Day 305 & Day 306 & Day 307 – Brotherhood of the Wolf & Unfriended: Dark Web & Solaris (1971)

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Movie Title: Brotherhood of the Wolf

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 2 hr. 22 min.

Rated: R

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

I originally saw this movie in high school and I have wanted to watch it again for a long time. I remembered liking it, but was light on the details. It lived up to the place it had in my memory.

Brotherhood of the Wolf is a genre bending fantasy set in the prelude to the French Revolution. Gregoire de Fronsac and his Native American companion Mani are sent from Versailles to a rural province of France with the purpose of investigating attacks on the local populace. The creature is described as wolf-like, but with monstrous proportions. It is many times the size of a normal wolf and has sharp ridges along its back. Fronsac is a qualified naturalist with combat experience in New France. While searching for the beast Fronsac finds a love interest, cavorts with prostitutes, and dabbles in mysticism all while irritating many of the locals who claim he will never catch the beast. And he doesn’t. Not at first, anyway.

The story is plodding, but multi-layered. It is part political brinksmanship, unconventional martial arts fantasy (a la Crouching Tiger, Hdden Dragon,) and part love story. All three elements balance out the plot well. Vincent Cassel makes one of his early film debuts in this movie in a delightfully twisted role. The creature is delightfully twisted though the special effects have not held up well since 2001. Despite the course of the story it is told from a frame narrative with the ultimate irony that the titular brotherhood pretty much gets its way in the end.

Verdict:

It is a fun, genre bending, movie. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Unfriended: Dark Web (2018)

 

Movie Title: Unfriended: Dark Web

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 1 hr. 32 min.

Rated: R

Who did I watch with?: Stephie

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

Unfriended: Dark Web recycles the same premise of Unfriended, but invents an entirely new story without retaining the supernatural spirit from the original. Matias (Colin Woodell) is having a rough go of it. He is broke, his deaf girlfriend is falling out of love with him, and he has just made a very big mistake. Matias has acquired a new computer. At first he tells everyone that he bought it on Craig’s List and that it has some strange stuff on it, but it soon comes out that he stole the laptop from a local coffeehouse.

It is quickly discovered that the laptop belongs to a member of a mysterious group called Charon that creates and sells extremely high priced snuff films. They are expensive because they are real. As if that is not terrible enough, Matias discovers that the killer is watching him have a group chat with his friends and argument with his girlfriend over the internet. The owner of the computer is in Amaya’s (Stephanie Nogueras) home threatening her life in exchange for the computer. What follows is implausible, yet very entertaining, extortion as Matias and his would be assassin spar with each other through a screen.

Verdict:

It has a great twist that makes the already far fetched movie even more so, but if you just enjoy it for what it is it is highly enjoyable. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Solaris (1971)

 

Movie Title: Solaris (1971)

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 2 hr. 47 min.

Rated: PG

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

Last month, I watch Solaris (2002) starring George Clooney which captured part of Stanislaw Lem’s vision of the planet called Solaris. It tended to focus solely on the relationship between the two main characters. The Soviet version directed by acclaimed director Andrei Tarkovsky does a much better job of capturing Lem’s imaginative world.

Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis) is a psychologist being sent to determine why all the residents of a space station are out of their gourd. When he arrives he discovers that his close friend Dr. Gabaryin has killed himself and that the other two scientists on the station Snaut and Sartorius are behaving strangely. The planet is mystifying and generates strange cloud structures as well as strange attempts to communicate. This includes sending a version of Khari (Natalya Bondarchuk) to visit Kelvin. Khari is Kelvin’s ex-wife who has been dead for nearly a decade. What follows is a tormented relationship as Kelvin falls in love with a neutrino based life form imitating his wife. He is determined to stay with her and protect her from the scientists. At the same time, he realizes that it is all an illusion generated from the planet. He has a scientific mission to conduct and making contact with the planet is his highest priority. But, he can not reconcile his two desires.

The planet comes to dominate the people more and more as they devise ways to try and understand it. This is much more true to Lem’s vision which focused on both the relationship as well as the exploration. The ending is pure gold.

Verdict:

Solaris is a great story, but this is the superior version on film. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: The Exterminating Angel (1962)

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