moviefansme

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Reviews

Solyaris
(1972)

Russian 2001 and Interstellar
I recommend Solaris (1972) for fans of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Interstellar (2014). The movies are as different as their directors, but they're all fine directors and their movies explore many of the same themes in similar settings. I also see the influences on Melancholia (2011), another great film with some similar themes. It even echos "Shore Leave" (S1E15) of Star Trek (1966).

While Solaris is a great film, I also have to say: It's long, it's boring, every scene drags on forever. It has very little action, mostly just dialog, very little occurs, mostly it's described by the characters, and all the more difficult to follow because the dialogue is Russian with English subtitles. It strained my attention span, and I really had to pay attention to follow what was going on. The film has a lot to say, but be prepared to pay close attention.

Them
(2021)

Torture porn for white supremacists
This is an excuse to depict white people treating black people horribly, hiding behind a ghost story. It depicts significant historical facts and anecdotal evidence that accurately portrays how black people have been discriminated against in the United States as recently as the 1950's. But then it feels unable to make its case without explicitly portraying over the top brutality while muddying the waters as to whether these events are supposed to be historically representative or the artistic license of a horror movie where the monsters are white people attacking black victims. This is a bad combination of history and fantasy that does a disservice to both.

The Tomorrow War
(2021)

Citizen soldiers fighting the future
With the action of Aliens (1986) and Starship Troopers (1997), the scientific adventure of World War Z (2013), and the fight the future heroism of Source Code (2011), this unwinnable battle to save humanity packs some familiar themes into an exciting story spanning multiple acts. Several sci fi twists pave the path to some inventive and frightening monsters from some other world. An ensemble cast of interesting characters keep the story entertaining as it shifts from one phase to another. Would be worth a trip to the theaters, this is way better than your average direct to home video movie.

Fucking Ghosts
(2020)

Hilarious
Laugh out loud funny! Best trailer for a nonexistent movie I've seen since Grindhouse (2007). (I would say more, but IMDB keeps rejecting my review for "not meet contribution guidelines." Have they seen the title of this film?!)

Moving
(2019)

Portrait of a woman on the verge of losing it
A woman moving into an apartment struggles to carry a mattress up a set of stairs. This simple premise is portrayed well, so the audience can really feel her frustration. Anyone looking for the glamor of living in the big city should watch this film first.

The Immortal
(2020)

Who wants to live forever?
This is a very well produced demo of a movie with futuristic sets, special effects, and a soaring score. Many short films take place on a single set; this one has dozens of settings, including flying cars, a battle robot, and parachuting from a plane. The story is mostly a montage with narration yet the visuals and music make it still feel profound.

Woodland Cemetery
(2019)

Only kinda scary
This movie is filmed well. There's not much to this story. This is for people who like their scary movies to be not very scary.

No podrás volver nunca
(2020)

You no longer you
Everything for Ana seems the same, yet noting is the same. Cool mini-movie Black Mirror/Twilight Zone-style story of a woman trying to come to grips with her new circumstances and how she fits in.

Ya lyublyu Evu
(2020)

Protector spirit
Nastya doesn't like her mother and likes her new stepfather even less, but has had a protector since her family was swamped in an oil spill. Mostly visual, too dark to see some parts, with a very limited story.

On Air
(2021)

Karma comes 'round
A manipulative recording engineer has the tables turned.

Evenfall
(2020)

A mini-movie
A detective is hunting a killer to save his latest victim. The killer has a demon on his side, but the detective has a psychic helping her. If only all cop shows were this cool.

There will be Monsters
(2020)

Easy pickup?
A group of drunk frat boys get more than they bargained for. This simplistic film is short, uncomfortable, and deadly.

Intrusion
(2020)

The intruder
A newly engaged couple go to visit friends of hers she hasn't seen in seven years in their impressive French chateau. This seemingly mundane film has a fantastic ending.

Allodium
(2019)

You can't go home again
After Anna's father kills himself, she returns to his farmhouse to find out why he'd sent her away as a child and what happened to her mother. What she discovers is worse than she could have imagined. This gothic, creepy, scary, tense story shows Anna should have never returned home.

