Planet of the Sharks (Film) Review

I’ve interrupted GLOTBC Month to satisfy my own twisted agenda and also celebrate possibly the best international holiday of them all, Shark Week.

I have no idea what this one is like but needless to say, it looks tremendous. FYI there are many shark movies heading to our shores over the next year or so, including but not limited to: Trailer Park Shark, Deep Blue Sea 2 and the incredible sounding, Statham-starring Meg.

I genuinely can’t wait. Until then though, there is this.

Planet of the Sharks (2016)

IMDB Synopsis

In the near future, glacial melting has covered 98% of earth’s landmass. Sharks have flourished and now dominate the planet, operating as one massive school led by a mutated alpha shark.

This can’t be good

My Review

Holy mother of God. Don’t get too excited about this particular planet of sharks. It might be populated with many, many sharks but there isn’t that much actual, satisfying shark action to be had.

There is, however, an awful lot of shoddy CGI and you know what, of course there is. This is a made-for-TV Syfy channel special, so you get exactly what it says on the tin. I’m really not in a very good mood this evening so I’m going to tear this one a new one, even though there are a few areas I enjoyed.

Basically, the world appears to be more or less the exact same set up as Deep Blue Sea but on a smaller budget and a larger circumference. People are scavenging to survive, living on weird rigs made of flimsy materials and being eaten by jumping CGI sharks when they’re too blundering to get out of the way in time.

Junk City is the latest target and one afternoon every single resident is dined upon, apart from one survivor, who’s name I can’t even be bothered to look up. She’s given no lines anyway and does literally nothing, so whatevs. She’s lucky enough to be rescued by weathered hunk (?) Dillon Barrick (Brandon Auret) though who is doing better than most because he has a boat.

He also knows some lady scientists (and one dude) who live on another rig and are working on a rocket that will save the world. The lady scientists are all really hot and serious, and they need some bits of metal (?) to complete the rocket so they end up bartering with a very scary warrior queen called D’amato (Angie Teodora Dick) for said supplies.

Who run the world?

While hanging around D’amato’s rig, she gives them a lesson in how her ‘tribe’ deal with the threat of sharks. FYI it’s genuinely the best scene and it’s all going swimmingly until it suddenly backfires spectacularly. Let’s just say, the film suffers for not having enough D’amato and her dodgy af accent.

Our scientists manage to get away in the fruckus and it’s all good because they’re in a boat. There’s a sort of plan but it backfires when a pilot they know gets eaten. It’s something to do with a volcano beneath the surface of the earth, a detonator and a laser that hasn’t worked for a long time.

All is not lost though, and the plan is soon on again- but now has to be executed by lady scientist/engineer Nichols (Stephanie Beran) on a kiteboard. Other lady scientist Shaw (Lindsay Sullivan) demands that her colleagues Munro (Christia Visser) and Ishiro (John B Swart) boot up the old laser, despite the massive risk to everyone on board the rig.

Shaw’s not messing though and they do as she says. They also share a moment which I actually thought was v. cute. In our rag tag group we also have another dude who’s super annoying, sarcastic and cowardly so I liked him immediately.

*Spoiler*

Oh, and have I mentioned that the team have worked out that all the sharks are being controlled somehow by a mutated Queen Shark (that inexplicably glows bright blue)? They try to manipulate the smaller sharks to turn on her but it doesn’t really work and then their plan turns out a bit lame too, we suffer several casualties and I can’t even remember how it ends.

I think the survivors just float off into the sunset on the boat.

Despite the fact that this is on the lower end of the shark scale in terms of literally everything, and most of the performances are unbelievably bad, some of our actors really give it their all.

It was also dead good to see so many kick ass females in one movie (not you, sole survivor) and in high level positions. I guess nobody gives a shit about giving all the best parts to the girls when it’s going straight to the goggle box, eh?

Apart from a slight twinge of fondness for Munro and Ishiro when they kissed (and awe when Ishiro got busy with some ninja daggers), this was pretty bad. It’s not a good sign I can’t remember the ending. Maybe ignore me trying to put a positive spin on this and watch DBS again.

My Rating

1.5/5. Not the best. Maybe one of the worst. Not you though D’amato (RIP).

What did my Blog Bride thing of this offering? Would she drown it in the shark infested seas or let it come on her boat? Find out here.

Mega Shark Vs. Mecha Shark (Film) Review

I’m loving Shark Month so much I’m not even mad at last week’s terrible choice (though I should be). This week is very much in keeping with the creature feature/B-Movie fare both Jill and I love so much – and it’s actually quite compelling.

Without further a do, let’s get down to some fishy business, shall we?

*Spoilers ahead* in case you’re worried about keeping some suspense.

