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Genre:

Sci-fi

Release Date:

2021 (Apple TV+)

Director:

N/A

Cast:

Cassian Bilton, Laura Birn, Jared Harris, Leah Harvey, Lou Llobell, Terrence Mann, Lee Pace, Mido Hamada

Plot Summary:

A complex saga of humans scattered on planets throughout the galaxy all living under the rule of the Galactic Empire.

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Sci-fi

Moonfall Review | Sci-Fi At Its Worst

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When I told some classmates that Moonfall was the screening I was least looking forward to this week, (to be fair, Jackass Forever and Death on the Nile both bring far more exciting possibilities) people thought I simply “hate sci-fi.” This could not be further from the truth. Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies ever, Arrival and Ex Machina are two masterpieces from the past decade. My love for sci-fi is contingent, I will admit. It has to be well-thought-out. I don’t want to say that every sci-fi movie needs as much depth as Annihilation, but give me something more to chew on than explosions and exposition dumps. That brings us to Moonfall, a Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, Godzilla) film that is exactly what I despise in the genre. And now, in all fairness, Moonfall is never disguising itself to be anything that it’s not. There’s never a moment that Moonfall feels like it’s trying to be serious, much less be taken seriously, but that excuse feels limited to a select few types of movies a la what Fast & Furious has become. Despite this and plenty of gorgeous visuals, Moonfall doesn’t do enough in between the explosions and the exposition that will hold your attention longer than the New York Giants give Daniel Jones to throw the ball.

I guess a premise is in order. Aliens from the moon attack Earth and it’s up to Jo Fowler (Halle Berry), Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson), and K.C. Houseman (John Bradley) to stop them. Sound half-baked? That’s because the plot of Moonfall is exactly that. Sure, it pads its runtime to two-plus hours, but aside from the first ten minutes and the last half hour that give audiences exactly what they’re here to see: aliens and explosions, the middle hour and a half is just generic 90’s action movie slob full of walking clichés. Take Patrick Wilson’s character for example, would it surprise you to know that he is an estranged astronaut who is roped back into a mission? Brian also must mend the bridges between him and his work partner/work wife, Jo, and his son, Sonny (Charlie Plummer), who is at the make-or-break age of his life, 18.

Halle Berry (“Jocinda Fowler,” left) and Patrick Wilson (“Brian Harper,” right) as stranded astronauts in the sci-fi epic MOONFALL.

To reiterate, the intentions of Moonfall are clear, but the human side of all of this is far more boring than the aliens. No one is expecting a character study of Brian’s family as he attempts to rebuild his life. In fact, his ex-wife’s new husband, Tom (Michael Peña) dying might be the only notable thing that happens on Earth. And it’d be far more interesting if they didn’t try to for redemption for him as if he was anything other than a prick. I mean, he literally questions Brian’s decision to go up to space and attempt to save the world saying: “That’s one way to avoid paying rent,” as if he can do anything more than get you a low-mileage lease on your next Lexus. A film like Moonfall is a perfect example of appropriate melodrama; characters like Tom usually come with some sort of catharsis as the bad man is taken down, but the attempt at redemption begs the question of whether or not this decision was due to the fact that Peña is beloved in the MCU.

Brian’s son, Sonny, and his entire arc isn’t much better. Sonny goes down a dark path after his father is basically exiled at the beginning of the movie. 10 years later and Sonny is in a GTA-style car chase. The fact that Sonny and Brian reconnecting is of very little interest to viewers is not the fault of the actors. When your script includes lines such as “Are you, a college boy?” when people are being held at gunpoint, I don’t think there is much hope for any other parts of the script.

Even worse than that genius and witty line is the exposition dump that happens with roughly 20 minutes left. By the time this happens, you’ll already have wanted to leave the theater. But Brian is told the history of humans, aliens, and the moon by alien intelligence a la the Supreme Intelligence in Captain Marvel. “Your ancestors” is used at least five times, and that’s about the most memorable part of it.

For as bad as Moonfall is, at least the visuals are (mostly) captivating. The opening sequence is space is a horrifying abyss, and the alien lifeform looks pretty cool, albeit like the grime from my dorm room shower. But aside from, once again, the opening sequence and the last 40 minutes, these “dazzling images on a huge silver screen” are hard to come by beyond that. And that is truly a shame. I was completely in for the first 20 minutes before being lost in the middle and then regained once it seemed like we were heading to an epic third act climax.

