Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Space Station 76 (2014)

When I heard about Space Station 76 first time I wondered why I have not heard about it before. Science fiction movie that happens in space station that looks and feels 70's sounds interesting idea. Ascension did that for 60's and it worked. Guardians of the Galaxy added 70's music to science fiction. So why I haven't heard about this before?

Reason is that this is adult drama. It doesn't have any action. It is about broken people living on space station where asteroid is heading. People don't know about it. Main character is new co-pilot Jessica, a woman who likes children but can't have one. He works with suicidal gay captain, who is in closet and hasn't got over his break up with previous co-pilot who has left the station. She becomes friend with unhappily married mechanic Ted. Ted's wife cheats him with his friend. Jessica spends time with Ted's daughter Sunshine but her mother doesn't like it.

Sounds like blockbuster doesn't it? For first half I had to force myself to watch this. Movie is slow and literally nothing happens. There were scenes which didn't have any point. We learn the premise quickly. After that it is just watching characters going deeper. Captain tries to kill himself but is always stopped by something. Jessica tries to manage with captain who gets frustrated every time previous co-pilot is mentioned. Ted gets more frustrated with his unhappy marriage. And asteroid is travelling closer to space station.

After half way point movie starts to have topics you don't regularly see on Hollywood movies and it is not as clear what will happen. Everything stays as realistic drama and everything looks and feels 70's. Wikipedia and IMDB say this is comedy but there is very little that is funny. Only things reminding comedy is how this is lighting and style actors act but there is very little that could be considered funny. And even those things doesn't feel funny.

I can't say if Space Station 76 is a good movie or a bad movie. It has unique style and some events you don't expect. After I had to force myself to watch first half, ending left me wanting to see more of this. It ends when things start to get interesting for characters. Movie ends when people start to break from their cycles. I was surprised to learn this movie was R rating. Visually this doesn't have anything that could cause that rating. Themes however are not for kids but R rating is overkill.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

If video is not shown correctly, you can watch it here.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is most anticipated movie of 2015. I don't know what this Star Wars everyone is talking about is. First Avengers movie made a lot of money and after that everyone wanted shared universe. Age of Ultron shows can Marvel keep good thing going on.

I have to say they can keep it going on but the movie shows some pitfalls of shared universe. First movie told one story and concentrated on that. This one tries to set up several movie and follow story arcs of previous movies. You can watch it as individual movie but it is on the limit if there are too many links to other movies.

My video review may be too negative. I liked the movie. There is too much in it. Age of Ultron requires to be watched many times to get all of it. First movie was great first time you saw it.

All of my videos have new music this April. I might keep making new music for these videos but I make no promises. I don't want to explain why I used older music in my videos if I can't come up with new music that week. Now you have hear all my current hardware synths in these videos.

This was more experimental video. I tried couple new things in it. I like to do more experimental videos. Reason why it stopped it earlier was rendering times. I have changed my computer since and new computer seems to handle heavy effects better.

I promised link to Ex Machine review. You can find it here.

Was that staring at the wall reference to Daredevil? I like to think it was.

If you liked the video you can find more videos from here.

Friday, April 24, 2015

About mandatory race changes

I read post about diversity of Fast & Furious 7 audience and how it is the reason why movie is doing so well in box office. It is good movie with diverse cast. And it has Vin Diesel, The Rock and Jason Statham. Studios have realized that white people are not only ones who has money. This has lead to more diverse casts. I have no issues with more diverse casts. I have issue when old characters get race and/or gender change in order to make cast more diverse.

So far I have not seen a movie where this has ruined the movie. Mostly it is just the idea that is annoying. Lucy Liu as Doctor Watson in Elementary worked because Sherlock was different too and they even changed the continent and time. Michael Clarke Duncan was good as Kingpin in Daredevil movie. It is hard to imagine anyone else as Nick Fury after seeing Samuel L Jackson in that role.

In upcoming Fantastic Four movie this goes too far. There sister is white and brother is black. I understand that comics where made for white boys and they had mostly white characters. I also understand that studios want characters of color to make movies appear larger audiences but there should be some kind of respect for source material and not change everything.

To be honest Sue and Johnny being sibling is not defining trait of the group in Fantastic Four comics I have read. But making one sibling white and other black feels like it was done to make more money in box office and Johnny was easiest one to have race change. The Thing is orange rock. Richard Reed and Sue are husband and wife. Changing either ones race would have made marriage interracial which would have been bigger thing. That race change just feel so cynical.

