[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 Batman (2022) | Nigma Notions

After fighting the dreaded villain known as COVID19-Man, Batman is back to the silver screen, now being played by Robert Pattinson in what it’s essentially another “reboot” of sorts, since the plot of The Batman goes back to basics, depicting the reasons why millionarie Bruce Wayne uses his wealth to moonlight as the masked vigilante of the “Batman”, his encounter with Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman), and has him face the villain known as The Riddler.

The main difference is that this time Bruce Wayne’s past (including e his legacy as a Wayne) plays a bigger role, as we were lead to think by the trailers and promo materials, but thankfully this re-establishes the character without being an origin story, and depicts Batman as a more tragic and frail force of justice, as now his family’s legacy comes into play into the corrupt nature of Gotham itself.

The good: Gotham’s depiction is amazing, the brooding and even more dark tone is perfect, the mood overall it’s great and matches the more grounded approach (which of course reminds one of Nolan’s work on the caped crusader), the cast is stellar and giving out great performances, with Pattinson making for a really convincing and more obsessive Batman.

Shame that the narrative ultimately suffers not being as strong as it could, thanks in part to the kinda messy script that falls victim to overstuffing, with ¾ climaxes and the movie being pretty much 3 hours long. It’s not boring, actually it’s fairly captivating, but it feels like they crammed almost 2 scripts into 1 because superhero movies are expected to be very long these days.

I still recommend it, despite the aforementioned flawas, because it’s refreshing to a superhero movie done with vision in mind more than a spreedsheet of pre-made and rounded-edged lego blocks.

[EXPRESSO] Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City (2021) | Herbal Bundle

Finally time to review this one, the first reboot movie for the Resident Evil film series, distancing itself from the previous films by Paul W. Anderson in order to make a more faithful adaptation.

Helmed by 47 Meters Down director Johannes Roberts, Resident Evil Welcome To Raccoon City basically provides an abridged retelling combining the plot of Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 into a single one. Not completely random as both games’ plot take place in Raccon City, where in 1998 the farmaceutical megacorporation Umbrella Corporation had basically withdraw from operating, leaving the city to wither.

After an epidemic turns people and animals into undead monsters, a squad of local police officers is sent to investigate the Spencer Mansion in the nearby mountain area, while other survivors rally to survive the horrors left by Umbrella.

There are various changes and differences, often kinda necessary due to the merging of the two plots, which leads to the movie feeling rushed, as i feared. Aside from some hamfisted (but still cute) references, the movie actually captures pretty well the horror B-movie spirit of the games, and actually wants to be a horror film.

And it succeds, the atmosphere is nice and creepy, there’s a lot of practical effects, the characters are mostly quite accurate, and most of the elements from the games are used with sense in-context.

It’s not perfect, the cast is decent but there is some questionable acting and the “plot mix” it’s a source of other issues, but overall it’s actually quite solid and enjoyable.

Shame because this is arguably the better, more faithful RE live action adaptation… but it’s shaping up to be a box office bomb, not surprising since it was released in late November, and the “Thanksgiving holiday weekend” window makes sense only for Americans.

[EXPRESSO] Halloween Kills (2021) | TONIGHT!!!

Hindsight it’s a terrific thing, otherwise one wouldn’t be able to say that we’re at a point where 3 different “Halloween 2” exist, this one actually being a follow up to 2018’s Halloween, a direct sequel to the original film that did so well to eventually become the first part of a trilogy by David Gordon Green, with this Halloween Kills being the middle part and Halloween Ends the conclusion.

The 2018’s movie was honestly pretty good and i would have stood as good conclusion to this continuity, but the original Halloween II already proved there’s no final rest in the industry, so i’m not instantly miffed they are making “Part II” again, this series had far worse ideas than that, as most horror fans already know the franchise’s incredibly messy history.

So the plot sees Michael Myers survive the huge fire at the end of the 2018’s movie, and then go back to Haddonfield, Illinois, where everything started, and killing whoever he stumbles upon.

