Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Deathpol 2wo

So with the origin story out of the way, we are into just comedy laughs right? Right?

We open with an extended sequence of Wade and Vanessa. Then after the title, we get down to what the trailer promised of Cable. Eventually. It takes a really long time for this movie to get anywhere. But then we eventually get various set pieces we've seen hinted at at the trailer, and the movie delivers a message that every other movie has also delivered.

So on the one hand, this is light and fun. On the other hand, it's quite dour and derivative. The problem is is tries to veer from one tone to the other, and it's quite clunky. It uses its goofiness as an excuse to just do random stuff and so while the individual scenes are neat, the whole isn't that cohesive.

Yes, there are repeats (callbacks) from the first movie, and it very clear in some cases that Ryan Reynolds redubbed lines over his mouth movements that don't match in the slightest. The effects work well, and I'm sure they got a lot more budget got it all, but it still feels like they tried to squeeze things in they couldn't really justify.

No doubt this movie will do well, and I did giggle during the end credits bits, but let's not draw this series out, can we?


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Tuesday, 29 May 2018


I saw this around 20 years ago, so I was looking forward to again seeing Alphaville.

A "reporter" comes to the logical society of Alphaville, looking up some old friends. While seeing how a logical society lives, he locates a professor that used to be in the outer countries than has since moved to Alphaville. But while the professor isn't amiable, his daughter has more potential.

One of the classic older sci-fi movies that inspires a lot, this is... weird. I remembered some bits, but not everything. (The swimming scene I had completely forgotten.) I think I read a script that explained some of the scenes way back when, so I know there is a lot of significance is some of the setups, and knew some of the revelations from that... but now I want to find it again because a lot of it goes over my head now.

Definitely a classic to watch, but not one to overanalyse while you are watching.


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Monday, 28 May 2018

RADFF18: Konstantin Grcic

On the design side, we have a movie about Konstantin Grcic. And also doesn't have an IMDB link.

I gather Grcic is a designer. And I gather this because the movie doesn't a) explain who he is, or b) what he is doing. Which seems to be designing chairs for an art display and also a furniture fair? Again, they don't explain, so I'm not sure. This is one of those movies where we follow the main lead as they go about their business, without anyone saying anything to the camera. Sometimes that works, and sometimes...

Not to say it wasn't interesting, see how he works. But I would have liked a bit more context to what he was doing. Is furniture all he does? How does he start from the beginning?

This feels more like part of a series more than a self-contained movie.


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Sunday, 27 May 2018

RADFF18: A Test of Faith

[So Resene is sponsoring a film festival for Architecture and Design, and while I'm interested in many of them I'm just gonna go to five.]

The first film I saw was about the reconstruction of the St Mary of the Angels church in Wellington. And it seems there isn't an IMDB link to this.

After the Christchurch earthquake they moved up the schedule for strengthening the church, and we follow the reconstruction as well as learning the history of the buildings. And when the November 2016 earthquake hit... and it was fine!

I hope you are interested in how earthquake strengthening, 'cos we see a lot of it. Fortunately, I do find that interesting. And hey, being in Wellington, I've walked past the building often, so now I know a lot more about it. Cool!

There isn't much more about the documentary than that, other than calling anything that happens to the building "a test of faith". No, not really.


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Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Truht or Dari

Well, this was never going to be the best thing ever, and did it live up to that promise.

A group of university students head to Mexico for a last dash, and end up at a creepy church. They play a game of Truth of Dare, and because this is a stupid horror movie, are now forever demanded to play this game when they are home. Can they find a way to stop the terror before they all die?

This reminded me a lot of Final Destination. One by one, we go around the group and they must survive or die. And yes, they based an entire movie on the one game. The big thing about this movie? Various characters do a weird CGI grin. Or, as one character in the movie says, has a "weirdass Snapchat filter" applied to them. I kinda feel that was closer to the truth than they may have wanted.

