Tag: Sci-Fi

Doors

You know what we need? More beautiful and glorious independent sci-fi film. I think Arrival counted as indie. Maybe it wasn’t. It felt indie at least.

And Doors, at least by cover art and plot, looks like something that could be confused with Arrival.

So I will go in expecting Arrival level quality, or else I riot and walk.

kids
Arrival had some kids in it, sure. 

Doors is actually a sci-fi movie with four related yet independent parts (the last one is very short). It involves suddenly these black alien entities that appear all around the world in random places. They get nicknamed as doors (even though they don’t look like doors), but you can walk into them and go somewhere. And they also talk to some people.

The first segment, Lockdown, is when they first arrive, and centers on some students taking a test. That one stars Kathy Khanh, Julianne Collins, Aric Floyd, Rory Anne Dahl, Christopher Black, and Saman Kesh.

Then a few weeks later, we have the Knockers segment, named after people who go into the doors to investigate. They have a limited amount of time to gather any intel to report back, before being trapped or losing their own minds. This one features Josh Peck and Lina Esco.

The third segment, 100 or so day after the doors, we focus on Jamal, a lone scientist who thinks he has figured out how to actual communicate with the doors. Hearing them and letting them hear him. Starring Kyp Malone, Kristina Lear, Bira Vanara, and Wilson Bethel.

The last segment is a quick zoom interview, with a conspiracy DJ and a famous alien scientist, featuring Darius Levanté.

knockers
Even got fun containment costumes. Will it make me cry? 

Doors was nothing like Arrival, of course, and I only have myself to blame for that. With four different stories though, unfortunately, it would require most of them to be good -awesome for the movie to be worth it. From my count we have two average stories, and two below average stories, which is a huge disappointment.

The first two were the okay ones. In the school, it had a couple nice moments, but that was about it. It kept up the mystery which is nice. The second story, with the knockers, had the potential to be fun. It had a lot of mind fuckery going on inside the doors. But mind fuckery for mind fuckery’s sake is not worth it if there is no real purpose behind it. I mean, maybe the purpose is evil aliens. It however still needs something to give it meaning or reason and it chooses not to.

What I am saying is, I can’t overall like it, if I don’t eventually find out a reason for what was going on. And they don’t give a good reason, besides Alien space magic tech and that is it, which is a sort of boring answer.

The last two stories? Well, one didn’t seem interesting. It had a guy be able to communicate back and forth with a door for others to hear. But we also already knew they could communicate in some way. Was that more interesting? Nope. More just silly door shenanigans. And the last one felt like it wanted to be a scene out of a Paranormal  Activity movie.

Doors could have been great. It could have tried to give any answers to it. It could have gone for some deep psychology. But it went for a couple of scares and a couple of snoozes instead. Yawn.

1 out of 4.

Voyagers

I don’t know how I can take seriously someone with the last name of Burger. Talkin’ bout Neil Burger that is, director and writer of voyagers. He has been around the block once or twice in movie land. I have reviewed a few of his films before. He did The Upside, Divergent, Limitless, and even The Illusionist way back ago, which he also wrote unlike the previous few.

None of his films I have loved, some of them I have disliked, but at least one I did like overall. It just didn’t go as far as I had hoped (but it did launch a TV show eventually, so good on him).

Now going into Voyagers, I knew nothing about it. Some movie set in space. So what? That isn’t special. Earth is in space, so everything set on Earth is also set in space. But seriously, I heard about this movie two days before watching it, only seeing a single poster, so going in almost as blind as possible to this one, and I hope this one will not muddle about and get me into that “love” territory for one of his films.

kids
Picture of me teaching how to love movies during the pandemic.

In the future, our Earth is gonna be fucked. We know this, and all the movies know it, because it is a popular topic. So we have to get off this rock and find a new rock that could support our life, but this time, try not to screw the planet up. But we haven’t gotten that sweet cryosleep technology figured out yet, so any travel to the planet would have to be real time, with those at the start not going to likely see the planet in their lifetime, with over 80 years of journey time.

