[EXPRESSO] Pacific Rim: The Black (Season Two) (2022) | Kaiju Kult

Well, look’s who back, a series that i honestly even forgot existed, but they did announced this second (and final) season, guess that branding helped.

So yeah, while i didn’t hate the first season, Pacific Rim The Black was kinda the perfect example of “Netflix anime”, as in, it looks like anime, it’s produced by an anime company and japanese directors, but you could tell it’s written by non-japanese staff.

Which isn’t necessarily an issue, but you just can tell right away and it creates this slight disconnect, and due to that once again it’s hard to say for whom exactly this is made for exactly, given it’s still made in okayish but still janky 3D CG (and the specific “3D CG anime jank” of Polygon Pictures output), which is kinda offputting for most of the self-proclaimed “anime enthusiasts”.

But on the flipside, it’s not that bad, it’s honestly alright, it’s entertaining enough and this one picks from the point where the first season started having some interesting worldbuilding and character development, and manages to make the plot have some purpose (though it kinda has to, since this is the final season), introducing a death cult of Kaiju worshippers.

It’s an actual improvement over the first season, the writing it’s still nothing impressive, but it’s better, though despite being just another 7 episodes, i did wonder if it was ever supposed to be longer, as some resolutions and events happen very quickly, almost abruptly so.

Again, it’s alright, but as the idea of anime series based on Pacific Rim makes a lot of sense if you think about it, it kinda let you wish it had better animation and a slightly longer lenght.

Still, for a spin-off “western-ish anime” series that didn’t need to exist in the first place… it’s decent.

Snowmageddon (2011) [REVIEW] | Promise (NOT featuring Kohmi Hirose)

If you’re like me, you don’t need to be told that there is a deluge of disaster movies up on Amazon Prime Video, often looking so easy to review that makes you feel bad, so low hanging and free (as in, included with Prime, i’m not paying extra subscription) the fruits of this “tree” are.

So i often end up browsing, looking at the description, just adding to the watchlist and moving on, forgot i’ve even added them, etc.

This one does break the mold and managed to make me kinda intrigued, as the premise made Snowmageddon (E- for the title, btw, it could have been way more stupidier and tortured) sounded very fuckin stupid, cheesy but slightly different.

And it’s still fairly cold here, so before springtime hits proper let’s indulge in more icy TV trash, the review for the Uncharted movie it’s coming later, so please, join me in this mystical garbage dive.

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[EXPRESSO] The Last Journey AKA Le Derniere Voyage (2020) | Majora’s Musk

Talk about a surprise release, since this 2020 french scifi movie only now has reached theathers in “The Boot”, and i’m willing to guess it never reached US theathers, since i didn’t even heard about it via social media.

Not even a mention, despite the original french title being similar to Luc Besson cult classic Le Dernier Combat, also a sci-fi movie with Jean Renò.

Regardless, the movie its set in a not too distant future (2050, in this case) where humanity it’s on the brink of extinction, with a red planetoid knows as the Red Moon is now coming so ever closer to Earth, bringing desertification, unliveable temperatures, animal extinctions and an energy crisis..

Only one man, Paul W.R., can save the day as he’s only one able to survive and pass through the magnetic field surrounding the planetoid, but mere days before the mission begins, Paul escapes to get away from his responsabilities, making the authorities start hunting him down, and he happens to meet a young girl called Elma, willing to follow him in his uncertain quest….

I’ll say that the cinematography it’s very good, some of the sequences are entertaining, there are some ideas, but the execution it’s just so confusing in many ways, as in the mesh of road movie and action scifi elements in a way that tries to kinda go for a more american-international feel or the themes and character motivations often feeling at odds, if not almost random.

Add a mediocre worldbuilding with some plot points never properly explained to make a simple plot kinda hard to follow, and you have a movie that’s perfectly watchable, has some good acting, but from beginning to end will have you more confused and annoyed than engaged at what’s going on and why exactly.

EUNGH.

Invasion Roswell/Exterminators (2013) [REVIEW] | Made for TV invasion

Lurking about the various streaming sites (and also by browsing Amazon recommendations, if you have an order history like mine), i’d hard not to notice that alongside monster movies, one of the safest go-to themes for a b-movie – especially if it’s a made for TV – it’s aliens.