This enrages the locals, haunted for 40 years by Michael’s legacy of terror and finally decide to take the matter into their own hands and end their nightmare once and for all.

I’ll start with the positives: there’s a lot of kills, great gore effects, and it’s pretty entertaining.

…. if you care about anything else, you won’t find it in Halloween Kills, as the plot could make some sense on paper but it’s senseless ridiculous gibberish that pisses all over the good stuff the 2018 movie did, and welcomes all the bullshit it avoided. With the subtlety and meaning of a hammer to the scrotum, nothing at stake, dumb ass characters that should absolutely know better.

One step forward and six backwards, so Halloween Ends will have to work hard to be worse.

Syndicate PS3 [REVIEW] | Cyberbooting EA Nonsense

While CD Projeckt Red (look out to not be sued by Robert Fripp) it’s still trying to patch up the comatose corpse release of Cyberpunk 2077, let’s go back in time when cyberpunk was…. actually not that far since i actually played this last year while quarantined and cleanin some of my backlog, and the game actually came out in 2012, almost ten years ago.

It just feels odd to discuss a game like this now, with the scenario of a society that basically taps directly into the “Wired” (not actually called that, but you get it), so you can connect to the internets with a chip installed in your brain, with more than half of the world populace having it, and using it to – among other things like downloading porn and Doom 2 WADS, i guess – align with one of the megacorporations that have become more important than nations themselves. The megacorps of course compete for dominance by also upping their terror and spy tactics by using prized killers, like the protagonist, Kilo (yes, with a “i”), as corporate espionage is basically a full on war.

Continua a leggere “Syndicate PS3 [REVIEW] | Cyberbooting EA Nonsense”

So, a “few” words about that Samurai Warriors 5.

While i won’t have a review for the game out anytime soon (as explained in a previous post earlier this month), i want to say a few things about Samurai Warriors 5, after getting the Treasure Box edition (because i’m a sucker for artbook and CDs) and clocking in 32hours (which include finishing the story mode, of course) into it, as a last piece before i give the blog (and myself, to some extent) some rest.

I have like 5 pages of text and notes written about it, but i’ll try to be “brief” here.

It’s better than Dynasty Warriors 9?

Yes, it would have been quite hard to do even worse than that.

But it’s amazing how Omega Force still kinda held unto some of the crappier design choices from that shit title, leading to some old problems of the Warriors series coming back in new, unexpected and baffling ways.

Continua a leggere “So, a “few” words about that Samurai Warriors 5.”

Samurai Warriors 5 PS4 DEMO [HANDS-ON]

So, Samurai Warriors 5 it’s gonna be out in a week, and Koei Tecmo decided to release a demo for it, so might as well give it a hands-on, since i won’t be reviewing it at launch.

I did eventually pre-order the Treasure Edition for it (not the collector’s one since Koei basically wanted 70 more bucks just for 5 tiny acrylic stands, fuck off), so i will be playing it, but i won’t have a review out, as i would like to do a retrospective of the Dynasty Warriors series, and maybe the same for the sister series Samurai Warriors, and “do” the games in order.

MAYBE i will just do a quick EXPRESSO review, but for sure not an extensive one.

The demo offers two maps/scenarios from the first chapter of the game, and four playable characters to pick a team of 2 from Hideyoshi Hashiba, No, Eiyasu Tokugawa and Toshiee Maeda (with Nobunaga Oda playable in the story mode but not in Free Mode, at least in this demo offering), with the ability to carry over the save data to the full game when it releases.

Continua a leggere “Samurai Warriors 5 PS4 DEMO [HANDS-ON]”

[EXPRESSO] Spiral – From The Book Of Saw (2021) | Uzumeki

I have been a big fan of Saw since forever, so i was looking forward to this new one, liked the casting, and you know, it had to work hard to be even worse than the pointless and neutered Jigsaw/Saw Legacy. Plus, we have Darren Lynn Bousman (who directed Saw II, III and IV). So yeah, i’m in.

