Chinatown

Absolute classic, shame I hadn’t seen this earlier. It still remains one of the best watching now. I think most will know this, as it’s always been recommended. Don’t need to say much else — it just needs a watch.

Alien: Isolation

Glad I got back into this game.. I got to a point where I couldn’t advance; couldn’t locate Dr. Morley. I found the whiteboard and scoured the area but all the ways to his route were locked, and the Alien kept annihilating me.
Recently I rewatched Alien, Aliens and Prometheus which pushed me to get back to playing, but still couldn’t advance. Reluctantly I checked online for same issues and realised it was a common bug that wouldn’t trigger the quest to advance, so I had to replay the level… in hindsight I should have done that first – it wasn’t far either.
Avoiding the Alien fresh after a long hiatus was difficult initially, I’d forgotten how hard the AI was. It actually broke the immersion sometimes, especially seeing the Xenomorph walk down a corridor only to be grabbed up from under an open vent down the opposite way…

The atmosphere was sublime, a fitting counterpart to Ridley Scott’s classic. The way of getting around and scrambling through vents was stressful in the right way. Excellent design choice to have save points and a processing time as well – avoids scum saving and adds to the urgency. I felt the keyboard and mouse play style couldn’t really work well as it was difficult to sneak and peek without the analogue controls.

The face huggers were damn annoying — kinda in a good way though as they panic you. I recommend fire for those fuckers, as it’s ridiculously hard to shoot them even with a shotgun sadly. If you have to fight the Alien, save the flamer and just use bombs, there’s enough parts to keep the item count near the upper limit too. If you can’t fully construct something still put parts into it to leave more room in your main inventory. Never found much use for the smoke grenade but if you’re out of things to throw for distraction then use these, otherwise save your parts for the better bombs.

*spoilers*
The ending was a bit of a let down… the Aliens outside in space didn’t feel right… There was enough tension built in just moving in the space suit.

Still need to get the other DLC. Crew Expendable was nostalgic but too short. Also – that bastard main vent traversal was hard, takes a lot to make the Alien retreat, and relying on solely the directions from Lambert was not going to happen on Nightmare difficulty.

 

Kimyô na Sâkasu [Strange Circus]

The imagery and the darkness were well portrayed. The scenes of child sexual abuse were never visceral on-screen, transitioning well and blending with the mother in the right places; yet still impactful. The gore was pretty heavy but not as controversial as I thought it was going to be; possibly because it was out in 2005?
Quite surreal at times, although some of the acting, especially near the end, really let it down, Hiroshi Ohguchi played an excellent part as the perverted father though. Not a terrible film by any means, but it didn’t really grip me as I wanted it too.

 

Arrival

Was great to see a take on an alien movie exploring the languages deeply, but it didn’t feel as grand as everyone made it out to be.
Just wish they hadn’t revealed so early either…

*spoilers*
In the flash ‘forward’ scene where her daughter had the drawing of her parents, there was also the drawing of the birdcage they used earlier which instantly revealed the movie [screenshot below]. This scene was 59 minutes into the film. It was always pusing the cyclical temporal theme anyway but this was the moment that unravelled the film.

I guess I yearned for more as that reveal left me a bit flat. I want to know why rather than ‘we need you 3000 years from now’. Especially when the tagline (on the poster above) says slap bang in the middle ‘WHY ARE THEY HERE?’ … well, we still don’t know…

Read more for spoiler screenshot:

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Le Magasin des Suicides [Suicide Shop]

The animation is well produced and the premise of the film is excellent but the delivery felt flat. It was mainly let down by the songs, although musicals aren’t a huge interest of mine therefore this is more subjective than normal.

*spoilers*
The climax of becoming a Crêpe shop didn’t quite work.. it all seemed too fitting for the ‘love at first sight’ story component to suddenly change them all. As well as Alain’s joy didn’t really imapct as much as I’d hoped, it was only the sister who really changed because of him.

Kubo and the Two Strings

Adored this film. The stop motion is beyond excellent, and with a great storyline it really exceeded expectations. It was an easy pleasure to watch.
The soundtrack was lovely too, Regina Spektor’s cover of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ was very fitting.
Think y’all need to watch!