12 Films of Christmas 2019 (Part 2)

Well hey there, everyone. Welcome back to the second part in this series that I really should’ve called “12 Contrivances of Christmas”. Ah, fuck it, too late now. So let’s get into it.

So if you’re a bit of a sci-fi buff, or you just watch a ton of movies, you probably figured out from the top image that we’re talking about “Sunshine” today. Released in 2007, the movie was directed by Danny Boyle, written by Alex Garland, and starring a whole bunch of recognizable people. And it’s about the crew of a spaceship set to deliver a big bomb to space in an attempt to try to reignite our dying sun. So you’re probably wondering how I’m gonna contrive my reasoning for this one. Well, buckle up, because I am ready to deliver my reasoning.

Imagine. The sun is about to die. No sun, no warmth. No warmth, no life. No life, no christmas. So really, this non-christmas movie is all about saving christmas! Easy peasy, lemon contrivanceasy! But yeah, that’s my reasoning. Also, there’s a bit in the movie where you see a photo of the ship’s crew, wearing santa hats, clearly celebrating christmas. Double reason, double christmas contrivance! HAHA.
All joking aside, I love “Sunshine”, it’s one of my favorite sci-fi movies. It’s tense, emotional, exciting, visually stunning, and a feast for the ears.

Have a good one.

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…

“Annihilation” trailer!

Hello there, ladies and gents! Time for another trailer talk! So here we go!

We have our first trailer for “Annihilation”, an upcoming sci-fi movie from writer/director Alex Garland. And let’s get it out of the way right now, I’m a fan of Garland’s work. He wrote “Sunshin”, which I love. He wrote “Dredd”, which I love. And he both wrote and directed “Ex Machina”, which I loved. So I’ve been excited to see what he’d cook up next. And now we have our first look at it. So what’s it about then? Well, it’s about a group of scientists (Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh) who go on an expedition into a strange place, and they seem to encounter some sci-fi weirdness. So what do I think? It looks good. Weird, but good. Like I said, I’m a fan of Garland’s previous works, so I’m just immediately excited. Especially since this looks like  very few things that have come before it. And there are some good actors involved. Aside from the three mention above, we also hav Oscar Isaac, Benedict Wong, and Gina Rodriguez. So yeah, I’m excited. “Annihilation” is set to be released in February of 2018.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “Annihilation”? And what’s your favorite movie written by Alex Garland? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer.

Movie Review: Ex Machina (2015)

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The concept of artificial intelligence is one that both intrigues and scares me a lot. Sure it would be cool if someone managed to create AI because it would be such a leap in science, but it might also go south pretty quickly. I mean, if you have seen “The Matrix” you know what I am talking about. Anyhow, if there is a movie about AI that actually looks interesting, I will most likely watch it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ex Machina”.

Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) is a young and skilled programmer working for the biggest non-google search engine in the world (at least in the movie). One day he gets a chance to get a trip out to the home/workspace of the owner of this search engine, Nathan (Oscar Isaac). When Caleb arrives at this pretty swanky place in the middle of fucking nowhere Nathan tells him that he managed to create the world’s first AI. A very attractive AI-robot named Ava (Alicia Vikander) whom Caleb seems to form some sort of bond with. And then we see how he tries to figure out if she really is a legit AI or if it’s a total fucking bust. And then it all turns into a “Who can be trusted” thriller with a sci-fi element to it. And from that we get a very tension-filled plot about humanity, artificial intelligence, science and trust. And I absolutely loved the plot of this movie. It constantly kept me guessing. And just as I thought I had something good going, it slapped me in the face with a twist that made me have to rethink everything… and that’s awesome! This was such a smart plot and I just really enjoyed it all.

The characters were all entertaining and interesting in their own rights. And I can safely say that the actors portraying them all did a great job. Domhnall Gleeson did a great job as our protagonist. Swedish (yay, my nationality!) actress Alicia Vikander was fantastic as this AI/robot, giving a lot of interesting nuances to her performance that really helped improve from your standard robot performance. Then we have Oscar Isaac as Nathan… holy shit. This is another one of those movies that solidify that Oscar Isaac is a fucking phenomenal actor. He’s funny, he’s creepy, he’s weird, he’s interesting, he’s just great. Every actor in this movie did a great job in the movie, easy as that.