Mega Shark Vs. Mecha Shark (2014)

Director: Emile Edwin Smith
Stars: Christopher Judge, Elisabeth Röhm, Matt Lagan

IMDB Synopsis: A new mega shark threatens to destroy humanity. The government creates an exact robotic copy of the shark, either equal to or greater than the original. Now they must fight to the death while people and whole cities get in the way.

My Review:

A tugboat pulling a giant iceberg into Egypt (?) accidentally unleashes hell on the world when a Megalodon shark escapes from within. (I don’t know either but let’s go with it). I laughed out loud as the aforementioned tugboat was flipped across Egypt by the Megalodon’s tail, knocking off the head of a sphinx as it went.

The unintentional unleashing of this giant prehistoric sharky bastard really fucks with the chi of the world as boats are no longer safe to go about their business without being attacked and honestly, this big boy is pissed at something. I mean, normal sharks don’t attack boats just because they can, right? I guess being trapped that long in a giant ice cube can take its toll.

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“This cannot be good…”

We piece together just how much devastation is taking place through the cleverly stitched global news reports and Meg (let’s call him) is being very naughty. We also learn that global warming is to blame and I like that nod to reality, very much touched upon in 3-Headed Shark Attack and Sharknado, though you’d be forgiven for  blinking and missing it. Basically, if we don’t recycle and stop with the over use of hairspray, we’re in for the same fate.

So while Meg crashes about causing chaos, husband and wife wonder team, Rosie (Röhm) and Jack Turner (Judge) are the bad asses selected to take him on. But how prey tell does one go about doing something like that? Why, build an exact replica out of steel and have them battle it out, obvs!

Rosie is the captain of the Mecha, having proved her chops on a smaller vessel, which is co-piloted by special A.I. “Nero”. “Nero” (voice by Paul Anderson) is basically “K.I.T.T” from Knightrider but flirtier. Jack is un-enthused about Rosie going into the Mecha before it’s been tested fully and without “Nero” to boot but she’s a plucky women who does what she wants so she goes anyway.

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Oops, wrong movie!

Straight away this turns out to be unwise and there’s a bodged attempt to stop Meg. Admiral Ackbar Engleberg (Lagan), who’s in charge of Mecha operations is a bit grumpy when it comes to this failure, as his brother was killed by the Meg. (Somewhere along the line there is a reference to this being the third time the Meg has popped up though I don’t think you need to have seen those movies to follow this one).

So Engleberg has a personal investment in the Meg’s demise and that seems fair – Meg is kind of a dick. Anywhoo, Jack manages to convince him that installing “Nero” into the Mecha is the least they should do and soon “Nero” is wise-cracking with the best of them. Jack is adorable btw as he’s obviously madly in love with his wife and just wants her to be okay. He’s a good egg and also, looks like exactly the kind of person you want on your side in a crisis.

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The Posh & Becks of the Mechanical Shark World

Rosie meanwhile is a remarkable woman who shows emotion several times on the job but pulls herself together and gets on with it, like women do. All the while her high ponytail never messes up. She’s also, and I don’t mind my heroines in any form of attire, remains fully clothed throughout the movie and looks her age which made this character, and therefore the film, stand out to me. The genre is not always kind to the female form as we all know.

Oh yes, so Debbie Gibson’s Doctor Emma Macneil pops up to warn the Admiral that the Megalodon is aggressive (yes, thanks dear). I guess from this cameo that she’s kind of a big deal in the Mega franchise (a little digging shows she was in Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus (2009)) but she doesn’t half state the obvious. She does add though that his aggression is down to the fact that he’s looking for a mate and that explains it all.

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“Give me a song and I”ll whistle it.”

During a battle with Meg, Mecha discovers a damaged oil line and Jack lectures Rosie about the environment (good boy) so she uses Mecha to seal the pipe. Rosie tries to take Meg down with a torpedo but he’s horny AND clever, thus flipping it at a ship with his tail fin causing the needless death of hundreds. Bearing in mind he’s already destroyed an oil rig and damaged countless ships, Meg is on a roll.

In the ensuing drama, Mecha is thrown to the bottom of the ocean and Rosie is knocked out. Poor Jack is beside himself but “Nero” has a plan, which works and gets Rosie to the surface. Meanwhile, Meg is free to body slam the USS James Stewart Aircraft Carrier, killing everyone horribly.

Can I take a minute here to praise the excellent work of all the submarine and ship crews? They either bob around in the background like extras from Spaceballs (1987) or are thrown into utter panic mode by an explosion. These actors give their all to their small roles and I love them for it.

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Double your sharky goodness

Rosie is okay (don’t worry guys) but is definitely out of sorts. The one bit of the film that kind of annoyed me was the flashback we get to the couple obviously having lost a child which is touched upon as Jack stirs Rosie back to consciousness. Really? Just so you know the only thing ever driving a woman is a tragedy, usually to do with a child! We must make her more sympathetic after all.

