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Crimes Of The Future – David Cronenberg (2022)

Many decades ago Cronenberg saw the line “crimes of the future” used as an unwritten poem in a movie and thought ‘that is a movie I am going to make’. He did so in 1970. It is said that also “Existenz” (2009) originally also has this as the working title. In 2022 Cronenberg (who is almost 80 years old) made his second (or third) “Crimes Of The Future”.

It is quite a classic Cronenberg. More of the “body horror” kind than “Maps To The Stars” (2014) and “Cosmopolis” (2012). It actually reminds somewhat of “Exitenz” even though Cronenberg says the two or three “Crimes Of The Future” have nothing to do with each other.

We find ourselves again in a dystopian future. The human body appears to be rather devolving than evolving. People no longer experience pain and some people even grow new and useless (and fatal?) organs. Then there are those who have turned the public removal of these new organs into “body art”. So we find ourselves following Saul Tenser and his sensual assistent Caprice.

Cronenberg would not have been Cronenberg did he not explicitly portray deformed bodies, surgery, weird organ-like machines and of course, sex. This time “surgery is the new sex”.

You get it: dark, weird, disturbing, uneasy. In short: Cronenberg.

“Crimes Of The Future” may not be his best, but if you like the dark side of this director, do not miss out on his latest.

The Adam Project – Shawn Levy (2022)

Despite being a Netflix original. Despite being somewhat ‘kiddy’. Besides being a comedy of sorts, “The Adam Project” was actually somewhat amusing. Or was it because I had not seen a film in a few weeks?

Adam from the title escapes from the 2050’ies to 2022. His aim was actually four years earlier. In 2022 he runs into his younger self and the two Adams are going to try to prevent time-travelling from being invented. Of course the future Adam has some adversaries that try to stop his efforts.

The film has a few original elements to the often filmed time travelling concept. The obligatory jokes are sometimes funny, sometimes less so, but overall not too annoying. There is some action and special effects making a film that is probably aimed at adolescents. Perhaps even a bit younger.

As said, the film is not that bad.

Big Bug – Jean-Pierre Jeunet (2022)

Jeunet made another weird and wonderful film, this time for Netflix. As more often with Jeunet, “Big Bug” plays in the future. Not a dark and bleak future, but a bright and colourful future this time.

Contrary to most of his previous films, there are but a few of his go-to actors in this Jeunet. Dominque Pinon is only on screen a split second and François Levantal has a big part, but he only appears in one other Jeunet.

In a not too far future, mankind makes greater use of technology as it does today. Jeunet came up with some amusing concepts. Some sort of little drone that can locate things that have been misplaced, a flying Citroen DS, a talking vacuum cleaner and a robot housemaid. Of course all if very secure.

For different reasons, a group of people are in the villa of the sensual Alice when the robots apparently decided to take over. They cripple mankind by creating a massive traffic jam and then local systems lock people inside their houses because the level of danger is too high outside.

In Alice’s house are some ‘vintage’ robots not connected to the main Yonyx system so not robots are immediately hostile. They are of not much help either, since they do have protocols to follow. The robots have meetings to try to find a way for the people to like them better, so they start to read books, download humour and compassion. You get it, Jeunet has stuffed his film with hilarious situations and odd findings. Laughing robots, a vacuum cleaner trying to seduce his mistress. All things you can safely to Jeunet.

The result is very amusing. “Big Bug” may not be Jeunet’s best, but it certainly is a great watch and much better than most (any?) Netflix-original that I saw so far.

The Matrix Resurrections – Lana Wachowski (2021)

The fourth Matrix is both ‘more of the same’ and some elements have been added and left out. Lana Wachowski made some sort of rewind of the earlier films with scenes that are almost exactly alike and with flashbacks. In general, the first part of “Resurrections” is a bit of a summery of the first film and a bit of the next two.

Thomas Andersson is a celebrated, yet plagued game designer who has had episodes of not being able to distinguish reality from game. So the first three Matrix films are now seen as classic games that sprang from the mind of Andersson.

The company he works for picks up the idea for a fourth part so Wachowski could make some jokes about money and franchise. Of course this is also the step up to Andersson wondering what is real and what is not. Basically the story of the previous films in a slightly updated form.

As we got used to, we have the film playing within and without the matrix and Wachowski has brought back a whole lot of the original actors. Some characters are played by new actors though and the story was adjusted accordingly. The familiar actors bring some amusing scenes.

As you can see in the poster, Trinity apparently did not die in part three and the film is mostly about Neo again trying to find her. Naturally for this he has to find old and new enemies and he encounters new and old people on his side.

