[EXPRESSO] The Lost City (2022) | Tumble In The Jungle

It has been a fairly slow week in theathers, otherwise i wouldn’t have bothered to watch this.

No offense, but that’s the truth, it’s just that slow of a week for cinematic releases, and this was my “pick of the litter” of sorts, as i do like the premise of The Lost City (no “Z”s this time).

A successful (but fairly elusive and private) writer, Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) has hit series of romance novels about exotic places and centers about the male protagonist Dash, a handsome man that appears on the covers of the novels themselves with the looks of male model Alan (Channing Tatum). One day she has to do a promotional tour with Alan, only to be kidnapped by milionaire Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe), whom believes she actually knows how to reach the lost city she writes of in her eponymous book.

Alan then intervenes to show her that he can be an actual hero instead of playing the part of one, with the two stuck in a real jungle adventure trying to get to the treasure before Fairfax does, in what almost feels like a reverse Tropic Thunder-ish sort of scenario.

I’ll be quite honest, this is a very nice little treat, as the humour is surprisingly more wittier than i expected, Bullock and Tatum kill it as the odd couple of academic loner writer and flamboyant “himbo” thrown in an actual, real jungle adventure scenario, Radcliffe it’s great in his – by now usual – unlikely & unhinged villain shtick, and the fairly frivoulous tone works as intended.

It’s a very cute that’s funnier i expected, though the comedy can be uneven, could have helped if it was a bit shorter than its 2 hours runtime.

Still, The Lost City it’s overall quite decent, almost good.

Final Verdict: Decaf

[EXPRESSO] Moonfall (2022) | Moon Machine Tentacles

Roland Emmerich is back again to deliver the kind of movie he’s definitely good at: the popcorn munching big dumb ass disaster flick. And i kinda mean that as a compliment, as he specializes in this type of cinema cheese, definitely its wheelhouse, and this is pristine Roland Emmerich all the way through.

It’s that special type of dumb and insane that i find hard to dislike, i mean, this is a movie that opens with astronauts debating the lyrics of Africa by Toto, that really sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the plot, which is fairly insane, as it concerns the moon…. randomly getting out of its orbit, then moving faster towards Earth.

Not to give away the rest of the plot (and there plenty of insane shit that happens in the last act), but basically the Moon it’s not the satellite we always though it was, but a kind of mega-structure of sorts built for some purpose by someone. We know that because there’s a conspiracy theorist dude (of course there is one, it’s an Emmerich movie) that figures out the orbital displacement will happen before the NASA does, and he ends up helping an astronaut that was defamed a decade ago for an “incident” that happened near the Moon’s orbit.

And i mean it when i say it’s definitely more insane than you think it would be, Emmerich really outdid himself, while also delivering a lovable kind of so bad it’s good type of writing, it’s nonsensincal and not good but honestly i was hugely entertained all the way through, the plot wasn’t really predictable as you would think, and the disaster spectacle was on point and abundant.

A lot of stupid, lovable, sincere insane fun that undeniably accomplishes all it sets out to do/be.

Attack Of The Lederhosen Zombies (2016) [REVIEW] | Up In The Alps

Ah yes, “snow zombies”. We had swamp ones too, so why not, but we’re not talking about the Dead Snow movies, love ‘em but a bit too obvious, so let’s scratch another “undead itch” with the alpine variety offered by the…..not very discussed at all Attack of The Lederhosen Zombies.

Shame, because it’s a nice little horror comedy that has pretty much all the elements to make it a cult film, including gore, lots of gore with surprisingly good practical effects, and a premise that’s about as silly as the movie actually is.

Also, no, despite the italo-german setting, it’s not the beer that transforms people into the undead (the videogame Zombeer did that a few months before this film, btw), stop assuming and let me explain the very simple premise.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #9: Killersaurus (2015)

Dinosaurs don’t kill people. People with dinosaurs kill people.

Another moving argument in the endless “dinosaurs carry law” circle of debate, fed to fatten the wallets of the dinosaur manufacturers. Or another cheap sci-fi flick about killer dinosaurs created in lab because some rich idiot had to burn some money in research for new bioweapons.