Minor bug bear but really! Anyway, “Nero” says he can pilot the Mecha alone and even though cautious Jack is reluctant, really what choice do they have? I got a bit lost for a while as I was putting my dinner on, but Mecha is go once more.

Oh yes, on recovery Rosie and Doctor Macneil hook up (not like that) and Rosie flies to Auckland where the scientists discuss what’s going on. They think he’s heading back to his birthplace, Australia, the spawning ground for his species. (Wait, does that mean there are loads of lady Megs just kicking it round Sydney Harbour?). Smells like a sequel to me.

In Oz, “Nero” malfunctions and goes rogue, Mecha is now somehow on dry land causing more damage that good (basically, his safety filters are off so he’s programmed to kill Meg without think about his surroundings, you dig?) and it’s all a mess. Oh, and look: a kid’s just got separated from her mother! Someone has to stop and find her! Better ask a woman!

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“When Mummy says don’t run off, maybe don’t run off, Kid!”

Yes, Rosie puts her life on the line to save a snotty brat who doesn’t understand basic instruction and all because a) she’s a woman! b) she lost a child remember! c) she’s a woman in case you also forgot that! (I know I’m overthinking but honestly). Also, Rosie is a damn decent woman (unlike any woman who hasn’t had a child), so she rescues the poppet and also meets up with Jack at the same time.

I won’t go too far into the climax because frankly, you’re already expecting a fight to the death, right? But Rosie has to get back on Mecha to lure Meg away from Sydney Harbour and hopefully be destroyed so everyone can go home and wash the bloody chum from their glossy locks (only Rosie then).

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A Woman’s Work

Questions:

Will the final mission go off without a hitch? Will Rosie live to fight another day or will she break her damned husband’s heart? Did Michael Bay direct the action sequence throughout the streets of Sydney? Will Meg meet his match?

And finally, will Admiral Ackbar finally get his revenge?

My Thoughts:

I was actually into this and almost non-sarcastically. I mean, it’s ridiculous but everyone’s really giving it their all so you can’t be mad. I really enjoyed the central couple, who I actually buy as one and I cared if they made it or not.

It was funny in places and how can you not be impressed by the sheer scale of the Megalodon? (I actually believe in them so this is practically a documentary in my eyes). My only small bug bear is the adding a sad backstory malarkey. I know what they were trying to do but it’s clunky af.

All in all probably my favourite shark-ie so far this month.

My Rating: 3.5/5. Enjoyable actually. More like a real action movie than the rest so far with good leads and not too horrific effects.

Oh yes and… totally passed the Blechdel test!

Did Jill love this monster or was she ready to flip it into next week with the tail fin? You know the drill.

Advantageous (Film) Review

Advatangeous-Poster-Official-2015-RGB-2031x3000Week 2 in Feminist February and another female written/directed/predominantly female character driven gem (hopefully). And this one is Sci-fi too.

Whoop!

This film has been on my Netflix list for a while now and I’m pretty happy I’ve been able to bring it out for this occasion.

As always *Spoilers Ahead*

Advantageous (2015)

Director: Jennifer Phang
Stars: Jacqueline Kim, James Urbaniak, Freya Adams

IMDB Synopsis: In a near-future city where soaring opulence overshadows economic hardship, Gwen and her daughter Jules do all they can to hold on to their joy together, despite the instability surfacing in their world.

My Review:

Gwen is a highly accomplished woman working for the Center For Advanced Health And Living, under her deserved pay grade. Not only does she work there, she is also the ‘face’ of the brand, selling cosmetic procedures to those who can afford it.

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“But I don’t want to watch Face/Off again, ma…”

Despite her outward appearance of poise and affluence, it soon becomes apparent that Gwen is struggling financially to provide a solid future for her young daughter, Jules (Samantha Kim).

Unfortunately, Gwen is fired from her job which makes the whole situation way worse. But it’s cool though right? I mean a woman like Gwen would never have issues with re-employment even in this precarious economic climate. WRONG.

Gwen is considered ‘too old’ and has seemingly run out of employment options, unless she wants to set herself up as an egg donor (women in this near-future are rapidly becoming infertile). This doesn’t appeal but she’s starting to get desperate in the face of such uncertainty. Particularly as she’s trying to get Jules into an elite school.

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I’d like to attend this school, they have cocktails

When the school (run by snooty lady gatekeepers with fabulous outfits) learn that Gwen is raising Jules alone, they urge her to reach out to Jules’ father for financial assistance but this isn’t an option. Gwen contacts her parents instead and asks for help getting through the next month. Gwen’s mother is easily convinced but it seems Gwen’s relationship with her father is another matter and they decline to lend her the money. This comes after she’s refused to let her father meet Jules.

