‘A group of strangers find themselves locked in a confined space together and hope to puzzle their way out in order to survive’ is not exactly a new premise. Decent examples include Cube, which managed to get three movies out of the concept (only the first one is good), and Saw, which is is up to number eight in the franchise (with a re-boot on the way, as the franchise couldn’t keep living up to its first instalment either).
We never find out why or how, but the world’s population has been wiped out entirely and turned the planet into a poisonous wasteland. Apparently, some of humanity had anticipated this and created a a facility that houses thousands of embryos to repopulate earth with. This facility is run by an Articial Intelligence, which presents itself as a robot called Mother (voiced by Rose Byrne). She raises a single embryo, Daughter (Clara Rugaard), to adulthood, teaching and testing her along the way.
We have seen quite a few movies set in a bleak dystopian future in recent times. Captive State sees the population living in a surveillance state following an alien invasion that took place a decade ago, resulting in the world’s governments surrendering to these aliens who now deplete the planet of its resources. The aliens are therefore now called the Legislators, but they are rarely seen – they let earth’s governments run the show for them as long as they get the resources they want and smack down hard on any rebellion or resistance.
Keanu Reeves may not exactly be a great character actor, but he has made some Most Excellent movies (sorry…) and his recent success in the John Wick universe confirms he can play the right kind of roles really well. And we have two sequels to his greatest hits to look forward to: John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum (to be released May 2019), and Bill & Ted 3: Bill & Ted Face The Music (scheduled for release August 2020). Unfortunately, Replicas will find a place at the other end of the spectrum on Reeves’ filmography, as this movie is much more Johnny Mnemonic than it is The Matrix.
The best thing about the movie A.I. Rising is its poster. Clearly an attempt to ride on the coattails of the infinitely better Ex Machina, these two movies don’t deserve to be mentioned in the same paragraph, but there you go, I just did.
A squadron of US paratroopers is sent into a small village in France right ahead of D-Day to take down a particular clock tower, which hides a Nazi radio installation that relays communications between Berlin and the bunkers at the Normandy beaches, as this could interfere with the D-Day plans. After their plane is shot down, the survivors must find their way to the village and the clock tower.
Tina (Eva Melander) is an unprepossessing customs officer at a an international ferry port; she looks different from other people due to a chromosome flaw as she will explain. She also has a unique talent of being able to smell fear and guilt on people, making her an exceptional asset for border security. She is an honest, diligent person, but her facial deformities scare most people off and she feels most at home in nature and with animals.
It sounded so promising; a fantasy adaptation with a screenplay by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, who together also wrote the screenplays for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. A small caveat – they also did so for the Hobbit trilogy which was a lot less engaging but still ‘ok’. But then again, the three of them also worked together on King Kong (2005) which was pretty good, so surely all in all Mortal Engines must be in good hands.
Bird Box jumps between two timelines – we start with Malorie (Sandra Bullock) and two kids travelling blindfolded in a boat down a river, where to we do not know, but right from the opening scene learn that they must not look or they will die. The second timeline is about 5 years earlier where we meet a then heavily pregnant Malorie and her sister Jessica (Sarah Paulson), as they see news reports about some unexplained phenomenon in Europe and Russia causing mass suicides.
Two brothers, Aaron (Aaron Moorhead) and Justin (Justin Benson) have escaped a “UFO Death Cult” many years ago, but they still struggle to rebuild a normal life. Justin has the strongest negative memories of the cult, while Aaron’s recollections are seemingly more benign and he cannot quite recollect all the extreme cult-behaviour his brother talks about. He convinces Justin to go back to the cult, for just one night.