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Monday, 18 January 2021 16:37

‘Outside the Wire’ offers so-so sci-fi

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: In a relatively near future, a human and a robot or forced to team up with the fate of the world at stake, but not all is as it seems.

Sound familiar? Then you’re well-equipped for “Outside the Wire,” a new sci-fi action film coming your way via Netflix. Directed by Swedish filmmaker Mikael Hafstrom from a script co-written by Rowan Athale and Rob Yescombe, the film is an uneven mashup of familiar genre tropes that sports that unmistakable Netflix sheen.

Basically, if you’ve seen even one human/robot partnership movie, there aren’t likely to be many surprises for you here. “Outside the Wire” is essentially a collection of predictable plot points punctuated by action set pieces and lots of explosions, without even the headiness of ideas that make some of its spiritual predecessors conceptually engaging as well as viscerally.

Published in Movies

Who doesn’t love a good filmmaking duo?

Yes, the individual auteur tends to get most of the attention – the singular visionary driving all aspects of a film – but there’s something special about a good collaborative team. The best of them are complementary pieces, individuals whose talents mesh in such a way as to elevate one another, resulting in work that is deep and rich, rendered all the more engaging through the combined viewpoints.

Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead might not have reached that top tier just yet, but give them time – they’re just getting started. And if their latest offering is any indication, they’re going to reach that level sooner rather than later.

“Synchronic” – co-directed by the two, with a script by Benson and cinematography by Moorhead – is a wonderful piece of well-constructed storytelling. It’s smart, taut science fiction, using the trappings of genre to craft a tale of love, loss and the deep and abiding power of friendship.

Published in Movies
Tuesday, 22 January 2019 16:37

From Earth to a moon – ‘IO’

The end of the world has been a prime cinematic subject pretty much since cinema has been a thing. Our imaginations are obsessed with endings and beginnings – and a good post-apocalyptic yarn can give us some of both.

So it’s no surprise that we’d get a movie like “IO,” a story of the last remaining people on an Earth whose environment is rapidly decaying beyond our ability to live upon it. It’s about what it means to cling to home even when home is no longer the safe haven we remember it to be – and the consequences of that desperate desire to stay when every indicator is that we must go.

It’s certainly a well-made movie – one of the higher-quality offerings you’re going to find amongst the wealth of original options constantly streaming forth from the Netflix monolith. And it features some good ideas and some solid performances. While it’s a bit lacking in terms of earned emotional impact – soul, if you will – it’s certainly a better-than-decent way to kill 90 minutes or so.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 11:29

Pain & Gain' will pump you up

Real-life tale shows truth is stranger than fiction

Michael Bay and 'based on a true story' doesn't really seem to make a lot of sense, does it? This is a guy who somehow managed to make giant transforming alien robots even more infantile and ridiculous in practice than in theory is he really the guy to bring truth to the screen?

Nine hundred ninety-nine times out of a thousand, the answer would be a resounding 'no.' However, he has somehow managed to find the one story where the answer is a giddy, glorious 'yes.'

Published in Movies

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