Amidst all the drama of her predicament, Gwen also has to be a mother to Jules, who is suffering a crisis of confidence after she doesn’t get into her first choice of school. She ponders what the point of her life is. Gwen assures her that there is plenty to live for and admits that she used to ask herself the same question.

Gwen returns to her old employers, who include her former lover Fisher and asks them to consider using her as a test patient for a brand new procedure. This involves transferring her subconscious into a new body. In this case Gwen understands that the body will be younger. It turns out Marketing also want someone ‘racially ambiguous’ too.

Fisher tries to persuade Gwen to reconsider (because he still totes loves the shit out of her), warning her of the painful side effects and the fact that their technology isn’t quite there yet but the promise of Jules’ secure future (to be ensured by the institute) is enough for Gwen to agree anyway. She tells Fisher she wants to spend Christmas with her daughter before the procedure.

During this time she has to explain her decision to Jules, who is surprisingly understanding, even visiting the centre with Gwen to see her new body.

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I too would pay good money to go and lie in a darkened room.

As a last ditch attempt to get some help and avoid the procedure, Gwen visits her cousin Lily (Jennifer Ikeda), who’s been trying to reach out to her through as series of voice mails throughout the film. Lily is married to Han (Ken Jeong) and they have two young sons.

I don’t want to completely ruin things for you but some truth nuggets emerge from this meeting, pertaining to Jule’s origin and the relationship between the cousins. It remains unseen at this point whether or not the couple will help Gwen and Jules.

Gwen sees no way out of the procedure and goes through with it. Things initially look okay and Gwen begins to acclimatise to her new body and face. She continues to be the very best spokeswoman she can be, with even more to offer as she can now wax lyrical about this incredible new technology but all is not as it seems and her relationship with her daughter begins to show signs of pressure.

I’m parking up here because I loved this movie, found it heartbreaking and disturbing on many levels and want to cry just writing this. Please note this review may be shorter than usual just simply because I think you should watch for yourself.

To the Questions!

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“Oh yeah I have changed my hair. And my face. And my body… and…”

Questions:

Will Gwen and Jules be okay? Will Lily and Han come through for them in their hour of need or is it too late? Will Jules make the elite? How will Gwen 2.0 settle in and will she ever rebuild her relationship with her raison d’être?

Also, where can I sign up for a face like Cara Delevingne’s? (Or at least those brows).

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Technology. Innit.

My Thoughts:

This movie is devastating.

Beautiful, seriously well acted and just devastating. I want to skip work, stay home and watch it all over again. Not only does it deal with the topics of ageism and sexism, it also examines the ideal of beauty, motherhood and the pressures of being a woman in general.

There’s a horribly sad part in which Gwen and Jules play a ‘game’ in which Jules must guess where the sound of a crying woman is coming from. She carefully pricks her ears and then bends to listen through the floor before determining that the crying is coming from the apartments above and below. The women aren’t being cruel, this is just another element of their day to day, and part of life as a woman.

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Like a Boss.

Jacqueline Kim is really great, painting Gwen as a warm and loving mother. She also makes Gwen a very intriguing and sympathetic woman. One of Jules’ friends, on seeing Gwen for the first time, proclaims that “She doesn’t even look like a mother!” which was amusing. She is attractive and together; a mother, business woman and everything in between.

She also makes this huge decision to change just as hard on the viewer and conveys her inner-turmoil with ease, she is such a good actress. Samantha Kim as Jules is also a marvel and their chemistry is the beating heart of the film, without it, the viewer would not be left so heartbroken in the end.

There’s so much to say about this but I’m scared to give too much away. Just watch it yourself, promise?

Oh and it looks really good too. The futuristic landscapre is awe-inspiring and ever present, though the architecture easily plays second fiddle to our main protagonists and that’s a feat in itself. Go see.

My Rating: 5/5. Excellent.

Was my blog wife as blown away as I was or does she want to have her mind erased by modern technology? Find out here!

Icetastrophe (Film) Review

HNR9M6HJillian’s pick this week and a combination of two well-worn genres. That’s Christmas and Sci-fi, obvs. Because isn’t that perfect? Like Fish and, erm, candyfloss (the perfect combo).

Christmas Icetastrophe (2014) AKA just Icetastrophe

Director: Jonathon Winfrey
Stars: Victor Webster, Jennifer Spence, Richard Harmon

IMDB Synopsis: A meteorite brings ice and freezing temperatures, which threatens to harm the residents of a small town at Christmas.

