Film Review: Logan’s Run (1976)

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I meant to write this film review months ago and I had it half-started and then totally forgot to post it. So of course now I should probably rewatch the film to refresh my memory, ha! But don’t take my procrastination as a sign that I didn’t enjoy the film. I thought it was fantastic! A true dystopian, sci-fi classic.

Logan’s Run takes place in the year 2274 where humans live in a futuristic dome, sheltered from the outside world and living lives of bountiful joy – with one painful catch: no one makes it past thirty. They are ‘renewed’ i.e. killed. Logan is a Sandman, one who works to maintain rule and keep anyone who doesn’t voluntarily ‘renew’ from ‘running’. When Logan suddenly finds himself running for his life, he encounters Jessica, and the pair join up to escape.

I must say, I was really impressed by the special effects in the movie! Like, really, really good special effects. Obviously 1976 special effects seem a bit dated now, but there were so many little things they had that I was just blown away by: the hover cars, the dome, the technology, the futuristic depiction of the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. It’s up there with Star Wars: A New Hope!

The storyline was fun and tense, suspenseful and engaging, and I liked the ending. I also really like Logan and Jessica as characters. Definitely a great film for sci-fi lovers and a true classic!

Film Review: My Cousin Rachel (2017)

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I love romantic costume dramas. I love, love, love, love them. North & South, Pride & Prejudice, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Far from the Madding Crowd, Kurt Seyit ve Şura, The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society – I will watch any and all sweeping epic romances. So of course I so excited when My Cousin Rachel popped up on my streaming service. I just watched The Exception, so I really wanted something cheerful. Alas, My Cousin Rachel is decidedly not cheerful. It is absolutely gorgeous and gothic, though.

The film is adapted from the 1951 book by the same author who penned Rebecca (1938). Like Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel is also a tale of love, questions and suspense. I didn’t actually know the plot going in, so the ending took me totally by surprise. The central question of the storyline is: did Rachel kill Ambrose’s cousin? Ambrose, who was raised by his cousin, is devastated by his death, and the letter he finds from his cousin that alludes to Rachel’s culpability drives Ambrose to find the truth. He tracks down Rachel to confront her, only to fall passionately, obsessively in love with her himself. And her stories of his cousin start to make him wonder that perhaps he doesn’t have the whole tale.

The number of questions I had throughout and all the mysteries and what-ifs were very well done. Sam Claflin and Rachel Weisz have absolutely amazing chemistry but I couldn’t actually root for them because their characters just should not have been together. They were so toxic. But goodness, the acting in this is amazing and their chemistry was fantastic.

This is definitely an intriguing story that keeps you guessing throughout. Is Rachel the killer of Ambrose’s cousin? Is Ambrose imagining the entire thing? I went back and forth so many times, and I like how it seemed to go one way, and then the storyline flipped that theory on the head, so it went another way. And right up to the very, very end, you’re not sure at all who is lying to whom, and whose intentions are what.

Overall, the mysterious romantic nature of the film was very well done and I do want to try and pick up the novel at some point.

Film Review: In Time (2011)

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In Time is a retro-futuristic action movie written and directed by Andrew Niccol. One of my all time (heh) favourite science fiction films is Gattaca, but I didn’t realise it was the same director! I can’t believe I missed that the first time around. Andrew Niccol also directed The Host, which I quite enjoyed too (and it prompted me to read the book!).

In the same vein as Gattaca and The Host, In Time has a strong emphasis on science fiction and romance which to me is a perfect combination! And the cinematography is just wonderful. Also the casting is really good, too!

In Time follows a society that has fallen prey to ‘immortality capitalism’. Citizens are genetically engineered to have count-down clocks begin when they hit twenty five. Everyone is the same age from then on, and lifespans are determined by wealth. Some have been twenty-five for centuries. Others are only twenty-five for a year before their debt racks up and they run out of time. It’s so bad that in the opening scene, Will Salas and his friend step over a body of someone who ran out of time on their way to work.

That night, Will meets a rich man named Henry Hamilton at the pub. He’s hiding something and seems inclined to get into trouble. Will saves him from the ‘minute men’ i.e. gangsters who run around stealing and extorting time from those who can’t protect or defend themselves. Will spends the night with him and learns that the entire system is far worse than he could have imagined. But when he wakes up, he has a century to live and Henry has let his own time run out.

