WiW: I'm So Behind Edition, Part II

Alright, fine. I'm not gonna make excuses and just take my lumps. I know it took me awhile to write the part dos, so my bad on that. I'll do better with the delays. Promise.

Ok, now that we've got that out of the way, let's get to the GOOD GOOD: What I'm Watching: I'm So Behind Edition, Part II!

Movies

Luck-Key

I watched Luck-Key on the recommendation from a friend who knows I love South Korean cinema, so I didn't really have any expectations when I pressed play.

Fortunately, I was treated to a very entertaining comedy about a hit-man who loses his memory in a freak bathhouse accident and the poor slob on his last legs who assumes his identity to get away from his own life. I know, right?

Yes, you have to suspend your disbelief for a bit, but the character arcs of Choi Hyung-wook and Yoon Jae-sung are so compelling this isn't very hard to do. It's irreverent, absurd and a bit violent, but presented in such a way that it is very relateable. A very cool film.

The Girl With All the Gifts

Look, I'm not going to make any bones about it. I came to this film for one reason. Dominique Tipper. After falling in love with her (kidding! kinda...) work in the intense and gorgeous Expanse, I went on the hunt for some other projects she's been a part of.

Ms. Tipper is not the star of this one, but that's ok because Sennia Nanua does a remarkable job as the film's lead. Her performance alone is reason enough to watch this film.

The movie itself is a spin on the post-apocolyptic zombie genre. You know, earth is over-run by flesh eating scaries, humanity on it's last legs, etc etc, but the the flip here is there is a small group of children(kids man!) that retain their intelligence even though they crave flesh. Yeah, it got me pretty early too.

Oh yeah. And it features some actor named Glenn Close to. Or whatever.

Rurouni Kenshin Series

In Part Uno of this series, I was a bit taken with Blade of the Immortal, so I went down the rabbit whole of live action anime adaptations. It was a challenge to find something worthwhile, but I gotta say Rurouni Kenshin was a very refreshing expection to the point I binged all three movies.

If you don't know the story of Kenshin WATCH THE ANIME, but for the sake of this post, it's about the journey of Japan's deadliest swordsman and his contributions to pushing Japan from it's brutal medievil period into modernity. Unsettled by the amount of carnage by his hand, he seeks to put the violence of his past behind him. But you know what they say about the past.

The movie itself is a beautifully contructed period piece set in that era and it was shot just as well. It's just a joy to look at. However, what does it for me is the fantastic performance of Takeru Satô as Kenshin. His character choices really bring some real weight to the portrayal that even though you know it's an anime, the lead feels like a real person who has fears, hopes, dreams, etc. And he does this over the course of every film.

If you're a fan of anime, definitely check it out, but if you're into deftly constructed fanciful period pieces, you won't be disppointed as well.

Shows

StartUp

After watching Edi Gathegi play the delightfully depraved Matias Solomon in The Blacklist, I went looking around for some of his other work. I came across StartUp, which is about how a banker with daddy issues, a brilliant but erratic hacker and a Hatian crime boss manage their differences to create a new cryptocurrency that they all desparately need to improve their current situations. Yeah, man. It is fucking harsh.

Mr Gathegi is joined by Adam Brody and Otmara Marrero who play the banker and hacker respectively with a supporting assist from Martin Freeman who plays a fading federal agent who will resort to any means to cash in on their scheme.

The movie is set in Miami, which is quite feast for the eyes, but the lead trio to a terrific job of providing entry points for a complicated narrative based around the rising popularity of digital currency. You have to stick with it to see where all the threads go, but you'll definitely be rewarded with a fresh story that is absolutely compelling to watch unfold.

Utopia

This one is a short lived English serial that is a few years old. I was watching one of my favorites, Misfits, which features Nathan Stewart-Jarrett who I thought turned in one of the better performances in that show. I didn't know much about this Ben Katai project, but the trailer seemed interesting and Stewart-Jarrent's involvement made me curious.

I'm not going to say a whole lot about the plot because you have to experience it for yourself in its entirety to really appreciate it, but I will say watching it (I watched both seasons in one sitting) was one of the better viewing experiences I've had in the last few years and quickly become one of my absolute favorites. Yeah, I said it. I LOVE this show. From the characters, to how it is written and shot, to its premise and how it is explored. I dig everything about this one.

The only downside is that it only lasted two seasons so it was cancelled before the narrative resolves, which SUCKS. But the ride is so fun and compelling, you'll get over it and watch it again and again.

People of Earth

The last to recommendations are a bit intense, so I thought I'd round out this list with something a bit lighter.

PoE presents itself as a comedy about a journalist played by the hilarious Wyatt Cynac who goes to a small town to do a piece about a group of people who believe they've been abducted by aliens, referring to themselves as experiencers. Pretty standard fare.

But how it begins disguises an absolutely charming show about a group of people dealing with deep personal issues who despite their differences and absolutely absurd squabbles with each other, they keep coming back to the group to deal with and ultimately be there for each other.

For me, the great part of this show is the cohesion between the cast. They really seem like the enjoy working together based on their interplay and intimacy with each other. The script is understated and kind of hammy in parts, but it proves to be quite good as it doesn't take itself too seriously and allows the the actors some room to express familiar experiences in unfamiliar ways. Sometimes it's a bit clunky, but most of the time it really works. Those risks result in a fresh take on the alien abduction story that holds your attention with both it's wit and comedy.

Whew, That's Part II. Ha, I promise Part III won't take as long. No really. I'm serious! LOL, fine just wait and see.