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Free Solo (2018)

Free Solo (2018)

Free Soloing doesn't have anything to do with Han Solo if that's what you were thinking. It's about climbing. It's a documentary about Alex Honnold, his attempt to free solo El Capitan, and the exciting times leading up to it. Free soloing: climbing without ropes.

It's an exciting journey but also... scary! They make me realize I really wouldn't be one to take on this particular occupation, though I can see why some do. Not so much for a thrill as for just plain: feeling. Challenge. Fulfillment. At least in Alex case.

I guess it is the thrill after all.

On the flipside it seems like everyone who really becomes passionate about this particular sport ends up dying - and not of old age.

It must require a certain kind of person to choose this route, but here's one of those people. He seems like a pretty humble dude too.

Interesting glimpse...

...is what I wrote when I'd watched the first half of the movie, but after the other half I'm on a whole other plane of appreciation, and inspiration, and fear. Or maybe unease is a better word for it. I feel faint. Awed. Strange.

How does someone ever seek to do such a death-defying thing? How do they persevere? How do you climb a mountain like El Cap without so much as a slip of water, or an extra bag of powder in case you drop it, or most importantly a safety net of some sort.

The final trip really had me on the edge of my seat.

I imagine I get as much a thrill out of watching this as Alex seems to get out of the climb - without having to go to such extremes. But he doesn't seem like a fatalist either. It's just the way life led him, and so he does what he does... and that's what it feels like this movie seeks to explain. And does.

I can't convey it. My words feel wrong. You'd better just watch the movie.

Action movies? Forget that. Documentaries. That's where it's at. When the final music kicked in I didn't know if it was foreboding or not. I didn't read up on the movie beforehand. I didn't know if he was going to live or die. And after the movie was filmed I still don't know... had to Google.

I'll leave the surprise to you, though. It's an intimate, and both inspiring and SCARY display of... I don't know if it's bravery or foolishness, but it's something special. A performance I'll definitely remember.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Alita was so much better than I expected! Early in it felt like a blend between GITS and Elysium, with a little Ready Player One or Wreck-it Ralph in the second phase (in regard to graphics too) - but those came after. Alita's been around. In anime before the movies.

The real world and animated mix together well, and the battles get intense fast as soon as the learning phase is over, but it's not just that. It's emotional. And yet they don't really push it as far as they could have. I'm so happy they kept the FUCK though. So much else was just left out. Potentially unnecessary profanity, and violence, but still. That one word made it feel like it was still free. Kept it true to origins.

The pace was a bit high too - too much to fit in two hours maybe. Feels like they could've easily made it three, and made it epic at the same time.

All the greatest movies seem to be a little bit longer, and when this was over I felt like I wouldn't have minded some more. I hadn't had enough yet. More!

But holy shit, flawed or not this was Ready Player One level stuff on a next level. I left the room feeling... woke. It did something with my emotes.

If you don't have anything against sci-fi - both in plot and visuals - this was straight up fantastic. Could've been one for the memoirs if the ones who steered the budget of it believed in it as much as they should have. But it was still awesome.

Hope there's more on route.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

Captain Marvel (2019)

Captain Marvel (2019)

They're back on track again. :) Right back on. Venom left me a little disappointed, but I like where they've picked up. The special effects are top notch and flashy, Brie Larson is great as ever, Samuel Jackson is young again, and Stan Lee's in the intro!

That 'thank you' might've been the most emotional moment of the film. Seriously. So emotional.

The story's about an epic fight between alien nations, about personal development, and about the very foundation of S.H.I.E.L.D. In the old days, when it all started, and as a little bonus there's the story of how Nick Fury lost his eye. Among other things.

As usual Marvel manage to mix their trademark wit and comedy with some pretty epic sci-fi space battle sequences, and there's nothing I can complain about with regard to the cast either, I just wish... that one character (was I thinking of Nick here? I don't know. Never leave a draft lying too long) had a bigger role to play in the Marvel Universe. Who knows. Maybe he will.

And maybe Monica's daughter actually did build that ship too. I guess we'll see in the sequels.

It feels like this will all tie in with the rest of the universe in a good way.

Overall I loved this, but that said there are some almost unsuitably Star Wars-like chases in the midst, and one particular flight scene (the first encounter with that alien race) where the Transformer effects were way out of style. Small things like that.

Actually that's an annoyingly huge thing considering the beginning of the movie had me impressed not just with the visuals but the sound design too. But maybe they rushed some bits of this after all. Maybe they do have their hands full with this whole character-building universe expansion they're doing right now before the Endgame. Maybe.

I still love it though. Big fan of Brie too, if I didn't mention that. I'm both dreading and looking forward to where she'll lead the battle in the great finale that now looms. Soon. The time is soon.

Marvel's Wonder Woman: way cooler.

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

Hellboy (2019)

Hellboy (2019)

Now this one was just too fragmented. Too fragmented, and too medieval.

I do appreciate that they're going back to basics, but somehow it feels like they took it a step too far. With the whole Arthur thing but also with the soundtrack of destructive sounds, with sometimes unrealistically sloppy (I appreciate realistically sloppy - that's his style) fighting choreography, and all too simple twists and build-ups.

