Tag Archives: Entertainment

At the Movies: Annihilation

There are a lot of spoilers in this, so if you are real serious about Annihilation maybe stop.

I remember ranting in the car at my poor girlfriend shortly after we left the theater. I also remember feeling kinda bad since she initially wanted to re-watch Black Panther before I convinced her maybe we should try this. Going into the film trailers painted a movie where an alien contact on Earth summons Natalie Portman and crew to investigate a potential alien infestation. What I thought would ensue was a mindfuck adventure from Ex Machina director Alex Garland. It’s true it comes with a lot of confusingly gross creatures and at times hauntingly pretty locales, finding ways to distort the familiar into things impossible. However the plot goes nowhere and one by one characters die off for no other reason than to mercifully come to an end.

Spoilers ahead but honestly, tl;dr meh.

Natalie Portman plays Lena, a former Army veteran and current day academia professor. She is haunted by the loss of her husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) a fellow soldier and (I think?) black ops operative(?). Most of their exposition is watching Portman and Isaac fool around in bed, then we jump to the threat named The Shimmer threatening to infect our world. It’s not as steamy as it sounded, you can safely go back to watching Fifty Shades of Free.

After disappearing for a year and seemingly dead, Lena finds Kane just walk right into their bedroom and act like an obvious clone. A short conversation follows then says he needs to go to the doctor because he’s spitting blood into a cup of water. On route to the hospital big-ass-obviously-government SUVs detour them and kidnap both Kane and Lena. We are introduced to psychologist, and extremely Xanex’ed, Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who musters enough energy like a 14-year-old girl looking at you stupidly like of course you don’t know what the fuck she’s talking about, explain a very serious alien infestation threatening to very slowly but assuredly eat up maybe a town in around 40(?) years.

Lena, distraught her newly returned husband dying seemingly for real this time, decides to venture into The Shimmer strapped up with Chicago paramedic Anya Thorensen (Gina Rodriguez), Cass Sheppard (Tuva Novotny), Josie Radek (Tessa Thompson) and Dr. Ventress – probably secretly looking for a lost cache of Xanex within The Shimmer because she’s abused her right to have prescription pads like Dr. House.

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Thing is I can’t fault the actresses (even the extremely high Dr. Ventress) for trying to bring as much horror and enthusiasm to a movie with all the charisma of a instructional  technical book. Oh look: a human being split in two with a giant butthole flower grown from where his torso once was. Let’s get some swabs of it and get some sleep (this literally happens). There are quick sputters of violence, which happen for no other reason than to wake us up. In perhaps the strangest scene in the film, they are confronted by a mutated bear with human bones grafted to its face and it’s roar is a literal human plea for help. This was perhaps the only interesting and possibly cool thing to happen in the movie. After this one of our protagonists has leaves growing out of her skin then just disappears period.

We don’t see much other wildlife aside from some pokemon-looking deer, and we learn that maybe the person who Lena thought was her husband may actually not even be a human after all. If this sounds boring it’s because the movie provides  no weight to anything that happens. The film would’ve been serviced with a sub-title: Shit Happens. The movie relies on random gore and creepiness to lull us back into a story really bored with itself.

Kane is obviously gone quite often since he’s a military operative, and we immediately at the start of the movie are introduced to Lena’s co-worker Daniel (David Gyasi) trying to holler at her, but the movie makes a point to establish Kane and Lena’s closeness, then introduces an affair with flimsy context. The love triangle goes no where and takes up time that probably should’ve just been cut entirely. I might’ve been able to forgive the movie had it been 30 minutes shorter.

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The only real conclusion I can come to was the writers were written into a corner, then left to get coffee. I’m convinced there must be another hour of footage out there that was meant to be the second half of the movie. The film comes to climax with Lena being forced to confront an alien-copy Lena shortly after seeing a video recording of her husband killing himself with a phosphorous grenade while recorded by a clone copy of him. Yes, I meant to explain it like this did it fuck your mind?

Real Lena slowly learns Alien Lena is learning from Real Lena how to act human, including fighting back when Real Lena tries to kill it. I think this was meant to be a moving moment, but eventually Real Lena kills Alien Lena with a flare grenade thereby seemingly ending the alien plot line. If none of this sounded exciting, it’s because it wasn’t. Nor was there any real suspension in the moment building up to it.

