Monday, October 16, 2017

Arrival (2016)

Arrival went under my radar when it was in theaters. I knew it based on poster controversy but I thought it was one of those alien invasion movies. Afterwards I learned it is closer to original The Day the Earth Stood Still than Independence Day. It was too late to see it in theater then.

Arrival is one of the better science fiction movies. I can see its merits. I appreciate all the technical aspects and will probably see the movie again to learn something about cinematography and storytelling. But it just didn't touch me like Solaris (2002). Without going into spoilers movies are quite similar in more ways than one. I think main difference why I like Solaris more is it concentrated more on human story. Arrival is more sterile hard science fiction.

It is hard to talk what makes Arrival good without going into spoilers. Most of it was how the story was told from the technical point of view and how it was written. Story builds up slow and then there is kind of twist which is build by the way story was told. Story itself is not that spectacular. It is the way it is told which make the movie good.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)



Blade Runner is my favorite movie. I have hard time finding any flaws from it after the first scene. I didn't have high hopes for sequel. Best sequels to great movies can do is not to make fans of original to hate it. You can only lose touching great movies.

I didn't hate Blade Runner 2049 but it didn't need to be Blade Runner. Being Blade Runner didn't make it a better movie. Changing replicants to synthetic humans and dropping Deckard wouldn't have changed much about the movie. It might have made it better.

Blade Runner 2049 don't try to make Blade Runner again. It doesn't have film noir style of the original. Story is so far from original movie I expect it wasn't written to be Blade Runner sequel. Maybe it was changed to be Blade Runner for marketing purposes. If it wasn't named Blade Runner I wouldn't have compared to Blade Runner.

But it is called Blade Runner so here we go. Worst thing sequels or prequels can do is to make original lose something which made it good. Blade Runner 2049 explains what happened after the original. But because we saw replicants aging we can still have our was Deckard replicant discussions.

New movie doesn't have any characters as interesting as original. No one is close to Roy Batty or even JF Sebastian. Even smaller roles had memorable characters in original. Luv could have been memorable. She has moments when she show what could have been. By the end she regresses into one dimensional character. K's virtual girlfriend Joi ends up being most interesting character.

Not having clear villain made original movie so good. You can say replicants and Roy Batty were villains. But they had understandable motives. Outside one case they only killed for self defense. No such luck this time. We have villains doing villain things.

All this may sound I didn't like the movie. It is good science fiction movie. But nothing more. Movies like Ex Machina and Moon are better movies with similar themes. When you name your movie Blade Runner you make us compare it against the very best. It is not on that level. It could be best we could get from Blade Runner sequel. It has so much original story and style it could have been original movie and not sequel.

Running time of over two and half hours may sound lot. Movie didn't feel that long. Scenes were slow and took time. It never felt too long or slow. There is one really clever twist. That itself would be worth the ticket. But there is more. You shouldn't expect to see film noir scifi or anything like original movie. As its own thing movie works. It doesn't try too much to be Blade Runner sequel. Which saves it.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Blade Runner - The Final Cut (2008)

Blade Runner is my favorite movie. Couple movies get close but it is the favorite. It was on the place with Director's Cut. I don't remember much about the theatrical cut. I have seen it couple times long time ago. The Final Cut is the version I watch when I want to watch the movie. I have all versions on dvd somewhere. I might do comparison in the future. This time I want to tell why Blade Runner is my favorite movie.

Blade Runner is one of those movies where you find something new each time you watch it. This time I realized how similar looking eyes Roy Batty and Gaff had. Does this mean Gaff was replicant too? There have been lot of discussion if Deckard was replicant. Even makers of the movie have different opinions. It would make ending more interesting if Gaff was replicant.

Harrison Ford was sort of action hero when Blade Runner was made. He had done first two Star Wars  movies and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Here he is more of a anti action hero. He is blade runner who doesn't want to be blade runner. Everyone thinks he is best there is but he is really lucky surviving each replicant. Each had chance to kill him but he landed close to his gun or someone interrupted replicant. Maybe he knew he wasn't as good as everyone thought he was and he wanted to get out while he was still alive.

I can't say anything that hasn't been said about soundtrack. There are reasons why internet is full of videos people making Blade Runner sounds on different synths. Most scenes have been analyzed on what makes them so good. Movie is not perfect. There was no point for Holden to test Kowalski. They already had images of replicants. Test was there to introduce test so we knew it when Rachel was tested. After the first scene it is hard to find any flaws from Blade Runner.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands: War Within The Cartel (2017)

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands: War Within The Cartel has two good things. First is color grading and another is length. It is only 30 minutes long add for a video game. I didn't know it when I started to watch it. I watched it because it was short but I expected it to have full story. It doesn't. It gives you a reason why you can shoot everything that moves in a video game.

I guess it  is faithful to source material since it feels like long video game cutscene. Except that video games doesn't have that shaky cameras and not so many extremely tight shots. It was more interesting to spot thing they got right in this mess than follow the story. Not that they got many things right. Story is one big cliche. Bad guys are really bad to point of ridiculousness. They shoot their employees to show how bad they are. Player shouldn't feel bad killing these characters and their henchmen.

Movie has 5.9 rating in IMDB. Probably only fans of the game and me have seen it. You shouldn't bother with this if you are not going to play the game. I watched this to make this review and then do something more interesting. Now I have watch something else to get this garbage out of my mind.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Road Cycling World Championships 2017

Little bit different post this time. I didn't realize I have used my backlog of reviews and did everything else last week. I watched something I could have reviewed this time but I want to make video review of it. Road Cycling World Championships were raced last week. Races were shown free on YouTube.

Races were held on Bergen Norway. Norwegians had found really interesting routes for the races. Everything went well until the last few kilometers of the last race. Power outage took away few kilometers before the last one.

Time trials made next year's Tour de France more interesting if Dumoulin participates. He and his team were unstoppable in both races. Having win Giro earlier this year and almost catching Froome in time trial makes him biggest challenger next year if he rides the Tour. Route was interesting with tough climb in the end. I thought it would have been better to ride with normal bike but both Dumoulin and Froome rode it up with their time trialing bike in time trial position.

All previous road races avoided bunch sprint. However men's race was really interesting even when it ended in bunch sprint. It was never clear who would win. We didn't know if big climb was tough enough to make selection. Picture went after last climb. At that point it wasn't still sure. Men who got away were still clear. The race ended Sagan taking historic third championship in row despite doing anything at all before the end. Anything we saw.

Next week I will get back to normal reviews.