The Predator

I don’t think I saw the first Predator movie, nor did I see the next one. I did see both Alien vs Predator films though, and of course, Predators, from a handful of years ago.

I think I would enjoy the first Predator movie, it sounds like it is really well made and will have high levels of tension, especially in the end. I will put it on my list. I still know roughly the events of these films, because hey, geek and movie culture.

But to continue the string of very nondescript movie titles. this one is going to be called The Predator, because I guess there is only going to be one. That is some Highlander stealing shit right there. And since it is directed by Shane Black, I can only assume that it will take place during Christmas.

Pred1
Time to hang up the people stockings.

Let’s all head to Mexico! Where there are drug deals, of course! Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) is an asshole, but he is our asshole. He is also a good soldier and sniper. Sure it basically cost him his marriage, being all soldier-y and out a lot, but he is still a good soldier. And during a mission, a space ship crashes nearby with a scary creature with invisible capabilities.

So he does what any hard working American would do in that case. He steals some of the monster’s equipment and mails it to his P.O. Box at his home city. Thanks to plot though, they go to his home, so his young autistic son (Jacob Tremblay) can find it and mess with alien stuff.

Through other plot, the alien gets captured by secret space force people. We got a real mean dickhead (Sterling K. Brown, who seems to be getting younger in his roles) who wants to unlock their potential. We got an alien biologist (Olivia Munn) who is surprisingly good at shooting things with various weapons. Hell, we have a whole bus load of “crazy” PTSD soldiers that they are hiding away who are going to be dealing with this thing.

But most importantly, this will end up taking place over Halloween. Damn Shane Black, way to trick us.

Also starring Yvonne Strahovski, Trevante Rhodes, Thomas Jane, Keegan-Michael Key, Jake Busey, Augusto Aguilera, and Alfie Allen.

Pred2
Well I guess instead of hanging stockings, they are just hanging Halloween decorations. Makes more sense.

The Predator is basically a trash movie. A movie that feels like an incredible waste of time, and did not live up to any of the expectations that I went in with. And honestly, I didn’t have many.

People tried to talk about what the trailer implied, but I didn’t see it, so I didn’t know where they were coming from. Instead, I just know it is a crap film. Why? Well, this film is basically a comedy. It is very much almost a slapstick comedy. Because we have this group of men with zany personalities (because of mental disturbances) they all have quips and one liners. This means everyone, starting with the guy who is supposed to be the joke maker, all the way down to the more serious characters. It is like they wanted to make The Avengers, but you know, PTSD army folks.

Gosh, the humor was so annoying. At no point could a viewer feel threatened or scared by the predators. When everything is a goddamn joke, it is hard for anything to really draw the viewer in. Tense moments are wasted by jokes and by extremely bad cut jobs. This film moves all over the place, and it is hard to judge how time works. We quickly go from a night scene to an early morning scene, a literal night and day difference, in the final action sequences. If there were a lot of practical effects (/people in suits) it is wasted by the other CGI effects. The kills aren’t too great. And the predator v predator fight is not worth any amount of hype.

AND HOW THE HELL ARE THEY GOING TO HAVE A FILM CALLED THE PREDATOR WITH MORE THAN ONE PREDATOR.

This cannot be the movie people were hoping to get. Somewhere a better film might exist, but really, it needs a plot upheaval and most of it to be re-shot with a different cast. Yeah, we just need a different movie.

1 out of 4.

Kin

Editor’s note: Since writing this article, which were indeed my first thoughts on the film, unbiased by others, I have read a review of Kin that I can clearly state is better than mine and makes a better point. Read it here at Texas Art & Film. I am almost ashamed because I usually notice issues like this one, but I simply missed it maybe due to the better cinematography and music of the film.

I went into Kin mostly blind. I didn’t really like the name, but I knew nothing about the story, nor did I see any ads anywhere. It felt like a secret release, but hey, I don’t watch a lot of commercials so it is hard to see.

The only thing I knew was two of the main actors listed in the movie. It still was clearly an indie movie, but while watching it, I was surprised at just how many other actors I knew or recognized. It has at least five famous or notable people, none of which are the “lead” in this film. It is surprising given the lower overall budget of the movie.

Sometimes, actors just do lower budget films for less because they like the story or whatever. And James Franco just does it for shits and giggles. I think he wants half of his films to be movies people have never heard about before.

Truck
Half of this photo is new, half of this photo is really old.