Now wealthier beyond imagining, Will gifts his best friend ten years before going to meet his mother. Unfortunately, his mother’s time runs out before she’s able to reach him and Will’s entire life is upended in seconds. Her death is the catalyst for him to leave his time zone and drive to New Greenwich, a zone filled with those who can live forever off the time they’ve stolen from Will’s district. It’s in New Greenwich that he meets Philippe Weis, one of the richest men in the time zone. Weis has a million years. Will gambles against him and wins a hundred years. And it’s during the game that he meets Sylvia, Weis’ daughter.

At the same time, the Timekeepers are hunting Will down, suspecting him Henry Hamilton and taking his years. The head Timekeeper has a hunger to capture Will and tracks him down with increasing determination and soon Will, Sylvia, Weis and the Timekeeper’s timelines are all intertwined, and no one’s time is guaranteed.

I really liked how this film became something of a futuristic Robin Hood. The characters were consistent about their goals and aims throughout – wanting to return years to those who had none. The romance between Will and Sylvia was cute and shippable. There’s also a very strong sense of community amongst the district, which I liked. As soon as those in the district have extra time, they lend it to those who are running out. Everyone takes some and then happily passes the hours around (other than the greedy minute men, that is). Will’s friends and neighbours are definitely the heart and soul of the story – other than Will and Sylvia themselves.

While I wouldn’t say In Time had the same impact on me that Gattaca had, I did very much enjoy it and it’s made me curious to check out another of Niccol’s films: Anon. For those who like romantic science fiction films that examine inequality, this is definitely a film worth watching!

Cyberpunk Film Reviews: Blade Runner 2049 (2017) & Total Recall (2012)

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Alas, I never watched the original Blade Runner growing up. I watched Star Wars and Indiana Jones and The Fugitive – and just about every other Harrison Ford movie available, but for some reason this way just slipped by me. So going into Blade Runner 2049, I had literally no context other than ‘cyberpunk’. After watching the sequel, I realised that film one is a Philip K. Dick book adaptation, which I may have known at one point but had definitely forgotten before starting? Oops. But I think having no context was a cool way to enter the Blade Runner universe, actually. Total newbie. And I absolutely loved it – everyone should watch this movie!

The story follows K, a replicant android in a futuristic, ruined, post-apocalyptic Los Angeles. As a blade runner, K tracks down replicants who have gone rogue and ‘retires them’. On his latest mission, the replicant he retires lives in a small home on a large stretch of land, and during his investigation, K finds a buried box beneath a white tree that’s marked only by a fallen flower. His boss orders him to report back to headquarters where he’s instantly greeted by glares and snide remarks from the other co-workers. Despite the fact that he hunts replicants, K’s replicant status wins him no friends. The whole set up is super grim and gloomy, honestly, and my heart broke for K straight away. His only friend is a digital woman, Joi, who he can download new modifications for. And same as K, Joi is as human-like as he is. Albeit, in all ways but physical. They’re a seriously cute couple.

K shares everything with Joi and she helps him along, solving the case with him and listening to his growing concerns and confusion. He’s tasked by his boss to destroy all evidence of the case when it appears that, at some point, a replicant gave birth to a child. Something that isn’t supposed to be possible and, if publicised, could spark a new war between humans and replicants.

The whole setting and atmosphere of this film was brilliantly well realised. It’s very noir, very gritty, very grim. There’s a huge emphasis on the humanity of the replicants and the growing inhumanity of the humans, which is a very interesting premise/contrast. K and Joi have a heartbreaking relationship despite him being a replicant and her being a hologram and I love, love, love them. The ending wasn’t what I expected at all, and I liked all the twists, although it definitely made me cry at various points. The movie also left me in a huge cyberpunk mood.

So I followed Blade Runner 2049 up with Total Recall (2012), another adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story. I opted for the remake of the original (1990), but I want to watch the original too, so I might double it up with the original Blade Runner next time. And where Blade Runner is based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Total Recall is based on We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.

This story follows a man, Douglas Quaid, who’s been having dreams about being a spy and losing a woman he loves. He wakes up and his wife asks him if he’s unhappy in their relationship (reader, he was not dreaming about his wife). Quaid decides to try a mind experiment where he can ‘live out a fantasy’ so long as he hasn’t lived it before. He opts for the fantasy of being a spy since he keeps dreaming about it. Yet everything goes disastrously wrong when they tell him the recall can’t be done because he’s already got memories of being a spy. DUN DUN DUN.

