Cloverfield Paradox Review

THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX (2018)

Directed by: Julius Onah

Written by: Julius Onah, Oren Uziel, Doug Jung

Director of Photography: Dan Mindel (Enemy of the State, John Carter, Savages, Star Trek, Pacific Rim Uprising)

Run Time: 102 min

Genre: Sci-Fi, Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Budget: $45M

Do you remember as a child doing the color by numbers paintings? Is that still a thing? Well, that’s what ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ felt like. 1 = blue, 2 = red, 3 = bending space-time..you get it.

When Earth’s natural resources are running low, nations threaten to invade nation, and a multinational crewed space station is humanity’s last, best hope. Hamilton (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) reluctantly agrees, and is convinced by her husband Michael (Roger Davies) to take to space to be a part of something bigger. The Cloverfield Station’s purpose is to discover a new form of reusable power that will save humanity.

Test after test of their super collider / flux capacitor / timey-wimey machine fails. They spend weeks, months, and years afloat in low Earth orbit desperately trying to get this thing to work. Each crew member wears their national flag on their shoulder, to 1.) Let us know it’s a multinational effort and 2.) Convince us the money spent on accent acting was well spent and convincing. All the while Michael is keeping Hamilton up to speed about an impending invasion of the Russians and other global strife. After being evacuated, he hits the road and finds a little orphan girl. I think her name was Red Herring.

With their backs to the wall, with only enough fuel for three more experiment tires…SUCCESS! Or, so they think. Space time is ripped, a portal is opened, flinging the Cloverfield Station into another dimension with a parallel Earth.

A woman, Jensen (Elizabeth Debicki), appears and is tangled in the wires behind a wall panel, and other strange things begin to happen.

Crew member pukes up a barrel of research worms, another has his arm sucked into the wall panel and severed off (it later crawls around autonomously), the same crew member is engulfed by a web of metal tentacles into the ships hull. While another is almost drowned, then frozen like a fish in a shallow North Dakota pond. One after one, crew members are killed until the final two survivors make their way back to the Earth’s surface.

A world filled with…KAIJU! (yawn)

WHAT WORKED

Woman of color in the lead role. The Blacks aren’t the first crew members to die.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK

When multiple “Oh shit” moments would have been perfectly reasonable or expected, sadly they were glaringly absent. The use of science to explain the paradox was weak and a missed opportunity.It felt like the drama was artificial injected giving us a mock sense of suspense and expectation. Tried to tangentially tie-in to ‘Cloverfield’ and ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ by the thinnest of threads as possible.

FINAL THOUGHTS

‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ tries to jam, unsuccessfully, ‘Alien’, ‘Then There Were None’, and ‘Interstellar’ into one predictable movie. Forget what I said about color by numbers painting. This was more like a puzzle for preschoolers. Four to five large pieces that fit easily together, but simple and uncomplicated. With such a cast of talented, proven actors who did their best with material that was far beneath their abilities, this movie did them a disservice.

 

written by Jerrell Young

Shape of Water Review

THE SHAPE OF WATER (2018)

Directed by: Guillermo del Toro

Written by: Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor

Director of Photography: Dan Laustsen (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Proud Mary, Silent Hill, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Nightwatch, Mimic, John Wick 2,

Run Time: 2hrs 3min

Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Romance, Drama, Thriller

Have you ever wondered, “What if ‘The Creature from the Black Lagoon’ found the girl of his dreams and fell in love?” And, “How would he communicate with his new love interest?” You’re in luck. ‘The Shape of Water’ answers these and other questions for you in a realistic fantasy tale. Then you go onto ask yourself, “Who out there could possibly play this monster with such grace and physical presence?” Doug Jones is your guy. His unmistakable sleek, wiry frame, and fluid motions give him away regardless of what makeup or costume he’s wearing (‘Hellboy’ and ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’).

Set against the Cold War of 1960’s Baltimore, a mysterious Amphibious Man is brought into a secretive government research facility, for some unknown reason. Elsa (Sally Hawkins) and Zelda (Octavia Butler) are a pair of average, run of the mill cleaning ladies responsible to sweep, mop, dust, and during the night shift. One particular night their lives are changed.

Elsa plays the central role as the mute cleaning woman who lives alone. Every night, before leaving for her shift, she takes food to and checks in on her artistic neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins), who is her only friend outside of work. Her dreams are filled with her floating through an apartment filled with water foreshadowing some form of freedom she’s desperate for.

Water imagery plays heavily and takes a prominent role throughout the movie. From the set pieces of Elsa’s apartment, this had the look and feel of a damp, wet, and moldy space. To the research facility the super glossy hallway floors reflect light with a shimmer of a river.

Giles is the older gentle neighbor who is kindly looked after by Elsa. He’s the epitome of the starving artist and struggles to get his work accepted.

Zelda is Elsa’s de facto mouthpiece and interpreter to the outside world. As they work, night after night, Zelda complains to Elsa about her marriage, Brewster (Martin Roach), and is quick to set other straight, creating unnecessary messes for them to clean.

What good is a thriller/caper without an inside man. This role is Dr. Hoffstetler, played by Michael Stuhlbarg. He plays the beleaguered and belittled scientist responsible for researching The Creature.

They all come together to form the perfect plan to break The Creature out of the facility and setting him free to the open water. There is one problem, Richard Strickland.

Strickland (Michael Shannon) plays the newly injected head of security to watch after The Creature. He’s a cutout of Bull Connor; brash, hyper masculine, and mission driven man. To round out his outfit, he even carries a black cattle prod that sees plenty of action. Thankfully, the movie shows his family life and although he’s an overt sexist/racist, he’s a good husband and father.

WHAT WORKED

Elsa’s use of American Sign Language was authentic and true to its source.

