Monday, May 16, 2016

Turbo Kid (2015)

I've watched "Turbo Kid" last night. A crazy indie where sometimes you can't really get if it's really bad or just too good.

The year is 1997. In an alternative reality, the humanity collapsed into a wasteland where water is rare and hard to get (guess I've heard somewhere this context). There we have "The Kid". A boy of something like 15-16 years old, who lives his life trading scavenged waste. Sold for water in one of the existing camps .. the normal camp .. led by Frederick - the arm wrestler (a sort of Crocodile Dundee without the knife but with an iron fist - metaphorically speaking ... at least until a certain point in time). The other camp .. not so normal .. is led by Zeus - a guy with a single eye, who resembles a bit Immortal Joe from Mad Max, as well as his subjects (I was saying something about the water context, right?). Well, in all this uncertain and sad existence, in a sunny (or not) day, the Kid meets Apple. A girl about the same age, in a total contrast with the surroundings considering her continuous smile, the hair color and other things, who invades the personal space of our kid, who can't anymore get rid of her.

Writing the above, I realize that what looked like a sort of "The Quick and the Dead" mixed with "Mad Max" mixed with "Defendor", and which seemed to me that covered a simple revenge subject, is actually a bit more complex considering how much it puts together. I'll keep away the details for now, you have them in the titles above (on which you can add "Terminator" - now I'm getting the subtle '97 reference ;), "Tomorrowland" and others) + also in the trailer. Probably all this mix makes "Turbo Kid" so good in the end as combined product - not taking itself too seriously, being an assorted salad, and the way the salad is served. If some acted parts, starting with Apple, could get in line for an Academy Award, some others are utter abysmal, but overall they compensate each other. The production design has most often the level of a diploma movie for graduating film studies, but the directors were enough aware of that to make fun of it - and it works ... Chases using cheap and small bikes (the only wheel-based transportation apparently left after the apocalypse) - that I doubt I've seen in any other movie. On top of all we have also the '80s synth on the soundtrack that completes perfectly the image.

To conclude: I liked it. If you don't have an issue with blood & gore exaggeration and you're open for self-satire, you should see this. The verdict is positive, after placing everything together. Or maybe I got soft sensing the need for a "Apple" in my life ... :) ...

Rating: 4 out of 5

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Omar (2013)

Recycling ... Recycling ... I didn't really have a subject, so I remembered that a while ago I've seen a movie made in Palestine, when I was looking for something more different than the typical mainstream. "Omar" is .. interesting, as long as you have the capacity to watch it from a fictitious perspective. To be read = I don't want to get into Middle East politics ...

Omar e is a young guy of Palestinian origin, residing close to the Israel border, working in a bakery, and saving money for a home. For a family. With his future wife. Tarek's sister ... Tarek being the leader of their resistance cell, and the guy planning the attacks ... The cell includes Amjad too, another guy who has his eyes on Tarek's sister. Things get complicated when an Israeli soldier gets shot. Omar is thrown into prison, released for the price of snitching on his friends, and further you'll see in the movie ... Tarek's sister gets married until the end, that's all I'm saying :) ...

The movie has an obvious bias, and as I was saying I don't want to get into politics. Strangely though, I think that the action can be separated from the real context. Or better said, it can probably be set in any other real context of a conflict area ... If we do that, we gradually get to see something else. It's a sort of mix between a thriller and a family drama, which when you think it was concluded, you notice that there's still something like 15 minutes up to the end. Enough to change it completely catching a tint of soap-opera, but the way the movie's solved is so quick and to the point that it doesn't get cheap. Still, there's the need to see the movie as a movie to appreciate it ... and not as political propaganda ...

Rating: 3+ out of 5

Monday, May 2, 2016

Man in the High Castle

Existence is complicated. Existence is weird. Existence is a novel. That's probably how a marketing tagline would look for the book written more than 50 years ago by P.K.Dick. Probably one of the first tries of alternate history where WW2 had a different ending, which got a Hugo at that time. And brought recently in a series that deviates quite a bit from the original, but offers though enough to catch the viewer, and keeps a decent level of PKD feel in it ... At least for the first season. We'll see for what's following ...

