I Did Actually Watch Some Stuff…

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

As expected, a movie about a relentless killing machine punched right through my can’t-focus-on-anything anxieties. This is another franchise flick that decided to ignore every movie made since the second iteration (the other being 2018’s Halloween, which I should get to one of these days), an approach which pays off nicely. Being directed by Tim Miller, who helmed Deadpool, is also a very definite plus.

It turns out that the events of Terminator 2 did actually prevent the genocidal rise of Skynet, but now a different machine overlord from a different future is still sending back new terminators (in this case, Gabriel Luna) for a new target (Natalia Reyes). The good guys have sent back an enhanced human (Mackenzie Davis) to protect the target, but she’s still somewhat overmatched, so it’s up to Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton, making one hell of an entrance) to lend a hand and lots of bullets.

The new Terminator has an interesting double form that builds on former versions in the franchise. And speaking of former versions, Arnold Schwarzenegger is on hand as a former T-800 abandoned by a future that no longer exists; he’s had to build a life as a human, and even learned to experience an emulation of love. He’s also got some of the best lines.

I was “eh” on the other sequels, but Dark Fate serves as a nice trilogy endpiece with the first two, even if every other line seems to be “He’s coming!” or “We can’t stay here.” I would really like this to be the last Terminator movie, but we know how rarely the Suits of Hollywood listen to my wishes.

Coma (2019)

It seems like a million years ago that I first saw a trailer for the Russian Coma and thought “Wow, that looks really interesting” and then spent the next thousand or so years wondering whatever became of it. Well, Dark Sky Films bought the rights and now I finally get to scratch that particular itch.

Visually the movie is amazing, and the first twenty minutes or so are trippy as hell, as a man (Rinal Mukhametov) wakes up in a strange world that seems to be building itself as he walks through it He is attacked by a large creature that seems to be made of billowing black liquid, and rescued by the usual ragtag bunch of post-apocalyptic soldier types.

What he (and we) will eventually find out is that he is in a coma, and this strange world is a level of reality where everyone in a coma finds themselves. The world is made up of loose memories made concrete (everyone arrives with convenient amnesia), and the black creatures, called “reapers” are manifested by brain-dead patients on life support. It also seems that certain of the people in this “Comaspace” can manifest some super power; our hero was apparently an architect in real life, and can create structures out of nothing simply by concentrating.

So what we have here is a sort of sideways Matrix crossed with Dawn of the Dead, as if you are wounded by a Reaper, you will eventually turn into one. As I mentioned, the visuals are stunning, and though I still have a few questions about the mechanics of Comaspace, I can still heartily recommend this.

Bacurau (2019)

It’s always nice when a universally-praised movie actually deserves that praise. Bacurau is one of those movies that needs to be experienced tabula rasa, so I won’t be going into much detail here.

The title is the name of a remote village in Brazil, the time is the very near future. Teresa (Barbera Colen) is an expatriate returning to the village with much-needed medicine. Her main reason, though, is the death of her aunt, who was the matriarch of the village. Bacurau has other problems, too – some megacorporation has shut off their water supply, and one day their village simply disappears from satellite maps. Then, there’s that flying saucer floating around…

Though Teresa is a continuing presence through the movie, this is a wonderful ensemble piece, as Bacurau tries to figure out what is happening, and each new revelation leads to something dark and violent. By the time Udo Kier shows up and you can say, ah, there’s the problem, several people are dead and there promises to be many, many more.

Good stuff.