My Review:

Charlie Ratchet (honestly) is an impossibly hot dad living in a small town just trying to make a living and stop his evil eyed son Tim from blowing himself up. Separated from his wife Faye (the superbly named Boti Bliss) who lives in the next town along, he’s honestly just too attractive for this world.

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“Yeah I’m just looking forward to kicking back for a few days, eating mince pies, watching Home Alone… you?”

He works for the town mayor Ben Crooge (lol) (played by Mike Dopud), though I’m not sure I know exactly what he does. Something manly, construction/mining? It doesn’t really matter. Ben is not well liked in the town (he is also quite easy on the eye, I won’t lie) but Charlie has to try and bite his tongue because he works for him (I hear you sister!).

This is easier said than done and things get harder (giggle) when we find out Tim is dating Ben’s daughter Marley (Tiera Skovbye). They’re keeping it hush hush though Tim wants to come out as a couple.

I’m p. sure this is because Tim is punching above his weight and Marley knows it but whatever kids, I don’t really care.

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“What do you mean I look like Cyril Sneer from The Raccoons?”

Oh yeah and before we even meet the gang we meet Alex Novak, a mature student obsessed with a meteorite she’s been tracking for some time. Her colleague takes the piss out of her for choosing to spend Christmas Eve working rather than letting her hair down and having a life.

Alex is obviously a bit stupid as she’s supposedly tracking this meteorite so closely, yet fails to warn anybody that it’s about to hit, least of all the small town where Charlie and co are trying to enjoy a jolly Christmassy event in the centre of Main Street.

Just before the meteorite hits, Ben sacks Charlie (for being too good-looking?). I blinked and missed this scene so I’m not sure why, it might be because of Tim and Marley’s relationship. Marley’s brother Scott (Andrew Francis) definitely finds out about them and isn’t best pleased. He’s also a dreadful human being.

So, hit the meteorite does, killing several locals in some wonderfully creative ways and revealing itself to be unlike anything anybody has ever seen before. Like, for a start, it’s all icy and shit, not hot and fiery. Ooooooh!

Ben is a weak little punk and leaves the town Santa to freeze to death when he tries to help a frozen kid, proving to the viewer what a total arse he really is. I sure hope he has the opportunity later to redeem himself…

The town begins to evacuate and head over to the clinic where Charlie’s wife works. But this being a disaster flick means not all goes according to plan.

This happened at some point. Man, he’s COLD

Alex the Scientist turns up, nearly gets killed by the icy fingers of this bizarre natural phenomenon and Charlie then inexplicably decides to put the needs of this idiotic woman ahead of his loved ones. I mean, he’s never met this fool, who’s more than willing to head straight into the eye of the storm (where she will almost certainly perish), and that makes him just as foolish by association.

I’m sorry, we’re all meant to be blown away by how good a man Charlie is but I just thought he was kind of dickish. For a start he sends his son off on his own to make his way to safety. Not the actions of a responsible person, soz Charlie, I don’t care how delightful your jawline is.

Tim does make it to the clinic momentarily but when he the finds out Marley hasn’t arrived he goes rogue and dashes off to find her. Marley meanwhile has stopped with her brother to help a stranded motorist and somehow the two of them end up out in the open. Which is not a good scene, man, not when killer ice crystals are sprouting out of the ground willy-nilly.

I know, you never thought you’d read a sentence like that in your life, did ya?

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“CALL MY FUCKING AGENT!!”

There are deaths left right and centre, some superbly shit special effects (or basically just the one over and over, the aforementioned ice crystals). There are explosions, bonding moments, and lots and lots of snow.

Questions: 

Will Charlie make it out with his beautiful face intact? Will Tim rescue Marley (and will she just STFU for one second PLEASE)? Will Scott get his just desserts (snow cone, anyone?) for being such a prick?

Will Ben come through in the end?

Will ridiculous Alex get her all-important sample of meteorite so she can score Brownie points with whoever still cares?

Will you care? Is this so bad it’s really good? And what happens if you ignore all the advice and eat the yellow snow?!

If you get to the end, you will undoubtedly find the answer to 95% of these questions.

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“Oh hokey cokey cokey…”

My Thoughts:

Sigh. No. Sorry. It was pretty dire. I found myself wishing for an ice shark or something, maybe even a troll, to come crashing through the trees to shake the party up a bit.

The characters annoyed the shit out of me, I didn’t care if any of them lived or died and Charlie didn’t even have the decency to do a shower scene.

So thanks but no thanks, Icetastrophe.

My Rating: 1.5/5. Horrific but my 1.5 is solely for the dude who gets a deadly icicle spear through his throat. God bless him. ❄❄❄

What did my beautiful Christmas angel Jillian think of this hot mess? Find out here if you dare.