“Resurrections” is not the shoot-out that number two was. There is some action here and there which does not look as groundbreaking as in the original films in their time. As I said, there are a few new elements. Also there is a new twist to the whole matrix theme, but do not expect huge surprises.

“Resurrections” is an amusing film, but I do not think it will be anywhere near the classic the original film still is.

Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. – Gordon Flemyng (1966)

I found this film a bit accidentally. I was looking for a short film on Netflix (this one is 1:26) and noticed a quirky scifi cover and decided to give it a try.

It soon dawned on me that this is a “Dr. Who” film and these “Daleks” are the funny robots with weird voices from which I know the “exterminate, annihilate, destroy” samples. So how I did I miss this in the first place?

Dr. Who has got a time machine and ends up in 2150 London where the Dalek robots have taken over. Together with a few rebels, Who and his companions try to do something back.

The result is a funny film in which the robots are almost human, communicating by talking, needing ‘hands’ to turn knobs, etc. constantly blaring with their funny voices. Also there are amusing stages, a great UFO (the Dalek ship) and very outdated future devices.

Highly amusing. Let me see if there are more such films.

Star Trek (original + next generations) (1979-2002)

After the “Terminator” and “Alien” movie series, we tried Star Trek. More about that here. We only saw a part of the Star Trek releases, the six “original series films” and the four “Next Generations” films. After this came three films with new (young) actors.

The first film is great. The other films of the “original series” are entertaining too, but not too interesting. Sometimes the crew travels back in time to our own time, making jokes about our 1980’ies.

In the first “generations” film we meet both captain Picard and Kirk and this is obviously a transition film. The remaining “generations” films are more contemporary science fiction with mildly interesting stories.

I think in the past I only knew the Picard films, even though Kirk looked familiar. For some reason I had the idea that Star Trek was a TV series. Perhaps I have seen glimpses of either the “Star Trek Phase II” series (1977) with William Shatner as Captain Kirk and/or “Star Trek The Next Generation” (1987-1994) with Patrick Steward as Captain Picard.

Be that as it may, the films are better than I remember the series, but other than the first film, they are not more than entertaining.

Dune (part 1) – Denis Villeneuve (2021)

Only during the opening credits did I learn that Villeneuve spread the story over multiple films. Of course the film is based on the same novel as David Lynch’s 1984 classic. I see that my review is quite critical and we know that Lynch is not too positive about his version as he could not make it the way he wanted it, but I actually do like Lynch’s version. Maybe even more so than Villeneuve’s!

It takes a while before Villeneuve’s film starts to get elements that I recognise from Lynch’s film. With more length, Villeneuve can incorporate more elements of the book.

You may know the story. There is a desert planet called Arakis that used to be governed fiercely by the “house Harkonnen”. Then suddenly the Harkonnen are removed and government is given to “house Atreides”. We mostly follow the son of that family who – together with his family – travels to the “dune”.

The desert contains a “spice” that has several benefits, mostly economical, so a fierce battle unfolds in which the Harkonnen try to take back the planet from the Atreides while Paul proves to be some sort of Messiah for the local people.

“Dune” reminds me a bit too much of Villeneuve’s “Arrival“. A pomp scifi with bombastic music, overdone dramatics, American patriotism (but worked into the story) and drama-inducing imaginary. It is all quite overwhelming, but to my mind also quite overdone.

“Dune” remains an enjoyable movie if you can stand the ‘genre’. I have no idea when the second part is due and if I again want to see it on the big screen, but I am planning on seeing it when time comes.

Alien Quadrilogy (1979-1997)

After watching all of the “Terminator” films, I wanted to watch another series of classic films that I either or not saw decades ago. My girlfriend never saw “Alien”, so here we went.

The initial “Alien” (Ridley Scott, 1979) is still a great film. Stages look better than CGI in my opinion. A crew on a ship goes to “hypersleep” for longer journies. Waking up they find out that the ship picked up an emergency signal and went in that direction. Taking a look at the inhabitable planet, one of the crew members picks up an alien lifeform and brings it back to the ship. The alien develops and murders the entire crew, but a handful managed to get away and blow up the ship. This first film is certainly still watch worthy.

9 Years later James Cameron picks up where Ridley Scott left off (“Aliens” 1986). Together with Sigourney Weaver (the main character) as co-producer, we see the crew of the original film being picked up by a space station. There is a problem though. An alien managed to get on board of the fleeing vessel and this time finishes off the entire crew of the space station. Also “Aliens” is a descent movie.