Annihilation builds up suspension to do nothing with it or even bother making elements sensibly tie together. What was the whole point of detailing Lena’s affair (twice focusing on when she was having sex with Daniel, only to just hate him immediately and throw him out when it was recognized she seemed equally at fault for this, THEN to just drop it all together and daydream about having sex with Kane? Why didn’t we get to see the bear again or anything interesting like that again?

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Lena and Kane reunite at the end after being the only to escape, but now with us knowing the (real?) Kane died within the Shimmer we are left with an intentionally opaque ending trying to seem like it was designed to invoke mystery and some sort of thoughtfulness. Lena knows this guy isn’t really him, and we know she’s irreparably mutated after spending too much time in the Shimmer. Neither are probably ever going to escape the facility, but are we to assume the infestation continues? I don’t know. And I don’t think Alex Garland does either. If you do, please inform both of us.

I’m sure an argument about unsaid subtext and themes going over my head could be brought, and you might even be right. The whole film is built on distorting our perceptions of the world as we know it including what makes us fundamentally us, but at some point I began asking myself if I was making the story up in my head or I’m actually using what’s provided. Was that maybe the point?

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At the Movies: Black Panther

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As usual I try to keep this spoiler free but I sometimes reference stuff so if you’re trying to keep your mind virginal until you see the movie, maybe stop now.

Up to this point in the MCU, global catastrophes have largely been concentrated to (or originate from) New York City. Sure, Doctor Strange took us locations like Nepal  and bizarre alternate dimensions, but ultimately the final showdown happened where? New York City. The Avengers even began their career defending what? New York City. Avengers 2 took us to Sokovia, but where did everything start?! That’s right. New York City. Black Panther represents our first genuine worldview into the MCU away from North America and the Avengers.

Black Panther’s fortunately continues the trend of better storytelling in MCU films, and represents a pleasant departure from the seemingly cookie-cutter nature of past MCU films. The movie doesn’t feel like another origin story instead focusing on a post-Civil War T’Challa coming to grips with his new position as king of Wakanda. What unfurls is plot that keeps things grounded to themes such as family and legacy in a very trippy, high-tech adventure.

Wakanda is an absolutely stunning location: an unfamiliar yet not totally alien mix of modern fashion with impossible future technology. It’s fun to see a world even Tony Stark (presumably) doesn’t know of, with technology that makes his inventions look like cheap crap.

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I came to really enjoy Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa, a somewhat reluctant hero only in that he is comfortable pummeling people but is well aware fighting and leading a nation are two wholly different things. This makes T’Challa, in my eyes, the most compelling character the MCU has at the moment. Yes, Captain America, Iron Man, and Hulk are all symbolic heroes, but none have the literal ability to enact widespread change quite like T’Challa can, who is an actual leader.

Like the last few Marvel films, women have taken an increased role in the fun, especially this time around with the stunningly badass head general Okoye (Danai Gurira) and T’Challa’s at-times unavailable love interest Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o). They aren’t the only ones kicking ass throughout the film, but they share a good portion of Black Panther’s 2hr 14min runtime in meaningful ways other than being given screen time to jack people up.

Ok, so some minor potential spoilers going forward.

I’m thankful Black Panther gave us a villain with actual reason other than insane global/galactic domination dreams. Erik Killmonger, despite what his name would imply, is a very sympathetic character. Orphaned at a young age and abandoned by the royal family he would come to learn of, Killmonger is driven by the knowledge he was literally thrown away to cover up a devastating secret for T’Challa’s father. Forced to be raised as an orphaned black boy on the streets of America, Killmonger became embittered and rage filled at the idea there is a place that could help disenfranchised blacks around the world but instead opts to live in secrecy with their technology. Admittedly at the same time, while I understood why Killmonger a total fuck boy, it felt a little too much especially when it came time to be taken serious as a regicidal usuper.

At the film’s core are two sons fighting for their fathers’s legacies: T’Challa seeking to be a great ruled like his father, while Killmonger wishes to proliferate vibranium weaponry worldwide to literally cause an armed uprising among blacks worldwide. T’Challa goes through the heroes journey of learning it was a mistake to want to follow in the past’s footsteps and must pay for its sins in the form of an overwhelmingly devastating Killmonger.

