Friday, December 30, 2016

Passengers (2016)

I go into spoilers in this review. If you want my spoiler free thoughts you can find them here.

I liked Passengers. It is not the greatest movie. It had potential to be better. It just didn't want to go where it should have gone. There were few moment if they went to different direction this would have been great movie. It is too predictable. Trailer and ads give too much away. I would have liked the movie more if I knew nothing about it.

Like good science fiction this make people react differently from which angle they see it. The big thing is Chris Pratt wakes Jennifer Lawrence up after he has been waked up alone for over a year. How you react to this defines how you see the movie. Some seem to hate Chris Pratt is shown redeemable. Chris Pratt was shown as too likeable. He should have been creepier but I kind of understand why he did it.

Passengers is quite hard science fiction. Chris Pratt was miscast. They used too much of his charisma and made him dance. Someone less charismatic should have been in his role. There were few changes to make this darker and better. They chose to make this predictable.

Passengers have potential but it doesn't rise up to level of Moon, Ex Machina or Solaris which are doing similar thing. There are no major flaws. Movie just doesn't dare to go far enough. It is not action movie. Casting and trailers portray it having more action than it actually has. Most of the time it is one or two people spending time on empty space ship.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Rogue One: a Star Wars Story (2016)

I will get in spoilers in this review. If you want my spoiler free you can find them here.

Rogue One is fan service after fan service and almost nothing more than that. I gave this movie a change. I even put my Star Wars shirt on. I didn't expect much and I get what I expected. Force Awakens was remake of New Hope. This is prequel to New Hope. So far new Star Wars movies have given us images we liked in the Original Trilogy.

Movie lost me when it started by showing flashes on different planets where different characters dropped names of other characters I knew nothing about. Something happened and we saw different planets of Star Wars universe and saw various characters which can be sold as toys. I just didn't understand what was point of it until movie started to follow characters more. By that time I had lost interest.

You forgive many things if you are invested into story and characters. I wasn't with Rogue One. I knew what I should have felt. I just didn't feel it. When there was CGI shot of space ships I thought ship in front has different light source than ships in background. When Jedha was destroyed I wondered why destruction spread so slowly and why everything related to destruction happened so slowly.

When we saw Darth Vader first time I wonder why he would hang around in lava planet after he was burned so badly on one earlier. It looked like it was his home. When he attacked rebels during final battle I wondered why he was at the front of the attack. Was he tired during New Hope when he let stormtroopers do the dirty work?

When they were in Scarif stealing the plans I wondered why Empire would store important data into hard disks which you need to get and attach to something to get to the data. When you want to transport that data you have to go outside to put the hard disk into satellite dish then walk narrow bridge to satellite dish controller which is high above the ground on top of nothing. When Empire stops rebels sending data they destroy whole data storage facility instead of turning off or destroying the satellite dish. Probably there was no easy way to turn off the dish.

By destroying the facility they lost huge amounts of data which probably isn't stored anywhere else. When rebels got the data they stored it into one disc which they had to get into safety. Star Wars universe isn't very good at storing and transporting data even after they got it wirelessly.

I would have forgiven this if I was invested. Ending was spoiled 1977. There are only two interesting characters. Donnie Yen's character and the robot. Both are in supporting roles. Jyn Erso is just boring. She is supposed to be female Han Solo who grows to join the rebels and become leader. Her inspirational dialog didn't feel right coming out of mouth of someone who had not shown any interest to rebellion before.

Cassian Andor was just unlikeable creep even when he made choice to stand up for something. Yes, he is another Han Solo character. Main bad guy was just generic ambitious bad guy. I felt they got Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin wrong. Saw Gerrera felt too much like General Grievous. His death scene was just him giving up.

Rogue One is not one of top three Star Wars movie. People lost their minds when the saw stormtroopers, tie fighters, AT-ATs, star destroyers and other familiar things from original trilogy. Rogue One offers only little more than eye candy for fans of original trilogy. It will be forgotten by the time we get next Star Wars movie which again is one of the best movies of all time for a short while until people see what it actually is.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) & Passengers (2016)

If you can't see the video you can find it here.

This is my spoiler free review of Rogue One and Passengers. I didn't plan to watch Rogue on in theater. I just had time on Christmas Day to watch it and Passengers. Passengers I actually wanted to see. I will write spoiler reviews to my blog later. There I go deeper into these movies.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Wynonna Earp - Season 1 (2016)

I'll be honest. I didn't like Wynonna Earp after first few episodes. There was something interesting but overall things didn't click. Maybe I expected something else. Then something happened and I started to like the series more and more. Wynonna Earp is hard to put into any category. When you think you have figured it out next episode throws something else for you to process.