You can add diversity to comic book movies where source material has mainly white characters. Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy was good example. Morgan Freeman's character had important role in movies. Character was created for the movie. It wasn't old character which race was changed.

There was no real reason to change Netflix's Daredevil's Ben Urich's race. Only change his name and race change wasn't required. There was no reason to call him Ben Urich. It didn't bring anything to character. All dialog told us that he was good reporter. They changed the paper's name he worked for. Why not his name too?

Why you need to change characters if you are making movies based on something that has done before? Why not create new characters? If there race changes happen were rare it didn't feel as cynical as it feels now. Now it starts to feel like mandatory thing because movies have to be more diverse. Why not make something new with new characters where cast can be as diverse as wanted? Why only make remakes, reboots, sequels, prequels and movies based on older intellectual property?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

This was last Marvel Cinematic Universe movie I have not seen. I am not biggest fan of Captain America and superhero movie happening during Second World War was not to high on list of movies I wanted to see. Now after I have seen it I have to say it was better than I expected. I should have known better and expect nothing but entertaining movie from Marvel Studios. I am on my way to see Age of Ultron when this is published. That I expect to be good one.

I didn't know who was acting in this. I was pleasantly surprised to see Tommy Lee Jones and Hugo Weaving. I like both in everything I have seen them. Even in Batman Forever and Matrix sequels. If you want to know how good Hugo Weaving is you should watch The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Nowadays Hugo Weaving is always cast as bad guy. He can do much more.

I don't know how much I had liked this if I saw this when this came out. This time part of the fun was seeing all the connections to other movies that came later. This had little bit of 40's and 50's feeling of a simpler world. If you watch science fiction movies from that time scientists and military work together to achieve common goal and no-one betrays others unless they are enemy agents. Howard Stark was scientist of 50's science fiction movies.

Captain America is one dimensional character. He is boy scout doing his duty. He is idealist. Just like Superman he is some kind of idealistic good guy without any character flaws. In later movies he gets frustrated when world is not as idealistic as he is. That is his only character trait. I am amazed how much I have liked both of his movies even thought I don't like character that much.

I liked Winter Soldier more. This is not a bad movie. This is like 40's science fiction movie with with modern technology. I don't know if there were many science fiction movies back then. At least I can't remember any. This feels like science fiction movie of 50's if you take away red scare and unnatural beasts of nuclear era and replace them with 40's war propaganda.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ex Machina (2015)

If video is not shown correctly, you can watch it here.

Ex Machina was the movie I expected to be the best movie of this year. It didn't disappoint. It was just as good as I expected. I don't know what it tells about me that my favorite new science fiction movies have very small casts. Solaris has most of the movie four people, Moon has one man and robot. Ex Machina has four if you include robots. There are other good new science fiction movies with larger casts. These come first to mind when I think about good new science fiction movies. Now I can add Ex Machina to that list.

I could easily do another video about Ex Machina with spoilers. I want to keep these first reviews spoiler free. I might do spoiler video in future. I promised something like that with Interstellar but I have not done that yet. I don't know if I do that. At least now there is no place for it in the schedule.

I mentioned The Machine in video. Both movies have similar themes and stories. One thing I could do in near future is to make spoiler video about both of the movies. Next Wednesday I will see another AI movie but I think it will be quite different.

I made new background music for Daredevil video because I felt I had good idea. I knew for a long time I will background music for this video. I wanted to have something that felt synthetic and robotic. When I made sounds for this they didn't sound what I wanted so I took some presets and tweaked them little. When I saw the movie and heard the soundtrack I thought of making similar music. But I ended up trying to do what was my original vision. It is not what I visioned but it will have to do.

I will do new music more often now that I have my studio set up like I want it. I don't know how often there will be new music but there won't be same music in every video any more.

If you liked the video you can find more videos from here.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Iron Man 2 (2010)

I will review two Marvel Studios' movies I have not watched yet before Avengers: Age of Ultron. Here is the first review. First Iron Man movie was the one that made me stop collecting superhero movies and made me stop watching them at all. I don't remember it to be really bad. I just had enough with that movie. Lately I have been catching up. Iron Man 2 wasn't high on the list since first movie made me stop watching these movies.

