Mini Reviews: Get Out, The Lost City of Z and Castlevania

Get Out (2017)

A title like this sounds like it’s a Will Ferell comedy romp of getting rid of an unwanted visitor, the visitor is probably played by Zack Galifianakis in all his Zach Galifinakisness. And when you find out that the director is Jordan Peele, the other half of the comedic duo Key and Peele on Comedy Central, surely he would do what he’s good at, making people laugh. You would of course assume that is a comey. Surely it is. But nope, Get Out is a horror movie. And to Peele’s credit is it a pretty good one. I am no connoisseur of horror, as I avoid this genre whenever I can, but when someone who knows me and knows about my fear of horror would recommend one I would go see it. But that’s not what happened here, I just genuinely, thoroughly enjoy everything related to Peele (or Key). So even without a recommendation, I watched it.

So I found myself watching Get Out one night and I couldn’t and didn’t stop. And this couldn’t have come out at a better time, what with the white nationalist hubbub. So the movie goes like this…We have Chris a talented, young, black photographer who is about to meet the very white family of his girlfriend Rose. Chris was initially worried about not getting along with them because of the color of his skin, but the initial meet and greet went pretty well. The parents weren’t racist at all! But that’s what the movie wants us to think! And then kooky ooky things start to happen!

This movie paints a very clear idea of a kind of passive aggressive racism, or no, a false race liberalism. That is, people who are only tolerant of black people when they are in a superior position over the later. When they are controlling them in some say. Plus this movie does the horror genre justice with plenty of jump scares and creepy sequences. Get Out is brilliant, and terrifying, and kind of hilarious to boot.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

The Lost City of Z (2017)

I loved the David Grann book from which this movie is based on. Although I read somewhere that Grann’s book paints a very glamorized verson of the explorer Col. Percy Fawcett and his exploits. That the man (Col. Fawcett) was actually a racist, monomaniac who was by all accounts nuts and didn’t do anything remotely successful in the world of exploration. But oh well, it was a darrned fun read. The movie adaptation, I find, was less so. I feel like the movie had a different focus that what I would have wanted. Somehow they chose to highlight Percy Fawcett’s father persona. Of how torn he was between his passion of finding the lost city of Zed (because the Brits say Zed when we say “Zee”), and his wanting to be with his family. And I wanted the movie to be just a tad more “The Revenant.” I mean it has beautiful shots of the Amazonian jungle, but I wanted it to be a whole lot more brutal and harsh. There was a harrowing scene with piranhas which was fantastic, and I wish there was more of that kind of sequence. I also think this film was too shiny for my taste. It has that artsy-fartsy kind of feel. Which is fine I guess, but I don’t know, I wanted it to be more gritty, and to be truly about the gruelling journey of survival. Charlie Hunnan did great, though wanted him to be a tad more bonkers and less buttoned-up, but this is a much better role for him versus his stint as Cockney King Arthur. But I think Sienna Miller kind of outshined him as the long-suffering, but supportive wife, Nina. And I think good ol’ Robert Pattinson, who is unrecognizable here as aide-de-camp Henry Costin, didn’t do too shabby either!

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Castlevania: Season 1 (2017)

If you are born in the 80s or 90s, you’ll probably know what a Family Computer (FamiCom) is. It was the hottest thing in video game console back then, now it’s a relic. The games were in cartridges that you had to push down on a slot in the middle. And they didn’t have memory cards or cheats so if you die in the game, it literally felt like you just died. Ah those were the days. The Konami made Castlevania was one of the games we used to play, I never could get past stage 1, but I fondly remember whipping the hell out of some bats in a creepy ass castle. Now, screen adaptations of videogames are tough to pull off. Usually videogames just have the basic plot, just a framework of the storyline. The creators would have to put more meat into its bones by making the characters more real and the story more comples. I think Netflix’s Castlevania did pretty good on both counts. It helps that the writer is Warren Ellis, a Marvel and DC comic book writer.

The story is about how Vlad Dracula Tepes and his demon horde is terrorizing humanity, perhaps to the point of erasing mankind off the face of the earth. And it’s up to Trevor Belmont (a vampire/monster hunter), Alucard (a vampire), and Sypha (Scholar) to stop that from happening. The story is engaging and well laid out. I love their decision of humanizing Dracula. Here, we get to understand Drac’s motives in letting loose an army of hell’s monsters on the town of Wallachia. I do lament the demise of a Frollo-like villain. Spoiler Alert. But I get it, it would speed up the advance towards the main story arc of Drac versus The Heroes. Plus, I think our Hero has fought more than enough clergymen/zealots in just the span of a 20-minute episode so it’s good they decided to do away with that one quick. Also, said villain got a Game of Thrones-worthy death, you should see this series just for that alone! The animation ain’t too shabby too. They know how to create a gothic, horror feel with light and shadows. If I have one complaint, the episodes are too short and too few. The first season only has 4 episodes running at 20 minutes each.

Bonus (for me at least): The lead, Trevor Belmont slash sexy vampire hunter is voiced by the equally sexy Richard Armitage with his sexy voice! He said “I am the man who will kill Dracula”, in the same way he said “Get me that Arkenstone!” or “Master Burglar!” or “In the light of Durin’s Day!” I am not making sense, but you get my drift. Well, his voice-over work actually isn’t my favorite, it’s Graham McTavish (aka Dwalin!) for Dracula because he truly makes him so captivatingly commanding with his voice. But Richard Armitage is swoon.

Also, this animated series is pretty graphic. Like depacitated heads on a spike and entrails spilling out of bodies kind of thing. So yeah, this isn’t something the kids can watch.

Hoprefully we get backstories of the three heroes next season! And hopefully they would double the episodes both in lenght and quantity! And hopefully they invite the entire cast of The Hobbit to do voice-overs.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

What have you guys seen lately?

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