Radiance

Come forward.

First of all, I’m not very fond of the novels that show their story through a collection of notes, diaries, pamphlets, and so on. Add those as decoration, but it feels too fragmented to build a story from. Or that’s simply laziness from me.

Secondly, there’s more room for world building than plot. Yes, I know, me complaining about too much world building? On this blog? But with Radiance there is no balance between the two. Character names are thrown around while my mind’s still reeling from learning about Mars’ society, more time spent on the interior of a space ship than motivation of caring for the main characters. Who are even the main characters?

The main plot – at least I think it is – is about how a company tries to reconstruct the disappearance and or ending of one of their employees. This being a film company, and the employee being a director and daughter of a Well Known Director, makes things just a bit more glamorous.
Because that’s what Radiance is, glam. Shiny. A picture book set in words.

 

Radiance, Catherynne M. Valente, Corsair 2015

The Giver

Het was bijna december, en Jonas begon bang te worden.

Dit is een boek waarvan ik snap waarom het verfilmd is, maar ik denk dat het boek juist sterker is omdat de lezer langzamer ontdekt wat er allemaal mis is. Beeld verklapt makkelijker sneller iets.

Want dat er iets mis is, is wel duidelijk. Geen emoties, geen ‘wild gedrag’, relaties die worden toegedeeld en ingedeeld door een raad? En dan zijn er ook nog fysieke ervaringen die de hoofdpersoon niet mag hebben.

Gelukkig wordt hij uitgekozen voor iets heel bijzonders, en zoals wel vaker met iets bijzonders komt het met wat lelijke realisaties. Het brengt wat vragen mee over persoonlijke vrijheid, het grotere goed, en hoe emoties en (onderbuik)gevoelens de samenleving beïnvloeden.

Het einde is nogal abrupt. Natuurlijk zijn er vervolgen.

The Giver, Lois Lowry, Lannoo 2015

Rogue One

133 min.

Definitely more fun when you watch it without knowing too much of the Star Wars universe and stories. And don’t act like it’s an international embarrassment if you aren’t rogue-one-posterwell-versed in its material.

Anyway, there’s another female brunette who needs to fight the baddies. She doesn’t want to at first, but Things Change and she realises that the Rebellion needs to succeed. After a dark (literally and figuratively) first half, it’s for the viewer clear as well.

In my mind Star Wars movies have always been different shades of sand colours, so the beautiful shots of the beachy planet definitely left me pleasantly surprised. So did the tempo, never giving you the feeling that there’s filler or that you’re stuck in your chair for another [x amount] of minutes. And yes, it is watchable with nary a clue about its background.

Think Indiana Jones in space, think explosions, narrow escapes and aliens and you have an entertaining two hours at the ready.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Lucasfilm 2016

Star Trek Beyond

122 min.

It was definitely better than the second movie, but how hard was that one to beat? This time we’re back to the feeling of a summery, no-need-for-life-lessons Star Trek. And even star-trek-beyond-posterthough the director came from the Fast and the Furious series, not that much races.

As usual, the Enterprise is off somewhere, trying to help out an alien race, when they find someone that needs their help somewhere else. Being good Federation crew, they follow. A villain needs to be added in somewhere, so guess in which ways things don’t go as they should.

This time the movie moves along much smoother, there is less lens flare and random female nudity and flat-falling jokes. It could still do with more speaking parts for women, and it’s sad that a same-sex kiss had to be cut out. But if it’s going to be a trilogy, we leave on a semi high note, else the only way is up.

Star Trek Beyond, Paramount Pictures 2016

Everything Before Us

99 min.

Dat was nog eens een leuke verrassing. Ik koos de film uit voor het plot en het gebrek aan blanke mensen (het zal toch niet zijn dat alleen blanken romances op film meemaken?) en bleef voor de zachte, squishy gevoelens dat het mij gaf.

everything_before_usDeze film speelt zich af in een VS waarin de overheid zich met relaties bemoeit. Een gezonde relatie geeft een hogere score, die weer helpt met huren, solliciteren, enzovoorts. Een relatie die voor 12 maanden wordt afgebroken, of vol problemen, kan de score omlaag brengen. Everything Before Us volgt verschillende mensen in relaties en de impact die de score en de serieusheid er van er op hebben.

Gelukkig zijn mensen mensen en zijn emoties en gevoelens niet aan een beoordelende leiband te leggen. Zonder realiteit uit het oog te verliezen (want niet elke relatie werkt nu eenmaal), wordt het een heel lief en zacht filmpje over de liefde.

Everything Before Us, Wong Fu Productions 2015

Midnight Special

110 min.

The science fiction movie that could be better and different, but ended landing on cliched grounds.

midnight-special_wbA man escapes his (cult-ish) community with his son. When things grow into THINGS happening, it’s not just the community, but the government that starts to follow them. But what’s even going on with the boy, and why are there such rapid changes?

The first half of the movie doesn’t bother with chewing out answers and theories, it goes right to the point where you only get too impatient not to know.

Alas, when ignorance turns into omniscient knowledge, the movie loses its exciting, slightly feverish thrill and urge, and images follow which could easily fit in with Disney’s Tomorrowland. Director’s previous movie Take Shelter left me in shock, Midnight Special is nothing more than a lukewarm puddle.

Midnight Special, Warner Brothers 2016

Ant-Man

117 min.

Marvel won’t stop (as long as they’re making millions). This time’s turn is for a white, male anti-hero, to stay close to what they’re most comfortable with.

ant-man-marvelAs usual, the viewer gets a quick update about everything connects (Stark, again), before jumping in with violence, jokes, and the right guy at the wrong time.

But this time that guy is Paul Rudd, and he’s very probably the film’s saviour. Always easy in charming everyone on and off screen, he’s the guy that allows to be beaten up, insulted, taken from his daughter and being used as a pawn while becoming the one you root for.

Yes, there is a story about an evil pupil and another amazing yet terrible weapon. But neither evil nor good comes out particularly enchanting. It’s the CGI ants that steal the scene when Rudd doesn’t.

Marvel acted like this movie was a risk to make, but there’s really not a lot of difference with Iron Man or Captain America. Don’t worry, in the end our unlikely hero/underdog will make it. And yet we keep watching. Because of the people involved, because of it looked, because of the need for brainless entertainment. And a very well-trained, half naked Paul Rudd. At least this time.

Ant-Man, Marvel 2015