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Ready Player One (2018)

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James Halliday saw the future.
And then he built it.
He gave us a place to go.A place called … THE OASIS.

Recently I got a Playstation VR set for my birthday and since then I’ve spent a lot of hours in different virtual worlds. So I understand very well that in films such as “Ready Player One” the population spends more time in this artificial environment than in the actual world. As one already suggested at the beginning, this virtual fantasy world is so alluring because there’s so much to experience. But also because you can be so much. Just like in “2047: Virtual Revolution“, it seems as if all of humanity has lost its contact with reality and is wasting their entire fortune on digital upgrades and gadgets and walk around their entire free time with such futuristic-looking VR glasses. Unfortunately, the moral is the same as in this last film. Namely, that one has to cut the virtual bonds and live back in reality. Perhaps there’s an element of truth here. In today’s society, the art of communicating and socializing is going to waste because we do this only in a digital way.

Lets find the Easter egg …

The story itself was a bit straightforward and simple. The day one of the designers (James Halliday) of the virtual playground OASIS drew his last breath (in reality), he reveals that he has hidden a so-called “Easter egg” in OASIS. Who finds it wins a mega top prize that gives the honest finder total control over OASIS and inherits Halliday’s fortune. We, of course, get a race between two camps. On the one hand, young Wade (TyeJoeSheridan) who, along with some of his online friends, eagerly starts looking for the hidden keys. Not only for the fame and fortune but also to get back at IOI (Innovative Online Industries). This company wants to win the main prize at any cost so it becomes the largest company in the world. So, Wade gets the CEO Nolan Sorrento (BenMississippi GrindMendelsohn) as a formidable opponent whose inexhaustible source of income gives him an advantage. Needless to say who will finally get the virtual short stick.

The number of references to the 80’s? I lost count ….

No, the story itself is not really epic. The images and the overall atmosphere, however, are. The first assignment with the extremely difficult road race packed with obstacles was something to drool over. The fact that a T-Rex and a frantic King Kong appeared in it, was perhaps slightly exaggerated. But for the rest, this part did look exquisitely and flashy. I would also like to participate in that race. Ditto for the Doom location. To experience a death match on that planet, must also be extremely energetic and exciting. But mainly “Ready player one” is a huge wink and nostalgic look back on the 80s. And this in all sorts of areas. The music, the film and the game world from this era, are extensively praised. So the whole film is stuffed with references to it. The DeLorean from “Back to the future“. A floating dance floor with the soundtrack of the Bee Gees. The Atari games and a t-shirt from Joy Division. And a multitude of famous characters who come to act as an avatar in the VR world. You can be sure that every scene contains a reference. It’s as if Steven Spielberg not only sends the heroes in search of the Easter Egg but also assigns the audience the same task. Find as many hidden references as possible.

It’s one, big, vivid video game.

If you are an avid gamer, you’ll be thrilled about this film, since most of it is purely a graphic spectacle. The opening scene where the world of OASIS is presented in is a breathtaking and impressive spectacle. For others, it may be a bit too much. It’s as if you’re at a friend’s house looking at the tube, while he’s playing a super fantastic game. A little frustrating. But, I’ve amused myself with this movie. Apart from a few issues (I don’t understand how Wade could get his installation working in the back of a van in the middle of a junkyard), for me, this film was really quite wonderful. And it was pretty self-explanatory that the girl behind the avatar Art3mis (OliviaMe and Earl and the dying girlCooke) also be a natural beauty in RL. I’m not really a big fan of Steven Spielberg and think some of his films really weak, but here he succeeds again in making my film heart beat faster. And not only because I’m actually a bit hooked to the VR phenomenon (even though it doesn’t yet have the sharpness as shown here). “Ready Player One” is a bit like “The Goonies” meets “Tron“. But with more technological wizardry and a different kind of treasure as a reward.

My rating 8/10
Links: IMDB

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Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore – New Teaser Trailer

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You are invited back into the Magic! as Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, audiences will be taken back into the familiar and immersive world of magic, fun and excitement, featuring even more compelling and unique magical beasts in an all-new story that truly expands the iconic Wizarding World in surprising and unexpected ways.

