Movie Review: Annihilation (2018)

As much as I like big, action-packed, sci-fi movies, I do admit that I could take less of it in exchange for sci-fi flicks on the brainier side. Luckily for me, it seems like Alex Garland will be the one to provide those types of movies. So let’s talk about his latest.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Annihilation”.

After he husband seemingly goes missing, a biologist (Natalie Portman) signs on to a mission to explore this strange zone where everything has mutated. And as the biologist and her team goes into this zone, they soon experience a journey that is as scary as it is fascinating. So now we have our sci-fi plot. But it’s not just a “go and look at weird mutations” type story, as it’s a deep and layered exploration of a lot of mature themes. It’s difficult to talk about this plot without accidentally spoiling it, so I’m gonna stop explaining the plot here. But let’s just say that I found it all to be quite riveting. The only flaw I have is that it starts out quite slow. But it doesn’t really take anything away from the plot, at least not in the grand scheme of things, especially since it gets going soon enough. Sure, the entire thing is fairly slow-paced, but aside from the start, I don’t mind this slower pace. So overall I think this is a great plot.

The characters in this I will not go too in-depth with, as their development is best left experienced. But I do think most of them get really good development, whether it’s through what we see, or through a piece of dialog. In the core team we have Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, and Tuva Novotny. And they all deliver really good performances. We also get Oscar Isaac in a supporting role as Natalie Portman’s husband, and Isaac is of course damn good in the role. Everyone’s good. ’tis a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Ben Salisbury & Geoff Barrow, and they did a really good job with it. The score here is very dreamlike, adding to the strange and uneasy feeling of the environment that the team are exploring. It also helps in building tension and emotion throughout. There’s also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they work pretty well within their scenes.

Based on a novel by Jeff VanderMeer, this movie was written and directed by Alex Garland (as mentioned in the beginning of the post). And while I can’t compare how accurately Garland captures VanderMeer’s novel, due to not having read said novel, I can give my thoughts on Garland’s overall direction. And it’s really good. Like with the music, Garland gives the movie a very dreamlike feeling throughout, which helps give it a very unique mood that we almost never see in movies. It really helps this strange place feel even more realized and interesting. There’s also a lot of tension in Garland’s direction, both in normal walking scenes, and in scenes where things do happen. Rob Hardy’s cinematography is also really good, this place looks fantastic. And for any sensitive viewers out there, “Annihilation” has some really gruesome imagery in it. The only reason why I’m mentioning this is because I can stomach blood/gore in movies, but the shit you see in this movie somehow got to me. So there’s your warning.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 87% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 79/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“Annihilation” isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for a slow and brainy science fiction movie, then I highly recommend it. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography/effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Annihilation” is a 9,62/10. Even though the start is a little slow, it still gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Annihilation” is now completed.

To quote Winnie the Pooh: Think, think, think…

Academy Awards 2018: Best Music Nominees

Hello there, ladies, gentlemen, and space aliens. The Oscars are not far away (as of writing it’s less than 24 hours to it), so to celebrate that I have teamed up with a bunch of other bloggers to talk about the various categories, and give our thoughts and predictions on them. When it was time for me to choose, I chose the music categories (which had been lumped into one), because of my undying love of music and occasional analysis of it. I also chose it because I haven’t seen all the movies yet, so this is one I can do from the comfort of my own room (thank you, spotify!). So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Best Original Score
The first category we’ll go through is best original score, the category celebrating the works of the composers who work so hard to help us get immersed. So here are the nominees.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – John Williams.

First up we have the one and only John Williams and his music for the latest entry in the “Star Wars” franchise. And this really has everything that you’d expect from “Star Wars” music at this point. Big brass, tense strings, catchy melodies. And whereas the score for “Force Awakens” was damn good, it doesn’t really hold a candle to “The Last Jedi” (not comparing the movies, just the music). There are throwbacks to the previous movies in the series throughout this score, but none of it feels like forced (HA!) pandering, but rather fun inclusions to make it all feel a bit more connected. But as great as the music here is, I don’t think it has a chance in this Oscar race. Would I be made if it won? No. But we’ve heard these stylings before, and I feel like it doesn’t have the same chance at the gold due to that.

The Shape of Water – Alexandre Desplat.

Our second entry is the score for “The Shape of Water”, the latest weirdness from Guillermo Del Toro. As of writing this, I have not seen the movie, so I can’t comment on how well the music works within the movie. But I can comment on it as it’s own entity, and I can safely say that this score is fantastic. It takes a couple cues from old school John Williams, and even a bit from Wes Anderson’s movies (which is funny considering Anderson has worked with Desplat before). But it does a lot of unique things to give it a really odd, yet beautiful sound that works for this kind of odd love story. I’d say this has a very good chance of getting the Oscar.