In the near future, Detroit is a piece of shit. This is true generally always, in every movie, about the near future Detroit. It is also somewhat true about present Detroit.

Eli Solinski (Myles Truitt) is a kid having problems at school. He is a black kid. He is getting suspended. Turns out his mom died recently. His mom being someone who adopted him, and he has had a hard time adjusting. His dad (Dennis Quaid) is very strict, but supportive, and stuck in his morals. His older adopted brother, Jimmy (Jack Reynor), has been in prison for awhile due to stealing some things, and he has been a bit of a stain upon the family.

Well, Jimmy gets back home, and it is awkward. It is also awkward because he needs some money. He took out a “loan” in prison for protection, so he wouldn’t have to worry about getting shanked. And his loan sharks want their money back right away, which he doesn’t have, his dad doesn’t have, but the job office might have some.

Around this same time, Eli, who has been stealing copper from some of the many abandoned warehouses, stumbles upon a strange sight. A gun. An…alien gun? Something that whirrs and boops and is totally not normal.

Long story short, Eli and his brother are going on a road trip. Some bad people are after them, but they have money, guns, and Eli doesn’t know anything bad is going on at all.

Also starring James Franco, Zoë Kravitz, Carrie Coon, Ian Matthews, and Gavin Fox.

Gun
Alien guns make my favorite gun sound, pew pew pew.

I really did go into this movie thinking it would be shit, only knowing it was some sort of family film and science fiction. But I was surprised at how hard this film tried to be a contender. It didn’t reach its lofty goals, but it had a lot of good going on with it.

The soundtrack behind it is one that is meant to really draw you in, with an electro pulse to keep tension up in non tense moments. The camera lingered over scenes. The film embraced silence without dialogue constantly to catch us up on their emotions and potential growth. It is a slow build and not just a rainstorm of action scenes to keep the viewers excited while things explode in alien gun glory.

No, it is a film about family. It is slow, and there is some crime and sad killing moments.

Now the ending of the film feels very convenient. The clues are there, and it offers at least one surprise, but it also ends the film in a weird note. Too many things are wrapped up without the appropriate fallout one would expect. It sets up a franchise that everyone can tell while watching will never come to fruition.

And honestly, it is too slow. Build is one thing, but this movie didn’t always build, but instead sort of stalled at points. The road trip felt like it would go on forever, and it was frustrating that things weren’t really moving along faster.

This was a good idea for a film, and clearly care was taken into it. It just could have also been a lot better at the same time.

2 out of 4.

Upgrade

Unless you were looking for it, you probably would have easily missed Upgrade in the theaters. I don’t think I saw a single trailer for the movie, I certainly don’t remember seeing a poster or ads on the internet.

If it wasn’t for word of mouth, this might have been something I picked up months from now on Red Box but that is a big if.

I went out of my way to see Upgrade on the final day of a local Alamo Drafthouse which was closing to move to a better location. It seemed like the sort of old school brutal 80s movie to watch in a theater like that.

An indie film, only a few stars, and a robot. Let’s do this.

Romance
Is that a generic romance from an 80’s film as well? Oh they are going all in!

Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green) is a simple man, in an overly complicated and modern world. Cars are self driving now almost exclusively. Technology is everywhere. And Grey likes to restore old classic cars to their former glory. He likes to drive them too, his hands behind the wheel, not just a passenger. His wife (Melanie Vallejo) really brings in all of the money to their house.

Grey has just finished up a new car restore and is bringing it to his secret client relatively far away, Eron (Harrison Gilbertson). Eron is a secluded tech brilliant billionaire. People love his work. Grey finds out that Eron is working on a new chip that can basically do anything. It is strong enough to be a second brain.

And on the way home? The self driving car for our couple goes wild, takes them to a weird part of town, and crashes. There, Eron gets shot in the spine, paralyzing himself from the neck down.

Fuck. This ruins his livliehood. This brings him depression. This makes everything shit. Sure, they can afford good technologies for the house to help him still feel like he has control, and technology allows him to go anywhere, but that isn’t what he wants. And sure enough, here comes Eron later, offering to put a chip in his body, telling him it will restore his body so that he can move, walk, run, everything.

And then? Then he can get revenge.

Also starring Betty Gabriel and Benedict Hardie.

Face
No cool robot arms. Just a single chip in the neck! See it?