Total Recall moves much, much faster than Blade Runner 2049, but both are very good in their respective genres: action/adventure versus noir/mystery. I loved the core romantic relationships at the heart of both: Carl and Melina in Total Recall; Joi and K, and Rachael and Deckard in Blade Runner. Both films exquisitely cyberpunky and have great fight and chase scenes, with similar technology displayed in both. The backstory of both differ greatly, however: Blade Runner focuses on humans v robots and the existential questioning of what it means to be human. Total Recall focuses on a futuristic world with rampant inequality, where humans travel through the planet’s core at breakneck speeds for work, yet can barely afford to feed themselves. Both emphasise and examine the plight of the exploited, which is a core theme in cyberpunk.

Definitely going to be picking up the original movies of both soon and see how they compare!

Film Review: The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016)

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I have a real fondness for Snow White and the Huntsman (2012). I liked the casting, the storyline, the cinematography. It was fun and beautifully shot and moved along at a cracking pace. All in all, it’s just an overall fun fantasy movie. I hadn’t watched The Huntsman: Winter’s War, it’s sequel, however. Not for any particular reason, though. Just never got around to it. I finally decided to give it a go and I’m so glad I did – somehow Eric’s story has much, much more romance than Snow White’s, more adventure and fighting, and a broader plot than just Snow White against the Evil Queen. Like, I really enjoyed the first one, but I found this sequel such fun. It felt like a really fresh fantasy romance epic and I laughed through most of it because there are so many good one-liners and jokes. The dwarves and the huntsmen are just so, so fun together as a crew who join forces to fight against a new evil queen.

Winter’s War focuses on the Evil Queen’s sister, the Ice Queen, and her bitter war against love following the murder of her daughter by the man she had fallen madly in love with. With brutal hatred, she steals the children of her kingdom and turns them into her huntsman – the only law she enforces, other than loyalty and subservience, is that love is a sin. This law is wildly violated by Eric and Sara, two huntsmen who fall in love over the years, fighting and training side by side. When the Ice Queen discovers their romance, she ‘kills’ Sara and has the huntsmen toss Eric’s body into the sea. This is where the film turns from a prequel of Snow White, into it’s sequel.

Eric crosses paths with Snow White, helps her win her kingdom, and seven years later is on his own in a much more peaceful kingdom. That is, until King William, Snow White’s husband from the first film, arrives to tell him that the Magic Mirror has been stolen and Snow wants Eric to track it down and ensure that it’s dealt with. Eric reluctantly agrees and, along with one of the seven dwarves from the first film, Nion, and his half-brother Gryff, goes on a quest to find the Magic Mirror. Along the way, they run into trouble with more huntsmen, sent by the Ice Queen, only to be saved by Sara, who is very much not dead.

Eric, delighted by Sara’s return, is stunned to learn that Sara was locked in the dungeon after he left – him seeing her die was a trick of the Ice Queen. The trick played on Sara was believing Eric had abandoned her without thought or care. Now hardened by years of pain and anger, Sara rebuffs Eric, but he’s not remotely swayed and continues trying to convince her that their love is true and they’re meant to be together. From there, things only ramp up as everyone tries to settle their debts.

I really adored this whole movie. It’s epic, adventurous, hilarious and romantic. I loved all the individual romances; I loved the inclusion of the dwarf couples and banter; I loved the adventure side stories and the parts of the Enchanted Forest that we see. It’s overall just a very fun fantasy film with a whole lot of heart and I have to say, these two films are definitely on the top of my favourite Snow White adaptations. Bring on a third Huntsman film, please!

Film Review: My Son (2021)

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My Son isn’t a movie I expected, which is always a good one to find! I saw that it had James McAvoy and Claire Foy, so I figured it would be amazing – and it was wonderfully well acted and filmed! The cinematography was brilliant and atmospheric, everything very grim and misty. It felt in equal parts a drama, mystery, suspense, thriller and action. But like, each moment felt distinct in and of itself, too, if that makes sense. The movie would turn a corner with one genre and slid into the next. I really appreciated that. I will say there are some parts I’m still a little unclear on, however. I feel like the movie was just starting when it ended, but overall it was still a very powerful film and I do recommend giving it a watch.

This review is going to contain some spoilers, so heads up. The storyline follows the main character, Edmond, who works abroad in the ‘oil fields’. It’s not really specified what he does, but he explains that he’s had trouble at work because of how dangerous it is and the confrontations he’s been in. The central plot focuses on Edmond returning to Britain after a long time away at work after his son goes missing from camp. His ex-wife Joan meets him and relays how difficult things have been during his long absences away. From the start, Edmond suspects Joan’s boyfriend of having a part in his son’s disappearance.

