[EXPRESSO] Black Adam (2022) | Avenging The Stone

Dwayne Johnson first foray into actual superhero films happens to be in the DC Extended Universe, and it also happens to be very, very bad, but not for the reasons you’d think.

As in, i will argue that Morbius is still worse, but you could also counter with the premise of that movie having some potential, where in Black Adam there’s no effort put to anything, to the point where its way too generic, sharing the same symptoms seen in the regular cut of the Justice League movie, but actually worse, as the new group of heroes are blatant knock offs of Marvel’s roster (even if the characters themselves originally weren’t), with some straight up copying the Marvel’s shtick and mannerisms, when they don’t remind you of the X-Men.

Or the movie it’s just speedrunning every superhero movie cliches and recurrent flaws to the ground, with overly long exposition dumps, deranged abuse of slo-mo, predictable and unsatisfying narratives with the twists seen coming MILES away.

Do not forget a villain so lazy and boring you’ll pine for Justice League’s Steppenwolf.

The plot centers about the titular anti-hero Black Adam, an ancient egyptian man born slave than was bestowed incredible powers by the mage Shazam, and later sealed.

When he’s summoned back by a woman trying to stop a criminal empire, he unleashes his rage, prompting Amanda Waller to sick the Justice Society of superheroes to stop him, as he does not subscribe to the non-lethal kind of superhero combat.

The movie has some funny/cute scenes, and it tries to say something about the need for violence to fight the oppressors, etc, but as with everything in Black Adam, it’s mediocre at the very best, but always completely superficial and so generic it hurts. Even with Dwayne Johnson doing his thing.

[EXPRESSO] Crimes Of The Future (2022) | Biomeat: Flesh Nectar

David Cronenberg is back on the big screen with a… remake of his early film Crimes Of The Future. “Remake” in name only, as it just shares the cyberpunk setting, his passion for the pleasures of mutated flesh, and the idea of a future where human bodies can create new organs (often without apparent function), alongside a new kind of sexual perversity steeped in medical science.

That aside, it’s pretty much its own thing, fully befitting the style of directing Cronenberg would master later, but instead of a pederast ring obsessed with perverse secretions and strange malodies, the plot here focuses on the aspect of the human body spontaneously producing new, strange and wonderful organs, to the point surgery has been repursosed as a method of performance art, encouraged by an unexplicable disappearing of pain and sicknesses for the human race as a whole…

The movie follows two world famed “body artists” Saul Tenser (Viggo Mortensen) and his assistant Caprice (Lea Seydoux) as they perform artistical surgery sessions by removing the new tumoral organs that keep growing in Saul’s body, but the duo it’s approached by a weird goverment wing that wants to establish a legal, official list of the new organs, and a father that’s willing to give the body of his dead son so the duo can perform a public autopsy on him..

While one might argue that Cronenberg here is revisiting an old cyberpunk concept two decades later…. i’d say the premise still feels intriguing and novel, and because cyberpunk itself has aged into almost irrilevancy and hasn’t moved forward… this doesn’t feel as dated as it could.

Despite that and suffering from some abrupt sequences, it’s still quality Cronenberg, not him as its best, but good stuff, overall, even if this future feels less so today.

[EXPRESSO] Thor: Love And Thunder (2022) | “Bi” from “Bifrost”

After being pleasantly surprised by Thor Ragnarok (which i quite liked), i was cautiously optimistic about this one, since we have Taika Waltiti back in the director chair, and two Thors, why not?

The plot sees Thor cruising the galaxy on a quest for his own inner peace, after basically handing to others his expected status and obligations of a god. But his hippish voyage for love and identity is cut short by an intergalactic killer known as “Gorr The God Butcher”, forcing the son of Odin to request the aid of Valkyrie and even his ex, Jane Foster, who now can wield the mighty Mjolnir as “Mighty Thor”, on an adventure to find out Gorr’s motives and stop him before he can bring his godslaying crusade to the next level.

More than previous installment, this one leans into the comedic aspect that ran through the Thor series to make it more distinct from Ragnarok, especially by “leaning” heavily into romantic comedy territory, and aside from a similar-esque scene, the movie feel like a continuation of the previous one but not a redo, and it manages to fully give Thor a proper character arc.