So what is the human race going to do? Well, the plan is to send a big group of kids, slightly genetically picked to be smart and efficient. They will be test tube babies. They will under go schooling and training together. And then they will be sent in the rocket. And one adult (Colin Farrell) as a guide, so they can go earlier than planned, and he can help out, knowing he definitely won’t see the new planet.

And sure, things go well for a bit. But once a student discovers one of their supplements was a lie, and actually used to suppress their hormones to keep their emotions and sex drives very low, things start to get bad. Distrust begins to happen. And a death. And now with no trust, and factions, and SO MANY EMOTIONS, they are going to have to see if they even want to continue this mission at all.

Starring so many young actors and actresses! Like Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp, Fionn Whitehead, Archie Madekwe, Archie Renaux, Chante Adams, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Madison Hu, Quintessa Swindell, Viveik Kalra, and Wern Lee.

bad touch
This is not a good touch, get your puberty off of her! 

Sure enough, this ended up being one of those movies where I really got into the story and dug it, and found myself along for the ride at several points. The beginning had a good chance of dragging on too long with the set up, but it zoomed through everything pretty quickly. Before and after sexy puberty time, the aura of the ship was noticeable and getting darker.

Is this movie saying sex emotions are bad?! Nah, it is just telling a story with some thrills (and just a little little bit of sex, it is just a PG-13 flick), on a very unique ride through space. I will say the movie got really close to making a really good point about growing up, or “society” or whatever, but never seemed to land that point just right, which is probably why a lot of people left this movie annoyed.

Basically, it feels like Lord of the Flies, in space. And honestly, I had to pause it multiple times just because I was getting  stressed out for some of the characters who couldn’t get out of their situation. They were literally trapped on the same ship, and I didn’t know if the movie would end on a good or a bad note.

And hey, maybe this movie is just an allegory for pandemics. A few selfish people who don’t want to listen to the rules can ruin things for everyone. Literally the future of our species too.

Oh yeah, come on director. Gonna have a lot of test tube babies and can’t get more diversity in this film? It has like the bare minimum, but we are talking about a future colony going to settle all the humans. I’d expect a bit more of an effort.

3 out of 4.

Godzilla vs. Kong

Godzilla. King Kong. Lizard. Ape. Will buildings get destroyed? Yes. Buildings will get destroyed.

The attempts to combine these franchises (well, one recent Kong Movie and two recent Godzilla movies) into one ultimate destruction battle was a lofty one, but clearly not one unheard of in our connected universes strategy of films. It was a guarantee, I imagine, to one day occur. I tried to come in ready for it, but honestly, I still never saw Godzilla: King of Monsters from two years ago, and at this point, I can’t imagine I will.

I was hoping that seeing the other two intro films would be enough, but it looks like this film made mostly throw backs to that last one, versus the other two. Damn it.

In Godzilla vs. Kong, the director promised there would be an obvious winner and not some bullshit tie overall. That is an important claim to make and really one of the main reasons I decided to even watch this one.

blast
Oh, Rave Godzilla has to be one of my favorite Godzillas. 

Rawr! Let’s get it on! Wait, no, not yet. First of all, Godzilla has been firmly established as some sort of Alpha Predator, whose sole purpose and existence is meant to make sure no other threats ruin the world. Godzilla doesn’t want to destroy, it wants to keep the balance and go back to the depths.

Kong though is another alpha predator thing. So some people are worried that this means Godzilla is going to come and destroy him at some point, so they have him in hiding, sort of.

There are also some corporations doing corporation things. There is a theory of a Hallow Earth where these beasts must have come from, that is likely to have huge power sources. So some companies want that power. Some want to just return Kong to his home. Some want to destroy all the monsters. You know, typical stuff.

Overall, they are going to have to fight, multiple times, and we are going to have to see things get fucked up along the way.

