Cosmopolis (2012)

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“A logical expansion of business is murder”

“The urge to destroy is a creative urge”

 

These are two of many good quotes from David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis film that I really loved. I’ve been a fan of Cronenberg’s since the first time I saw his film adaptation of The Fly starring Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. As a kid it freaked me out to watch the metamorphosis of man into fly, and I believe that’s why I enjoy his film’s so much. He’s very good at giving us examples of metamorphosis whether it be physical or psychological or both. In Cosmopolis, we are given a ceo’s metamorphosis from cool, calm and collective to a bit out of control and finally his breaking point.

This world that Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) is living in is already out of control with a society living within economic turmoil mirroring much of what we as a nation went through in 2008, and are still going through with our distribution of wealth and power, bank bailouts, and real estate uncertainty. The anarchists are protesting, looting, and attacking businesses with dead rats to give off examples of corporate greed. Throughout the film you’ll see and hear a lot about the rat and the symbolism plays an important role in the story. If you think about the rat in different cultural contexts, we have a creature that was responsible for spreading a plague that killed millions of Europeans. To many, a filthy disgusting pest that spreads pestilence and disease. Then you have other cultures that deem the rat a creature to be worshiped, a reincarnation of the ones who lived before us and whom are therefore blessed. Packer jokingly brings up the rat as a new type of currency and the banter is quite funny in regards to what’s currently happening in his world. It just makes since. Especially once you dig a bit deeper into the currency in our country. We no longer have gold backing the US dollar. What’s backing it you ask? Nothing, it is simply a note which is a long standing joke within itself.

So, you get to watch Packer’s slow steady decline, like sinking in water without the struggle or fear of drowning. His company’s portfolios and future are uncertain but what does Packer care about? Getting a great haircut and trying to get closer to a wife he is intimately distant from. Packer is an interesting fellow, I must admit I was actually drawn to him for some strange reason. I think it’s because I admired the way he was able to sit calmly amongst chaos and wasn’t afraid of it. He was attracted to it.

At the same time, he took solace and refuge in his limo. His limo windows were his eyes to destruction and the limo itself was his protective shell. His relationship with his wife was odd yet it understandable. They were distant and played a lot of cat and mouse games. The sexual tension between them played out very well. Pattinson gave a great performance as a husband with an insatiable and unquenchable desire for his wife. He says, “I need all the meanings of the inflamed”, and I believe his wife uses that to her advantage like so many dysfunctional marriages we see presently. So, you’re company’s future is uncertain, your wife is a platonic stranger, and the world around you is collapsing yet he finds freedom in it all. Was this simply his way of saying he’s adapting or was he giving up? I’ll leave that up to you to decide since we all have our own personal life experiences, but life is strange and ever changing.

We as a society have been able to adapt to many settings whether positive or negative. Some are stronger than others and are better equipped to handle those changes without losing our heads but on the other hand you know the story. The film experience was similar to watching a play, and it got me very interested in reading the novel by Don Delillo. You never know what could happen all within one day or how your life can change within 24 hours. Thank you Cronenberg for another great film and to Don Delillo for a great story. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Morgan (2016)

 

 

Morgan is a science fiction/thriller about a seemingly corrupt corporation who’s employed scientific team has been given the task of observing and “raising” a conscious droid. The movie immediately begins by showing us Morgan’s aggressive side. She’s shown attacking a scientist played by Jennifer Jason Leigh during an observation session. Throughout the film you see Jennifer’s character recuperating in a room with bandages over her eye and she’s still in a weakened state resulting from the attack. We get a sense of empathy and trust from the staff of scientists and staff working closely day to day with Morgan. She refers to her attack as an “accident” and also freely uses the word love. She appears to share the same naivety, innocence, and curiosity that any human child her age would have but underneath that appearance lingers something darker. The corporation starts questioning whether or not they should terminate her and they send in an agent to investigate her and the staff. This agent needs to collect her own data in determining how everyone should proceed with Morgan.

I enjoyed this story and believe it was executed well. I enjoy good twists and love stories about artificial intelligence and human droids. The cast was great. I’m biased because I really like Paul Giamatti, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michelle Yeoh, Rose Leslie, and I’m keeping my eye out for future films starring Anya Taylor-Joy of The Witch. I appreciate that the ending didn’t feel rushed yet the action didn’t dwindle. There’s a lot to the premise that they could’ve gone into a bit more but other than that I found it to be good story telling.

Mind Trap

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Mind Trap is an action packed and humorous sci-fi thriller about a young boy named Rudy and his mentor,  Mr. Kloom. Rudy is a boy with a special gift. The only problem is -he doesn’t know how to control it. There are other’s that share the same gift and aren’t as innocent as he is. They are greedy and will stop at nothing to destroy each other in order to harness more power for themselves. Mr. Kloom serves as mentor and protector, a man with the same gift who drifts through life as a toilet paper salesman and pill popping drunk. Mr. Kloom adds to the hilarity of the story just when you’d imagine there’d be no room for laughter. I really enjoyed this story and can’t wait for a sequel. It’s an impressive first novel that was  imagined and written over the course of one summer. Here’s hoping  J.R. Brule has many more boring summers to bring us a series of adventures for Rudy and Mr. Kloom. I am suggesting that you pick this up if you like science fiction and need something fun to read this summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Machine 2013 Review

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The Machine is a very complex British Sci Fi film starring Caity Lotz as Ava, a scientist who specializes in artificial intelligence. In the story she is able to impress Vincent McCarthy a research scientist who is employed by Britain’s Ministry of Defense, and who has been trying to perfect a self aware and conscious android. Vincent has been trying to perfect this technology because his daughter suffers from a neurological disorder called Rett syndrome, and he believes that with Ava’s assistance he’ll be able to help his little girl. Ava becomes suspicious of Britain’s Ministry of Defense after meeting a wounded soldier and subject of a cybernetic arms experiment who asks her for help. Thomson, the director of cyborg experimentation doesn’t appreciate Ava snooping around and eventually orders her to be killed because she knows too much. After she is murdered, Vincent McCarthy has the idea to use her brain for his new project, an advanced machine or android.

