• Ghost in the Shell (2017)

    I haven't read the manga yet but as a fan of both dystopian science- fiction stories and Japanese culture, I decided to watch this movie yesterday. It was overall entertaining but on the other side, it offered more of the same if you are familiar with science-fiction scenarios.

    The story is basically a mixture of Blade Runner, Equilibrium and maybe Tokyo Gore Police and therefore highly predictable. A young female cyborg called Mira Killian, who works as a major for an anti- terrorist bureau in a futuristic world, finds out that she wasn't saved but rather kidnapped by her creators. The beautiful soul in her disposable shell is searching for a sense of life. She tries to find out about her true identity while also chasing a mysterious hacker who is manipulating cyborgs and robots across the city to execute members of the company that created Mira Killian. She will have to choose sides in what might be her most personal case.

    While the plot isn't all that convincing, the acting performances are at least of an average quality. Scarlett Johansson isn't as convincing as in Lucy but even an average performance by her is still above average in general and you will also sympathize with her character. Pilou Asbæk had played alongside Johansson in Lucy and he does the same here and this time around he has a bigger role and does a great job as cool special operative with a dry sense of humor. It's also a pleasure to see Kitano Takeshi on the big screen and Japan's most legendary contemporary actor does a great job as rough and resilient Chief Executive Director.

    The movie focuses mostly on its visual special effects and portrays a futuristic city without a soul. One gets to see many quirky cyborgs, complicated machines, colorful screens, elegant vehicles and sophisticated weapons. The film actually looks closer to a video game than to an actual movie. Everything is very artficial and superficial despite being technically and visually stunning. In this case, the shell looks beautiful but there isn't any ghost inside. The movie actually makes you feel hollow at times but I suppose this was intentional and that's why I won't criticize that in this particular case. The different characters soon realize that they are living in a fake paradise. The underlying message of the movie is that too much technology will make humanity regress instead of progress which is an important statement in the early twenty-first century.

    In the end, Ghost in the Shell is an entertaining dystopian science- fiction movie with an important message. It clearly isn't the bets of its kind but it also isn't the worst. Genre fans should be pleased while those who aren't familiar with that kind of movie will surely start to explore this genre further after watching this film that might serve as an appropriate introduction to its genre. Overall, I still wasn't impressed enough to actually check out the manga of the same name.

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It

    votre commentaire
  • Life (2017)

    Even though ''Life'' really follows classic science-fiction standards by the numbers, it's a really engaging movie. Yes, the first twenty minutes take the time to introduce the settings and the characters. Obviously, the rest of the movie focuses on the monster that is going to kill the crew members one by one. It's as predictable as it gets when I'm telling you that the atmosphere inside the vessel will be intense, that there will be a few breathtaking scenes taken in space and that some characters will be ready to sacrifice themselves in order to save others. Of course, the famous lead character is the one to survive until the end. And yes, there is going to be an inevitable twist at the very end. On the other side, I must admit that the movie didn't follow all the wrong stereotypes. There are no unnecessary side stories such as emotional conflicts between the characters that act in a rather mature way and we are not exposed to a cheesy love story either which makes the characters more believable.

    Despite some flaws in the predictable story department, this movie in the vein of the classic Alien flicks still deserves to be watched on the big screen. The visual elements in the vessel and in space never fail to impress me but also have a realistic touch to them. Special effects such as body horror elements and explosions in the space station are added in small and efficient doses. The fact that ninety-eight percent of the film take place in space give this movie a refreshingly streamlined approach and since ninety-five percent of it are taking place inside the vessel, the film develops a claustrophobic vibe. This atmosphere is enhanced by a subtle yet gripping soundtrack. The characters feel down to earth and are portrayed accurately by the actors and actresses. They might not deliver the best performances of their careers but manage to give the movie a realistic touch. In the beginning, I was skeptical that the plot seemed to rely on a cast that absolutely needed to be multicultural which feels unnaturally forced in many films but it makes sense in the context of an international space mission.

    The most interesting element about this film is obviously its antagonist. Instead of introducing us to a big and strong monster in the key of Alien or Predator, this extraterrestrial life form constantly evolves its behavior and shape which adds to the rising tension in the movie. The fact that the monster acts unpredictably yet intelligently and learns very quickly about its survival instincts and tactics makes it a genuinely scary opponent. The monster's capacity to adapt to any threat makes it so respectable while its physical appearance is so unspectacular that it feels quite realistic.

    In the end, apart of the predictable story line and the first twenty minutes which are necessary to introduce the setting but somehow lack intensity, Life is an atmospheric, intelligent and realistic science-fiction-horror movie that will please those who love classic material like the Alien and Predator franchises.

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It

    votre commentaire
  • The Happening (2008)

    Shyamalan might be one of the most unstable contemporary directors in terms of quality. There are some of his movies which I disliked completely like ''The Village'' being wrongfully advertised as a horror movie even though it's a slow-paced drama. Other movies are quite overrated like ''The Sixth Sense'' that has its moments but isn't that compelling once you have figured out the predictable twist. Then again, Shyamalan has also directed some films that are close to perfection like the intense ''Split'' with its claustrophobic atmosphere. And then there are some of his movies that I like quite a lot but which are extremely underrated. ''The Happening'' is exactly this kind of movie.

    What I liked about the movie is that it didn't include a twist like most of Shyamalan's other movies and that it doesn't really answer all the questions. Some theories are spread throughout the film and the movie has a strong environmental message but it's never getting too educational or pretentious. The film indirectly criticizes the media that are jumping to conclusions about terrorist attacks and toxic gases which end up influencing some tragic events in the movie. This film offers a lot of food for thought without exaggerating things and lets the viewers think by themselves.

