When I first took Film as Literature in high school, back in 2010, one of the films our teacher made us watch was Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element. While I am sure it resonated well with most of my classmates, I found it to be the most irritating, ridiculous, poorly-made film I had seen. Needless to say, I hated it with the utmost passion I had felt for any movie. For almost eleven years, I have written it off as a terrible movie that I could never bring myself to watch again. However, thanks to a good friend of mine who loves discussing movies with me (and a scratch-off list of the 100 Must-See Cult Movies), I brought myself to watch it again, with the help of my fiancee, who absolutely loves this movie more than I ever could, and a trip to her parents’ house to borrow the DVD, as to appease my friend and see what was under that opaque substance I was eager to reveal with my dime. I fully expected it to be a torturous slag of an experience with no merit, except to waste two hours of my life, what I witnessed upon this particular viewing surprised me more than any movie ever could.
As I was watching a series of 90’s science-fiction blueprints grace the screen with rapid-fire quickness, a feeling had indeed changed inside me. The dreaded disgust and annoyance that once seemed to exist no longer vacated the soul within me. Instead, what creeped in was a light of calm and contentment as I soaked in every ridiculous, goofy moment that came my way. I kept thinking that this particular feeling was only temporary, and the rotten taste would return eventually. Yet as Besson’s film was coming to an end, I had noticed that what I was feeling never left like I thought it would, then the sign became clear. Here was a movie that made such a bad impression on me as a young aspiring film critic that I dare even look its way, only for it to finally win me over with its bright visual flair and sense of humor. There was no denying it, I may have been a bit too harsh on this movie, and I knew it (I was young and cynical then).
I have never seen a book-to-film adaptation so flimsy, chaotic, and silly in its execution such as Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Artemis Fowl’. Keep in mind! This is coming from someone who has never read the books by Eoin Colfer, let alone even aware of its mythology. All I knew about it was that it was centered on a child thief named Artemis Fowl and the secrets he has to unlock. I am sure that it was one of the books I have wanted to read in my childhood, but never had a chance to. A feature film was inevitable and was in development since 2001, but never saw the light of day until its first teaser hit in 2018. Though, it had been pushed back from August 2019 to August of this year, only to be released just yesterday on Disney+ due to the Coronavirus.
With quarantine still in effect, it has been hard to write movie reviews lately, especially since movie theaters have been shut down and there have not been many movies to talk about. Yet, one movie that has come to mind as of late is the 1999 science-fiction spoof ‘Galaxy Quest’, which I vaguely remember from my childhood other than seeing ads for it, and watching it with my family in a motel when I was but a child. Recently, I decided to give it a much-needed re-watch for the experience, being that my mother-in-law had the film in her collection. I have to say that ‘Galaxy Quest’ holds up as a comedy as well as a love letter to the science-fiction genre, conventions, and more importantly ‘Star Trek’ (which it spoofs for the most part).
When my buddy pitched Astra Lost in Space to me at the start of the Summer 2019 season, he described it as:
A space survival show with M. Night Shyamalan twists at every turn with a dash of comedy.
-My friend (who also read the source material before watching)
While I don’t think this is really an accurate description of the show, it feels more like Star Trek with a deep mystery running through it, I can now see what he meant. If you would have asked me what I thought the best show of the season was going to be, I probably wouldn’t have picked this one either. However, here we are.Continue reading “Astra Lost in Space – Best of Season”→
You are probably wondering how a sequel to a ‘Groundhog Day’ wannabe manages to work, especially being that it is basically the same movie. Like a repetitive day, if one were to add some fun, charm, and plenty of twists, it essentially becomes enjoyable. While ‘Happy Death Day’ felt more like ‘Groundhog Day’, ‘Happy Death Day 2U’ feels like ‘Back to the Future Part II’ by focusing on the science of how Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) got stuck in the time loop.
With the way ‘The Meg’ was marketed, you would not expect anything more than an action B-movie starring Jason Statham, yet surprisingly, a lot of effort and care has been taken to make sure Jon Turteltaub’s adaptation of Steve Alten’s science-fiction horror novel ‘Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror’ was as thrilling of a shark movie as it could be. Despite having humorous moments, audiences expecting B-movie fun will either be disappointed, or find themselves enjoying what they came for; depending on how they see it. As much of a B-movie lover I am, I walked in expecting nothing more than an entertaining, albeit disposable, bad shark movie fit for the SyFy channel, yet instead walked out of something much more. In fact, I could say that ‘The Meg’ is one of the best shark movies since ‘Jaws’!
I checked out ‘The Titan’ not too long ago. Although science-fiction is not nearly my interest (especially content that looks released for DVD), I found it to be as engaging and endearing way more than I expected it to be. Netflix has been making great content lately, and the popular streaming site shows no sign of stopping. Every month, there is always a new show, or movie released with the hope that viewers will tune in. While I do not see many audiences watching ‘The Titan’, those who are into science-fiction or want to think will find themselves immersed.
While watching ‘Ready Player One’, you would immediately forget that Steven Spielberg’s newest visual spectacle was based on Ernest Cline’s novel. From a cinematic viewpoint, it is a big-budget action epic with so many blink-and-you-will-miss-it pop culture references, ranging from characters like The Iron Giant and Chucky to vehicles like the DeLorean, the bike from ‘Akira’, and Christine. Nerds will find themselves having a blast trying to spot every Easter egg, while movie-goers will no doubt enjoy the amazing virtual world Spielberg has brought to life. Thinking about it, ‘Ready Player One’ has something for everyone to enjoy.
I find it hard to believe that Netflix decided to distribute the third installment in the ‘Cloverfield’ franchise. What started off as a found-footage science-fiction thriller shrouded in mystery and destruction paved way for sequels that have a cinematic look and feel. Though, one does not have to watch any in specific order (Honestly, I may have watched ‘Cloverfield’ months back, yet missed out on ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ before watching this). With ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’, it is easy to see that, despite having elements of the first ‘Cloverfield’, the characters, stories, and situations are different in how they handle this mysterious force. ‘Cloverfield’ took place at a going-away party in Manhattan where party-goers were filming the destruction, ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ set itself in a bunker with three survivors, while ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ brings us into the future where time and space literally collide.
Alexander Payne’s ‘Downsizing’ is a film that has so much potential; a seemingly original premise, social commentary, and promising visuals. A surefire contender for the Oscars! Payne (who also did ‘Election’, ‘Sideways’, and ‘The Descendants’) even tries his damnedest to get the look and feel of a world this small right; yet sadly, there are so many missed opportunities, making it seem like your average everyday drama about breathing in life, and enjoying the little moments before they are gone forever. (No pun intended on the “little”.)