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Showing posts from December, 2018

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018)

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I discovered the Black Mirror television series due to an episode of The Orville that had been similar in theme to one of its episodes.  They were obviously not copies of either, but largely a reflection of fears of social media and modern American life.  It was the first time I had found an anthology series in years that did what The Twilight Zone and Tales from the Dark Side did so well: take modern societal concerns and take them to extremes to great effect.

Like most fans I have been waiting for the newest season, and so far what we got is a movie event.  Not only that, but it takes it a step further, making the movie interactive.  As predicted with modern media criticism, the fact that it does not reach some sort of pinnacle of perfection has made it an immediate target for hate and derision from a number of critics, which I hate to say is largely because most of them really got so involved in the gimmick that they didn't realize what the movie itself was trying to say.

Stef…

Gremlins (1984)

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What defines a Christmas movie?  Unfortunately, it's usually sickeningly maudlin, saccharine displays of family and holiday cheer, often times riffing on the same old themes of A Christmas Carol and It's a Wonderful Life.  That may be why so many people are more than happy to include Die Hardalongside Miracle on 34th Street for their holiday viewing.

Despite what some may think, Die Hard, with all its violent themes and satire of '80s movies cliches, is also at heart a movie about a man who just wants to get together with his family (perhaps for the last time) on Christmas.  It has some dark themes, but so do current modern standards like A Christmas Story and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  The best scenes out of both recall not just the happiness of the season (which is largely marketing anyway), but the real stress that families are under, both emotionally and financially, to make this a good time of year for the children.

Gremlins takes many of those dark u…

Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

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Kick-Ass, though flawed in a number of ways, was still quite interesting in the way that it tried to be different.  The heroes were motivated in some ways to do good, but Big Daddy had no problem embracing what he would have to become to achieve his goals.  He knew what he had done to his daughter but, unlike his former partner Marcus, had no regrets about the choices he made.  He had a single purpose: bring down Frank D'Amico's underworld empire. 

In the end, though Big Daddy died violently on a live broadcast, his goal was met when Dave Lizewsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), aka Kick-Ass, killed D'Amico by shooting him out a window with a bazooka.  Kick-Ass the superhero came into his own and, in truth, really reached the end of his ark.  Mindy McCready (Chloe Grace-Moretz), otherwise known as Hit Girl, reached hers as well, avenging the deaths of both her mom and her dad at D'Amico's hand.

There was one factor left unfulfilled: Frank's son Chris (Christopher Mintz…

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

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Resident Evilends with Alice (Milla Jovovich) and her potential love interest Matt (Eric Mabius) being dragged away by the Umbrella Corporation for experiments.  He is mutating, so he is thrown into something called the Nemesis program, while Alice wakes up alone in a laboratory, escaping only to find Raccoon City virtually abandoned and left to the dead.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse picks up during the time that Alice is under, with a devastating heat wave hitting the city in addition to a wave of people succumbing to the T-Virus, changing into zombies and attacking their loved ones.  In response, Umbrella has a number of scientists evacuated, including the originator of the virus, the wheelchair-bound scientist Charles Ashford (Jared Harris).  While evacuating, his daughter Angie's (Sophie Vavasseur) transport is involved in an accident, leaving her trapped in the city after Major Cain (Thomas Kretschmann) walls the urban center in and prepares to cleanse it with a nuclear weapon.

T…

From Russia with Love (1963)

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Though low-budget and a bit controversial, Dr. Nohad been a bit o a box office success.  In the 1960s, as now, that meant a sequel was assured.  It wasn't that much of a surprise as producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman intended Dr. No to be the first in a franchise, and it turned out their plan worked out well.  With director Terence Young back on board and twice the budget, it was time to to film one of Ian Fleming's most popular James Bond novels.

SPECTRE is back, this time wanting to kill two birds with one stone: steal a coding machine from the Russians and get revenge on James Bond (Sean Connery).  Even though we don't see his face, we meat Ernst Stavro Blofeld (and his white cat) for the first time as he plots with defected Soviet intelligence agent Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya) and chess champion Kronsteen (Vladek Sheybal).  The idea is to convince a low-level agent at the Soviet consulate in Istanbul name Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi) to pretend to fall in…