Category Archives: Sci-Fi/Fantasy

I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) Movie Review

The Cloverfield franchise continued its adept surprise-marketing technique during Super Bowl LII. With a brief teaser trailer dropping for The Cloverfield Paradox (once entitled God Particle), the Netflix-acquired film from Bad Robot announced that the film would be coming very soon. Opening up the Netflix app revealed further that the film would be available to stream immediately following the big game.

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This essentially unprecedented marketing move is sure to pay big dividends for Netflix, at least in the film’s first Continue reading The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) Movie Review

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The Shape of Water (2017) Movie Review

Guillermo del Toro, with his latest The Shape of Water, weaves, in effect, a fairy tale monster movie. Imbued with the shadowy lighting and terse patriotism of the Cold War 1950s, in which nationalistic patsies are led by men in trench coats who speak in passwords, the film sets itself in an industrial government building that hides away U.S. military secrets.

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Working in this industrial warehouse, underneath the shadowy government officials and their shills and patsies, is the mute Elisa (Sally Hawkins). With the camaraderie of Zelda (Octavia Spencer), who fills the space where Elisa’s words cannot reach, they clean the facility. This includes cleaning up the blood after a new arrival to the facility causes Continue reading The Shape of Water (2017) Movie Review

Bright (2017) Movie Review

So get this: it’s a buddy cop movie starring Will Smith. Yeah, sure, it reminds one of Bad Boys, only Smith’s partner Jakoby (Joel Edgerton) is an Orc. And Smith’s character, Ward, is racist against Orcs like the rest of the police force. In this universe, pretty much everyone is racist against Orcs, and Elves, and Fairies. At one point, Smith swings a broom at a Fairy, trying to kill it, and says: “Fairy lives don’t matter today.”

So, you know, the film’s subtle.

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Ward and Jakoby find themselves in the middle of a war between the police, various gangs, and some assassin Elves. It is a war over a misplaced wand, which, based on what people are willing to do for it, seems to have an equivalent power to Continue reading Bright (2017) Movie Review

Downsizing (2017) Movie Review

Alexander Payne’s latest is a sci-fi comic drama about a man named Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) who decides to engage in the biggest scientific innovation since the Apollo space program: Downsizing.

Downsizing, or “going small,” is the process of shrinking one’s body down to five inches and moving to one of many small communities, a “magical” place where everything is cheaper because the quantity the consumer requires is smaller (although, economy isn’t all about quantity…if there’s a demand for small diamonds, wouldn’t the price of small diamonds go up regardless? But I digress).

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Downsizing has a sprawling plot. For a film about shrinking a person and putting them under a glass dome, there is a lot of movement. Too much, to be frank. The first act of the film is firmly planted in Continue reading Downsizing (2017) Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) (SPOILER) Movie Review

Note: Yep, spoilers. I’m not bothering to attempt this review without actually talking about the film.

From the first sequence of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it is clear that what you are watching is going to be a different take on the Star Wars universe. It is a dogfight in the skies of space, with the roguish Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) quipping as he leads a squadron of bombers toward the First Order fleet.

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This sequence engages with the formulaic conceit of a Star Wars dogfight, and it even replicates Continue reading Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) (SPOILER) Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Movie Review

Caution: This review makes mention of two key plot points of Blade Runner 2049 that may be construed as “spoilers,” even though both are pieces of plot information that are introduced early on in the film. Either way, Denis Villeneuve reportedly asked critics not to reveal any plot points of the film, so I guess you’ve been warned.

It has been 35 years since Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, a dystopian urban image of a world in which people are hired to hunt down and “retire” artificial beings known as Replicants. Based on, if only in its philosophical quandaries, Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the film questioned where the line between humanity and artificiality is.

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The script of Blade Runner 2049 from Hampton Fancher and Michael Green continues this existential exploration. The film, directed by Denis Villeneuve, whose cinematic visions have only grown in terms of visuals and heady ideas, follows a new Blade Runner code-named K (Ryan Gosling) as he stumbles upon Continue reading Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Movie Review

Valley of Shadows (2017) Movie Review (TIFF 2017)

Like Andrey Zvyaginstev’s Loveless, which also had a screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, Jonas Matzow Gulbrandsen’s Valley of Shadows is a bleak-looking and picturesque look at a small boy lost in the woods. Both use imagery of isolated forests to setup its ominous, gloomy case. With Loveless, it is barren trees hanging dead over a creek.

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In the case of Valley of Shadows, it is a massive green forest flowing against the wind like waves waiting to crash down on the two kids who look on in curiosity over the Continue reading Valley of Shadows (2017) Movie Review (TIFF 2017)