Ready Player One

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Based of the novel by Ernest Cline “Ready Player One” dives into the “The Oasis” a VR based world where players can create their own avatars and choose the way they approach the games inside of it, but when the creator of the oasis lays out a challenge of whoever finds the three keys will own Oasis. When the evil 101 what’s to find it to get it’s riches, it’s up to Wade Watts to find it before they do.

 

Everyone has some nostalgic feelings for Steven Spielberg’s work, whether it be in the 80s with his blockbusters like Indiana Jones or E.T., The 90s with Jurassic Park or even in early 2000s with something like War of the worlds, You no doubt have enjoyed his movies. In his latter years though, Spielberg like anyone else has lost his creative “fastball”, after many years of directing his current work is nowhere as memorable as his previous work is. Still Spielberg has been trying his hand at the blockbuster genre again. Trying to reclaim the magic that everyone knows him for. Does Ready Player One succeed in that? Well let’s find out.

 

I’m not one to go to 3D screenings I have very little appeal for them, but my theater was pushing pretty hard for it even making half the screenings they were showing on Thursday and Friday 3D. So I gave it a shot and it’s very much worth it, about three minutes in I forgot I had those glasses on it makes that VR effect that more engulfing. The race scene that’s in the trailer was so much fun to watch with the 3D effect there were long stretches were there wasn’t a cut and the camera use meshes well with the 3D that I felt like I was on a ride for that whole sequence. Most of the CGI in this is very nice to look at, it’s never to rubbery and even the practical stuff with IOI kept it fresh. Which was a nice relief considering the first trailer had some really bad CGI which made me think this production was rushed, however that isn’t the case and the final product looks very nice.

 

Whether you’ve read the book or just seen the promo for this movie, you know this movie is full of Easter eggs and the movie truly delivers on that part all throughout it there are characters new and old all over the movies it’s hard to list them all. There is a sequence in this movie that heavily pays tribute to Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” where you can tell the characters were walking on a physical set of the Overlook Hotel that I knew had to take forever to digitally stitch the characters in that attention detail was definitely my favorite but there is still plenty of other ones to see in this even a battle in the third act where a battle of many monsters and collide, it’s incredibly fun to watch.

 

Ready Player One plays out more like a ride, calling back to better movies most of the time but never flushing out the characters it has at hand. There are some characters especially Wade Watts friends that never get a proper back story as well as his love interest “Artemis” thats teased to have this Rebellion but it never comes to fruition. As far as character development there is little that is dedicated to anyone else other then Watts himself.
Overall you can enjoy this movie highly if you treat it like an amusement ride. What Ready Player One really lacks is that signature “heart” that is always so common in all of Spielberg’s movies, but I think it’s not surprising that Spielberg may have lost a step or two in his age and many years behind the camera. Still this movie has all the other qualities that is he known for. The incredible attention to detail when it comes to practical sets and machinery, the scale of characters and land sets, even the comedy is bright and cheery. I’m going to give this movie a “B+”. If you saw Ready Player One what did you think of it? Also you like what you read like and subscribe for more. Follow me on Twitter,Instagram,and Letterboxd @cinemaflavor.

Pacific Rim:Uprising

Pacific Rim:Uprising is the sequel to the 2013 sort of hit “Pacific Rim”. Set ten years in the future the war between Jaeger’s and Kaiju’s is over but a new threat arrives and it’s much worse. Now it’s up to Jake Pentecost to avenge his fathers name and work and lead a team to save the world one more time.

Pacific Rim is loud,uproarious, fun it’s also extremely self aware, I mean c’mon any movie that has a mech suit beating up a monster with a ship in the streets of Hong Kong isn’t concerned about making the criterion collection. Like most original concepts it didn’t appeal to the mainstream audience so when a sequel was greenlit I was taken aback considered even the small “cult following” it gained over the last four years. This time around though everything this movie sets out to be isn’t the right direction to take this so called “franchise”. Every character in this movie is flat even with the copious amounts of backstory given to them. John Boyega who has proved to have a natural charm to him has his performance buried under an extremely cringey script coupled with Scott Eastwood who I swear hated his life having to film this movie.Cailee Spaeny who is the lead is actual quite good she has very little to her resume but holds her own, if anything she should get more work just for having to work through this screenplay. The highlight of every monster type of movie should be the fights,destruction,etc. and this movie can’t even get that right!!! the beginning fight looks like it was made by the same guys who made that giant robot that appears before NFL games, its CGI was so lackluster and that’s not even the worse part. This movie has two third acts. One that involves Charlie Day’s reveal of being the antagonist and using his brain link to the Kaiju’s to create these Zombie type of Jaegers and it takes up most of the third act but then another twenty minutes is dedicated to a group of Jaegers fighting one big Kaiju in Japan. Its obvious Steven Deknight(who has only directed individual episodes of shows like Daredevil) has inexperience with feature length films and its cut like a two story arc on a tv show. When a movie is that messy in structure isn’t it a no brainer to bring in someone much more competent to lead a movie this massive.