Also starring some humans like Alexander Skarsgård, Brian Tyree Henry, Demián Bichir, Eiza González, Julian Dennison, Kaylee Hottle, Kyle Chandler, Lance Reddick, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, and Shun Oguri.

kong
Is this his “fuck around, find out” face?

Hey? Do you like monsters fighting? Then this film has some of that! Honestly, I did think there would be more fighting overall, so I am surprised that there wasn’t even more. But I guess only two main monsters can wail on each other for awhile. There are some minor monsters in the Hallow Earth area too, but they don’t do much for the action or the plot.

Of course the plot is weak. And again, I am disappointed about how much of it is based on the King of Monsters film, just because I hadn’t seen it. Literally any returning characters (outside of the giant ones) were from that movie. It did have some surprises in store, which helped keep things interesting. But at least early on, the slowness of the plot, and even the first battle, failed to keep things super interesting for me.

Now one major plus is that the fight scenes were all incredible visible and detailed, and I loved that. Giant monster fights and CGI have usually meant a lot of dark fights, or messy blurs, where your mind has to put in the action, but that only happened a little bit in the first major fight, due to the underwater aspect. The major fights that mattered where very clear and that added a huge amount of awesome to the film.

And what about the winner? Did the director lie? No. Not really. I can understand the moment they are saying that there would be clearly one winner, no takeaways. But we still had to fall into some similar versus film tropes that I also wanted out of my movie. From what the director said is the definitive answer, I agree with who was chosen, as it is the one that makes the most sense.  However, again, still, they make it super definitive either. It isn’t as final as I would have hoped based on the remarks, so really, the director remarks set up my expectations to be higher than they would have been otherwise.

Godzilla vs. Kong is still a lot of fun, especially in the last third. Just have to slog through the human stuff, and the early battles.

2 out of 4.

Boss Level

Alright, this is where I say things that are contradictory.
I am pretty certain, at this point, we need to calm the hell down with the “repeat a day forever” movie concept. Take an entire chill suppository.

Yeah, sure, Palm Springs came out last year and it made my top of the year list. But it tried something different, and we already got a similar movie to that one this year with The Map of Tiny Perfect Things.

And now we have Boss Level, which is supposed to be like a video game? You know, like how Edge of Tomorrow was sort of like a video game.

We definitely have too many in the genre coming too fast, which means we are about to get a slew of bad repeat day movies. Like what happened to the found footage concept. Then people will automatically hate them without giving some a shot, and some of them will rise to the top and be good.

All of this to say, I did like Boss Level, so uhhh. I guess I am happy it came out.

 

sword
I normally put regular words here, but I kind of want to put s-words instead.

 

Every morning when Roy Pulver (Frank Grillo) wakes up, it is because of an assassin standing over his bed with a sword, and a woman in his bed screaming. 

And after him, comes the helicopter. And after the helicopter, comes any number of other assassins. He has been doing this for over 100 days, he has no idea why people are going after him, he never really makes it that far in the day, and he is ready to give it all up. Unfortunately, giving it all up means just doing it again, a huge torturous shit hole.

What can he do to find the secret? What can he do to get stronger and survive? What can he do to find his ex (Naomi Watts) and see if her science shit is behind this whole thing?

Starring a lot of people, and more than I am tagging.  Rio Grillo, Rob Gronkowski, Ken Jeong, Meadow Williams, Michelle Yeoh, Selina Lo, Sheaun McKinney, Annabelle Wallis, Will Sasso, and unfortunately Mel Gibson

 

 

games
No, they don’t get to play the video game this one I guess pretends to be. 

 

The only way Boss Level works is through the charisma of the lead, Grillo. Without him, or an equally charismatic lead, this movie would be bargain bin trash.