Early on in Upgrade, after we get to have the accident and the plot start to unfold, like most people, you will probably assume where the story is going to go and guess some of the conclusions. And to be honest, you won’t be entirely wrong.

Initially it turned me off in the movie, because I figured I understood where it was going, how it would end, and all of that. But the obvious is thankfully only part of the whole story and a whole lot more takes place than I expected. The ending really helps drive this film home.

Sure, before that, we basically have an action movie where a character gets to be much stronger and faster than expected, so we get to see those shocked faces, awkward movement, very choreographed (intentionally) looking fight scenes where one guy just demolishes his opposition. And it works and it is entertaining.

The film itself looks very dark, as it was going for a future techno underworld feel, while still maintaining aspects of an 80 movie. It is gritty, before gritty became a recent trend type thing.

Overall Upgrade isn’t going to change cinema, science fiction, or action movies. It is very entertaining and relatively short to recent movies, so it will be a quick way to spend less than two hours without being disappointed.

3 out of 4.

Annihilation

Fuck.

I missed the Annihilation pre-screening, and I felt bad, because I want to support independent science fiction films. Then I found out about all the drama with it and Netflix. Netflix had streaming rights for every country except for the USA and China. You see, Paramount wanted to sort of dump it because they didn’t think it would be successful. So you know, they didn’t put it in any theaters and couldn’t be successful.

The deal with Netflix would be that it had to wait 17 days after being in theater in those two countries before it could be on the program.

Fine, I would just watch it before then and review that bad boy up. And I did!

I just forgot about the review thing. And it isn’t that I forgot to review it. I knowingly just kept pushing it back and back and back, for reasons I will explain at the end. Needless to say, here is a review, two months after I planned to release it.

Dream Team
Blame it on the patriarchy.

For a few years, a shimmering glowing force has appeared in a remote part of the world. It is hard to fathom just what is going on in that area, but it definitely is growing over time. In fact, it has been there for three years, and everyone basically has no fucking clue what is going on. Because no one has ever returned.

Well, one guy did. Kane (Oscar Isaac). He is a special forces member of the Army. He is pretty messed up. He has returned home to his wife, Lena (Natalie Portman), who the story is actually about. You see Lena is also a soldier, or at least she used to be. She is now mostly a professor of cellular biology. Smart and strong.

After some plot reasons, she is brought to one of their bases around this field area, where she meets others who are planning to go in. For whatever reason, communication always shuts off, and they don’t really understand what is going on inside this aura.

But Lena ends up joining a team of all women to go in and hopefully, this time, report back with what is going on. And this vague synopsis is both meant to keep it spoiler free, and also try to recall everything that happened.

Also starring Benedict Wong, Gina Rodriguez, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sonoya Mizuno, Tessa Thompson, and Tuva Novotny.

Crocoshark
She is thinking of getting into animal dentistry as well.

Annihilation, by any standard, is not a dumb movie. Which is one way of calling it a smart movie, but I am not fully committed to that line. It is above average, and after watching it I did have to speculate about it for awhile. So it is a thinker film.

A thinker film with scares, sci-fi weirdness, and pretty darn good acting. It also has a few flashbacks, questions about humanity, questions about evolution, and this one fucking ape scene that is like, omg.

Either way, I started thinking too much about the thinking movie, so I pushed back my planned review. Then I stopped thinking about it, and figured I couldn’t write it at that point because I forgot some information, and that is why we are two months late at this point.

I believe my conclusion to this movie is that I liked it, and disliked it. The ending was interesting, but not at all what I craved. This is a film that really begs for multiple watches, and the theater experience will really add with the sounds this film gives.

This is not mindless entertainment. This is entertainment that can drive your mind to uselessness and eventually forgetfulness. What a strange review ending this has become.

2 out of 4.

Geostorm

I am a goddamn geophysicist, and it took me until almost half of a year later to watch goddamn Geostorm.

IT IS ABOUT EXTREME WEATHER. AND THE EARTH. AND I AM A GEOPHYSICIST.

It would have been unacceptable for me to watch San Andreas way late, like I did with Geostorm.

And hell, I have been relatively kind to natural disaster films on this site. I liked Into The Storm, and you already forgot it existed! Bring on the disaster, especially if it is fun.

Ice
Are those ice zombies? What are those soldiers going to do to those poor popsicles?

