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It's Summer?

I'm off again! It's not really summer again but: it's still here right? Sort of? Not autumn at least. Not until my next vacation.

I never got around to fixing that mistake I mentioned in my last summer post, so I'm now making that previously public note a mental reminder for future rainy days instead.

I did try, but with a surplus of metadata, revisions, and other unnecessary bits of information in the table all showing up as individual changes it proved an all too time-consuming task after all. Better just skim through the archives and check my posts one by one some time, as I have planned to do regardless - as there's probably a great deal of other issues and updates those older posts are in much need of too.

As for that dose of The Offspring - and other concerts I managed during my recent return - I'll get to that. Been too busy drawing grounds and going to those additional concerts to make significant headway there, though I am caught up on old reviews!

And watched another bundle of greats. If you haven't seen The Fall, Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Wind River you're missing out.

Not much is going on with the NGAP15 VA group, but I checked in again, and now I'm checking out again. But just for a short while this time. Plants are watered again, freezer's up and running this time, and my bag is packed with apples, so here we go. I'll see y'all in a week or so.

The Fall (2006)

The Fall (2006)

In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastic story of five mythical heroes. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality blurs as the tale advances.

This movie was something else! It really reminds me of that thriller I recently watched with J-Lo: The Cell, and guess what? Same director. Tarsem Singh plays a part in the movie too. I think I've found a new favorite.

Both the cover and plenty of elements within this movie remind of the other. Especially the power of the mind. And that ever-re-occurring desert... it feels homely somehow.

The movie's a fairytale unlike fairytales, that moves between real world and the imagination of the characters therein in an appreciatively spontaneous way, but often goes from the story you wanted to hear to a much darker, and depressingly merciless such.

You feel for Alexandria: the little girl who's there listening, and it comes to the boiling point you'd expect when she slips on a bottle, when Roy's conscience comes into play and they finish the story in a crescendo of tears.

Their chemistry is perfect. Both Catinca Untaru and Lee Pace are so much better than I expected, and Daniel Caltagirone the ever-so villainous. He looks like he always does, but as for the rest I wonder if Tarsem Singh maybe brings out the best in everyone - or is an impeccable judge of character; always chooses the right one for each role.

The sceneries are amazing. You can see they're not all real, that some things are modified, but the way they morph - the way the desert turns to grass, to forest, to jungle - the way the face turns to mountains, the way the guards appear in the Indian water well of old, marching up and down the stairs in unison - it's a work of art.

I love the costumes. I love the authenticity of their reality, and I like the fantasy within their fantasy. I like the bright and beautiful, yet the darkness is appreciative too, in how it seems to says that: this is life. This is what happens. This is the true story.

I bet you won't expect the ending either. Question is: was his name really Roy? Supposedly it's shrouded in mystery. You never know. I feel like Catinca's voice and character changes in the epilogue, as does Roy's (he's not the perfect look-alike), like they're moving to a third world - away from the movie - as if it's a commentary on the movie itself.

If there's anything I didn't really like it's that ending. It breaks the spell.

Well, maybe there was more. Small details I'm sure I noticed but didn't pay much mind, overwhelmed as I was with the good things. The way they spoke. The bonding. The angle of the cast. The story, most of all.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

What Happened To Monday (2017)

What Happened To Monday (2017)

In an overpopulated future, seven identical sisters named after the days of the week spend one day each outside, striving to survive in a world where siblings aren't allowed.

The weeks go. The years go. Time goes and they grow up, learning the hard way how they must live, and then Monday disappears.

The next day Tuesday disappears. One by one the days go out, and what started as a mystery soon turns into a panic, a search for clues, and Monday, as they fight to make it just one more day.

It's a sad story, and scary in how close to reality it could be, but I'm not convinced with Noomi Rapace's acting. She does as good a job as anyone could playing seven different people I suppose, but maybe the emotions don't always come across as well as they could when she's facing open air - either constantly playing against herself or a double, and moving between roles in each scene.

Don't get me wrong: it was a great movie, and I doubt anyone else would've been much better. Seven might just be a bit much, and the filming might have been a bit too direct as to make sure you really face each one of them head-on; see their differences.

It's a clever sci-fi scenario that doesn't reveal things too fast, and the many deaths are a refreshingly sad break in an otherwise predictable ascendance. Willem Dafoe is great as always too. As are the rest.

I hope the future won't be anything like this, but the way we're living maybe this could wake some of us up. I hope it does, because problems don't solve themselves. Either we intervene or someone else will.

