Wednesday, 21 March 2018


This has a great premise, the house with multiple rooms and stairways going nowhere. So what's the chance of this doing something interesting with it?

The widow Winchester is making a house, and she owns majority of the company. The company aren't too happy with that, so hire a doctor to assess her. Wouldn't you know, but the doctor has a past that ends up tying in with why she is interested in him. And there's an explanation for what's going on: ghosts. Namely, make a room of where the ghost died (unfortunate if they were outside) and then talk to them to allow them to rest... if they will. Go on, guess what happens.

And that's the thing. Once you get the set up unique to these real events, then it becomes a standard haunted house story. This feels like a mediocre low budget effort, but I'm not sure that a high budget wouldn't a) have stretched it out worse, and b) make the story stupidly complicated and overblown. So, yay, on the lesser budget. But I still feel like the story could have been better.

Yeah, I like Helen Mirran, and here she's doing more than the script should be worth, although she's not exactly pulling out an A-game here. Jason Clarke is our 'hero' and is a lot more believable that most ghost interacters, until he has to believe of course. And there are a range of other character actors that are familiar, and working well, but again nothing really stands out here.

Should have been better, but it doesn't outstay its welcome.


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Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Rouge Bird

A thriller where the lead is a female? Hey, I've seen Atomic Blonde and this... is nothing like that.

A ballerina takes an aphorism too far, and ends up conscripted into her uncle's business. She's not that great at giving away her body, but she is into the manipulative bit really well. She's tasked with getting the name of the Russian mole out of the American handler, but all too quickly is ready to turn on her own side. And eventually we uncover all sorts of things in which we find out she had the power of script to set up the end scene way ahead of time.

You want a slow spy thriller? You got a slow spy thriller. And at over two hours, it has plenty of time to be quite slow. Not to say this isn't decently plotted, but it is very leisurely paced. Oh, and definitely don't expect any action scenes where JLaw takes out groups of men. This isn't that sort of movie.

That all said, easily the best part of the movie is Charlotte Rampling.

I can't say it was the movie I thought it was, but if you are into that sort of thing (which took me some time to tune into), it's a decently average entry.


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Wednesday, 7 March 2018

The Sharp of Whater

So is this the origin story no Abraham? No, it's the consensual version of Black Lagoon!

Everyone overlooks the janitorial staff, so when a (seemingly random) concrete scientific institution of the 1950s gets their hands on an Amphibian Man, no-one realises that Elisa is going to fall in love with him (because she already has water fantasies), and manages to undermine a psychopathic security military man to get him away. Hopefully.

Can you guess that "the real monster was man all along"? Yes? Okay, that's good, because we get that around five minutes in, so we're all on the same page.

What this really is is a love story that crosses boundaries. That they are species boundaries is rather incidental when there are plenty of other boundaries on display that are being smacked around as well. This is well done, because this isn't that challenging a theme for GdelT (see, for example, Pan's Labyrinth), there's just the sci-fi layer over it because, again, this is GdelT.

I would add more praise, but this is standard GdelT great work, so I'm sure you already know if you want to see this or not.


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Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Fantastic Planet

Hey, the first movie of the Wellington Film Society I got to this year. I'm not sure why this is called Fantastic Planet when the French title is clearly "The Savage Planet".

The Draags are blue aliens, and keep the tiny Oms as pets. Oms are small humanoids they gathered from various planets, eg from Terra. (Ie, humans.) One Om pet gets his learning on, then escapes to join other wild Oms, which Draags consider vermin. But after one eradication too many, the Oms manage to get away and luck into getting their hands on technology, and then we'll see who rules this savage planet.

This is a French animated cartoon and it is weird AF. There are lots of strange plants and creatures, and a lot of this movie is "hey, check out this weird thing we came up with!" (In one case, it doesn't even bother with the pretense of following the Oms moving around to cut to a weird animal interaction.) Often I had only the barest idea what was going on. Not to say this is a complex story, just that it involves so many random moments you can easily lose track of what you are supposed to take in.

Although given that this is little creatures trying to get away to a place of their own in a bigger world, I kept flashing back to Watership Down.


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Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Blak Panter

Sure, let's finally get around to seeing the latest Marvel movie, as is internet law.

A form of civil war comes to Wakanda, and the isolated country must consider how it relates to the outside world.

To be honest, it doesn't really do anything that amazing plotwise. But what it gets right is how it goes around doing what it does. This is really well acted, with great performances from Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira and others. (Although I can't quite accept Martin Freeman as an American.)

It did start with a slight worry, with black actors dressed in camouflage, during a dark night, being attacked by a man in a black outfit... but fortunately the rest of the movie is much easier to see. Although some of the spectacle reminded me of the large CGI city of Thor, the ending isn't quite the CGI fest I feared it would be.

So a well done film, which most of you have probably already seen.


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Friday, 23 February 2018

Universal 1956

And so, we eventually reach the end of the Universal movies I have! This is The Creature Walks Among Us.

Once again, the hunt is on for the creature, and there is stupid talk of changing it to be a land animal. Ha, as if. It takes half the movie, but they finally burn the creature and capture him. The burning is important because that burns the reptile out of him, and he becomes more human. But there is also a plot happening of the money having scientist becoming jealous of his young and lovely wife who attracts the attention of the other guys. He kills someone, tries to blame it on the creature, but the creature is having none of it, attacks him and leaves.

Because humans are the worst creatures of all. Get it? GET IT??

The first half of this is a retread of the previous creature movies, and the latter half seems to be them wanting a more typical monster movie, but tries to be different. As such, it doesn't really feel like its own movie.

This trilogy feels like Universal was trying for a setting up a new creature to join the others, but, well... it doesn't really fit with Dracula et al, and isn't enough for its own thing.


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Thursday, 22 February 2018

Universal 1955

Hey, the Creature is back! This is Revenge of the Creature.

We accomplish in ten minutes what the entire previous movie couldn't do, namely capture the creature. The creature is brought back and, like all strange beasts, put on display for profit. The scientist (male) and the scientist (female) join forces to study the creature, and the creature starts having eyes for the woman. The creature eventually breaks free, kidnaps the woman, and they chase after them, until they finally put it out of their misery.

One quick question: are we supposed to feel that the creature is the bad guy? 'Cos I'm on the side of the creature here. They kidnap him and take him to some weird place where he is put on display and prodded with electricity. Who can blame him when he finally snaps and breaks free (and when pushing the car out of the way it hits the camera)?

And then he's dead at the end, so that's the end of him... ?

(And, hey, a surprise early appearance by one Clint Eastwood!)


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