It’s a decent but unimpressive (and kinda bloated) sequel.

Dino Dicember postponed yet again, 12 Days Of Dino Dicember will be back

I really didn’t want to make this post, but after i sat down and did some planning, i had to eventually come to the conclusion i won’t be able to make a full-sized Dino Dicember like i wanted, with daily reviews as it should be, and trying to force it with my increasingly busy work schedule will just drive me insane, hence unable to pull it off anyway.

Also, i hold off on posting this, but it would be worse if i “unleashed” this announcements in very late November.

But i also REALLY hate to do nothing dino related, so yep, 12 Days Of Dino Dicembers will be back, so bring your dinosaurs canonicals ready for some liturgical nonsense. Literally, in some cases.

In the meantime, please enjoy tomorrow’s EXPRESSO review of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.