Yes, the “subgenre” it’s not as popular as it was in the ’90s, thanks to tech billionaries indirectly making the point that the “space age” it’s not coming anytime soon, and also making us quite undesirable to contact by the prospective of hypothetical extraterrestrial, but it’s clearly still cheap, fast and popular enough, since i keep on stumbling on “army vs aliens” i never heard of but that managed to get DVD releases, with confusingly non-descript and generic cover artworks.

Though i found this one, Invasion Roswell, on Amazon Prime Video, under his other – and far more generic – title of Exterminators. Despite not being about giant spiders.

But worry not, it has another, slightly more fitting alternate title, “Battle: Earth”. Or the german DVD one, “Exterminators VS Aliens”.

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[EXPRESSO] The House (2022) | Trifecta Triumphant

New stopmotion animation film on Netflix with (also) animal people, you know i’m already in.

Even more since it’s a small anthology of 3 stories, one about a poor family meeting a miraculous proposal, one about an anxious ratman constructor trying to score estate success, and the last about an exhausted landlord, all tied together by revolving about the same house, while taking place in different epochs and with different kind of characters, going from humans to ratman and catmen.

The character models aren’t clay or the odd-papermaciè style seen in Mary Shelley’s Frankhole, but go for a very textured felt-wool look, with a very fuzzy feel juxtaposed to the horror atmosphere and visuals, even though just the first story has actual supernatural horror elements, there’s always a sinister or weird tone to most of the events, with some very stilish visuals to match.

Animation it’s top notch, the character models have very good designs and craft, and it’s a quite good trifecta of stories, with a balanced mix of horror, satire, drama and comedy, quite grabbing as you always wanna see where they’re going in exactly. I think the second one it’s arguably the best, as you never quite sure what direction it’s gonna go, gets weirder and has an even weirder ending.

And stuff like a trip-out insects & maggots musical sequence.

And free-roaming hippie catmen.

Honestly, i don’t really have much to complain about or add in general, if your ears peaked up like a fox at “animated stopmotion anthology film with lots of style and fun substance”, the chances are good you’re gonna like this one, easily. And it comes in a pretty good 90 minutes package, with everything in it feeling as long as it needs to be.

What a really great surprise, too. Excellent.

What is Christmas without an Ice Cream Bunny?

Think watching The Star Wars Holiday Special each year it’s not the hipster “christmas tradition” it was before? If so, i will propose something that’s also not new, as it has a cult following, but very very smaller in comparison, since it doesn’t have the Star Wars branding.

Santa and The Ice Cream Bunny.

If this didn’t trigger a PTSD-like reaction, i’m here to share my cursed knowledge upon you, because in a way this fits the Christmas period, and its deranged insanity.

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[EXPRESSO] My Hero Academia The Movie: World Heroes’ Mission (2021) | God Loves, Hero Kills

We’re at the third theathrical movie for My Hero Academia, and that itself it’s a testament to the popularity of the franchise, if nothing else. Make no mistake though, i quite like MHA.

That “disclaimed”, there are certain expectations that inevitably come with a movie based on a popular shonen manga series that still on-going, even though MHA started the modern trend of having the movies’ original stories being considered (somewhat) canonical by its creator.

I’m not gonna explain the premise of MHA here for time sake, but i will say it’s quite fitting how the plots of the movies for a series inspired by american superhero comics… borrow liberally from their heritage. Like Heroes Risings, the plot it’s heavily “X-Men inspired”, this time about Humarise, a sect of people that believe the power of the Quirks (the superpowers almost everyone in this universe has) will eventually get out of control and bring about the end of humanity.

So they plant bombs filled with a special gas that makes Quirks go berzerk, and pin the blame of their terrorist attacks on Izuku Midoriya and his new friend Rodney, having him and the Pro-Heroes at large intervene to stop Humarise’s agenda…

While the plot on paper should make the story more cinematic than before, in practice not so much , as most of the movie its spent with Deku and Rodney on the run, so the world spanning mission and the many heroes are put on the background, all for a new ally character that’s ultimately quite clichè, slightly better than the villain, not really interesting in characterization or design.