And because it’s the Internet, I’m sure there are some crocodile tears over the seemingly “racist” nature of Black Panther being a predominantly black-casted film. In no other uncertain terms, much of Black Panther is lifted by the cultural elements infused in nearly every pore of the film. This isn’t meant to be familiar, this is meant to show an extraordinary world within an already large, extraordinary world. By the end of the film (as much as I want to spoil it), it really feels like now that we know of Wakanda it’ll be hard to ignore how much it will definitely influence the MCU in years to come.

Without spoiling too much (more), my largest regret was how quickly Andy Serkis’ villain, Uysses Klaue (or better known in the MU as Klaw), came and went. Serkis easy captured the scenes he was in, even if sometimes it felt difficult to understand his maniacal gibbering. Regardless, he was gleefully evil presence in a movie filled with lots of gray space.

Black Panther is a legit fun movie and a breath of fresh air for a genre I feared was getting stale. While much of our good will shall eventually give way to the orgy that is Infinity War I and II, for now its exciting to see where Wakanda can take the MCU before the aliens start dropping from the skies again. We’ve been to outer space, to the edge of metaphysical reality, but we’ve yet to visit a place so culturally distinctive (and frankly as critical) as Wakanda.

Injustice 2 keeps it moving with Fighter Pack 2: Black Manta, Raiden & Hellboy

While we’re still busying enjoying the new ranged fighter Starfire, Netherrealm dropped details on the upcoming fighter pack 2 which will include Black Manta, Raiden, and Hellboy. Netherrealm put together a sexy video of the new combatants for your pleasure.

Hellboy is probably the greatest surprise of the bunch, while Raiden and Black Manta long having been guessed to be part of the roster. Black Manta will be the first of the new pack to be released. The release date has yet to be dropped but you can see Black Manta’s promo video below. If you’ve been lagging, I’ve also included a vid of Starfire’s abilities below that.

Game of Thrones Station: Season 7 Finale – The Dragon and the Wolf

We’re way behind with our Game of Thrones station threads and I’ve done my damnedest to avoid spoilers along the way thanks to those douchebags who leaked all final episodes. I’ve also spiced up this week’s GoT entry, so hopefully you enjoy the improved format. Anyway…

It’s all been laid bare and here we are, all roads inevitably lead to the same ending: the arrival of the Long Night. Before I can even begin to tackle where season 7 has taken us, first have to unpack what episode 7 has: the meeting of powerhouse characters long waited for. In between are some very deep revelations that will really fuck things up, as you’ll come to see.

The episode opened with Grey Worm in good health at the head of the Unsullied army alongside the Dothraki as Daenerys shows force to Cersei their meeting. Bronn and Jamie gaze in wonder at the massive army of Unsullied and Dothraki outside the castle walls, a last bit of calm they’ll receive. Jon gazes in wonder and disgust at King’s Landing, Tyrion being Tyrion quipping the brothels are superior to anywhere in the North.

Cersei, Jaime and Qyburn gather to listen to Cersei plot the possibility of Gregor murdering Daenerys and company when the opportunity arises. Neither Jaime nor Qyburn look particularly thrilled to hear this.

Bronn intercepts Tyrion and Jon’s company with his own. Sandor Clegane catches gaze of Briennne of Tarth, who can’t believe this fucking guy is still alive. Tyrion reunites with Podrick, all grown up, and of course Bronn delivering this gem at the insistence they save their hellos:

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Sandor catches up to Brienne, who is slightly worried he’s looking for vengeance. Instead they talk about their mutual interest in protecting Arya Stark, with Sandor seemingly genuinely content the girl was still alive and in Winterfell. Even if she left him dying choking on his own blood he still holds a soft spot for her. The two seem to have come to peace with each other through Arya’s safety and Sandor sorta completes his turn as a hero after years of scumbaggery.

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After everyone gets out their feelings, we are immediately brought to the stark seriousness of the situation. Jaime and Brienne pass a fleeting glance at each other (if you have forgotten their adventures in season one). However it is immediately the reunion of Sandor and Gregor that stands out. If Sandor was feeling alright a minute ago, his attitude immediately sours upon sight of Gregor. We have a teaser for a fight between Sandor and Gregor. Sandor is indifferent to what has befallen Gregor, reminding him he is still intent on killing him regardless. It’s unknown if Gregor even thinks for himself anymore but when he was normal, this was about the same standard.

