Annihilation (2018)

Annihilation (2018) – IMDB

Annihilation Archives - Home of the Alternative Movie Poster -AMP-

I feel Alex Garland, Director and Writer, reached a peak with this one. Something special emerged from the mind behind Ex Machina and Sunshine. He is very underrated in how he handles the content of film. Annihilation is the perfect example. Taken from the works of Jeff VanderMeer, Garland creates a mystical story with dreamlike quality. Collecting images of obscure focus, air full of rainbow hues against a backdrop of lush greens. The book itself is read like a dream, lost, but a dream that demands the reader to stretch their active membranes into a working cluster of incoherent images. That’s where Garland shines in creating a world that is alien but familiar and yet frightening. Adapting only from the first book of a trilogy, Annihilation is a challenge to adapt for viewers and transforming the material into the director’s own, making it the most logical sense and pays off. With an original vision and paying respects to the original material, this is some unique filmmaking.

Long after the credits roll, Annihilation sits with you. Simmers inside your gut. It’s discomforting and beautiful. Mesmerizing and terrifying. In all of my movie watching there is nothing like the images depicted onscreen. It is unique and challenging to witness. Nothing like it has been done before. Not everything is explained which leaves the viewer speechless and bewildered. When I first saw it in theater I had zero idea what to make of what I saw. There was horror and surreal imagery of beyond our comprehension. And that is what makes the film so dreadfully beautiful.

Annihilation relates closely to the book of the same title. As I have read it, both deserve recognition. However, the big screen is what I prefer. For the book was even more hard to grasp. Full of imagery and little dialogue, constantly demanding my attention to form this otherworldly landscape. Garland did a fantastic job, in my opinion, with this current adaptation. As one remained an unanswered nightmare, Garland’s seemed to be a subtle message of cells.

On a grander scale, a comet collides from the outer walls of our mother Earth into a Lighthouse. Thus springing forth a mysterious Shimmer. A glowing dome of rainbow luminescence becomes a fixation of scientists as it grows beyond it’s initial impact. Within this dome, life seems to copy, refract, and combine itself. This creates some beautiful creatures and some horrendous monstrosities. In a way, it’s a cancer. Manipulating it’s environment to mimic life. The comet sets off an ambiguous force that wants to create and make it’s own life. This could be seen as alien. A foreign lifeform taking control of another planet that deems to be the next suiter. Or perhaps mother Earth is a giant cell. The comet is a plummeting cancer or virus. We are merely smaller working cells for Earth. After collision, one cell begins to mimic another, thus bringing a new form of life. In a way, it’s terrifying, and another, beautiful because the foreign object, the Shimmer, replicates Earth life forms as one species. This tells me we are one with Earth, the same, and this is how the Alien life form perceives us as it tries to make something new.

However, this is open to interpretation. I do not believe the author of the original material meant for something deep. When you have Alex Garland behind the project, I would expect something that would require me to think. At least challenge my views.

With one selfish opinion to add, I could not help but distinguish Garland’s style for science fiction and horror to fit perfectly with a new installment in the Alien franchise. His approach to artificial life like his work on Ex Machina would leave Ridley Scott out of the director’s chair. Garland’s brand of horror is dark enough for the corners of space thanks to Annihilation and Sunshine. He contains an expansive exploration many filmmakers do not have the courage, not to mention the imagery to capture on screen. I’d like to mention he’d be a prefect specimen to lead a Bioshock adaption from the videogame. Contains similar genres to tackle like sci fi horror and an incredible story to embark on beneath the ocean.

Annihilation can turn away viewers for it’s ambiguous story and not explaining anything. I like the film for this reason. However, where there are changes to the adaptation some I thought worked while others I thought were down right stupid. Notably a scene which involves our protagonists to take patrol at night in a run down base but ends up disastrous and I simply can’t bear.

When I saw Annihilation in theaters I was mesmerized and horrified. It felt bigger than all of us but on such a small scale. The content is hard to digest and stays with you. I will always remember sitting there feeling low key terrified when an unwelcomed guest ventures into a house in ruin with the scientists tied to their chairs. A feeling of utter hopelessness and fear settles in. The lighthouse is an entire work of art of disturbance and fascination. Annihilation is a unique viewing experience that works as a standalone feature without the other stories in the trilogy being adapted.

Midnight In Paris (2011)

Midnight In Paris – IMDB

Prime Video: Midnight in Paris

Owen Wilson is fitting as the lost writer wondering the lit streets of Paris as Gil. There is a feeling of connectedness with and a sense of longing as he walks among the wet bricked roads stumbling upon artists of our memory. In a way, Midnight In Paris is Woody Allen having a conversation with himself and the audience. Allen writes about Gil who finds his passion expressing himself through the arts. Not for Hollywood and their scripts but for himself and the love of the arts of a past time. And that’s what Midnight In Paris is ultimately about, the love of the arts.

I am no way educated in all the historical names portrayed in the movie however with the information given I understood enough of each character/figure that was represented. Whether it was about the Fitzgeralds or the bride-to-be. Gil in short, is a simple man who is simply not fitting in his current era. His era belongs to a simpler time. A golden age of various art forms bursting on the scene in the 1920s. Gil does not feel fit in his engagement with beautiful Inez (Rachel McAdams) or his present time period. He finds solace in his nightly walks, slowly falling in love with a dreamlike memory of what used to be.

