Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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"Ghost" has that authentic ‘90s film look and feel to it - and it's actually really good.
Summarised: a financial worker, Sam, gets murdered in his wife Molly's presence. From the afterlife - more specifically, from limbo, which turns out to be a world superpositioned onto ours - he tries to make contact with his loving wife, while his best friend Carl plots to seduce her and steal Sam's savings. It then turns out that a scamming fortune teller, Oda Mae Brown, is able to channel Sam's ghost speaking, and so Sam tries to notify Molly of the dangers she'll be facing, as well as tell her his soul consciously lives on.
Although utilising quite a bit of bloom, the movie stands out for its cinematic look, and more specifically for its visual effects: since Sam oftentimes can't interact with his surroundings, his character elegantly makes use of filmographic trickery. Thereby, the various urban locations where scenes take place, definitely add to the whole.
The story and the concepts in it are original - certainly given the subject - and the premise of the movie deserves credit. It manages to escape cliché matter by having the protagonist be an inaudible though still conscious and well-known person, rather than a typical ghost. Sure, this comes with some physically inexplicable and inconsequent effects, but they make sense in the story's established world.
The acting and character development are good, complementing the well-written story. Patrick Swayze really nails playing the hopeless romantic, whilst Demi Moore is the gullible though - to the frustration of many - simultaneously disbelieving widow. Whoopi Goldberg performs well as a luny con-artist from the getto, but frankly, that doesn't surprise me.
It's a good, original, romantic movie, and you should most probably watch it.
"Atomic Blonde" is a good-looking spy movie, but ... quite the confusing one.
The plot in short: ‘t Is the year 1989. Lorraine, a London MI6-agent, is recruited to investigate a murder in Berlin, which at that moment is still divided into East (Soviet) and West (Allied) Berlin. More specifically, a list containing the true identity of all Berlin-based intel agents was stolen during the murder; it is Lorraine's task to track down the perpetrator and the list, mainly in West Berlin. She meets up with another agent, Percival, and eventually, she ends up fighting her way through East Berlin to save an informant who has memorised the entire list, with the obligatory twists and (female) love interest on the way.
So, esthetically speaking, "Atomic Blonde" does more than fine: it's got this sort of dark and cold vibe, and the fighting sequences have absolutely amazing choreography. Charlize Theron (portraying Lorraine) embodies the entire style ever-so-convincingly, and since she really is the focus of the film, that's certainly a positive.
This aside, the movie suffers incredibly from overly complex storytelling. For one, the film is told in an achronological fashion, simultaneously making use of a frame story. For two, right off the bat, the viewer is presented with several characters in obscure lighting, with little context as to what's going on. The various male characters that follow, get little to no proper introduction as well, and only after the first third of the movie's runtime, the viewer can piece together which character is which and which plays which role: all this exposition should've been clear out of the gate - sure, holding back information can be used to build anticipation, but done in this fashion, it's just extremely annoying.
As I prefaced: "Atomic Blonde" may be there regarding looks and fighting scenes, but the presentation is unclear to the extent of being frustrating, not just cinematographically different. Luckily, there's still Theron to just perform well.
"Ready Player One", Steven Spielberg's newest sci-fi endeavour, is an absolute stunner when it comes to filmic look. One could wonder, however, if its story and character development match this exquisiteness.
Wade Watts is a teen orphan living in the dystopian year 2045. Due to overpopulation, the world's biggest cities largely consist of poverty-dominated compact housing; the lack of space drives citizens to spend a lot of their time in the "OASIS", a digital universe accessible through VR systems, wherein everyone has their own customisable avatar and may fill their virtual bank account with coins - mostly by killing others in-game. The worshipped creator of the game, James Halliday, hid three "keys" in the OASIS, which, if all possessed by one player, gives that player rulership over the OASIS. Parzival (Wade's in-game persona), along with his friends Aech, Daito en Sho, try to hunt these keys down, meeting a certain "Art3mis" in the process (with whom Wade quickly falls in love). Together, they race the powerhungry company IOI and its CEO, N. Sorrento: thus the real-life hunt commences.