❄❄❄

The One I Love (Film) Review

one_i_loveConfession: I’d already seen this film a few weeks before Jillian picked it for our collaboration. Confession #2: I didn’t really get it the first time around. So I was quite pleased to get a second chance at it because it’s a very interesting look at modern relationships (with a sci-fi seasoning).

I’m really going to try not to bang on too much as I do recommend you watch this movie. My mum recently revealed that she’s been reading my reviews and sometimes I spoil plot lines for her by being revealing too much. So I will try to hold back a bit.

(Hi Mum!)

That said: *Spoilers ahead*

The One I Love (2014)

Director: Charlie McDowell
Stars: Mark Duplass, Elizabeth Moss

IMDB Synopsis: Struggling with a marriage on the brink of falling apart, a couple escapes for a weekend in pursuit of their better selves, only to discover an unusual dilemma that awaits them.

My Review:

I keep wondering how to review this without giving too much away and also, how will I do its complex plot proper justice? However, now I’ve viewed it for a second time, I think I’ve got this. Here’s the set up:

“Do you guys know ‘Where everybody knows my name’?”

Ethan and Sophie are in couples therapy, opening up their relationship woes to a silvery Ted Danson. Their problems seems to revolve around something Ethan did and although it is referred to as “What I did”, it is not made clear at this point. We can all sort of imagine. It’s worse than him leaving his crusty socks on the kitchen floor, put it that way (GLYNN).

The couple are trying to fan the flames of a love that took just half an hour to ignite the night they met. It’s not really working, which is weird, you’d think plinkety-plinking at the same time on a piano would fix them right up. Ted recommends that they visit a retreat he knows of, just the two of them. It comes with rave reviews, all the couples who have previously visited have come back “renewed”.

So off they pop.

On the first night in their new idyllic setting, Ethan and Soph enjoyed a languorous meal with wine and pot. Things are good. Sophie tells Ethan he looks hot without glasses (he looks hot every which way, girl, you nuts?). After dinner, while Ethan clears up, Soph explores the grounds and happens upon the guest house Ethan had previously told her about. She has a little poke about and plays with some Russian dolls.

Ethan comes to find her and they do it, after making a pact to try new things. Ethan persuades Sophie to stay in there overnight so she pops back to the main hour to get some pajamas. Back there, she wonders how Ethan got back home so quickly, as he’s napping on the couch when she gets there. She assumes he’s winding her up but gets pissed off when he ‘pretends’ to forget they had sex, minutes earlier. She does what any self-respecting wife would do and stomps off to bed.

“Are you achin’, for some bacon, Ethan?”

Confuddled, Ethan wanders off to the guest house and goes to sleep on the sofa. Soon Sophie joins him and they fall asleep together, amidst mutual apologies. In the morning, Sophie is cooking breakfast in the kitchen, and seems brighter.

Ethan, however, gets even more confused that she seems to be totally over their argument the previous night. She thinks they should put it down to a wild night and forget about it. She’s also cooking bacon, which makes him suspicious, as it’s something she doesn’t like him eating.

It’s here that we start to work out what’s happening, though I have to say, if G started acting weird my immediate thought wouldn’t necessarily be PARALLEL UNIVERSE or COSMIC ABERRATION, but that’s me. Perhaps I’m not complex enough. Still, Ethan returns to the house where Sophie is and drags her to the guest cottage, telling her to go inside. Sophie is starting to get pissed off and scared, but she enters to find Ethan working out in the living room. This backs up his theory that there’s some “Twilight Zone shit” going down. The Ethan she’s just seen you see, can’t possibly be the same Ethan as he’s like, fitter and doesn’t wear glasses, you know?

“Da. Fuq?”

The couple freak the fuck out, pack up and blow that popsicle stand as quickly as their legs can carry them. At the local diner, the couple discuss what this could all mean and whether they should just never talk about it again (I’m a great fan of this particular method of dealing). Yet, they can’t stop thinking about it and curiosity gets the better of them so they agree to return.

Ethan isn’t cool with the fact that Sophie has boffed another man, even though that man is technically another version of him (or is he?). So they come up with a plan that goes a little something like this: alternating shifts of approx. 15 minutes at a time with the ‘other’ partner, no intimacy, no sex – only honesty. Sophie pretty much breaks the intimacy rule within 45 seconds, accepting a massage from Ethan Mark II (who can blame her?).

“Oh haiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!”

This is where I back off a little. You get from the lead in that the guest cottage hosts a pair of Ethan/Sophie doppelgängers. The pair take their turns in the cottage, while Sophie seems more into the experience than Ethan. Eventually, somehow, Mark II Sophie and Ethan meet the originals and then things get confusing.

Who is real, what’s it all about and why did Ted Danson send them there? Basically, it’s all his fault and he’s nowhere to be found. TYPICAL.