Problem is that tonal unconsistency rears its ugly head here, as the “eros and thanatos” combo never fully finds a proper balance, so while the film works, it does feel kinda disjointed and in turn it’s hard to fully engage with what’s going on, even if funny, entertaining or emotional. Some tired comedy beats and some (arguably inevitable) franchise fatigue only exacerbate things further.

A shame, because the villain it’s pretty decent, Waltiti flair is still in full force here, but i also can’t deny that Thor: Love And Thunder feels messy, at times unfocused and ultimately it’s decent fun but kinda disappointing and oddly forgettable.

Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2045 (Season Two) [REVIEW] | To Doublethink Outside The Cage

Yeah, let’s tackle something a bit more challenging before we once again dip our toes in braindead killer animal exploitation crap.

When i reviewed the first season of this new Ghost In The Shell series back in 2020, i wasn’t expecting it would take 2 years before the second part/season would finally air, not because these projects aren’t time consuming (they are), but the general lack of interest in this new 3D CG iteration of the franchise shown by fans and the lack of much news at all almost made wonder if Netflix didn’t consider cancelling.

But then again, in the meantime we saw that it would take a gargantuan dumpster fire such as the live action Cowboy Bebop to make the streaming giant go and actively go “yeah, we’re gonna make more of this trash but we actually decided not to”.

A rare move, given WHAT this company is usually okay with greenlighting in excess, while killing stuff people actually likes.

Still, after a while it became clear this second season wasn’t exactly making anime fans go in the streets to demand it big time. Riots were not made for SAC 2045 Part 2, that much is undeniable.

Eventually, in late May 2022 the second season dropped on Netflix, preceded by a compilation film of the first season, called – fittingly so – GITS SAC 2045: Sustainable Warfare, which we talked about in its EXPRESSO review, and overall served as a good refresher since 2 years had passed.

Continua a leggere “Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2045 (Season Two) [REVIEW] | To Doublethink Outside The Cage”

[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] Jurassic World: Dominion (2022) | Jurassic Mixtape Meatloaf

While i would have a lot to say about this one, i’ll reserve some of it for when we tackle the entire “Jurassic Park/World” series, so i’ll keep it brief.

While long overdue, it’s finally that time again. Time to go see the new “big budget Asylum movie equivalent”, i really go in these later Jurassic movies with this mindset, after Fallen Kingdom i don’t even entertain the idea that i might be too hyperbolical, given that someone greenlit that script.

Speaking of which, yes, the plot sees the fallout of that shit awful ending, leading to dinosaurs escaping free into our modern world, and the inevitable fight for survival that ensues. This also leads to Chris Pratt having to save the offsprings of Blue the velociraptor, the actual true protagonist of this new trilogy.

Like pretty much any other goddamn IP from decades ago that still receives installments, Jurassic World: Dominion treads heavily on nostalgia, even more than before, as it basically recasts all the surviving actors from the original Jurassic Park and “alluding” to that one a LOT.

Talk about a series that peaked so hard and so instantly, to the point nobody really cares anymore about anything that came after the 1993 original.

Even so, i feel this is arguably the best of the Jurassic World movies, thanks to a script that’s not fuckin tosh, despite trying to balance the “nostalgia mixtape best of 1993” of having pretty much all the original cast back, the callbacks (horror-style scenes included), more focus on story and the more chaotic dino bullshit from the other Jurassic World movies.

Honestly i’m surprised the final result isn’t a complete mess despite the movie wanting to compromise/squish together both the old and the new.

At least it’s entertaning big budget b-movie meatloaf funtime.

Touken Ranbu Warriors NSWITCH [DEMO] [HANDS-ON] | Bishounen Sword Boys VS History Revisionists

Well, that was kinda unexpected, i genuinely though that editorial-ramble earlier this month would be the last time i talk about Touken Ranbu Warriors, but a week before release they also put out a demo on the European (and i guess other territories) eShop, so let’s give it a try.

And say some words. I do mean “some”; because there’s actually very little to say, and actually the bigger news is that the game is also coming to PC in the west, as a Steam release (since the DMM platform isn’t available outside of Japan), with a demo also available for that version. And that version will run in 60 fps, unlike the 30 fps locked Switch release.

