Land – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film where profound sadness and haunting beauty intersects on the mountains of rural Wyoming.  

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of the film.

Land. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Land Review

There is a genre of cinema that is sometimes derogatory referred to as a vanity project. This when a star gets enough clout to be able to direct their first film and then casts themselves in the lead role. These are usually overly dramatic works hoping to buy into that Oscar love. However, every now and again, you get a film that cuts through that noise and shows a real talent both behind and in front of the camera. With Land, we get just such a film and a phenomenal directorial debut from Robin Wright.  

So to set the scene, we open in Chicago with Edee (Robin Wright) in a therapy session, trying to talk about why she is alone with her pain and why she refuses to share it with anyone. She is there out of her sister Emma (Kim Dickens) insistence, who is scared that her sister might self-harm. Edee instead decides to sell everything she owns, rents a car and drives all the way to rural Quincy, Wyoming. Here she buys a cabin off the beaten track that was already off another beaten path to be alone from everyone. But living with no running water, electricity, or phone has more challenges than first encounters, especially when winter starts.

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In The Land Of Lost Angels – Movie Review

TL;DR – An intimate exploration of a crime as it unwinds across the days.   

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was sent a screener of this film.

In The Land Of Lost Angels. Image Credit: The Filmbridge.

In The Land Of Lost Angels Review

In my exploration of cinema outside of my traditional Anglosphere, today I have another first. I think my previous investigation of Mongolian Cinema began and ended with watching The Hu on YouTube. Today, I take the first steps to fix that by looking at this brooding work of cinema.

So to set the scene, we open in the dark of a Los Angeles night. Ankhaa (Tumursukh Erdenemunkh) is on the phone back home telling everyone not to worry because his new job pays well, but clearly, this is not quite the truth. Along with his friend Orgil (Iveel Mashbat), they go through the motions of setting something up, including purchasing a gun, much to Orgil’s surprise. You are not sure where this is going, right up until they grab Scott (Mike Cali) from his car and slap a ransom note to the window.  

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The Little Things – Movie Review

TL;DR –  A film where the lack of consistency and drive leave you wondering what went wrong.   

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film.

The Little Things. Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

The Little Things Review

There are times when you see a cast list and a concept, and you have a level of excitement because all of these factors should lead to a solid film. However, this is not always the case as there can be a myriad of reasons what a film does not stick the landing. Well, today we look at just such a movie filled with Oscar-winning actors that all seem to be in different films.

So to set the scene, we open with a young lady driving home down a dark street in an isolated stretch of the Southern Californian countryside. Then a car approaches from behind and forces her off the road near a diner. As she bangs on the closed doors for someone to hear her, the assailant opens the boot of his car to retrieve a bat and duct tape. The next day we come to Joe “Deke” Deacon (Denzel Washington), a Kern County Deputy Sheriff, and someone clearly too old to be in such a low position. He is tasked to drive back to his old posting in Los Angeles to pick up some evidence for a court case. When there, he is roped back into his old homicide department by the new guy LASD Det. Jim Baxter (Rami Malek) because there is a murderer on the loose.

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Animals on the Loose: A You vs. Wild Movie – Movie Review

TL;DR – An improvement on this style of story, but an odd juxtaposition holds it back.   

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this movie.

Animals on the Loose: A You vs. Wild Movie. Image Credit: Netflix.

Animals on the Loose: A You vs. Wild Movie Review

 

One way that Netflix has tried to differentiate itself in an increasingly bifurcated market has been the implementation of ‘choose your own adventure’ films. These echo back to an old style of storytelling, but while the nostalgia has been interesting, none of them has been able to nail the technique so far. However, if anyone has a shot at it, it would be Bear Grylls for the entertainment factor alone.

So to set the scene, we open in a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa, where we find Bear Grylls (Bear Grylls) running from a lion only to reach his car to find it locked. We then jump back earlier in the day to find Bear inspecting a fence to see that something had broken through and that the fence that should be electric is not working. You have to fix, the power, find a baboon, and stop a lion all before a storm comes in.

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Interplanetary Enhanced Edition – Exploring the Past (2017)

TL;DR – Conflict on a planetary scale that combines orbital mechanics with the chaos of Worms

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the game.

Interplanetary Enhanced Edition. Image Credit: Team Jolly Roger.

Interplanetary Review –

When you play online games with a group of friends occasionally, there will be the call of “what does everyone have?” followed by everyone scanning through their Steam lists for options as a suggestion after suggestion gets vetoed by a different member of the group. Last week this happened with my friends and them someone threw out the request Interplanetary, a game that I played a bit when it first came out in 2015 but hadn’t thought much of it since. Then we discovered that Interplanetary had an Enhanced Edition and well we loaded it up and cried havoc and let slip the dogs of war.

So to set the scene, Interplanetary is a game set in what I would assume is a very dystopian universe. You play the role of one of the planets in a solar system that has just descended into war. You don’t have access to space ships, but you can build railguns on your planets and rain down fire across the solar system. From a mechanics perspective, Interplanetary is a turn-based artillery –focused strategy game. In your turn, you can build new weapons, resource, or defence buildings. You can pick research to boost your attack, and most importantly, you can fire your weapons. This is a game that takes a lot of inspiration from Hard Science Fiction so where you position your weapons on your planet is essential as it rotates, as it orbits around the sun. To attack, you will need to set an orbital insertion path while taking into account the orbits and gravity of every other planetary body in the solar system.