2 + 2 = What the hell?
2 + 2 = What the hell?

To the multiple question portion of this review. What’s going to happen when it comes time for Sophie and Ethan to leave the retreat? Is Sophie still in love with Ethan or has she got stronger feelings for the 2.0 version? Can’t she just muss up original Ethan’s hair and remove his glasses, or are the issues deeper than that? Have I got the ingredients in my flat to make my own Mimosa (answer: OBVIOUSLY NOT)?

The ending is great and a very interesting view on relationships on the whole and what people want from a life partner. I think I would even go so far as to say that it will remain with you long after Netflix has booted you off.

If you’re down for something fresh and more cerebral than your average rom-com, then this could be the one for you.

Tic Tack Toe Job (to keep the flames alive)
Tic Tack Toe Job (to keep the flames alive)

My Thoughts:

Interesting.

I really liked it. I did have to go onto the internet to work out a few things but I think I’m comfortable with my view on what it all means. This is a film that doesn’t partonisingly lay it all out for you and once the credits have finished rolling it’s down to you to decide how you feel.

I didn’t feel disappointed with the ending and I liked how it left me slapping my forehead and saying “Wow” to myself. This wow took on the gradual shape of a “Woah” and then I had to make a cup of tea to process the rest. Which I would say is a pretty successful climax.

I also love the cast, of whom there are only really two, the couple themselves. However, Mr Danson takes on a sinister character via his elusiveness and you are left wondering what his involvement is really all about. Why does he facilitate this cray set up?

You can tell this is Sophie 2.0 because make up and light colours, yo
You can tell this is Sophie 2.0 because make up and light colours, yo

Elizabeth Moss is pretty damn adorable, isn’t she? I’ve seen her in little but I understand that she’s the beating heart of Mad Men (a show I am desperate to see but haven’t yet). She’s a fantastic actress and I really felt for her, particularly when discussing the very hurtful reasoning behind ‘What Ethan did’.

As for Mark Duplass, well he’s a dream. I’ve a real soft spot for his work both in front of and behind the camera on films such as Humpday (2009), Your Sister’s Sister (2011) and Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011). In fact, he’s pretty big shit all round the mumblecore scene. He’s great here as both versions of Ethan, one cautious and guilty, the other ‘beachy’ and open to new experiences. He makes you hope for a happy ending for the original couple, and also creeps you out when you learn the objective of Mark II.

So, I was very glad to see this a second time; to really concentrate and grasp it this time. I would highly recommend this trippy love story to anyone. Even G enjoyed it and that’s saying something since it’s got love and romance in it.

My rating:

4.5/5 (aka. Pretty bloody good)

I also threatened last week to start looking at pod casting. I’m obviously not very good at all (yet) but I thought I’d give it a go for this review (my official introduction will come in a few days). I sing in this ‘companion cast’, sorry about that. I also forget to talk about why I liked the film, so that’s helpful. Next time I’ll write a list of things to talk about, like a teenage girl talking to the boy she likes on the phone.

Also, please excuse the siren going off in the background, it wasn’t for me.

What does my lovely film reviewing partner Jillian make of The One I Love? Find out here.

The Machine (Film) Review

machine_ver4This week was Jillian’s choice in the Sci-fi/Fantasy genre. I’m not that great with Sci-fi, truth be told, so I think the idea of trying films I would never pick up under my own steam, is a good one.

This film was quite topical for me as I’d already watched Ex Machina (2015) at the beginning of the week. Both films have very similar subject matter, but are executed in completely different ways. The fact I watched them in such close succession is both a good and bad thing. Though when it comes down to it, they don’t really compare at all.

Who would win in a fight between the two? Don’t worry, I shall tell you shortly.

*As always, Spoilers*

The Machine (2013)

Director: Caradog W. James
Stars: Toby Stephens, Caity Lotz, Denis Lawson

IMDB Synopsis: In efforts to construct perfect android killing machines in a war against China, UK scientists exceed their goal and create a sentient cyborg.

My Review:

Channel 4 have recently released an all-too realistic looking trailer for new TV show, Humans, placing it innocuously (and creepily) within the other adverts, so A.I. and the concept of robots passing for members of the family is current to say the least. Add this to my viewing of Ex Machina, a film I looked forward to seeing for ages, and you could say there’s been a lot of futuristic ponderment going on this week.

G and I often pose hypothetical questions about mortality and the like to one another (usually he to I) and we ended up having a decent debate about Artificial Intelligence. Specifically, whether it really matters if your loved one is human or not, if you love him/her and he/she simulates love back*. So I appreciate a film that makes me think about things from an unusual angle.