Iron Man 2 is like other Iron Man movies, entertaining and filled with action but there is nothing beyond that. Marvel Cinematic Universe regulars as good as always. Justin Hammer and Senator Stern were too much of caricatures. That hurt the story because you could easily see where this was going. I didn't expect this to have ground breaking story but I wanted to have something unexpected like Iron Man 3 had. Those two characters were worst part of the movie.

Mickey Rourke's Ivan Vanko felt like he was from different movie. He was ultra serious and gritty when rest of the main cast was more or less funny guys. It felt like story required darker tone but someone didn't want to do darker movie. Tony dying and Ivan Vanko's story provided darkness. Ivan Vanko was like from that darker movie. Then they had him most of the time with clown like Justin Hammer.

Iron Man 2 started to introduce Marvel Cinematic Universe characters and teased with first Thor movie. Black Widow get most time of them. It made me wonder why we don't get Black Widow movie. She is great character and deserves her own movie. I probably would like Black Widow movie more than I like Iron Man movies. At least if it was done correctly. She is presented correctly in movies she is, so own movie would probably do that too.

I won't go deeper into the story. It is there to connect different scenes. Nobody likes Tony until he saves the day in the end. Iron Man 2 is two hours of entertainment and action but you should not expect anything more from it. Iron Man movies started Marvel Cinematic Universe. However I find other movies better. Iron Man movies tend to be too much about Robert Downey Jr and forget to have interesting story.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Atari: Game Over (2014)

I don't usually do documentaries. This is third one after Pumping Iron and The Salt of the Earth. I knew I have to see Atari: Game Over when I heard it first time. That was when landfill digs were on mainstream news. That kind of spoiled documentary's plot. Atari: Game Over tries to build suspense over landfill digs. But most people will know what will happen because it was in mainstream news.

Atari: Game Over has two stories. First story tells about landfill digs and legend of buried E.T. games. Second story tells briefly rise and fall of Atari which ends to release and returns of E.T. games. Documentary interviews people involved Atari at the time. Even E.T. programmer Howard Scott Warshaw is interviewed. He had to program the game in five weeks when games were normally programmed in five months.

E.T. was released at the time of video game crash of 1983. It was one of biggest commercial failures and has reputation of being worst video game ever. Atari: Game Over gives absolution to Howard Scott Warshaw. Nobody could have done better on time he was given and game is not the worst game ever made. It just happened to come out when game industry was crashing anyway and legend of buried video games gave it reputation of being really bad game.

Landfill story was not as interesting. It was publicity stunt that made documentary famous but documentary would have been better without it. Documentary is little over hour long. It is too short for story of Atari when other half of the movie is about landfill digs. Documentary doesn't tell anything new if you know the subject matter. If you are interested about it you might feel bit disappointed. Interviews with people involved were interesting but there isn't anything deeper than that. Some people seem to be there just to show themselves without bringing anything related to subject.

Atari: Game Over is content of being over one hour long. It doesn't have ambition to be anything more than few interviews and footage from landfill. If you want to know more about video game crash of 1983 you spend your time better watching videos of it from YouTube. You won't get interviews but you learn more about the event from different points of views.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Marvel's Daredevil (2015)

If video is not shown correctly, you can watch it here.

Daredevil was almost all that I wanted it to be. It was bit different that I expected but that was only a good thing. It is best superhero tv show at the moment if you can call Netflix originals tv shows. I have not seen The Flash but I have hard time believing it is better than this. I have heard it is better than Arrow but there is long way from Arrow to Daredevil.

I didn't expect Daredevil to be as dark and realistic as it ended up to be. There were few moments I really didn't expect to see in Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kingpin was most different than I expected. I don't know if it was because he is not yet Kingpin. Maybe he is next season what I remember Kingpin to be.

Another really dark video. This time I almost went too far. This time I only used daylight on cloudy day. That was almost too dark. I think I need to start using lights again. That gives me more lighting options. I planned to use them this time but I liked the light I got using only day light.

This time I used music made for this video. I have ZebraHZ which came with Dark Knight Rises sounds. It is Hans Zimmer version of Zebra 2. I thought it would be cool to make music with it to Daredevil video since Batman and Daredevil are quite similar characters. Music ended up to be really experimental. I am trying to make more new background music. So you can expect to hear more weird music in future.

