Whether you like it or not, 2022 is off to a start (it’s too early to tell whether or not it’s a good or bad start, give it about a week or two), and I won’t wait until theatres reopen (yeah…) to write about film and TV. Kicking off my adventures in moviegoing for the year is Mattson Tomlin’s Mother/Android, a movie that came out on December 17th in the United States on Hulu but is gearing up for an International release on Netflix this week. Chloë Grace Moretz leads this sci-fi movie as Georgia Olsen, who finds out she is pregnant to Sam (Algee Smith)’s child on Christmas Eve, sometime in the near future where Androids are now part of human life.
During a party, a technical glitch causes the Androids, who are, in this world, acting as servants for humans, to become erratic and violent, causing death to anyone that comes in contact with them. Nine months have passed (for some odd reason). Georgia’s water can break at any moment, while Sam is looking for a path to Boston, where they can seek refuge in Korea, escape the post-apocalyptic hell doom of the United States and start a new life there. We’ve all seen this movie before. A survival sci-fi/horror film where characters have a plan to leave a dystopia to a promised utopia, and nothing goes according to plan.
Mother/Android follows that plot trope in the most unengaging way possible. Tomlin tries to visually explain, to the best of his ability, how the Androids were created and became part of everyday life, but the visual exposition is so minimal it becomes a “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” moment. We have no idea how to what purpose the Androids were created, but we do recognize their visual inspirations from The Walking Dead and Terminator. When they don’t get shot in the face and have their face peeled like a T-800, they sure do run like brainless Zombies with the intent to kill people.
We never know what drives them to kill humans, or why they suddenly become violent. Sure, a blackout, but what caused the blackout and why did the blackout suddenly transform calm Androids into Zombie-like killing machines? These are important questions the movie never takes time to answer and instead spends most of its time with Grace Moretz’s Georgia on the cusp of giving birth inside cyclical and boring situations. Georgia and Sam go to a military base, potentially to help Olsen give birth. For the most bewildering reason, they get kicked off the base and must learn to fend for themselves. The same situation happens with their next objective. Every individual they meet, or place they visit has the same structure.
Tomlin begins by giving the audience a glimmer of hope, either through the movie’s decent-looking cinematography from Patrick Scola or through its minimalist, but emotionally-driven music from Kevin Henthorn and Michelle Birsky. Then, some lines of dialogue begin to swell hopium, until this “hope” is constantly crushed by:
a) The character’s own idiocy of not realizing the most obvious and/or never making the right decisions.
b) Androids show up. When in doubt, android it up.
c) The reality of the situation. Tomlin sets up Mother/Android‘s world as pessimistic by design. Therefore, the characters’ expectations of the promised utopia will be undoubtedly crushed. This isn’t a spoiler, but the reality of ANY post-apocalyptic sci-fi or horror film. It’s always the same, without exception.
Because of this, audience investment is at its minimum. Even if the movie does contain a few cool action sequences, including a rather exciting motorcycle chase filled with high-speed drones and, dare I say, scary-looking androids, Tomlin never gives us a reason to care about any character we spend time with, let alone care about the world they inhabit. Post-apocalyptic films are always enjoyable if the writer/filmmaker establishes the world first, before thwarting the characters in the action. Of course, they can thwart the characters first, to then establish the world, but that’s a riskier bet than the former. Tomlin decides to do the latter, but he never wants to establish the world further than “Androids evil. Georgia and Sam need to leave the USA.” Cool. But neat-looking action sequences and pretty images aren’t enough to hook people in.
Thankfully, Chloë Grace Moretz’s performance is impassioned enough that she carries the entire movie for herself. The final scene between her, Sam, and Korean officials is an absolute heartbreaker to watch, solely due to Moretz’s performance. Tomlin consistently relies on her for raw emotion, because he knows his script can’t carry the entire movie for itself. Sure, she does get trapped in a few “damsel in distress” situations, but when the movie needs her to shine, she always comes through and likely gives the best performance of her career. Her filmography isn’t filled with some of the best movies ever made, but her performance in Mother/Android almost puts hers in Suspiria and Clouds of Sills Maria to shame. She’s that good.
It’s an absolute disappointment that virtually anyone (or anything) else doesn’t work as hard as Moretz does here. She seems to have a deep affection for the material, and so does Tomlin, who infused some of his personal life in the script. But an affection for the material doesn’t necessarily equate to good material. If you’re not giving any reason to care about anything that’s going on in the movie, then the audience will check out quicker than the movie will ultimately “get going.” The truth of the matter is, this movie never gets going and gives a chance for us to care. If you want a great post-apocalyptic movie, 28 Days Later is the quintessential example of how it’s done.
