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What To Watch? Rampage

What To Watch?

Yesterday, we decided on a whim to go to the cinema again. The only option we had, with our daughter in tow, was Rampage, a science fiction monster movie. We were not disappointed.

Rampage

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Cast

The main character, and probably the main reason why people go and watch this movie as you know it’s going to be a good one, is Dwayne Johnson. He plays primatologist David Okoye, working at San Diego wildlife preserve. During his anti-poaching unit days, he rescued albino gorilla George and raised him, teaching him sign language. Okoye happens to have a special forces background (very handy).

Naomie Harris plays his side-kick, Dr. Kate Caldwell, the scientist who knows everything that is going on. Another major player is the cowboy OGA (Other Government Agency) agent Harvey Russell, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The bad guy in the movie is a woman, CEO of Energyne Claire Wyden, played by Malin Åkerman.

Plot

Energyne has done some experiments in space that are too terrible to perform on earth. Unfortunately, things go amiss, and the space station blows up. Amidst the debris that falls to the earth are three samples of the experiment which change the DNA of the three animals that come into contact with them: George the gorilla, a wild wolf, and a crocodile. They grow out of control and get very aggressive. Claire sends out a signal from the top of the company’s building, luring the genetically modified animals to the city. She hopes that the animals kill Dr. Caldwell and so prevent her from spilling the beans on the terrible things Energyne has done.

What I liked about Rampage

Rampage is a good old-fashioned humoristic action movie, up there with 2012, San Andreas, and Godzilla. Having Dwayne Johnson in there is a big attraction although I was a bit disappointed he didn’t show off his pecs bounce 😀 . The humor is funny, sometimes predictable, but well spaced.

Rampage_3.jpgThe CG is spectacular. George is almost human with very life-like facial expressions. The people who have put their minds together to come up with the changes of the wolf and crocodile have been extremely creative. There was one revelation that made my jaw drop. They missed out on some opportunity for George, though.

What I didn’t like about Rampage

There were an awful lot of ‘WTF?’ moments in this movie. At one point, a whole building wall falls over while Johnson jumps out of the window (several stories high), yet there is not a scratch on him. Bullets don’t seem to hurt him either. Those are the little moments that take you out of the otherwise spectacular action scenes. But, as I already stated, the movie needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

Summary

Rampage is a fun movie that can be watched by teenaged children (there’s one graphic sexual innuendo at the end) and any lover of huge monsters. It is 107 minutes of fun, spectacular action, and awesome CG.

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What To Watch? The Blues Brothers

What To Watch?

Yesterday evening I was browsing through the Netflix assortment for a good movie and stumbled upon The Blues Brothers. It was a movie I wanted to show my kids for a long, long time. I’m not sure for how long this movie will be available, but I suggest you watch it while it’s there!

The Blues Brothers

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This musical comedy is from 1980, nearly forty years old, and a classic. It brought back good memories of my teenage time. I was amazed at how I still could sing every song along 🙂

Cast

The cast in this movie is outstanding. Next to John Belushi as Jake ‘Joliet’ Blues and Dan Ayckroyd as Elwood Blues, there’s a whole list of music greats such as singers James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, John Lee Hooker, musicians Steve “the Colonel” Cropper, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Murphy “Murph” Dunne, Willie “Too Big” Hall, Tom “Bones” Malone, “Blue Lou” Marini, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, and “Mr. Fabulous” Alan Rubin. There are guest roles of actors Carrie Fisher, Henry Gibson, John Candy, and model Twiggy.

Plot

When Jake Blues comes out of a three-year stint in prison, he finds out that the ‘Penguin,’ i.e. the nun who runs the orphanage where Jake and Elwood grew up, owes $5000 in taxes. When they visit the church (where James Brown delivering the gospel), Jake is enlightened, and they decide to ‘put the band back together’ to raise the money to save the orphanage. Unfortunately, in the past three years, the band has been dissolved and Jake and Elwood have to convince their ex-band members to leave their current jobs to join the band again.