The Machine was similar to Ex Machina in topic, but stylistically very different. The opening credits tell us that there has been a cold war with China, sending the UK into a great depression. The arms race is focused on powerful, intelligent machinery as a result. In short, cyborgs, baby. (Love saying that word out loud: Cyborg. Cyborrrrgg. Cyyyyyborgggg.)

Vincent is a clever and handsome scientist who has worked out a way to implant artificial segments of brain into wounded (and brain damaged) soldiers, giving them a quality of life they could never have imagined possible. Unfortunately, during an experimental surgery with a solider named Paul Dawson, he is disappointed when his subject fails to show empathy. Right away you wonder what Vince’s motivation is as an employee of the Ministry of Defense, working on deadly human/robotic weapon people, hoping for signs of humanity. You will find out.

Sadly, Paul Dawson goes mental and kills everyone, except Vincent, who is badly wounded but lives to fight another day, being all handsome.

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Soon, it becomes apparent that Vincent does have a driving force and it’s his daughter, who suffers from Rhett’s Syndrome. This will almost certainly come back to bite him on his tight bottom later in the film, mark my words. He is also haunted by nasty dreams and it doesn’t help that a woman who says she’s Paul Dawson’s mother is hanging around outside the M.O.D building, pushing for answers about what happened to her son.

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When Ava, a promising young woman appears looking for funding for a project, involving computers she has taught to be convincing ‘humans’, Vincent snaps her up as an employee right away. Concerned about Mrs Dawson, who appears on Ava’s first day, and intrigued by a rumour surrounding ‘Area 6’ (where all the wounded test subjects are kept), she starts to snoop, despite Vincent’s insistence that she minds her own effing business.

There’s a spark between them, and Ava agrees to help Vincent scan and ‘fix’ his daughter’s brain. Unfortunately, some things aren’t meant to be and Ava is murdered by a disgruntled Chinese man outside the base, not long afterwards.

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Meanwhile, there’s a girl called Suri (not Tom Cruise’s kid, sadly) creeping about recording things people are saying and communicating with the other soliders/security in a non-human way. (The security guards roaming the base are all former patients with brain implants). Vincent is convinced that the implant causes patients to lose the power of speech as a side effect, rendering all the guards mute, though it is obvious that he’s tripping because they’re all thick as ruddy thieves, transmitting thoughts between them.

Vincent goes above and beyond his remit by replicating the deceased Ava in cyborg form. He uses scans he’s made of her face previously and thus, The Machine is born. She is blonde, beautiful (but of course) and unlike Ava (presumably) has completely smooth parts.

Right away it appears she is not the killing machine Vincent’s boss, Thompson is keen for her to be. She’s sweet and trusting, so Thompson begins to manipulate her, stoking the fire of her inner rage with a big pokey stick.

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Handsome Vince is on a completely different page and gets pissed when The Machine accidentally kills an assistant dressed as a clown (I don’t blame you, Machine, KILL KILL KILL!), so she promises it won’t happen again. She is powerless against the manipulation of Thompson though and eventually unleashes her inner arse kicker.

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The questions: Is The Machine really as human as she’ll have Vincent believe? Can Thompson remove her empathetic side and get her onside as the world’s greatest killing machine? What’s with the Flashdance (1983) tribute scene? What are those naughty robot brained soldiers plotting; and finally, can Vincent save his daughter before all his resources are taken away?

Oh, and, are they romantically connected? I couldn’t quite determine it from the ending. I think not re: sexual organs, but sex ain’t always the main event so you never know.

My Thoughts:

Well, it wasn’t half bad, I’ll say that. It’s definitely not the closest thing to Blade Runner (1982) since Blade Runner, as the poster would have us believe but on its own merits, it’s not bad at all.

I don’t think I’m a Caity Lotz fan, though I haven’t seen her in anything else (her CV says Arrow (TV Series) and Mad Men, as well as The Flash (TV Series) and another DC project, so I’m guessing she’s big in the comic world). I just found her a bit hammy. Still, as a cyborg with a heart (or does she?), I don’t know what I’m expecting.

Toby is handsome and his scenes with his daughter are sweet enough, but it’s all a bit clinical for my taste. There’s not much heart or soul to this film which I think is where it falls down.That said, I enjoyed the climax, which all went a bit Superman III (1983) as the subjects, led by The Machine, clamber to destroy the quantum computer.

Compared to Ex Machina, though, which I loved, it doesn’t hold up as well. Perhaps it’s Oscar Issac that does it (another handsome scientist), or maybe it’s the bigger budget, the more visually stunning sets, the better actors – but to me it’s like comparing a ballet to a rock video. I like them both, but artistically, the ballet takes it, easily.

My Rating: 

3.5/5

Pop over to Jill’s shortly for her take.

*The answer, I believe, is a little bit yes and a little bit no. Conversation for a whole post!