In 1986, there was released an arcade game in which you could play as a lizard, an ape, or a wolf, move back and forth on a static screen of a random cityscape, and beat it to ash. That….is essentially the entirety of the plot of Rampage the arcade game. I fed an unholy amount of quarters into that machine, and had fond memories of the arcade game, which naturally required a feature film adaptation. Given my description of what the plot of the game was, you can see where they might need to add some things to reach a theatrical run time. I was hoping this was going to be a really fun bad movie. That was my bar going into the film. Instead, Rampage is a hyper violent, crass, ball of dumb (yes even by giant animals smash things standards). It’s not good bad. It’s just baaaad.
Go a whole hour without make a sound. You can’t sit still; you have to go about your daily life, but you can’t make a sound. If you do, you die. That simple sonic twist is the bread and butter on which John Krasinski (who both stars in and artfully directs the film) bases A Quiet Place. Alien invasions have been done to death. Post-apocalyptic is so last decade. Everything in A Quiet Place is something that’s been done before, but never, to my knowledge, with sound as the difference between life and death.
Back to you, trying to be quiet, what are you doing? Reading? Did you drop your book? You died. Laughed at something clever in the writing? Dead. Now, what if you had to live in a barren world with those kind of stakes, gather food, raise your family, communicate, protect yourself, just simply walk…..with no noise or you die. A Quiet Place is a familiar thing done in an original way and the result is and extraordinarily tense, well-acted, unforgettable film.
Continue reading Movie Review: A Quiet Place (2018) *Sound = Fury*
What happens when reality gets to be too much? Well, most of us depart it as soon as possible. “Humankind cannot bear very much reality,” (little T.S. Eliot for you) and it’s true. Especially in the hypersaturated information age, reality is an overwhelming non-stop sensory onslaught. People need to check out to stay sane. Some find healthy ways of doing this, others not so healthy, but the need for escapism remains. In Ready Player One, the enter world has escaped a depressing society into a virtual reality playground known as the OASIS. Inside, the whole world is engaged in a treasure hunt to find three keys that will unlock the ownership of the OASIS embedded in the system by its deceased founder. If that sounds like an awesome premise for a story, you are correct. The book is one of my favorite of the last decade. Whether you like Ready Player One or not, is probably going to depend on whether you have read the book or not and know just how much better THAT story is than the one Steven Spielberg delivers. Continue reading Movie Review: Ready Player One (2018) *All Pop Without the Culture*
When Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim came out, I didn’t initially love it, but over the years the earnest joy with which del Toro embraced his concept and owned it won me over. While both Pacific Rim and Transformers feature giant robots, I honestly wouldn’t think to compare them, but Pacific Rim: Uprising reminded me of a Transformers sequel. Eye-rollingly dumb and awful enough to diminish your appreciation for the original source material, and assuming more sequels without the capacity to even succeed in one. This wasn’t just disappointing; this was the worst film I’ve seen in 2018 so far. Continue reading Movie Review: Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018) *A Disgrace to All Jaegers*
Lara Croft isn’t just bosoms any more, people. Since 2013, when Square Enix rebooted the chesty gaming icon, Croft has been the realistically proportioned, desexualized, gritty action star of 2013’s Tomb Raider and 2015’s Rise of the Tomb Raider (the third game, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, is due out in September). The character was refocused as an intelligent, empowered seeker of rare artifacts and, yes, raider of tombs. Opposing her is a shadowy organization called Trinity (corporate motto: “Hey, we’re not The Umbrella Corporation, for crying out loud!”). Alicia Vikander looks freakishly like the rebooted Lara (who is voiced in the games by Grey’s Anatomy star Camilla Luddington), and she is undoubtedly the best part of the Tomb Raider movie franchise reboot. She’s a perfect Lara Croft. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much where the good news stops.