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Daenerys is late to the meeting much to Cersei’s extreme chagrin. Not only that but Cersei catches Brienne and Jaime staring at each other a little too knowingly. Jaime realizes what he’s doing and tries super hard to shrink. The moment is broken by Dany showing up by dragon-back, with Cersei maintaining a hard poker face at the theatrics. Immediately their first meeting is off to a rocky start with Dany deliberately keeping Cersei waiting knowing it would piss her off.

Tyrion attempts to open the meeting but Euron starts by taunting Theon and Tyrion. Jon, frustrated, cuts in and gets the point: fuck their beef, there are White Walkers on the way right now. Cersei naturally doesn’t take this threat seriously. They begin to argue but Tyrion knows seeing is believing. The fruits of “Beyond the Wall” are shown when Sandor drags a crate with the captured White Walker within it. Tension builds when Sandor opens the crate and the walker doesn’t move. Everyone is held breathless, some in disbelief anything is happening, until Sandor kicks the crate over and the White Walker springs to life scaring the shit out of everyone.

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Sandor puts on a demonstration showing not evening cutting it with steel will stop it. He chops it in half and cuts off its hand, with Qyburn immediately showing interest in the severed hand. Cersei is mortified throughout the whole experience, for only the second time in the program she is unable to smug her way out of this. Jon shows her they can be defeated by fire and dragonglass though no one seems particularly relieved. Dany reveals there are easily over a 100,000 walkers en route.

Euron asks if they can cross water. Once he hears the answer no, Euron immediately turns tail and leaves, telling Cersei he is taking the Iron Fleet with him so they can wait out the apocalypse. He tells Dany to return to her island as he will his, saying they will be the only ones left alive once winter ends. Euron has very unceremoniously dumped Cersei, who thought she had him wrapped up.

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Cersei, seemingly fine with Euron running away, begins her talks for what she’ll accept as terms for a truce. She only commands Jon snow to return to Winterfell and remain neutral in the beef between herself and Dany. Jon Snow, however, can’t quit Dany and tells Cersei he’s declared for House Targaryen and is bound by honor to stand by her. Dany is moved. Everyone else there wants to face palm so damn hard right now. It was both noble and stupid.

Cersei offended tells them they’re on their own, as the White Walkers will kill the Northerners first then after, having apparently not listened to the presentation, threatens she’ll defeat the remainder after their deaths. All forward momentum immediate stopped and she storms out. Brienne attempts to reason with Jaime to reason with Cersei, though she discovers, like we the audience already know, she’s preaching to the choir. Cersei also stands watching, having heard this, making sure Jaime is still flying right.

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Tyrion wants to call Jon stupid, but in true House Stark fashion Jon believes he must stand by his principals. Otherwise what good is a man’s word? Tyrion, agreeing with its nobility, still points out their peace talks just literally walked out and they’re back to square one with the White Walkers en route now. Tyrion takes it upon himself to redeem the moment and tells the group he will talk to Cersei alone, much to his own peril. Dany objects but Tyrion convinces her its literally their last serious option. Immediately following Tyrion leaves to confront Cersei.
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Escorted by Gregor, Jamie intercepts Tyrion before meeting with Cersei. Both knowing there is no reasoning with Cersei, Jaime joking offers they should say their goodbyes, because in all likelihood this is probably their final meeting as brothers. Knowing what must be done, Jaime steps aside.

Their meeting goes predictably sour, with Cersei refusing to hear anything Tyrion has to say regardless of its validity. Tired of her threats, Tyrion offers to voluntarily succumb to death at her hands. Cersei is plenty tempted to take Tyrion’s offer and allow Gregor to murder him. She restrains herself and allows him to live, moreso in truth knowing Tyrion’s death would push Dany to light up King’s Landing right then and there.

Cersei hears Tyrion out, though I say that loosely, as they discuss what’s in this for both of them. Tyrion confesses he wants Daenerys on the throne, citing she will be a better ruler than Cersei who is widely despised. However in mid-conversation, Tyrion, always perceptive, quickly picks up cues Cersei is with child. Now knowing this, he appeals to Cersei to follow through on the truce for the sake of unborn child’s future so they can at least stop the White Walkers.