It’s also another Britishi production, as you can tell right away by the actors’ accents, them talking money in terms of “pounds”, with an opening scene about scientists 3D printing a dinosaur… which already sets up the “stupid” standard skyrocketing, as if most of the scientist acting with their mouth frozen in half-smiles wasn’t enough, and the special effects being so cheap, they just throw a “decapited” mannequin head with a wig on from off-screen to avoid showing anything.

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[EXPRESSO] Green Snake AKA White Snake II: Green Snake (2021) | Mystical Max

While looking at the trailer for this one in the “upcoming on Netflix” section, i was pretty sure that there was a slightly older chinese animated movie called “White Snake” i’ve seen some photos of, and yes…. it’s from the same team, but i haven’t seen that movie yet, so i’ll judge this one on its own.

The plot it’s about a warrior, Xiao Qing, trying to save her sister from a powerful monk known as Fahai, and founding herself transported to a post-apocalyptic dystopia, where she meets a mysterious man that has forgotten about his previous life, known as Asura, and struggles to survive the incredible hazards that continually bombard that world.

That’s the basic gist the Netflix page gives to the plot, and even if i didn’t knew of White Snake, the way the movie starts makes it feel like a sequel to something (and yes, it’s a sequel to that) that would help contextualize some of the stuff that happens in the prologue, but the “isekai device” make so you can follow the story of this one just fine, and the blend of Mad Max inspired post-apocalyptic warfare and mystical elements makes for an interesting scenario.

One that’s also more “western friendly”, i guess a given since this is a Netflix esclusive, and definitely not an animated film for kids.

Honestly, i was surprised by the top notch CG, the slick animation, plot is quite nice and the world is interesting, lots of well directed action, great visuals, and a lot happening at a pretty great pace too. The characters also end up being quite solid as well, even if some are just decent but so frustratingly close to being even better, same for the solid but sometimes not amazing designs.

Still a pretty good film, recommended.

[EXPRESSO] Army Of Thieves (2021) | Nibelungenlied

I’m not gonna question if someone was actually looking forward to this Army Of The Dead prequel, because that one got a divisive reception, and there’s always something that appeals to someone.

Not that the very idea of a prequel to Army Of The Dead is bad, so let’s go over the plot.

Army Of Thieves (directed by Matthias Schweighöfer) takes place 6 years before the event of Army Of The Dead, and it focuses on the character of “Dieter”, the safe cracker extraordinarie, who starts by making Youtube videos on the subject…. and get no online attention, until it’s invited to an underground safecracking tournament by a mysterious commenter.

The mysterious figure turns out to be Gwendolyne, a jewel thief that eyed him for his crew in order to make an incredible triple heist by cracking the first three safes done by legendary locksmith Wagner, all named after the major musical dramas of his homonymous composer.

This is not a bad movie, at all, it’s quite entertaining, the acting it’s good, the action it’s funthere’s some flair and wit to the script, Dieter it’s a lovable nerdy twink, and surprinsigly the other characters are quite likable… but it’s another heist movie, the rom-com bits are the weakest parts and you definitely feel its 2 hours runtime.

It’s a fun heist movie, though, and also one of those “detachable” prequels that can be enjoyed on its own… since it’s barely connected to Army Of The Dead, by design, and honestly i kinda enjoyed this more, it grew on me despite not really being enamored with the idea, i guess since Army Of Thieves it’s more focused on what it wants without trying to juggle 3 movies at once.

Arguably longer than needed and not “perfect”, but a fun watch nonetheless.

[EXPRESSO] Dune (2021) | Utonium Based

So, quick disclaimer: i haven’t seen the older David Lynch’s adaptation of Dune, nor read the book by Frank Herbert.

But yes, Villeneuve directing it already “sealed the deal” for me, and it has been a while since they tried to launch a saga like this… and having to deliver on the first movie of what Warner Bros it’s eyeing to be a long franchise (as the Dune cycle is made of 6 books, and this movie just adapts the first half of the first book), so they can’t just do random shit with no plans. No names needed.