Although Lucy Hale is the main lead, no-one here puts in a star-studded performance. And is this why Violett Beane isn't doing Flash? Oi. And Tyler Posey seems to be a name of note, but I never watched the Teen Wolf series.

Disposable horror film. And I see what they were doing with the end, and how it ties back to what was said at the beginning... but that's still a stupid ending.


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Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Only Angels Have Wings

From the late 1930s we have a movie that is all about owning and operating an airplane service. This is Only Angels Have Wings.

In South America, one white guy runs an airplane service, employing other white guys to fly the planes in dangerous conditions. With that set up, we get basically a slice of life style movie with people coming and going, personalities clashing and romance in the air. As such, there are lots of minor plots, and one pretend major plot about trying to get a dangerous contract.

So I hope you like watching people flying in planes, because we have a lot of that. Because Howard Hawks was involved, the flying is more real than otherwise might be the case (although considering what I've heard about him, this probably took a longer time to film than most movies). We have a few character arcs, but really it feels more like a few set pieces strung together over the movie.

It's decent enough, but at two hours it certainly feels it.


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Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Breakerer Uppererers

Hey, New Zealand comedy time! All right!

Okay, let's be honest. The plot here isn't exactly original. Two friends are doing something together, events happen to break them up, and so the last part of the movie is bringing them back together. The context, in this case, is that the two friends run a company to help people split up from relationships one of them doesn't want to be in. Which leads to one of them connecting more with the people than the other, and so the movie unfolds from there.

Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami are the writers, directors and two leads in this quite great comedy. There were a lot of laughs in the theatre and they were easily gotten (which means there's some dialogue I haven't heard). James Rolleston is the male lead, but his character isn't exactly the smartest and a lot of comedy plays into that. I get the feeling I should have spotted other comedy names, but all I got was Rima Te Wiata. And if you are into recognising Auckland places, this should tick boxes for you.

And even more special, I went to the screening at The Embassy... which had a Q&A session afterwards with the three leads. Jackie and Madeleine were good, Jason was... largely demonstrating his acting was that far from his natural personality. The answers were pretty much what you'd expect, but here's hoping we see more of them in the future!

Quite the enjoyable comedy!


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Tuesday, 15 May 2018


An alternative title might be "A Girl and Her Wolf." But this is the German movie Wild.

Ania is an IT specialist in a humdrum job who doesn't feel like a part of the society she's in. So when she sees a wolf in the nearby park area, she's immediately attracted to it's raw power and slowly she plans to capture it and mate it (in all sorts of ways). Eventually her willingness to deal with society breaks down and she turns feral as she and wolf return to nature.

I'll skip to the point of: this movie felt like a chore to watch. The first third felt like an age and many times I considered getting up and leaving. But I continued to give it a bit longer and finally got to the last act of the movie.

And I can't say it was really worth it either. This movie is not subtle in any way about getting across its message, but doing so in a slow labourous way. If you do want to get into this movie, maybe check out a proper review or at least the trailer first so you know what you are getting into.


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Thursday, 10 May 2018

Get STOMP!ed

So, last night, I STOMP!ed. I like hardcore rhythm so I was already going to like this.

There were, as you would expect, a number of pieces during the show. A slow building start. A few quiet pieces. A few raise the roof pieces. Some comedy characters getting a few turns (which helped keep the mood of it all light) and some interesting takes on audience participation. And, of course, a stonking great loud finish and an encore!

Great stuff, and I recommend trying to get some of the last tickets available online. Although there were quite a few empty seats towards the back (I was in the second row!!), so I'm not sure if they kept tickets back for door sales or if many people just forgot/couldn't make it. (I see the same thing when I go to movies. There are a number of seats booked when I look online ahead of time, but by the time the movie starts those seats are empty.)

Oh, and I worked out the secret to Stomp! ... It's Tap Dancing. Yes, there's a lot of banging of things on other things and hand clapping and so forth... but there is also a lot of footwork that is exactly tap dancing. It's simply tap dancing taken to another level where they are tapping other things, but if you want to get into Stomp!, besides being strong enough to hoist an actual kitchen sink, I recommend some specific dance style lessons.