A few more years down the road and Weaver found David Fincher for “Alien 3” (1992). The planet that Weaver left in “Aliens” is now inhabited by humans, but there is no contact, so a crew is sent to see what is up. Of course Ripley (Weaver) is part of the crew. They arrive at the base to find out that there is nobody there. Nobody of course, but a bunch of aliens starting to kill crew members. This third part is more of an action film than the previous, but still with the obvious horror and thriller elements.

The last part of the “quadrilogy” is from 1997 and is called “Alien Resurrection”. This is the most sci-fi of the four. Ridley is cloned including an alien and of course things do not go as the scientists had planned, so the cloned aliens kill off the crew. The last film is in some regards more ‘modern’ than the previous three. This film is directed by Jean Pierre Jeunet. For a Jeunet the film is pretty ‘normal’, but it is great to see some of his ‘go-to’ actors such as Ron Perlman and Dominique Pinon.

All in all I must say that I enjoyed (re)watching the four alien films. The first two are classics, the third is good enough and the ‘closer off’ by Jeunet made a nice surprice.

Terminator movie series 1984-2019

In 2015 I saw “Genisys” on the big screen. I liked it a lot. Some weeks ago I finally got to watch “Dark Fate” and I liked it even better. I decided to watch all Terminator films in chronological order, as the two latest films refer back a lot to the early movies, so I wondered if there would be some sort of storyline.

Yes and no. Most movies refer to events in the other ones, but as time-travel remains the main part of the stories, films do not have to fit story-wise. In one film Skynet is killed, before it is born, in alternative future there still was a Skynet to send back machines in time. Or Sarah Conner is dead in one film and is not in another. Most films are in chronological time-lines too, but this is not always the casae.

So, in 1984 we had the original “The Terminator” (James Cameron). It is still a fun watch. The special effects are a bit dated (sometimes reminding on Cronenberg body horror though). Schwarzenegger is sent back in time to kill the mother (Sarah Connor) who would later give birth to the leader of the resistance against the machines. It is Connor himself who sends back Kyle Reese who is incidentally also his father. The film has a great 1980’ies feel with 1980’ies music.

In 1991 the same director made the epic “Terminator 2: Judgement Day. This time it becomes clear that again a terminator and a protector are sent back in time and Schwarzenegger is the protector. Of the young John Connor himself this time. A great movie unfolds with a still impressive liquid terminator.

Jonathan Mostow took over in 2003 with “Rise Of The Machines”. Here we have a sexy terminator and Schwarzegger again as protector of John Connor. Just as the previous two films, this film contains brutal violence. The film is pretty much over-the-top and even though amusing, it does not reach the level of the second film.

Again a new director in 2009 “MvG”. “Salvation” is by and far the least interesting film of the series. It plays only in the dystopian future in which the AI that humans developed has calculated that it is better for itself to terminate humanity. After throwing some nuclear bombs, killer machines (terminators) roam the earth to finish off the last living people. A resistance has grown which is led by John Connor. The resistance is after the destruction of the main system. What does not help, is that Schwarzenegger did not join the cast. He is only shown a few minutes in CGI.

Then we have “Genisys” (2015) Alan Taylor and “Dark Fate” (2019 Tim Miller), which are both reviewed. “Dark Fate” is most interesting movie-wise. The whole cast is present, including Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor. Story-wise this one is … alright. A ‘new’ Sarah Connor (Dani Ramos played by Natalie Reyes) is under threat as she is going to give birth to the father of John Connor. It takes a while before Schwarzegger returns, but he is at his best.
“Genisys” has an interesting twist to the John Connor story. Story-wise this one is good, movie-wise I prefer “Dark Fate”.

5 Out of 6 Terminator films are very enjoyable, in spite of the different directors. The cross-references are well done, the brutal violence is still brutal, the humour is usually good. The newer films have a bit too much of the obligatory drama, perhaps the older do too. They are big budget, big audience Hollywood productions of course. Be that as it may, I enjoyed watching all film a lot. It seems there are is a spin-off series about Sarah and John Connor. Perhaps I am going to see if I can get my hands on that one too.

Arq – Tony Elliott (2016)

It may be better not to know, but all information about the film gives it away anyway, but the story of “ARQ” is somewhat similar to that of “Edge Of Tomorrow“.

In some future the air is polluted and energy scarce. Renton used to work for a big and influential company and built a machine which charges itself, so it is a perpetual energy source. He left his job, but his former employer wants (the blueprints) of his machine. Other groups do too.

The “Edge Of Tomorrow” story is worked out nicely. More and more people involved in the events start to realize what is going on and act accordingly. Of course the story has some twists and turns and a bit of humor.

An alright Netflix film.