Look. The plot is pretty low. It does explain the “why” this situation is occurring, for sure. But it doesn’t mean the explanation is that great. This is also a movie that wants classic Mel Gibson to be the big bad guy, but it feels like Gibson is barely in it. Is he the top of the bad guys? Sure. Do we need him in this movie? Not really, anyone could play that spot. And I’d definitely prefer someone who wasn’t anti-Semitic. 

Also, this film in no way feels like a video game at any point. The title implies it, the intro implies it, the screen they show when a new day implies it, but it never feels like a video game from the show of it. We don’t have…well, any video game aspects at all that one would expect. It feels a bit strange to imply it all while providing no actual video game elements in the story, and that is disappointing. 

But again. I still gave it a 3 out of 4 despite its many flaws because I had tons of fun. Grillo went full Grillo here. He was extreme, he was loud, crass, and somehow really deadly, until he died himself. I think a lot of the assassins could have been better given distinct personalities, but most are pretty basic. 

A fun movie. But hey. Stop doing these things. For a little bit. I don’t need to see trapped in a day films for some time. Let’s make it until the end of the year, okay? 

 

 

3 out of 4.

 

Cosmic Sin

To sin is divine and to err is human. Is that a quote? Probably.

Strictly speaking, sinning probably refers generally to doing bad stuff in the Christian religion that their god said was a no-no. Whether it is one of ten things or one out of hundreds is debatable. So what would a Cosmic Sin be?

Can you be a Christian on another planet? Does their god care if you keep the Sabbath holy if you are on another planet with different lengths in days? Do you have to keep track of Earth Sunday’s regardless of the time or day of your planet?

Or is a Cosmic Sin just a generic term to mean something so bad, that it is bad on a galaxy plus level? What could be that bad? A double forgetting of the Sabbath maybe?

bruce
Is wearing space armor after some space holiday a cosmic sin?

After some initial plot, it turns out we are hundreds of years in the future, the world united due to some past nonsense as a federation power. And now? Now there are aliens that we have to deal with.

Initially they don’t know if they are good or bad, but the aliens do start attacking our side, so of course, they must be bad. Ideally, this won’t start a big war between planets, that is costly and sucks. Can’t we just end the war really quick with a small force? That’d be nice.

That is why they get James Ford (Bruce Willis). They want him to un-retire so he can lead a small team of people to the planet and maybe put an end to this thing. And hopefully they don’t start an interstellar war by going, that would be the opposite of their planned outcomes.

Also starring Frank Grillo, Brandon Thomas Lee, Corey Large, C.J. Perry, Lochlyn Munro, Perrey Reeves, Costas Mandylor, Eva De Dominici, and Adelaide Kane.

army
The good news about space armor is that you don’t have to protect your head.

That was probably one of the worst plot descriptions I have ever written. I definitely watched Cosmic Sin. But it is not a plot that sticks with me. The movie felt like a complete drag. Hours later, after I had seen it, I realized I forgot almost every aspect of the film. I remembered the ending in the bar, and one scene when the aliens first start attacking,  and that is about it. That isn’t enough for a great plot analysis.

But the gist is there. And hey, you know I was bored as all could be.

For a moment I did think this might be something where Grillo/Willis was noted as the leads, while also barely being in it. That is only partially true. They are for sure in it, and have main parts. But I will also say that that there for sure a lot of scenes, relatively long in length, where they are not present as all. They were probably limited in some amount for actual time to do shoots, but the film did the best they could around it, if I had to imagine any scenario.

Overall, Cosmic Sin is forgettable enough that I would probably forget to write the review if it came out a week later. I had high hopes, because damn it, this movie had Lochlyn Munro, and I like the guy. His part was limited too.

1 out of 4.

Chaos Walking

Chaos Walking is obviously not the only movie to be delayed recently, but it is notable that it was delayed before the Pandemic! It finished shooting in late 2017, but they announced it needed reshoots in mid 2018 due to people hating it, and they had to wait a whole year to do reshoots, thanks to the leads being in major franchises and having full schedules.

