Love and Monsters (dir. Michael Matthews, 2021) – Seven years after surviving a monster apocalypse, Joel finally finds the courage to leave his underground bunker and reunite with his girlfriend.
Nature fights back in Love and Monsters, where humanity’s grand plan to save ourselves spectacularly backfires. Our attempt to destroy an asteroid heading for Earth unfortunately results in a chemical fallout, turning the animal kingdom into massive monsters, all too fond of devouring the human race.
Well, most of us anyway. A handful of men and women live on intact, coupled up in scattered colonies and surviving on scant supplies. For seven years, Joel Dawson (Dylan O’ Brien) has been content in his bunker, alone and away from the monsters. But when a radio call reconnects him with his girlfriend Aimee (Jessica Henwick), he gathers the courage to finally leave his safe place and venture into the unknown for her.
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Mortal Kombat (dir. Paul W. S. Anderson, 1995) – Three fighters are chosen to compete in a tournament known as Mortal Kombat that will decide the fate of the world.
Now that I have watched and loved the new Mortal Kombat, there is no better time to revisit the original movie that birthed half the MK fandom then, including myself. This was the film that introduced the world to director Paul W. S. Anderson, who later went on to build followings with genre classics like Event Horizon, Resident Evil, and Death Race.
But back in 1995, it was a very different story. Anderson was a fairly new name in the business, fresh from his lukewarm directorial debut. Besides, audiences were hardly keen on yet another video game adaptation, with the critical failures of Super Mario Bros (1993) and Street Fighter (1994) lingering in recent memory.
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Mortal Kombat (dir. Simon McQuoid, 2021) – Earth’s chosen champions stand against the warriors of Outworld in a battle for the universe.
If there is any movie that I’d defend to the ends of the Earthrealm, Mortal Kombat would be it. Yes. 1995, Paul W. S. Anderson, that Mortal Kombat. Even the sequel that you’d call abysmal. Jade isn’t even my birth name. I had adopted it from the very movies that I watched weekly as a kid, until my VHS tapes finally unspooled.
From that to console games and the bloody cool MK: Legacy, my love for the franchise lives on. That only means high hopes for the remake, with my nostalgia demanding an equally charismatic cast and the same genuine reverence for martial arts. Fortunately, the new Mortal Kombat knows exactly what it is doing.
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Godzilla vs. Kong (dir. Adam Wingard, 2021) – As the title promises.
Godzilla vs. Kong is a movie that defies serious criticism, the laws of physics, and logic. It is so stupidly massive that its sheer scale eventually overshadows any attempt at a decent story. But try it does, introducing each giant franchise with its share of human allies.
From when we last met him, Kong has learnt to communicate via sign language with Jia (Kaylee Hottle), his only friend and the adopted daughter of linguist Ilene (Rebecca Hall). He also gains an defender in geologist Nathan (Alexander Skarsgård), who fears but needs Kong for his own exploration mission.
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Sound of Metal (dir. Darius Marder, 2021) – A metal drummer finds himself spiralling into crisis when he begins to lose his hearing.
Music saved Ruben (Riz Ahmed). Through heavy metal, he found his partner in Lou (Olivia Cooke), formed one half of successful band, and found his reason to quit heroin. But one night changes everything. Terror grips him when he starts to lose his hearing and is forced to give up the biggest part of his life.
Still, he clings onto hope that he can still play on Lou’s cue and eventually, get cochlear implants. Even then, Lou hears between the lines – him spiralling into a relapse, having traded one addiction for another.
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Bliss (dir. Mike Cahill, 2021) – After his recent divorce and termination, Greg meets a mysterious woman who convinces him that they are living in a computer simulation.
Greg Whittle (Owen Wilson) is recently divorced, estranged from his children and unhappy with his work. His life turns around when he meets Isabel Clemens (Salma Hayek), who claims their world is but a simulation. Witnessing her supernatural abilities, he starts to believe there may be truth to her claim.
Contrary to what the ad posters and trailers may imply, Bliss is not a love story. The ostensible romance hides a darker motif in what their relationship symbolises. The opening offers a hint in Greg’s reliance on prescriptions and disconnect with what is happening around him, indulging in imagined fantasies of an alternate universe through his obsessive drawings.
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