[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] The Northman (2022) | VIKINGS, RAISE THE SHIELD WALL

Robert Eggers is back, this time not going for a psychological horror-thriller, but a way more straightforward tale of revenge, based on the legend of scandinavian prince Amleth (upon which Shakespear himself based his tragedy), here a young boy welcoming his father back, only to killed by his uncle for the throne and spouse. Amleth escapes, woving bloody vengeance.

Years pass, and as he wanders the lands as a berserker unit, he heards the name of his uncle and then concocts a plan to reach the isolated island where he scurried back some time ago, and exact his long held life-time wov made to his brutally murdered father.

And indeed brutal is the keyword here, as this movie really warrants the title of a “brutal viking epic”, as it depicts this nordic barbaric world inhabited by cruel men more akin to beasts, where pillage and murder exist on daily bases, villages hold ritual sacrifices (even human if need be) to appease their gods, mystical rites are held, witches reveal visions of inescapable fate, etc.

It’s that kind of barbarian middle ages, and The Northman sure as hell doesn’t shy away from showing raids, people being burned alive in houses (and a lot more graphic stuff), and it’s fittingly inhabited by refreshingly unapologetical, unflinchingly brutal characters that all perfectly fit in this world, as even what in other movie would be “the hero” it’s arguably even more despicable than the “villain”.

A lot of style (with Eggers’ touch easily recognizable in some weird psychedelic sequences), great characters, amazing atmosphere, superb cast and a captivating, graphic vengeance tale that enraptures from beginning to end.

It’s just hard to look away, even when a guy it’s getting an unrequested Skeletor-style “nosejob”.

To quote Nathan Explosion yet again: “Brutal”. In all the right ways.

Shikari (1963) [REVIEW] | Circus Cyclops Bollywood

Meant to get around this one last year, but this time i did manage to find a way to watch it with subtitle, as i don’t speak hindi, and what could be called “the Indian King Kong” – to no one’s surprise – was never dubbed or re-released westward. Still easier to find than the dreaded Bacalhau.

Yep, among the many King Kong knock-off, there’s an old Bollywood (kinda) version from 1963.

Gotta love the shit-not giving use of stock footage “ice skating ballet girls, chimps & clown” that a crowd in India it’s supposedly watching, sure it has a dissonant color that makes it more even obvious, but who cares. And it’s not just 1 minute or two of stock footage from a non-indian ice skating show, when the head of the circus and the sponsor set down to see it in order to understand why it’s supposedly taking away business from them… you’re gonna see a good chunk of the show.

Well, at least we start the movie with some ape action, but not of that kind.

Continua a leggere “Shikari (1963) [REVIEW] | Circus Cyclops Bollywood”

[EXPRESSO] Uncharted (2022) | Not The Erudite Henchman!

After years of delays, some vague posters showing a confused main cast that felt out of place and a trailer, the Uncharted movie its finally in cinemas pretty much worlwide, promising something with Tom Holland, Mark Whalberg and action adventure movie cliches based on a videogames that also looked at spy flicks, heist movies and Tomb Raiders as inspirations.

Personally, i had only one question in mind before seeing this: could it be worse than the shit Tomb Raider movie from 2018? Really was aggressively bored by that one and its undecisive handling of the mystical stuff, i still remember being way more frustrated than entertained when watching it.

I mean, this at least being directed by Ruben Fleischer (of Zombieland and Venom fame), so i did expect something out of it, despite the project looking very mediocre, at the very best… and i’m glad he directed it, as it moves about a great pace, the action is what you would expect from the material (and in turn the material Uncharted itself pillages/is inspired by), and there are some fun action sequences that stand out, like the airborne pirate ship battle.

It helps as it’s a very miscast adaptation, with lead actors chosen because they’re popular Hollywood faces and… that’s it, you never believe that Holland and Walhberg (or Banderas) are actually playing a character, at all, not that their characters resemble the ones from the games they’re supposed to represent, with a younger Nathan Drake that doesn’t tally up a respectable body count, because i guess Tom Holland would never do that as Spider Man doesn’t kill people, let alone with guns.

It’s not bad, it’s fine, but also the generic and lukewarm videogame movie adaptation you would expect, honestly even the games themselves have better stories.