Then it was delayed March 2020, and you know the rest there.

It turns out this is based on a book, The Knife of Never Letting Go, in the Chaos Walking trilogy. I really like that title though. It reminds me of Never Let Me Go. And it puts the future of this trilogy into question. Too many YA novels have an issue where the trilogy name is used for the first book, meaning future books/films have awkward naming conventions. And for this, they used the trilogy name instead of the book name.

Huh. Interesting. Okay. Well, future movie’s will worry about that issue then, if they get any.

running
Okay, this is Chaos Running actually.

Todd (Tom Holland) is just a kid living a world that has gotten pretty fucked over. First of all, no women! Boooo. Second of all, only men! Boooo!

Now this world isn’t our world, it is New World. And at some point a virus came and killed everyone on it called The Noise. The Noise was fatal to women, and for men it just made it so their inner thoughts were all audible to those around them, and creating a visible cloud around their head. Also there is some alien stuff.

Todd is set to being a new warrior or scout or whatever, as he gets older and learns to better control his thoughts. But then he discovers a crash landing on his planet and finds, a girl?! Viola (Daisy Ridley) and a crew crashed down, not good, but she is the only survivor, and they have no clue about this Noise stuff.

And a few plot shenanigans later, Todd and Viola are on the run from his city, who want to capture the girl, and look up settlements that are rumored to exist, even though Todd thought he was in the only real community left in the world.

Also starring Demián Bichir, David Oyelowo, Kurt Sutter, Cynthia Erivo, Mads Mikkelsen, Nick Jonas, and Bethany Anne Lind.

thoughts
No, he is not thinking of the movie The Color Purple

Jeez, I wonder what they changes with this version versus their initial version? I hope it wasn’t adding in MORE ACTION because honestly, that was one of their weaker points. The action, and fighting, especially near the end. I was a much bigger fan of the drama and suspense before that. You can have a big fight between communities without needing to bog us down in the fighting.

I am not anti violence, it just felt like a lot more at the end versus any point earlier, even if the threat was already there. I was more curious about the mystery, and the aliens, and the virus, all of that, and it just never delved enough for me.

The acting is fine, but for a movie with stars like that, this is not good enough.  I do think Bachir probably did the best of the bunch, but he was also limited in his role.

This is supposed to be a fantastic book and trilogy, and honestly at this point, I can’t see how the book would be good for me. I feel like the movie not really being great, while also telling me about the secrets (unless they are different) would ruin the appeal of the book and I have no reason at all to seek it out. I certainly don’t read everything, and I try not to read things before movie adaptations, but I do get quite annoyed when a movie takes away my desire to ever read the story.

A potentially riveting plot line that is ruined with mediocrity and forgettableness.

1 out of 4.

Bliss

If ignorance is bliss, what does that mean for the movie Bliss? Is it also ignorance?

The is a good question, and honestly, the movie Bliss is definitely going for this quote when it picked the title. You can live your life happy. You can live your life normal. But what if there is more out there? What if you are in a simulation and trapped? Would you want to know that? You wouldn’t be blissful in that regard.

But bliss can be brought by different ways. Through narcotics, for example, that just wipe away your worries, and make you forget about the bad.

Huh, maybe this film is about both.

hayek
I don’t know what is happening here, but ACAB.
Greg Wittle (Owen Wilson) is some sort of person with a job and a family. He isn’t that successful at either. He is divorced. And even though he has a big job in in his firm, his performance has been notably slipping lately.  In fact, his boss wants to talk to him about that specifically, and fires him.Aw shucks.

Well, an argument happens with his boss, and Greg books it out of the building to hide out across the street, where he meets Isabel Clemens (Salma Hayek), a girl from his drawings. She helps him get out of a few jams, so he trusts her now, and is whisked away in the city.

Sure, she may be some level of homeless, but she says she does it to live off the grid. She knows that they are living in a simulation and that Greg is one of the few real people in the simulation for a visit along with her. She proves it by giving him a pill that gives him the power to mess with the world around them, like they are kinetic. Oh shit. This must be real!

