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Blade Runner 2049

A much edited, short, unspoilery review: As a movie asking the eternal Philip K. Dick question of "what makes a person real?", it's mediocre at best. But. There are parts of it when, whether it intents to or not, it asks instead "what do we think makes a woman real? what's necessary, and what's sufficient?" and gives horrifyingly direct and honest answers to it.

It's not that those are true in the moral universe of the movie — that'd make it unwatchable. It's simply the moral universe of that universe's society, and to a large degree ours — that's what makes some scenes deeply uncomfortable.

In a somewhat dreadfully hilarious way (and I feel it cannot not be doing this on purpose, but I also fear this is just me being naive) it doesn't seem to know or notice this. It's a bit like the opening of Shawn of the Dead: terrifying things are going on, but neither the protagonist nor the camera notice them.

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Atomic Blonde

I enjoyed it. It's about 50% a very aggressively styled 1989 Berlin spy story (they put a lot of effort into things like props, clothes, music, etc), 50% that corridor fight in Daredevil.

In other words, the violence, when it happens (and it does happen quite a bit), is downright brutal (although almost never abusive — this is pros against pros) and while some characters are obviously more skilled than others, nobody is superhuman. The physical toil of what they do isn't explicitly talked about, but clearly displayed, specially when it comes to the protagonist. She can kick butt like a more socially fluent Jason Bourne, but boy does she pay for it.

Not a masterpiece, and particularly not Le Carré(although slightly more Le Carre-ish than I expected, at least in intent), but enjoyable as long you mind neither close, bloody physical violence nor its aftermath.

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This Justice League movie fan trailer using the JLU theme song would in a better world be the official trailer of a movie that would reflect its spirit. But this isn't that world, and we won't see that movie.

So, Wonder Woman

Non-spoilery things I liked:

  • They got the action scenes perfectly right. *That's* how Diana would fight. And when, and why.

  • She's never innocent, she's a sophisticated person in a different context.

  • The combination of Diana's genuine smile whenever Things Are Escalating and the characteristic riff of her theme song is sheer genius.

  • Steve Trevor: not an idiot.



Spoilery things I didn't like:Collapse )

That was longer than I expected, but that's just because I'm a curmudgeon. I liked the movie, Diana kicks ass, and I pity whoever gets in her way.

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The LEGO Batman Movie

Er... meh? Not the movie's fault - it does what it sets out to do, message(s) and all. But that's kind of the thing: I was there for the over-the-top-ridiculousness, not the by-the-numbers personal growth, and while the former never abated, I found the latter distracting. Probably mostly a function of my emotional state.

Don't take this as an anti-rec: if you think you'll like the movie, you probably will, and the over-the-topness was definitely there.

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On the new Ghost in the Shell movie

Racefail aside, it's felt much more juvenile than the anime. It's a movie about finding and taking ownership of yourself, while the anime *begins* with the Major knowing very well who and what she is.

Also, of course, in that you never get the feeling that movie!Major, physical skills aside, is the consummate hyperprofessional tactician and world-class badass that is anime!Major. We have Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, etc, for physical female badasses (and never forget Ripley), but I don't know if we have in a major movie, or the industry is ready for, a female badass who's not only part of an elite paramilitary unit, but calls the shots. I suspect there's a cultural line there, where female badasses are ok (if sexualized enough), but not, like, running the badassery. E.g., how the DCEU keeps undermining Waller, who's more Aramaki than Major anyway.

IMHO, an slightly-above-average cyborg-with-existential-issues movie, but that's it.
Here's Stewart doing Macbeth's "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow" soliloquy, and here's McKellen. I'm sure directors, by definition, had much to do with the different approaches, but look at Stewart's utter despair, and compare it with McKellen's utter *disdain*.

In a better world, we would've had an Star Trek:TNG movie where the Federation finds a wormhole to another galaxy and learns that most civilizations in the universe are cybernetic and either Data- or Borg-like. Then it goes from first contact plot to spy thriller, as reluctant Ambassador Picard and internment camp candidate Data must prevent a Pearl Harbor first strike with a horrifying self-replicating smart antimatter bomb from Section 31, headed by the imperious and brilliant (McKellen character's name).

You know, X-Men with the Federation as mutants.

Just saw Star Trek: Beyond

(Not my fault, they released it in Argentina last Thursday.)

What a ridiculous movie. But then, no more ridiculous than some stuff TOS used to pull off.

That said, the plot structure is getting way too repetitive. I realize this is just my "whatever first aired when I was at the right age to enjoy it is the peak of that particular art genre" prejudices showing through, but a TNG episode-like movie (not a TNG movie-like movie, gods, no) would be my preferred choice.

A side note: the trinity seems to hinge on Bones rather than Jim in this continuity, although to be fair it's rather more of a
(Jim -- [Bones) - (Spock] -- Uhura)
structure. Not a complaint, just an observation. Makes sense, in that this Kirk is less intellectually inclined (not saying less smart, although if he's a tactical genius we still have to see it, Kobayashi Maru repeat aside), and this Spock seems to be more socially inclined (not sure why the difference in Watsonian terms, as it precedes the death of Vulcan; maybe he did(n't) strike an early friendship with Kirk at the Academy?).

  • Much more sexually R-rated than I expected it to be (the violence was, of course, a given).

  • The fourth wall is broken, the pieces are reduced to rubble, the rubble is thrown into the sea, and the area where the fourth wall used to be is salted with radioactive material.

  • Related to that, 97.3% of the movie consists of Wade Wilson making a quip, either in-universe or metatextual. A fair amount of them are downright crude, mind you, but not all. ETA: Although some of them could be triggery for "humorous" mentions of sexual violence.

  • There's a romantic relationship, because this is a Hollywood movie after all, and it being forced was one of my concerns, but it works quite well, I think (within the male protagonist wish fulfillment assumptions).

  • In fact, sexually explicit (for a Marvel movie) as the it is, it's also very unashamedly sweet. I think both things are related; the relationship side of the plot has nothing to do with the more usual tap-dancing around and platonic (in the philosophical sense) idealization of sex.

  • The end credits scene made me squee.



All in all, I went with the expectation of an ok time, and it was quite better than that.

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