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Voyagers | A Ridiculous Piece of Psychological Sci-Fi

Unhinged and completely preposterous.

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*Warning: This piece contains spoilers for Voyagers.*

About twenty minutes into Neil Burger’s Voyagers, where the film’s two main characters, Christopher (Tye Sheridan) and Zac (Fionn Whitehead), stop drinking “the blue,” a medicine that suppresses their impulses and pleasure receptors, it becomes clear that the movie will start to veer off from a rather promising sci-fi confinement picture into something completely ridiculous and barely comprehensive. Before, it established a story of how a group of scientists artificially conceived astronauts will be the first generation of an 86-year long mission to reach a planet ripe for colonization. “The blue” is a drink that keeps the astronauts in check so they do not make irrational decisions. Once the two main characters take the blue, however, it’s a completely different story.

Zac becomes increasingly psychotic, thinking he can get (and do) what he wants and become the new chief officer, after the previous one, Richard (Colin Farrell), dies while on a repair mission with Christopher. The astronauts believe it’s an Alien, which allows Zac to instill fear in the minds of its gullible crew, to pit it against Christopher, who believes rationality will prevail. He’ll convince half of the crew that the Alien is “inside” the astronauts, and the only way they’ll be able to complete the mission is by finding and killing it. However, there is no Alien as it’s revealed that Zac murdered Richard to take control of the mission and have “free will” instead of control from drinking “the blue.” It’s now up to Christopher and Sela (Lily-Rose Depp) to regain control of the ship and kill Zac before he manipulates the crew further.

Voyagers' Review: 'Lord of the Flies' in Space, and in Cool T-Shirts -  Variety

With a concept this out-there, Voyagers could be the type of film conspiracy theorists revel in, as it showcases what they admittedly think is happening during the COVID-19 pandemic, where blue-drinking sheeple blindly follow instructions like a herd, but the free-willed spirits will ultimately prevail. What they don’t know is that rationality, science, and pragmatism always prevail, as conspiracy movements are a barrage of self-owns; they denounce the “controlled” and “brainwashed” sheeple when they protest their own brainwashed and crazed-up theories inside a herd, walking down in the same direction, blindly following their shepherds. Zac represents the fear-driven shepherd, who’ll manipulate and brainwash irrational astronauts to act on impulse after they’ve all stopped drinking the blue, which will result in hedonistic activities and pure hysteria, as he’s able to easily manipulate everyone by making them think an Alien is among the crew.

You’d think the crew would be able to think critically and exercise judgment when they see that Zac is responsible for Richard’s death. Still, even then, he’s able to spin it brilliantly by making them believe he did it because he “saw the Alien in him.” And people blindly believe him, through an “invisible enemy” that may infect the entire ship, but most notably out of fear. But here are the facts: there is no Alien, but there is a mission to complete and succeed for the third generation to arrive at the planet. Christopher will try to rationalize the crew, but unfortunately, he can’t stand up against a tyrant who wants total control over the mission under the guise of “free will.” Many sequences involving Zac, Christopher, and Sela are profoundly misogynistic, with moments of sexual assault disguised as “pleasure” for Zac. These scenes are terribly uncomfortable to watch and add nothing strictly to the main plot.

As an actor, Fionn Whitehead excelled in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. However, Voyagers is his most embarrassing film to date, playing an antagonist without any form of nuance or menace. He’s only evil because that’s his true nature. When he stopped drinking the blue, he felt more pleasure but revealed who he really is towards the group: a misogynist, self-serving asshole. Whitehead exudes those traits quite well, but the script he’s given makes his character feel more caricatural than anything else. Other actors seem fairly unengaged with its story, with Tye Sheridan continuing to prove he cannot carry a film nor make his lines feel urgent in any capacity. Zac’s mutiny feels like an urgent situation the chief officer must solve. Still, Christopher never feels pressured to regain control of the ship and nonchalantly tries to find strategies with Lily-Rose Depp, who is as bored as Sheridan is.