What I liked about The Blues Brothers

This movie is extremely funny and just rocks! It’s not a true musical where dialogue is sung. This is rather a show of great songs with some (dubious) acting around it. Most of the songs texts have some link to what is happening, but mostly it’s about the music itself. The plot is fun, slapstick like, the dialogue full of funny one-liners (see image above), and the car chases unbelievable (making it one of the most expensive comedies according to Wikipedia).

Another thing I liked about this movie is its unpretentiousness. Even though the movie was made in 1980, there is no hint of any form of discrimination (leaving out the far right extremists in this remark, of course 😀 ). Yes, there is a scene where Aretha Franklin is left by her ‘man’ (so he can join the band) after her pleading him not to go, but she is the owner of the shop; a very independent woman. There are no remarks about looks or disabilities, and people of all shapes and races sing and dance together without putting emphasis on the fact. What I’m trying to say it that I like that people are in it for their abilities, not for what they look like.

What I didn’t like about The Blues Brothers

Don’t expect to see great acting. They must have been time-deprived when filming John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd tiptoeing to the music as any five-year-old would be able to do it better 😀 . It’s a fact that John Belushi’s drug problem made filming take longer and more expensive, but this didn’t make his acting better. Their singing is also not of the best quality and is better left to the professionals 😀

Even though John Landis edited Dan Aykroyd’s script, the dialogue is still quite stinted most of the time.

Summary

The Blues Brothers is a fun movie with great music that needs to be watched at least once in your lifetime.

The Blues Brothers is available on Amazon.

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What To Watch? Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

What To Watch?

It’s the school holidays, so we’ve been going to the cinema a few times and watched a couple of movies on TV. With my daughter, I went to see Coco on Friday morning, a very entertaining and musical movie. I didn’t keep a dry eye watching that one, no matter how hard I tried. On Saturday evening, the whole family went to see Ready Player One. My daughter had read the book and told us the movie didn’t follow what happened in the book. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining movie. But, what was in the front of my memory queue was Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, a movie on Netflix. Here’s my review.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

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Cast

This epic sci-fi movie is written, directed, and co-produced by Luc Besson and is based on the French comics series of Valérian et Laureline, written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières. Although there are some great names in the supporting roles list, with Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu, and Rutger Hauer making an appearance, the main characters were played by Dane DeHaan as Valerian and Cara Delevingne as Laureline, actors I have never heard of or seen before.

Plot

The setting is a huge, ex-earth space station, called Alpha, floating in deep space where millions of creatures of a thousand planets reside.

The story is about two Alpha ‘space agents,’ Valerian and Laureline, who need to rescue a creature, the last of its species. It’s a special creature as it is able to replicate anything and is very valuable on the black market.  Of course, nothing goes as planned, and all sort of excitement and mishaps happen. A thread throughout the story is the relationship between Valerian and Laureline.

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What I liked about Valerian and the City if a Thousand Planets

This is an incredibly colorful movie, full of strange creatures, adventure, and action. Even though the movie lasts well over two hours, I only got bored one moment. Mostly there was so much to see and so much happening. I don’t know if it was my writer’s brain or not, but I want to watch it again just to see all the creatures in the background. The ideas are all wonderfully unconventional, a nice change from the usual.

The special effects are phenomenal and the choreography of the action was good to follow. The scene with Rhianna performing was perhaps a bit over the top, but very entertaining.

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What I didn’t like about Valerian and the City if a Thousand Planets

As you can see on the image with the comics illustration above, the actors don’t really look like the comics characters. I didn’t know the movie was based on the comics series before I watched it, so it didn’t bother me. What I did find annoying was that Cara Delevingne doesn’t have a lot of facial expressions and has extremely thick eyebrows and that Dane DeHaan comes over as a spoiled teenager rather than a handsome, dashing space agent. For such an expensive movie (apparently the most expensive non-American and independent film ever made), you’d think they could have gotten better actors for those roles.

As I mentioned before, toward the end there was one moment my thoughts drifted away as the story was getting a bit bland. According to my husband, I didn’t miss much.

Summary

If you like sci-fi, adventure, and strange creatures, this is the movie to watch! It’s a movie for all ages that will keep you in your seat for over two hours.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is available on Amazon.

 

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What To Watch? The 5th Wave

What To Watch?

