‘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.
Neeson plays Nels Coxman, a snowplough driver who loses his son to a drug overdose. Convinced his son wasn’t a druggie, Coxman sets out to find out what happened and soon finds himself in a world of drugs, turf wars, and revenge. He takes no prisoners and the body count steadily increases as the plot thickens and bad guy The Viking (Tom Bateman) turns up the heat to find him.
Directed by Jen McGowan, Rust Creek shows that it doesn’t necessarily take a big budget to tell an engaging story. There are two heroes in this movie: the protagonist Sawyer (Hermione Corfield) and the cinematography (Michelle Lawler) showing off the Kentucky wilderness whilst telling a story in pictures.
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.
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.
One day as Jong-su (Ah-in Yoo) is delivering a package, he runs into Hae-mi (Jong-seo Yun), a girl who tells him they grew up together. He doesn’t recognise her but she explains she has had plastic surgery. They meet up for drinks later and Jong-su is quietly enamoured by Hae-mi’s alluring personality as she shows him she is learning to mime as she wants to become an actress. She shows him how she’s eating a non-existent tangerine as she explains that the art is not to pretend that there is a tangerine, but to forget that there isn’t one.
Loosely based on true events, Suk-young Park (Jung-min Hwang) gets recruited by South Korea’s National Intelligence Service in the early 1990s to spy on North Korea’s nuclear programme. He creates a cover for himself as a highly indebted business man who will do anything for money. His mission is first to get close to the director of the North Korean Economic Council Myong-un Ri (Sing-min Lee), who has Kim Jong-Il’s trust. Park patiently works to build his credibility and finally gets closer to Ri, after which the true spy games begin.