Ad Astra

When the Earth is struck by deadly power surges, US Space Command calls upon the services of astronaut Roy McBride. Years ago, McBride’s father was declared missing, presumed dead, in the vicinity of Neptune, and SpaceCom now believes that he is the source of the bursts. McBride is sent on a mission to Mars to contact his father, before further surge harm Earth any further.

Ad Astra was the big budget sci-fi title of 2019, and at the time, I felt a little disappointed that I hadn’t got around to seeing it in the cinema. Now that I have seen it, I feel only glad that I didn’t waste my money. Continue reading

Frozen 2

Even though I came to it years after everyone else was fed up with the sound of “Let It Go”, I do rather like the original Frozen. It has catchy songs, strong characters, and a twist on the usual “handsome prince” love story. Thus, despite having been burnt by Disney sequels many times before, I was actually looking forward to seeing Frozen 2.

The original Frozen was pretty much a self-contained story, with no real loose ends to speak of. With that as a starting point, Frozen 2 basically has little choice but to retcon everything you thought you knew about Arendelle. Continue reading

Nightcrawler

Lou Bloom is a petty thief who gets inspired to become a freelance photographer, selling exclusive photos of crime scenes to the local news. But as Lou gets a taste for success, he starts pushing the boundaries of what he can get away with, from minor tampering to deliberate sabotage. Continue reading

The Beyond (2017)

Finding the right kind of craptacular sci-fi movies to watch and blog about isn’t an easy task. What I’m looking for is something that’s either entertainingly bad, or has a core concept that’s either interesting or stupid enough to warrant further examination. I was hoping The Beyond might just meet these criteria, buy sadly, it’s largely just plain dull.

The Beyond (not to be confused with the 1980s Italian horror of the same name) is meant to be a sci-fi horror shot in the style of a documentary. Let’s start by recounting the Netflix description of the movie: “A team of robotically-advanced astronauts travel through a new wormhole, but the mission returns early, sparking questions about what was discovered”. Continue reading

The Purge: So bad it’s…no, it’s just bad

Content warning: rape, violence

It’s been a while since I’ve written one of my “bad movies with potentially interesting ideas” reviews. With that in mind, and with Netflix offering some promising candidates, I decided to try out The Purge. I’d seen a trailer some years ago that promised a truly craptacular experience, and given that the film was a modest 85 minutes long, it at least wouldn’t drag on.

The Purge takes place in a future America where the totalitarian New Founding Fathers have instigated an annual overnight event – the titular Purge – during which all crime is legal and people can commit whatever violent acts they desire. The stated ideology behind this is that humans must have an outlet for their naturally violent urges, and if they can fill their boots during The Purge, they will be peaceful and law abiding for the rest of the year. In fact, The Purge is actually a form of population control, in which rich white people get free rein to peck off all those pesky poor people and ethnic minorities. Continue reading

Whiplash

Andrew Neiman is a jazz student who is determined to become a world-class drummer. To that end, he manages to get a place as an alternate in his instructor Terence Fletcher’s studio band. Fletcher is a harsh taskmaster who demands the best from his players, and who can turn downright abusive and violent when they don’t live up to his expectations. Will Neiman be broken by Fletcher’s harsh methods, or will they just strengthen his resolve?

The world of music can be an intense one, but in Whiplash, we see that idea pushed to its limits. This isn’t a film about a hero and the villain he must triumph over – it’s about a protagonist who is himself a bit of an arsehole, being pushed beyond his limits by a man he both hates and admires in equal measure. Continue reading

The Thief and the Cobbler

The Thief and the Cobbler Recobbled Cut (YouTube)

The latest in my series of “things I decided to watch after listening to Imaginary Worlds”, The Thief and the Cobbler is also the start of a new category of viewing for me – animated films that took decades to make. Seriously, if you think Nomura is taking his time with Kingdom Hearts III, then bear in mind that this film was in production for 29 years – and even then, the final version was, much like FFXV, an hastily cut together unfinished product. Continue reading

Annihilation: A decent sci-fi movie

Long-time readers of this blog will know that I’ve watched and reviewed a lot of terrible sci-fi movies. And, much as I enjoyed picking them to pieces, it saddened me that a genre I loved so much seemed to churn out so many duds. Forunately, the likes of The Martian and Pacific Rim kept me going, ensuring that I didn’t abandon sci-fi completely.

Enter Annihilation, the film adaptation of Jeff Vandermeer’s novel of the same name. Annihilation quietly landed on UK Netflix in March, and I soon picked up a positive vibe about it from both friends and Twitter. In due course, I gave it a go myself. Continue reading

Mad Max: Fury Road

In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, precious resources such as water and gasoline are controlled by vicious biker gangs. When the eponymous Max Rockatansky is captured by Immortan Joe’s War Boys to become an unwilling blood donor, it looks like the end of the road. At least, until he becomes involved in a rebellion by Joe’s trusted lieutenant, Imperator Furiosa, who has made a break for freedom along with Joe’s wives – a group of fertile women held against their will. Continue reading