John Bradley portrays Moon conspiracy theorist “K.C. Houseman” peering out the window of the Endeavour Space Shuttle in the sci-fi epic MOONFALL.

A lone standout from the cast is John Bradley. Halle Berry and Patrick Wilson are both fine, but there’s nothing special about their performances that will be remembered after the credits roll. Bradley, however, brings a joyfulness to his characters’ impotence. Think of the opening sequence of Spider-Man 2, where Peter can’t even deliver pizzas on time (Imagine being able to swing from webs and not get across Manhatten in time!) or stay awake in classes (This one is understandable). Bradley’s character, K.C. Houseman except he works in a suburban fast-food chain. His scientific finding and attempt to get NASA’s attention was just seen in Don’t Look Up, which is also funnier and has a memorable script, so don’t expect Moonfall to top it. This isn’t a critique of Bradley, but the ending of the film sets up a sequel that no one wants to see. If it comes to fruition, just imagine Jamie Foxx’s Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with the power of aliens instead of blue lightning.

The Endeavor Space Shuttle dodging debris approaching the Moon’s surface in the sci-fi epic MOONFALL.

Unfortunately, Moonfall isn’t the next great sci-fi epic that will blow people’s minds as Independence Day did so many years ago. It’s a nice return to a different era of mind-numbing action, at least this doesn’t involve Dwayne Johnson or Ryan Reynolds, but in the 21st century, you either need a little bit more sophistication or a full commitment to ridiculousness. Playing both sides of the fence, as Moonfall does, is a disaster of a grand scale like an alien invasion from the moon.

Lionsgate will release Moonfall on February 4.

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Marvel

ETERNALS

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IN THE BEGINNING… 

There were Celestials, extremely powerful ancient entities that possess vast matter and energy manipulation, they were present long before the dawn of creation. They’re also capable of building entire galaxies from scratch.

Arishem, the Prime Celestial created the Eternals to descend upon Earth and importantly protect humanity from the deviants. These 10 immortal individuals have been sent from their home planet of Olympia on their spaceship the Domo by their leader and throughout centuries continue to defend growing civilisations from the Deviants. However they are barred by Arishem from interfering with human wars and conflicts in order to allow humanity to evolve naturally. 

Thousands of years have passed and unfortunately an unexpected event forces the Eternals who have now been secretly living amongst us for a millennium, out of the shadows and reunite to fight mankind’s oldest enemies, the Deviants. 

Photograph: Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios’ “Eternals” welcomes an exciting new team of Super Heroes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The outstanding ensemble cast includes Richard Madden as the all-powerful Ikaris, Gemma Chan as humankind-loving Sersi, Kumail Nanjiani as cosmic-powered Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as the super-fast Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as the intelligent inventor Phastos, Salma Hayek as the wise and spiritual leader Ajak, Lia McHugh as the eternally young, old-soul Sprite, Don Lee as the powerful Gilgamesh, Barry Keoghan as aloof loner Druig, and Angelina Jolie as the fierce warrior Thena. Kit Harington plays Dane Whitman.

Photograph: Marvel Studios

Chloe Zhao’s Eternals is truly the start of a new era for Marvel Studios. Its roots are immersed in science fiction that it also plays as a character study piece, focusing on the family dynamic, betrayal, and the fight for humanity. 

The Academy Award-winning director does a great job brining Zack Kirby’s creations to the big screen, she brings her signature flair and vision to the Eternals’ big screen debut, as the depth of the story is coupled with serene sunsets and sweeping landscapes. This is certainly a Marvel Cinematic Universe film that feels different from anything that has come before. The scale of the film is so immense as is the cinematography and score, as Ramin Djawadi crafted such powerful themes that remind me of gospel choirs. 

The film also has such a diverse cast full of impeccable performances, each actor truly inhabit their respective roles. some unfortunately have less screentime but they truly make an impact as vital members of this family. 

Most of the story centres around Gemma Chan’s character Sersi. She has the ability to manipulate non-sentient matter. Sersi also has a newfound love and respect for humanity. In present day, she works as a museum curator and dating human Dane Whitman played by Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington. Sersi also had a long romantic relationship with Ikaris played by Richard Madden.  