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The Map of Tiny Perfect Things – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film full of charm and heart that explores time in an authentic way   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime subscription that viewed this film.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things. Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things Review

There seems to be a renaissance in the Time Loop genre in recent times, one of those perfect intersections of art and reality. You don’t have to sell someone on the concept of the same day over and over again because that is life at the moment. While it might be the case that there are not that many stories that you can tell within this genre, today we look at a film that shows that there is still more to see in this world.

So to set the scene, were open in the morning as Mark (Kyle Allen) wakes up and begins his day. But unlike reality, every movement is perfectly timed as if he knows everything that is about to happen. Of course, this means that he does know what is about to happen because Mark is stuck in a time loop. Mark is spending his days copying Groundhog Day trying court Phoebe (Anna Mikami) when one loop something changes as Margaret (Kathryn Newton) appears, and he discovers that he is not alone.  

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Greenland – Movie Review

TL;DR – A disaster film that leans into the emotion and is better for it.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime subscription that viewed this film.

Greenland. Image Credit: STX Films.

Greenland Review

After falling off the face of the Earth, disaster films have started to make a resurgence in the cinemas. There have been good disaster films and bad, but one of the core similarities is that a bunch of them have stared Gerard Butler. Well, we now have another entry into this particular genre so let’s dive in.  

So to set the scene, we open in Atlanta, Georgia as architect John Garrity (Gerard Butler), is trying to keep things as normal as possible for his son Nathan (Roger Dale Floyd) after his marriage with Allison (Morena Baccarin) fell apart. While this is happening, all of Earth is looking up at the Clarke Comet that was picked up only weeks ago. The scientists say it will burn up in the atmosphere and make a great light show, but after John gets a Presidential Alert, he realises that something more is going on and then the first boom hits.

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First Blush – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film looking at people trying to find other people to plug that hole in their lives   

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was sent a screener of this film.

First Blush. Image Credit: Gravitas Ventures.

First Blush Review

There has been a lot of reframing of traditional relationships in the post-modern era. However, when cinema has started to explore this realm, it rarely explores this world’s realities. Today we have a film that gives it a solid try if nothing else.

So to set the scene, Nena (Rachel Alig) and Drew (Ryan Caraway) are a mostly happy married couple living in Los Angeles. While everything is good, it does feel like they are sleepwalking through their lives until one day Drew plans a surprise birthday party for Nena with her annoying friend Carrie (Jordee Kopanski). The party is a bit rubbish, but while they are there, Carrie runs into Olivia (Kate Beecroft), and soon their worlds come crashing together.      

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Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy – Earthrise [Chapter Two] – TV Review

TL;DR – Unfortunately the issues of the first Chapter are back

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy – Earthrise. Image Credit: Netflix.

Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy Review

When the first Chapter came out for the War for Cybertron, I liked some character aspects, but unfortunately, I came away from it feeling a bit hollow. I wanted to see if they could fix some of these issues in Chapter Two, but I am not sure they did.

So to set the scene, at the end of Chapter 1 – Siege, Optimus Prime (Jake Foushee) took many Autobots as they can away from Cybertron on the Ark. However, Megatron (Jason Marnocha) and the Decepticons think the Ark exploded taking the Allspark along with it. Megatron is in a state of despair, as he has no enemy to fight, and the planet is slowly dying. On Cybertron, the few remaining Autobots led by Elita-1 (Linsay Rousseau) try to free those locked up in detention camps. But on the Ark, things are not going well, even before some unexpected visitors pay a visit. Now we will be looking at the series as a whole, and as such there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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Cyberpunk 2077 – Video Game Review

TL;DR – A buggy experience that even when you power through it, you find a mostly surface-level game failing to delve into the world they had created

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Warning – Contains scenes that have been reported to induce seizures

Cyberpunk 2077. Image Credit: CD PROJEKT RED.

Cyberpunk 2077 Review –

To be honest, I was wondering if I was actually going to write this review. The discourse around this game has been unpleasant, to say the least, and what difference would be one more voice howling into the void make. I mean, I even found myself cleaning the house to put this off. But in the end, I paid full price for this game, a game that was clearly not ready for release, and also this is my profession, so I kind of owe myself and the working hours I put into this game to contextualise that into words.    

So to set the scene, in a boardroom, on the streets of Night City, or in my case on the northern outskirts of the city, we meet V (Gavin Drea/ Cherami Leigh) as his car is being put together. He is a nomad but without a clan or family anymore and is just trying to get ahead. One uppity sheriff later and he is on the way to meet his contact Jackie Welles (Jason Hightower). All V has to do is smuggle this little crate into the city, and he will have enough money to set himself up. There is just one border crossing between him and freedom … what could go wrong. When he thinks he has survived that skirmish, he is offered a chance to put together the heist of a lifetime involving the mysterious Johnny Silverhand (Keanu Reeves).  From this point forward we will be looking at the game as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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