The Climate is fucked. After the storms started getting worse and worse, these extreme weather events began to get out of hand. Heatwaves killing thousands in an afternoon. Parts of NYC getting flooded. It just needed to stop. So the world finally came together. They couldn’t stop the climate change. But they could try to curb it.

With all nations actually working together, they developed technology, and put satellites into the orbit. Using science or whatever, these satellites around the globe can disrupt big weather events and counter act them through…I dunno, science/technology stuff. Just trust us, it works.

Hurricanes be gone, droughts be gone, whatever. The world is now a happy and prosperous place. The main creator Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler) was taken from his design though, because he was hard to work with. The US Government wasn’t a fan, especially because he wanted it to be perfect enough for the technology to be controlled by the UN, not the USA. Once he is kicked out, and his brother (Jim Sturgess) is put in charge, he feels like it is still fine, but nope. Time for exile.

He is just going to be needed years later, when the satellites begin to malfunction. Now these big storm events are starting to occur, people are dying, and bad things are happening. If these storms continue, they will start to cause other storms, until they get big enough that the whole world will be under weather advisory. A Geostorm.

Also starring a lot of other people: Like Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Daniel Wu, Eugenio Derbez, Amr Waked, Adepero Oduye, Andy Garcia, Ed Harris, Richard Schiff, Robert Sheehan, Zazie Beetz, and Mare Winningham.

Space
Surprise! Half of this film takes place not even on the geo!

Goddamn it. I wanted to watch a terrible nature disaster movie. But Geostorm isn’t really a terrible disaster movie. It is really just a terrible political thriller, that has climate disaster consequences.

Fuck that.

I mean, if it was a good political thriller and about climate change, it would be one thing. But it is terrible at explaining the disasters, and a terrible thriller, with terrible action. Everything about it is terrible!

Well then why isn’t it a zero? You know, if I hated it, and the acting was bad, and the plot was bad, and the disasters were bad?

Well, they called the satellite program the Dutch boy. You know, referencing the fable about him sticking his finger in a dyke. That makes me chuckle. That is a solid nickname. That is worth a slight price of admission.

And unfortunately, Butler is a scientist in this movie, and mostly in space. So we don’t get to see him fighting a tornado or anything cool. Very disappointing.

1 out of 4.

Time Trap

This is one of the many reviews that have come out of WorldFest in Houston. Check the WorldFest tag to see them all!

Time Trap is one of the few science fiction movies to come out of the festival, at least full length ones. The shorts usually have a good number of them, but it is harder to get it to the full film length, usually for budget reasons.

Sci-Fi as a genre doesn´t have to be more expensive than other genres, it just can be if they go heavy on the effects and future technology. Also, last year I watched a Sci-Fi movie there and it made my worst of the year list. That one was Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter, which the title practically promised would be terrible.

But Time Trap looked like it would keep itself small scale, maybe go for a good story over dazzling CGI, and it the description made it seem like a man and his harem going out to find a missing person.

group
Almost a harem, turns out the Furby character was a boy.

Set in the modern day, we start with Professor Hopper (Andrew Wilson, of the Wilson family) scaling the caves with his dog, looking through a weird book, and finding strange sights in the cave. You know, like people being in them and not moving. Natural stuff. Originally he was out there looking for a van of lost hippies from decades before, but due to these strange occurrences, he is going to check them out alone and not bring his two graduate students Taylor (Reiley McClendon) and Jackie (Brianne Howey).

Welp, two days later, the professor is still gone. No one has heard from him, he isn´t answering his phone, and time to panic. Taylor and Jackie know where he went roughly, and have decided to look for him. They bring along Cara (Cassidy Gifford), who likes Taylor, because she has access to her dad´s nice truck. Cara has to bring her younger sister Veeves (Olivia Draguicevich), and they also bring along Veeves´ friend, Furby (Max Wright), for some reason or another.

Needless to say, when they get to the caves, they start to explore, start to spelunker, and shit gets weird really quick. Like they are trapped. In time.

Cave
Everyone looks like a really realistic statue in pictures. Or like they are trapped. In time.

I went in expecting the worst, and left pleasantly surprised. As the movie unfolded, I started to write down potential plot holes that might occur, or questions that were maybe going to be left unexplained, but the movie handled them all. I also am generally worried about anything in a movie that deals with time (especially time travel (and no, this movie isnt really time travel)), but it still handled it very well. It was consistent, it was cool, it was fun, and it was a bit scary.