Last weekend we watched The 5th Wave as its post-apocalyptic premise sounded interesting, and it has Liev Schreiber in it. Here is my review of it.

The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave

Plot

Life is good until aliens appear in big ships that hang above the earth. First the aliens, called ‘the others,’ send an electromagnetic pulse that incapacitates all electrical power. This alone already sends the world into chaos. For the second wave, they destroy the world as we know it and decimate the population with earthquakes and their resulting tsunamis. The third wave is a virus that kills most of the people that are left. Only a handful of immune persons are left now. These refugees gather in a camp until the army shows up and warns them of the imminent threat of a fourth attack. They take the children first in busses to bring them to a save location. But things are not as they seem…

Characters

The main character, teenager Cassie Sullivan (played by Chloë Grace Moretz), is trying to keep her family together and save. Unfortunately her mother, who is a doctor, dies as a result of the virus early on. Her little brother Sam (played by Zachary Arthur) is taken away by one of the army busses and her father doesn’t survive what happens next.

Cassie is hellbound to get back to Sam. On her journey, she gets shot and is patched up by a stranger called Evan Walker (played by Alex Roe). He is reluctant to let her go but eventually agrees to come with her to help her get her brother back.

Cassie’s high school crush, Ben Thomas Parish (played by Nick Robinson), has also been taken away by the army busses. The army is under command of Colonel Alexander Vosch (played by Liev Schreiber). Ben doesn’t know Sam is Cassie’s brother, but he takes Sam under his protection as he is so young still.

What I liked about The 5th Wave

Even though the setting is a typical ‘aliens-conquer-the-world’ apocalyptic setting, the story is heartfelt and entertaining. The cg isn’t top-notch, but as the human relationships are the focus of this movie, I wasn’t phased by it. I liked that there wasn’t any gore in it nor any jump-of-your-seat surprise moments.

Chloë Crace Moretz plays her part very well as did Nick Robinson. I always love watching Liev Schreiber on the big screen. He normally plays the bad guy, but his face can be so cute when he smiles.

The turn of events was a nice twist (sorry, no spoiler!). The ending was an open one, leaving the possibility for a sequel.

What I didn’t like about The 5th Wave

The storyline was a bit predictable (except for that one twist I mentioned earlier). It was a shame that Alex Roe took me out of the movie. His facial expressions were not enough for me to make me root for his character.

I found the ending a bit unbelievable, but hey, it wasn’t as bad as some other movies 🙂 . Otherwise, I was quite happy watching the movie. It kept me wanting to know what happened next.

Summary

All in all, it is an entertaining movie you can watch with the whole family and have a discussion afterward about how far a human will go when manipulated to think something is the truth.

The 5th Wave is available on Amazon.

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What To Watch? The Shape of Water

This weekend we had a double whammy and went to see The Shape of Water first and The Greatest Showman straight after. Both were great movies. I actually don’t like singing in movies, so I’m not going to discuss the latter here. I do love a good romance story, so The Shape of Water it is.

The Shape of Water

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Cast and Plot

This story plays in 1962 Baltimore when racism is the norm and homosexuality is still a taboo. Elisa Esposito (played by Sally Hawkins) is a woman who lives above a movie theatre and works as a cleaning lady in a secret government laboratory. Her neighbor, Giles (played by Richard Jenkins), is a homosexual artist, trying to make a living with his drawings. Elisa is mute. She appears to have been found as a child with strange scars in her neck like someone scratched her.

When an aquatic creature (played by Doug Jones) is brought into the facility, Elisa forms a bond with it. She is delighted to have found someone like her, someone who can’t talk, and she spends her lunchtimes with the creature. The agent in charge of the creature, Colonel Richard Strickland (played by Michael Shannon), is a very cruel man and delights in torturing it. The Russian scientist studying the creature (played by Michael Stuhlbarg) notices the bond between the creature and Elisa and realizes it is an intelligent being. He tries everything in his power to make his superiors see this without spilling the beans on Elisa.