Synopsis

Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) knows the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to lead an intrepid team of wizards, witches and one brave Muggle baker on a dangerous mission, where they encounter old and new beasts and clash with Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers. But with the stakes so high, how long can Dumbledore remain on the sidelines?

Image via Warner Bros

Dive into the complex, high-stakes relationship between Grindelwald and Dumbledore and unlock the story of these two legendary wizards.And for the first time, audiences will get an inside look at the complicated and enigmatic Dumbledore.

The film is also the ultimate wizard heist as what follows in The Secrets of Dumbledore is an action-packed cat-and-mouse game of secretive plans, mysteries and fun twists and turns. Our unlikely heroes – Newt, Jacob, Kama, Lally, Bunty and Theseus are brought together by Dumbledore in an attempt to defeat Grindelwald.

From the teaser trailer it looks like this film will be magical on the big screen as it’s a richly realised expansion of the story fans have been craving, a transportive cinematic experience for all ages that features familiar connections to Harry Potter, whilst also keeping the classic Magical elements like the whimsy humour as well as the heartwarming moments and heart-stopping action.

The film features an ensemble cast led by Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”), two-time Oscar nominee Jude Law (“Cold Mountain,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley”), Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Callum Turner, Jessica Williams, Katherine Waterston, and Mads Mikkelsen.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” was directed by David Yates, from a screenplay by J.K. Rowling & Steve Kloves, based upon a screenplay by J.K. Rowling. The film was produced by David Heyman, J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves, Lionel Wigram and Tim Lewis. Neil Blair, Danny Cohen, Josh Berger, Courtenay Valenti and Michael Sharp served as executive producers.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” is the newest adventure in the Wizarding World™ created by J.K. Rowling.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore will be released in cinemas across the UK & Ireland on 8 April 2022 by Warner Bros. Pictures.

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Ghostbusters: Afterlife | Jason Reitman Has Truly Outdone Himself

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After more than a year of scheduling delays due to the pandemic, Ghostbusters: Afterlife has finally made it into some theatres across the world. The newest film in this iconic franchise is a direct sequel to the original 1984 Ghostbusters and 1989s Ghostbusters II, which was released more than thirty years ago. Director and co-writer Jason Reitman, is the son of Ivan Reitman, who directed both Ghostbuster films and his legacy to his Father’s Ghostbusting franchise was a nostalgic joyride that features the same heart and soul as the originals and truly took me back to when I first experienced the spiritualistic, scientific wonder. 

Ghostbusters: Afterlife follows Callie (Carrie Coon) and her children Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), and Phoebe (McKenna Grace), who after becoming broke and indebted are evicted from their home and are forced to move to a decayed farmhouse in Summerville, Oklahoma, left to them by the children’s late grandfather. A series of unexplained earthquakes are occurring despite not being situated on any fault lines or tetctonic plates. In addition Phoebe discovers strange and ominous ruins in an old mine that is rumoured to have once belonged to the alleged occultist Ivo Shandor.

Photo: Sony Pictures

The children also discover the history of their grandfather with the original Ghostbusters, who have since been largely forgotten by the world beyond their fan base. But when a supernatural phenomena relating to New York City’s Manhattan Crossrip of 1984 occur and threaten the world, the kids along with their family and friends, must solve the decades-old mystery of the relocation of their grandfather and use the equipment of the Ghostbusters and become their successors to save it. 

At the heart of the story is the youngest child of the family. Mckenna Grace who is perfect in the role as Phoebe and her character is certainly relatable, she’s a young person trying to find a way in a world where her mum sadly doesn’t encourage her scientific cleverness and she has few but very little friends. Bespectacled and introverted with a dry wit, Afterlife is her journey of discovering the importance of her heritage and embracing her true gifts and talents. 

Mckenna Grace personifies the person in this story with the intelligence to see through the paranormal of everything that’s happening, Much like Egon did and certainly would have, had he been part of this spectacle of a movie. she also gives subtle homages to Ramis’s comedic approach.  

Photo: Sony Pictures

Afterlife felt like it was built around paying homage to his absence, but he and Egon loom largely over the whole film especially with a touching dedication “For Harold” which truly had me tearing up and speechless, the tribute is just loving. Not only is the movie an energetic ghost-blasting joyride, its filled with beautiful emotion, which I wasn’t emotionally prepared for. 

