Blade Runner 2049 Review

Blade Runner 2049 is the 2017 sequel to the original Blade Runner movie. It’s directed by Denis Villeneuve, and stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford. It follows a replicant Blade Runner as he uncovers a mystery that could rock the entire infrastructure of L.A.

Blade Runner 2049 takes place 30 years after the events of the original Blade Runner. It follows K, a replicant Blade Runner who is forced to track down a possible replicant chid. If true, a discovery like that would cause replicants around the city to rise up and overthrow humanity.

I absolutely loved Ryan Gosling in this film. He’s very believable, and he’s an “ordinary Joe.” Something that figures itself into the themes of this movie, as it’s essentially about a single man versus an entire Conglomerate of biblical proportions. Additionally, although this movie is significantly longer than the original Blade Runner, it’s much better paced. Action often breaks up long segments of beautiful vista scenes. Speaking of which, the action in this movie is fantastic, in particular the final fight. The choreography is much better than the original, and it’s at times hard to watch because of how realistic and brutal it is. Another thing I liked about this film is that it preserved the ambience of the original. Blade Runner isn’t an action film series, it’s a neo-noir. And thankfully, this movie feels like a fitting successor to the original.

One thing I hated about this film however was the villain. Wallace simply pales in comparison to Roy Batty. Wallace is boring, creepy, needless, and frankly he could’ve been cooler had we never met him. Also, David Bowie was supposed to be cast in this role prior to his death. He would’ve done a much better job than Jared Leto, and it saddens me to think of this wasted potential.

Overall, Blade Runner 2049 is a worthy successor that in some ways surpasses the original Blade Runner. Sadly this movie did terribly at the box office, and it isn’t terribly well known. That being said, it’s excellent and worth watching.

Blade Runner Review

Blade Runner is a 1982 film directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Harrison Ford. It’s revolutionary both as a sci-fi film, and as a film in general. It follows a cop hired to hunt down rogue androids. Overall, despite some pacing issues, Blade Runner remains one of the best sci-ci films ever made, and a true classic.

Blade Runner follows Rick Deckard, a specialized form of a cop called a Blade Runner. His task as one of these cops, is to hunt down and “retire” rogue androids, called replicants.

This movie tackles some pretty tough concepts, in particular, what is a human. Often at times, the Replicants seem more “human” than Deckard. And they just want to do human activities such as to find jobs and live their lives. Harrison Ford is great here as Deckard, and he really seems to be questioning his jobs and morality throughout the film. Additionally, Rutger Hauer is fantastic as the villain, Roy Batty. His final monologue with the iconic “Tears in the Rain” line is unforgettable. I also absolutely loved the cyberpunk aspect of the film. The design and special effects are fantastic, and they still hold up even years later.

One thing about this movie that doesn’t hold up however, is the pacing. It’s absolutely terrible. Nothing happens for half the film and then the other is filled with action. The ending also comes out of nowhere it seems. It feels almost like a Kubrick film in that sense. The plot can also be very confusing depending on the version you watch, personally I recommend the theatrical cut as it’s the most understandable.

Overall, although it’s a confusing film at times, Blade Runner is a classic, and one that hold up surprisingly well even after all these years. It deserves to be seen, as it can be a polarizing film, but personally I loved it.

Firefly Review

Lately, I’ve been on a big sci-if binge. Firefly is a 2003 tv series created by Joss Whedon, and starring Nathan Fillion. It follows the crew of a spaceship after an interplanetary civil war. This is a very strange tv show, and one that you’ll either love, or hate. It’s got some absolutely lovable characters, and a really interesting setting, but the episodes vary in qualities, and sometimes they’re just downright weird.

Firefly follows the crew of the Serenity, an old spaceship that seems to barely hold together. After they lose a civil war against people who are essentially space Nazis, they flee and do odd jobs on the run. Although the premise is rather simple, it works. Joss Whedon really fleshes out the universe of Firefly, with interesting peoples and monsters. Sadly the show only ran for one season, as Fox cancelled it after airing it out of order.