And seriously, I don’t blame him. This is one plot line that still bugs me because it wasn’t resolved by the end. But, basically, Edmond realises that Frank, the boyfriend, has been putting together plans to build a house for him, Joan and missing Ethan. Only there’s no bedroom for Ethan in the plans. Which he gleefully shows Edmond, whose son is missing. Why is he showing him these plans? Why is he so excited about this at this moment in time? He was such an unsettling character and, somewhat predictably, Edmond loses his mind. He assumes Frank’s done something wrong, and beats him up before calling the police. Upon arrival, the police arrest Edmond, but he isn’t charged as Frank doesn’t press charges. The whole scene feels like a pivotal plot point, like it’s going to be addressed later, and yet I don’t feel like it’s really addressed later at all? The plot moves on to focus on new suspects and we never really get a clear reasoning as to why Frank had these building plans and why he has absolutely no ability to read the room when Edmond was in tears over his son. Like, what is wrong with Frank?? Why don’t we get a clear answer on this? I want this part explained!

Edmond is then told by the leading investigator that the case has been dropped and the local police aren’t allowed to work on it anymore. He leaves, telling Edmond he’s on his own. Again, this part I don’t feel like is fully explained by the end, either. The case goes to London, but then what? We know Edmond continues investigating on his own locally, but why was the case transferred? Why don’t we find out about why they didn’t want the local authorities looking into the case? Why is Ethan’s case hushed up – he’s a missing child? I can’t see that happening! The whole town was in on the search and then it just stops. It builds up like there’s going to be more of a conspiracy, but like Frank and the building plans, it doesn’t really get addressed again.

After this hint from the investigator, Edmond uses Frank’s phone and find videos of Ethan in the weeks before his disappearance and happens upon two videos that feature the same car. He convinces Joan to use her brother’s connections to figure out where the car is registered and goes out to the countryside to find a creepy, derelict farm. He discerns quickly that the man there is involved in his son’s disappearance and, rather brutally, gets a location from him. He then goes to find Ethan while Joan tries to catch up with him.

The film does have a generally satisfying conclusion, but it’s also got an open ending and feels a bit abrupt, in my opinion. Like, I feel like there still needs to be another forty-five minutes of film to wrap up the creepy vibes Frank was giving off during that confrontation, to explain what was happening with the case and the investigator, and to wrap up what becomes of Edmond, Joan and Ethan in the end. It’s a wonderfully well acted film, and James McAvoy is as brilliant as always, like seriously heart-breaking in this one. I loved the cinematography and the atmosphere and felt like the film was building and building and building, but then it ended quite quickly, and I wish there was more explanation given. So, overall it was a decent watch and I would recommend it for sure, I just felt like it had a lot of loose threads by the end.

Film Review: Bad Samaritan (2018)

David Tennant and Robert Sheehan are two of my favourite actors, so of course I was excited to watch Bad Samaritan when it popped up on my streaming site. I didn’t really know what to expect, though. I didn’t read the summary or watch the trailer beforehand, so I wasn’t expecting David Tennant to be playing a serial killer called Cale Erendreich, who Robert Sheehan’s character, Sean Falco, gets on the wrong side of. For some reason I was expecting a horror-comedy, which this most definitely wasn’t! The movie got so gripping so fast!


The plot follows Sean, a young man who has a side job of robbing rich drivers he valets for. When he steals rich guy Cale’s keys and goes to his house, he stumbles across a girl locked up. Sean immediately tries to free her, but he can’t get her out and she warns him that Cale has a camera on the room. Panicking, Sean leaves the house and returns to his friend at the restaurant, just in time to get the car back to Cale, who’s growing suspicious. Sean calls the police but Cale is two steps ahead of him. Determined to help her, Sean goes to the police station himself, and then the FBI. All the while, Cale’s figured out that Sean’s on to him and he’s moved the girl, Katie, and is doing his utmost to wreck Sean’s life.

I felt so awful for Sean’s girlfriend Riley throughout the entire film. Derek, Sean’s best friend and partner, is a great side character, too. Cale was a truly terrifying character, but David Tennant is such a great actor. Honestly. Robert Sheehan is as brilliant as ever and I really liked his character Sean.