Do yourself a favor and just watch the first Pacific Rim if you want to be entertained, Pacific Rim:Uprising does no justice to the first movie and Steven Deknight proves that he should stick to directing tv shows instead. I’m going to give Pacific Rim: Uprising a “D-”. If you like what you read like and subscribe for more and follow me on Twitter,Instagram, and Letterboxd @Cinemaflavor.

Tomb Raider (2018)

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Tomb raider is a live action adaption of the 2013 game of the same name. Following Lara Croft as she looks for her father after he mysteriously disappears seven years ago.

 

Tomb Raider has had an interesting past, in the early 90s the then popular game was one of the first times a women was given a lead role in a videogame and it’s also one of the few video game movies that isn’t completely reviled by it’s fanbase. The Angelina Jolie lead movie is a product of times, though not exactly a movie with a high rewatchability factor to it, it proves that there is way to make movie adapted from a game when it’s not so tied down by the source material. In 2013 Tomb Raider got a facelift and went from a campy male dominated fantasy to a grounded game about a women trying to survive the harsh environments after she gets stuck on a island. So when I saw they were making a movie based on the new games I was excited to see if this would do the game justice and whether the movie can give Lara a new look while also using the storyline to the game.

 

Alicia Vikander brings her own into the character while also keeping true the game idea of Croft. It’s nice to see a character with a depth to themselves, she isn’t this daredevil like the past iterations, Lara is pushed to survive the danger environments she is surrounded by on this island that require her to use her instincts and to even kill all to find her father. There is some solid camera work even for a movie that has a lot of running and jumping there is some very clever use of wide angle and long edits. More often then not a movie like this will lose its audiences with its “shaky” style.

 

Though the movie has great character building around Lara the same thing can’t be said with anyone else more importantly the antagonist of the film Vogel played by Walter Goggins and the company “Trinity” who are also seeking the same treasures Lara’s father is looking for. They felt like they were written into this movie at the last minute, since it’s never made clear why there also chasing the treasures Croft is looking for. Even Goggins who can prove he can be a villainous type of person in his past films is resorted to just a “bad guy with a gun” cliche. Most of this movie does lack an idea of where it wants to go, fortunately the game gives clear direction of what Trinity is up to,what Lara’s father was hiding, and why Lara is such an excellent marksman and survivor. However the movie does not and expects the audience to not only have played these games but to have understood them well.
Overall, this a solid movie that never gets boring and does bring the style of the game to life, but your better off just playing the video game for a better experience of Lara Croft and her counterparts. I’m going to give Tomb Raider a “C”, if you seen Tomb Raider what do you think of it and if you like what you read like and subscribe for more and you can also follow me on Twitter,Instagram,and Letterboxd to see my past reviews @cinemaflavor.

Trailer Breakdown: Infinity War trailer 2

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Thanks to Marvel for setting up this friday to be a good one! After they released the trailer to Avengers:Infinity war presale for tickets went up, I got my tickets and now i’m just eagerly waiting for april 27th to get here. Now much like i’ve done for other trailers in the past i’ll be breaking down what I noticed in the trailer and my opinions on what I saw, and just like the other trailers these are my own personal opinions and don’t reflect on what anyone else thinks of the trailer.

 

  • The trailer opens with an establishing shot of New York, the shot is flipped upside down I think to foreshadow the destruction. Plus the last trailer opened with Thano’s homeworld proving this movie will have a much bigger scale than any of the other MCU movies.

 

  • We get our first look at Gamora telling Tony about her father’s plan and motives and filling in that The Avengers are now aware of Thanos and his intentions before he arrives to earth.

 

  • Tony’s suit has gotten some major upgrades, the boosters on his feet can turn into one boost, but it’ll be interesting to see what other upgrades he has gotten in the weapon and defense category.

 

  • Captain America and Black Widow make there way to Wakanda with T’challa and Shuri giving them plans that have to do with Vision. I can only assume it has to do with the stone on his forehead but what would they want with it? my guess is for safety or possibly to use against Thanos.

 

  • The Guardians interacting with The Avengers was a nice touch it’s not clear exactly were there at i’m guessing on earth with some rubble around but its way to red and glowing. I’m assuming they’re on “Titan” Thanos homeworld, but with Spider man there it seems unlikely tony would bring young Peter on another mission away from home.

 

  • Iron man is all over this trailer, not only screen time wise but also with location the last trailer revealed that Tony, Dr. Strange, and Banner were going to be a team up, but now it looks like Tony is joining forces with the Guardians as well.