Phantom Thread – Jonny Greenwood.

Here we have the score for “Phantom Thread”, the latest movie from Paul Thomas Anderson, and the final movie of actor Daniel Day Lewis. This score relies heavily on piano and various string instruments (violin being the most prominent). It creates an emotionally charged sound that evokes a lot of dramas from the 70s (I notive a little bit of “Godfather” in there). This score has a pretty good chance of taking the Oscar, though I’m not 100% sure if I want it to. I’m a little split on it.

Dunkirk – Hans Zimmer.

So here we have a score from one of my favorite composers, for a movie by one of my favorite directors. Yet I have somehow not seen “Dunkirk” as of writing. But what we have here is an intense and very unique score that makes use of not only your typical orchestral sounds, but also a ticking clock and a few other sounds that I can’t identify that easily. But I must say that this sounds fantastic, and it makes me tense up a bit, without the visuals of the movie. Zimmer catches the horrors of war incredibly well with his music, creating a haunting but also beautiful sound that drills itself into my bones and makes me feel like I’m in this horrible situation. So I’d say Zimmer has a good chance at getting the statue.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Carter Burwell.

Hey, finally a movie I’ve actually seen! But yes, the final score nominated for an Oscar is Carter Burwell’s score for Martin McDonagh’s masterful “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”. At times sounding like a western, at times sounding like an emotional drama, Burwell’s score perfectly captures the tumultuous journey of Mildred as she tries to get justice for what happened to her daughter. The music follows her arc perfectly, from the badass and cool, to the intimate and emotional. But as much as I love the music of “Three Billboards”, I doubt that it will take the Oscar. Would I be happy if it did? Hell yeah. But nothing about it really says “I can and will grab that Oscar” like some of the other contenders did.

Biggest chance of winning: The Shape of Water.
My pick: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

So those were the original scores. Now moving on to the second half.

Best Original Song
Time for the category that celebrates specific tunes made for the movies we watch. It’s an interesting category that I don’t fully understand the point of, but I won’t say no to a bit of music. So let’s go.

Mystery of Love – Sufjan Stevens – Call Me By Your Name.

First song on the list is “Mystery of Love”, a song from “Call Me By Your Name”, a movie about sexual discovery rather than identity theft (missed an opportunity there, yo). Written and performed by Sufjan Stevens, it almost feels like something that you’d hear from José González, but with a slightly bigger lean towards the pop side of it all. And I must admit that this song is pretty damn good. As the title suggests, it talks about how weird and mysterious the concept of love actually is. It has an interesting and unique sound that I like listening to. Do I think it has a shot at the Oscar? Hard to say, really. Would I be okay with it winning? Sure. I’m just unsure how the Academy would vote on it. Some songs/movies are easier to pin the chances of than others, and this one’s a bit challenging to pin down.

Mighty River – Mary J. Blige – Mudbound.

Here we have a song from a movie I’ve actually seen. “Mighty River” is part gospel, and part radio ballad. And it strikes a good balance between the two to make a song that is pleasing for the ears while still having an interesting and somewhat unique sound, at least for the current music industry. It also evokes those big, emotional songs you could hear in various movies from back in the day. Like “My Heart Will Go On” or that Faith Hill song from “Pearl Harbor”. So I’d be perfectly fine with “Mighty River” winning… shit, I’d say it’s chances are good.

This Is Me – Keala Settle – The Greatest Showman.

So here we have a pop song from a musical about P.T. Barnum, a man who wasn’t a very good person… but they still decided to make a colorful musical about him and his circus. False depiction of a historical figure aside, how is this song? Pretty good. It’s a very radio-friendly pop song that still manages to elevate that with the help of some solid crescendos and a slightly more old school approach. Do I want this to win? Not really. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, but I don’t think it does anything that makes it worthy of that prize. It’s a little bit too… generic, in my opinion.

Stand Up For Something – Andra Day feat. Common – Marshall.

Here we have a song from the Thurgood Marshall biopic “Marshall”. This is a pop song with a good amount of soul thrown into it to create a sound that I really enjoyed listening to. Plus, the lyrics about standing up for a cause are somewhat inspiring, especially when delivered by Andra Day’s gorgeous voice. There’s also a short bit where Common raps, and it’s really good. Do I think this song has a chance? Maybe. It definitely has a foot in the door, but it’s hard to say how much that will help in terms of actually winning. Let’s say the chances are pretty good.