Wynonna Earp is Wyatt Earp's descendant and part of Earp's curse. Every generation of Wyatt Earp's descendants have to fight demons who are imprisoned in small town of Purgatory. They have Wyatt Earp's gun which sends demons back to hell. Wynonna is little bit Jessica Jones like character who tried to run from her destiny. She get help from her siblings, black ops agent Dolls and immortal Doc Holiday.

Series is bit too uneven. Characters range from forced dialog and even more forced acting Doc Holiday to almost normal people. Most characters are more or less boosted stereotypes. At first boosted stereotypes took me off but then I started to like them. Even Doc Holiday. Another character I started to like during the season was Wynonna's sister Waverly. She probably had most of character arc of all the characters.

You shouldn't expect anything realistic like I did. This is modern supernatural western with punk girl as main character and biker gang like demons as villains with supernatural horror characters visiting every now and then. It might be too different for mainstream audience. I just hope it will have enough audience to last many seasons.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Spectral (2016)

Some Netflix Originals are really good like Stranger Things and all their Marvel series. Some are not so good. Some are interesting but lack something. Spectral is not so good. Really good stuff seems to be limited to series. I have yet to see really good Netflix Original movie. Arq had potential but something was missing.

Spectral is science fiction action horror movie which offers nothing but science fiction action horror movie. There are no interesting characters. Message is when you use science to create weapons something could go wrong. Movie looks good but that is not enough. Movie adds too many characters only to be killed off in seconds when action starts.

Main problem is nothing important happens. There are no character arcs. Characters don't grow during the story and we don't learn anything about them after their introduction. Movie goes from scene to scene. When heroes have problems scientist invents something or someone comes to help them. There are no twists at all. Story just follows heroes going from one place to another. There was one unexpected event which was only unexpected because you don't normally see that. It just didn't have weight it should have had. Characters reacted to it for few seconds and then forgot it ever happened.

I wish they put more effort into story. With few changes it could have been interesting. Now Spectral is just another science fiction action horror movie. Good looking but nothing more than average.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Westworld - Season 1 (2016)

If you can't see the video you can find it here.

Season finale of Westworld's first season was quite interesting. If I shot this right after it video would have been different. I would have been more hyped. I shot this next day and was able to be more grounded.

I bought Westworld soundtrack. I liked detuned piano it had. I wanted something similar. Lucky for me I owned plugin Ramin Djawadi probably used in soundtrack. He was one of the people commenting plugin on plugin's page. All music in the video is from Pianoteq 5 using U4 instrument. I liked Pianoteq before but finding condition setting made me like it even more. At least to my ears my piano sounds close enough to what was in Westworld's soundtrack.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Babylon A.D. (2008)

For some reason I want to like Babylon A.D. I remember it better than it is after I have forgotten what it was like. This review will have big spoilers. If I want to talk about the movie I have to spoil it. Otherwise I could only say it is not that good and it tells about Vin Diesel and Michelle Yeoh taking innocent girl from Eastern Europe to America.

Movie happens in near future. Eastern Europe is war zone with people walking around with assault rifles. Criminals seem to be in control. Vin Diesel is hiding from the law in some small random village when he gets job to take innocent girl from middle of nowhere monastery to America. Michelle Yeoh is girl's guardian.

Later we learn girl is actually religious cult project to give them miracle. She is supposed to give birth to messiah or something like that. Vin Diesel is taking girl to them. Scientist who designed the girl tries to stop this with his own private army. Religious cult has own army and some kind of missile striking possibility. Criminal also has own private army. Makes you wonder why Vin Diesel had to bring the girl alone with Michelle Yeoh through dangerous route. To make everything make less sense fetal messiah gives supernatural powers to girl.

People and groups don't have motivations. Movie explains very little. Almost too little. World could have had interesting stories but nothing has any backstory if it is not directly connected to main story arch. For example we don't get to see genetic engineering anywhere else than in the girl. Borders are controlled but everyone seem to be able to carry assault rifles and have their private armies to do what they want.

Babylon A.D. has interesting idea which is wasted. It puts too much effort on being cool and too little on telling interesting stories. Movie feels more like collection of scenes than interesting story. Many things have almost no build up. We saw scientist's private army without telling who they were earlier in movie. When we met scientist we learned army was his. Scientist is big part of the whole story but we see him for few minutes. During that time he explains what was really going on and dies. Not that others get more backstory or character.