Back in the Pit, Jon Snow and Dany have a moment together, this time getting much closer than they have before. It’s clear something is brewing between them now more than ever. This is the power couple fans have both hoped for and now will soon cringe over.

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Interrupting the moment is Tyrion’s return, who came back with Cersei and posse in tow. Against all odds, Tyrion managed to convince Cersei to not only maintain a truce but offer troops to aid in their fight against the White Walkers. Cersei attempting to command the moment, cites she does this without assurance from Dany or Jon they won’t stab her in the back. But of course we know Cersei always has ulterior motives at play. In the end, though, Jon gains another powerful (albeit unlikely) ally against the Night King.

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After this we return to the North where we find Sansa talking to Littlefinger alone, which is always a dangerous thing. Littlefinger feeds Sansa’s frustrations over Jon and Arya, continuing to prod her to conspire against Jon and Arya. For the most part, Sansa goes along with Littlefinger’s conclusions, voicing her own concern over how dangerous she’s become. Like Emperor Palpatine of Star Wars, you can see the joy in Littlefinger’s face when he smugly tries to induce conclusions.

Dany, Jon and company return to Dany’s keep to plan how to proceed now that they have Cersei’s agreement for a truce. They discuss placement of forces, with Jon suggesting he and Dany travel by sail to meet Dothraki forces at Winterfell, in an attempt to race North as quickly as possible. Jorah Mormont intercedes Dany should ride by dragon back, as there are many people in the North who would still happily kill a Targaryen over past wars or for glory. Dany decides to ride with Jon. Below you can see Jorah giving Jon a disapproving dad look.

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As the meeting breaks out Theon asks to speak to Jon privately, asking his forgiveness for the bullshit of his past. Jon, though still rightfully upset with Theon being a shit-head for years, tells Theon it’s not his place to forgive him for all the bullshit he’s done, but he can forgive him for whatever he’s done to him. Theon tearfully tells him of Yara’s plight and how he wishes to save her, to which Jon simply asks, “So then why are you still talking to me?” Theon in this moment realizes while his literal testicles are gone, his metaphorical ones can still be reclaimed.

Immediately after this conversation, Theon confronts the commander of Yara’s rebels (who pulled him out of the sea when he fled Euron’s trap) to order them into a mission to save Yara. The commander dismisses Theon, reminding him he’s basically a pussy. Theon, having found his metaphorical testicles, stands against the commander and allows him to beat him up until he’s too tired to do so. Theon with his newfound courage keeps rising to his feet, until the commander is too tired to fight back. Then Theon beats the shit out of the commander, nearly killing him. All this in front of the remaining rebels. Theon shouts, “If not for me, for Yara!” The crew clearly convinced Theon has balls again. He immediately takes the boats and crew out to sea to find Yara.

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We return to Winterfell where Sansa is preparing a trial for Arya. She is brought before a hall filled with armed soldiers and a smirking Littlefinger leaning behind the crowd, as per the usual. It appears Sansa has Arya on trial…until she drops the motherfucking mic and names LITTLEFINGER THE ACCUSED. OH SHIT.

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I implore you to watch his double take again. Arya’s smirk. All of it. It’s pure gold. Believing he had fooled everyone, Littlefinger is in total shock he’s been called out. Sansa officially tries him for the murder of Lysa Arryn (Catelyn Stark’s sister with the sick kid) having pushed her out the moon door (which is still funny to think about), the conspiracy to murder Jon Arryn (Robert Baratheon’s original hand, and Ned Stark’s mentor), and for originating the conflict between the Starks and Lannisters. Yes, Littlefinger is finally getting his comeuppance. And how did he receive it?

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That’s right, Arya cut is throat. While Littlefinger’s death solves little, it does solidify the Stark household and avenges Ned’s death.

We return to Jaime and Cersei, of whom Jaime is busy attempting to organize the attack North. Cersei scoffs as Jaime’s attempts, calling him stupid for believing she genuinely plans to fight alongside them. She confirms she lied to Dany’s face about helping her, instead having secretly sent for a massive mercenary force funded by the Iron Bank. If all goes to plan, Cersei will fool Dany into believing her main forces have driven north, when in fact she’ll have a fresh army waiting in King’s Landing to attack her from within.