Photo: Sony Pictures

Among the supporting cast Carrie Coon portrays Callie as she comes to grips with the loss of a father she never really knew. She’s a dedicated, yet struggling single mother and doing her best whilst childhood wounds heal. She is also not quite understanding of phoebe’s hobbies. Both her and Mr Grooberson played by Ant-Man and current People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive aka Paul Rudd have great chemistry and comedic moments together. 

Photo: Sony Pictures

Stranger things star Finn Wolfhard also seems to be in familiar territory with all the supernatural things going on. His character trevor seems to have a crush on Lucky, a classmate at High School and a forth-generation resident of Summerville. As for Logan Kim, he truly steals every scene he’s in as Podcast. He’s an intrepid kid obsessed with mystery and the supernatural, this mixes well with Phoebe’s science. The 10 year old podcaster also has some great sequences with all the iconic gadgets. 

The cast is just so good in this movie, they’re simply terrific and all serve the purpose of this story. The script and dialogue also are so cleaver and truly honours and acknowledges the nostalgia that longtime Ghostheads like myself feel for the original story. moments of fan service occur with iconic imagery scattered throughout the film as the camera pans and lingers on iconic props like the P.K.E. Meter, Twinkie, etc. 

The dirt farm is also a fantastic location that also serves as a character. It’s decaying state shows neglect but also that something isn’t quite right. Egon has suddenly left hundreds of tools and paraphernalia for the family to uncover. Reitman creates a film that truly honours the legacy of Ghostbuters, but he also creates a phenomenal new film to introduce to new generations. It’s an expansion of the universe in which these kids are finding where they fit into the world whilst it passes the torch onto the next generation of Ghostbusting heroes. 

Photo: Sony Pictures

If you’ve watched the trailers then you’ll be aware of Muncher, Mini-Pufts and the return of the terror dogs, every Ghostbusters fan will have a favourite. The Mini-Puts were absolutely hilarious and mischievous, they’re small humanoid marshmallow men that are somewhat the same shape as the mascot on the Stay Put Marshmallows packaging. And though they may look cute at first sight, they are quite a destructive bunch and tend to not think before acting, and don’t care about their or others of their kind’s well-being. 

Muncher surprisingly voiced by Josh Gad loves to chew down on anything metal it can get its hands on. He’s somewhat smart, but more of a pest than an actual threat. 

Photo: Sony Pictures

The action sequences are done brilliantly especially with ghosts flying about everywhere. And seeing the Ecto-1 drifting through a wheat field and then driving through Smallville chasing after Muncher with all the proton blasting was thrilling and energetic. 

Photo: Sony Pictures

The music and score by Rob Simonsen is phenomenal and truly nostalgic as he uses many of the late Elmer Bernstein’s iconic themes from the original film which truly gave me goosebumps.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife truly left me wanting more, especially with the new mythology and characters. It’s perfectly a story about a father’s forgiveness and a young girl on a journey to discover herself and her grandfather’s legacy. That relationship really resonated with me as my own grandfather introduced me to this franchise growing up on VHS, so I really wished he’d have been here to watch this, even though I felt his presence whilst watching the film. And whilst the film still honours the original in an emotionally incredible satisfying way, writer-director Jason Reitman and co-writer Gil Kenan have truly crafted a phenomenal, engaging and an emotional story about lineage. Jason Reitman has truly outdone himself and pays tribute to his father’s greatest work. 

So Who you gonna call? 

 

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The Book of Boba Fett | Disney + | Star Wars – Official Trailer

On the sands of Tatoonie, bounty hunter Boba Fett and mercenary Fennec Shand navigate the Galaxy’s underworld and fight for Jabba the Hutt’s old territory.

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Genre:

Action, Adventure, Sci-fi

Release Date:

December 29, 2021

Producers:

Jon Favreau; Dave Filoni; Robert Rodriguez; Kathleen Kennedy

Cast:

Tamuera Morrison, Ming-Na Wen

Plot Summary:

On the sands of Tatoonie, bounty hunter Boba Fett and mercenary Fennec Shand navigate the Galaxy’s underworld and fight for Jabba the Hutt’s old territory.

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