Daimio hesitating with the gun, everyone not liking Hellboy and then that all appropriately turning around at the end, the fall of the Witch: all these things you'd think a movie for an adult audience wouldn't have made such a predictable script for.

And though Milla is just perfect as Nimue The Blood Queen, she's also not always all convincing. Her expression of surprise most specifically. It's not haunting enough. Bewitching more than bitching, y'know?

What I do appreciate however is the unrestrained savagery, the sour humor - a large part of Hellboy's character as a whole - and the dark effects.

The effects, basically.

I appreciate not the monsters (the Hell Beasts are one grand exception here) so much as the skies, the fire, the withered wood, and certain uncomfortably macabre bits like the baby corpses in Baba Yaga's castle.

Sometimes they surprise, and impress, and SCAR you just a little.

Like the splattered brains and other bits waiting in the safe houses they scavenged all too late. Bits like that. Bits so well-made they almost don't fit in with the rest of the movie.

But sometimes they fall to cliche and shock value instead. Cheap shots. Jump scare equivalents of the gross. Like the kiss.

I'm also not a fan of how fast a pace these movies have these days. They don't let you savor. Everything just rushes by, moving from one location to the next one, and then it's over.

A better balance with this, and all of the above, and this would've been one for the books.

But even as it is there just ain't anyone else quite like Hellboy. He's the epitome of a bad ass man with a conscience - who just so happens to have been born in Hell and be the last of Arthur's lineage. Spoilers, btw.

I hope they make more of this franchise. I wouldn't mind a sequel - nor more movies in the same vein. The hot-blooded and hellish, and totally so past PC that people won't even dare poke at a starter part of it.

Though then again they do battle pretty much everything they possibly can from a PC perspective, just with a little demonic and monstrous mixed in with the equality and that all. You just can't escape it these days.

At least Hellboy keeps it fresh.

Savagely so.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Aquaman (2018)

Aquaman (2018)

Where I'm from, the sea carries our tears away...

It's a love story as well as a superhero story, and one DC really did right.

It starts great. I love when they do creative things with the logos. The earliest good example I can think of that did this is Banlieue 13, and before this movie it was Alita.

Maybe it's becoming a trend again. It's a great way to immerse the viewer, when even credits and intro are somehow within the movie world. So from start to finish you stay immersed, within the story and without...

A large part of it takes place in a beautiful aquatic world, with a foray of inspiring performers, dressed up as beautifully as their surrounding (with such contrasts as Willem Dafoe and Dolph Lundgren), an impeccable main character duo with Jason Momoa and Amber Heard, as well as as a both tragic and beautiful backstory, an epic war a brewing, and Nicole Kidman, and the great pirate, and then some.

They work better than I expected together. The chemistry's there.

Or maybe, considering the characters are pretty much all at war: it's not there. That works too.

The main story is that of Aquaman, who meets a beautiful aquatic princess with red hair and goes on a treasure hunt to get the great trident that'll let him inherit the throne of Atlantis. There's a little existential crisis too.

Of course he's a bit hesitant at first, but soon they're going full steam ahead, partaking in a both magical, and romantic, and awesome conquest.

The Transformer sounds are really becoming a grievance, but other than that I have little to complain about here. The special effects work well, considering their whole world is pretty much built upon them, and the harness-method of motion to emulate an underwater world worked surprisingly well.

Wouldn't have thought they actually filmed all of this on land. Or rather: in air. So far from the intended element.

As far as I'm concerned this is the first DC superhero movie I see that I really liked, flashy or no, fake or no. It's just an amazing adventure from start to finish, and I like the characters as much as I like the sceneries they traverse on route towards that one epic finale. And I just love water - that probably has something to do with it.

Great watch. Almost perfect.

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

Escape Room (2019)

Escape Room (2019)

This is some next level Saw stuff right here! It's to be expected, but it was still quite the journey.

Props Adam Robitel on setting the scene, and props Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Jay Ellis, Tyler Labine, Deborah Ann Woll and Nik Dodani on really making their way through the maze too. Well, the few of them that actually make it that far - I won't spoil it.

The premise is simple: six people are trapped in what they at first think is a game, but soon turns out to be so much more than that, and the levels make it all the more complex.

It turns out they all have something in common, and as they traverse their trials they come closer and closer to resolution... only to end up right back where they started. In a game to the death. That's how it always goes with movies like this after all!

It's a good movie. A real thriller. Chaotic, violent, and creatively varied.

There's nothing to complain about except for maybe the predictability with the ending. The effects are good. The props are good. The desperation's there. The sacrifice and shock too - it's got everything it needs, along with both varied and somewhat creative stages for each of the levels of escape.

Those hallucinogenic effects were pretty cool too.

You gotta wonder if Stallone's recent Escape franchise might've inspired this too... not that it's really the same thing, but it seems like it all comes together. That and the Maze movies.

The theme's trending, and I don't mind. It's a working premise, with room for more.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

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