Jaime is rightfully horrified at this extremely bad idea. Even after having seen the living dead in person, she still plots against everyone. Jaime tells Cersei he has made a promise to lend his aid, and his honor demands he make good on his promise. Cersei, obviously not one for promises to anyone other than her, is pissed.

She is convinced the dragons can be defeated, as she noticed Dany only arrived with two, and that they can wait out the coming apocalypse from the safety of King’s Landing. Maddened by her absolute stubbornness, Jaime refuses to follow Cersei and opposes her, even as she threatens to have Gregor murder him. Knowing Cersei wouldn’t kill him, he defiantly leaves to prepare for their advancement north. With that, Cersei lost the last person standing by her side (aside from Gregor, because that’s literally all he does). At the same time, as Jaime leaves, snow begins to fall on King’s Landing for the first time in countless years. WINTER HAS COME.

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But wait, we aren’t done yet. Because tonight’s episode included 30 extra minutes, we got more! Next we follow-up with Samwell Tarly who is just arriving in Winterfell (at a good time too). He arrives to speak to Bran and give him tremendous information. Bran already assumes he knows what information Tarly brings, which involves Jon Snow’s true parentage. Bran believes he knows Jon isn’t a Snow but a Sand, child Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark born in Dorne, making him a Sand not a Snow (sorting out the proper surnames of bastards based on where they were born).

Samwell Tarly can’t believe he knows shit psychic Bran doesn’t. Neither does Bran, as Samwell reveals what his ladyfriend, Gilly, discovered some episodes back: Rhaegar Targaryen is the true husband of Lyanna Stark, of which they wed in secret. This throws the entire politics and world of Game of Thrones into a fucking tizzy. Bran quickly realizes this makes Robert’s Rebellion built on a total lie, to which the allegations were Rhaegar kidnapped and raped Lyanna. Instead this would make Jon Aegon Targaryen, Dany’s nephew.

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Of course we make this realization as we watch Dany and Jon start fucking. Where one family power-couple breaks, another is formed. Fun.

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Moving on, we rejoin Sansa and Arya as they process Littlefinger’s demise. Arya confessed she knows her role and she never would’ve been Lady of Winterfell, nor did she truly want to. She concedes Sansa personal power as a woman who endured the torment she experienced, saying she didn’t know if she’d have the strength to survive Sansa’s ordeals. They both lament the death of the father, bonding together and solidifying House Stark. The Starks have truly taken back the North.

Finally, we rejoin the Brotherhood and the wildlings as they survey Eastmarch for the impending walker army. Dondarrion and Tormund watch in horror as the army nonchalantly marches upon Eastwatch. In no time at all, the White Walkers make their full presence known. At first with a few men, then the entirety of the army. Of course, that’s the not the worst of it. As you may remember, last week Dany lost a dragon to which now the Night King rides upon. And with his new ice dragon, the Night King fells The Wall. For the first time in Westeros history, the Wall has fallen and so now comes the Long Night.

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End of episode. Welcome to the end.

I feel legit empty inside right now. I…I think I need to go lie down.

 

TV Theatre – The Belko Experiment

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To put it in its most simplest terms, The Belko Experiment is a film about violence for the sake of violence. It will probably share a similar audience to the likes of Saw or any slasher that gives the filmmaker an excuse to show over an hour’s worth of gore non-stop. The set up is an international group of people put together in a bizarrely nice building in the middle of nowhere Columbia.

They all work happy corporate lives until one day a voice on the intercom tells them they have to start killing people or they will die at random. Who these people are, the cast, the antagonists, whomever it’s all irrelevant. People have to die when the voice says, so sayith the voice.

In fact, there is little plot here anyway to make these characters relevant. Not that the film is concerned with it. No, the prime focus is to get you sitting on the edge of your seat ruminating how the next sucker is going to die a shitty death. Because that’s why you came to see this movie: stupid people dying shitty deaths.

This movie probably will share a lot of similarities to the 2000 classic Battle Royale, but unlike Royale, The Belko Experiment invests no serious time on its cast and spends more keeping the body count going as fluidly as possible. Which is cool if that’s what you were expecting coming into this movie like I was.