The good news about casting young people in a movie is that they often will act like young people in scary situations. The cast did a fine job of reacting to their surroundings and showing appropriate emotion. None of them really stood out as rising about the rest, but I will point out that it was a great idea to make the cast relatively intelligent. They weren´t constantly tripping over themselves to run away while scared. They knew science things, questioned the weird, knew technology, and trusted each other.

The story is also relatively entertaining. The hole they are digging in that cave just keeps getting deeper and deeper and it seems like there will never be a way out. It is very hard to predict where they are going with the story and it does reach a satisfying conclusion.

Time Trap is a simple story with big ideas and expanse. It is a really great idea for science fiction problem, while relating it to mythology of the past at the same time. Definitely worth a watch in the future.

3 out of 4.

The Titan

In the future, Netflix will release an original movie every day. Some might be great, some might be terrible, and some you will never fucking notice, because you are not their demographic, and it will be hidden behind all your The Office rewatch suggestions.

The Titan is one of their bigger releases that they want all audiences (outside of their special kids accounts to see), because they put money into this one, damn it! We got effects, make up, and big stars.

Hey, do you remember Sam Worthington, from Clash of the Titans and Avatar? Basically the biggest name in cinema. They had enough money to pay him!

Water
If a movie involves water, it makes 20x more. Just ask James Cameron!

In this future world, everything sucks. Life is fucked. War and explosions and poverty. Earth is basically dead on arrival. Their only hope is to abandon all hope and find some other planet or place to live.

And their best shot is the planet Titan. Because Titan has water, and water is the key to their life. But they know that humans cannot survive on their own on Titan. They are going to be developing some drugs for people to take to alter their biology a bit to survive on that watery sphere. You know, like a bigger ability to be under water. Normal stuff.

The facility to train these soldiers on the mission is probably in the nicest part of the country! They have places to have fun, good houses, and food. Lt. Rick Janssen (Sam Worthington) and his family (Taylor Schilling, Noah Jupe) are one of the families coming in to create a better world for their son, and hopefully escape off of this hell hole. But they are not telling the participants the full truth of their mission.

Also starring Tom Wilkinson, Agyness Deyn, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Corey Johnson.

Aliens
Like balding, yuck!

I wasn’t really sure what to expect with The Titan. I went in blind as I often do with these random Netflix movies that pop and demand my attention. I chose it because it was that specific day and I needed something to have on while I graded papers. Simple as that.

The Titan has a slow build of mystery attached to it. Just what are they going to do to prepare these people for life on another planet? How will they change? And what side effects will they learn along the way?

We get some pretty intense scenes as our “Not Sam Worthington” characters start to drop out of the program for one reason or another. When the reveals start to happen they definitely feel worth it after the build up. The ending itself is very intense, unlike the rest of the film, and I still found myself guessing at how it would end.

The Titan is relatively unique with its execution and goes places other movies don’t go. You know. The moon Titan.

3 out of 4.

Ready Player One

I probably first heard about the Ready Player One four or so years ago, as a book recommendation from a friend. I figured I would rush right out and read it, due to their very appealing sell, but I also had found out that no, they are going to be making a movie out of it. Eventually.

So I did the right thing, and knowingly did not ready the book, knowing one day, Steven Spielberg was going to make the movie. Years later, it appeared!

Now I did hear eventually a general plot synopsis. And I did get to see parts of the book. Especially cringe worthy scenes of nostalgia for nostalgia sake, or lines that were very transphobic. All of it certainly turned me off from the book, knowing I would probably hate it at this point if it wasn’t very well written.

Sign. Somehow I became a book snob when it comes to prose. Blame Patrick Rothfuss. And let’s get on with the nostalgia.

Tech
Our star is living in a van down by the river?

RPO takes place a few decades in the future, in 2045. Life sucks by now, overpopulation, war, all the reasons you can imagine. People are living in stacks of trailers to get by and deal with the number of people. Columbus, Ohio is one of the central hubs now! Why?

Well, Halliday (Mark Rylance) and Morrow (Simon Pegg) created a game called Oasis. It is a completely VR experience, where a user is transported into a digital world where they can live their fantasies. They can be anyone. They can be tall, short, strong, fat, boy, girl, something more fluid, whatever they want. The way to buy gear and get better is through in game currency, through leveling up. If you die in game you lose all your items and go back to level one.

