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Dune (2021)

Dune (2021)

It's all about the spice, and the houses, and the heritage and coloization of space... Dune runs deep here.

I never realized what a complex story lay behind the game with the same name.

I hoped this would be a full movie, but unfortunately it wasn't that. It seems like it's just the beginning.

It's good though. Captivating minimalism. The mood reminds me of Blade Runner, though the atmosphere's something different entirely. But similarly majestic.

And it's a tale of kings, and sons, and struggle. But though war is uncompromising, fear is something you overcome.

I don't feel like they took a wrong step anywhere here. The visions lead the way, and the way is captivating.

Honor. Something lost in our world. They have it among the dunes.

Really looking forward to the sequel.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

Venom 2 - Let There Be Carnage (2021)

Venom 2 - Let There Be Carnage (2021)

I already reviewed this one.

Went pretty thorough too, analyzing in what ways this might've been better and in what ways it might've been worse than the former, and then I hit the publish button, and then WP spit out a 'you do not have permission to edit this post' error, and there was no way I could get around it, or to retrieve my earlier writing...

When you can refresh a page to re-submit the content of a particular form though - even if you can't hit the back button in browser to go back and actually retrieve said form content - maybe there actually is a way to retrieve said content via the browser cache? If anyone knows a way I'd be very intrigued to know about it!

I don't feel like typing up a long-ass review here again, so in short: I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, but I did also feel like it was somehow a little superficial and simple compared to the first one.

There weren't enough bystanders around for the final fight either, or for any of the fights for that matter.

The cast seemed to be at a bare-minimum for the most part.

Maybe that's due to pandemic restrictions in the real world at the time of filming, but it makes me realize how much you usually rely on larger gatherings of people totally flipping out to convey a sense of true chaos.

Or in this case carnage. All the more relevant for the title.

I loved the performances though. Tom Hardy's great as always, and possibly even more so now than in the previous, with how seemingly all the more conflicted about his involuntary inner inhabitant he his.

The breakfast scene was amazing too. Their fight was good too. The dance club scene was inspiring. Little details like the Asian lady at the shop with venom eyes, or the girl cycling erratically with Venom waving a big F U behind her - things like that really liven it up too.

And of course Tom's constant conflicts and confrontations in the real world as he a bit too audibly confronts the black being in his soul... always fun.

The element of love didn't go the way i thought it would though. Maybe he'll finally find true love in the parallel realm?

But he does have Venom, so maybe it's all good after all.

It's an unconventional love story.

I don't think I even need to say this btw but Woody Harrelson was great. As always. He's a strong villain with unfortunately limited screen time. His girlfriend's great too - even if the scar around her eye clearly looks painted, and even if we know unreasonably little about her backstory compared to Kletus. Like she was never meant for a bigger role.

They make a great duo though. And a tragic one, the way this one goes.

I also really appreciate the eerie sceneries. The asylum, the cathedral - all those things. They're all perfect for this, and for release season.

The filmography's great, and I watched this one on IMAX (last time it was in 3D) so that probably made it even better. The fights do still sometimes rage a bit too fast, and the details of special effects get lost in storms and tornadoes of dust, but overall it works.

Venom's the kind of creature that doesn't fit well in with the real world anyway. His whole being, and texture, everything about him is just... artificial.

I wonder if they could've integrated him into this world in a better way, if he's depicted more like his comic counterpart than is necessary, or if that in a sense might actually make him more timeless.

As special effects that really do look good by today's standards age horribly in time, maybe he'll stand out in a way that's just timeless. His being not a matter of aging gracefully or no but more so standing out so much he doesn't age. The immortal Venom.

Other than that I wonder if I'm maybe tiring of the Marvel movie formula, or if there's just something missing here, because with the latest Marvel movies I'm just not getting the same kick as I used to. It seems to be going downhill since the Endgame.

Maybe that's natural. Maybe there's just no way to trump that. Or maybe I've seen enough of these movies now to tire of the way they do things.

Maybe they've changed, though. I'd like to think the earlier ones really were timeless, and these are just getting worse.

I might've actually written down more now than I did in the initial review. Seems a good time to conclude , and to copy this text before I hit the publish button this time, just in case...

Overall: It's not perfect, it felt rushed, but I did thoroughly enjoy this movie.

When they put out the first Venom they gave out small exclusive comic books after the movie. That was cool too.

No such luck this time.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Avgrunden (2023)

Avgrunden (2023)

AKA The Abyss. Cliché translation hmm?

Frigga, who tries to balance her risky job as a security manager in the Kiirunavaara mine with her family life, has to fight for her life and the lives of her loved ones when her city starts collapsing into the mine.

Initially I felt like some of the guys might be overacting, but the emotions, man... they make the movie.

The special effects aren't amazing but they manage to make them surprisingly seamless, and the props are! The sinking ground. The sandbox. I wonder how they managed those scenes. What kind of equipment did they use...

I do feel like a lot of the characters meant to seem in shock - like the mother with the stroller, or Hampus outside the school - a few characters like that - overact. But not so much so it ruins the mood overall.

The main characters in particular do their job just perfectly, and in addition to it being a natural disaster movie it's also one that strongly focuses on family bonds. Which ain't bad.

I like the family - even the newcomer. I like him from the first moment he pops up! Is he just that likable a guy or did they really manage to give him that good a first introduction?

The bonding feels natural - and appreciative. There are some comical moments - with a focus on female empowerment - the main lady's a strong-willed woman. And there are some claustrophobic ones too - as you'd expect from a movie of the sort. Mine sort.

In the end it feels like you see disappointingly little inside the mine, considering the theme. But you do see a lot of the town! The drone shots are beautiful. The scenery is too.

