Series Review: Devs (2020)

Technology is fascinating. The way it’s evolved in the past hundred years alone is fucking insane and amazing. And I am always fascinated by how they use it for storytelling. So let’s see if this little tech-drama does that well.

Ladies and gents… “Devs”.

When her boyfriend disappears after starting work at a mysterious tech department, Lily Chan (Sonoya Mizuno) starts investigating what happened, leading her down a dangerous and complex path. Talking about the plot of “Devs” without revealing too much is challenging. It’s a nuanced show that tackles a fair bit of complex and mature subject matters in interesting ways. The show’s slow pace might test the patience of some people, but I feel like it adds to the storytelling, as it gives a lot of moments time to breathe. It’s a clever little thriller that’s more about the brains than pure thrills, making for a unique kind of cerebral experience that we haven’t seen much of in tv before.

The characters are flawed, layered, and interesting. Sonoya Mizuno plays Lily, our protagonist. She’s a computer engineer with some baggage, trying to deal with the recent developments in her life. Seeing her develop throughout the show is quite interesting, and Mizuno does a really good job in the role. Next we have Nick Offerman as Forest, the enigmatic CEO of the tech company at the center of the story. He’s generally a quiet and kindhearted dude, but who carries some shit with him that makes him a bit more complex in his morality. And Offerman is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Jin Ha, Alison Pill, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Cailee Spaeny, Zach Grenier, Karl Glusman, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the show was composed by Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury, with assistance from experimental jazz group The Insects. The score has a very interesting vibe, at times sounding a little “Blade Runner”-esuqe, but never feeling like it’s ripping that off. The sound is very dreamlike, helping in create a really unique and eerie vibe that stays with the viewer after an episode ends.

“Devs” was created, written, and directed by Alex Garland for the FX network, and I think he did a great job with that stuff. His directing is slow and very deliberate, going for that almost dreamlike vibe I mentioned in the music section. And when combined with the immaculate set design and Rob Hardy’s mesmerizing cinematography, you get one of the mot stunningly crafted shows I’ve had the pleasure of laying my eyes on in a while. There were a lot of scenes in this show that made my jaw fall to the floor. I still have trouble keeping it on when thinking about those scenes.

This show has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 81% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 70/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7.9/10.

“Devs” is an excellent little tech-thriller, featuring a great plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing/cinematography/etc. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Devs” is a 9,87/10. Which of course means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Devs” is now completed.

Alex Garland will basically get my time anytime he releases something.

12 Films of Christmas 2019 (Part 8)

Just as a heads up, I missed yesterday’s post, so you’re gonna get two of these today. Apologies for this fuck up if you somehow were looking forward to it yesterday, but didn’t see one. It’s all on me. So let’s not dilly dally, time for the first 12 Contrivances of Christmas post for the day.

So for this post I decided to go with a movie that I actually covered on the blog earlier this year (shameless plug, I know). It is 1987’s “Wings of Desire”, directed by Wim Wenders. It is a slow burn meditative fantasy drama about Damiel (Bruno Ganz, R.I.P), an angel watching over the humans of Berlin, and how he’s going through a bit of an existential crisis. So how am I going to cover a German art drama for this silly series of mine, you ask? Well, just sit back and relax as I contrive a reason.

Now, the first thing some of you might point to might be “Ah, it’s about angels, angels mean christianity, christianity means Jesus, Jesus means christmas!”. Firstly, don’t try to beat me to the punch. And secondly, that’s wrong. I ain’t forcing some christian crap here, it would be a bit disingenuous of an agnostic such as myself. No, I have something else planned.
Despite not exactly being the cheeriest movie around, “Wings of Desire” does tout a certain theme throughout… you know, when not focusing on people going through a personal crisis or two. That theme? Love. As Damiel goes through his crisis, he falls in love with a human woman. You know why the angels exist? To make sure nothing bad happens to the humans they watch over, which is an act of love. And you know what should be spread on christmas? Love! So “Wings of Desire” is a christmas movie because, just like the holiday, it’s all about that love (or that sweet, sweet existential crisis if that’s more your cup of tea).