And that might not be much fun for anyone.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

I Am Wrath (2016)

I Am Wrath (2016)

John Travolta makes a pretty good tough guy! We've seen that in From Paris With Love already, but this Travolta: he's a bit different. It feels like he tries to play ordinary, yet doesn't quite make the cut. He is good, but Christopher Meloni does it even better, although he's not ordinary at all. Reminds a bit of that one guy in the Walking Dead, come to think of it...

The story is that of vengeance, and though I feel there are plenty of authenticity hiccups, too strong a father-daughter bond even after all he puts them through, too little processing of the grief, too little wrath considering the title, and too many moments of being held at gunpoint and turning things around - it's not bad. The action's solid. The cast is commendable. The storyline's straight-forward and easy to follow - though some would say that's a bad thing.

Being able to sum up the movie as simply as: A man is out for justice after a group of corrupt police officers are unable to catch his wife's killer, might say something about what type of movie it is. The type with an under-developed script. And Travolta's character just happening to be a former special ops guy is a fortunate coincidence, as is his very helpful but very underappreciated friend.

I appreciate the little details that make this movie different from other movies like it, like how the good guys aren't ever really caught off guard even when they are, but at the same time it takes away the tension. At the end, when they're waltzing out of the hospital with ease, it's almost like comedy.

Whatever happened to the main character's profound sadness? Is he going to get rid of the tattoo now - or is he a man with a new mission? And couldn't it have ended with less cliche than a postcard? I'm not even going to hide these spoilers here. You'll expect them.

On the one hand I really liked this movie, but on the other I'm disappointed. If I summed it up with one line it'd be: just another action movie about revenge. And also one that for some reason makes me think of GTA. Some of the characters, maybe. The way they talk. It feels familiar, and that's not bad. Maybe it weighs over some of the disappointment.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Skyscraper (1996)

Skyscraper (1996)

Maybe the old and new movie with the same title don't have anything to do with each other after all - apart from both taking place in a fortified high-tech skyscraper within which a group of killers wreck havoc, this time with unknown purpose... but this time it's also an erotic thriller - sort of, and though Anna Nicole Smith looks great you wouldn't say she's a very convincing actress.

Nor are the other tough guys - or her husband - though they look good too. Most of them. I think I recognize a couple...

The script's not particularly deep, but the helicopter pilot role was new, and there are some intimate scenes so it's not all bad. The action's pretty explosive - though messy and half-assed, with bullets rarely hitting their targets, and goofs such as one fall onto the hood of a car clearly being filmed in at least two different takes don't really raise your sense of immersion in the movie.

It's almost like that old, B-movie style action of the eighties though, a decade past it's time, and I don't mind. It was a blast, albeit with bad budget, quality, and a busty bimbo in the main role that impresses with little else than her looks.

Anna's a tragic story though, if you didn't know. She overdosed on drugs in 2007 - barely a year after her only son did the same. On her drugs. Her first marriage ended with her (90-year old) husband dying within a year after their vows, and the second ended with a divorce. She didn't have a lot of movie roles, which isn't strange, so best appreciate the few she did.

Maybe the big mistake they did here was trying to play on the Die Hard franchise - since it's a degrading difference if you compare the two. For what it's worth it did it's job. Looked good. Entertained. It was alright.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Skyscraper (2018)

Skyscraper (2018)

What happens when Dwayne The Rock Johnson is locked in a skyscraper - the biggest the world has ever seen, its own miniature horizontal world with herbarium and all - with a bunch of terrorists threatening to kill his family?

It doesn't matter that he's got a peg leg, and never mind he's not in the tower at all in the first place but has to climb like a hundred stories on a crane and then jump a hundred feet to get there (they don't start threatening until he's inside anyway): you know how this is going to go.

It's a pretty intense movie, with quite a few gravity-defying scenes, impressive architecture, lots of tough guys and solid action sequences. Especially the first few.

The Rock's in good shape, older-looking as he may be, and he soon turns from fugitive to hero as the people of Hong Kong follow his daredevil escapades around the building from monitors far below.

I like Neve Campbell's act too. Their chemistry's good. Chin Han plays a convincing magnate as well, and it's good to see a few familiar HK faces too, even if some aren't as familiar as I thought they were! Really though Michelle Yeoh was there. She's got a look-alike!

Unfortunately the special effects aren't always the richest in detail, and script-wise a lot of it is really predictable. You know how it'll go. It's a blockbuster. It's a... what-do-you-call-the-movie-type-when-a-building's-on-fire-and-they-have-to-get-out? It's nothing new, but it's definitely the most modern take so far, and it kept the tension levels high from start to finish. Good set of villains too. Props Roland Møller in particular.

I think there's an old movie with this same title, and I'm thinking I just might watch that one next...

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

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