Continua a leggere “Touken Ranbu Warriors NSWITCH [DEMO] [HANDS-ON] | Bishounen Sword Boys VS History Revisionists”

Kraa! The Sea Monster (1998) [REVIEW] | Pizza Sentai Aliens To The Rescue!!!

Last year we ended Giant Monster March with Zarkorr!! The Invader, so it’s only right to end this year’s run with the other direct-to-video giant monster movie produced by Full Moon Entertaiment (under their Monster Island Entertaiment label) and directed by Aaron Osborne, Kraa! The Sea Monster.

Always gotta scream your title, to be sure.

The plot sees the intergalactic overlord Lord Doom, master of the Dark Planet, Proyas (likely still salty over Gods of Egypt’s reception), send the giant monster known as Kraa on Earth in order to destroy and conquer it. A squad of the intergalactic teen guardians known as Planet Patrol tries to intervene, but it’s attacked by Lord Doom and so they enlist the only available agent, Mogyar, to reach Earth and destroy Kraa at all cost, even with the help of the planet’s inhabitants if need be.

Continua a leggere “Kraa! The Sea Monster (1998) [REVIEW] | Pizza Sentai Aliens To The Rescue!!!”

[EXPRESSO] The Privilege (2022) | Frozen Daiquiri Horror Of The Chosen

More german teen horror movies via Netflix, this time with The Privilege.

A rich teen and his fittingly rich private school classmates uncover a conspiracy while investigating a series of supernatural elements.

What conspiracy, you may ask? Cannibals? Cultists sacrificing students to Nyarlatothep? Me trying to distract you from the obvious social commentary a horror movie with this title is going for?

Worry not, the movie itself will confuse you quite enough, as it’s admittely bonkers and ambitious, but not in a good way, as it throws too many sub-plots and ideas into the script, resulting in a hodgepotche that’s simply WAY too ambitious for its own good, all made worse by desperate attempts at jumpscares and shallow teen characters.

Demons, parasitic fungi, seances, creepy laboratories with corpse cultures, rites, hauntings, the movie has them all, even if leads to congestion more than fun.

It’s not bad or boring, there are some cool ideas, and it’s kinda unpredictable, but that’s also because there too much on the plate and no focus, so the movie shifts from supernatural horror to psychological thriller and even to science fiction horror, and you keep wondering how the hell this all connects together until the very end… which you will still wonder about, as the clearly rushed finale leads to the “please franchise” cliffhanger, for a movie that otherwise feel quite longer than it actually is, just isn’t scary enough and baffles more than entertains.

I don’t think it’s outright crap, but i will admit i really, really struggled to get all the way to the end of The Privilege, more frustrated and annoyed than spooked or creeped out, a real shame since its well shot, there are some good gore effects, some interesting moments and the german cast it’s quite good.

A real pity.

[EXPRESSO] The Last Journey AKA Le Derniere Voyage (2020) | Majora’s Musk

Talk about a surprise release, since this 2020 french scifi movie only now has reached theathers in “The Boot”, and i’m willing to guess it never reached US theathers, since i didn’t even heard about it via social media.

Not even a mention, despite the original french title being similar to Luc Besson cult classic Le Dernier Combat, also a sci-fi movie with Jean Renò.

Regardless, the movie its set in a not too distant future (2050, in this case) where humanity it’s on the brink of extinction, with a red planetoid knows as the Red Moon is now coming so ever closer to Earth, bringing desertification, unliveable temperatures, animal extinctions and an energy crisis..

Only one man, Paul W.R., can save the day as he’s only one able to survive and pass through the magnetic field surrounding the planetoid, but mere days before the mission begins, Paul escapes to get away from his responsabilities, making the authorities start hunting him down, and he happens to meet a young girl called Elma, willing to follow him in his uncertain quest….

I’ll say that the cinematography it’s very good, some of the sequences are entertaining, there are some ideas, but the execution it’s just so confusing in many ways, as in the mesh of road movie and action scifi elements in a way that tries to kinda go for a more american-international feel or the themes and character motivations often feeling at odds, if not almost random.

Add a mediocre worldbuilding with some plot points never properly explained to make a simple plot kinda hard to follow, and you have a movie that’s perfectly watchable, has some good acting, but from beginning to end will have you more confused and annoyed than engaged at what’s going on and why exactly.

EUNGH.