Posts Tagged ‘review’

Crisis: The big pharmaceuticals’ “Holy Grail”

Anyone interested in hard scifi has to watch Westworld. It’s the biggest production that exists, as far as I know. They have now spanned the world and brought the future, and it’s one of the few actual mind-blowing projects.

The theme is freedom, what it means, what it doesn’t mean, and the struggle that is both real and vividly imagined, how they cross over. The term they used was “algorithmic determinism.”

My love has been professed for Evan Rachel Wood, and I just learned she’s a black belt in tae kwon do. Of course she is.

The show shot in Singapore, Spain, the west, and thirty years in the future. It’s bigger than life, and the story crackles because of Jonathan Nolan, Christopher’s brother who obsesses over the Inception mutli-threaded strings of plots. It quickly grows more complicated. It’s not like easy to follow linear stories. They are constantly asking the big questions.

It starts off slow-burn and building in complexity. By the end of the season, it’s massive in scale. I really don’t think that anyone who ended up here needs any more convincing.

Exulto Review

Exulto is a 2016 found footage short film Directed by Joe Giambrone…”

The free movie is linked at the bottom.

Kingdom – Review

Posted: February 25, 2021 in Joe Giambrone
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Set in ancient Korea, this gory war tale brings the zombies in a fresh way.

This was another series that should have appeared on my binge list. The story revolves around power and the monarchy. Ruthless, cunning, malevolent people create the plague deliberately.

The first-born prince slowly comes to understand the plot behind the madness. He is being squeezed out as illegitimate by the emperor’s new wife.

The zombies are fast and overwhelming. Setting it back when before computers helps to transport the audience to an alternative world where the questions seem larger than life. The playing field is more even, and the zombies are a serious threat. The rivalries in the imperial court play out in parallel with the ever-growing zombiepocalypse, and so it remains interesting.


This is a good news/bad news situation. There isn’t a lot of great stuff lately, but some of it is worth a look.

The Queen’s Gambit

This is my top pick for watching right now. Loved it. Loved the adult sensibility, the lack of idiots and idiocy, and the entire production was top notch. (more)

The Mandolorian

I’m stuck in the first season at the moment, so I haven’t seen enough for a full review. The opening was clearly a Spaghetti Western set in Star Wars, and so I was instantly sold. Mando is very much like Clint Eastwood’s man with no name. The Baby Yoda twist works on its own, but I haven’t seen where that thread is headed yet. I’m sure to the Disney Store.

Black Mirror

Now caught up: this is the hard scifi show to watch. If you have Netflix streaming, definitely do not miss. Charlie Brooker is a genius.

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The Expanse

For its vibe, its dark perspective the show has legs. It’s not my favorite, and I’m not enamored of the characters, but sometimes you need to head out beyond the belt.

AHS 1984

Jason & Freddy may be in a different copyright zone, but American Horror Story has returned to the big 80s to aerobicize the terror out of you. With the expected callbacks to previous characters, you may see Richard Ramirez get his own Satanic-powered subplot. The problem with this season (and others) is that there’s no one to root for. They pretty much all turn out shitty by the end. They’re big on redemption stories of the worst killers, and that doesn’t work for me.

The End of the Fucking World

This is kind of a show of, by, and for young psychotic serial killers. For that alone, it’s worth checking out. The deviant kid in the lead role is creepy.

Humans

One of the best realizations of The Singularity yet. (review)

Parasite

A Korean language film won the Oscar for Best Picture? Yes it did. And it’s all about class conflict. (review)

Knives Out

This is like an old time thriller they don’t make anymore. (review)

1917

Amazing achievement and also takes you away to another time and another war that has little bearing on our current reality. There’s a kind of escape. (review)

Other films I’d recommend are Destroyer (Nicole Kidman), Woman at War, Capernaum, Ford v. Ferrari, Little Women, Harriet, Queen & Slim.

There’s also Possessor, which I would have reviewed if it was a better film. It’s Brandon Cronenberg, his second film–the first one was better.

If you’re all binged-out and burned through those, there is always the greatest reality TV show of all time: Taskmaster UK, and the other good British panel shows including Mock the Week, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, QI, and Hypothetical. All are up on the web in various locations.

Or read a book.

This is a black-American odyssey, a road movie, and kind of unflinching. From the trailer I knew I wanted to see it.

There are some intense, gritty films about race over the past few years. The country is finally coming to terms with its abhorrent past and can talk about it. Black filmmakers are successful and reaching wider audiences. And yet the problem remains the same.

At times spot on, and at other times playful and loose, Queen & Slim was a thought-provoking ride that resonated with me. The police are universally understood in the black community (in the world of the film) as being a brutal, occupying force. The solidarity of the community and the united front of the community are key parts of the narrative. It is about resistance, rebellion, and the dysfunctional system in place. The damage is physical, moral, psychological and lethal.

This should be an instant cult classic, so check it out.