Sheridan impressed audiences in Ready Player One and Mud but barely held attention in films such as Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse or his tenure in the X-Men saga. As such, without compelling actors and a competent script, Voyagers barely holds attention. The only decent actor in this mess gets killed after twenty minutes of screentime, with his talents wasted as those were the only sequences where the film truly soared. Colin Farrell can be in a film for less than five minutes (see Artemis Fowl) and can still impact the audience. That’s how legendary an actor he is, but his talents shouldn’t be used for films like this.

“A film like this? What kind of film is this?” you may ask (or not). I have no idea. It desperately wants to comment on current world situations, where leaders exercise control over free will, but “free will” ultimately becomes control if more gullible people become brainwashed in what they think is “free will.” Here’s some food for thought: we’re not “free.” We must always abide by rules that govern our society while quasi-living in our own free path. Freedom or, in this case, free will isn’t earned by “awakened” individuals fighting against so-called tyranny when they are the real tyrants preventing society from emancipating itself through rationality & science. It’s only earned when we, as individuals, develop critical thought and stop letting the uncertainty of the outside world dictate our feelings. That’s legitimate free will and not the freedom to do what you want, when you want, at the peril of others for your egotistical self. If you may think I’m a pessimist or a bit of a downer, then that’s fine, but that’s what I grasped while watching Voyagers: a film that wants to raise awareness on the question of free will vs. control, but becomes a rather unhinged and incompetent psychological sci-fi film instead. You’re better off watching The Matrix, which asks the same overall question in a more thoughtful light.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwJkexUBSegu0026amp;ab_channel=LionsgateMovies
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HORROR

Halloween Kills | A Fun Popcorn Flick With The Right Amount Of Slasher, Horror And Humour

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Michael Myers terrifies the townsfolk of Haddenfield once again. halloween Kills uses elements from the 1978 original and fuses them with tense, gruesome and gore, it’s BLOODY BRUTAL!!!

In 2018 David Gordon Green’s Halloween, starring icon Jamie Lee Curtis, killed at the box office, earning more than $250 million worldwide, becoming the highest grossing chapter in the four-decade franchise and setting a new record for the biggest opening weekend in history for a horror film starring a woman. 

However that Halloween night when Michael Myers returns isn’t over yet as the movie picks up right where we left off from the last one. Laurie Strode (Curtis), her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (And Matichak)  have left the masked monster caged and burning in Laurie’s basement, Laurie however is rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries and believes that she’s finally killed her lifelong tormentor. 

Photo: Blumhouse/Universal

But when Michael manages to free himself from Laurie’s trap, his ritual bloodbath resumes. As Laurie fights her pain and prepares to defend herself against him, she inspires all of Haddenfield to rise up against their unstoppable monster. 

The Strode women join a group of other survivors of Michael’s first rampage who decide to take matters into their own hands, forming a vigilante mob that sets out to hunt Michael down, once and for all.

Evil Dies Tonight. 

And speaking of evil, everything about this depiction of Michael is phenomenal. From his onscreen chilling presence, to his mask and the way he commits these brutal murders. Michael’s rampage through Haddenfield is pure carnage, he absolutely demolishes everyone and everything is his path. He’s let loose and becomes an even bigger dangerous threat, which is to be expected from masked killers. 

His kills are inventive and vicious and he’s gone one step ahead with the performance of killing someone as I felt that Michael has some theatricality aspects and truly admires his work by the way he displays their bodies. However I felt that some kills were forgettable due to the fact that we don’t get to care for some characters as by the time they’re in Michael’s line of sight, you know they’re a gonna. 

Photo: Blumhouse/Universal

For fans of horror and violence in movies, there are many spine-chilling moments such as Skull crushing, eye-gouging, gunshots and plenty of bodily horror. 

And if you’re a fan of the original 1978 Halloween film, you’ll be pleased to see many of the actors who were once children, teenagers in the original reprise the same roles in Halloween Kills as adults. It feels so believable and genuine to see the likes of Kyle Richards (Lindsey Wallace ), Nancy Stephens (Marion Chambers) and Charles Cyphers (Sheriff Leigh Brackett) . The film truly pays homage to the original that started it all. many other characters return from the 2018 film and another classic character returning is Tommy Doyle, though recast and now played by Anthony Michael Hall. 