But what about Greg’s kids (Nesta Cooper, Jorge Lendeborg Jr.)? Are they really fake? Will being on the streets, hiding from the world improve his life? Can he escape this situation?

Also starring Bill Nye.

walk
You mean to tell me the Bill Nye? The Science Guy? Is in this film? Wow!

Bliss wants to be a movie that has it both ways and keeps itself open to interpretation to keep the conversation going. Never fully giving an answer. But honestly, after watching it, I can only see one answer. Is it drugs? Is it a simulation?

This isn’t a spoiler, it is my just thoughts on the film. But when watching this movie, throughout, the only thing I can ever think about is that this movie is about drugs and drug addiction. It just has the simulation angle as a hook to get people to watch it, and hey, people addicted can totally live their reality thinking their reality isn’t real. (Damn, what a sentence that was).

And when examining this film as a movie about the dangers of drug addiction, and seeking out help, and letting them overtake your life, this is a much better film. If you examine it as a movie about being in a simulation it is pretty bad. It doesn’t have a great ending, despite believing it to be a simulation still, and uhhh, I just don’t get a lot out of this thought process.

So why the low rating? Well, there is a certain simulation scene, that takes up way too much of the movie. It is like, the entire second and maybe part of the third act. There is no reason to be in that mode for so long. It is so boring. It is uninteresting. It is like ten minutes of content that they just stretch over 30-40 and it slows the movie down. It is really quick early on and stays that way for a good chunk. A slow down could be helpful, but not if we are just sitting there wondering what is the point and waiting to get back to the actual story (because we all know its coming).

Wilson and Hayek are okay at the acting in this one, this is probably one of Hayek’s better in the last few years, but she also has been in a lot of shit lately, so that doesn’t say a lot. The film does a good job of having us feel for the daughter character, and we can all be so lucky to have a kid like her.

1 out of 4.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things

Let’s say we had the title as a real item. You know, The Map of Tiny Perfect Things.

What does that mean? Is it a treasure map thing that takes you on an adventure? One tiny prefect thing to the next? Or is it just like a regular map, but instead of street names (or in addition to street names), it has some perfect things along the way.

What a useless sounding map, holy damn.

I mean, these things that are perfect. They are tiny? And I guess they are plentiful enough to make a map? I don’t know why I’d want a map like this.

love?
“Oooh, I love it when you talk to me like a cartographer.”
Mark (Kyle Allen) wakes up one summer morning, during a time when he has summer school, and has an interesting morning. He knows stuff in the crossword, he knows what his sister will say, and he has breakfast timed perfectly. Heck, traveling around his town, he flows seamlessly around traffic and people, helping people along the way, things are going great. It is because, sure enough, Mark has been here before.

He is stuck in a time loop. Pretty normal situation for anyone to be in really, nothing weird to see here. Except he is a teenager, with limited income, and resources, so he feels pretty stuck. And while trying to go on a date with this one girl whom he barely knows (getting closer and closer each time maybe?) he spies another girl, whom he never saw in that part of town at that point of the day.

Her name is Margaret (Kathryn Newton) and, sure enough, she is also in a time loop on the same day. Great! Mark wants to hang out, someone they can share experiences about. They can meet up. They can feel less repetitive! And of course, Mark is going to fall for her, because he is a horndog and wants that physical touch, but she is uninterested.

Well, Mark has the idea that to get out of the loop, they should have a perfect day, mapping out the perfect events around town, those weird moments where something perfect occurs all the time around them in life, but now they are going to try and find them and map them (and redraw the map daily). I mean, sure, why the fuck not, you got eternity I guess?

Also starring Jermaine Harris, Josh Hamilton, Cleo Fraser, and Anna Mikami.

helmet
This must be that big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff. 
Oh hey. Did you like Palm Springs last year? The R rated movie of a similar subject matter, with two people stuck in the same day? Then you’ll love this movie! Then you might like or might hate this film.