Anyways, everyone loves Oasis. It helps them escape their bleak miserable worlds. Wade (Tye Sheridan), our hero, is one of the people in the game hoping to find the three hidden keys to unlock and easter egg. Before Halliday died, he inputted a secret competition, so that the best of the best would compete his crazy challenges. The first one to get all three keys would gain a controlling share of the Oasis, money, and worldwide honor and praise.

But one company, IOI, is hoping to find them first, to change the Oasis into a money making ad tool, and also, do this thing with people slaves. Just general bad stuff.

Also starring Ben Mendelsohn, Olivia Cooke, Hannah John-Kamen, Lena Waithe, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, and T.J. Miller.

Oasis
Hello, totally not Kratos thing!

Ready Player One is a CGI-fest film, taken to the next level, and is animated enough to qualify for Best Animated Film, should they want to go that route. It has obvious references to pop culture throughout it, using the fact that the main creator was a very autistic pop culture junkie, who wanted all of the biggest things in his world. Pop Culture knowledge was supposed to be some sort of saving grace for the characters in the movie, but only one example really helped save the day. Or at least, one non common example.

There is a lot of problems with this film. It is going for a pure popcorn flick, so it isn’t really trying hard on certain levels. Acting is never really believable, and they turn Mendelsohn into a cartoon villain, quite literally with his behavior. It just feels so juvenile.

A lot of artifacts are brought up and clearly used later in the film, but one has to wonder why they exist. Why would they put in an item that kills everyone in the game so everyone goes back to level one? Why? Why would someone make special real life suits for you to wear to feel everything that happens? Most people would just feel pain and hurt in the constant warring atmosphere, its popularity doesn’t make sense.

The game makes you wonder who are the real people behind certain avatars, and well, yeah, for the most part they are all average to attractive looking people. No uglies in this VR world, despite their fears. Come on, almost 30 years from now, in a land where most people just play video games all day? Where are the fatties at?!

One thing that Ready Player One had going for it is that it didn’t feel like a 140 minute film. It was relatively interesting to watch, but it is not something that made me very excited or happy or sad while watching. I just felt indifferent. Throwing a quick scene of a character I recognize into a film isn’t going to increase its grade, it is just going to distract me from the story that is relatively weak.

Ready Player One is a convenient movie (one where things just keep lining up nicely), that relies on nostalgia and an average story and flashy effects to sell the tickets. Easily something that can be better watched at home.

2 out of 4.

Pacific Rim: Uprising

A few years ago, Oscar Winner Guillermo del Toro directed a fun little giant monster movie named Pacific Rim, that was meant with not real acclaim, but most people admitted it was at least a bit fun.

I remember going to the opening night release, a theater full of guys, and my now wife being the only (presumed) lady in the audience. It was a fun experience. It had a lot of fun characters and great actors, some of which hammed it up sure, but they put an end to the goddamn apocalypse.

This next film, Pacific Rim: Uprising, has no del Toro directing it, was put off of the line up indefinitely a year back, and is just now finally coming back. It is set later, so we can have a mostly new cast, and uhhh, I dunno. I guess it is about monsters and robot stuff still.

Battlebots
I think I will just refer to them now as battlebots.

Set ten years after the first film, the humans have won the war, no more alien sightings, and they are just living their lives. Some areas have never been rebuilt on the coast, others are back to normal. The Jaeger program is still kicking around, building a few machines and training new recruits just in case another attack comes. But for the most part, they don´t do a lot.

Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) thought about living up to his father´s legacy, but instead he would rather live in an abandoned city, stealing Jaeger parts and other items for junk food and dollar bills. Hey, YOLO and stuff.

But during a theft gone wrong, he ran into a younger girl, Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny) who built her own very tiny Jaeger on her own stolen parts, small enough to be run by a single person, not two! They get into trouble, arrested, and now Jake has a choice. Join the Jaeger Pilot program (again!) or, you know, jail. His older ¨sister¨ Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) is sort of leading the thing again, so she gave him that totally not forced option.

Long story short, this movie has a lot of cadet training, and worrying about the future of the Jaeger program. Will they switch to drones? Why waste money at all? What did the Kaiju want? And why is there a rouge Jaeger running around, kicking ass and killing people? Oh wait, what?

Also starring Burn Gorman and Charlie Day reprising their roles, along with other newcomers like Tian Jing, Jin Zhang, Adria Arjona, and a loaf of bread. I mean Scott Eastwood.