Landgraves
(2020)

Actual death metal
When a journalist interviewing a death metal band learns the origin story behind the cover of the band's first album, he worries how they might involve him in their second album. Creepy and claustrophobic with cool music, the scary story is ultimately rather thin.

Noite Macabra
(2020)

Demented date night
This movie perfectly captures the vibe of a bad '80s action movie: ridiculous premise, gratuitous violence, contrived dialogue, even cheesy synthesizer music. If you miss movies like Angel (1984) and the Warriors (1979), this short film is up your alley.

Sweet Nothings
(2021)

Looking for love, finding ads
In this future, computer interfaces are immersive and commercials are inescapable. This simple story has great visual effects for computing that surrounds you and follows you everywhere. And yet popup ads are still out of control.

The Arbors
(2020)

Not a monster movie
The official trailer on YouTube makes this look like a monster movie. But if you're looking for a monster movie, this isn't it. There is a creature, a really cool looking scary one, but it's not on screen much and doesn't have much to do with the story. Before you spend time and money on this movie, just know what you're not getting.

What is this movie about? Hard to say. The story revolves around Ethan, who discovers the creature but is otherwise a very dull person who does nothing, sleeps during the day, and avoids most people. The only person Ethan likes is his younger brother, Shane. They still live in the rural town they grew up in and seem stuck there.

And now people in this small town start disappearing and turning up dead, their torn up bodies found scattered around town. And only Ethan knows why.

This movie - Not a monster movie! - is painfully slow, taking gobs of time for very little to happen as it simmers and creates atmosphere. There's very little action. Much of the storytelling occurs through dialogue, especially long voicemail messages. Pay attention to these long verbalizations, they're practically narration and the audience's best hope to interpret what's going on or decipher the characters' motivations. There are some chilling bits of scenes, particularly a single line right at the halfway point of the movie, that indicate something very spooky is going on, but good luck figuring out what that is. I have some theories, but those would be spoilers. (See Denis Villeneuve's underrated Enemy (2013). I suspect it inspired the writers of this movie!)

To enjoy this movie requires A LOT of patience. Be prepared.

Captive
(2020)

Not much happens
This movie revolves around the world's gentlest captivity. Evan is more ill tempered than menacing or threatening. Lily shows very little ability to plan an escape. The ending is a pleasant surprise, but shows how much more inventive the rest of the story could have been.

Logan Lee & The Rise of the Purple Dawn
(2020)

They Live meets Up In Smoke
Logan has a crush on Beatrice, but she's dating a new guy, and he's more than meets the eye. This a fun skit about the power of some especially potent marijuana.

They're Here
(2021)

Aliens are among us
And she would have gotten away with it if it weren't for that meddling kid. Good production quality and good creature effects make up for a so-so story and uninspired acting.

The Recycling Man
(2020)

Black Mirror episode or mini movie
In a dystopia not too far in the future, children are disappearing and the authorities solicit leads from concerned citizens. When Jacob sees Sarah in danger, what can he do to save her? This mini movie portrays a grimy future world with great visual effects and set design. Fans of Philip K. Dick, Black Mirror, and the Twilight Zone should check this out.

Exit
(2020)

Residential Tardis zone
A construction crew in Russia discovers what happens when you build a house on top of a Tardis to another dimension. Should they cover it up? Should they explore it? Where does it go to? This Twilight Zone-like story reminiscent of "The Jaunt" by Stephen King creates more questions than answers, and the questions are spooky.

Tea Time
(2020)

Little kids are monsters
This fun, over-the-top, bloody little skit asks: What if little kids treated people the way they treat their toys? The result would be none too pretty. Don't let the baby fat face, princess dress, and pastel setting fool you-this ordinary little girl is vicious!

The Relic
(2020)

Very cool mini-movie
The characters in this movie went looking for something very bad and they found it! The story is a single scene; perhaps someday it'll be part of a full movie. This movie is a demo reel that showcases the filmmakers' talents: very good special effects, great creature effects, and dramatic music as the camera scrambles to keep up with the action.

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