What I liked

This is a wonderfully romantic story about an outcast who becomes a hero and finds true love. Who doesn’t like a story where this happens? The fact that is was nominated so many times probably has something to do with the fact that the movie puts a spotlight on all sort of social taboos; masturbation, homosexuality, racial discrimination, and physical disabilities. The fact that it plays in 1962 only highlights that a lot still needs to change.

I like the casting of the actors. They weren’t perfect, yet beautiful. In other words, not a typical Holywood cast. Michael Shannon was a particular well-cast actor, and I think we’re going to see more of him on the big screen.

I liked that Doug Jones, who played the creature, also played Abe Sapien in Hellboy, one of my favorite movies. The creatures aren’t the same, yet their likeness was the first thing that sprung to mind when I saw the creature for the first time (before I knew Doug Jones played both roles). Loved, loved, loved the outfit!

Abe Sapien from Hellboy vs. The Creature in The Shape of Water
Abe Sapien from Hellboy vs. The Creature in The Shape of Water

What I didn’t like

Even though it is a very romantic story, I missed something. Maybe it was the short time dedicated to the build-up of the romance, I don’t know. Questioning logistics issues, explained too late, took me out of the story sometimes. And of course the WTF-moments that always seems to happen. I can accept fantasy logic, but I won’t accept things that they pretend can happen in this physical world. It just isn’t possible from a earthly-scientific point of view. You can take the girl out of science, but you can’t take the science out of the girl 🙂

Summary

All in all a bloody good movie for Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance, and Thriller lovers. Go and see it!

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What To Watch? Fracture

What To Watch?

This weekend, I watched four movies; Enemy Mine, Fracture, Patriot’s Day, and The Circle. Thinking back just now, only Enemy Mine sprung to mind without thinking too hard. This was probably because I had actually bought the DVD and had been looking forward to watching this classic (with Dennis Quaid) for a few days. As I want to share with you what you could watch right now, I’ve picked ‘Fracture’ to review this week.

Fracture

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This movie is from 2007, yet I had never heard of it before it was released on Netflix. The story is about a young and promising lawyer, Willy Beacham (Ryan Gosling) who, just before starting his new job in an uptown firm, takes on the ‘easy’ case of a man, Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) who shot his wife and confessed to it. The case suddenly becomes a lot more complicated when Crawford, representing himself, accuses the investigating Lt. Rob Nunally (Billy Burke) of having had an affair with Crawford’s wife.

The Pros

No need to mention Hopkins portrays the complicated, manipulating Crawford very well. Ryan Gosling convincingly plays the cocky lawyer who thinks he can outsmart anybody. The cat and mouse game unfolds as the plot moves on. It’s very cleverly put together and keeps you on your toes. I love movies like this. This is not a typical Hollywood movie in which all the good guys survive, which is nice for a change. The music was appropriate, not taking you out of the movie at all. Makeup wasn’t anything special, but again, didn’t take you out of the story either. Special effects weren’t the gimmick of this movie as it is very much a court case flick, but the scene where the wife is shot is filmed convincingly.

The Cons

There wasn’t much I didn’t like about the movie. The twist at the end was expected  (it still is a Hollywood movie) although my knowledge of the law didn’t let me know it beforehand. Next to this, it always puts me off to see actors that have had major roles in other movies or series, like Billy Burke here, who played Bella’s father in the Twilight Saga. In his first contact with the police, Crawford says ‘Lots of vampires out there.’ It was a strange, out-of-context comment, and I wonder if it had anything to do with Burke’s previous role.

It’s a good movie to watch and I’d recommend it to anybody who loves court case movies or mind games.

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What To Watch? The End of the Fxxxing World

What To Watch?

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to watch less TV. This doesn’t mean I won’t watch any of it over the weekend. Every Monday I’m going to recommend to you (or not) a movie or TV series. This week, it’s a British comedy series.

The End of the Fxxxing World

End-of-fucking-world-Header.jpgYes, it really is spelled this way. This is a new series on Netflix and has only eight episodes of about twenty minutes long. We binge-watched it in one evening. It is a dark comedy and not everybody will like it.

