[EXPRESSO] Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022) | Multiversal Maelstrom

Been looking forward to this one all year, so despite not being “news” for most of the english speaking internet, it literally got in theathers here 4 days ago, i AM gonna see it and review it.

And while at first i wasn’t blown away in the way i expected, i was still incredibly surprised and intrigued from beginning to end by what it’s indeed quite the something else.

The premise sees Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn Wang, a busy woman of chinese descent that runs a snall coin laundrymat, as she laments the woes of her aspirations being all unfullfiled by the burden of her job and her family, as she has to take care of her senile father, has troubles with her teen daughter, and feels unfullfilled in her marriage to a “weak man”.

All made worse as she has to undergo a fiscal interview by a very nosy ispector, but on her way there she notices a fracture in the multiverse, and she’s enlisted to save the fate of all universes by defeating an avatar of chaos.

It’s a novel enough spin on the multiverse concept that now audiences are quite familiar with, definitely an interesting premise and a fun execution, though i didn’t laugh as much as i expected, almost disappointing since it’s a really inventive movie that indeed tries a lot of weird ass things, set ups, the visuals fully take advantage of the multiverse “gimmick” and the fights scenes especially are as well coreographed as ridiculous in nature.

It’s not just as funny as i feel it could/should be, but even so i wasn’t really disappointed, as it’s still quite fun, highly captivating, inventive, the emotional moments are quite good, the cast its stunning, the characters likeable, making overall for a damn good chaotic time.

[EXPRESSO] Beast (2022) | Lion Puncher Idris Elba

I know what some of you thought when this one was announced.

“Isn’t this basically a remake of the movie “Prey” from 2007, but with Idris Elba?”

And indeed i thought the same, but luckily i forgot pretty much anything in detail about that movie, despite watching it in theathers when it came out, i only remember it being either quite shit or not good.

But yep, the premise it’s the pretty much identical, with a family going on a safari only to be forced into confronting a killer lion on a revenge mission against humans, after it survived an attack from some poachers. Don’t worry though, this potentially interesting facet it just mentioned and never explored, because it would cut into the cliched interactions between the family members.

Just some minor differences as it’s just the dad and the two daughters, since the wife died and this safari was meant as an experience to elaborate grief together, this type of mild tripe layered on top, but it’s kinda different as it’s a modern killer animal movie, so it not a full-on horror-thriller affair, it has horror elements but – curiously enough – it’s more about very old school adventure style scenes, despite the big antagonist being a lion acting pretty much like a slasher villain.

Keeping in mind it’s not really a horror (or horror-thriller) film, Beast it’s fairly entertaining, the acting is solid, good production values, and its hard to dislike a movie where Idris Elba punches a lion in the face multiple times, but the script is too cliched, generic and uninterested in actually explore any of the potential themes the premise provides, the characters don’t fare much better, so it ends up being a pleasing enough, fast moving experience but also quite a throwaway one.

[EXPRESSO] Broker (2022) | “Your Baby, Delivered To You, In A Box”

I was miraculously able to watch a preview screening for this one, which competed in this years’ Cannes Film Festival, and is a South-Korean drama directed and written by Hirokazu Kore-eda, better known for Like Father, Like Son, Shoplifters, Maborosi, also director of The Truth/La Veritè, a french film starring a very international cast and his first movie not set (or filmed) in Japan.

Given the director’s well known penchant for family dramas, it’s not surprising his new film it’s about the theme of family, but here touched upon in a more unique way, as it involves a woman who leaves her newborn in a baby box, only to be stolen by child traffickers with a proven scheme.

The mother of the child does come back, tracks down the two traffickers, but instead of ratting them out or worse, she decides to go along on a roadtrip with them so to interview potential new parents for the baby. But eventually this unusual crew is finally tailed by two police officers that are also investigating a murder…

If you’re expecting this to turn into a Hangover style roadtrip movie, you clearly haven’t been paying attention to the premise i just wrote, because rest assured that Zach Galiafinakis isn’t gonna show up and play a mentally challenged manchild, as Broker deals with the themes of child abandonment, criminality and family as seriously as you would expect from a movie that touches upon such serious and real situations.

Though, it manages to sport a surprising amount of levity and tender moments, quite needed in this delicate drama about murder, pregnancy, adoptions, etc, because Broker it’s good & depressing. Quite depressing, but not entirely hopeless.

My kind of movie… though Broker felt a bit longer than necessary, for me.

Still, a solid, good drama.