And it’s also quite reasonable to expect a lot from director and writer Denis Villeneuve, but let’s discuss the main gist of the story presented here.

Dune is a tale of political intrigue set in a very distant future, and taking place on the planet Anakis, a desert wasteland that is rich in “melange” or “spice”, a resource that acts as a portentous supernatural drug but it’s fought and sought after as it also essential for long distance space travel.

Political games see the Emperor “donate” Anakis to the Atriades clan, after the Harkonnen’s lineage has held and profitted from the melange for centuries, which result in setting off a war that also involves the blue eyed natives of Anakis, called “Fremens”, and the young duke of Atriades, who starts having visions of the future and nurture other supernatural powers…

While this is clearly the beginning of – at least – a trilogy, this is a great start, with amazing visuals, memorable characters played by an all star cast, all fitting a lot in under 3 hours, while not feeling bloated at all, and most importantly, creating an interesting, epic sci-fi universe you wanna see and learn more about.

Pretty good.

Snow Shark – Ancient Snow Beast (2012) [REVIEW] | Papermaciè Sharks

I wanted to cover this alongside the other 2 ice themed shark movies this last january, but only, after searching high and low (♫ there’s no end to the lenghts ♫ ), i got a hold of the first “snow shark” movie ever, at least as far as i’m aware, one that came out in the early 2010s but precedes the modern strain of sharks mixed with natural phenomena, made robot, giant, ghost, and so on.

Yes, the full title is needed because there’s also Avalanche Sharks, in some territories (like Germany) sold as “Snow Shark/s”, at least on home video.

And for this one, we must once again thread into psychotronic “shot on shitteo”, as in homegrown cinema, shot by a guy that directs, writes and stars into his movies, alongside the cast made of his friends and family (who brought their own costumes and props to the set), clearly shot in his hometown on a very short time-span and on a shoestring budget, like less than 7000 dollars.

And yes, this one is in the same league as Jurassic Shark and Krampus The Christmas Devil, actually this feels like a Polonia Brothers joint… and they’re involved alongside Brett Piper (of Queen Crab “fame”) as editors, but we’re still in that specific strata of “low-to-no budget”.

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Piranha II: The Spawning (1980) [REVIEW] | Flying Jaws

Ah, yes, the first and only killer piranha movie directed by James “James Cameron Presents James Cameron In Association With James Cameron” Cameron, here at his directorial debut , after years of working as a special effects artist under good ol Roger Corman (who else?), stars Tricia O’ Neill and Lance Henriksen, who would later appeared in the original Terminator film and Aliens, with the script by then also newbie Charles H. Eglee – credited as H. A. Milton- better know nowadays for his work on series like The Shield, Dexter and Dark Angel.

You gotta start somewhere, and in this case that happens to be the sequel to 1978’s Joe Dante directed Piranha, in what would become a full series, with a 1995 remake simply called “Piranha” and another, looser remake with Piranha 3D, which also had a sequel. Not bad for what was conceived as a Jaws knock-off with a degree of self-awareness.

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Zarkorr! The Invader (1996) [REVIEW] | Cinephiles Of Earth, Beware…

You can hardly go more Z-grade cinema than with Zarkorr! The Invader from Full Moon Entertaiment, at least regarding movies that do have production values and some backing behind them. Of course, you can go even worse, as the company itself demonstrated last year by making a zombie movie about the Coronavirus… and by that i mean putting a shitty comical dub track over Bruno Mattei’s Hell Of The Living Dead, with a tiny bit of new footage to act as a “framing device” of someone watching Hell Of The Living Dead while quarantined at home. Good lord.

But thankfully this is just Full Moon Entertaiment doing a direct-to-video kaiju movie, about aliens that have been observing Earth for centhuries, and one day decide to challenge mankind by sending in a huge monster called Zarkorr to wreak havoc with its size and lazer eyes. As the human champion, they choose an incredibly average postal worker, Tommy Ward, as the only one who can defeat Zarkorr and save the planet.

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