Up first this week is Voyagers. This science fiction flick stars Colin Farrell and a slew of young Hollywood talent including Tye Sheridan, Fionn Whitehead, and Lily-Rose Depp. Set in the near future, it’s about a group of young people genetically built and raised to be sent into space to then procreate and get another generation to land on another planet so our species can survive. Colin Farrell helps raise the children and decides to take the trip with them to make sure things go smoothly. The people realize they will spend their entire lives on the ship and it will be their grandchildren who will get off it. They are all geniuses made from the best DNA and are also being drugged to keep emotions in check. When a couple of them realize their drink is being spiked, they stop drinking it and start becoming more emotional and human. Then an incident occurs and they believe an alien is on board. I was hoping the film was going to be an under-the-radar fun alien film, but it’s more a space version of Lord of the Flies. One group thinks things should be done one way, the way they were taught. The other is lead by another boy who is manipulating everyone and lying about the incident and alien. It’s good, but not quite what I was hoping for. Years from now it will surprise people because of the cast so watch it now and be ahead of the curve.
Second we have The Great War of Archimedes, another film that’s not what I was expecting. It opens with an ocean battle and a ship being bombed and overturning. Then for the next 2 hours or so it’s about math. Yes, this is not an action or war movie at all, it’s about a young math genius being used by the Japanese military to prove the estimated cost for a battleship is way too low. Yeah that’s the movie. This young genius who was expelled from university must prove the cost of the battleship is much higher so a carrier will be built instead. He walks around a battleship measuring things. He writes up his own blueprints and figures out an equation to prove everything all while the date to prove it all is pushed up. He wasn’t in the military, but is brought in and must follow their rules and guidelines which makes getting information difficult and others try to stop him. The ending explains the whole point of the estimate and shows the opening ocean battle again, but don’t expect an over-the-top CGI-fest. It’s about math and a math nerd.
Third we have Pasture. It’s about a woman having severe psychological issues and at first you think she’s living with her sister and her sister’s husband who is a doctor. You think she might have tried killing herself and she keeps having flashbacks or visions that don’t really explain much. You think the sister and doctor are lying and she’s being held against her will, but then it takes a hard left and explains everything. Well sort of, the explanation makes sense in terms of the movie, but it’s weird in terms of the real world. I don’t know if the film as a whole makes sense, but I thought the lead actress was very good. I don’t think I’m familiar with her, Abigail Rose, but I thought she handled the role very well. It won’t wow too many people and most people will never even see it, but if you want something different, very different I’d give it a try.
Beate is an Italian comedy about some clothing makers who lose their job and start making their own undergarments thanks to help from some nuns. The convent needs money for repairs and help the clothing makers in order to receive some of the money from the clothing sales. But the woman who fired them realizes they stole all her sewing machines and the head nun recovers enough to realize what’s happening in her convent as well. It’s a quirky film that we’ve seen before in terms of oddball mashups trying to make money, but it’s a very light watch with various characters all brining something different to the film. I liked it.
Salvador Dalí: In Search of Immortality is a 3 part documentary on the life of Salvador Dali. It covers his early years, his life while working and his later years. It uses archival footage, interviews, rare photos and work to show the viewer as much as they can about the artist. I know of him, but don’t know much about him so most of it was new to me. Art is definitely a blindspot in my overall knowledge. You really do get a feel for the man, his work and how he lived his life. I think fans will totally eat this up and if you are like me and don’t know much about him besides his mustache, you’ll learn quite a bit surprisingly.
Tina Barney: Social Studies is another documentary on someone I knew nothing about. I had at least heard of Dali, I knew nothing of this photographer. She grew up in a pretty elite lifestyle and then came to fame taking photos of that type of lifestyle. She shot photos of everyday life of well off families all trying to capture that Ralph Lauren vibe, but got bored with that and went to Europe to capture the everyday life of well off families there. I will give her credit, she used old cameras and photography styles which I can appreciate. Today you can shoot a thousand photos with your digital DSL and hope to get 1-3 you like. She shot on film with a cool style that isn’t just portrait shooting. The pictures are off center and huge and really give a different perspective. I don’t know if it’s something I’d watch again, but I appreciate her techniques as a photographer.
H.P. Lovecraft’s The Deep Ones is an oddball horror film with not so great acting or production value, but I also kinda liked it. The two leads aren’t very good, but the story is solid with a cult wanting to impregnate women by The Deep Ones. If you are familiar with Lovecraft and Cthulhu you should like it. The characters are all very cult-like and the setting is very Stepford Wives. I wish the acting was a bit better, but for a film I had never heard of it, it’s not bad if you can get beyond the acting and production value.
Your Honor is a 10 episode legal thriller starring Bryan Cranston, one of TV’s best actors. Cranston plays a New Orleans judge whose teenage son is involved in a hit-and-run that gets an organized crime family involved. The cast is fantastic including Hope Davis, Michael Stuhlbarg, Maura Tierney, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Margo Martindale and more. Overall I did enjoy it, but it has some issues. There are a lot of plot holes and side stories that ultimately serve no real purpose. As good as the veteran actors are, I didn’t love the son character. I struggled to root for him and he was his own worst enemy causing more issues than need be. The ending felt a bit rushed and convenient as well, but besides the Adam character, definitely watch it for the acting.
The next group of releases come from Mill Creek Entertainment. Pasture does as well, but I liked where that fit in the article. Mill Creek’s latest Ultraman release is Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle which includes Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle (Season 1),
Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle: Never Ending Odyssey (Season 2), and Mega Monster Battle Ultra Galaxy: The Movie. Set in the future, humans finally get to space where they find a planet has monsters and a human hybrid named Rei who can control kaiju. Ultramen do battle with an evil Ultraman as the humans dig deeper into Rei’s past. The second season takes place on Planet Hammer following the events of Season 1. Mega Monster Battle Ultra Galaxy: The Movie came out after both series at the movie theater and finds the evil Ultraman Belial released from prison and sets out for destruction. If you read me you know I prefer the older, original Ultraman stuff, but don’t mind watching the newer ones. Fans will love this and it’s a great addition to Mill Creek’s Ultraman line.
Continuing Mill Creek’s Becoming Evil series, Becoming Evil: Serial Killers of the Old West came out last week, but I got my copy late. I enjoy this series, but I don’t know if I agree with some of these people being considered serial killers. The Old West was violent and sure some people killed while robbing, but it wasn’t necessarily for evil in my mind. John Wesley Hardin claims to have killed 42 men, but it’s more likely 27. Billy the Kid and Jesse James are well known although James’ story is slowly changing as he’s seen in a different light now with ties to powerful organizations and not being just the outlaw people think. Boone Helm was known as the Kentucky Cannibal because he ate human flesh from his victims. He makes much more sense in this feature than others. Clay Allison fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War before becoming a well known gunslinger. Overall I enjoyed this and if you enjoy the Becoming Evil releases you will too.
Last we have Sonic Boom: The Complete Season 1 which came out a while back. Based on the video game franchise Sonic the Hedgehog, it’s a fun CGI made series that families will enjoy. You have all your favorite characters including Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Doctor Eggman and more. I wasn’t familiar with it, but it came out a few years back in different countries. I think it’s a pretty solid Sonic series compared to some other versions I’ve seen. The characters are what you expect and it has some violence in it young kids might be too young for, but overall I do think it’s pretty family friendly. If you were a fan you’ll enjoy it. If like me you didn’t know it existed and you grew up on Sonic you should like it too.