Mother/Android is now streaming exclusively on Hulu and will release on January 7th for International audiences on Netflix.
Meryl Streep Joins the Cast for Season 3 of Hulu’s ‘Only Murders in the Building
Many were surprised when the Season 2 finale of Hulu comedy, Only Murders in the Building revealed that Paul Rudd would be joining the series for its upcoming season, however, it seems his casting may have just been topped. According to a tweet from the show’s Twitter account, it appears that Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep (Out of Africa, August: Osage County) will join the cast led by Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez for Season 3 of Only Murders in the Building.
One can believe that Streep stumbled into the series similar to how she did for Season 2 of HBO’s Big Little Lies. With the latter show, Streep was a fan of the mysterious female-led drama and was written into the sophomore season. You wouldn’t be hard pressed to believe that Streep was probably a fan of the beloved comedy series and might want to join in the hijinks along with friends, Steve Martin and Martin Short. Streep will also appear in the upcoming AppleTV+ anthology series, Extrapolations in March.
The original tweet revealed that the third season of Only Murders in the Building has just begun filming. The show has been nominated for tons of awards thus far and with growing popularity as well as the additions of Streep and Rudd to the cast, anything can happen in the murder mystery program. Season 2 released back in June so we can probably expect Season 3 to begin streaming in Summer 2023.
PREY Review | A Brutal, Primeval Emotional Survival Epic
PREY is one of the best entries in the Predator franchise. Director Dan Trachtenberg has crafted a brutal, primaeval & emotional survival epic powered by Comanche tradition which features a fierce performance from Amber Midthunder who kicks Ass as the animalistic Predator becomes her PREY!
Set in the Comanche Nation 300 years ago, “Prey” is the story of a young woman, Naru, a fierce and highly skilled warrior. She has been raised in the shadow of some of the most legendary hunters who roam the Great Plains, so when danger threatens her camp, she sets out to prove herself a worthy hunter. The prey she stalks, and ultimately confronts, turns out to be a highly evolved alien Predator with a technically advanced arsenal, resulting in a vicious and terrifying showdown between the two adversaries.
“Prey” stars Amber Midthunder, newcomer Dakota Beavers, Stormee Kipp, Michelle Thrush, Julian Black Antelope, and Dane DiLiegro as the Predator. The film is directed by Dan Trachtenberg and written by Patrick Aison with a story by Patrick Aison & Dan Trachtenberg based on characters created by Jim Thomas & John Thomas. It is produced by John Davis, Jhane Myers, and Marty Ewing, with Lawrence Gordon, Ben Rosenblatt, James E. Thomas, John C. Thomas, and Marc Toberoff serving as executive producers.
The Predator franchise which is now a collection on Disney+ began with the 1987 film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and was directed by John McTiernan. It told the story of an elite set of mercenaries who form a team and head to the jungles of South America on a recovery mission. However, they find themselves hunted by an extraterrestrial warrior with an arsenal of high-tech weapons.
In “PREY” we witness the first time this creature comes to earth as the alien Predator lands his spacecraft in the Northern Great Plains in 1719, it’s looking to hunt for sport. The land however is inhabited by men, women, and children of the Comanche tribe, many of them skilled at hunting and are warriors themselves. What I thoroughly loved about “PREY” is that it shows how committed director Dan Trachtenberg and his crew were in creating a film that provides an accurate portrayal of the Comanche world at the height of their empire. This truly brings a level of authenticity and showcases the true experiences and the lives of its indigenous people. This phenomenal cast is comprised almost entirely of Native and First Nation talent.
Amber Midthunder brings a fierce and powerful performance to the role of Naru, a highly skilled Comanche warrior raised in the shadow of the legendary hunters who roamed the Great Plains. When danger threatens her camp, she sets out to protect her band and faces the supreme test when the prey she stalks and ultimately confronts turns out to be an alien Predator. Smart, confident, and resourceful, she is familiar with every inch of the surrounding landscape and its natural predators. Naru means “fight” in Comanche, which is more than appropriate for this character. She has strong ideas and opinions about things, her future, and her life. Her wants are quite different from what other people would assign to her or imagine for her, Midthunder truly leads with power.
