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1917 (2019)

1917 (2019)

April 6th, 1917. As a regiment assembles to wage war deep in enemy territory, two soldiers are assigned to race against time and deliver a message that will stop 1,600 men from walking straight into a deadly trap.

Good to finally get some stories from the first World War too! And those infamous trenches. Before the war took to the sky, and the water, and the world at large. When everyone was hunkered down and defending the borders between territories for all they were worth.

It's an atmospheric sojourn into those dark times. So much so it sometimes feels like I'm playing a game. It's artful too. They play with the light and angles, and the ruins, the darkness and rain, the bottomless water, the sun that seeps through when everything just couldn't get more gray. The relief you feel after a long cry...

The two main characters complement each other so well. I miss Blake when he's gone. Suddenly it's such a different story - but how would it have gone if he'd been along for the ride all the way? Would they have made it? Which way would they have journeyed then? The tale leaves your mind ajar a bit; contemplating the war...

Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay play a compelling duo, and spotting Benedict Cumberbatch and Mark Strong along the way made for pleasant surprises as well.

It's a great cast, and a memorable movie all in all. Very visual, very atmospheric, filmed in an I imagine enviably artistic way for anyone who really lived through the war here narrated, but it really made for a captivating movie, and a journey you're instantly sucked into.

From start to finish. Great watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Cats & Dogs (2001)

Cats & Dogs (2001)

Here's a tale of an epic battle that's been waged through the ages. The one between cats and dogs. Man's best friend versus their worst enemy - only they don't even know it!

Back in the early days the dog came to rescue man from his feline enslavement, and yet that tale has been lost to the ages, until one day...

One day a little puppy comes into the picture. He wants to have an adventure, yet meets a boy. The boy's father is working on a cure for all pet allergies. The father's not spending enough time with the boy. The dog bonds with the boy. Meanwhile there's an evil cat with a silly name scheming things; hoping to foil the plans of said experiment...

It's a fun movie, in part enacted by real animals (that's the impressive part), and in part with puppets/CGI. The special effects have alas not aged all that well, and the tale seems to be directed at a much younger audience than my own. Though it kept me watching it just didn't feel as captivating as I feel it should have, but it had some good moments.

I'm impressed by how well they managed the concept maybe most of all, with all the moments where the dogs are clearly alive, only their expressions sometimes 'enhanced' with CGI. But sometimes...

I'd like to give this a higher score. Jeff Goldblum was great too. But in the end it just hasn't aged perfectly, and ended up feeling just a little too simple. Life ain't just but... my score.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

I think I saw this one back in the day btw. Not sure.

Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult (1994)

 Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult (1994)

The first one was great, the second one a bit of a repeat but it worked too, but this one... feels like they tried too hard here. Or too many different things.

They tried going serious. They tried going with sex appeal. They tried going relatable and family-focused, and it all falters. Frank Drebin comes across as an old man (how do you say 'gubbsjuk' in English?), the villains as clowns and the whole plot just one big farce somehow. I mean I guess you could call the first two farces too but: farce in a bad way here. Not on a comical note. Just a mess.

Don't get me started on the special effects either.

I'll admit the prison scene did crack me up, it did, as did some segments of the final showdown, but in the end it doesn't have the same pure, unadulterated or altered slapstick comedy genius of the first two. It's almost like this gave a glimpse of what was to come, with exaggerated; crazy and blunt comedies like The Hangover and all the like. Though some of those bring forth a lot more laughs than this one did...

Is Leslie Nielsen just outliving his role at this point? I'm not sure what it is but something feels off with this one. Didn't have that same formula for greatness as the previous. The main guys all seemed so much older too. George Kennedy too. Anna Nicole Smith was a welcome addition though...

An unexpected gem as the credits end:

No animals were harmed in the filming of this movie.

However some species did become extinct during peripheral photography.

 rated 3/5: not bad

The Work Thing

Midlife crisis? Work-related crisis? Life-related crisis? Whatever the crisis my vice is: thinking too much about this.

I can't keep work off my mind even during the weekends lately, and I wonder if that has to do with working from home so much, and not differentiating between locations for free time and work time. It's not ideal, but driving to the office everyday's not ideal either. Not for finances, nor for time, nor for the potential health detriments that might come with all too much mobility in these crazy times...

But the problem isn't really that work's always on my mind. The problem's the work. I'm not working with something I fundamentally enjoy, and somehow I seem to have moved further and further from the realm of optimal creative design, and more monotone but acceptable regular IT work and administration, to the realm of server administration, command-line, and digging through code and trying to figure out how it works as to solve company problems I'm not really qualified to deal with...

It's taking a toll. And dues pile. I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere, and that I'm being underappreciated for what I do manage to do considering the overwhelming complexity of all the more of an effort I make to actually keep up with it.