For starters, the characters in this show are great. Nathan Fillion as captain Malcolm Reynolds is one of my favorite characters in fiction because of his dry wit and funny one liners. The rest of the cast are just as great. The line delivery and quips throughout the show are hilarious. And although this show does not sell itself as a comedy, overall it’s really funny. The universe of Firefly is also very rich and lends itself to a lot of opportunities. The weird mesh between allegories for the civil war, to colonialism, to the horrors that are reavers all work. It lends itself to a lot of opportunities, and it’s a shame it hasn’t been explored more in other media.

Firefly is also very clunky and unpolished. The dialogue at times is rather cringe-worthy. And although the talented cast does their best with it, some cracks do show. Although Inara as a character is good, any sub-plot with her job throughout the show is basically skippable. Some characters such as Simon or Kaylee can be annoying at times, although not too often. Strangely enough, the weird nature of Firefly is part of its charm, and why it’s considered a cult classic.

Overall, despite it’s weirdness and cracks, I liked Firefly. It’s probably one of my favorite tv shows, and it’s incredibly charming. It’s worth giving it a shot, even if you don’t end up liking it.

Girl With a Pearl Earring Review

Girl With a Pearl Earring is a 2003 movie starring Scarlet Johansson and Colin Firth. It follows a factionalized version of how the famous painting of the same name was made. This movie has some incredible cinematography and color with its shots. However, the story isn’t told with a lot of energy.

Girl With a Pearl Earring follows Griet, a poor Dutch maid working fo the famed painter Johannes Vermeer. Over time, she becomes his muse, and he later paints her in his magnum opus, Girl with a Pearl Earring. While the story itself is fictionalized as the girl behind the painting is a total mystery, it does entirely feel possible and grounded.

One of the best aspects about this movie is the cinematography. Shots often make use of shadows and colors to make the overall world feel like a painting. It’s absolutely gorgeous to watch. Scenes inside of buildings often cast characters against a black background to elevate their facial features, as well as draw parallels between the movie and the painting it’s based off of. Outside, shots often have one color underlying the whole scene. This makes them feel like some of Vermeer’s other paintings, which often feature colors such as yellow as the focal point. The acting in this movie is pretty good overall. Colin Firth is a very likable nobleman, and he conveys to the audience what he’s thinking in relation to the other characters. Scarlet Johansson is very subtle, although she really doesn’t have a lot of lines throughout the whole movie, and most of the time she just seems to gape with her mouth open as other characters do things throughout the house.

My biggest problem with this movie is that the story is told without much energy or inertia. It tries to make the audience believe that Vermeer is fervent and frantic about painting Griet, but it’s really never shown. The only time his obsession is even slightly shown is when he tries to hide Griet from his jealous wife. It really sticks out because I feel the rest of this movie is rather fantastic.

Overall, I liked Girl With a Pearl Earring. It’s not without its flaws, but it deserves to be seen as it’s nonetheless a good movie.

Oldboy Review

Oldboy is a 2003 South Korean thriller film. It follows a man who is kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years. Mysteriously, he is suddenly released and begins to take revenge on the conspiracy that took away his life. This is a disturbing movie to say the least, as it features some of the most messed up scenes and concepts in cinematic history. Thankfully, the disturbing moments never seem gratuitous, and everything has a purpose in this movie.

Oldboy follows Oh Dae-su, a South Korean father and drunkard. One night, on his daughters birthday, a drunk Oh Dae-Su is kidnapped by a mafia organization. He is imprisoned and isolated in a single room for 15 years. Over that time, he teaches himself how to fight. One day, he is suddenly released and set loose in South Korea, all the while being taunted by the man who ordered him imprisoned. It’s a compelling conspiracy, and a twisted story with some very disturbing developments later on.