Serviceable, though.

Don’t expect a Pokemon Legend Arceus review in a timely manner

Yeah, one more from the beloved series of “Don’t Expect Anything”, i wouldn’t wanna spoil you too much least you forget the cold, disappointing and cruel embrace of reality.

Gloom aside, the reason for today “episode-ramble” is that i simply haven’t preordered Pokemon Legends Arceus, and so far i’m kinda glad i didn’t, since there are rumors and various leaks about the game’s performance being crap enough to noticeably affect the exploration of the full-on open world this Pokemon game goes for.

To be honest, it looks not worse than Sword and Shield from the official gameplay trailer released some days ago, but also not as good as you would expect since Game Freak didn’t do double duty on this and the Pearl/Diamond remake, i guess they really haven’t got the memo that they can/should make technically polished titles, since they’re not developing for handheld consoles anymore.

And they really can’t pull off “first proper new Pokemon gen game on the system” excuse.

Still, since the game comes out at the end of this month, a day one patch (and most likely more following that) could fix the issue… to some degree. I mean, the game launches in 2 week and 1/2, so it’s simply absurd to expect the situation to be easily dealt with via patches, regardless of how many they will be, for obvious reasons.

Do i still look forward to eventually playing the game itself? Sure, but i’m not going down the mine this time, i’m still bummed by pre-ording Ultrasun/moon, so i will wait to see how the situation evolves over the months, i’m not offering myself as proverbial canary this time. Really tired of that.

That sure was a Pokemon ramble, see ya!

[EXPRESSO] The King’s Man (2021) | Tonal Clash Service

I quite liked the first Kingsman movie, even enjoyed the second one (even if it was uber cheesy, with the robodogs and Elton John and all), but i feel that maybe it would have been best if this didn’t became a series, as we are already going for the “origins of” storyline, but whatever.

The film – as you would expect – it’s about the foundation of the Kingsman’s intelligence agency, borne in Britain during the events of WW I by elite warriors that woved to silently defend humanity from its from villains and tyrants, which puts them against Grigori Rasputin and other conspirators led by a mysterious figure, intent in making Germany overwhelm Britain in the conflict.

This is not a bad movie, mind you, nor bad movies. I do feel like they had scripts for two different movies set in the Kingsman universe, and – maybe – afraid that with the current situation of theathers they couldn’t get another chance (also due to hypotethical series fatigue) at it, so here you go, you get the story of Orlando Oxford’s son wanting to enlist in the war to prove his worth, with a fairly serious war movie tone, and the over the top comic book style spy action fights that you’d expect from a Kingsman movie.

Both are quite decent and entertaining in themselves, which is laudable, but the tone (and the themes, honestly) doesn’t really match between the events on the WW I trenches and a delightfully excessive Grigori Rasputin using his mystical powers (which are somehow real) to cure a wound by licking it frantically, to say nothing of the charicatural characterization of the kaiser, czar and most of the villains.

Despite this, it’s definitely not a slog, cast it’s pretty good and overall it’s decent fun.

[EXPRESSO] Spider Man: Far From Home (2021) | Multiverse Mayhem

I feel kinda bad for this part of the new Spider Man series because… yeah, let’s get this out immediatly, Marvel themselves already did it years ago as one of the best animated movies i’ve seen in a while, a miracle all the way that worked as well as it did also thanks to be being not bound to the fucking MCU. And that is finally getting a 2 part sequel too, really looking forward to those.

This one…. yeah, whatever, guess i’ll have to watch it so we can get over it, might be even fun.

This one follows directly from the ending of Far From Home, where Mysterio revealed Spider Man’s real identity being Peter Parker and framed him as a murderer. As he, his friends and family have trouble living with this false stigma, Peter asks Doctor Strange to cast a spell in order to make everyone forget that Peter Parker IS Spider Man, but something goes wrong and multiverse portals invade this reality/continuity, bringing a lot of well known faces from the Spider Man series……

Given the existence of Into The Spiderverse and me not liking too much the new MCU Spider Man movies…. you can color me surprised, because this one was incredibly easy to mishandle, but to my surprise it manages to balance the fanservice and the many villains with a story that actually makes this Peter Parker go through some decisive character development, with a lot at stake and some meaningful consequences.

