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Dark City (1998)

Dark City (1998)

A man struggles with memories of his past, including a wife he cannot remember, in a nightmarish world with no sun.

I'm glad I didn't read the description before I actually watched this movie. Or see the movie cover above. It's such a spoiler. When it all begins you have no idea it's not just a regular hotel room he wakes in, in a regular hotel, in regular New York. It starts normal, and the build-up after that was the best part. I love how the truth dawns on you slowly, even if the mystery wanes away more and more with each scene...

It didn't fully hit me until the end, but when it hits it hits! Some of the lines seem a bit cheesy there, by the ocean spray, and the battle of special effects towards the end almost lost it's edge, but up till that point I was impressed! A pre-millennium movie building up such a gigantic sci-fi world, twisting buildings, twisting the very fabric of time and space - and doing so in a believable way. It takes a while before we're fully taken outside the confines of our world, but when we get there...

It's a strange movie. Matrix vibes. Rufus Sewell reminds of the guy from The Crow. The filming's dark and atmospheric. For a while it's more thriller than sci-fi, but as it progresses it changes in rapid steps. I felt like certain bits were a cliche of the times: how they talked, how they acted. The ending was beautiful but didn't really go as far as I wanted it to. For a while I thought he might become God, and create a whole world out of the city. I was expecting a loss, or a sacrifice, or a win on a bigger scale... and so the end came as somewhat of a disappointment after such an epic battle of minds, and after such a clever intrigue in the beginning, and a build of setting, and then... that's how it all ends?

Honestly it was better in the beginning, and the further it goes the more unreal it gets, and the more predictable. Once you start figuring things out they lose their sense of mystery; of intrigue and despair. It's good all the way, but it goes from friggin amazing to fo shizzle during that final phase.

I love the scenery, the atmosphere, the tension, and I feel this movie could've been just perfect if something was different in the end. Even if it's sad they never get to where they were from, and stay on their floating castle - trapped amidst a hundred others - it's not sad enough. And not happy enough. It balances between worlds, and the alternate paths I would've wished it could take.

I do feel it's stood the test of time impressively well considering its age. It's the 20 year anniversary this year! Props on managing. I doubt any other movies of the decade did, if any ever attempted something as grandiose as this. Just the combination of props and other special effects is interesting to see, and study, and I think I'll probably watch this again if for naught else than just to look at those details again - maybe figuring out how it all ties together. Would love a glimpse at some behind the scenes too. Really surprised I hadn't either seen or heard of this movie before, and hey there's Kiefer Sutherland too! Someone I recognize in the cast.

Are we merely the sum of our memories? If we are given the memories of a killer: will we simply continue in that vein, or are we more than our memories? It delves into our mind too. What makes us human. The very fabric (or lack of?) our soul. Great watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Jurassic World 2 - Fallen Kingdom (2018)

Jurassic World 2 - Fallen Kingdom (2018)

I wasn't expecting great things from the new Jurassic movie - not after the last one, but a buddy watched it and said it was okay... and you know what? It was.

The introduction was just impeccable, but after that... yeah it all goes to hell once again. Isn't that how it always goes?

Humans are too predictable. From the moment they shoot Blue it all turns into the movie you were expecting. Flashy but predictable. The dinosaurs do look awesome, but the way they tear through things like they've totally lost their motoric capabilities... in the end it's just too much. Too many predictable and flashy twists. Too many close calls. Too much sensationalism and too little... realism?

Can you have realism with a movie about dinosaurs? Some would argue that the charm (if you can call it charm) with this franchise lies in that aspect of filming, but I feel like the first movies had that bit covered. It's only the last two that have been like this.

They do redeem things a bit with a very atmospheric intro, a valiant chase through streams of lava, some comedy and a strong cast, but... then they just F it all up. Maybe it would've been better if they aimed for rated R instead of toning everything down with a younger audience in mind. I mean I wouldn't mind if they skipped the torn off arm entirely, but if they do include it then there better be some blood. It just looks off.

Intentionally censored.

Chris Pratt does shine in his role, Justice Smith and Daniella Pineda were appreciated sidekicks, and the little girl's got some really emotional moments, but in the end it's just too much showcasing the dinosaurs, too much cat and mouse, and too many a last-minute plot element. A canister of poison gas right after the flammable one too. Really? Always good to keep a tube or two of those in the house huh. Poison gas. Yeah. You never know when you might need it...

I mean I'd understand sleeping gas, but poison? In the theater more than a few people groaned aloud at that bit.

I did enjoy the movie, but if they're trying to finally go back to basics and make one of these really good then why not go all the way?

I guess there'll be a sequel though. I'm sort of thrilled and sort of disappointed with this one, so I'm sort of looking forward to that one, too. Hope next time maybe (but probably not) they get it all right. In the end it was pretty spectacular, with some surprisingly well-filmed/enacted scenes and moments, but is it really worth a...

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Den Blomstertid Nu Kommer (2018)

Den Blomstertid Nu Kommer (2018)

I actually watched a Swedish movie this week, at the movies. I thought it'd be a major catastrophe film similar to 2012 or The Day After Tomorrow, but Swedish (which seemed pretty cool since I don't think we've ever had a movie like that except for this short one), but it turns out I should have read the description a bit more carefully.

In Swedish film collective Crazy Pictures feature "Den blomstertid nu kommer" Sweden faces a mysterious attack while Alex tries to reunite with his youth love, Anna.

And his father.