Unfortunately, I don't have the proper mood to extend the description, but considering that I'm lately neglecting my blog, I said it might be a good idea to catch up at least with a brief recommendation :)

"It is far from easy to be a good man. In fact, as one gets older, it becomes more and more difficult to know what a good man is. Yet it also becomes increasingly important to at least try." (Man in the High Castle, series I, episode 10)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Remember "Cloverfield"? I'm writing again in a hurry, at 4:30 AM before 2-3 hours of sleep, after which I have to prepare my luggage and get to the plane. So don't ask me to search my blog and check how much I rated it and when I did that. All I remember is that's a forgettable movie. "10 Cloverfield Lane" is a whole different story ...

I had one "serious" reason to watch this movie: I like Mary Elizabeth Winstead (MEW). I did not expect to see much more than the alien invasion shot a la Blair Witch in the first part (I suppose that's what happened there considering the events presented now, because as I said, the first iteration is forgettable). So, what's the story here? A careful fellow (played extremely well by John Goodman), not to say a paranoid one, built a bunker. When the events in the first movie start, he decides to use it. By chance (or not) on the way to the respective compound his path intersects with Michelle (MEW). By hitting her car = so the poor girl ends in crotches, and also in the bunker, because well ... she needed to be rescued. How much was this actual help, how much not, in what shapes the monsters come in this movie (as stated by the poster), who else resides in the bunker, who wants to get in, who wants to get out, and other questions :) find their answers in the movie..

"10 Cloverfield Lane" has something of "Dawn of the Dead", "Shining", "Alien", "Misery", "Panic Room", and maybe others, put together. Not directly referencing them, and definitely not in this order as consistency of material. The dynamic of the movie is excellent. You have a start with lots of thrills that might make you think on Goya's line that "sleep of reason produces monsters" who are more horrible than anything else. After that we have a calm settling, when the sleep of reason doesn't seem exactly a sleep, and therefore it can't give birth to monsters. Just that, towards the end, without notice, to have a shocking blow that brings us to the final and gruesome showdown. But surprise ... that's not the final showdown, where we actually have another type of enemy, and also seemingly some other type of action. You can say that it's still a "run for your life", but I - going back to the list above - have seen an almost instantaneous passing (spoiler) from Jack's wife in "Shining" (much better in MEW's version, as subjective as I might be) to the rebirth of Ripley from "Alien" (much better than Noomi Rapace's version in "Prometheus" for all aspects of that part). And I doubt it can be said we have the same character :) Well, see it and judge for yourself ;) ...

Rating: 4 out of 5

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Kon-Tiki (2012)

I have another blog entry to write, but first I have to cover fast something else. Which actually follows my fault of saying last time that Norwegian movies are cold. Well .. they are, but "Kon-Tiki" seems to be an exception.

Somewhere in a corner of my mind where the memory wasn't erased yet, some info was retained somehow sometime, telling me that this movie's subject is an expedition in an ocean somewhere with a more particular mean of transportation. That's all. To conclude: perfect to watch before going to sleep. Fail. I've seen all the story of a journey made on a .. raft, built by centuries old design, from Peru to French Polynesia (6900km), driven by a group of 6 crazy Norwegians, all of them surviving till the end.

The movie is the real version of the classic epic stranded-on-the-wide-sea story (who is not actually stranded in this movie). Meaning, the type of film that presents a ton of problems that show up in the middle of the ocean. The unbelievable part is the happy ending (a real one), and the movie somehow manages to keep that spirit up from start to finish = you don't really get a reason of doubt. And this comes in a context where is impossible not to think that in 9 out of 10 cases the ending would've been different. Not here ...

Rating: 3 out of 5