This video had few references. You can check my reviews of them from:

Daredevil (2003)
Elektra (2005)
Arrow - second season (2013-2014)
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. vs Arrow first season

If you liked the video you can find more videos from here.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Marvel's Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United (2013)

Knowing that I will be binge watching Daredevil this weekend and making video of it I wanted to take it easier with today's post. Marvel's Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United is direct to video animation movie which started series of Heroes United animated movies. Series is strong word in this case because there is only one other movie at the moment. Iron Man's and Captain America's movie which was introduced at end credit scene of this movie.

It is not hard to see why this series has not got wind beneath its wings. Story is like from worst superhero animations. It is senseless fighting almost all the time and things make very little sense. Story goes something like Hydra captures Hulk and Abomination to make new super weapon. Something goes wrong and they release strange energy being called Zzzax. Zzzax tries to eat all the energy it can. It is up to Hulk and Iron Man to stop Zzzax.

Movie looks good. I liked the style but that is only good thing I can say about Marvel's Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United. Other good thing were how it reminded me of better things. Like The Incredible Hulk (2008) which also had Abomination. It is a shame that movie didn't get sequel. We saw Hulkbuster armor which we have also seen in Age of Ultron trailer.

Whole movie felt like it tried to cash on live action movies' success. If you want to see good animated Marvel movie I suggest you check Planet Hulk (2010). Why Marvel Animations don't do movies like that? They have good comic stories in comics which they could turn into animated or live action movies. Instead they make rubbish like Marvel's Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ice Solders (2013)

I was going to start this review saying how realistic Ice Solders are but then I started to wonder is there any place in Canada that has stayed frozen for 50 years. I am not sure. I live in Finland and we don't have even thought we live as north. They are in Canada because there is police and villages. Realistic concept was that genetically modified humans could freeze for 50 years. Now that I think more of it everything around that makes no sense.

During Cuban missile crisis group of Soviet supersolders  try to get to New York their plane crashes in Canada. Canadian troops find them. Supersolders manage to break free and destroy Canadian troop's base. They escape to wilderness only to be frozen for 50 years. Then this happens and then that happens and that is worst part of the movie along with the dialog. Things just happen.

After few minutes you will realize what kind of movie this is and after that there are no surprises. Things just happen. Character can't do anything because they seem to follow reprogrammed patterns. They are incapable of any sort of lying. Even when they are negotiating they tell straight to others' face that they have so good position in the negotiations that others have accept the terms because they have no leverage. There were no negotiations. All dialog was similar. People just said what their position was in conversation. That is efficient but that doesn't make dialog interesting.

Characters were barely written. Main character Malraux was son of supersolder and he wanted to find supersolders. No other real reason than him being on of supersolder's son was never given. Nothing showed why he wanted to find them even when he found supersolders. He was killing them when they found they were alive. Like he wanted to find them to be sure that they were dead. There was scientific reason given but that didn't explain why he was so eager to find them. Him being son of supersolder was so "subtly hinted" that I don't consider it as spoiler even thought that was the twist of the movie.

Premise provided many elements for interesting movie but nothing was used. Supersolders were just killing machines who continued their mission after they were unfrozen like nothing had happened. Their mission was to kill and destroy everything and go to next place to do it again.

Ice Solders had potential but none of that potential realized in final product. Bad writing was main issue. It is hard to say anything about actors because dialog was so bad that even good actors couldn't have made it work.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Fast & Furious 7 (2015)

If video is not shown correctly, you can watch it here.

This April all videos will be 5 Minutes with Kvesti videos reviewing something new. I could even skip The Divergent Series: Insurgent. It premieres in Finland this week. Same week as Daredevil comes to NetFlix. It wasn't hard choice to make. I was looking forward Insurgent even less than Fast & Furious 7. I didn't like Fast & Furious 6 too much.

But Fast & Furious 7 worked better than Fast & Furious 6. It is wasn't because I saw this in theater with my USA boxers. I had other clothes too. Fast & Furious 7 felt more realistic. I don't know how they did it. But they did it. It had some issues but those weren't big. Big screen and good sound system could have helped on those.

This is first video with my new glasses. Fast & Furious 7 was one of the last things I saw with my old glasses. I got text message that my new glasses had arrived during the movie and after the movie I got them. Video also has new music. My goal was to change music more often but I have not been able to make new music. I hope that changes now that I reworked my "studio".  I also tried couple new things on color grading but those may not be as obvious as new glasses and new music.