Remember Me – Benjamin Bratt/Kristen Anderson-Lopez/Robert Lopez – Coco.

The final song on the list is “Remember Me (Ernesto De La Cruz)”, a mostly upbeat and energetic song from Pixar’s latest film, “Coco”. The lyrics are good, the the instrumentals are good, it’s very personal to the writers… and it’s sung by the great Benjamin Bratt. Yeah, this is great. I haven’t seen “Coco”, but this song has made me want to check it out even more. The chances for this to win are pretty good, and I wouldn’t be mad if it did. ’tis a good song.

Biggest chance of winning: Mighty River.
My pick: Mighty River.

So those were the original song nominations.

And those were all of the music nominations from the Oscars, and my thoughts on them. But now I wanna hear from you guys, which score/song do you think should/will win? Please leave any and all answers in the comments, I really wanna hear from you guys.

The people I collaborated with on this:

Plain, Simple Tom.

Through the Silver Screen.

Angus McGregor Movies.

QuickFire Reviews.

Fivethreeninety.

Perks of being Nath.

Have a good one.

My Most Anticipated Movies 2018

Hello there, my friends! It is that time of the year again where I talk about my most anticipated movies of 2018. And I am aware that we’re already a week into 2018, but the movie year hasn’t really begun for me. So I am still safe in making this list. So here we go.

Just a couple of rules first.

Rule #1: My list. These are my most anticipated movies of the year. If you’re not excited for any of these or I didn’t include any that you’re excited about, then make your own list. These are MY most anticipated movies of the year. Not necessarily the ones I think will be the best, just the ones I am interested in seeing. In no particular order.

Rule #2: I will not include any late releases here. You know, those that have a limited release in like December and then come to other countries in the first quarter of the next year. So stuff like “Wind River”, “Three Billboards”, and “Shape of Water” are not included on this list (though I am excited for those too).

That’s it for rules this time. Here are my most anticipated movies of 2018.

Number 1: The Commuter.

First up we have “The Commuter”, the latest collaboration between Liam Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Serra. I’ve enjoyed all of their previous collaboration, I find them to be enjoyable little thrillers. None of them are genuinely great movies, but I find them to be entertaining, good ways to kill two hours. And this looks to be another entertaining one form the duo. And with people like Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in the cast it’s sure to get some great acting in it.

Number 2: Deadpool 2.

I love “Deadpool”. It’s one of those movies that I was worried about, since FOX haven’t always been the kindest to the X-Movies. But I saw it and I had a blast. And “Deadpool 2” seems to be continuing what the first movie started. It looks like it will be as (if not more) insane as the first movie, while also introducing classic Deadpool allies Cable (Josh Brolin) and Domino (Zazie Beetz). But yeah, I’m excited.

Number 3: Black Panther.

After his awesome debut in “Captain America: Civil War”, I was excited to see Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) getting his own solo movie. Then the trailer came out, and I got even more excited because it looked badass. and with it coming out now in February, the hype is growing more and more. And even if it doesn’t turn out to be some fantastic movie, I am more than certain that it will be another cool and fun entry in the Marvel Cinematic universe.

Number 4: Avengers: Infinity War.

Yeah, I decided to go straight for the throat on this entry. The culmination of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. The big war featuring most if not all the heroes against the mighty Thanos (Josh Brolin). This looks like it will be a big and awesome action movie, but I also feel like there will be some great character moments in it, based on what came before and what this is. The hype is real.

Number 5: Ready Player One.

Here we have an interesting entry. Based on a book by Ernest Cline, “Ready Player One” tells the story of Wade (Tye Sheridan), a young man using a virtual reality world to try to win a competition that would grant him a lot of money. I love the book, and was scared when I heard that they were adapting it. But Spielberg has proven himself before, so I will try to be optimistic. It looks interesting, and features tons of fun easter eggs in it. So yeah, player one is ready.

Number 6: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

While “Jurassic World” wasn’t anywhere near as great as “Jurassic Park” (contrary to what my original review more or less said), it was still a fun action-adventure featuring dinosaurs. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” looks to be that, but bigger, more explosive, and not as good. Not saying it will be bad (it’s on this list for a reason), but it has revealed a lot in the trailer… and a lot of it looks just… fine. Will I go see it opening week? You bet your ass, I am. But I will go in with restrained expectations.

Number 7: The Incredibles 2.

“The Incredibles” is a great movie, one of my favorites from Pixar. And Brad Bird is a good director. So I have a lot of faith that this will be good. By the way, why in the flying fuck did we get TWO “Cars” sequels before we even got ONE “Incredibles” sequel? Makes no god damn sense. But yeah, “Incredibles” is one I’m quite excited for.