He then creates The Machine with the likeness of Ava’s personality and looks, but with the strength and intelligence of an indestructible and deadly robot. I really enjoyed this movie, but it seemed to have a rushed ending. There were certain scenarios that went without explanation and kind of left me scratching my head. Other than that it’s a good solid story, and Caity Lotz did a great job portraying The Machine. I also liked that the androids had a secret language only understood by them. The movie had decent action scenes, but it didn’t feel as though the film relied on that. I’d give this one three gold stars. Enjoy!

The Signal 2014 (Review)

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The Signal is one hell of an experience. It’s more than just sitting there in a stupor and watching another spoon fed, cliched, predictable action-suspense sci-fi mega blockbuster. You don’t have the government whipping out their big guns to defeat the alien impostors and there’s no “we need your resources spiel”. You won’t see any pretty scientists looking for clues in equations to save the earth, and thankfully thankfully thankfully, no one-liners. It’s a film that doesn’t have to rely on any of those things to remain intriguing.

The story follows three MIT students, Nic, Jonah, and Haley who decide to seek out a mysterious hacker who is responsible for nearly getting them expelled for breaking into the MIT servers. With luck, they are successful at tracking the hacker down to a mobile home in a remote south western desert location. Once they reach the mobile home they decide to scope it out to see what they can find, but Haley decides to stay in the car. While inside, Nic and Jonah search through rooms and get curious as to what’s in the basement when they hear Haley screaming outside. Her screams get louder and louder as the two friends run outside to find out what’s happening to her. When they reach the door they see Haley being levitated off the ground and they black out.

When Nic wakes up the real confusion begins. He wakes up in a top secret underground research facility, and he’s battered and bruised. Laurence Fishburne enters as a doctor who needs to ask him a few questions about the events that took place but Nic isn’t complacent because he’s confused, frightened, and worried about Jonah and Haley. I don’t want to give much more away but you’d have to see the movie to be able to appreciate the way the characters play off one another. The story is unique, the actors anguish is believable, and I really don’t feel as though it was over the top or as I’ve heard other critics say “too ambitious”. For me, the film kind of reignited the flame of the Sci-fi genre, and it made me proud of the film makers for releasing something that I’m sure they knew wouldn’t really appeal to the masses. If you want to watch something that’s going to toy with your mind a bit I suggest watching The Signal (2014).

Godzilla (2014) Guest Review by Jorge Herrera

thSo for quite a while now, the Hollywood blockbuster has seen some shaky ground as far as quality film is concerned. You’ve had garbage pile up ruthlessly onto the big screen (ie. Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, 10,000 BC, 2012, Transformers, etc.) and of course, you’ve had some mildly decent successes, mostly thankful to a few comic book movie adaptations (Dark Knight trilogy, Avengers, Man of Steel, etc.). Sadly, one movie that all us nerds who wear our geekness on our sleeves has met a not-so-pretty fate of turning out to be a gruesomely horrendous and forgettable movie: 2014’s Godzilla.

The movie starts off promising with the help of actor Brian Cranston (Breaking Bad, Malcolm in the Middle) and a setup to what could’ve turned out to be a good film. The serious and apocalyptic undertones of the monstrous catastrophes pending were in motion from the beginning, sucking the viewer who’d been waiting for a serious Godzilla flick all the way in. Sadly, almost immediately, the movie had lost almost all hope with inconsistency after inconsistency as far as details go (the what appeared to be an iPhone in the scene that took place in 1999, wtf? Things like that). The poor acting that comes with a lot of cheesy close-ups of certain actors after them saying something “deep” or “alarming”. Finally, Godzilla’s view as somewhat of a “hero” to a city he’s helping to utterly DESTROY as he’s fighting two other monsters that came on the screen before he was awakened. I’m sorry, but I fail to see the logic in that. However, we do live in an Orwellian nightmare where “War is peace” and we find salvation through death and destruction. So it seems our rooting for the jolly green giant in this tripe would only come natural to the American movie goer.

In conclusion, this movie sucks. Unless you like popcorn movies with the Pacific Rim spirit, go nuts. And enjoy 🙂

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

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Killer Klowns from Outer space has got to be one of the funniest horror/comedy/sci-fi movies ever made, and I really don’t like horror comedies. The Chiodo brothers were successful at writing and producing a campy film that also came across as clever and well thought out. It was released in 1988, but you could watch it today and still laugh at the cheesy jokes. The clown costumes were ahead of the time and very creepy with animatronic facial expressions and caked on creepy make-up. This contributed to the reason why this is a cult classic for the fans till this day. The actors were moderate but comical. I remember the two guys in the ice cream truck who would try to hook up with no regard to standards. Even when they were on a space ship with clown girls with inflatable breasts, these guys would not say no. The score for the movie was great, a circus theme with electric guitar? How can you not love that? Killer Klowns! Watch It! It’s such a great horrible movie.

Written by J. Choi and Shanil

Killer Klowns music video…