Orca: The Killer Whale (1977) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs

Let’s take a break from the “noughties”, enough of this modern shit, let’s go back to when Jaws rip-offs were still fresh in the eyes of audiences and a new glistening opportunity for some cheap cash grabs to exploit. So of course Dino De Laurentis was involved, may he rest in peace but damn he know when to jump on a bandwagon, even if this time we’re not talking giant apes.

And the story behind Orca The Killer Whale is indeed fairly simple in terms in conception, as Dino De Laurentiis saw the incredible success of Jaws, and wanted to quickly put together a similar film, though it wanted to upstage Jaws by having the title killer animal being even more ferocious and powerful, so he did really got suggested to make it about an orca, since they notoriously hunt sharks. And they are also quite stinky, if some orca-themed vtubers are to be believed.

Then again, how many movies marketed to exploit Jaws’ popularity have the Paramount Logo at the start, are directed by Micheal Anderson (Logan’s Run, The Dam Busters, Around The World In 80 Days), AND feature a score by Ennio Morricone?

Continua a leggere “Orca: The Killer Whale (1977) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs”

Megalodon Rising (2020) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs

As we extensively estabilished before, when it comes to shark movies The Asylum doesn’t even bother anymore to wait for a mainstream blockbuster release to mooch off… which i can’t really blame on them as those almost completely went extinct, with almost exclusively low to no budgets shark movies flooding the market every year.

And as usual, this is one of those they just kinda put out with no fanfare, to the point i knew this existed only because i happened to stumble upon its UK DVD release while browsing randomly on Amazon one late night.

I mean, more important stuff happened in 2020, but still, put 5 bucks into marketing!

Continua a leggere “Megalodon Rising (2020) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs”

[EXPRESSO] Top Gun: Maverick (2022) | The other kind of “dogfighting”

Guess i’m really showing my age in saying i never saw Top Gun in “my days”, but i didn’t, so i simply watched the 1986 movie literal hours before going at the cinema to see this legacy sequel.

And honestly it’s good, it’s a pretty loyal follow up that feels like a proper continuation of where we left off 36 years ago, and while of course the movie has nostalgic moments harking to the original movie, they do serve a purpose as they directly affect some of the events in this sequel, so it ain’t a naked cynical attempt at milking the feels, because the movie honestly earns it.

The plot sees Captain Pete Mitchell basically dragged back by the military to serve as a Top Gun instructor (recommended by Colonel Tom “Iceman” Kazinsky), to prepare new cadets for a secret stealth operation involving the destruction of a soon to be operative uranium refinery captured by a “bandit force”. All made more complicated as among the cadets he sees the son of his old fallen co-pilot “Goose”.

Aside from some modern technological and the more vague identity of the enemy force, it’s pretty much the same formula, where character drama and “military slice of life elements” are the main trust, with a slower pace to compliment that, and the action scenes – despite what you might remember – aren’t the main focus, while they’re important, spectacular, and quite fun, with that level of hollywood bombast allowed by the pseudo-realistic approach.

For better or worse (like it being Air Force advertising), it’s definitely Top Gun.

This sequel also has more actual plot for the narrative to “stand on”, and the slightly longer runtime is mostly to add more action scenes of aerial combat, so overall it’s solid good blockbuster fun.

[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.

Resurrection (1999) [REVIEW] | In Lambert We Trust

You might or might not celebrate the upcoming festivity, be indifferent, but in the spirit of the holiday, let’s take a break of sorts and on this today go away from the non-budgets or the endless parade of director-actor-producer-writer one-man homegrown created film featuring either a giant or man-sized rabbity thing (NOT of Purcellian’s descent) going around killing people.

We already “did” Beaster Day/ The Beaster Bunny, and i will have that as a representative of the “ rabbit horror movies” subgenre, with 90 % of these belonging to the “no budget” category and often more than not just being more about rabbits than Easter, see for example the previously covered Bunnyman trilogy, which at least doesn’t pretend to be themed around the holiday (as it isn’t).

So instead we’ll talk about the 1999 crime thriller Resurrection, about a detective (played by Christopher Lambert) and his partner (Leland Orser) hunting down a serial killer emerging in the weeks preceding Easter, with the blasphemous plan of creating a new Jesus Christ by sawing together body parts taken from his victims, carefully selected by following the canon, literally.

I’m honestly surprised how – aside from the tired zombie jokes – there’s barely anything in terms of actual horror movies using a similar or the same macabre idea of “my very own flesh boy, JC”, or the theme of resurrection that’s the main point and what this holiday celebrates/it’s about.