Oldboy is famous for one of the greatest fight scenes in cinematic history. When Oh Dae-Su returns to the building he was imprisoned in, he is forced to take on several thugs in a narrow hallway. Everything about this fight is amazing. It’s filmed from a wide shot with the entire hallway in view, and it’s all filmed in one take. This allows the audience to see all the action happening, and it’s a refreshment from the standard Jason Bourne style jump cuts. The fight also feels very realistic, as throughout the scene, Oh Dae-su is stabbed, beaten, and slowly worn down. It makes him feel like a real person instead of a walking tank. Additionally, there’s a really nice Cowboy Bebop-esque introspective jazz soundtrack behind the whole fight that makes it feel almost like a scene out of a noir film. Speaking of soundtracks, I love the music in Oldboy. It varies from beautiful simple piano pieces, to exciting electronica music, to the aforementioned smooth jazz featured in the fight scenes. It compliments the entire film, and elevates all the scenes to a whole new level. Oldboy also has a very charismatic villain. The central mystery of the story is his identity and motives, so I won’t spoil that here. However, suffice to say that he’s very memorable and charismatic, which is offset by how much of a completely horrible human being he is, and how he wants to inflict that same corruption on Oh Dae-su.

However, something needs to be said about Oldboy. This is, beyond a doubt, one of the most ‘Effed up films ever made. It’s got messed up scenes, ideals, and concepts. Not everyone can handle these moments, and if you’re squeamish or easily disturbed, please don’t watch this film. I never found these moments to be gratuitous or pointless however, and they all have purpose within Oldboy’s twisted story.

Oldboy is one of the better Neo-noirs in recent memory. It’s got good fight scenes, and intriguing conspiracy, and it’s very memorable. If you think you can handle this movie, I encourage you to give it a try.

Nightcrawler Review

Nightcrawler is a 2014 film directed by Dan Gilroy, and starring Jake Gyllenhaal. It follows a freelance video journalist documenting crime and accidents in Los Angeles. I really liked this thriller, and it’s got a great main character, some excellent action, and a premise you don’t usually see in thriller movies like this.

Nightcrawler follows Louis Bloom, a workaholic petty thief. However, after coming across a car accident one night, Louis decides to go into a different profession, nightcrawling, or freelance journalists who record videos of accidents and crimes in order to sell them to tv news stations. Over time however, Louis begins manipulating the crimes rather than just recording them.

This movie has an excellent protagonist. Jake Gyllenhaal is fantastic as Louis. He’s unpredictable, charming, and always mysterious and unnerving. Additionally, seeing him turn into a monster by the end of the film is scary, and he’s a terrifying protagonist and antihero. In particular, the mirror scene. Throughout the whole movie he’s portrayed as this genius, composed, manipulative character. But after failing to captare an accident before a rival crew records it, he freaks out and punches a mirror, and lets the audience temporarily see the real Louis, and how absolutely crazy he is. Additionally, the car chase scene at the end is great, as Louis and his partner stay on the tail of a police car chasing a criminal through the streets of L.A.

A small complaint I had with this movie is that scenes seem to either last too long, or too short. For example, the scene where Louis and his partner are talking about a raise, although it foreshadows his partner’s eventual death, seems a little too long, when compared to either the car chase scene, or the mirror scene, both of which are fantastic, and over as soon as they start. Now that being said, the movie’s pacing itself over all is fine.

I liked Nightcrawler quite a bit. It feels like Taxi Driver meets Heat, and it absolutely works. It’s available to watch on Netflix, and I’d absolutely recommend it.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things Review

I’m Thinking of Ending Things is a 2020 film directed and written by Charlie Kaufman, and starring Jessie Plemons and Jessie Buckley. It follows a girl as she accompanied her boyfriend to his parents house, over time however, it’s revealed that there’s more than meets the eye with their entire trip. I feel very conflicted about this movie. On one hand, it’s got some unique ideas, and some pretty good dialogue, but on the other hand, it’s poorly paced, and although the dialogue is good, it’s also incessant and goes on far too long.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things follows Lucy and Jake, a newly formed couple that decides to take a trip and visit Jake’s parents in their rural home. All the while however Lucy wishes to break up with Jake. Over time however, some supernatural occurrences begin happening, as Jake’s parents rapidly age, and Lucy seems familiar with various people she meets. It has a twist ending that, although foreshadowed at, is very unclear and unsatisfying.