Undoubtedly, this movie contains full-world CGI amongst the most advanced ever seen, as the OASIS, comprising countless colourful game-spaces and far-stretching battlefields, is computer-generated in its entirety, as well as the real-life dystopia. Evenly positive is the abundance of pop-culture references, methinks. Thanks to Halliday's interests, the analysis of pop-culture plays a key role in the film. From an entire scene taking place in a reconstruction of "The Shining"'s haunted hotel to the mentioning of "Citizen Kane"'s Rosebud and the many references to 1980s-1990s-2000s-2010s-culture in between: Spielberg went all the way.
Onto the negative aspects: this movie - and I can't stress this enough - REALLY suffers from poor character development. The digital counterparts get most screentime, though stay as flat as a piece of paper; the real-life characters (Wade, Sorrento, and other players) barely get the time to establish a proper character-arc, and as a result, basically become hard-to-relate-to extras. It's a shame that the film runs for more than 2 hours, comprises such magnificent visuals, but still fails at the most basic of storytelling virtues. Thereby, it makes the movie's length dragging, rather than exciting.
Spielberg did an outstanding job directing the visual side of things, but at the end of the day, "Ready Player One" really lacks a fleshed-out character base: I get why critics are mixed on this.
"Ghost in the Shell" has visuals which'd make you expect it to be a great movie, but storywise, it's an absolute flop.
Starting with the scarce positive aspects to this film, you've got good-looking shots, nice use of lighting, great CGI and, well, Scarlett Johansson's face - making up a remarkable portion of the entire runtime, might I add. The movie tries to go for an artificially lit, serene, techy sci-fi-look, and succeeds to be entirely consistent in that regard. The cybernetic bodysuit the protagonist wears during the entire movie, realistically damaged from time to time as well as able to morph into a translucent form when needed, receives quite some cinematographic focus, overall: this, along with the decors and suchlike, form a nice pair of visually appealing elements.
On the flip side, however, is the incredibly shallow story the film tries to convey. Sure, the premiss is cool: robot-girl in Japan fights bad people, then meets other bad people, then discovers the societal system was her real oppressor all along ... but that's it. Apart from this being oddly cliché and hardly developing a single character, viewers might just never get the feeling the film takes off, as its plot is of such lacklustreness. What's more, is that, even though the story and characters barely evolve, the exposition of the beginning status quo is exponentially more difficult to fully understand, thus diminishing any possibly impactful story elements.
All-in-all, "Ghost in the Shell" deserves credit for its beautiful, serene, Japanese sci-fi-look, albeit whilst failing at basic storytelling. I'd recommend it as a screensaver making optimal use of ScarJo's boob-suit; don't watch it for any amount of story, since there barely is any.
"The Big Lebowski" - a renowned stoner film, as well as a much-celebrated cult favourite, Now for the million-dollar question: is it worth its status?
To get the visual aspect out of the way: there really is nothing to write home about here. Sure, there are some nice shots here and there, but apart from a few nice locations and the occasional trippy special effect montage, scenes are ... generic.
The story in "The Big Lebowski" is fairly unique, albeit for its significant unimportance (as said by the writers themselves). Summarised: A mundane, hippyish stoner dude, Jeff Lebowski (more often going by the nickname of "The Dude") is mistaken by a bunch of German mobsters for a rich and famous Korean-war veteran with the same exact name. They break into The Dude's home, assault him, and pee on his rug. Thus, The Dude's quest becomes to find a similar rug, because "that rug really tied to room together", as he frequently states. In the process, he gets involved in a (plausibly staged) kidnapping - which is never actually resolved during the movie - and comes into contact with various weird characters, all whilst being accompanied by his evenly weird friend Walter: a numbskull, bowling Vietnam-war veteran.
As a viewer, I had no idea what anything in the movie would lead up to. One could say a bit of obscurity is a good thing, but having NO direction takes away from overall experience. As such, all characters stay frustratingly flat the entire time.
Weirdly enough, the unimportance of "The Big Lebowski"'s story is what makes it relatively enjoyable; clearly, the only focal point is that The Dude doesn't care, which is most probably why the film is so popular. The only realisation a new audience has to make, is that it doesn't have to expect the movie to go anywhere, just like "The Big Lebowski" doesn't pretend to be a film to expect anything from.