Month: March 2018

March 24, 2018

(Ep. 101): Undefeatable – Movie Commentary: Match 2018

Undefeatable

R

 1994 ‧ Thriller/Action ‧ 1h 35m 4.1/10 · IMDb

The boys of Simplistic Reviews are back! Let’s be honest you never believed Ep. 100 was our last… did you? No we can’t stop with all these crappy movies out there. Plus the current world we live in needs some terrible grotesque jokes.

So sit back, turn off the lights and enjoy some undefeatable puns…no…they suck…its pretty sad.

Kristi Jones (Cynthia Rothrock) who, along with her gang, take part in Mafia-run street fights to earn money for her sister’s college education. Kristi’s sister hopes to become a doctor and pay for Kristi’s education.

Meanwhile, an underground fighter by the name of “Stingray” (Don Niam) is left by his scared wife, Anna, after raping her, and vows to find her. Stingray has suffered from abandonment issues since early childhood and this new trauma triggers a psychotic break from reality. He begins to kidnap women who resemble his ex-wife, and subsequently tortures them and gouges their eyes out before returning their bodies to the crime scene. Kristi’s sister becomes one of the victims, so Kristi tracks down Stingray with the help of police officer Nick DiMarco (John Miller), who might just be falling for her, alongside her sister’s psychiatry tutor Jennifer (Donna Jason) and Nick’s partner Mike (Gerald Klein).

They eventually track down Stingray, who has kidnapped Jennifer, and fight in a warehouse where he escapes after shooting and killing Mike. Jennifer’s injuries, though relatively minor, require that she be admitted to the hospital where she is again kidnapped by Stingray who is impersonating a doctor. Kristi and Nick chase him to a storage area where the three do battle, mostly through hand-to-hand combat. Stingray is bested by the pair, having both eyes gouged out in the process. He’s then suspended by the eye-sockets with a meat hook, killing him.

The final scene shows with Kristi and her friends visiting her late sister’s resting place to inform her that Stingray has finally been defeated. It is revealed that Kristi has somehow enrolled her former gang in college to give them a chance at a better life, and that Kristi has also been enrolled in college by Nick. The film ends with the group engaging in an impassioned four way high-five.

March 3, 2018

Movie Review: Annihilation

What do extra terrestrials have in store when they finally come to Earth to check the place out, enslave us and take over for us since we’ve done such a great job. That’s a question that’s been asked in books, radio theater, video games and films for over a century. Whether they are benevolent visitors like “E.T.”, curious visitors from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” or killing machines on the hunt in “Predator,” the idea of aliens and and their relationship with Earth has been an interesting one to say the least.

Our latest odyssey into extra terrestrials and their fascination with the Earth comes in the form of “Annihilation” directed by Alex Garland, who brought us our impending nightmare we’ll face with Artificial Intelligence in “Ex Machina.”

Based on the “Southern Reach” trilogy of books by Jeff VanderMeer from 2014, in which a meteor lands and the land surrounding begins to re-claim itself and continues to expand. “Annihilation” is based on the first book in the series where a squad of tough women enter what is called Area X to explore and find the reason for the expansion of what is called “The Shimmer.”

What works for “Annihilation” is that it never holds your hand or tells you what is happening. You also have some very strong performances for the entire cast which includes Natalie Portman, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson and Jennifer Jason Leigh, all of which comprise most of the squad who enter “The Shimmer” for answers on why previous expeditions have disappeared to never return with the exception of one person, played by Oscar Isaac.

The female leads all come from different background, yet share a commonality; they are flawed in either a physical or psychological way, which eventually leads to their breakdown and eventually succumbing to “The Shimmer” There are a lot of blink and you miss it moments which gives you a reason to watch this film over and over to pick up the subtle nuances that Garland throws in.

Where “Annihilation” might lose some people is once again, the same way it will bring people in. Garland isn’t interested in spelling things out for the audience. None of the characters are painted as either protagonists or antagonists, they are all searching for meaning, just like us, the audience.

“Annihilation” can be read into as much or as little as you feel necessary. Is it a standard sci-fi film where aliens are taking over slowly? Sure. Is it a film about becoming one with nature again, becoming self-less, and giving yourself up to something that might be bigger than you? Sure. There are so many ways to read this film, and that’s what makes it great, and where it leaves the audience come the end opens up more conversation for, hopefully, the next two films to complete the trilogy.

While I love the bright shiny colors and psychedelic trip Garland took me on, I especially love the attention world he creates and the conflicts it creates within the characters. It reminds me of what I love about “The Thing,” Sure, the creature effects are great, but give me conflict and something with stakes.

As far as I’m concerned, Garland is two-for-two in the directors chair and if this trilogy is allowed to be seen through, I could see it as some of the most epic science fiction in the last 20 years or so. So please don’t judge “Annihilation” yet as it’s still incomplete week as far as I’m concerned.

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