Wednesday, 16 September 2020

New Mewtents

I still don't know why this wasn't just released straight to VOD. Probably a contract thing that it had to hit theaters first and they didn't care enough?

So, new mutant Moonstar gets orphaned and is sent to this "institution" where there are four other mutants also institutionalised, one mutant lady in charge, and... no-one else. Seriously, this is a thin cast. Yes, there are other people filling in momentary roles, but this is basically a small cast in not much larger than a locked room. ANYWAY, spooky stuff starts happening, and who is to blame? Is it the new mutant with psionic powers who just turned up? Nah, couldn't be. But hey, gives them a chance for things to happen, so we get scenes, and thus a movie.

Really, this is fine, but it certainly had a build up of "when will this get released? we need to reshoot! ... but we may or may not use those reshoots... eh, we'll get this out some time." I don't know what the full production hold up was, but I find it hard to believe it was seriously reconsidered often, and, as I said, should have just been dumped on VOD.

The performances are all right, and I often spent time trying to remember "which mutant is this?" Pro-tip, they never actually give them their mutant names, so don't hang around for that. And there's the hand puppet... booooooo! The effects are decent, but at this point that should be the default (and yet still so many effects that aren't good).

Given than director Josh Boone said "nah, don't worry about covid, go see this," well, screw him, this isn't that important. Just wait for it to finally get put out on VOD.


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Wednesday, 9 September 2020


EDIT TO ADD: Given the actions of the movie makers, FUCK this movie.

So I'm going to talk about the live action, but here's the thing about that and the animated movie... we have both! You may like one, both, neither, but we have both so you can choose! Having one does not erase the other, they are different things, so let's move on.

The bulk of this movie does follow the animated version. Mulan isn't the typical daughter, her father is called to war and she goes instead, has to pretend to be male... then the main difference is a lack of guys dressing up in drag... I mean there is more emphasis on girl power. To the extent of the bad guys getting their own evil Mulan!

And as its own separate movie, it's fine. There are some very pretty moments, and frankly they could have lent harder into the wire fu and more supernatural elements. The opening feels like it is trying to be more real, but then we get a kite masquerading as a phoenix before the witch goes full force and, yeah, they could have gone harder into that for some really great sequences.

As for harking back to the animated movie, the score kept throwing in bits from "Reflection". Which does hammer on the "who is Mulan?" theme, but just made me want to go full on that song! This movie also echoes some of the other songs with spoken word versions of some of the lyrics, but doesn't get as obvious as "Reflection".

The real question we will see is, what will the live action sequels be like?


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Wednesday, 2 September 2020


So, can I talk about this movie? There is definitely one part I want to discuss, more from a film perspective, but it is the scene near the end, so I'll put that in spoiler space so you don't see it on the main page.

Someone said this is "temporal James Bond", and that's pretty accurate. There is a big gimmick to this movie, but that became more about filming (see below) than the story. At various surprise points where we were supposed to go "what is happening?" I was just "oh, it's that" and I was right. So... yeah, not really surprised by it.

But the main reason this film could be considered "impressive" is in the filming of it. The gimmick meant that things had to be done really careful, and, I'm sure, with much rehearsal. I'm sure CGI helped, but even then you still had to have all the pieces in place. However...


In the big fight at the end (shocking: there's a big fight at the end), we have two teams of good guys, and that was fine... but as far as I could tell, the fight was just them moving forwards and shooting. Aside from one or two plot scenes around the main leads, I couldn't even tell you that there were bad guys there, let alone what they did in the fight! It just felt like filming a war but only showing one side. The heck??


So I did see this in a theatre... and because of the situation, there were less staff around and plenty of seats empty, so I'm sure a few people were in there who never paid for a ticket. (That they were in a seat booked by someone else was a bit of a giveaway.) So now there is the joy of not only balancing seeing a movie vs crowds, but also vs people you can't even account for being there!


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Friday, 14 August 2020


No, I haven't seen enough movies recently. Especially when it is a New Zealand comedy!

Sean is looking for love... unfortunately the police are also looking at him, after he was declared innocent of having killed his family. While he does find a possible someone, the ex-police officer isn't letting up, sure he is the one, even after all this time. Will love prevail? Will justice?

This is an odd movie in presentation. There is the romantic subplot, but there is also the grim and at times rather aching story of the murder and its impact. However, there is another dichotomy in that sometimes these are normal movie scenes, and sometimes they are documentary style talking to someone interviewing them, with no sign of which is which (other than someone suddenly talking towards the camera). It's an odd mix, but it does help portray the movie and enable you to get into the people's heads without needing anything like inner narration.

And yes, it is funny in parts, usually quite a dry humour of people just being a bit crap. We get great performances from Robyn Malcolm and David White, and a great cast of characters to go with them.

I wouldn't say head out to the theatres to see this is you aren't comfortable, but certainly try to see it some time.


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Monday, 10 August 2020

The Perfect Candidate

I would usually use the title in the original language, but can't find it to copy.

In Sauda Arabia, a female doctor ends up running for local elections, because she can't travel... although that's not related, but the important point is that she is female. In Saudi Arabia. She faces more than a little opposition, but she has a lot of determination. Also, her father is on tour in a band.

That last line may seem rather odd, but it also feels like a completely separate plot in the movie too. It's sort of tied together at the very end, but only after a not very surprising conclusion to the a-plot.

But the point is the trouble the doctor faces, as people focus on the woman more than the doctor. We get just a small taste of what women figures over there have to face. Although something else occurred to me while watching this: do movies have a problem with showing women uncovered? Even filming them? And one point in the movie we are told that women can't speech in front of men as it is against the law, so how did filming that scene happen? Is there a documentary about that I can watch?

Anyway, decent movie to round out my Film Festival experience. 20 movies on my wishlist, and 20 movies seen!


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Sunday, 9 August 2020


I can't say I'm fond of zombie movies, but this is the Film Festival, so let's see what they think is festival worthy.

A young woman is going to a rather disreptuable clinic for a breast reduction, with her boyfriend and mother (who is also getting work done). But as this is a zombie movie, there are basically failed experiments which come back to life and start running rampant through the clinic, and so everyone must try to escape, while trying not to get bit, and not be arseholes. They fail on all fronts.

People keep telling me zombie movies are great, and the zombies are always standing in for something. The most obvious choice the zombies could be representing here are the seeking of beauty and perfection at all costs... but they aren't. There's a one line reference to "punishing for meddling with god's creation", which doesn't go anywhere either. No, the zombies here are representing "let's put zombies in our movie because we want a zombie movie!"

And it's not like this movie is taking itself seriously to need more than that. From blood splatters to axes slamming, the movie isn't going for any degree of subtly and just trying to have fun. The unfortunate aspect is that is just another zombie movie, with nothing else to make it stand out.

Yeah, this isn't making me change my position on zombie media.


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Saturday, 8 August 2020

Tabi no Owari Sekai no Hajimari

A foreign language film about dealing with foreign language.

A Japanese TV reporter is in Uzbekistan to do some travel news, and we see her be chipper on camera... and not so much off camera. She does get out, but is very unsure of the people and places around her, and the crew struggle to put a show together. She does have one idea involving a goat, but it doesn't go brilliantly. And definitely can't find a fish. What can she do when the big thing she tries goes very wrong?

This is one of my nightmares: being in a country where I don't speak the language, so I can totally relate to what she is going through. That said, she gives it more of a go than I probably would.

However... that's pretty much the whole movie. Japanese person has trouble being in Uzbekistan. It's a nice movie, but there isn't a lot to it.


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