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Rebirth (2016)

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RebirthA white-collar suburban father Kyle who is surprised at his office by long-lost college buddy Zack. Zack is as wild and crazy as ever, brimming with excitement about the self-actualization program he’s just finished called Rebirth. He talks Kyle into going on a weekend-long Rebirth retreat,handing over his keys, wallet, and phone. Thus begins his journey down a bizarre rabbit hole of psychodrama, seduction, and violence.

Genre : Thriller
Country : USA

Cast :
Fran Kranz : Kyle
Adam Goldberg : Zack
Nicky Whelan : Naomi

Director :
Karl Mueller

My opinion on “Rebirth”

Hey, you still have the Manifesto?
The what?
The Manifesto, man.
Don’t tell me you threw it away.

Rebirth” is a psychological thriller of the Netflix collection. I certainly won’t deny that I have become a fervent supporter of the Netflix Originals series. I’ve seen already some great movies (“Spectral“, “iBoy“, “Before I Wake” and “Message from the king“). And also some less successful experiments (“Mute” and “Death note” eg). “Rebirth” is a special case and ends somewhere in the middle. In essence, it’s not such a bad movie, but there were certain aspects that made me really hate it. Some will even find it an annoying film. I still don’t know whether I should take this film seriously or not. If it was meant to be serious and tried to create an image of how similar organizations function, then it was rather frightening. If, however, it was meant to be satirical, I guess I haven’t noticed it then. For me it wasn’t really funny.

Rebirth

Don’t be boring.

For Kyle (FranThe LivingKranz) every day is a duplicate of the previous day. He can be seen as a settled and satisfied model citizen who carries out his day-to-day job. This seemingly carefree existence is thoroughly shaken up the day his crazy, hyper-kinetic ex-school friend Zack (AdamOnce upon a time in VeniceGoldberg) turns up in Kyle’s office and reminds him that they once wrote down a promise. A “Manifesto” with one important slogan : “Don’t be boring“. And that’s something Kyle, after agreeing to go to some bizarre reorientation weekend, is told several times. Unfortunately, “Rebirth” turned out to be somewhat boring with a disappointing final piece.

Rebirth

Don’t like your life. Love it !

Fran Kranz convincingly plays the confused and panicky Kyle, who sees his smooth going civilian life reduced to a chaotic, uncontrollable nightmare. It’s obvious the propagated message of the “Rebirth” program is all about self-control. “Rebirth” is about getting a grip on yourself and not apathetically following the course of the system (as zombies). According to Zack, it’s all about rediscovering yourself and start loving life back again. The only thing Kyle seems to experience is that it’s an insane and degrading program. The fact that Zack looks as if he has eaten too many psychedelic mushrooms, doesn’t seem to help him either.

Rebirth

I’d join this, just to experience the “Honesty Circle”.

To be honest, the film really got on my nerves at certain moments. For example, there is the dazzlingly handsome Naomi (Nicky Whelan) who has the annoying habit of answering every question with a question. It was driving me crazy. The exaggerated group events also felt like a sort of mass hysteria. And it became a bit too predictable when Kyle ended up in a pillow-filled room with a couple lovely, very tasty looking women whose sex lives are clearly as exhilarating as watching a chess game. It looked like a hippie commune. It also felt rather surreal and unearthly.

The denouement is kind of disappointing.

As I said before, specially the end is disappointing. Initially, you see an organization trying to recruit members by means of brainwashing and psychological pressure. I admit it was intriguing. But in the end it felt incomplete. Perhaps also due to the lack of any explanation. Initially, “Rebirth” looked like a sort of sect, full of esoteric ideas and dogmas, with the aim of allowing the participants to experience a rebirth in which all connections with their inculcating, self-centered living environment are cut. It wants to hold an imaginary mirror up to them and show that the participants are living in an artificial world controlled by others. That they are puppets in a social puppet theater where others pull the strings. Or also, an artificial bubble that you don’t want to pierce because of the comfort, their acquired status and financial security. Afterwards, it seems to be nothing else than a cheap sales organization of food products, which they try to sell through networking at well-organized home parties. In the end it felt like I had just attended a Tupperware demonstration.