If you liked the video you can find more videos from here.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Ultraviolet (2006)

I told in my Equilibrium review that it is not fair to compare Ultraviolet to Equilibrium. Reason is that studio took Ultraviolet from hands of Kurt Wimmer and made own version of the movie. What was two hour movie turned out to be one and half hour movie. Studio wanted movie to be more action oriented and less emotional.

This meant that movie feels like unconnected series of action scenes.This was done for movie where action scenes were the worst part and emotional scenes were the best part. I honestly don't know if I want to see two hour version of Ultraviolet. One and half hour version with less action scenes and more emotional scenes would be nice.

Action scenes of Equilibrium were mild compared to action scenes of Ultraviolet. Fighting style is almost the same. Opponents come around our hero and hero kills them easily, She just stands in middle of them and kill them. This time hero moves little more than in Equilibrium. I know this is done for visuals but it feels stupid when every fight goes same way. Opponents surround our hero and then she kills them easily.

Equilibrium was grey movie. Ultraviolet has much more colors. It has all the colors. At beginning it felt like there was too much color and filters but eyes get used to the style and by the end it didn't felt like too much.

Kurt Wimmer has unique style. It is shame that he hasn't made any movies since Ultraviolet. I think he should try smaller drama movie. Action scenes were worst parts of Equilibrium and Ultraviolet. Dramatic and emotional parts worked better. Stories had interesting elements. Only problem was hero being unstoppable one person killing machine. Ultraviolet would have been better if it ended couple moments before final fight. There were couple perfect ending points if movie wanted to have different kind of ending. Choosing one of them and adding more emotional scenes into movie and Ultraviolet might have been science fiction classic. Final battle ruins the movie. Everything interesting was told before it. It just changes the tone.

I am already here without telling what movie was about. Movie was so badly edited that it felt like series of disconnected action scenes. Important story elements were left out to make movie more action oriented. In the end story is not that important. At the current state Ultraviolet is more about visual and emotion than the story. You probably get more out of it if you don't try to make sense of everything. Just enjoy the moments and scenes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Equilibrium (2002)

Equilibrium is first movie directed and written by Kurt Wimmer. I will review the other one next Friday. Original plan was to follow this review with reviews of 1984, Fahrenheit 451 and Matrix. Why those three you may ask. Because this movie has very little that wasn't in those three movies. World is quite like from 1984, Story is from Fahrenheit 451 and visual and action scenes are heavily inspired by Matrix.

Idea was to check if Equilibrium really copied those movies as much as I remember. I have all three movies on dvds but dvds are somewhere on my storage system which is optimized to take as little space as possible. So I decided to make theme of what Kurt Wimmer could do by himself when he has original story compared to what he could do with heavily influenced story. Except that this is not fair comparison but I get back to that on Friday.

Feelings were outlawed after third world war. Rationale was that feelings cause violence. Humans are using drugs to kill their feelings and everything that can cause feelings is forbidden. All kind of art is destroyed when found. People are brainwashed with government's messages on streets and televisions. Parents have to be scared of their kids who might tell authorities their parents have feelings.

Grammaton clerics are special forces of government. They have own martial art called Gun Kata. One cleric can win group of men in gun fight. Clerics follow other forces when they fight against sense offenders, people who don't take their drugs and save art from government. Movie tells one cleric's way from top cleric to sense offender and rebel against government.

Before watching this for review I only had one problem with this movie. Gun Kata would be really ineffective in real life. It is based on statistics. It doesn't take account that other side may learn same statistics and predict where cleric moves next. Clerics just shoot to directions which statistics say cause most damage. When style involves jumping in middle of group of opponents it is really easy to invent counter measures. Like everyone jumping on cleric when he is in the middle. If you don't want to get into hand in hand combat you can stay far from cleric. Long distance fighting is not part of Gun Kata.

When I watched this for review I saw more minor problems. Movie prefers to have cool scenes over those scenes making any sense. Preston, the main character, would have been caught many times since he did so little to hide the fact he had stopped taking the drugs. There is explanation for this but it didn't really give reason why he was not caught by someone.

Equilibrium is entertaining if you don't think too much. Action scenes are stupid but they look good. Christian Bale and Sean Bean are good. Emily Watson was ok. Other main characters weren't as good which hurts the movie a bit. There are few really cool scenes. It is different matter if they make sense. As I said, this in entertaining if you don't think too much.