And for a nice festive surprise, it’s actually a pretty decent detective thriller, and a solid film overall, the horror element is strong, the idea of the “DIY messiah” is quite grisly and unsettling, with some good gore effects, and yes, you get to see the final frankensteined flesh conscruct, quite the thing.

Sure, it ain’t too original in terms of characters (and the flashback of the incident involving the main detective’s son it’s so trite that becomes unintentionally kinda funny, given how cheesy it is), but it’s well acted, it has a recognizable cast with great actors, even David Cronenberg acting as the red herring creepish pastor, and Russell Mulcahy’s direction (with this movie marking his continuining collaboration with Lambert after the first two Highlander movies) it’s fairly gripping, hitting all the expected beats of the detective thriller flick, with the fake outs, the religiously obsessive serial killer leaving fittingly themed Bible references on the victims, supported by the great cinematography of Jonathan Freeman and decent dialogues with a few memorable quotes.

It’s no masterpiece, but it’s a really robust offering, definitely in the decent-to-good tier of detective thrillers, it has a very young looking Christopher Lambert in it, and to seal the deal, it’s most likely streaming on Amazon Prime Video in your neck of the woods too, so if you like the premise and-or don’t want to bother with crappy Easter themed horror movies, this is an easy recommendation.

I don’t have much to say about this, in all honesty, but in this case i’d say it’s a good sign, and i’m not gonna inflate this review for the sake of it.

[EXPRESSO] C’Mon C’Mon (2021) | Kids Know

I’m not familiar with Mike Mill as a film director, but it’s shot in black and white, it stars Joaquin Phoenix? Indeed, quite the easy prey we can be.

Though, “prey” it’s honestly unfair. It’s a movie with ambition and that wants to investigate upon important themes like parenthood, family dysfunctions and all those entangle, from the constant struggle it require to the its “failings” and how it affects the children in return.

The premise for this is set as Johnny, a radio journalist famous for his interviews and documentaries, goes on a tour of the United States asking kids from varying cities and background about themselves, their fears and hopes, their outlook on the future, etc etc.

One day he gets asked from his sister to take care of his nephew Jessie for a few days, as she has to help her husband to deal with his recent bout of mental illness, so Johnny takes Jessie with him on his work days, and the two form a very special bond.

There’s the familiar dynamic of “not that mature adults with way too mature kids”, and the themes aren’t exactly unimportant, but honestly the films feels way too ponderous on the fact that “kids are people too”, and the way this dynamic works in here feels kinda contradictory in terms of responsability and parenthood, as the adult has never enough pulse to practice some of its own teachings, as Jessie never shuts up or its reprimended, but he’s overindulged even over the smallest, tiniest misunderstanding regardless.Even if it’s arguably less educative. Ops.

I don’t think this is a bad movie, but it’s a bit too cerebral, too fictitious at heart for its own sake, and bit boring at times, but its held together – despite these issues – by Joaquin Phoenix’s performance.

[EXPRESSO] CODA (2022) | Teenage Fugue

I kinda hate the context surrounding this movie, as it forces me to basically aknowledge that the Oscars still matter somewhat… as in, i usually don’t even bother to check on them, they’re mostly pointless and become even more so as time goes on, but i did know of “the slap” and that this year this film won “best movie”. And since it just hit theathers here, figured i’d take a look anyway.

CODA is about teenage girl Ruby, the only person in her deaf family being able to hear and speak (hence the titular “Child Of Deaf Adults”), that at school enters the choir club, and discovers to have quite the beatiful and powerful voice.

She eventually has to make a difficultion decision: continue her musical training, follow her dream and go to a respected music college, or keep helping her family in their struggling business of fishermen, even more as she’s the only link between their family and the rest of the world.

I’ll say this: this is a good film. It’s a coming of age story that deals with hearing disabilities, but honestly does so very well, as it treats deaf people as people, not pity patron saints, actual people, while not weaseling away from the obvious obstacles and perception they receive from others, and manages to balance the drama-comedy ratio quite well, it’s not a mopey affair at all, the characters come off as real but can be quite funny. I really liked the father, what a jolly fellow.

I’m glad i did go see CODA, i am, i do think it’s a good film, overall, but it’s honestly nothing special regardless of how you slice it, even more since it’s a remake of the 2014 french film La Famille Bélier.

Still worth a watch, anyway.