My rating 5/10
Links : IMDB

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Disney +

Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 1 Review: Stranger in a Strange Land

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The following review contains spoilers

Boba Fett has been a beloved Star Wars character ever since his debut in the infamous Holiday Special and made his big onscreen appearance 41 years ago in The Empire Strikes Back. We then later on learn about the origins of the renowned bounty hunter in Attack of the Clones and in the Clone Wars animated series. The appearance of Boba Fett in The Mandalorian season two was also a welcoming surprise as last we saw of the bounty hunter was when he fell into the Sarlacc pit during the events of ‘Return of the Jedi”. 

How did he survive? well, that’s the very first thing covered in the opening of the series premiere which splits its time between flashbacks to what happened after Fett’s downward slope into the pit, as well as the events following The Mandalorian season 2, in which Boba (Temuera Morrison), alongside his loyal assassin Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) navigate the galaxy’s underworld when they return to the sands of Tatooine to stake their claim on the territory once ruled by Jabba the Hutt and his crime Syndicate. 

Chapter one reminded me why I love Star Wars as this episode gave me the classic, vintage feels mixed with Lawerence of Arabia and The Godfather, as both Fett and Shand take down the seedy underbelly of Tatooine. Directed by showrunner Robert Rodriguez and written by Jon Favreau, take a reflective approach in order to fill in the gaps of Fett’s past in which he’s scarred by. 

The opening chapter of the series entitled “Stranger In a Strange Land” shows that Fett still needs medical treatment for his escape from the acid-filled Sarlacc pit as we see him lying inside a Bacta Tank, which provides brief flashbacks to his birthplace Kamino and to the Geonois arena where his father Jango Fett was killed By Mace Windu. 

We also see flashbacks to recent events especially his escape which is executed quickly as he’s shortly running out of time. Boba breathes fresh air from the supply of an expired and eroded Stormtrooper whilst punching a hole through the Sarlacc’s thick stomach. He fires his flamethrower through it and tunnels his way out onto the surface and emerges in front of the wreckage of Jabba’s sail barge. 

Photo: Lucasfilm

After being left for dead and enduring the pain and suffering of being slowly digested, Fett encounters Tatooine’s infamous residents. First Jawa scavengers steal his armour and leave him for dead again. Then becoming dehydrated, Tusken Raiders discover him and force him into subjugation. What follows is an unfortunate escape plan as he survives a brawl with a Tusken Massiff. 

Meanwhile in present-day Tatooine, Boba Fett and Fennec Shand start to secure their hold on crime lord Jabba the Hutt’s former territory, though conflict begins to simmer between the two as Fennec recommends that a more violent rule will surly guarantee a more stable transition of power . However Fett takes a far more measured approach by working by a code of honour that somewhat excludes torture or killing to send a message as “Jabba ruled with fear, I Intent to rule with respect”. 

Photo: Lucasfilm

Fett awakens from the tank as he dons armour and receives visitors in his newly claimed throne room, where a torture droid ( voiced by Matt Berry) announces guests who bring tributes to him as a gesture of being under Fett’s leadership. An Aqualish hands over a tribute of New Republic credits, Dokk Strassi, a Trandoshan leader Fett once worked for, offers a Wookie pelt, two Gamorrean guards pledge their loyalty and a suspicious display of respectfulness comes from Madam Garsa Flip (Jennifer Beals) who is the proprietor of The Sanctuary an upscale Mos Spa Cantina. 