Photo: Blumhouse/Universal

With all these characters the film switches the narrative by focusing in on how the town itself responds and reacts to Michael as the Haddonfield townspeople are fed up and exhausted after 40 years of trauma which was brought on by Michael Myers. We follow groups of unlikely heroes throughout the town armed and ready to take out an unstoppable force of nature by any means necessary. Tommy rallies the whole community to band together. They don’t listen to the Police so this film shows what happens when a town is dissatisfied with a failed system and a useless authority. All hell breaks loose and a mob is formed, this becomes a story that isn’t about Laurie vs Michael, instead about Michael vs Haddonfield itself. 

Photo: Blumhouse/Universal

The movie’s central location takes place within a hospital, we see bodies being swarmed in as a result of Michael. Fear starts growing within the town which unfortunately morphs into panic and eventually utter complete chaos when misinformation and rumours star to spread. I felt that the residents of Haddenfield’s true enemy was their own idiotic decisions, society and rage has made them the monsters. 

Cinematography is certainly elevated this time with unique camera angels showcasing the murders. John Carpenter’s score is beautiful and certainly adds suspense to certain scenes. I also love the film’s nods and nostalgia throughout flashbacks to 1978. 

Overall Halloween Kills is a solid setup and middle chapter of this trilogy. It’s a fun popcorn flick with the right amount of slasher, horror and humour. It also sets into motion what will eventually become Halloween Ends. 

Photo: Blumhouse/Universal

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After We Fell- Review

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After We Fell is the third instalment of the “After” series, based on a series of fanfiction published on Wattpad in 2011 by Anna Todd. The film stars Hero Fiennes Tiffin as Hardin Scott and Josephine Langford as Tessa, the leading couple. This film follows the pair as they face troubles as Tessa makes a life-changing decision, her estranged father gets back in touch, and Hardin’s family secrets begin to unravel. Check out the trailer below.

The film is laden with issues. The script is awful, you can really tell it was fan fiction from Wattpad. The dialogue makes you cringe and it really doesn’t sell that these people and their relationships are real. The direction is just about competent, the acting is barely passable, and the story is predictable and vapid. I’m sure the cast has great acting chops, but they can’t flex them here in the slightest. Every ‘twist’ is set up so badly that when the jaw-dropping reveals happen, anyone who has been paying attention has seen it coming for the last hour. The story isn’t engaging. It sets things up that don’t really go anywhere. The characters outside of the central duo are completely interchangeable and they feel superfluous to the story. Anyone who isn’t Hardin or Tessa feels like they’re there just to fill the vacuum between awfully shot sex scenes until the credits mercifully roll.

I could go on for hours about how this fails on every level as a film, but honestly, I don’t think its intended audience cares about cinematography, screenwriting, or production design etc.- which is fine, most people don’t care about those things as long as the story is engaging and enjoyable- (if they did this wouldn’t have many fans). The film clearly knows its target audience is teenagers, the type of person who reads fan fiction on Wattpad about One Direction. The film has a few, shall we say, ‘intimate’ scenes, which are cleverly edited to ensure a 15 rating. During those cleverly edited moments, there is always a shot where the camera cuts away to show Harden getting a condom and opening it, so the audience knows that even ‘bad boys’ like Harden Scott use protection. And then during one scene where they don’t show Harden getting a condom, the next morning the two mention how they didn’t use protection the night before and have a brief discussion about contraception. Which is great, encouraging safe sex is always great, regardless of how you do it. However, people should not be having sex with someone as manipulative and toxic as Harden, even if he is wearing a condom. This is a nice segue into the real problem with After We Fell.



The biggest issue with this film and the whole After series, in general, is the relationship at the centre of it. Hardin is controlling, possessive, and aggressive. One evening in After We Fell, Tessa and Hardin are enjoying a romantic time in a hot tub. After being interrogated by her boyfriend, Tessa eventually confesses to briefly having feelings for someone else while they were broken up and Hardin storms off and ignores her for the rest of the night. He disrespects a waiter who is innocently talking to Tessa, he stalks her, harasses her. In some scenes, it feels like he is only a step away from hitting her. At best their relationship is toxic and at worst it’s abusive and manipulative. And despite all of this, their relationship is presented as romantic and merely “troubled”. Hardin is dominating and proprietorial, he refuses to listen to Tessa, he lashes out at her, invades her privacy, and then someone assures Tessa: he only acts this way because he loves her. He is the way he is; he does the things he does, out of love. The writers and the characters act as though Hardin being extremely toxic and pretty much abusive is sweet and caring. It’s difficult to write a review of the film when the overarching concept and theme is just too wrong to look past. This is not a well-made film, but I’ve seen many poorly made films that are an absolute blast. This being a bad film, though, doesn’t matter because its issues run so much deeper than just below-par technicalities.