People
Well, if anything Eastwood is an incredibly attractive looking loaf of bread.

¨Hi, my name is Pacific Rim: Uprising! Allow me to make a film full of boring cliches and not a lot of fun action!¨

Boring cliches you say? Well, we got a son who doesn´t want to associate with his dad´s trade beside his knack for it. We got in general, cadet training programs of teenagers (with attitude!) who aren´t doing as well as hoped. But you know by the end, those same kids are going to have to be the ones who save the day. The band of misfits who struggled and grew together, not only learning how to be heroes, but to…love.

Other mistakes this sequel wanted to make was killing off old characters in dumb ways just so we can focus on the fun spunky youths more. It took WAY too long to get to some goddamn robot versus monster fighting action, which is what we signed up for in this film franchise. We had to see robots fight for each other for awhile, and obvious plot twists instead. Timing was very strange throughout the film, with the implication they did a lot of things fast that felt like weeks of work, despite having a huge time crunch to do it.

But hey, I won´t completely shit on it. Here are some pros. 1) The final fight was long (and really our only robot/monster battle), but entirely during the day, so you know, you could mostly understand what happened. 2) The Jaeger battle armor to control them didn´t have boob plates for the ladies. And, 3) There was a bit of talk about geology! Not a lot of it, and not necessarily accurate, but still, geology, what fun!

1 out of 4.

Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner is often considered one of the best science fiction movies ever created, and it came out in the 1980’s. Oh well, back then we had a lot of classic films that people love forever, so what do I know.

I didn’t see it until over a year ago, mostly because I knew that this sequel, Blade Runner 2049 was coming out, and I wanted to make sure I got it. Well, I knew why Blade Runner was considered a great film, but not my cup of tea. I was a bit excited about Blade Runner 2049 as well, because of the director only. After many great films like Sicario, Prisoners, Enemy, and Arrival (one of my top films of 2016), I would watch anything that Denis Villeneuve touches.

So why did I wait so long? I don’t know, because I suck. But I did wait so long, and then it got nominated for boatload at the Oscars. I did watch it before the ceremony, and wrote this review, but wanted to save it for my theme week, where I finally reviewed things I should have definitely reviewed in 2017.

Future
In the future, we will have robots that look like Ryan Gosling!

K (Ryan Gosling) is a Blade Runner, not an agent who works for the Men In Black, but I can see why you get them confused. K is a replicant, and he knows he is a replicant, and his job as a Blade Runner is to find older models of replicants. He has to hunt them down, sometimes to kill them, sometimes just to bring them in. I have already almost hit my quota of saying the word replicant!

On a mission, K finds the remains of a replicant child. Like, not one that was created, but one that was birthed out. People didn’t know that replicants could birth replicant children. This is a game changer. Now K is told by his boss (Robin Wright) to find the baby and hide the truth, b ecause if this gets out, people will start warring again.

Of course with a secret this big, different sides are going to come together after this knowledge. Some toe hide it, some to let it out to the public, some to steal the technology for their own nefarious slave making purposes.

And K is starting to question what it means to be a replicant. He wonders if he can deny orders. I mean, he is called a replicant, not a repliCAN, so you’d think he would accept his limitations.

Also starring Ana de Armas, Barkhad Abdi, Carla Juri, Dave Bautista, Edward James Olmos, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, Lennie James, Mackenzie Davis, and Sylvia Hoeks.

Brown
“Wanna know why they call this place the Brown Town?…Racism.”

I said it before and I will say it again. Tron is not a good movie. Tron: Legacy is definitely not a good movie. Avatar obviously wasn’t a good movie. But they were all very pretty movies (for their time). Some both pleasing to look at and to listen to, while offering mostly shitty plots and maybe shitty acting.

Blade Runner 2049 has a shit plot. It is long, not too exciting, not as deep as its predecessor, and a bit convoluted for my tastes. But it is really pretty to look at.

It is visually stunning. Its cinematography is gorgeous. Its choices were so well thought out and given a loving touch that it is hard to look away. Well, it would be if I ever felt engaged. Because the acting was poor, the twists were mostly expected, and it doesn’t feel incredibly original. But it was still pretty to look at.

I don’t really understand how this made best of the year lists for people, maybe they were just blinded by the flashy lights and visuals, or riding the hype of one of their favorite films over the last few decades. But Blade Runner 2049 is all flash, no substance, and an incredible waste of my time.

1 out of 4.

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