Number 8: Annihilation.

Alex Garland has written some great movies. He also wrote and directed the excellent “Ex Machina”. And now we’re getting another movie that was written and directed by him. It stars Natalie Portman and is about some scientists going into some strange zone. And it looks good. I like me a solid sci-fi-thriller, and this looks like it could be such a thing.

Number 8: Pacific Rim: Uprising.

I really like “Pacific Rim”. I wouldn’t exactly call it Guillermo Del Toro’s greatest movie, but it has some interesting concepts and some damn entertaining action scenes. And while this doesn’t look like it will be as good as the first, it still looks like it could be a dumb and fun popcorn movie. And instead of Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi we seem to get John Boyega (Woo!) and Scott Eastwood (okay?). *gulp*. Please be good.

Number 9: X-Men: Dark Phoenix.

No trailer. Unproven director. Sequel to generally disliked movie. So how could I be excited for this? Honestly, I love “X-Men”. I love this franchise and I’m always excited to see new movies for this series. The X-Movies have given me hours upon hours of entertainment and I am always happy to get more.

Number 10: The New Mutants.

A horror movie set in the “X-Men” universe? Sure, why the fuck not. Could be fun. Looks like fun. Has a good cast. Yeah, I’m on board. Still confused about why horror with these mutants, and why there’s Pink Floyd in the trailer. Oh well, I’m intrigued.

Number 11: Soldado.

“Sicario” is one of my favorite movies of the last few years, so when they announced a sequel I got worried. Would they butcher it? How could they continue such a tight story? Sure, Brolin and Benicio are back, and so is the original writer… but Denis Villeneuve and Roger Deakins aren’t, so that had me worried. Then the trailer came out and I thought it looked okay. After some thinking, I am now even more excited about it. Do I think it’ll be better than the first? Hell no. But I think it could be a good movie.

Number 12: The Predator.

A sequel to “Predator”, written and directed by Shane Black? Hell yeah. Not only is Shane Black a damn fine writer/director, but his involvement with the original movie (he played the character Hawkins) gives him a bit more insight into this shit. And I’m just excited to see a new movie from Shane Black. He’s great.

Number 13: Ant-Man and The Wasp.

I like “Ant-Man”, it’s a really fun movie. I’m excited for the sequel. Has a good director, great cast, it’s part of the MCU… yeah, I’m excited. Moving on.

Number 14: Aquaman.

The DCEU has been… problematic to say the least. But “Wonder Woman” has proven that there can be good movies in it. And with an awesome cast and a solid director I am pretty excited for this movie. I feel like it could be fun. Did I say fun? Oh no, the DC fanboys will come after me now.

Number 15: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Sony. Sony, Sony, Sony, you unreliable idiots. Needing help from Marvel to make a good “Spider-Man” movies. What’s this? An animated “Spider-Verse” movie? Okay, I’m intrigued. It has a cool style to it (though body/facial animation looks a bit jittery). I am intrigued to see them make this. I love me a bit of superhero animation.

And that’s it for my list. There will be interesting movies that I will find out about later this year, but these are some of the ones I’m a bit more interested in right now… a lot of superhero and sci-fi stuff. I am one predictable person. But I want to hear from you, what are some of your most anticipated titles this year? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one.

“The X-Files” season 11 trailer!

Hello there, my friends! More trailer talk coming your way! So let’s just jump into it!

So thanks to New York Comic Con we have gotten a trailer for season 11 of “The X-Files”. Now, for those unaware (fucking cave dwellers), “The X-Files” is a show created by Chris Carter and was first aired in 1993. It’s about two FBI agents named Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) who investigate a series of weird cases (AKA the titular “X-Files”). It ended in 2002, had two movies released in 1998 and 2008, and was revived for a tenth season which aired in early 2016. Then earlier this year it was announced that the show would come back for an eleventh season. While the tenth season wasn’t one of the show’s strongest, I was still excited about the season 11 announcement. Because one, season 10 ended on a bit of cliffhanger. And two, I will never say no to more “X-Files”. So now we have our season 11 trailer. And how does it look? It looks fine. More conspiracy stuff, the smoking man up to shady shit as always, some creature shit going on. Basically it’s more “X-Files”, but with a seemingly bigger focus on an overarching plot (though I could be slightly wrong about that last part). Am I excited? Like I said, I will never say no to more “X-Files”. The eleventh season of “The X-Files” will air in 2018.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for season 11 of “The X-Files”? And what are your thoughts on season 10 (I’ve seen a lot of mixed thoughts)? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer!