[EXPRESSO] Underwater (2020) |Ocean Walk In The Dark

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“It’s like Aliens, but”… you probably have heard these words more times than you wish, and i remember a similar situation some years ago, when the sci-fi horror thriller Life (starring Jack Gyllenhaal) came out, a good movie, but also one that fully deserved that comparison for actually having a similar plot focused on a crew trying to survive a killer alien lifeform in space.

Viceversa, i understand why many made this comparison again for William Eubank’s new movie, Underwater, because despite the completely opposite setting, it fits the typical sci-fi horror- thriller formula like a glove, and you can effectively swap out “deep space” for “ocean’s abyssus abyssum” without having to change pretty much anything.

The plot sees a deep-sea mining facility being unexpectedly torn apart by an unknown force, with the few survivors in the structure uniting in order to find a way to another outpost, in the hope of finding escape pods before the main drill’s nuclear core erupts, but as they venture into the depths, they also find horrible and vicious creatures lying in wait and quite ready to pick them off, if faulty equipment and the dangerous living conditions didn’t already…

The director of The Signal (the one from 2014 with Lawrence Fishburne, not the other one) here didn’t feel like reinventing anything or playing around with the genre, but then again it becomes pretty clear the intention was just to make a fun sci-fi horror thriller (not that advertising was deceptive, quite the contrary), one i’m glad it’s set underwater instead of space after all.

And on this regard, the movie delivers, with good cinematography, decent atmosphere, good creature design, decent characters, and a satysfing finale. Story is sadly derivative as it gets, but despite this, i’d quite entertaining, and worth a watch.

 

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Dorohedoro 8-Bit Game ~Living Dead Day Survivor (Browser) [REVIEW]

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So yeah, we have a Dorohedoro videogame, finally…. kinda.

It’s a free browser game available on the official site for a limited time, and it’s a basically a NES style beat em up taking place – as the title explicits – during the Living Dead Day (recently depicted in the third episode of the anime series), an annual event in Dorohedoro’s world where the dead rise, and people kill them to obtain plates that can be exchanged for prizes, with food stands and stuff like it’s a festival.

Dorohedoro 8-bit Game Living Dead Day Survivor cayman and nikaido

Being it basically just an ad for the series (one with impending disappearance), i’m not gonna complain about it being basically a 5 minutes affair, but the pixel art and chiptune theme are well done, gameplay is what you’d expect from old school beat em up: never let enemies gang on you from both sides, use items, master the jumping kick, etc. You can play as either Cayman or Nikaido (they control and fight the same), and there’s local multiplayer, even if you’d have to huddle around the same keyboard.

The website and instructions are in japanese, but you can easily figure controls out anyway, so i’d recommend you try it before it vanishes from the web. I still haven’t seen the anime series (besides a couple clips), but i strongly recommend Dorohedoro anyway, one of my favourite series of all time.

 

[EXPRESSO] Jojo Rabbit (2019) | Achtung! The Desert Night of The Lepus

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Yeah, we didn’t get this in theathers until last week.

Johannes “Jojo” Betzler (anime joke) is a shy 10 year old boy who has trouble making friends, he’s always clumsy and reluctant, so he ends up earning the mocking nickname of being a cowardly “rabbit” (hence the title) by his peers and superiors, because just being in the Hitler Youth wasn’t enough. But fear not, for Jojo has an imaginary friend to rely on, Adolf Hitler (played by Waititi himself, and with gusto), always ready to give him advice when the need arises.

But despite aspiring to belong, he discovers that there’s a jewish girl taking refuge in their house, and experiences many events that make him question the rigid nazi indoctrination received, the arian myth, and all that bullshit, and he digests this……. like a 10 year old boy would.

Despite the edgy-looking premise, Taika Waititi’s “springtime in Germany opus” (loosely based on the novel “Caging Skies” by Christine Leunens) is actually very heartwarming, colorful and playful, but definitely doesn’t pull punches, balancing out drama and comedy like good black comedies do, and i’m kinda surprised by the style of comedy. Sure, Waititi/Imaginary Hitler is goofy and quite fun to watch, there are more flamboyant outbursts, but many jokes are done with an almost deadpan delivery.

Which mostly works, but some scenes would have benefitted by a more outlandish visuals, while others do work better because the characters shrugh off absurd stuff happening, which ultimately makes some of them lacking the impact they’re searching for, not flop totally, but also not making you burst out laughing.

Despite this gripe, it’s a surprisingly uplifting movie, with a very good cast, good characters, but i completely understand why it could fall kinda flat for others, not necessarily because of its subject.

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The Island Of Giant Insects MOVIE (2020) [REVIEW] Shlock Stock Drop

The Island Of Giant Insects MOVIE 2020

In case you haven’t seen my review of the OVA, yeah, i found out after writing the review that the OVA was just an edited down version of the movie, also called The Island Of Giant Insects, so in retrospect it’s no wonder that was such a choppy mess, one that was made just for marketing purposes, and now is a completely pointless product.