The plot sees an old cynical detective getting assigned a freshly promoted and entusiasthic rookie as partner to investigate on a series of gruesome murders that look unsettingly inspired by one of the more sordid serial killer stories to ever happen in that city, the Jigsaw Killer. Helped by a veteran cop, they soon find out that they are stepping on a spiral of mistery and traps set up for them.

Yeah, plot wise it’s not exactly a reboot, as in this continuity The Jigsaw Killer was a thing of the past, but it doesn’t make clear if the events of Jigsaw even happened or mattered, so it also works as a new take that doesn’t really rely or require seeing the other ones, and this installment does indeed give the series a new direction, focusing more on the detective/police drama, dedicating more time to flesh out the characters directly instead of a heavy “flashback diet”.

The traps are actually creative, vicious, and deliciously sadistic as expected, with a lot of gore and gruesome details, already making this a lot better than the bloodless boring shit in Jigsaw. But as far as actually reimagining and reinventing Saw as a whole.. no, really no, Spiral sticks to formula with decent results, not really feeling that eager to reinvent itself in the first place, after all.

Not bad, but it lacks the ambition to really try something new with the series and potentially fail.

[EXPRESSO] The Grudge (2020) | The House That Kayako Built

The Grudge 2020 poster

(finally got another chance of seeing this in theathers)

Despite the mostly negative reception in the States and the frankly stupid idea of doing ANOTHER remake of Ju-On/The Grudge…. at least it had to just be better than the 2004 american remake, and that one had the same directors of the original. Then again i haven’t watched any of the sequels yet (american or japanese ones), but i can confirm this one is a “side-sequel” meant to connect with the 2004 american The Grudge.

And this is the main problem, as it wants to not disregard the previous american movies, but also doesn’t want to rework the premise to make sense in a completely different place and culture, or to make you forget that this a western remake of japanese movie. So there a willingly suicidal tendency to this one taking place in America with an american cast (plus John Cho), but still having to originate from Japan, with the curse basically using a character as a vessel to propagate itself in a small town, where a local sheriff investigates strange murders seemingly connected to a single house, all told in a non-linear fashion (as you’d expect) with the characters acting as “chapters-victims”.

It’s kinda tragic, because Nicolas Pesce manages to craft good characters and make you care about them, the drama is decent and the acting good, but when it comes to the horror parts, you’d wish the movie didn’t bother at all, even without throwing into the mix the trite j-horror movies cliches, or stuff that “has” to be here regardless, just because it’s The Grudge. The open ending doesn’t help.

Definitely a step up from the 2004 The Grudge, but please, let this type of “reboot/remakes of japanese movies” stay where it belongs. In the past.


[EXPRESSO] Fantasy Island (2020) | Horror Spice

Fantasy Island 2020 poster.jpg

So this is basically a horror reimagining of a 70’s/80’s tv series, one i’ve never even heard before i stumbled upon the listing of this movie, but i guess if children shows like The Banana Splits can get remade as horror movies, it’s fair game for everybody.

The premise centers around the eponymous, remote tropical island, where the mystical Mr. Roarke (Michael Peña) makes the most secret dreams of his guests come true. But as the fantasies morph into nightmares, the captive guests have to solve to mystery of the island if they want to escape it, and the true reason they were all brought there.

I frankly don’t know or care if this is a “needed” or random remake of the source material, but even so, i could see this movie working even without the horror elements, which at times they do spice things up a bit, but on other occasions are so tacked on and clichè to the point of being just laughable, just thrown together into the supernatural thriller-drama cauldron, using the premise to link together scenes from different genres (a bit of Saw, a bit of war movie, a bit of heist movie, a family drama) in a coherent way.

And it works, it’s what i would classify as “movie meatloaf”, but it’s entertaining, fairly well acted, has decent characters, but it should (and could) have been shorter, as the last act drags on by using horror cliches, and it’s odd how mostly bloodless it is for a horror movie, not that this one actually needed Braindead/Dead Alive levels of gore, or horror elements to begin with. It’s not a case of “neutering for the sake of PG-13”, it just a story that could have done without being horror “flavored” and not lose much.

It’s alright.