For starters, I actually liked the dialogue in this movie. I was worried it was going to be amateurish due to the reviews, it thankfully isn’t. It feels very realistic, and very relatable. Characters talk about existentialism and growing older, as well as societal norms and how humanity would rather suck up our problems rather than address them directly. There’s also some cool scenes where Kaufman utilizes Jake’s parents aging at rapidly different rates. Such as Jake’s dad being a senile old man in one scene, and a young handy father in the next.

However, this film is really terribly paced. There’s an entire half an hour at the start of the film where Jake and Lucy are literally just taking in the car. Although the dialogue is pretty good, it can’t hold this entire film up, and it feels very different than some of Kaufman’s other films, which just feel more refined and professional.

Overall, I’m Thinking of Ending Things doesn’t feel like any of Charlie Kaufman’s other films, and it’s really a disappointment for me. I can’t recommend it and it’s not that good.

The Devil All The Time Review

The Devil all the Time is a 2020 movie directed by Antonio Campos starring Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson. It follows a southern man as he goes on the run from killing a corrupt preacher. This movie is ok. It has a relatable and likable lead protagonist, as well as some interesting villains, however the action is fairly terrible and the whole movie feels like a poor imitation of a Coen brothers film.

The Devil all the Time follows a couple of different stories in Ohio and West Virginia right after World War 2 and right before Vietnam. First, there’s Willard Russels story. He returns from World War 2, gets married, and has a child named Arvin. However, after he and his wife die, Arvin becomes the main character of the story. There’s also a corrupt sheriff named Lee, who has a sister that kidnaps hitchhikers with her husband and murders them. After Arvin murders a corrupt preacher who sexually assaulted and led to the suicide of his sister, he is forced to go on the run, and ends up interacting with all the other characters and their stories.

I really liked how we learned about each of the characters before they interacted with each other. It makes the scenes more than just a chance encounter when we know who each character is. Additionally, the contrast between Arvin being a good man just trying to do the right thing, and every other person in the story trying to bring him down and corrupt him was interesting, and it made me like the character of Arvin. I felt like I knew him, and his actions throughout the film felt very realistic given that I knew his past and upbringing. Also, I loved Robert Pattinson in this movie. He plays a creepy preacher who causes Arvin’s sister to commit suicide. My eyes were glued to him whenever he was on screen, and I felt they killed him off a little too soon.

Speaking of killing, the action in this movie, for the most part, is pretty terrible. Although the scene where Arvin beats up the bullies is actually pretty good, the other action scenes are pretty awful. This movie is clearly taking inspiration from a film like No Country for Old Men. However, in that film, the directors stretch out the tension as much as they possibly can before releasing it when character finally start shooting at each other. The Devil all the Time missed that memo. Characters shoot at each other with little to no buildup. There’s no tension, very little shock factor, and frankly, the shootouts are boring in this movie. With perhaps the exception of the final shootout between Lee and Arvin, as in that scene they actually do build up tension somewhat.

Overall, this film feels like No Country for Old Men lite. However, it’s simply not as good. It’s got good villains but not anyone that rivals Anton Chigurh, and the protagonist, although good, can’t hold up this whole movie. It’s painfully average, and there are much better movies worth watching.

The End of Evangelion Review

The End of Evangelion is a 1997 movie following the events of the show Neon Genesis Evangelion, which I reviewed yesterday. This movie is incredibly weird and surreal, and although it fleshes out the universe of the Evangelions a lot more than the show, it has a very confusing ending, and it seemingly disregards the ending of the show.

The End of Evangelion takes place immediately after the show, and it follows Shinji and his fellow pilots being attacked by an organization called SEELE, which is essentially the Illuminati. Their goal is to unite all of humanity into one soul, thus fixing all the problems of our world, at the cost of losing corporeal form and individuality. Shinji is the key to this, and at one point he does unite all of humanity, but later reverts the decision, and returns humanity to their bodies. It’s a very biblical plot, and the second half of the movie feels like the ending of 2001 with dialogue.