And for me, it definitely falls in the latter. Part of Palm Springs being great was the uniqueness of the concept, having a second person in the loop, after it was already going on for a long time, and having an expert of the day.  And obviously this movie has the same concept, but it is a lot more toned down. You know, because of the age of the protagonists, and the rating.

So it is nowhere close to being a funny film, it is just a very uncomfortable romance with a “sci-fi” element. It isn’t original, but it is well shot I guess?

I will say by the end, they start to go for something profound. Just a bit. And it all deals with the Margaret character and her struggles, but they haphazardly put it together, and things get solved because of it. Oh okay. Kind of not only fumbled throughout the execution, but the ending as well? It didn’t drive the point home at all well enough, and just sort of ended. And of course, the plot about the map of little perfect things, the title, is exhaustingly boring.

One final nitpick. The “moon date” scene I hated so much. Besides feeling extremely creepy because he is just trying to court Margaret against her already stated wishes, but it is just…impossible to have done given their constraints of time. They use one line to explain it, but it isn’t believable, and that is important even during a fantasy film.

Definitely one to skip and pretend didn’t really happen.

1 out of 4.

Max Cloud

Check out my interview with Martin Owen, the director, here!

What would you do if your son was at home, crying all alone on the bedroom floor because he’s hungry? And the the only way to feed him is to escape from a video game you got sucked into playing the part of one of the weaker side characters and really hoping you don’t die?

Alright, only some of that is relevant to Max Cloud. Max Cloud is a space hero. But he is also a video game character. And someone does get sucked into the video game. But don’t worry, no sons will be hungry tonight.

fight
Ah yes, heroes, ready to fight, and to eliminate evil.

Sarah (Isabelle Allen) is just a teenage girl living at home with her dad in the 1980’s. She loves video games and he (Sam Hazeldine) doesn’t love her spending too much time on them. He constantly has to tell her to get off of them to do something else. Sarah would rather play the space game all day, and try to win. She wishes should could play it all day! Enter game based space witch (Jason Maza). And sure enough, Sarah gets whisked away into the game! But she doesn’t get to be Max Cloud (Scott Adkins). She has to play Jake (Elliot James Langridge), the cook, one of the few survivors at the start of the game, with no skill set.

Being placed in a game is cool, but how is she eventually going to get out? The space witch was like an Easter Egg and she has no idea how to activate it. And what if she dies in the game?!

Sarah has some help in the game, with other NPCs, and her best friend (Franz Drameh) in her room to navigate her character closer and closer to the end game. But what happens if they win? Would it just reset?

Too much afoot for Sarah to figure out. Just have to hope that Max Cloud is as good as his box says he is!

Also starring John Hannah, Lashana Lynch, and Tommy Flanagan.

evil
You know you are a bad guy if you sit and laugh in the dark.

Max Cloud isn’t the first movie or book about being sucked into a video game and having to deal with the consequences, and it certainly won’t be the last. It is, however, a film that is incredibly uninspired and doesn’t offer much new into the “getting sucked into games” genre.

It takes place in the UK, and in the late 80’s, so maybe that is supposed to be enough of a reason to differentiate it? Not really. Most of Allen in this movie is just her voice, speaking through the TV to her her friend and dad. The scenes inside the game don’t feel like a game, just like a sci-fi broken ship. It was going for realism for the characters inside the game, but it also never felt really like a game at all, which is what I as a viewer would hope for. Outside of a few jokes or occasional reference, she could have also just been sucked into a campy sci-fi show and there wouldn’t be much difference.

The real world plot is simple, they are hoping to beat the game for her so that maybe she can escape. The plot of the Max Cloud video game is very bad though, and technically, most of the plot in the video game. If it was intentionally bad on purpose, for a campy reason, they should have made it more obvious, but it just drags the whole film down with it since it maintains a slightly serious tone for a comedy film.