It can be difficult to cope with the present so dreaming of the past presents a simpler time. Gil is a dreamer. Midnight In Paris has a magical quality to it but without the wands and is light hearted fun. It has a rather trotting pace of storytelling which perhaps could have benefitted more from a pause or two to help sink in the dream. Like the opening, still shots of beautiful Paris sets the mood and setting. Again, some shots at night of the city glowing among the glossed bricks from recent rains and old buildings filled with stories to pause the moment would help slip into the dreamy city more.

I love how Gil comes to terms with his marriage to truly find himself. Sometimes you must lose yourself to find what you are looking for. And here, he finds interest for another woman, but one who personifies the city, Paris, where he is in love. If she is Paris then Inez is Hollywood, a place he wants nothing more to do with.

All the performances are wonderful. And I love movies about writing generally because the writing itself is well done. I find calm enjoyment in watching Midnight In Paris and I hope you do too.

Sound of Metal (2019)

Sound of Metal – IMDB

Sound of Metal (2019) di Darius Marder - Recensione | Quinlan.it

It terrifies me to lose one of my senses. Films like Sound of Metal truly leaves a lasting impression on you, making you re-appreciate what you have not lost. I thank all of those involved. There are a couple family members in my family that are deaf and it pops in my mind every now and then what if I were deaf and had to read subtitles for everything? What if I had to place my hand on a speaker to hear music? Or how will I wake in the morning to my alarm?

Placing myself into shoes without hearing would cause a lot of shock to me. Perhaps a similar reaction to what was displayed by Academy Award Nominated Riz Ahmed as Ruben. He was full of shock and denial from the loss of his hearing. In the midst of a tour for the metal head duo to rapidly losing hearing is a scary thing to behold. For living like a gypsy in an RV with his one and only, Lou, I wanted the best for him, to pull through and make it big somehow. Ruben was looking for a way to reverse the symptoms and take back his old life. Anything was better than living as a drummer who couldn’t hear his own beats. He was determined to find every way imaginable to fix the lack of sound hitting his ear drum. It’s not easy though and there are troubles with finding acceptance. This story is about Ruben finding his peace. And once it is lost, is sound really worth getting back? If by means you force something unnatural to a natural occurrence in life. This could only distort and fragment what you thought you truly wanted. Going back to the life you knew is a dangerous game, especially thinking picking up where you left off will be a cinch. But life rolls on and holding on could be an addiction.

Ruben goes through a spiritual, not a religious, experience when church bells ring to a sound of metal. Serenity is held in absolute silence. And some can not experience that let alone they sacrifice a moment for soothing silence through the ear canal. It is this experience that brings Ruben to complete solace and understanding. To finally sit, no more fighting to the change brought into his life, and so welcomes a new future. A fully new appreciation to the offers of life. Life can still be beautiful. It’s up to how you’re willing to drum along. Rock on.

Her (2013)

Her (2013) – IMDB

Image result for her film

An overwhelming feeling of love. Soft colors stitched into every frame like a quilted labor of love wrapping you with indefinite warmth. Her is an honest portrayal of an emotionally isolated man who finds solace in a computer programming software called OS. In the midst of a divorce, Theodore is having trouble with the confrontational reality of relationships. Promiscuous late night chats with strangers for a quick fix turn awkward and leave a hole Theodore so long desires to be filled. With a turn of chance, he meets a highly-intelligent OS aptly named Samantha. Her sultry voice is soothing to the ear, having me fall in love already.

What makes Her so intense is this finding of love and the excitement once we have found it; the passerby’s momentary interaction in life but seems they can’t fulfill the selfish needs and wants of our physical human box. Those close to us and keep at a distance perhaps of the fear of realizing how real it could be – or if it’s what we really want, and if it was, how it would hurt losing if we were so able to obtain it. Theodore finds ease with his computer counterpart. Samantha becomes this real person we begin to feel thanks to Spike Jonze’s honest and sensible writing. The two bond. Theodore loves the way Samantha brings this new excitement of life and curiosity to his personal life. His loneliness is conquered. Their pillow talks are free and full of humility. His walks, gratified by the pleasure of her voice in his ear and humorous point of views.

With videogames becoming more interactive and setting a broader detachment of this reality, only making things easier for Theodore to form an attachment with a computer. Both put in effort for their relationship, and to great lengths within their capabilities. From acquiring a body to a thing as little as a safety pin. An idea so ridiculous if made fifty years ago. That would just be scandalous and oppose the social norm. But now, Her shows the potential of what is to come and also the boundless form of love. Virtual reality is just another medium love will pour in to. However, everything is brief. We are momentary and encounter our own personal evolution. It’s all up to how you want to do it.

I love the fact you only know the setting is in the near future without any specific dates, and the location appears to have a vague but collective fingerprint. And the high waisted clothing is like a knock off brand of 1950s nostalgia. With Theodore usually sporting a vivid red shirt displaying his vulnerable and sensible side. The music is dreamy and creates an ambience that compliments the diverse color palette, making the viewing a soft clutch of emotions. Her leaves you feeling blanketed and ready for spooning after a heavy fight.

Special mention to the coolest elevator.