[EXPRESSO] Lightyear (2022) | Space Mediocrity

Ok, let’s leave aside the whole “identity crisis debacle”, despite Pixar being outright silly in starting the movie with the premise that THIS is the movie that in 1995 spawned the Buzz Lightyear toy Andy from Toy Story got. Also ignoring the 90’s animated TV series that served as a backstory to the character, because it’s clear this is a different interpretation-canon.

WHATEVER, who cares, let’s move on from this non-sense.

Though i can understand it’s quite tempting to do so since the ludicrous meta footnote is ripe for lampooning, and the actual movie leaves very little to say for itself.

But first, the plot.

I has been described by many as a sort of rip-off of Interstellar for children, and i agree, as we see Buzz and company investigate a newly scanned planet that the ship flew by during their voyage.

This alien world immediatly reveals to be rife with hostile fauna and flora, and in attempt to escape, the ship gets damaged, forcing Buzz and all the other people on board to camp and live there, while they find a way to create the specific fuel need for lightspeed space travel in order to contact base and leave the planet. They do manage to create the special fuel, but things turn for the weird as Buzz keeps failing the lightspeed flight test and returns to learn that his minutes long voyages translate to years of time passing in his absence….

I’ll say that this ain’t bad. I didn’t expect much from the trailer, but sadly despite the plot having some potential to be better, it all comes off as a generic “origin story” through and through, from the action to the characters, everything it’s pretty mild, predictable and – again – generic.

Enjoyable, but sadly quite middling overall.

[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.

The Snufkin Agenda

Speaking of trolls, there’s actually a Moomin game listed on Steam, called Snufkin: Melody On Moominvalley, it’s pretty much a lot of “TBA” in most regards but it’s a point n click adventure game, there are some screenshots, a trailer and a description, and it’s listed for a 2023 release.

Looks very cute, official, so if you have any kind of affection for the Moomins at all, wishlist it on Steam, won’t you? This is the link.

(and no, this isn’t a paid marketing post, just stumbled into the project’s existence 3 days ago while search for Snufkin’s gifs)

Really not feeling like seeing the actual “Troll 3” movie, even for the occasion. And yes, there’s a proper one of these, after years of misleading alternative titles for unrelated kinds of Joe D’Amato crap.

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!

12 Days Of Dino Dicember #12: Journey To The Beginning Of Time (1955)

It’s the final day of the 12 Days Of Dino Dicember, so let’s end it with a proper obscure gem, the Czech movie Journey To The Beginning Of Time. As in the original, not the re-cut, re-filmed version that reached US territories in 1966 under the same name.

Today thankfully you can watch it as it was released on a region-free Blu Ray by Second Run, which also includes the English version, but i’m not gonna bother with that for now. Sorry, but i simply can’t afford the time to watch that as well and compare the two.

This comes from Karel Zeman (no, not the soccer manager), nicknamed the “Czech Melies”, famous for his fantasy films combining live action and animation, and hugely influential, not surprising to fellow czech Jan Svankmajer (you can’t imagine how happy i am by just having the occasion of nominating him in any of these reviews, retrospectives, but beloved by many american directors, like Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton, and serving as inspiration to Jurassic Park itself.

Continua a leggere “12 Days Of Dino Dicember #12: Journey To The Beginning Of Time (1955)”

American McGee’s Alice PS3 [REVIEW] | The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

Oh yes, American Mc Gee’s most well known work, his take on Lewis Carrol’s Alice.

The story is not really that original in retrospect, it’s the usual “let’s give fairy tales an edgy reinterpretation with a grim, depressing tone” applied to Alice In Wonderland, so here Alice is Alice Lindell, a british orphan that by chance survived the house fire that took away her family at the age of 10 (or something), and was basically raised in an asylum, mostly likely treated to a Richard O’ Brian-less brand shock therapy as well.

Continua a leggere “American McGee’s Alice PS3 [REVIEW] | The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!”

[EXPRESSO] Jungle Cruise (2021) | Steamboat Amazon Ride

Time and time again, Disney comes back to the familiar well of turning Disneyland rides-attractions into live action movies, hoping to avoid another The Country Bears and strike that sweet, profitable Pirates Of The Carribean lightning once more.

Can’t say i’ve ever even seen this ride in person, but then again i’m not even sure i even went to Disneyland to begin with, and this doesn’t matter anyway.

This time we have a throwback to 40-50s jungle adventure films, with steamboats, fearless guides with pith helmets, treasures guarded by perilous jungle animals, cursed soldiers, evil german royalty (not nazis since this is set during WWI, but it makes virtually no difference if they were), adventurous researchers and natives in “ethnic get up”. And Dwayne Johnson.

It’s as generic as it looks and as generic as they come, clearly prioritizing spectacle and action in order to avoid the audience NOT being stimulated, even if the scenes don’t call for action, there is it anyway, just shovel it in. This is through and through a manifactured Disney summer blockbuster, as obvious as me pointing it out (as if was needed), and ones expectes it to be just a fun, throw-away experience to kill 90 minutes.

BUT i gotta admit it’s fun, it manages to incorporate ride-like elements into the plot, often giving them some minor little twists to the usual cliches for fun, the cast is clearly overlyqualified for the roles and the dialogues, but they clearly have fun with the stock characters and the often silly lines (or deliberately bad jokes), it made genuinely laugh in more than a couple occasion.

It’s quite cute, it’s pretty much what it says it is, it’s a cute, mild, fun little adventure while it lasts, one you’ll quickly forget in any detail after watching.