Anyway, big noise, much enjoy, you should go!


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Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Infinite Wah

While this post is coming out two weeks after the movie was released here, I saw it the day of release, and wrote it the day after so... still thinking about it in some ways, but I can be more open regarding spoilers.

So Thanos huh? He is wanting something, others are not wanting him to have it... and therein lies movie conflict. This is Infinity War, which is actually Thanos Quest in which he gets the gems, although that was against big cosmic entities, and it wasn't really Thanos vs Avengers until Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity War was after that in which they fought Adam Warlock's Evil Side... look, Comics, as they say, are Weird. None of that matters here because the movie gets right to the people we know versus Thanos and as we care about them, we are more wanting to see them vs Thanos than other cosmic beings.

And along the way none of the deaths mean anything to me because we are talking about a powerful device that can rewrite reality so I'm not counting any death as certain until after Avengers 4.

Someone pointed out that this is Marvel, and they would play it safe. And in many ways, they did. This is big on battles and stuff, but it doesn't hugely feel like anything really huge happened. We all know Thanos was going to get the gems, because otherwise there wouldn't be much in it, so this is just an exercise in seeing how they can stall Thanos until he gets there.

So... big and epic? Yeah, it's a good watch. But it always was going to be so there you go. Mission accomplished.


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Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Le Quattro Volte

This is a rather more contemplative movie. It is Le Quattro Volte.

A shepherd dies. A dog barks. A goat is born. A tree becomes mere wood.

That may seem rather... sparse, but this movie is, and this is the term that occurred to me, a tone poem. We spend time watching the shepherd go about his life, we see the dog being annoying, we see the goat growing up, and we see the tree and what comes next. All these things are the growing and passing of time, and we are there to absorb and experience them.

And as such, there isn't much I can really say about it. It's there on screen to be drunk in, and it's something you relax into.

That all said, I'm probably missing something deeper, but I floated along with it.


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Wednesday, 2 May 2018


People are claiming this is the best video game adaptations ever. Considering the video game consisted of not a huge about of gameplay, that's a lot that added over top of it.

Dwayne is friends with an ape that gets infected with a plot-based virus. The ape, George, gets bigger, as does a wolf (obliquely named Ralph) and a crocodile (never named Lizzie). EvilCorp drags them over to Chicago, and there's a big monster bash on the streets while the Rock and co chase and try to get their own plot-based virus solution. From the trailer, you know what happens.

This isn't a deep film, it's a monster bash, and it does what it says on the tin. They don't try to be subtle about anything, as evidenced by the bad guys have a Rampage arcade machine in their main room. None of the actors are bothering bringing their A game, but they are clearly having fun, so there is that.

You want a monster trashing the city movie? You got one. And, hey, I'm sure they can easily bring out sequels if the money pans out.


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Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Things to Come

Basically H G Wells saw Metropolis and said "that's completely wrong", and thence Things to Come.

It's 1940 and war is about to break out in Europe... and then it does. War goes on for 25 years, then a plague devastates the remaining place until in 1970 it is largely a medieval society, with guns. The Chief is only interested in furthering his aims for "peace" so when someone turns up in an airplane, which hasn't been seen since during the war, of course he imprisons him. However, others come along and gas him into submission. Skip to 2035 and scientific progress is getting ready to launch people into space, but others protest that we have too much progress. But if the options are to sink back into the ground or reach for the stars, what is the correct response?

HG isn't exactly one for the happiest of futures, but this feels more like they were trading on the name of the author. This is one extrapolation of the future, but it feels more like several smaller pieces that were found a way to be pasted together. (Note: I haven't seen Metropolis, which might employ those same techniques.) And it certainly feels more idealistic in that science comes out on top, although there is plenty of typical human smallmindedness in there too.

I guess I wanted more than just some ideas thrown against a wall to see which would stick.


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