I guess one of the biggest problems with the movie is it isn’t clear what it wants to be. It is a “Getting sucked into a game” movie that really would probably rather just be a straight sci-fi movie. It isn’t sure if it would rather be serious or a comedy, so it tries for both, giving the viewer not much of either. It had the potential to do more with its side characters and villains to make them interesting, but everything felt two-dimensional (heh). That could be the goal, if it was going for the bad video game vibe, but that goal can’t be achieved if the main real characters only talk about how awesome the game is. The bad video game plot just becomes bad movie plot, and the whole film suffers from it.

Max Cloud is messy, but not in a good way, and forgettable, in the worst way.

0 out of 4.

Synchronic

Synchronic has probably one of the best movie posters I have seen of this year. Check it out. I don’t know anything about this movie going into it, but it captivates a lot of imagery. Is it about time travel? It is probably about time travel. Maybe.

The film is directed by Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, who have worked together before, but got relatively famous in the indie community for directing The Endless a couple of years ago. That was a film I wanted more out of, and probably need to give a second chance viewing.

But they love dealing with the mysterious, and the drama, and the fantasy, so I am sure, sure…that this movie is about time travel. Probably.

OH ALSO! The directors care about safety, and don’t actually want you to go to theaters if it isn’t safe enough. That is pretty awesome and will hurt their line and maybe their status in the business, but hey, they have morals damn it.

night
Well, there’s no proof of time travel in this picture. Unless they time travel to night time of the same day.

Steve (Anthony Mackie) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan) are paramedics down in New Orleans, and this movie has nothing to do with Katrina (yay!). It is just a setting. A lot of their job unfortunately is working with people hurt and dying of drug overdoses, given the location of their city. Nothing against people with addictions, it is just a same to see so many young lives lost and stuck.

Steve has his own worries going on, about his future career, and about his life, after being a bachelor for so long. His partner has a wife (Katie Aselton) and kids, the oldest Brianna (Ally Ioannides) is turning 18 and wants to move away for college. What the hell is Steve doing with his life?

Well, at the same time, a new designer drug hits their area, named Synchronic. Nice name. It gets a real unique feeling but has side effects, of course. Shit starts getting wild around them, like, their world changes. Sometimes people feel like they are going to a completely different part of the world in a different time. Like…time travel. But sometimes, young people don’t return for some reason.

And sure enough, Brianna goes missing. Did she take the drug? Is it time for experiment drug taking to save a life?

day
Okay, this also isn’t time travel. This is just normal day time, booo.

As I already stated, I did see their first film The Endless. And despite not getting fully entrenched in that film, I can say visually it is obvious these are the same directors. A lot of it stylistically feels the same, despite having a higher budget this time around for better equipment (and the low equipment was likely part of the appeal of The Endless). It still contains that ominous air of mystery and music around the situation, asking us to wonder how much of it is real and where is the story going?

Mackie absolutely slays in the lead of this film. He feels so emotional and real. We get all about his business and this entire film feels personal to him. I don’t remember if we have ever seen this side of him before, but Mackie does have a lot of smaller films to his name, they aren’t all just Avengers an cop movies, so I can’t say I’ve seen them all.

The drug is relatively unique and I love, LOVE, the rules associated with it and the methodology put into it by the characters to discover just how things worked. It didn’t answer all the questions, but enough to get the job done.

This is a film about finding your purpose in life, whether you are read for it or not. Accepting a destiny that is hard to fathom until the moment really shows itself. How can you better yourself or your surroundings when so much shit is falling apart in front of your eyes?

Synchronic has some great visuals that are limited in nature, you have to wait for them and earn them (outside of the opening scene). It doesn’t overwhelm you with special effects constantly, it is a lot more grounded in reality. It is a fresh and unique film and one that is worth at least one gander, if not two.

3 out of 4.