The story is told by two persons; James, a 17-year-old who thinks he’s a psychopath, and Alyssa, a rebellious classmate of James. James has been killing animals and thinks he’s now ready to kill a human. Alyssa, in the dark of James’s dark thoughts, offers to be his friend, to which James agrees. As both have a less than desirable home-situation, Alyssa convinces James to run away. They steal the car from James’s father, and things go from bad to worse.

What is likable about it? You hear the thoughts of one character at one moment, then switch to the thoughts of the other, how they see the situation. It makes for very comical dialogue. There isn’t a lot of spoken dialogue from James though, as he’s a terrible introvert. Not to worry, Alyssa tries to make up for it with her constant chatter. Her view of the world is so relatable. I liked her character a lot. I’m not sure if it’s typically British, but it isn’t the laugh-out-loud type of humor. It’s more the miscommunication between the two and the escalation of the situations they find themselves in that makes you smile.

What I didn’t like? There wasn’t much not to like. You may not like the muted colors it was filmed in. You may not like the depressive tone of the two teenagers. You may not appreciate the darkness of the whole series, showing what some teenagers have to deal with in real life. In my opinion, these all brought together set the tone of the series beautifully.

When you’ve seen it, let me know what you thought of it.

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Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

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Movie Review: Murder on the Orient Express

Score: 8/10

– Warning: Spoiler Alert! –

In a spur of the moment, we decided to watch Murder on the Orient Express last night. To be honest, I’m not a fan of Kenneth Branagh as an actor (no reason, I just don’t) and didn’t want to have my image of Poirot (in the form of David Suchet) ruined by him. It appeared, however, that I was the only one in my family who knew the story of MotOE. So we had to go.

It took me a while to get used to seeing Mr. Branagh in the role of Poirot. He didn’t have a chubby tummy, nor was he short or have the peaked, black mustache David Suchet used to sport. He did have an exceptional mustache though. Only one third into the movie did I realize his mustache was actually two mustaches. Like the mustache, Mr. Branagh’s performance grew on me. He was hardly recognizable, disappearing into his role as Poirot, and he played him excellently. Poirots.jpgThe cinematography was stunning. One ‘but’ I have is the movement of the camera up and down a train carriage, and I literally mean a vertical movement. It was used at least twice. The first time we follow Poirot in thought looking out the window and this is okay. The second time we see a conversation between Poirot and one of the passengers interviewed. The movement of the camera makes no sense here and took me out of the story. Often, directors decide on a weird, unconventional camera actions… and it doesn’t work. Such a shame.

The cast was well chosen, with appearances of Penelope Cruz, William Dafoe (forever the Green Goblin in my eyes), Judi Dench (aged 82!), Johnny Depp, Derek Jacobi (aged 79!), and Michelle Pheiffer to name the most famous ones. All the actors played their role exceptionally well. MOTOEI have never read the books of Agatha Christie, so I can’t compare the movie to her story. What struck me about the plot, afterward, is that Poirot interviews all passengers and finds a reason for murder for all of them. What is not shown is that he dismisses the reason of his previous suspects when he finds a new one. Surely you would start to doubt yourself when you find so many reasons for murder in so many suspects. There is no reasoning as to why one would have committed the murder over another, only the quick epiphany at the end. Strange.

A great movie to watch to enjoy excellent performances and an early 20th-century setting.

 

 

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Movie Review: The Death of Stalin

Score: 7/10

*** Warning: Spoiler Alert ***

The Death of Stalin is described as a comedy-drama and that is exactly where the problem lies. It’s too funny to be a drama, but to serious to be a comedy. I didn’t know what to make of it. The fact that it is based on true events makes it a sad movie.

The cast is a great one and there are some brilliant performances. I liked Steve Buscemi in the role of Nikita Krushchev, Simon Russell Beale as Lavrentiy Beria, and Jason Isaacs portraying Georgy Zhukov. There are many more great performances by Jeffrey Tambor, Olga Kurylenko, Michael Palin, and Paddy Considine to name a few.

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The weird thing was that some of the actors talked with a severe Cockney dialect (correct me if I’m wrong. I’m a layman in this respect). I assume there are dialects in Russian too, but to hear the thick English accent in the very Russian surroundings made it a very weird experience.