I knew from the trailer that this would be going to the top of my queue.

Turns out, it’s brilliant, one of the best American movies of the past few years. The acting is fun and the characters hilarious.

But more, it’s a whodunnit crossed with a Hitchcock thriller, so that not even the characters know what really happened. The twists pile on, leading me to suspect a bit of shark jumping at first, but the plot was so tight I had to relent.

So, this is another must-see, and it touches on elite depravity, the children of privilege and their mammon cult. A true dark comedy, we need more like this.

This is one of the crucial American stories, and everyone should watch it.

Harriet Tubman is one of the few black women taught about in schools. Her story is a bit santized there, without the visceral experience a movie can bring. While this is drama and not straight history, it does give a real feeling of the time. The characters are quite understandable–all of them.

The actress playing Harriet is strong, with much presence. Her story was even more badass than taught in K-12.

Despite Harriet herself being a wild-eyed true believer in religion, the film works. Handling sensitive topics is key so that it never becomes preachy.

There was, of course, much dramatic license taken in parts, but it holds up due to the sheer magnitude of her life. Live free or die trying. This is a story for right now.

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I honestly could not remember anything about the book’s plot, and I wasn’t sure how closely the TV series came to it. The book was unmemorable, except for the background about conditioning different castes using scientific engineering. I had to read it over at Wikipedia to determine that they did diverge quite a bit. I’m sure I like the show better.

BNW

The good news is orgies and ultra-violence.  It’s a Brit production, so adults were in the room. The drama is solid, a love triangle, revolution, systemic oppression, future technology. All in all, my kind of show.

Brave New World - Piilot

Now, nothing is perfect, and I’m exceptionally jaded, but this one is worth a watch. We need revolution in the air these days, and conveying it through a completely alien society is even better than contemporary disenchantment. There’s a safe distance, while viewers decide which side they’re on.

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This is the first I’m hearing about this movie.

‘The Report’: Torture Meets Truth in Obama’s Washington

 

 

I’m not convinced from the trailer or the review that anyone involved understands why it happened. The character acts like it’s some unforeseen consequence that they can’t prosecute the people they tortured, when in reality that was the reason for doing so in the first place. Cover-up was the motive, the 9/11 cover-up to be more specific. It is 9/11 being not what we were sold that is at the heart of all this, and not any of the gibberish that officials spout. It’s not about “saving American lives.” It’s not about “getting information.”

When they had Abu Zubaydah talking with FBI interrogators–spilling the beans on Saudi and Pakistani military ties–he started telling them too much, and the CIA moved in and … drum rolldidn’t do anything with him for a month and a half. Then the CIA started torturing him. If they were so keen to get info, they would have asked him questions during that initial month and a half. They tipped their hand. The point was cover-up. Period. They made everything secret and beyond the reach of Congress and the public by committing glaring war crimes. And we all know no one has the balls to prosecute the CIA for war crimes.

 

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I have a vested interest and highly subjective relationship with this season of AHS, as I thought of the concept a full 10-months before they did…

 

 

And in my version of US politics as horror, it would have hit a little harder and at both teams.

AHS Cult turns Trump’s “white nationalist” sympathizers into a literal cult, with clown heads and a supreme ruler, a twenty-something angry white male named Kai. In typical Hollywood pulp fashion, it veers away from reality to make it all about these particular characters and their quirky plights. It continues, however, to allude to the national political events even as it rewrites Jim Jones, Charles Manson, the woman who shot Andy Warhol, the Zodiac Killer, and even randomly throws in some of their former evil clowns for no discernible reason.

 

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Yeah, it’s a bit of a mess. But, aren’t they all?

So, a pair of lesbians and their young son endure the Trumpocalypse, as a clown van full of murderers terrorize their small Michigan town. Piling twist after twist, the plot kind of jumps the shark midway, but that would require spoilers.

As with the series, and with long-form TV generally, the characters start to grow on you after living with them for a sufficient amount of screen time. They’re nasty, and yet all have vulnerabilities. No one is really in charge, kind of a metaphor for politics.

 

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I only wish that they had used the opportunity to indict the real horrors coming out of Washington, the endless wars, millions of victims across the world and the smug willful ignorance of the majority about what their empire does to the world, even as they cry victim over every trivial slight. It could have impaled the audience, as well they deserve it. AHS Cult kind of tickled them instead, and isn’t that the real problem?

 

 

 

 


Demigods are here.


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Twisted Satire

Somewhere between Salo and Oh Brother, Where Art Thou, this surprising journey twists things around unexpectedly.

I found this story amazing and disturbing, but with gag moments thrown in to lighten the mood. It’s a very strange take down of the fascist mindset, by having a rogue fascist, a deserter no less, turn the tables and out-fascist the fascists.

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It kind of boggles the mind what Private Herold managed to accomplish, more so as we learn that this is a true story! 

The character gets darker and darker and darker. If that’s your kind of tale…

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