Writer / Director Charlie Kaufman has a reputation for off-beat, unusual movies but I’ll admit I’ve only seen one of his – Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind (which he wrote) that I remember liking for its surreal themes and imaginative imagery. So checking out the trailer this looked like it had a similar quirky vibe. Lucy, a young woman is on a road trip with her boyfriend Jake to visit his parents. However she’s struggling with uncertain feelings about their relationship and is considering breaking up with him. However during their journey and stay at the parents farm, Lucy’s neurotic uncertainties cause various strange things to occur.
This was an odd experience. It’s initially a relationship drama but quickly tumbles down the rabbit hole of surreal imagery, time-jumps that seem to only be happening in Lucy’s head and plenty of pondering on life, mortality and relationships that gets a bit ‘much’. Occasionally the movie seems to hit pause for long inner monologues from Lucy that get rather pretentious, reciting poetry and insecurities that made me rather frustrated with her character. She came across utterly self-absorbed. Also occasionally the (admittedly clever) surreal moments seems to be there just to be odd and wacky (the dog that keeps shaking, disappearing and reappearing), which would have been fine if the movie had more of a sense of humour. Instead we get an overly pessimistic tone that doesn’t shift, and ultimately goes nowhere. David Thewlis and Toni Collette turn up as the patents, playing their characters at various ages, which did prove a highlight.
I’m sure theres plenty of meaning hidden amongst the oddness, and realise it’s all about life, ageing and the passage of time. However overall this lingered too much on the mundane and shy’d away from a potential to be more fun instead of just depressing. Disappointing.
Science-fiction has become one of my favourite genres, with such gems as The Martian and Interstellar impressing me. There seems to have been a bit of a resurgence in such movies, albeit stepping away from the flights of fantasy we’ve seen and instead focusing on a more semi-realistic tone. The same can be said for this latest space-set thriller starring amongst others, Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds.
A team of astronauts orbiting the earth reprieve a probe that has been on it’s way back from Mars, and discover a life form within it’s gathered soil samples. Nurturing said life form in an incubator, the astronauts try to figure out how it responds and whether it’s harmless or deadly. I’m guessing you probably know the answer to that one, huh?
I got a serious Alien vibe from this but stripped down to actual realistic space travel and science rather than H R Giger inspired horror aesthetics. The creature, nicknamed Calvin is initially cute but eventually shudder creepy-crawly, and as the scientists attempt to contain it, this set into action some seriously well done thrills. It’s not a subject that breathes new life into a tired genre but it’s done well, has some genuinely heart-in-mouth moments and is topped off by decent effects work (but for the occasional obvious CGI monster) and great set design that transported me right there … and I didn’t want to be there. Gyllenhaal, considering his usual brilliance is a little side-lined and the star of this turns out to be Rebecca Ferguson who is very good. Ryan Reynolds seems like he’s just playing Ryan Reynolds, but the rest of the cast do a decent job. It’s also a movie, despite it’s familiarity that still managed to keep me gripped and wondering how it might end, and in this day and age that has to be commended.
Posts are a bit slow at the moment. Life gets in the way and all that shizzle. I have had a bit of personal stuff going on that has proved rather stressful and combined with work being particularly busy too, this blog hasn’t been top of my priorities. That’s not to say I wont be posting plenty in the coming weeks, with some gaming on the agenda to get my hands on such as Sunset Overdrive and possibly The Evil Within. Also I need to get around to that Studio Ghibli movie The Wind Rises at some stage.
Other than that I am watching some TV. Just started Gotham which has reached the UK shores a bit later than my American neighbours, and first impressions? Cool but felt very ‘nineties’ in style. I intend to stick with it though. I am also watching Orange Is The New Black, currently going through season 2 and loving it. Other than that I am on the final season of Boardwalk Empire, a show I think has begun to lose it’s way somewhat and I’m not surprised this is the final season.
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