I have years worth of education within the field of design and basic programming languages linked to web-related ditto. I'm self-taught initially. I honed my skills with further university level learning. I love design. And content. I love tinkering with sites like this. I tried a C++ course once and realized that wasn't my thing, yet the gap between design and code these days seems to be shrinking. Not only do the same agencies deal with both - with combined efforts from programmer/designer side - but plenty of talented individuals really delve as deep into one side of the business as the other one. The old cliche that programmers focus only on the functional aspects of something - and how the design always comes second and ends up looking like shit - doesn't seem to apply anymore.

Maybe for some. I don't see it though. Everyone's hella talented these days.

I've never considered the opposite as much. That those who consider themselves primarily designers might focus all too much on the visual, and that their work instead ends up lacking in functionality. Does that apply? I feel like functionality's a part of design too. Interface design is a thing. It just might be my specialty. Though implementing desired interface functionality in code if it isn't there already, if you don't have a programmer to help you with it, is another beast entirely.

Maybe I'm just not cut out for this kind of work.

Computer work.

I doubt by the burdens that pile, and observe for a while, it's so verdant outside, as I curl in denial, always bursting with rhymes, never searching to fly, only biding my time while the vultures come circle. A circle of jerks.

I'm a worldly observer.

But really though. Stressed out.

Don't want to let the company down, but can't keep going like this all too long either. Energy depletes, focus becomes a challenge, getting up in the morning's difficult, I try all sorts of self-affirmation tricks but no serious meditation yet. Momentary experimentation only goes so far. D-vitamin no longer seems to be the cure-all for my winter depression... cause this no longer has much to do with winter does it? No darkness is due. Our weather's beautiful. Both sun and snow for three weeks now. It's incredible. I should be so uplifted.

Nor do the cold showers kickstart me as they initially used to. Nor does coffee work as a viable replacement for that kick - it just gives me a headache if I skip a cup, and deep-breathing, music, writing, all this shizzle... it's not enough! Not when I'm not actually doing something about my great hurdle; keep on letting it grow to unsustainable proportions. Some day it's gonna fall.

My job. Such a central part in life. Whether it's me or them - or a combination thereof - I need to either regain a sense of purpose and peace or get the fuck out of here. Find something that truly matters. That gets me where I want to be. That lets me feel free. Or more so just: let's me feel.

Something good. Something real. Something that syncs with my ideals.

For now though: venting. This work thing. Lamenting. I'm searching. But spending. Still maybe a bit too much time on other things... but some of those are grueling too. Overload. The usual cue. No true solution, so do I brood. Hopefully, slowly, moving through. Work.

Stander (2003)

Stander (2003)

Apartheid. Blacks and whites. The story of an honest cop who can't stand being one, and that white men get away with anything while they try to keep the blacks under control, and so he starts robbing banks. As a white man. And nobody suspects a white man. A policeman even less.

That man is André Stander, and this is his story. Of him as well as his two companions, and the havoc they wreck in Johannesburg and beyond.

The filming's great. The cast's great (props Thomas Jane, David O'Hara, Deborah Kara Unger and the rest), and the story both chaotic and clever.

You don't get annoyed at anything being either too predictable or too presumptuous, which I guess goes with the realism, this being based upon a true story and all. It feels gritty and authentic, and both personal and impactful. It has a story to tell, a message, and it's not much like any other I've witnessed so far.

But that ending... justice sure works in a strange way...

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

Gundala (2019)

Gundala (2019)

Never thought I'd see an Indonesian superhero movie, but here is one!

It starts a bit like Batman, but not really. There's the little boy who loses his parents, but keeps fighting, and eventually becomes a hero. Not by choice, but fate, maybe?

He's one with the lightning too. He avoids the rain because he doesn't want to get struck by it, yet he learns that the lightning makes him temporarily invincible. A useful but painful power to have. And so begins his quest...

The movie has potential, the fights are fun to watch, there are some colorful characters in the mix and plenty of that trademark Indonesian (at least in movies - well at least in Indonesian action movies) rage/violence/savagery, and a sinister plot a brewing in the background but... it's not perfect.

The fight scenes are clearly staged. The main hero doesn't seem as confident a fighter as he's supposed to be. The special effects are decent, but authentic fights would've made it so much more.

Overall it feels like a somewhat big budget thing, but they didn't get the fights right all the way, nor the relations. The red thread's not the clearest either. Awesome becomes average.

But the legend of Gundala...? Maybe sequels may take him further yet and truly cement his place in movie history.

Looking back the first Batman movie wasn't all that amazing either. This just might be even a little better than that was back then.

 rated 3/5: not bad

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