The use of water imagery, both actual and perceived was prevalent throughout the movie

Set design felt authentically 1960’s

Michael Shannon plays a decent antagonist.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK

Even after it’s been made known this creature is being held at the facility, Elsa still has unrestricted access to the Creature and his holding tank.

In the third act when Strickland forces his way into Zelda’s house, and basically punks Brewster into standing down was bullshit.

Just because Elsa was mute why did she feel she needed companionship and couldn’t find it in human form?

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall, the movie was shot beautifully, immersing you back into the 1960, with a fantasy ending from GDT that was somewhat predictable, but what we have been come to expect.

 

Written By our new Staff writer Jerrell Young

@Jbugg33 on twitter

 

 

Castlevania Crunchy Roll Expo 2017

Hey everyone, we went to Crunchyroll Expo this year and brought back this panel. Some of the Super dope people behind the Castlevania series spoke about the creative process behind bringing it to Netflix.

Musical Guest is a collaborative effort betwixt Mega Ran and Richie Branson from their Ghouls ‘n Ghosts EP.
Purchase it here.

http://megaranmusic.com/album/the-ghouls-n-ghosts-ep

Edited by Victor Goodwin

Written and recorded by Keane Roberson

Pokemon:The First Movie Review

I recently watched the first Pokémon for the very first time, nearly 20 years after its release it was still impressive. I played the games and watched the original series growing up and I bought my toddler son a few Poke items as well. This time had come to indoctrinate him with the Pokémon franchise.  The film begins like many of my favorites do, with the origin story of the villain.    

   This is as tragic as it gets. A married couple loses their daughter. The husband is a soon to be mad scientist refuses to give her up and attempts to clone her. His wife leaves him because she can’t bear going thru this ordeal over and over again.  

    Oh and cloning seems to be a passion project for this scientist because he also wants to create the world’s most powerful Pokémon, making a clone and the rare and recluse Mew.

   Plans worked all too well as Mewtwo grew in a test tube for years, awake only in his consciousness. The other clones lived in a self contained universe with him but only he survived.  He saw them die many times as his hatred for humanity grew. When Mewtwo awakens he is of course vengeful and learns his existence was a mere experiment and destroys the lab and everyone in it.

   Mewtwo begins his life with an existential crisis, this is heavy stuff for a movie about pocket monsters, which is also a chapter in my memoirs during puberty.

     After a gripping introduction by our antagonist, we finally see our old familiar faces Ash and friends. The movie has some other messages like the futility of war. Which is strange coming from a show based solely on fighting animals for personal gain and clout.

    Do I still need to post spoiler alerts for a movie nearly 20 years old? We as a society need to set decorum for proper spoiler time. When Ash died I truly felt Pikachu’s pain.

   The movie was successful at indoctrinated my child with the love of pocket monsters, and mine was reestablished.

 

Baby Driver Review

Baby Driver excels in action yet stalls and sputters in the story.  Just to be transparent I’m a big fan of Edgar Wright. Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, all my jams. The visual flair, and cheekiness all of it. The opening action sequence is fantastic. I haven’t been impressed by a car action choreography in years. A round of applause for practical effects that isn’t reliant upon huge amounts of destruction and carnage. The first half of the film is has a visual style that is pretty amazing, and plays a little bit like a musical. Much of the narrative and action take place to the beat of the music playing in Baby’s ears. When he isn’t playing music we can hear a slight ringing just like Baby, which was cool early on later in the movie seems a little gimmicky. I am convinced this takes place in an alternate reality, where everyone is knowledgeable music and speaks in rhyme.
The whole cast I thought was really fantastic, not a weak link in the bunch. Ansel the lead has a young alright alright alrght vibe going for him, I can dig that.
Baby has a conversation with his deaf black adoptive father about getting out of the game. He sees a news report about people being injured in a heist. The movie only touches on the emotional wounds on a fairly young man forced into a life of crime and it is never really dealt with.
Also Baby’s Dad has no real development and gives sagely advice to Baby in time of need. Minor tier magical negro, but nothing approaching Will Smith’s Hancock levels.
I did find my self eye rolling and checking my pocket watch towards the end and I was tapping my wrap it up illuminated sign.
The titular characters real name is revealed in the last moments of the film. His name is Miles. Edgar Wright must be a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic has a two tailed fox sidekick by the name of tails, his real name is Miles Prower, making the zany pun of miles per hour.

Wizard World 2017

 

Wizard World Sacramento has come and gone. This con was really fun and easily one of my favorite of the year so far. It was the first time attending Wizard World so I wasn’t too sure what to expect. There was a great selection of vendors, high profile celebrities and chances for photo ops.

I loved the fact that drinks were sold on the floor at this con. This is a phenomenon I have never encountered in all my years of conning. Let me tell you something. I loved it. It changed the vibe to more of a party con, which is not a bad thing in my book. This first day we got the chance to take lots of photos and attended the after con karaoke event. Which was actually really fun. It was a small yet lively event, both Vick and I sang, Backstreet Boys and R. Kelly respectively.

Saturday had a great arrange of panels to attend. We saw James Gunn, talk about his career in the MCU and Girlmore Girls. Michael Rooker crashed his panel and said I’m Mary Poppins y’all. That moment made the con for me, everything else was just icing on the con cake. Directly after that Michael Rooker had a panel by himself. No moderator or anything. He called James Gunn while and stage and told a few stories. After that he jumped into the crowd and took questions. For more original questions he would delve into detail, but run of the mill stuff got a yes or no.  While eating at a food truck I was approached by some fellow podcasters from No Ordinary Nerd, we attended their panel about nerd culture and anxiety. We also had the pleasure of meeting many different cosplayers which culminated in a cosplay contest on saturday night.