The score for the movie was composed by Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow (double teh greatness?). And I have to say that it was actually really good, having a heavy orientation in the guitar department. And I don’t mean as in rock music, but rather to create a sound that would sound intriguing but also giving you an uneasy feeling. They also did that with a lot of droning noises which really worked because it sounded great and fit the movie well.

This movie was directed by Alex Garland and this is his directorial debut… but you wouldn’t believe that when watching it because it is very well directed. He is also the man who wrote the movie, now that is something he has some experience with, being the writer of movies like “28 Days Later”, “Sunshine” and “Dredd”, three movies I personally enjoyed. And the writing in the movie was very good. I can also say that the visual effects were pretty damn great as well. This isn’t an effects-heavy spectacle of a movie, but when there are visual effects (mainly CGI), they’re pretty great.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 78/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10.

“Ex Machina” is one of those movies that just snuck onto my radar out of nowhere and then impressed me a lot when I finally saw it. It has a great and tension-filled plot, great acting, great music, great writing, great directing and great visual effects. Time for my final score. *Bzzzt*. My final score for “Ex Machina” is a 9,88/10. It gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Ex Machina” is now completed.

This reminds me, that son of a bitch Jeff had something to show me… I wonder what it is.

Movie Review: Sunshine (2007)

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After watching Duncan Jones’ fantastic 2009 movie “Moon” I have gotten a craving recently for “different” sci-fi movies. Not your typical “Pew pew action” sci-fi, but something else. Not that there is anything wrong with “pew pew action”, I love that shit, but I want to see different types of sci-fi movies as well thanks to “Moon”. So now I have watched another “different” sci-fi movie and I feel like I should review it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Sunshine”.

In the future our sun is dying out. Soon it will be dead and then so will we. So they sent a group of ethnically diverse scientists to go out into space and reignite the sun with a giant nuke. But this is also not the first attempt at reigniting the sun, the people we follow is the second team. So it is also a little about them finding out what happened what happened to the first team… while they try to nuke the shit out of the sun. And from that we get a suspenseful and excellently written story that I really liked. I was interested through the entirety of the movie, seeing if our heroes could succeed with their mission. It was also mainly a story about the characters and their struggles as a team, making sure they didn’t hate each other too much in the end. And like I said, I stayed interested the entire time.

The characters are all interesting, well-written and really well-acted. Even if all of the scientists could be considered some form of main character, the true main character really is the one played by Cillian Murphy. And he gives us another winning performance that solidifies him as a great actor. Al otehr actors are great too. There are a fair amount of them so I will not go through them all, but they were all great.

The score for the movie was done by electronic band Underworld and composer John Murphy. And it was great. It helped keep tension and suspense up and was in general also pretty great to listen to. It is a soundtrack that I could probably listen to in my car (if I had one). Also the track “Adagio in D-Minor” by composer John Murphy is one of those tracks that have been used in everything. Kind of like “Lux Aeterna” from “Requiem For a Dream”. It’s jsut funny how everyone has heard the song yet they most likely don’t know it’s from this movie. So now you know!

This movie is directed by Danny Boyle and holy shit is it well-directed! The way he uses different angles and lighting in scenes looks pretty great. And I have honestly never seen anything by him before. I know that I suck, but that’s just how it has gone. But don’t worry, I’ll get to more of his movies sooner or later. Anyway, uhm… topic switch! The visual effects in this movie are pretty damn fantastic. They all look fantastic and feel very real. What I can also mention is that the third act of this movie is one of the most suspenseful ones that I have ever experienced. It is also a little heartbreaking because of *spoilers*. It also has a really great twist in the third act.

This was a pretty well-received movie. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 76% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“Sunshine” is a very different and also pretty awesome science fiction movie. It has a great story, terrific chracters/acting, great music, fantastic direction and visual effects and one of the most suspenseful third acts I have ever seen combined with a great twist. Time for my final score. *Music swells* My final score for “Sunshine” is a 9,84/10. It definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “Sunshine” is completed.

Wake up Sunshine, open up your sleepy eyes for me…