This movie is fairly epic. It incorporates biblical allusions with allegories of depression, and pairs them with some excellent animation and stunning visuals. It truly feels like a revelation when humanity is united as one body and soul at the end of the film, and thankfully, the movie does a better job of explaining just what the heck is happening in the world of Evangelion. It also portrays Shinji as a very different character, a darker, more weak willed character who is later redeemed at the end of the story.

End of Evangelion has an incredibly strange ending. The human race unites and becomes one, only to be split apart again due to the actions of Shinji. Apparently, the show’s ending and the movie’s ending are supposed to be different timelines, with the movie’s having a much darker timeline. The movie ruins Shinji’s character arc from the show, and seems to have almost completely different characters in the way some of them behave. It’s a little jarring and it almost feels like they aren’t the same people.

Overall, I liked how the End Of Evangelion cleared up quite a bit of the universe of the show, however it does kind of ruin the show’s ending a bit, and it’s overall a very surreal film. That being said, if you’re a fan of the show this movie is worth watching.

Neon Genesis Evangelion Review

Neon Genesis Evangelion is a 1995 anime, that is commonly regarded as the first anime that is also art. It follows the typical giant robots v. monsters trope that you see in a lot of other similar shows, however the show also functions as an allegory for depression and mental health. Overall, the battles and character design of this show is excellent, and the story epic as well, however, it’s communicated very poorly to the audience.

Neon Genesis Evangelion follows Shinji Ikari, a wimpy high school student who’s selected to pilot an Evangelion, or a robot designed to defend earth from creatures called “Angels.” Over time however, it’s revealed that there are many secrets and connections between both the angels and Evangelions, as well as the angels and humanity itself.

First off, the battles in this show are pretty fantastic. It does a great job of putting into the claustrophobic perspective of being within an Evangelion. The design of the robots and the machinery themselves is delved into throughout the show, and it’s incredibly satisfying to watch. Additionally, some of the angel designs are fascinating, with some being mysterious, while others are terrifying. Neon Genesis Evangelion also has a host of biblical allusions. This is because within the universe takes place in, humanity is not the rightful successor to earth, rather the angels are. Angels are from a creature called Adam, whole humanity, and in turn Evangelions are from a creature called Eve. Having a biblical aspect to this show makes it unique, and elevated it beyond the typical Robots v. Monsters genre that it falls in.

Additionally, the show accurately portrays depression and psychological trauma throughout many of its battles. For example, in the fight against my favorite angel from the series, Arael, one of the pilots of the Evangelions is subjected to this attack that brings up intense childhood trauma and psychological pain. In fact, the show follows the arc of the creator’s own depression, and it makes the show feel very human because of it.

The ending of the show however, is very surreal. After defeating the final angel, who was disguised as a human pilot, Shinji and his friends are interrogated by the government. They’re asked questions such as, “why do you pilot an Eva?” The responses are actually quite heartbreaking as each child is psychoanalyzed and has their faults and weaknesses brought up. Shinji pilots the Eva simply to get people to like him, and the show ends with him essentially gaining self-respect and realizing he has worth as human being besides an Eva pilot. It’s a very, very, strange ending, and it leaves a lot of questions, which are apparently answered in the movie, “the End of Evangelion.” In fact, I am planning to watch that tonight. However, although Neon Genesis has a very intricate and multi-layered story, it does a terrible job conveying it to the audience. More than once I had to scour the wiki in order to find answers. If you’re simply looking for a dumb fun show to binge, this is not it. This is a brutal, depressing, complicated show that feels like Mulholland drive with giant robots. You really have to pay attention when watching this show, and frankly it can feel a little annoying with how unclear it is sometimes.

Overall, Neon Genesis Evangelion is a very good show. I loved the design, battles, biblical allusions, and depression allegories featured throughout the show. I just wish it could’ve given the audience a straighter plot.