Monday, March 25, 2019

Love, Death + Robots (2019)

Love, Death + Robots is anthology series of short movies. Most short movies are science fiction but there are few horror ones. It is like modern version of Heavy Metal movies. Each movie is less than 17 minutes and there are 18 of them. Animation is good in all of them. Stories vary in quality. Some would have worked as full length movies.

Beyond the Aquila Rift and Zima Blue rise above the rest. I could easily see Beyond as big budget full length movie. Really good science fiction movie. Zima Blue is harder to see as full length movie. It was only one with more than just nice idea. It had something deeper. But extending it further might have hurt the impact.

After first eight episodes stories' quality drops considerably. After those there is only Zima Blue which rises to same level. Even over the top episodes (When The Yogurt Took Over) worked during first eight episodes. Second half had all the worst episodes (Shape-Shifters, Lucky 13, Blindspot and Alternate Histories) which didn't seem to have any point. Yogurt and Alternative Histories go similarly over the top. What differs them is that Yogurt has a point to make when Alternative Histories just stack up craziness.

Love, Death + Robots is adult animated series which some creators seem to think means they have to show genitals and add rude language. I am not saying you shouldn't do it. It just felt unnecessary in few short movies. There was no reason for it. When there was reason it worked. I didn't get same feeling from Heavy Metal movies even when they had lot of sex and violence.

Love, Death + Robots is worth checking because the good episodes. It is quite uneven because short movies are made by different people and they don't have any connection with each others. Good episodes tend to be on first half. I might have liked Sucker of Souls less if it wasn't in between better episodes. Episodes on second half don't have that benefit.

Monday, March 18, 2019

IO (2019)

I like science fiction movies with little or no action. Moon and Solaris are high on my favorite movie list. Ex Machina goes to same category. Also one of my favorite movies. All has small cast. Each can build tension without threat of violence. Then there is IO which on paper is similar movie.

IO tells about young scientist woman living on dying Earth. She tries to figure out way to save Earth after almost everyone else has left the planet. Air has become poisonous on lower places. On higher places it is still breathable. After last evacuation flights are announced a man with hot air balloon lands next to her home.

I am not sure what I expected from IO. At the beginning it spend time establishing protagonist. Problems start when she is established and plot should start moving on. There is practically nothing building any tension. Characters spend most of the time literally waiting for something. What they wait changes during the movie but most of the time they are waiting for something without any sense of urgency.

She is not on brink of scientific breakthrough. He seem to have all the time in the world until he decides to go to last evacuation ship. But even then there is no feel of urgency. We learn something new from characters but it doesn't matter. There are couple twists which either were so obvious it is hard to call them twists or felt really weird when thinking what happened earlier.

I wanted to like IO. Couple changes would have made it better and more interesting. Having she being close to find a way to save Earth and him wanting more to be on last evacuation ship would have given them conflicting motivations. Now it is just two people hanging together even when their backs stories gave them a reason to have conflict. Some sort of conflict was written but it wasn't there.

IO is annoying movie because you can see all the potential but they backed down at some point. You can get interesting story from contents of his backpack and his backstory. That story was written there at some point but someone didn't like it. It is not about special effects budget. Just writing and doing everything better with same resources would have made the difference.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Has DCEU as we know it ended?

I saw news where higher up in Warner Bros said they will concentrate on individual movies instead of making deeply interconnected movie universe. I guess there were hints of it with Joker movie which isn't connected to other movies and Shazam which trailer don't look anything like other DCEU movies. They may get back to interconnected movie universe later. It looks like they are keeping which has worked and change everything else.

Wonder Woman and Aquaman will get sequels because audiences have liked them. Suicide Squad will get spin off Birds of Prey with Harley Quinn. Harley Quinn is popular character and it was few of better liked parts of Suicide Squad. And Suicide Squad will have James Gunn's sequel. First Suicide Squad was marketed like DC's Guardians of the Galaxy. Sequel might actually be what we hoped the first be.

Concentrating on individual movies might sound like good idea and what they should have done from the beginning. Marvel Studios did that except they had interconnected world on back of their mind all the time. DCEU concentrated interconnected universe on expense of the individual movies. It is not the only problem movies had. Now they are going to other direction. If they completely forget interconnected universe it might come back to haunt them.

DCEU has lost Superman and Batman. Without them anything built for Justice League is gone. They can cast new actors but it would be really confusing since other characters from earlier movies have same actors continuing. There will be new Batman but it will be hard to connect him with Wonder Woman and Aquaman from earlier movies. There might be two different Jokers if Jared Leto get back to Suicide Squad's Joker. Even more if there is new Joker for young Batman.

Warner's DC movies could get really confusing really fast if they concentrate on individual movies and make them best they can be without thinking interconnectivity. It could be like reading character's best comic book stories without reading anything that happens in between. It could bring good movies but later everything feels like mess. At least for us who care about stories and continuity.

With Zack Snyder gone I have some hope for the future of Warner's DC movies. I have really high hopes with James Gunn's Suicide Squad. Wonder Woman sequel can actually be good movie when it doesn't happen during World War. Film Noir Batman could be really good. There is potential but previous track record haven't been too good.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Miami Connection (1987)

Miami Connection is legendary bad movie. I wanted to see what all the fuzz was about. Movie isn't as exciting as its reputation let you believe. Maybe it was because I watched it alone. With right group it would have worked better.

Movie tells about band named Dragon Sound. They annoy everyone just by existing. Another band hates them because they want to play on same venue. Two band members date which makes girl's brother hate the band. Group of ninjas hate them because they are only thing preventing the group to rule the city. There is no plot. Band just plays on club. Band members go to school and live together. Various groups fight the band. And that is it.

Almost forgot. One band member is looking for his lost father. That is closest thing to a story. Other than that it is escalating fights. It is just the whole world wanting to fight the band and their friends for various reasons.

"Only through the elimination of violence can we achieve world peace". Movie ends with that. Couple minutes before that band members went crazy killing ninjas. If movie wanted to have message of peace it didn't do it well. There are couple lines against violence but band goes to fight other gangs because someone left note on their car's windshield. There isn't much more than band playing and band fighting. At the beginning they back down but in the end they go crazy killing people.

Miami Connection is full of wtf moments. I can see why it has the reputation. But in the end it is non-characters walking from one scene to another. It gets pretty boring pretty fast. Most of the insanity isn't interesting enough. This is a bad movie.  You need to have correct frame of mind and probably correct group with you.