Taabe, a young Comanche warrior played by newcomer Dakota Beavers truly shines in his debut. The leader of the band of Comanches, War Chief Kehetu is played by Julian Black Antelope. Aruka, Naru’s mother is played by Michelle Thrush. Aruka along with the rest of the older Comanche generation, wants her daughter to follow a more traditional path.
This primal David vs Goliath story also features the animalistic Predator, brought to life ferociously by Dane DiLiegro. This creature is a highly advanced alien seeking the strongest opponent. The Iconic Predator is the ultimate adversary, and one of the fiercest hunters in the universe, especially with its high-tech weaponry, cloaking, and heat-seeking abilities. This iteration of the character is more creature-like as it takes 300 years prior to the original.
“PREY is full of different kinds of Predators. The Comanches, hunt and fight for survival. Everything that they hunt is used and nothing is wasted for example they use every part of the buffalo and are also thankful for the spirit of that animal that’s able to nourish them, clothe them and ultimately is used for everything that they needed in life. Their fighting style is powerful and the costuming is traditional with authentic colours which ensures historical accuracy. They also have to be comfortable for the actors who do a good deal of horseback riding.
Principle photography on “PREY” began in June 2021 at the Stone Nakoda Nation near Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The entire production was filmed outdoors, with all the phenomenal exterior shots utilising the magnificent terrain of the Calgary landscape. The cinematography and the use of natural light were outstanding. Cinematographer Jeff Cutter has truly captured the epicness of dawn and dusk and embraces and respects nature. The earthy colours of the Comanche are black, red, and white and this colour pallet is well utilised through their face paintings. The score by Sarah Schachner is suspenseful and thrilling.
Overall It’s been 35 years since “Predator” first captivated audiences, and now fans have a chance to see the Predator in action once again. However, this particular “Predator” film truly revitalises the franchise with a deeply personal story and a thrilling hunt for survival.
Prey will be available to stream on Hulu and Disney+ Internationally on Friday, Aug. 5.
Love, Victor Season 3 | Review
The third, and final season of Love, Victor arrives on Hulu and Disney+ internationally on June 15th meaning fans will finally get to see the resolution to the huge cliffhanger at the end of the second season. Season Two ended with Victor knocking of the door of either Rahim or Victor, but who did he choose and whose door is he at?
I won’t reveal who Victor chooses but thankfully season 3 begins right where season 2 left off. There is a “previously on Love, Victor” that feels like it’s overly drawn out but maybe that was just my anticipation building but otherwise the show gets straight to it.
In season 3 we find Victor continuing his journey of self-discovery as he decides who he wants to be with, but as high school is starting to end, he also has to decide who he wants to be. Despite now having a rather large number of main characters to jump about between season 3 somehow manages to up the drama in every single way possible.
It’s hard to talk too much about the plot of the series without revealing whose door Victor was at and inadvertently spoiling that, however, much like the second season, the show manages to continue to make it about Victor, whilst also giving all the other supporting characters more depth and making them more than just background characters. It is still, of course, Victor’s show and he is at the forefront of everything but his parents, his sister Pilar, friends Felix, Lake, Mia, Andrew, Benji and Rahim all get so much added depth to their characters. Everyone’s character feels so well-rounded, and it feels like we know them all and not just Victor. Additionally, season 3 brings in Nick, played by Nico Greetham, a new friend Victor meets through church, providing yet even more drama.
Even though it is the final season, it’s not really until the final episode that it begins wrapping things up. There isn’t really any sense of closure incoming, even in the penultimate episode, leaving lots of tie up in episode eight, the final episode of the series. However, there’s no reason to fear as once again the show proves it’s more than capable and it ties everything up and gives every character the perfect sendoff.
There is one plot thread that never really goes anywhere after being introduced about half-way through the season, and it perfectly sets things up for Victor to become someone else’s Simon and be that caring figure that many kids need when figuring out their sexuality but unfortunately the show never really does anything with this thread and it ends up being just a bit of filler for one episode rather than a recurring point for the plot and for Victor’s arc.
Overall, the final season of Love, Victor is a near-perfect conclusion to a fantastic show. It’s incredibly sweet and charming and yet it continues to mature as the show goes on, dealing with everything in a sophisticated and appropriate manner, whilst also providing really believable characters too. Love, Victor has been one of the best coming-of-age shows in recent years and season 3 was no exception to that. The final season makes for a really fitting and lovely ending to the show that fans are sure to enjoy.
Love, Victor Season 3 is streaming from June 15th
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