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Overlord (2018) Review

Time: 110 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Graphic violence, horror, offensive language & content that may disturb
Cast:
Jovan Adepo as Pvt. Boyce
Wyatt Russell as Cpl. Ford
Mathilde Ollivier as Chloe
John Magaro as Tibbet
Gianny Taufer as Paul
Pilou Asbæk as Dr. Wafner
Jacob Anderson as Dawson
Iain De Caestecker as Chase
Bokeem Woodbine as Sgt. Eldson
Director: Julius Avery

On the eve of D-Day, American paratroopers drop behind enemy lines to penetrate the walls of a fortified church and destroy a radio transmitter. As the soldiers approach their target, they soon begin to realize that there’s more going on in the Nazi-occupied village than a simple military operation. Making their way to an underground lab, the outnumbered men stumble upon a sinister experiment that forces them into a vicious battle against an army of the undead.

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I knew about Overlord for a while because it was the long rumoured 4th Cloverfield movie (which would probably be titled Cloverlord). Turns out this isn’t what the movie is at all, despite some consideration of the idea. Still, the idea of a World War 2 Nazi Zombie movie sounded like something exciting, and I was looking forward to it after hearing that it was good. While Overlord isn’t quite the Nazi Zombie movie that was advertised, it is nonetheless a really bloody and entertaining movie, a nearly perfectly executed B movie.

A couple things first, firstly as I mentioned this isn’t tied to the Cloverfield universe in any way, and honestly it’s all the better for it, it feels like its own sort of movie and not tied down to other movies or cinematic universes. Second of all, as I said earlier, Overlord is not really a Nazi zombie movie even though the trailers sort of made it seem like that. Not only does it take a while before it gets to that aspect, but they aren’t even really zombies. I can’t really describe it but let’s just say the ‘zombies’ here aren’t really like the zombies from Call of Duty. Overlord more comparable to the Wolfenstein games honestly. It really is a World War 2 action movie with a horror aspect to it, with Nazis as the villains. This is a B movie, it’s not full of great in depth characters or an interesting plot, but it knows what kind of movie it is. Yet it plays it straight faced enough that you care enough about what’s going on, and so it doesn’t just become a goofy action horror comedy or anything like that. The plot is simple enough and doesn’t get convoluted really at any point. The movie is an hour and 50 minutes long and that was the right length for the movie really, from start to finish I was really entertained by what was going on.

The cast generally do well in their roles. The main squad are pretty typical and familiar for a war movie, like you have Wyatt Russell as the hardcore and hardened sort of soldier who is solely focused on the mission and nothing else but the characters don’t border on the cartoonish side either. They aren’t given a lot of depth (some of them don’t really get any) but for this type of movie it doesn’t really prove itself a problem. They also have enough chemistry that you care about them enough. The main soldier character is played by Jovan Adepo and he was great, he was likable and believable in his role. The other soldiers were good as well, especially Wyatt Russell and Iain De Caestecker, even though the latter didn’t have a ton of things to do, he was really good with what he had (and had a particularly memorably great scene, one of the best in the film). The Nazis were also really good as villains but the standout is Pilou Asbæk as a Nazi officer who really ends up being the most central antagonist of the Nazis. Asbæk is so great at being absolutely hateable and ultimately worked well as the main villain.

While Overlord definitely is a B movie, it is actually directed really well by Julius Avery, I haven’t seen any his previous movie Son of a Gun but he did very well with this movie at least. The action scenes themselves are also well directed, you can see what’s going on and they are all rather entertaining. The practical effects also deserve a lot of praise, I think the vast majority of the effects are practical and I’m glad for that, it really paid off. There are some really gratifying and grotesquely gory moments and deaths. While its not a full on horror movie, it has a lot of horror aspects to it, and the body horror side of it was really strong (much more than when they tried to do genuine scares, with an overuse of jump scares which didn’t really work). The score by Jed Kurzel also added a lot to the scenes, amping up the tension even more. The only out of place bit of music was during the end credits, which really didn’t fit at all.

You may be a little disappointed if you’re expecting Overlord to be a Nazi Zombie movie based off the trailers, but it is still a really entertaining action horror flick. The actors all did well, the direction of the movie is great, it’s entertaining from start to finish, it really handles well all the aspects needed in a B movie. If you’re into violent action B movies and if Overlord looks good to you, this is definitely right up your alley, and you’re going to have a lot of fun with it.

Ghost in the Shell (2017) Review

Time: 107 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Science fiction themes, violence & content that may disturb.
Cast
Scarlett Johansson as Major Mira Killian
“Beat” Takeshi Kitano as Chief Daisuke Aramaki
Michael Carmen Pitt as Kuze
Pilou Asbæk as Batou
Chin Han as Togusa
Juliette Binoche as Dr. Ouelet
Peter Ferdinando as Cutter
Director: Rupert Sanders

In the near future, Major (Scarlett Johansson) is the first of her kind: a human who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals. When terrorism reaches a new level that includes the ability to hack into people’s minds and control them, Major is uniquely qualified to stop it. As she prepares to face a new enemy, Major discovers that her life was stolen instead of saved. Now, she will stop at nothing to recover her past while punishing those who did this to her.

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Ghost in the Shell was a movie I was interested in. Although I haven’t seen the original anime, I like Scarlett Johansson, I like Michael Pitt, and the movie had a lot of potential with its concept and the source material. The trailer also promised a visually stunning movie. With that said I didn’t know what to expect going in, especially with the very mixed response to the movie. Having finally seen Ghost in the Shell, I can say that I was actually surprised, this movie was better than I thought it would be. The performances, the fantastic direction and the story all worked well to result in a solid sci fi movie.

As I previously mentioned, I have not seen the original anime so I can’t comment on how accurate this adaptation is. This movie is fairly conventional but it does have some neat surprises. I have heard that this adaptation has dumbed down a lot of the elements from the anime, this movie was fairly straightforward, so I have a feeling that’s the case. As someone who haven’t seen the anime, I did enjoy the story quite a bit. It wasn’t spectacular or groundbreaking to me but I had a lot of fun with it, I was never bored and it kept me interested throughout.

Scarlett Johansson is quite good in her role, she really sells her character not being completely human, her character also struggles with her identity, and Johansson portrayed that aspect well. She also was great in her action sequences. Pilou Asbaek is really enjoyable and likable in his role and a stand out performance is Michael Pitt, who plays a bit of a unique character, definitely one of the highlights of the movie (I just wished we got more of him). Other supporting actors such as Takeshi Kitano and Juliette Binoche do quite well in their roles. The weakest link is Peter Ferdinando in his role, I can’t tell whether it was his performance or the character, but whatever case, he felt rather weak and cliché as a character.

One of the best parts of Ghost in the Shell is its direction by Rupert Sanders, it is visually beautiful and stunning to watch. I loved the look that the world of Ghost in the Shell takes place in, with all the neon and vibrant visuals. The cinematography is immaculate and done so well. The action scenes were also quite entertaining to watch, the slow mo is implemented quite well. Cliff Martinez’s score as usual is also excellent and really does add to the movie a lot. The direction overall is really great, and one of the highlights of the film.

I wouldn’t say that Ghost in the Shell is a great movie, but it is good, much better than I was expecting. The performances were pretty good, the story held my interest and the direction was great. I can’t comment on how different this adaptation is to the anime, but for those who haven’t, I recommend at least giving this movie a shot. The visuals and the overall direction are at the very least good enough reason to give it a chance.