There are a lot of funny scenes. For example, when Beria gives out orders, there are people being shot, shoved off stairs, or otherwise maimed in the background. It’s not laugh-out-loud funny, but it makes it all rather slapstick-like. The whole experience of not speaking out against the regime is also funny and sad at the same time.

It is an entertaining movie that is mainly funny, but not Hollywood-style. You can follow the story-line without a problem even when you’re a person who knows nothing of post-world-war Russia, like me.

 

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Movie Review: The Babysitter

Yesterday, we watched the movie The Babysitter on Netflix. My son had already seen it and my daughter wasn’t interested watching it with us as she doesn’t like scary films. Honestly, sometimes I wonder if she was swapped at birth. So my husband and I watched the movie with the two of us. We hadn’t had such a good laugh in ages.

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Storyline (from IMDb):

Cole (Judah Lewis) is madly in love with his babysitter (Samara Weaving) Bee. She’s hot, funny, and popular. One night, in a moment of defiance, Cole secretly stays up past his bedtime to discover she’s actually a cold-blooded killer who’s in league with the Devil. He now must spend his night evading Bee’s band of killers who will stop at nothing to prevent Cole from spilling their dark secret. It’s up to Cole to survive the night (and blow up a few people along the way).

The movie starts rather slow. Interesting, but slow nevertheless. Don’t worry though as soon, when Cole is discovered by Bee and her gang, all hell breaks loose. I didn’t expect much of this movie, so it surprised me when it kept me awake through the whole eighty-five minutes. Much action was expected, but there were some twists here and there I didn’t anticipate.

It had all I wanted in a film: action, humor, horror, romance, gore, and a good ending. When you’re going to watch it, do stay tuned until the very end 🙂 .

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Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean – Salazar’s Revenge, aka Dead Men Tell No Tales

Score: 6/10

Severe Spoiler Alert! –

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Please remind me never to go see a movie the first weekend it’s released. I always seem to have a kid behind me that finds it imperative to kick the chair in front. Looking around didn’t help, cursing in Dutch didn’t help. What is it with these parents nowadays? Do they not teach their kids social graces anymore? I agree I could’ve said something, but I had too much empathy for the kid and didn’t want to embarrass their parent in public. I hate confrontations. I should have though, for the sake of humanity.

I must admit I was tired when we went to see the movie. I tried to sleep in the car on the way, but it didn’t work. So, unfortunately, I’m sorry to say I fell asleep during the movie, my own snoring waking me up, as it usually does. My husband once told me I even scorned myself for snoring when it woke me up in the middle of the night 😀 . This time, I remember letting myself drift to sleep during a battle scene and I woke up near the end of it. I missed nothing. As there’s not much good to say about the movie, let’s analyze it, just for fun.

Movies are made to take you away from the here and now. The biggest taboo that could happen is to be taken out of that fantasy world abruptly during the movie. Unfortunately, this happened several times last night. The first thing that annoyed me was the senselessness of the first scene when we encounter Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). Jack wakes up drunk in front of a firing squad. And nobody shoots him. Nobody. Then there’s the scene where the girl (Kaya Scodelario) meets the boy (Brenton Twaites) in shackles and, with a pin, she frees him from his bonds. She gets taken to prison, but lo and behold, with that same pin that was left at the scene of the crime, she draws on the walls. Did she have two identical pins? Surely they wouldn’t let her pick up her pin with which she opened locks before they took her away?

Then there’s Captain Salazar, a great performance from Javier Bardem. But why is his hair waving around as if he’s underwater? Why does he have black dribble running from his mouth as he speaks? What did Jack’s compass have to do with his predicament? Regarding his waving hair, his ship didn’t sink, it blew up. Salazar got thrown into the water by the blast, maybe that’s it. But why would it wave like that when he’s above water? It doesn’t make sense. My only reason for making it happen would be because it sort of imitates the ‘living’ beard of Captain Davy Jones (played by Bill Nighy in Pirates of the Caribbean-Dead Man’s Chest), which looked cool. There also was no curse mentioned at all for him to roam the seas forever, dead or alive. Apart from him being blown up in ‘unchartered’ waters. Why is he now cursed to be a zombie? Is that why he has black goop escaping his mouth? As to the compass, I’m completely directionless.