The script also suffers from more of the usual “shonen anime film”-isms, not exactly inspired.

It’s decent overall, but it’s the weaker MHA movie so far in pretty much every aspect.

[EXPRESSO] Yaya E Lennie – The Walking Liberty (2021) | Jungle Rebel Yell

Time for some ambitious animation cinema from Italy, from director Alessandro Rak, the brand new Yaya E Lennie – The Walking Liberty, that premiered at the prestigious Locarno Film Festival this year, and had a limited theathrical run as an event screening here in Italy.

Produced by neapolitan studio Mad Entertaiment and animated in 3D CG via Blender, the movie follows the titular duo, a crafty girl and a gentle giant with the mind of a child (a direct reference to Lennie of Mice And Men) that travel this post apocalyptic jungle world with a free spirit, living day by day in a world where aside from the dangerous but free jungle also roam soldiers of the Institution, a military regime clinging to a fascist sense of order in a world newly remade primeval, and bent on bringing civilization at any cost to everyone everywhere.

It’s a children enviromental fable about the importance of freedom in spite of poisonous “progress”, and all that it entails, and it’s a pretty good one, it concedes to some of the animated children movies staples with a proud neapolitan angle, but also doesn’t really pull punches on the matters, uses a good amount of cursing, and also the Chaplin monologue at the end of The Great Dictator. So it’s definitely not pandering itself to toddlers, and manages to earn what it wants to represent, instead of just assuming it can without the actual work.

The characters are quite likeable, the art direction it’s great, there’s even a few lines that will get a chuckle out even the older kids, the story it’s solid enough, the only gripe it how the animation still has that issue with most 3D CG, as in it feels very robotic and “laggy” at times. Even so, it’s good work.

[EXPRESSO] Eternals (2021) | Creators – The Past USA

I’m tired. The fatigue is back, and we have barely started with “Phase 4”.

Maybe it was inevitable, but we’re without a doubt at the point where the benefits of having this MCU thing in place don’t properly outweight the drawbacks, more a creative cage than anything.

And i will say this: at least Shang-Chi had a story with a conclusion, this one leans too much into being more of a set up to a sequel than its own thing.

This time we have the titular Eternals, basically immortal alien gods that came to Earth 7000 years ago but conveniently were told not to interfere with any conflicts that didn’t involve the “Deviants”, the Eternals’ evil – and of course – monstrous looking ancenstral counterparts.

And through social media we learned of a certain spoiler, one that sounded like a fake pre-emptive shitpost to create buzz for a Marvel license most people didn’t really knew well. It wasn’t.

Chloe Zhao of Nomadland fame directs and writes, the cast its great, the usual Marvel tiny concessions to appear diverse and inclusive more than they actually are… there as usual, same for the various issues stemming from the assembly line formula that this one tries a bit to shake off.

The big problem is the characters, as they don’t have any chemistry, despite being built as a “family” ensemble that have known each other for literally thousands of years… they seem to have just met on the set, with some top billed actors sleepwalking it big time, not helped by the unfocused narration, huge exposition loads, and the script just kinda assuming i know and already care about these characters that are kinda obscure for most viewers. Me included.

Overall, Eternals it’s alright, at least better and more interesting than Shang Chi.

Zombieland – Double Tap: Roadtrip PS4 [REVIEW] | Now without zombie idols

Like it often happens with tie-in games, if the first movie doesn’t have a branded videogame out in time, the sequel will. Though it took quite some time to see a follow up to Zombieland, enough time for tie-in videogames released as retail, proper videogames to feel almost fresh again, opposed to a very cheap freemium game for smarthphones or as promotional events into gacha garbage.

While it’s named after the sequel, Zombieland – Double Tap, and its main characters, the game has its own story set in between the two films, and it captures the spirit and humour of the series pretty well, even if it’s clearly a budget tie-in job, not only from in terms of looks, but as the cast from the movie didn’t provide their voices for the game, leaving other voice actors to do impressions… bad impressions, but i’m not angry as the Harrelson/Tallahassee’s and Eisenberg/Columbus impressions are so bad i find them hilarious and kinda charming, especially the Harrelson one. XD

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