    The acting blends in perfectly. The actors are showing emotions of care and fear but we don't get the usual stereotypes of crying and yelling people like in so many other disaster movies. I liked Mark Wahlberg's performance as goofy but resilient science teacher that perfectly complemented Zooey Deschanel's character which was rather insecure and stressful. The two characters felt charming and realistic with their genuine flaws and strengths where an optimist had to deal with a realist. The side characters weren't particularly compelling but diversified enough to keep the movie entertaining from start to finish. We get introduced to aggressive survivalists, nervous soldiers and paranoid recluses among others.

    I liked the fact that the movie didn't have any lengths. It takes less than five minutes for the introduction and the conclusion and focuses on the body of the movie. Shyamalan takes us on an epic survival journey developing a gloomy and slightly surrealist atmosphere that gives the movie a very unique mood. It neither focuses on special effects nor on a dystopian atmosphere like so many other films of its kind and opts for a mysterious approach instead.

    Overall, the acting, mood and script are compelling because they are creative, entertaining and unique. Most people criticized the movie because their expectations of a spectacular disaster movie with a surprising twist weren't met or simply because they didn't fully understand the movie and tried to interpret the origins and reasons behind the happening. As the movie mentions itself, some things cannot be explained and should just be taken the way they are. If you accept this rule and don't have any specific expectations, ''The Happening'' will surprise you positively. This movie might not be a masterpiece but it clearly is one of the most distinctive disaster films of the new millennium.

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It

    votre commentaire
  • Limitless (2011)

    ''Limitless'' is an entertaining science-fiction movie based upon the theory that humans are only using ten percent of their brain and the question what might happen if we were able to access more or all parts of our brain efficiently. Instead of focusing on the scientific and philosophic thoughts behind this concept, ''Limitless'' wastes a lot of potential as it limits itself to being an entertaining action- thriller with a debatable ending and moral.

    The story focuses on the life of Eddie Morra. In the beginning, he seems to be a naive loser who never gets anything done and gets dumped by his girlfriend. When he starts taking a drug offered to him by a shady acquaintance, his life seems to change for the better as Eddie Morra becomes a popular writer, makes a lot of money on the stock market and becomes friends with a group of careless jet- setters. Soon, his addiction to the drug starts having negative impacts on himself and people around him as he gets tracked down by other addicts, competitors and loan sharks. In addition to this, he starts having blackouts and severe pain at times. He even gets involved in a murder case where he can't remember whether he killed the victim or not because of the drug. As he tries to find out more about the nootropic NZT-48, he realizes that a lot of addicts got sick or died of it either because of overdosing it or because they tried to stop taking it.

    At this point, the movie could have taken a more thoughtful approach to elaborate on the horrors of drug addiction and its side effects. Instead, we get to see a lot of chasing passages, conspirative manipulations and murder scenes leading to a morally debatable ending that is explained very weakly. Overall, you get an entertaining, fast-paced and well done action-thriller but the story wastes its scientific potential midway through the movie and lacks inspiration in the second half. 

    From that point of view, I like the very similar ''Lucy'' by Luc Besson much better because it keeps asking philosophic and scientific questions and has a thought-provoking ending. People probably preferred ''Limitless'' because it glorifies the sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle and because it's easier to understand. In the end, I can recommend ''Limitless'' if you are looking for an entertaining action-thriller with solid actresses and actors and a stylish production. If you are looking for something which is both entertaining and intellectual, I would rather recommend Luc Besson's ''Lucy''. 

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It

    votre commentaire
  • The 5th Wave (2016)

    ''The 5th Wave'' is one of the worst in a series of dystopian coming-of-age dramas with female lead actresses where quantity beats quality. This movie stands out negatively because of a plot that lacks depth and explanations. There is an increasing number of scenes towards the end of the film that are so unrealistic that they feel like a misguided genre parody. An overall extremely exchangeable acting performance makes things even worse. The movie lacks tension and has noticeable lengths. It tries to be atmospheric at times but overall lacks consistent intensity as some parts of the film are dominated by vapid side plots focusing on generic dialogues. The visual special effects are also surprisingly unspectacular for such an ambitious production. Since this movie has another ridiculous open ending, I would urge you not to watch this film because you might feel obliged to watch future sequels that might be even worse.

    Despite all its flaws, this movie has a few positive elements to be fair. First of all, Chloë Grace Moretz is one of the more talented teenage actresses of this generation and she is the only reason why one should even consider watching this film. Her acting performance finds the right mixture between emotionality and maturity to convince related to the story and her age. Even the usual predictable love story between the two lead characters was more credible than I had expected. Another positive element are two twists in the last third of the story which were rather predictable for me but which might take younger audiences by surprise. The few atmospheric scenes that take place in the camp and in the forest were shot efficiently. The middle part of the movie was overall stronger than the lacklustre and overlong introduction and the laughable coda with its disappointing open ending. The middle section is also where the best fighting scenes and special effects take place that accelerate this surprisingly slow-paced movie a little bit. 

    Still, this movie has more negative than positive elements and is obviously weaker than he comparable ''The Hunger Games'', the ''Divergent'' and ''The Maze Runner'' series. Only faithful fans of Chloë Grace Moretz should give this a try. This movie might be of a good average quality for teenagers who like the genre but is unappropriated for younger audiences and simply boring for older audiences. 

    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It

    votre commentaire

    Suivre le flux RSS des articles de cette rubrique
    Suivre le flux RSS des commentaires de cette rubrique