The idea of young people watching this and imagining that this kind of relationship is not only normal but romantic and passionate is genuinely concerning. If this is the standard filmmakers set for romantic relationships for young people, it is extremely worrying. This film is rated as appropriate for 15-year-olds. However, the subject matter and the type of relationship this is romanticising warrants an 18 rating. No 15-year-old girl should be watching this and thinking that it is a good relationship, that Hardin is a troubled but sweet person, which is how the film presents it. This is really one of the most irresponsible film series being made right now; it’s borderline dangerous.

After We Fell hits Amazon Prime on 22 October.

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Comic Book Movies

Venom: Let There Be Carnage A Dark Comedy Infused With Fast-paced Action

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‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ was absolutely Full of CARNAGE. It’s a dark comedy infused with fast-paced action and the relationship between Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) and Venom was like watching an old married couple. And Woody Harrelson’s performance was CHAOTIC in a good way. 

After so many potential release dates due to the film being delayed, Venom: Let There Be Carnage was officially released in Cinemas here in the UK on Friday the 15th of October. It is the sequel to Sony’s 2018 film Venom in where the Symbiote links himself with a host and used their bodies to service. Venom now lives amongst us but Eddie Brock struggles to adjust to his new life as the host of the alien symbiote. Venom grants him super-human abilities in order to be a lethal vigilante. Brock attempts to reignite his Journalism career by interviewing serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson), who becomes the host of the symbiotic Carnage and escapes prison after a failed execution. 

The film wastes no time and dives straight into the storyline which dives deeper into the origin of Serial Killer Cletus Kasady. Harrelson’s performance as said earlier was Chaotic in the best way possible as his character encapsulates the rage and insanity. His performance was brilliantly matched by Tom Hardy who reprises his role as Eddie Brock, his chemistry with Venom is once again the true highlight of the film. The duo of Harrelson and Hardy work great as frenemies.

Speaking of venom this is truly where the film shines. Since this is a continuation from the first movie, Venom fells more settled inside his host and is more comfortable as Eddie’s conscience. However their rocky relationship has caused a lot of problems for Brock as both want to do different things for example, Eddie just wants to get on with his life and get his career back up and running, Venom does comply however he lusts for brains and chocolate. he feels stuck and wants to be free, but unfortunately cannot control his impulses. 

They argue, fight and trash Eddie’s apartment. This is a very venomous love affair between them both but in an interesting scene, Venom attends a rave and opens up and i’m not kidding about his love for Eddie. Director Andy Serkis opens up about this particular scene saying that it was Tom’s idea to have Venom sort of Come out and go to a party that was a ideally an LGBTQIA festival. Venom speaks for freedom of others by asking to stop this cruel treatment of aliens. 

At it’s heart this film is a love story about the extraordinary relationship between symbiote and host. 

Reprising their roles from the first film are Michelle Williams (Anne Weying) , Reid Scott (Dan Lewis) and Peggy Lu as Mrs. Chen. I felt all have less screen time during the film but these characters are vital to help Eddie’s journey and Venom’s. 

However I felt Naomi Harris was criminally underused. Her character Shriek acts more as a walking plot device than an actual character, though she does brilliantly on what the writers have given her to do. Another Character i felt that had potential but little to do was Stephen Graham, his character felt more like another plot device to tease the sequel. 

With a new director to the franchise, Andy series brings a new quality to the story and action due to his knowledge of motion capture, the VFX on the symbiote’s are outstanding and realistic.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a step up from the first film. It’s a fun 90 minutes and OMG do not miss the credits!!!!!

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