It’s “also” quite fun, with some funny moments that actually don’t feel forced, there just because the Marvel algorhythm requires some quirky (but not TOO quirky, risque or creative) comedy bits.

Definitely the one i’ve enjoyed the most out of these MCU Spider Man movies, and arguably the better one overall.

The Iced Hunter (2018) [REVIEW] | Mozgus Chaser

Welcome to another installment of “no, you never heard of this one before, and i haven’t either”, with The Iced Hunter, an italian horror fantasy action film directed by Davide Cancila and about the titular “iced hunter” (you can tell his namesake was never intended to be translated in english, because it sounds like a fancy non-IBA approved cocktail or a Blooborne collaboration cafè item), a mysterious non-human warrior with fittingly mysterious origins and with memories not of his own, being trailed by the “Domini Lupi” sect, hellbent of getting rid of him at any cost.

Does this feel like a werewolf spiced live action “redo/reinterpretation” of the “Holy Iron Chain Order” arc in Berserk?

Continua a leggere “The Iced Hunter (2018) [REVIEW] | Mozgus Chaser”

[EXPRESSO] The Ice Road (2021) | Truckin’ Vengeance

Nothing says “almost not quite Christmas” as Liam Neeson starring in an action thriller, which already really tells you a lot of what the movie it’s gonna be about, even before you learn what the plot it’s about. You know it does.

The Ice Road it’s about Liam Neeson (not gonna bother with his character’s name), an expert trucker tasked to face the icy roads of Canada in order to save 26 diamond miners that got trapped, and with his team he faces this desperate rescue mission, only to find out there’s even more danger out there, and it’s nor the cold nor the icy roads…

And no, it’s not surprise dinosaurs. I always expect that as well, to much disappointment, and this movie it’s no different. As in, it doesn’t have dinosaurs nor cannibalism, the rescue mission itself would be enough for a tense ride, but of course it would require a lot of talent to pull it off, and it would deprive Liam Neeson from having to get vengeance on someone for something, with the usual expected chases and brawls from an action movie with such an actor.

It’s not bad, i find the plot decent enough to make something more of the premise, scenario and ok characters, but it plays it safe, delivering the kind of fare you expect to see in a movie with Liam Neeson playing the main character (there’s also Lawrence Fisburne, which is nice) by now, it’s that kind of predictable action movie cheesy concoction, that at least delivers on having stuff happen and being entertaining enough.

It’s exactly what you think it’s gonna be, so i can’t really fault the movie for that, but i can for the cheap special effects just slightly above “Asylum quality”, they really felt like a joke.

[EXPRESSO] Red Notice (2021) | Buddy Thief Routine

So, the “Dwayne Johnson” genre of Hollywood films got a new entry, and in order to engineer it being even more palatable, cast also Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot in it.

What does the bald muscle god among men do here? He works as a FBI agent that reluctantly has to team up with an art thief (Ryan Reynolds) in order to catch an even worse and infamous criminal, a jewel thief (Gal Gadot), after a legendary egyptian treasure. The usual caper shenanigans ensue, done in the modern half self-aware style with a flavor of the National Treasure variety.

Yes, if this sounds as generic and carefully stuffed with big budget and popular actors to ensure people would go see it… it’s that, but it only had a limited theatherical release in theathers as Netflix distributing rights from Universal, so they can spin data they don’t share to make marketing posts on Twitter on how much it was viewed… without actually telling us HOW much it was viewed.

Make no mistake, this is conceptually as safe and milquetoast as you can get from Hollywood in terms of action comedy, it’s processed meat, so ridden with cliches and ferociosly mediocre it’s kinda hard to even get engaged in the “plot” or even squeezemuch entertaiment out of it, as you know exactly how all is gonna go down, made worse by a bloated runtime and franchise pretensions.

I mean, it’s about what i expected from the director of Skyscraper (also with Dwayne Johnson), Rawson Marshall Thunder, and by and large most movies “The Rock” is in, though he has been in far worse and far better ones, this is just your average summer popcorn flick, heck, arguably even more “fire and forget” than usual.

It sure is some content, just kinda there.