Richard Madden’s Ikaris is one of the most powerful Eternals, with the ability to fly and shoot beams of light from his eyes. his love for Sersi also takes precedent during the film as they’re on and off, as their complicated relationship stretches through centuries.

Unlike many of the Eternals who have stayed undercover through centuries, Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani ) has done the opposite, making a living as a Bollywood star and as an Eternal he has the power to to manipulate energy with his hands. However he must leave all the wealth and success behind to help his family repel the new Deviant threat. Kumail Nanjiani was a great comedic and definitely has an entertaining character. 

Sprite is the ambitious storyteller of the Eternals and she may look like a preteen, but in reality and like the other Eternals, she’s actually thousands of years old. Sprite has the ability to use the cosmic energy that powers the Eternals and is able to cast lifelike illusions. 

Phastos (Bryan Tyree Henry)  is the inventor of the group, he’s helped nudge humanity forward technologically whilst keeping his brilliance hidden. Phastos is also a technopath and is able to create any invention or weapon that is powered by cosmic energy, providing that he has access to the raw materials to disassemble and build. He also possesses a tremendous love for family. in recent years, he started a family with his Husband and son. It’s the first MCU movie to feature a LGBTQ hero and Eternals marks a new path forward for Marvel Studios, expanding the idea that anyone regardless of who they are can be a hero. 

Photograph: Marvel Studios

Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) is also the first deaf hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a first time that a deaf actress is in a major role. This entry of Phase Four has diversity and fantastic representation. Makkari is the super fast member of the Eternals, she is the fastest woman in the universe as she uses her cosmic powered super-speed to scout planets for the Eternals. and as the only deaf Eternal the sonic boom that accompanies her speedy running doesn’t affect her. She’s also able to read at a superhuman rate. 

Another Eternal and one of my favourites from the film was Barry Keoghan’s Druig. He has the ability to control the minds of humans but has grown disgruntled with the way his fellow Eternals are interacting with mankind. Keoghan gives a magnificent performance, its aloof and powerful and it’s hard to determine if he’s a friend or foe. I also loved that he is pacifistic and is willing to go against orders to end all conflicts. His relationships with the other Eternals is also fascinating, he’s sarcastic to Kingo but very flirtatious toward Makkari. I really hope we get to see more of their relationship. 

Korean actor Don Lee plays Gilgamesh as extremely powerful and a strong warrior amongst the other Eternals. And though he is physically strong his greatest strength is his kindness. using cosmic energy Gilgamesh is capable of projecting a golden, energy-enhanced exoskeleton which shields his arms and fists, all this enhances his strength and durability during combat. He also has a deep connection with Angelina Jolie’s character Thena. 

Speaking of Thena, Jolie is absolutely no stranger to blockbuster movies and in Eternals she is another favourite of mine. Thena is the warrior of the Eternals she’s very stoic but also very calm and collected. she’s also fearless and relentless and relishes her skills in combat against the Deviants. With pure cosmic energy, she wields the power to manifest any handheld weapon she can imagine such as spears, swords, shields, knives, axes, and staffs. 

Photograph: Marvel Studios

And lastly is Ajak, the Eternals’ stoic and powerful leader. she is the mother figure of the group but also acts as the bridge between Eternals and the Celestials. She is wise and spiritual and with the help of cosmic energy she is able to heal humans and Eternals from injuries and illnesses. 

Photograph: Marvel Studios

Each Eternal have their own unique powers and they own personal drama within this complicated little family. 

Their costumes are also a visual treat, they have a sort of otherworldly effect with the unique materials used and the costume designers truly have elevated the elements of science fiction. heavily inspired by creator Jack kirby, they used lots of circles and bold shapes. Many of the characters costumes are inspired by the elements, nature, minerals and the cosmos to give the impression that they’re made with organic matter. 

Zhao takes her time by fleshing out these characters and elaborates the intimate relationships the group have throughout the centuries. It introduces these ten characters with tons of story and Zaho succeeds in making these immortal beings feel human. 

Overall Eternals is another great entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe plus it manages to be its own entity in the MCU. It’s very mature and delivers an ambitious take on humanity. It’s very grounded in biblical themes and had great atmosphere. 

 

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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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