Day 314 & Day 315 & Day 316 – Overlord & Stalker & Ocean’s 8

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Movie Title: Overlord

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 1 hr. 49 min.

Rated: R

Who did I watch with?: Stephie and Keegan

Where did I watch it?: Regal Stadium 12 – Swansea, MA

Review:

Overlord is a revival of the World War II Nazi exploitation genre that had a brief fad in the late 70s. It is also heavily influenced by the Wolfenstein and Call of Duty series zombie mode. The movie starts with a bang. Our main character is Boyce (Jovan Adepo) who is none too comfortable in his role as a combat soldier. His fellow soldiers think he will let them down in battle. They think he’s a coward. Then their plane is shot down. Most of his crew does not survive and the greatly short staffed unit still needs to carry out their mission in preparation for D-Day. Suddenly, the mission is practically a suicide.

The movie builds very slowly as an unwitting Nazi officer is captured by the allies and interrogated. The characters are generally poorly played and the walking Italian-American from Brooklyn stereotype is extremely annoying. During an intelligence run they discover bizarre experiments going on in the medical facility beneath the church they are supposed to bomb. The experiments are designed to give the Nazis relentless soldiers that are extremely difficult to kill. The mission becomes more complex as a local woman and her son get involved. Ultimately, the soldiers must destroy the medical facility as well as the radio tower that was their original mission.

Verdict:

The wait is worth it once the action kicks in and you are able to forget about the poor performances and stereotypical characters. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Stalker (1979)

 

Movie Title: Stalker

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 2 hr. 42 min.

Rated: Not Rated

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

Stalker is a misleading movie. The stalker is a new profession in the world of the movie. After a meteorite fell to Earth, the despotic government aims to keep people out. Inside the Zone is a room which will grant people’s wishes. Despite attempts to keep people out of the zone and keep it a secret the word has leaked out. Stalkers can lead people through the treacherous zone which is supposedly layered with a myriad of traps and missteps. None of them are ever sprung which eventually leads to some boredom with the movie’s plot. The characters start off very interesting, but ultimately their individual character traits become near meaningless as their intentions are revealed. The mystique of the Zone ultimately fades away when it becomes clear that nothing is going to happen in the Zone and that the Zone and the room within is just an allegory for something else.

The movie is beautifully shot, but as it drags on there is a lot of metaphysical babble about the meaning of the Zone and how it is manipulating the world around them. There is a lot of discussion on whether or not the room should exist. The movie treads the line of the Soviet censor. Is it pro-communist? At certain points it certainly seems to be, especially when they are discussing how the only way to be happy is through suffering. Is it autobiographical? It certainly could be. Tarkovsky had difficulties with the Soviet censors when his previous picture was produced and he certainly suffered a degree of depression related to its lack of distribution. Is it an anti-Soviet movie? Possibly. The Soviet government outlawed religion and many other things that provided hope for average people. In this regard it is similar to the Darren Aronofsky movie mother! that I watched earlier this year and detested. Ultimately, the movie is so uninteresting that the questions behind the plot become irrelevant. I felt no desire to think about the admittedly complex layers of history, philosophy, and Soviet censorship that the movie is addressing.

Verdict:

The other significant flaw with the movie is that this year’s Annihilation was a vastly superior version of this movie that also had action along with the philosophical elements. Skip it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Ocean’s 8 (2018)

 

Movie Title: Ocean’s 8

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 1 hr. 50 min.

Rated: PG-13

Who did I watch with?: Stephie, Mom, and Dad

Where did I watch it?: Parent’s House

Review:

Ocean’s 8 brings back the Ocean’s series that George Clooney successfully rebooted in the early 2000s. This time the leading roles are played by Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett taking over the leading roles from George Clooney and Brad Pitt. The crew is an all-female cast a la the most recent Ghostbusters movie. The trend of rebooting series with all-female casts to make a social commentary about equality has been very hit or miss. I have very mixed feelings about this especially when it comes to the most recent Ghostbusters where the gimmick of an all-female cast overshadowed all other elements of the movie.

Ocean’s 8 has the same style and same spirit of the Clooney rendition, but brings in a new story. The plot involves putting a crew together to try and rob a rather expensive necklace from the neck of Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) at the Met Gala. The movie has strong cinematography along with excellent costuming. Stephie went to high school with the person in charge of costuming on this movie which is one of the reasons I was interested in seeing it. The characters are simple, but effective. They all fill their roles and Bullock adds most of the spice. The plot is fun and it is enjoyable to watch the caper unfold. The cast is full of stars and has strong chemistry.

Verdict:

I am hoping for more movies in the Bullock led series. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Slender Man (2018)

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