And even if you don’t want to take it as a holiday feature, “Wings of Desire” is a wonderful drama that, despite its divine protagonist, shows so much humanity. It’s absolutely fantastic.

Have a good one.

Movie Review: Chappie (2015)

chappie_2015-wallpaper-1280x768

Usually I have some kind of way to intro my reviews that will relate back to a theme in the movie, but this time I couldn’t really figure anything out. So I will just say that this was one of my most anticipated movies of the year… and then I got a little bit turned off when the reviewes started coming in. And now I have finally sat my ass down to see it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Chappie”.

In the not too distant future, science have evolved in such a way where it’s been able to switch out a good amount of human police officers with robots. And in the movie we follow young scientist Deon (Dev Patel) who created the world’s first sentient artificial intelligence. And then it’s put into a stolen police robot who is then activated and gets to learn about the world. And the poeple who stole are the members of the band Die Antwoord (God damn it…). So they basically teach this stolen robot they name Chappie (Sharlto Copley) to do bad shit and not to be a scientific marvel. Seeing the progression of a robot from innocent child to vastly intelligent adult would be so cool if they didn’t fuck around with the whole Die Antwoord thing. It isn’t interesting seeing Chappie be a gangsta (not gangster) and see these two assholes as his parents. There are so many great opportunities for great story development, but for this one they went in a pretty weird direction.

The characters in this movie are not interesting in the slightest… except for Chappie. The reason he works as a character is because he is pretty conflicted about who/what he is in this movie and he’s not a straigh-up dick. I will also say that Sharlto Copley with his performance capture really did a great job as Chappie, bringing so much humanity to the role. Dev Patel did a good job as Deon, but his character didn’t feel like he was properly used. The two members from Die Antwoord were not good in this movie. My guess is that they were hired because director Neill Blomkamp is a fan which I think is great, he can be a fan of them if he wants to… but that doesn’t make the decision to cast them in such major roles a good idea. Hugh Jackman I think did a fine job even though he is stuck in the same situation as Dev Patel where he wasn’t properly used since they went with the kind of wrong story opportunities. And Sigourney Weaver had nothing to do in this movie… she was a little unnecesary. And saying that about such a great actress really hurts my heart. So I guess to conclude this part: the acting was fine, but the characters (except for Chappie) were all pretty bad.

Finally… something I can give some praise! The score for “Chappie” was composed by Hans Zimmer and while it’s not one of his best, it’s still really good. It worked for the movie and helped bring out emotions and feelings that could not have come forth without the score. And as you may have expected, there is music by Die Antwoord in the movie as well. And while it didn’t ruin the movie, I have to say that I’m not a big fan. If you like it, great. But I am really not a big fan.

The directing in the movie is really good, but that is something I have come to expect from this director after having seen his two previous movies. The movie looks sleek and everything is overall well directed. And as in Blomkamp’s previous movies, the CGI looks pretty fucking amazing. Blomkamp knows how to blend it in perfectly without making it bloated and distracting, it all actually looked very real. And the action in the movie is pretty good as well, nothing spectacular, but still pretty entertaining. And I can say that despite the story being a little bit of a fail, it still kept my attention all the way through and it had a good pace to it. So it’s not slow and boring and dull and everything like that.

This movie was not very well received by the people or the critics. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 31% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 41/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

So “Chappie” was a bit of a fuck up. The story missed every good thing it could do and none of the characters (except for Chappie) were interesting. However, the movie did have great music, fantastic visual effects and some good action scenes. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “Chappie” is a 6,97/10. While it’s not as good as I hoped it would be, I do still think it’s worth a rental.
Rent it

My review of “Chappie” is now done.

I got nothing celver to say here.