For sake of completition, i feel compelled to witness myself – in full this time – the horrors in The Island Of Giant Insects. Continua a leggere “The Island Of Giant Insects MOVIE (2020) [REVIEW] Shlock Stock Drop”

[EXPRESSO] The Lodge (2019) | Ich Sect

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After the tragic suicide of their mother, a couple of sibling is spending the weekend before Christmas in a mountain lodge with their new stepmother, whom they actively dislike (and kinda blame for their mother’s death, for reasons that are kinda spoiler). As thing between them seem to finally improve, strange events start affecting them, and the stepmother’s past as the only survivor of a cult mass suicide begins to surface…

Good atmosphere, good performances, but there’s also a reason if it felt similar to Goodnight Mommy, of course it does, it’s from the same directors, Veronica Franz and Severin Fiala, which in itself should be a glowing recommendation, but this simply isn’t as good, as – besides the slow pace – it feels more indecisive if to go the paranormal-possession or the paranoia-hallucination route, so it kinda takes time before unveiling the twist, which makes sense and brings some intense scenes, but it’s not particularly satisfying and can kinda be see coming.

Doesn’t help it’s edited in a way that i kinda expected the film to end a couple of times before the actual finale (not sure if good or kind of a cop-out), and the whole stepmother’s backstory about the religious cult doesn’t really make for original or particularly effective visuals (kinda cliched, actually), but it handles them better than regular movies about possessions and religious rituals. And still, it has its creepy and intense moments, the acting is quite good, it’s a more than decent horror thriller that it’s worth seeing, even if a better script would have been welcome.

And the – sadly – unfavorable comparison to Goodnight Mommy isn’t unfair, i fear it’s kinda unavoidable (for the previously mentioned reasons). Not exactly disappointing, but it’s a bit frustrating as you can see how it could have been better. 😦

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The Island Of Giant Insects OVA (2019) [REVIEW] | Garbage Island Recut

The Island Of Giant Insects 2019 OVA

After being delayed and ultimately coming out last year, The Island Of Giant Insects it’s finally available as a movie on Crunchyroll, even in my region, i’ve heard it’s terrible, so yeah, i’m in, let’s review it… not yet.

Honestly, i kinda forgot this was a thing, i red announcements of this series coming soon in 2018, but i forgot and i didn’t knew they actually released it in 2019… as an OVA, guess that “series” plan fell through along the way, and they ultimately went with an OVA and now a full lenght feature.

I would have skipped it, but in response to criticism, the producer said it’s basically the prologue for a feauture length anime film project… it was a lie, i found out just before publishing that it’s just the movie edited to 22 minutes, i should have trusted my gut and avoid it all together, but since the review was already finished (and this new info doesn’t really change any of my complaints) i did some minor edits, and here it goes!
Continua a leggere “The Island Of Giant Insects OVA (2019) [REVIEW] | Garbage Island Recut”

[EXPRESSO] 21 Bridges/City Of Crime (2019) | Good Cop, Bad Cop

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Here in my country this one (retitled “City Of Crime” because originality) was advertised highly on having Black Panther’s star Chadwick Boseman and being “from the creators of Avengers Endgame”, the marketing cleverly not specifing it’s just produced by Joe and Anthony Russo, and after watching it i realized why, the signals were fairly clear to begin with, and it’s not exactly a “con job”.

It’s just a ploy to get you to watch another cop thriller with a manhunt through the streets of Manhattan, or in these case, the titular 21 bridges (which isn’t actually correct, but whatever), closed in order to avoid the killers (guilty of killing many cops in a failed heist) escaping, but it has to be done all in one night, etc. etc. It’s not a bad setup, but it’s a fairly typical nonetheless, like the main character, the exemplary cop with an unbreakable sense of duty and justice, who finds his beliefs challenged as things get more complicated and he suspect of an internal conspiracy… not that you need that to explain corrupt cops, but whatever.

And it’s decent, even if you’ve already seen this kinda of plot and characterization many many times, with a great cast that’s a bit too good for these characters, not completely stereotypical ones, but – again – very typical. Direction by Brain Kirk (TV director on Boardwalk Empire, Penny Dreadful, GoT, etc. here at his movie debut) is decent-good, it’s fairly fast paced, doesn’t pull punchers, and there’s no tonal problems or unbalance in themes like the movie rooting a bit too much for the cops despite showing how blatanlty corrupt they can be, nothing like that.

If anything, the italian marketing will “dupe” people into seeing a perfectly decent – if fairly disposable – cop thriller drama.

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EXPRESSO 2020: The Unchanging

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Happy 2020, fellas, the novelty has already worn off, or maybe not, whatever, i just wanna say that all the EXPRESSO reviews from now on will be made only here, previously i wrote them mostly for the italian blog Wise Cafè, and i rewrote them (often from scratch, sometimes coinceived in tandem, etc.) in english, or i just wrote here some new ones that weren’t on the italian blog.

This will save me some time, which i can then focus on more articles for both blogs, though i plan to eventually write here mostly. Bye!