AndyO Blog

Saturday, May 16, 2020

May 2020: Films and shows

As one would expect, I've watched a lot of films and shows during the pandemic lockdown. Here are a few with my reviews:

Rambo: Last Blood: A paint-by-numbers revenge film. Could have been called “Rambo goes to Mexico"—because he hasn’t done that yet. And from a demographics perspective, it makes good marketing sense. But it becomes even more obvious when actors speak in Spanish, but Rambo always responds in English (Although, I have to say, with Stallone's unique delivery, there were times I wondered which language he was speaking. (1 star out of 4)

Tales from the Loop (Amazon): A thoughtful, often beautiful series of eight episodes that explore a rare kind of sci-fi—where connections aren't always obvious and plots aren't always resolved. Based on a book of paintings by Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag, there's a Euro sensibility running through most episodes. The glacial pace will undoubtedly turn off some viewers, but in the end I thought this style fit well with the themes of time, loss, parenthood, and legacy. As I was watching, I was reminded of pieces of Stranger Things, The Twilight Zone, the X-Files, Hanger 18, and Eureka. Like Eureka, most of the residents in the town are devoted to working at "The Loop," which appears to be a kind of particle accelerator facility. Rebecca Hall leads the cast as one of the employees, but there are strong performances by almost everyone, as well as a hypnotic, clock-like score by Phillip Glass marking the progression of time. (3-1/2 stars out 4).

The quiet, cold beauty of "Tales from the Loop"

Knives Out: Directed by Rian Johnson, who most recently directed the polarizing Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Knives Out is a murder mystery that somehow seems to expand and improve on the genre. While there are loads of stars in this film from multiple generations, including Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, and Christopher Plummer, the film belongs to Ana de Armas (whom I first saw in Blade Runner: 2049). Have fun figuring this one out. (4 stars out of 4).

Upload (Amazon): What if instead of dying, you could upload your consciousness into the cloud? Girlfriends, family, and friends can still visit you. You can even carry on relationships if you like. What I liked about this series was the way it explored the commerce side of being uploaded. For example, wealthier people can go to a better location. There are constant upcharges. It's not difficult to see things going this way. (3 out of  4 stars)

The Lighthouse: Directed by David Eggers, who also directed The Witch, this is a film spools forward like a dream (or nightmare). Shot in a claustrophobic 4:3 ratio in black and white, you're often left with more questions than answers--especially by the end. But the key, as I found out, is diving into the mythology and symbolism--specifically around Prometheus and Proteus. (3 out of 4 stars) 

Midsommar: Seeing the trailer for this film, it looked like another forgettable horror film. But after watching, I can say now this is a much more original disturbing story, led by the actress Florence Pugh. Like Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen's Gambit and The Witch), Pugh appears to have extraordinary range. Looks like Marvel is paying attention, as she'll now be the forthcoming Black Widow. (3-1/2 out of 4) 

Florence Hugh in "Midsommar"


posted by AndyO @ 5:55 PM   0 comments