This film is definitely worth a watch! It was very well written and directed, and I enjoyed the performances of the entire cast.

Film Review: Predators (2010)

Right, so I love action movies. One of my favourite films of all time is Skull Island, which to this day has one of the coolest/most badass moments in cinematic history: James Conrad wearing a gas mask while swinging a katana. The Peter Jackson King Kong was great, too. But somehow I hadn’t actually seen the 2010 Predators until this morning. (I’ve very behind on films, it seems.)

The film follows a group of convicts, mercenaries and otherwise dangerous dudes who are dropped onto a distant planet seemingly at random. (There’s only one woman, Isabelle, played by Alice Braga, in the entire movie, which bugged me a little, but other than that, the casting was brilliant!) You have Adrien Brody, Walton Goggins and Laurence Fishburne, who are three of my favourite actors in general, so seeing them all in a film together is awesome.

The group quickly learn that they’re not alone on the planet and they realise that they’re being hunted by the Predators. It becomes a deadly game of chase as the group try to find a way off the planet and back to Earth while trying to evade the Predators tracking them down. The main character of Royce, played by Adrien Brody, is someone you can root for. He just wants to get home and looks after Isabelle, and the pair are awesome together.

It’s really violent and scary, for sure, but it was a good addition to the universe and there’s talk of a direct sequel, which I would totally watch!

Has anyone seen this? Or any of the other films in the Predator universe?

Film Review: Possession (2009)

Sarah Michelle Gellar and Lee Pace need to be in more films together. They seriously know how to command a screen! Possession was great! It’s very much a suspense film, and has a bit of a fantasy/horror twist. Kind of. Maybe. Hard to say, really. But I greatly enjoyed the leading couple’s chemistry. The film has an engaging and surprising plot. And apparently there’s an alternative ending, which also sounds interesting, but it’s not on the version I watched.

Basically, a married couple celebrating their one year anniversary are destroyed when the husband dies chasing his ex-con brother in law who’s about to break his parole. Both are hospitalised, but only Roman, the brother, wakes up. He instantly tells Jess, the wife, that he’s her husband. Jess, rightly alarmed, tells him not to act crazy. But as Ryan, the husband, remains comatose, and Roman increasingly wins Jess over with details of her relationship with Ryan, the lines are blurred. It’s hard to tell if Roman’s crazy, if he’s manipulating Jess, or if he’s somehow genuinely Ryan in his brother’s body. I definitely wasn’t sure until the last ten minutes or so.

I gotta say, I was pretty surprised by this film. The acting is top notch and, as I’ve said, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Lee Pace have amazing chemistry on screen. Roman was a seriously messed up character, no doubt, but Lee Pace does a great job playing both Roman and ‘Ryan’. If you like suspense movies, definitely give this one a go!

Film Review: Breaking and Entering (2006)

Hm. This was an enthralling film, definitely. I’m not sure if I really liked it, but it wasn’t bad. I think my issue is that I have to really fall in love with the characters to totally enjoy a movie, even when the acting and plot are great. This one had the acting for sure. Everyone in this is extremely talented and I loved all the actors I spotted: Jude Law, Vera Farmiga, Robin Wright, Juliette Binoche. It was especially nice seeing Rafi Gavron in a central role, as I haven’t really seen him since Life Unexpected (underrated show!).

This movie follows Will, an architect who is having issues at home with his partner of many years and their daughter. When his office is burgled continuously, Will begins staking out the building to catch the thief in the act. During his nights, he begins interacting with a prostitute who buys him coffee in exchange for sitting in the warm car. When he finally catches the thief, Will chases him home and sees that his mother is the same woman he ran into at the park. On a (weird) whim, Will inserts himself into their lives and things quickly unravel for everyone.

There were definitely aspects of this movie that I liked. Will was a good father and I liked his relationship with Liv and Bea. The moments where he was being a good dad were great. I liked Oana, too. She was super funny. Not sure what I thought of Amira? I could empathise with her a lot, but she did so many questionable things. Like why, girl. WHY. Will was so questionable, too. So, yeah, it’s definitely a movie worth watching because it’s very well acted, but I did struggle with liking the characters as much as I wanted.

THAT SAID, the ending was great. Like, truly. I loved the final court room scene with everyone and the drive home scene, too. I think as a couple Will and Liv worked, I just didn’t want the side plot with Amira. I feel like it wasn’t necessary. But that is totally a matter of personal preference! All in all, a solid movie that I’m surprised I haven’t heard of before.