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Red Notice (2021)

Red Notice (2021)

Is that Biggie in the end credits?!

I felt thoroughly sorry for Ryan in this one, and the ending... unfortunately brings the score down a bit for me. Don't like my favorite guy getting left out like that! Even if it always seems to be his role.

Otherwise this was way better than I expected. Way better than the trailers seemed to promise. Hidden Nazi bunker gold, a little utopian island safehouse, quick location shifts and heist plans around the world, plus a little prison escape up in the clouds... feels high class!

The action scenes are thorough too, as is the script, as are the encounters. I just wonder how those car batteries still ran after some sixty plus years in a bunker, and the ending... didn't really like it. Like I said.

Also don't miss SAS: Red Notice (2021)! Similar title, same year, very different (but great too).

This is the Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot one. And if that doesn't tell you everything there is to tell you about it... well then maybe this is not your type of movie.

In terms of realism and intensity it pales in comparison to the SAS alternative, but in terms of good ol' blockbuster fun, ferocity, adventure and ravishing red dresses: Hell yeah. I do like a good blockbuster too, and I like Ryan, and the Rock, and Gadot, and lots of adventure.

The lingering Nazi element always adds a sense of mystery and intrigue too...

Great movie.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Blood Beat (1983)

Blood Beat (1983)

A young woman accompanies her boyfriend to his family's rural Wisconsin home for Christmas, where the spirit of a Japanese samurai begins wreaking havoc on them.

If the special effects hadn't aged so badly maybe this one would've been better. It's not bad, still. It's intense, yet it's hard to not shake your head at certain scenes. It just... didn't stand the test of time too well.

If you want to see what early special effects looked like though the ending here's a prime display of it.

And maybe they were a bit ahead of their time, too. Don't remember anything like this from the early eighties, even if the samurai/ninja thing's a trendy element of the times.

What happened to the girl, though? Was she the warrior? Reincarnated? Did she even exist? A little loose end there.

I love the cover (reminds me of old comics and Basic Instinct - stylistic violence mixed with an iconic scene), and the premise, the characters aren't bad either, the execution's just a little underwhelming after all.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Wake (2018)

Wake (2018)

A widowed mortician receives a birthday gag gift from her mother and daughter. The gift, a life-size doll, soon comes to life as her dead husband complicating life with her family and her budding relationship with a documentary filmmaker.

It's an intriguing premise, with good emotion, good actors/actresses, good a lot of things but... not that good a movie overall.

There's drama. The atmosphere's light and easy, despite the grief. Some people probably appreciate this kind of film but it just comes across like a soap opera to me. Artificial somehow. I like the idea but...

This just was not my cup of tea, though may be a decent movie.

I appreciate the title wordplay too. The literal wake. The doll. Good name.

 rated 2/5: decent

Missing (2023)

Missing (2023)

After her mother goes missing, a young woman tries to find her from home, using tools available to her online.

You never really get into the action when it's digital. When it's at a distance. When the search is via phone, and security footage, and Gmail (product placement hmm - it's a new age of opportunity out there) and what other real or made up services have you.

I do like the unorthodox approach - apart from somewhat artificial sounding bits of dialog it feels real, and all computer-related interfaces are legit. They don't miss any details with the chats, and notes, and logins, and all the little bits that lead the story onward; uncover new clues, but at the same time... it's just a shame everything's becoming so digital.

I may be a dying breed here, but I don't mind that. I'm not a fan. This is how we interact these days and I feel like it shouldn't be. We should be face to face. We should live for real, and express ourselves in the multitude of nuances that is real life; far away from keys and cameras that seem to convey but a tiny little portion of what it really is to be alive.

In a way they parody that here too. Parody's maybe a wrong word - they show the downsides of it all. The stress of social media. Influencers, opinionators and mainstream news - not that the latter ever was digital. But everybody's their own detective now; everybody has an opinion.

When June sneered at Veema for wondering if her mom had some secrets... Veema was right. She did have secrets. But it seems June also had that intuition in regard to her mom; in regard to what really matters. And as soon as the dad comes barging in she knows who's side he's really on too...

It's not all black and white after all. The scripting's good. I like Javier - and his somewhat less savvy but also appreciative approach to tech. It IS pretty cool you can reach across the world like this, at whim and will, however you'd wish to. If you ever run into this scenario yourself: go hire someone before they delete that camera footage.

But it's still... just not as engaging as I imagine it would've been if they filmed it for real. With the wide angles. With the crane or drone or copter shots. With the broad perspective of life. This is cagey.

But I do appreciate the new. It's an interesting way to make a movie, and the story's not all cliché. Feels like a worthwhile experiment.

I do hope it doesn't become the new standard, and that most keep going with the more traditional, more immersive, and by all manners all the more cinematic way.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

War Of The Worlds: The Attack (2023)

War Of The Worlds: The Attack (2023)

It's a bit like Attack The Block innit? Another alien encounter in the UK. This time it's their take on the War Of The Worlds one, where a superior race came to colonize our home and take us for all we have and haventh. A straight-up redo of the War Of The Worlds classic on UK soil.

It really is a redo. It's exactly the same, from start to finish.

You get a new milieu, and a new crew to purge the world from the oncoming onslaught and alien threat - or at least to escape it. The dark, the red, the everything from the original is there, albeit this time with subpar special effects and a whole lot of repetition.

They had the crazy priest too. Don't recall if he was a priest in the original movie but he definitely was similar, the crazy character...

I'm a bit surprised they were allowed to make this. Thought the name would be trademarked. I thought certain concepts couldn't be repeated so easily without breaching some form of copyright law. Can't imagine this was sanctioned by the same studio that made the original movie.

The special effects were nice occasionally, with the explosions and attacks, and the crew was charming, but other than that... you're better off seeing the original.

The premise may be worth repeating, to remind us what a wonderful world we really live in, and how we really ought take better care of it, but otherwise... there doesn't seem to be much merit to making this exactly the same. Another country, but exactly the same. They could've switched it up plenty if they wanted to.

 rated 2.5/5: almost not bad

To Those Who Think...

To those who think, life is a comedy. To those who feel, life is a tragedy.

Seems this one's also attributed to Jean Racine, and both with somewhat different wording... truth though.

Ideally it'll be both. Think and feel. Tragicomedy. Sink and heal.

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Keeping the world since 2004.