 

  • This major battle that’s going to go down in Wakanda gets some new light as the Wakandian warriors as well as Falcon are charging toward this force field. I know its a bit of a stretch but this seems to be an homage to the Gungans force field in Phantom Menace. I mean c’mon an army fighting in an open field toward a big blue force field tell me you don’t see it.

 

  • Big movies like this always have rapid editing but when you slow it down you can notice some major stuff going like the Hulk buster is also in on the fight at Wakanda and even the first reveals of the black order with Loki torturing Dr strange. plus we also see  Strange assisting Starlord in a fight in an earlier shot of the trailer. Even that big oracle in the first trailer crash lands somewhere. All key things im sure in the movie that i’m sure marvel wanted to sneak into the trailer.

 

  • Marvel always has that “were gonna trick you into thinking someone is going to die” shot it appears Thor is getting that treatment when Thanos is squeezing his head Great Khali style, I wouldn’t invest to much into it but we can agree he is gonna get his ass kicked.

 

  • Thanos gets some character growth to a flashback of a young Gamora holding Thano’s hand, which is then followed up with Thanos destroying the tesseract proving that thanos motives are not to just cause destruction but that he yearns for the power to gain back the favor of his daughter.

 

  • the money shot of this trailer is a bit weird with Spiderman and Dr Strange with some light hearted banter. I’m guessing this is a nod to the comic books cause it doesn’t make sense to have two secondary characters as your money shot when the trailer ended on a great note of Cap blocking thanos hand.

 

With just over a month until the movie is released, im sure all of you are just as excited as I am to see what this movie has in store and just what the future of the MCU will look like after its done. If you like what you read you can like and subscribe for more and to see reviews on other movies you can go to Instagram,Twitter, and letterboxd @cinemaflavor to see my other content.

Strangers:Prey at night

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The Strangers:Prey at night is a sequel to the 2008 movie titled just “The Strangers” about three masked killers who stalk a couple at their vacation home. This time around there following a family who is staying at a trailer park after Labor day weekend.

I’m always looking forward to a horror/thriller movie and I had this one on the docket for the last few weeks and scouting movie theaters looking for a screening full of people so the jump scares could be even more unnerving. Horror can be hard to critic sometimes only because a movie like this feels much more like a ride then an actual film, so I knew to some extent this wasn’t going be a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and to be fair I really think anyone who watches these movies have to look at from that perspective as well.

The main thing I noticed when I saw the trailer to this movie was it was getting a 80s treatment, neon lights and songs from the times I found it odd that a studio would take that angle to sell there movie since the first one was enough a hit that you could just sell that on own. Though it does get a 80s vibe it doesn’t take place in those times and the music is sporadic enough so it certainly doesn’t  beat you over the head with the concept.Of course that’s not without saying there are still many flaws to this movie, one of the biggest ones is the killers themselves always find someway to show up where this family is hiding even when it’s established that they couldn’t find them just a few seconds prior. Also Johannes Roberts who directed this is obviously a fan of older thrillers like “Texas Chainsaw” and “Friday the 13th” but I feel like what he thinks is an homage is actually just a bunch of scene reenactments of those films.
Overall this a fun slasher movie that you can watch to freak yourself out if your home alone. It’s also short enough when I saw this, my screening started at 7:21 and I was out of the theater at 8:41 so if your looking for that in a movie you can definitely enjoy this enough. I’m going to give The Strangers:Prey at night a “C”. If you like what you read like and subscribe for more and follow me at Twitter,Instagram,and Letterboxd @Cinemaflavor to see my thoughts on the latest news in the world of movies and reviews to other films.

Oscar Predictions 2018

Best Picture:

“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“Get Out” W
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Lead Actor:

Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour” W
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”


Lead Actress:

Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three BillboardsI Outside Ebbing, Missouri” W
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”

Supporting Actor:

Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water” W
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Supporting Actress:

Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya” W
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”


Director:

“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan W
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro

Animated Feature:

“The Boss Baby,” Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito
“The Breadwinner,” Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
“Coco,” Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson W
“Ferdinand,” Carlos Saldanha
“Loving Vincent,” Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh Welchman

Animated Short:

“Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, Kobe Bryant W
“Garden Party,” Victor Caire, Gabriel Grapperon
“Lou,” Dave Mullins, Dana Murray
“Negative Space,” Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata
“Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer

Adapted Screenplay:

“Call Me by Your Name,” James Ivory
“The Disaster Artist,” Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
“Logan,” Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green
“Molly’s Game,” Aaron Sorkin W
“Mudbound,” Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

Original Screenplay:

“The Big Sick,” Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele W
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh

Cinematography:

“Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins W
“Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel
“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema
“Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison
“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen

Best Documentary Feature:

“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” Steve James, Mark Mitten, Julie Goldman
“Faces Places,” JR, Agnès Varda, Rosalie Varda
“Icarus,” Bryan Fogel, Dan Cogan W
“Last Men in Aleppo,” Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed, Soren Steen Jepersen
“Strong Island,” Yance Ford, Joslyn Barnes

Best Documentary Short Subject:

“Edith+Eddie,” Laura Checkoway, Thomas Lee Wright
“Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405,” Frank Stiefel
“Heroin(e),” Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Kerrin Sheldon
“Knife Skills,” Thomas Lennon W
“Traffic Stop,” Kate Davis, David Heilbroner

Best Live Action Short Film:

“DeKalb Elementary,” Reed Van Dyk W
“The Eleven O’Clock,” Derin Seale, Josh Lawson
“My Nephew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr.
“The Silent Child,” Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton
“Watu Wote/All of Us,” Katja Benrath, Tobias Rosen

Best Foreign Language Film:

“A Fantastic Woman” (Chile)
“The Insult” (Lebanon)
“Loveless” (Russia)
“On Body and Soul (Hungary)
“The Square” (Sweden) W

Film Editing:

“Baby Driver,” Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss W
“Dunkirk,” Lee Smith
“I, Tonya,” Tatiana S. Riegel
“The Shape of Water,” Sidney Wolinsky
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Jon Gregory

Sound Editing:

“Baby Driver,” Julian Slater
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mark Mangini, Theo Green
“Dunkirk,” Alex Gibson, Richard King W
“The Shape of Water,” Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ren Klyce, Matthew Wood

Sound Mixing:

“Baby Driver,” Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mac Ruth, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hephill
“Dunkirk,” Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo W
“The Shape of Water,” Glen Gauthier, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick

Production Design:

“Beauty and the Beast,” Sarah Greenwood; Katie Spencer
“Blade Runner 2049,” Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola
“Darkest Hour,” Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
“Dunkirk,” Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
“The Shape of Water,” Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, Shane Vieau W

Original Score:

“Dunkirk,” Hans Zimmer
“Phantom Thread,” Jonny Greenwood W
“The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” John Williams
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Carter Burwell

Original Song:

“Mighty River” from “Mudbound,” Mary J. Blige
“Mystery of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name,” Sufjan Stevens
“Remember Me” from “Coco,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez W
“Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall,” Diane Warren, Common
“This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman,” Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

Makeup and Hair:

“Darkest Hour,” Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick W
“Victoria and Abdul,” Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
“Wonder,” Arjen Tuiten

Costume Design:

“Beauty and the Beast,” Jacqueline Durran
“Darkest Hour,” Jacqueline Durran
“Phantom Thread,” Mark Bridges W
“The Shape of Water,” Luis Sequeira
“Victoria and Abdul,” Consolata Boyle

Visual Effects:

“Blade Runner 2049,” John Nelson, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover, Gerd Nefzer
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner, Dan Sudick
“Kong: Skull Island,” Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza, Mike Meinardus
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,”  Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Chris Corbould, Neal Scanlan
“War for the Planet of the Apes,” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Joel Whist W

Annihilation

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Annihilation centers around a group of scientists who venture into the “The Shimmer” a bubble of energy growing in earth, but when only one scientist makes it out his wife is determined to unravel the secrets that lie within it.

I’ve been fansacited with this movie since I first saw the trailer, Since then i’ve been avoiding all its promotion I wanted to go in knowing as little as possible it’s premise already looks like there’s something else to the “The Shimmer”, but also because the last time Alex Garland directed a movie he turned heads in the sci-fi world with “Ex Machina” so if he could do it again I wanted the luxury of being blown away by his direction. Annihilation is much different from “Ex Machina” however, the science fiction part isn’t as complicated and dialogue heavy in the first act, its simple yet intriguing premise of this glowing field and it’s mystery behind it holds your attention and once Natalie Portman and her crew venture into it, that’s when the science aspect kicks in about Cell reproduction and how the Shimmer is affecting there DNA. Which Alex Garland plays with in such a unique way presenting the Shimmer in a beautiful but deadly way the plant life and surrounding environment are prepossessing and the flip side is the animal life is twice as deadly now, including a scene with a bear human hybrid that scared the hell out of me.
The ending is where things get complicated as it might not stick with everyone, the origin of the Shimmer could be a bit cliche and even what happens to Oscar Isaac and Natalie Portman could have anyone scratching their heads. Not to downplay the rest of the movie however it’s aided by some dazzling cinematography,a melodic soundtrack,strong performances and diverse structure Annihilation is a movie I hope everyone sees. Lesser known adaptations need a fair  shot so more original concepts get wide releases and directors like Alex Garland get recognized. I’m going to give Annihilation an “A”. If you like what you read leave a like and subscribe for more and also follow my social media accounts on Twitter,Instagram,and letterboxd @cinemaflavor  to see my smaller reviews for movies not in theaters.