The fact that this all takes place in an actual town, with actual issues, and actual dangers very much relevant to those here depicted, in a land that feels (feels? Is!) close to home for me... well that makes it all hit so much harder. I recognize the people too. Maybe not the individual actors or characters specifically, but the types.

The soundtrack was good too, as were the sound effects. The Lappish song in particular was beautiful. The movie overall took me by surprise. Gripping and wholesome, that's how I'd surmise it, even if some of the kids could use more acting lessons. Not Mika though. She nailed it.

Also appreciate the intro glimpse in an actual, factual historical mining disaster I did not know about! Dalarna, 1961... read up if you wish (you may need to translate though):

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

Tough Luv (2023)

Tough Luv (2023)

Hollywood Hills, cityscapes, beaches, beautiful ladies...

And way too much dialog. And monologue. Static angles. Conversations held from the same stationary angle all the way through. Standard transitions - white fades even sometimes. Bland locales with bland lighting.

And when you maybe start doubting if it really is that bad you get the fight scene with the Asian lady! Who does have some good moves - and looks - but is unfortunately accompanied by sound effects you'd find in a dubbed HK action movie from the eighties - and sped up way too much to be shown without cuts. It's... I mean it's a start! It's entertaining. Could use some polish though.

And then they chop up some actual beef to mimic chopping up a human... come on now. They don't even chop! Seems they don't want to damage the floor.

And then when they flip the coin and the camera slowly zooms in on the floor... beside the coin? Is there something I'm missing here? Focus on the wiped out bloodstain? If there is a reason for the sideways bit it just doesn't come through well. It looks like they totally missed the mark.

Maybe if the coin landed where the blood had been wiped away too?

The filming and scene quality really isn't perfect with this one, nor the acting, but a bit better cuts and directing I reckon it still would've been compelling.

It's the story of a hitman who just wants to be normal. But they also give no points of relatability. He's got plenty of cash, he's got women, he's got no flaws! Or scruples. When he finally falls in love... is he really in love? Didn't he love the first woman he killed too?! So much here makes no sense at all.

It'a both flawed and non-rewarding this one... but at least it ends with a good message huh?

I want to give it at least a two for the ladies, and the actors might've been good in another movie, but really...

 rated 1.5/5: almost decent

Undefeatable (1993)

Undefeatable (1993)

This is almost like martial arts porn. The acting's nothing to hang up on your Christmas tree (that's a saying right?), the settings aren't high budget either, but the INTENSITY! That's how they sell it. Don Niam in particular - as the twisted psycho looking for the love of his life, but Cynthia Rothrock and John Miller too. Sunny David's smile, too. They all wield both character and energy. They're fierce.

As are the friends. The gangs. Enemies though they may be it's almost like they're one big family, too.

The gangs maybe come across a little cheesy initially, but there's nothing lackluster about the fights, and they get better. The showdown does not disappoint. The choreography's surprisingly fluent sometimes - even when they're dealing with blades. They sell the eye too. When it matters the most they sell everything. It's a brutal finish. The angles are just right too. The close-up's. The expressions. The blood - when necessary. It's all right.

I think I first heard about this movie in one of Scott Adkins martial art interviews... The Art of Action. Probably in the one with Cynthia. Give that interview a watch if you haven't - you'll both like and respect her even more.

Don Niam though... he's played so iconically psychotic roles it'd be strange to see him as someone who isn't. I wonder what he's like in real life...

I enjoyed this movie way more than I was expecting. It also reminds me of Hard Boiled for some reason. It's simpler, but they've got the same rawness and chemistry. They got that charm. They got the life and passion and perfect soundtrack a backing. They don't have the best acting but...

They're all packing. Takes me back to good ol' HK action.

This was great.

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

Read on...

Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves (2023)

Dungeons & Dragons (2023)

I saw this one at the movies too, right after Renfield, and I thought that one was good?! This was even better! Some may say it's mainstream and cliche, like LOTR meets Marvel, like a solid adventure movie with unfortunately much emasculating mannerisms going on...

Is that a thing though? The only characters with flaws are the male ones sure but... I don't mind it here. The cast complement each other well, gender benders or no.

The sceneries are beautiful. Vast natural landscapes with a little CGI elements sprinkled in, entirely artificial grottos, archaic and wondrous interiors and castles, with strange fairy tale creatures sometimes seen just at the edge of a shot, on a corner leaf or similar... those specific bits feel almost too calculated an inclusion, but overall it's a wonder to behold.

Those Chocobo-like birds too, hmm, wonder which franchise was first with some of these critters, D&D does go back...

The owl bear was so good too. The dragon unexpected (you'll see). The soundtrack epic. The names seemed strange on peeps like Michelle Rodriguez and Chris Pine, but you grow to like 'em after all. The lore almost seems to rival LOTR sometimes, the battles are awesome, the chemistry grows on you and Hugh Grant's a great villain (as is the real one).

The whole movie carries a sense of adventure with a greater purpose too, and not without company. It's witty, fun, daunting and magical... it's an adventure! They capture this so well.

It's made by eOne Hasbro huh. I'm not sure I've seen the name before, but it seems a movie studio to be reckoned with now! If they weren't already.

They really bring the game to life with this one, and I hope it's not the only one they plan on doing, cause I would love to see more. Make it a show show if you want to. Kick out Game of Thrones. I don't mean to hype this movie up excessively but... I loved every second of it.

Great cinema movie too. If you're with a crowd; by a big screen I've no doubt it's at its very best. It's like your all part of the same adventure, or sitting on the bleachers at those final fights...

They really did this one right.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

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