Photo: Lucasfilm

Many of Jabba and Bib’s former subjects are prepared to bend the knee to Boba Fett, well not all of them. As Mos Espa mayor not only fails to show up to the palace in person but sends his majordomo (David Pasquesi) to collect tribute from Fett and as Fett and Shand leave the Cantina they’re ambushed by many assassins with batons that can stun you and energy shields. What follows is a badass parkour pursuit as Fennec kills one and captures the other though we’ll have to wait till next week to see who the assassins work for and who especially is the Mayor??.

This episodes big fight sequence is a battle between a six-legged sand monster that is very reminiscent of classic star wars and feels like a Ray Harryhausen stop motion puppet. This victory in the eyes of the Tusken Raiders makes Boba a made man as the Tusken leader hands boba a gourd which is a sign of respect or acceptance into the tribe. 

Photo: Lucasfilm

Wen truly shines as the cunning enforcer/assassin Fennec Shand her skillset is utilised throughout this first chapter. She’s a compelling lead and delivers her lines ruthlessly. 

And Morrison’s portrayal depicts a man that’s been though hell and now onto more of a redemptive path. His delivery and humour truly flesh out the character. Fennec surly feels obliged to Fett because he saved her but chapter one also implies that she would do things differently if she were the crime lord. Life on Tatooine is hard as honour amongst thieves thrives thrives amongst the town. 

The episode also features an epic theme, from Ludwig Göransson who also composed both seasons of The Mandalorian.

Overall Chapter One “Stranger in a Strange Land” is certainly a promising start and offers us glimpses on where the Book of Boba Fett could ultimately be heading as it features action and Star Wars nostalgia. 

The Book of Boba Fett Chapter 1, “Stranger in a Strange Land,” is streaming now on Disney+. Future episodes premiere on Wednesdays.

 

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fantasy

The Wheel Of Time | Season 1 – An Excellent Translation From Page To Screen

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The Wheel of Time is a book series spanning 14 novels, 15 if you include the prequel by Robert Jordan. The books calculate to have over 4.4 million words which throughout the series takes place over the span of two years in a very expansive world. It really intrigued me when I heard that a show was in development and then in September 2019 went into production. 

Amazon Studios have truly crafted a phenomenal adaptation, In fact having a life-long fan at the helm of the series makes The Wheel of Time a worthy one indeed as Rafe Lee Judkins sprinkles every speck of detail as having now watched episodes 1-6 he manages to create an impressive start with a richly detailed world, high-fantasy magic, phenomenal visual effects on the Trolloc’s and Dark One. It also tells a gripping fantastical adventure as a group of friends from a secluded village discover their roles in an upcoming battle where existence itself is at risk. 

Set in a sprawling, epic world where magic exists and only certain women are allowed to access it, the story follows Moiraine (Rosamund Pike), a member of the incredibly powerful all-female organisation called the Aes Sedai, as she arrives in the small town of Two Rivers. There, she embarks on a dangerous, world-spanning journey with five young men and women, one of whom is prophesied to be the Dragon Reborn, who will either save or destroy humanity.

With a reported $10 million budget per-episode, The Wheel of Time spares no expense to create Jordan’s fantasy world that drew heavily from Tolkien, cultures and religions. The world Amazon Studios have created is truly expansive and everything was high quality with immersive locations hosting these detailed sets, especially the Two Rivers. The breathtaking landscapes also play a magnificent part in this epic fantasy as the bulk of the series was shot in Prague, Czech Republic, and its surrounding areas. The city which was eastern European was perfect for the ancient and mystic aesthetic which the show needed. But also the surrounding forests and mountains helped portray and showcase the long heroes journey the characters go on. 

The Visual and practical Effects are also created magnificently, we see spells, creatures and magic throughout the series and beginning with an onslaught from the Trolloc army. Trolloc’s are a type of shadowspawn, they comprise the bulk of the Dark One’s army. They’re huge with the body of a man, and the head and feet of an animal such as a bear, bird, wolf or goat. Practical up-close then enhanced with VFX CGI doubles when in a swarm of them. 

 Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.