To that end, the violence is pretty amusing and even at times somewhat thrilling, even if everyone is moving at a very by-the-numbers pace. At no point are you going to be genuinely surprised by anything. The movie sometimes tries to pull at emotional strings that just aren’t there. Instead, it’s at its best when it stops trying to talk and just lets the rage fly.

At the end of the day, if your thirst is for a horror movie more concerned with being grossly violent than genuinely scary, then yeah, The Belko Experiment can help with that. In fact, for just that purpose it’s pretty good. Just maintain that level of expectation and everything’ll be alright. Maybe just maybe don’t eat spaghetti or something with tomato pasta. Or do, if you’re sense of humor is that morbid. Again, this movie would probably be for you.

Just like this little review, the movie ends somewhat abruptly leaving you with the feeling they want to build a fuck load of sequels to this because Saw did it. If nothing else, it looked like this movie was a lot of fun to make for the actors.

Preview – Agony (PC, PS4, XOne)

The product of Kickstarter, developed by MadMind Studio and to be published by PlayWay, it’s clear from the onset this is an indie project. Once you fire up the trailer, though, that thought immediately goes out the window.

Like, what the fuck was that? Look, if that didn’t rustle your jimmies then I don’t know what the hell your problem is. Get it? Hell? Oh shit, I can do this all day.

What stands out most about Agony is how horribly good it looks. It’s showing off the beautiful (maybe grotesque in this case?) shine the new-ish Unreal 4 engine possesses.

Played in first-person, so far the concept is navigating puzzles while occasionally possessing demons to keep eventually find a way free from this. The trailers have painted Agony in similar ranks to Outlast, which is fine company to be in.

Currently there is no release date for the game outside of a vague Q4 2017 listing. Regardless, this one is worth keeping on your radar. Or if nothing else, now is a good time to get those much needed upgrades to make games like this really pop. This is probably also not a good game for people who do psychedelics. Just saying.

Like seriously, what the fuck?

At the Movies Double-Feature: The Emoji Movie and Valerian and the City of Thousand Planets

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Every summer there’s always those movies. The ones where you ask yourself, “why?” For fun yeah but, like, why this? Movies cost a lot to make, so you would think it since it takes a ton of effort on the part of animators and so many others, that. I wouldn’t be asking for much for it to be decent right? So as it is every summer, there’s the turd. The Emoji Movie is that turd.

The movie revolves around Gene, who is supposed the “meh” emoji. He’s not like the other emojis where their faces are set and don’t ever change. Gene, on the other hand, goes through all kinds of faces. He just doesn’t want to be a “meh” emoji. At first it caught my attention and I wanted to see where they were going with it. But 20 minutes into the movie and I just so badly wanted something to happen.

The plot of the movie involves all the emojis living in a phone, and Gene discovers the owner, Alex, is planning to resetting his phone, deleting everything. Now when I saw the previews I was excited thinking it would be funny and we would get a chance to see how emojis live day to day life in this fantasy world. I mean, isn’t that at least sort of the point for these movies?

Anyway fuck it, the film was a waste of money. I could say more but honestly what’s the use? The Emoji Movie makes it seem like the writers ran out of ideas and out of random they decided to make an emoji movie with no good story to go with it. I’ll give it the animation was decent but I feel bad for the people who had to animate a script my niece would’ve done a way better job with. That’s it, that’s what I have to say about The Emoji Movie.

As for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, just like The Emoji Movie, was decent to watch because of its fancy visual effects. For the plot, it felt very poor plus the acting wasn’t there either. It all felt a bit goofy when the actors were trying to be serious. Either be willing to have fun or be serious, but don’t try to sell me whatever this was.

If the storytelling was a bit more thoughtout I believe it could’ve been great. Both Rihanna and Cara Delevingne are trying to make a stamp for themselves as actresses but they have a long way to go still. Rihanna’s scenes were too short and Cara just had that “I want to laugh look” while trying to be serious at nearly all times. The only part that seemed decent was at the point they were trying to sava Cara from being eaten.

Valerian kinda obviously has a Star Wars vibe going on, which was something I think sorta saved this movie for me. I don’t like giving spoilers so this is all I’m saying about the films, but honestly I gave you as much details as the films really gave me. They’re both entertaining movies to a degree thanks to their looks but beyond that they both have horrible plots.