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Talking about the other installments, even my son (he’s just turned fifteen) mentioned that the other movies at least had red herrings running through the main storyline. The relationships between Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, her relationship with her father. The father’s relationship with the Navy, the Navy’s relationship with Jack Sparrow, etc. Salazar’s Revenge had none of this. It was a one-line story, at least that’s how it felt. There was a brief moment involving the Navy (impersonated by David Wenham, to me always the monk from Van Helsing) and a witch called Shansa (played by Golshifteh Farahani), which I thought could have potential. However, the witch didn’t have the same dread as Calypso had (played by Naomie Harris in Pirates of the Caribbean-At World’s End). Not sure if it’s a director or editor issue. The whole sequence also kind of felt wasted when she didn’t appear in the movie further along.

The storyline was very predictable, very American. The biggest surprise/WTF-moment was at the end when Will Turner walks up to his (now grown) son. His son rips off the necklace his father had given him as a child, offers it to Will and says “Father!” Upon which Will Turner says “Son!” Really? If he didn’t know that was his son, why did he, of all the people on the planet, chose to walk up to him? I’m not even going to discuss Elizabeth Swann turning up that very moment.

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Now, CG-wise, this movie was awesome. It must have taken a tremendous amount of work to make it all look like it did. The wavy hair, the water, loved it (even if it didn’t make sense)! I always wonder how they do the water. In my opinion, the green screen was pushed too far, with dead pirates consisting of only a hat and an arm ‘walking’ around. Come on. And the dead pirates ‘jesussing’? WTF? This is inconsistent with what the cursed pirates did in Pirates of the Caribbean-Curse of the Black Pearl, where they walked underwater.

I can’t stop myself from mentioning the Barbosa’s monkey. Did anybody else notice it wasn’t the same monkey? I’m not saying ‘know thy monkeys,’ but this monkey definitely had a bigger nose.

There was one scene in the end that didn’t feel right for no apparent reason; when the boy gets the girl. No, I don’t count this as a spoiler, it is, after all, an American movie and you know from the beginning this is going to happen. Anyway, they stand all alone on a green hill, sun setting in the background, clumsy words are exchanged, and they kiss. And… it all feels wrong. It wasn’t the music, music was great. The setting was great too. I’m still not sure if it was the angle of the camera, the directing, or the editing that screwed it up. But there was something not there, like the scene with the witch. Maybe it was the casting. I thought the boy a bit too young for the girl, but maybe that’s just me being conservative. I don’t know. I’m going to put my money on the editing. Let me know your thoughts after you’ve seen it.

Do stay until after the credits. There’s a nice surprise waiting for you there. Even though it makes absolutely no sense at all 😀 .

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Movie Review: Alien Covenant

– Score: 5/10 –

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My initial thought for the title of this article was ‘Not again!’ but that wouldn’t make sense SEO wise. The words were very much in my mind when I was watching the movie though. There was hardly anything new that hadn’t been done in all the other Alien installments.

As I said earlier, I watched ‘Prometheus’ on Thursday to be prepared for Covenant. We could have spared us the trouble and possibly would have enjoyed this movie more if we hadn’t. I like to stay positive, but there were so many WTF-moments in this movie, it wasn’t funny anymore. My apologies to the persons around us who had to put up with our exclamations of ‘Why?!’ all the time. Surely, with a budget that comes with this film, they could have been able to write a better story line? One that was believable and not so predictable?

I actually checked my watch during the movie too. It took a whole hour (that’s half of the movie) before there was any action to speak of. You’d expect to have developed some empathy for the main characters by then, but I’m sorry to say it still didn’t happen for me. Not then, not later.

The only thing I’m positive about is the CG. We get so see several alien forms and they’re all very well animated. My favorite one, even though not consistent with earlier movies, is the one that resembles baby Groot (sorry, couldn’t help making the comparison). This would be the only reason for me to want to see the movie again.

All in all a movie that is a waste of money, time, and effort. If this is the path they’re staying on with this franchise, it will die a horrible death.