With Lightning and practical effects and visuals the Ae Sedai cast, they ward off these gigantic creatures. the smoke effects also create an alluring environment.

 Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.

Casting for any large series like this is daunting as you need to find actors who fit the part and most will have to be in seasons for the long haul. Every actor in The wheel of Time gives their best in the series and each inhabit their character remarkably well. 

Rosamund Pike is stellar in the role of Moiraine, she’s often stoic as the Aes Sedai are known for. but its the emotion in her performance that truly captures the essence of her character. Moiraine is a powerful Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah and is on a quest to find the dragon reborn. In the first three episodes she’s following a prophecy about this reincarnated figure and wants to find him or her before the Dark One can. She is reserved and overflowing with quiet wisdom but she can truly fight against a whole army of Trolloc’s by herself as she possesses the strong talent of the One Power. 

Alongside Pike is Daniel Henney who plays Lan Mandragoran. He is a warder to Moiraine, but is so much more than meets the eye. stoic and often serious. Lan is magically bonded to Moiraine who protects her and fights by her side, his sword skills are phenomenal . He shows loyalty to his traveling companions but it’s the bond between these two actors that I have plenty of praise for. Both embody their characters and have a relationship that is far greater than friendship. Henney is brilliant in the role. 

 Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.

Supporting these two on their journey are the core group of characters from Emond’s Field. Madeleine Madden plays Egwene. She is strong-willed and determined. she’s the innkeepers daughter too but she wants more from running her fathers inn and marry her childhood sweetheart, a sheepherder. during the episodes she’s more ok with having to suddenly leave home with Moiraine, as she wants to see more of the world. 

 Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.

Barney Harris plays Mat Cauthon, a rogue and a gambler with a cheeky sense of humour. He has a devil-may-care attitude as he’s always ready to throw a dice or pull a prank on some unexpected person. He also gets himself into trouble all the time, he’s curious and not at all worried about consequences. Harris is good in the role throughout season one so far and balances Mat’s humour and the darkness that grows within him. 

 Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.

Marcus Rutherford plays Perrin Aybara, the local blacksmith. He’s kind and gentle and constantly moving and thinking deliberately. Taller and burlier than his friends, Perrin is slow to anger but rage overtakes him in these episodes I was given. 

 Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.

And finally there’s Josha Stradowski playing Rand Al’Thor, who’s is the sheepherder and Egwene’s childhood sweetheart. he adores the simple life and his father Tam. He looks forward to a future where he can marry Egwene and raise a family of his own in Two Rivers. His character always strives to do the right thing even when what’s ahead is completely unexpected. Stradowski truly excels in the role and fully embraces the character with these complex layers. 

 Copyright: © 2021 Amazon Content Services LLC and Sony Pictures Television Inc.

Every character in The Wheel of Time is deeply connected. This group of friends have been together their entire lives and you can truly see that in every exchange. They work really well as an ensemble and the chemistry among all the actors is excellent. 

The score for the show was truly outstanding and one of my favourite aspects of each episode, Lorne Balfe has truly delivered a grand epic score. 

Overall, The Wheel of Time is an excellent translation from page to screen. It honours the source material and elevates the story with powerful cast and an EPIC engaging story which is gripping and fully immersed in FANTASY. 

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HORROR

Stranger Things | Season 4 – Official Trailer

The upcoming fourth season of the American science fiction horror drama television series Stranger Things, titled Stranger Things 4, is scheduled to be released worldwide exclusively via Netflix’s streaming service in 2022.

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Genre:

Horror, Sci-fi

Release Date:

2022

Director:

Netflix

Cast:

Millie Bobby Brown, David Harbour, Gaten Matarazzo, Natalia Dyer

Plot Summary:

The upcoming fourth season of the American science fiction horror drama television series Stranger Things, titled Stranger Things 4, is scheduled to be released worldwide exclusively via Netflix’s streaming service in 2022.

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