Not that it wasn't worth the watch, but it reminded me of why I generally avoid these movies. These movies as in: Swedish movies.

It's because of the darkness. The personal relations. The emotions. With Hollywood movies you're usually guaranteed a thrill, a blast, or in some shape or form a more material form of entertainment. You either laugh, or sit tight, or go HELL YEAH, or showcase a set of predictable emotions as the movie passes - and even if it's sort of sad it's a sadness you can expect, and control, or a sadness that has some sort of spark or kindness or comedy to it. It all goes how you want it to, even when you don't really want it to go that way. Even a bad ending is a 'good' ending with a Hollywood movie. If someone dies, you know they'll at least die the right way.

Swedish movies however: they leave you confused. You don't know what to feel. You get stuck in emotions. The characters freeze up. They don't take a break from their arguments and make up, or redeem themselves, or do the right thing at the end. They're consistent in their roles, which aren't always good roles, and it seems the directors try to bring forth as much psychological turmoil as possible rather than tone it down so you can enjoy everything else, because with a Swedish movie that IS the experience.

And damn... what an experience. There wasn't as much action as I expected, but the little there is does packs a punch. Great choreography. Great filming otherwise, too, with saturated, or gray, or natural color. Everything feels fresh and experimental, and filmed from angles that truly feel 'Swedish' - such as through the grass on a hazy, wavy summer field, the sky adrift with distant clouds

The relationships are a bigger part of the story than the war, but in the end... this is going to haunt me. This is going to stay in mind for some time.

I definitely won't watch this again, but I can't say it was a bad movie. The only bits I didn't like were the sounds that kept growing to just fade out. More than once. Too many times. Also how the main characters just kept throwing things around to showcase their anger. Are people really like that? I don't throw anything. It might break, you know? I don't relate to the anger in their actions, and I feel they are there more as a way to make the anger visual than anything else. Like an excuse for bad acting. They could show that anger and sadness in better ways: via words, confrontation, and expression - but they do that too.

Overall this was hella great. The sceneries are great. The emotions are consuming. The plot progression and everything... it's great. There are awkward moments, and fun moments, and some unnecessarily long pauses, and fires, and car crashes, and the CGI: they've got it covered. For a Swedish movie I'm impressed, just also really depressed. Great work Christoffer Nordenrot, Lisa Henni, and the father. All great.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Anon (2018)

Anon (2018)

It's not that I have something to hide, it's that I have nothing I want you to see.

This is about as relevant as it gets! In a society that's becoming all the more intent on tracking its citizens, and integrity is constantly bombarded under the premise of "if you have nothing to hide, you don't mind if we take a look do you?", we need movies like this. Because that's not what it's really about, is it?

The movie plays with this notion masterfully. I was thinking it'd fetch a little inspiration from Anonymous and try to make it sell, but the message comes through with a passion. No sales? Maybe I'm being deceived though.

I love everything from the plot twists, to the actors, to the intrigue, to the way they showcase the technologies of the future in all their dystopian simplicity. Basically: everyone's connected, and everyone can see everything with their eyes. Another person's identity. Past events. Memories. Everything is stored in the so called Ether - the Internet of Beings, and as everything is stored: everyone is tracked.

There is no anonymity anymore, and there are no unsolved crimes since a person's visual memory can be recalled to the point up until their death. That is until Sal Frieland, detective, passes by a girl with no name on the street one day... and suddenly he can't remember her. Suddenly people are dying, too, and they can only see themselves as they're killed, in the memories they recall. Someone's hacking their optics.

The Ghost in the Shell movie could've been this. Eyes getting hacked. Nothing really being the way it seems to be. The main character looks familiar too, like she could've been Motoko. We never do learn her name.

Clive Owen and Amanda Seyfried are great in the main roles, though maybe a little... emotionless. Though maybe that is how the future is. What's there to really get emotional about, after all, in a world like that?

It's a deceptive, dystopian, detective fiction future world, and this movie paints it just perfectly. The filming's creative, the soundtrack's ambient and smooth, New York looks the same, albeit cleaner - with concrete architecture and minimalist furnishing, yet it's as Cyberpunk as it can possibly get. Props on originality, and props on getting it all so right. This was a pleasant surprise, and a scary prospect of a possible future world.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

The A-Team (2010)

The A-Team (2010)

I've seen the A-Team before, I think... but a lot of this felt so new to me I started wondering if there wasn't another movie with the same name. In particular I really don't remember Liam Neeson or his ranger group, though I do recognize Jessica Biel! Somehow she ties it all together. The other dudes are dudes I don't know - but all good dudes.

It's a story about a group of soldiers who go in to Iraq to get a bunch of printing plates that are being used by the Iraq government to print counterfeit dollars, but get framed, and sent to jail, and break-out on behalf of the CIA, and then get chased by one of the group's career-prioritizing ex girlfriends who happened to have been demoted when all this went down.

It doesn't have the perfect cast, but was a blast nevertheless. There's plenty of war stuff. Good action. Dust and explosions. A flying tank and helicopter and plane loops and stuff like that. Unfortunately there's also some really crappy CGI, and probably due to the crazy action it never really gets that tense. There's always more comedy than despair, though in some moments... I feel like they could've chosen a different path. And cast.

This could've been good. It's far from perfect, but good action.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Muscalish #269

Alice In Chains. Legends. They came up on that wave of grunge and stayed on it. I went to their show at Gröna Lund this year so here's a dose, of new and old videos.

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