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Solo: A Star Wars Story – film review


It could have been worse.

Reviewed on Thursday 24th May 2018

Directed by Ron Howard. Written by Jonathan Kasdan & Lawrence Kasdan. Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Donald Glover and Emilia Clarke. Running time: 135 mins.

Han Solo is a young punk chasing his dream of becoming a space pilot. With the help of his newfound Wookie sidekick Chewbacca, the pair become involved in a daring heist. A heist which leads to the infamous Kessel Run – mentioned as an aside in     the original Star Wars.


Following the historical (not to mention hysterical) fanboy drubbing and backlash afforded The Last Jedi, (sure, on a re-watch – it has its issues) – it would seem there was a lot riding on this – Disney’s latest entry in its expanding Star Wars franchise (also the sophomore effort in a proposed sidebar series of stand-alone films in the wake of the asinine and redundant Rogue One). For such a troubled production (the film was completely re-shot following the eleventh hour firing of its original directors), Solo is something of a surprise. The film no-one wanted or even asked for – is actually pretty good – enjoyable even.

Han Solo is arguably the best-loved character from the original trilogy, three writers being instrumental in his creation (Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz – uncredited in providing the first movie’s best lines; particularly the banter between Han and Leia in A New Hope and Lawrence Kasdan continuing this banter in Empire and to a lesser extent in Return of the Jedi). So with Kasdan again on board to pen this directly connecting backstory, the character is very much the one we remember from the original trilogy.

Alden Ehrenreich plays the titular character with a certain roguish charm befitting Han Solo – without self-consciously aping Harrison Ford’s idiosyncrasies. He’s actually pretty good. Donald Glover is also a believable fit for a young Lando Calrissian (although Lando’s retconned ‘pansexuality’ shoehorns a character flourish which is completely uncalled for in a Star Wars movie). Rounding out the main cast – Woody Harrelson and Emilia Clarke are fine, while Joonas Suotamo’s performance as Chewbacca seems to be a little off here – particularly in the way he carries himself     in his initial scenes.

Ron Howard has always been a solid journeyman director, a filmmaker who has     never really possessed any discernible signature style of his own. And it is this ‘disappearing into the material’ aspect of a journeyman director which originally steered George Lucas’ selection of Irvin Kershner and Richard Marquand to helm     the two initial Star Wars sequels over auteurs like Paul Verhoeven and David Lynch, both of whom were seriously considered as potential helmers for Return of the JediSoldier of Orange and The Elephant Man respectively being the reason why they were under consideration (it was only upon Lucas seeing their other films Spetters and Eraserhead that he ultimately – and probably quite wisely – nixed that idea). Whilst I applaud the studio’s decision to hire visionary directors to helm these stand-alone films, clearly what is needed here – as far as revisiting characters already established in the Skywalker saga – are journeyman directors like Howard to help maintain tonal continuity with what has come before.

Fast-paced and fun and tonally in step with the original trilogy and not nearly as morose or ludicrously retconned as Rogue One, Solo is a film nobody wanted – but     it could have been worse – so much worse.

3.5 stars out of 5

Star ratings: 1 – poor / 2 – below average / 3 – good / 4 – excellent / 5 – unmissable

Viewed at the Wallis Piccadilly Cinemas, Adelaide, May 24th 2018

Greg Moss is a film school graduate with a background in directing music videos     and is currently seeking representation as a screenwriter. He likes creative people, feeding the cat and watching genre movies. Greg can also be heard on the Blu-ray commentary track for the 1980 sci-fi thriller Saturn 3, out now from Scream Factory.


The Shape of Water – film review


A mesmerizing masterpiece.

Reviewed on Sunday 21st January 2018

Directed by Guillermo Del Toro. Screenplay by Del Toro and VanessaTaylor, story by Del Toro. Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer and Doug Jones. Running time: 123 mins.

A mute cleaning lady working in a Cold War government research facility falls in love with a human-like amphibian creature being held captive for scientific study. When the creature is earmarked for vivisection, she enlists the help of her friends to free him in a daring break-out attempt.

Having been an avid admirer of Guillermo Del Toro’s work since the release of his Mexican-lensed feature debut Cronos in 1992, it is with eager anticipation I look forward to each new Del Toro offering. His films can be brutal and dream-like, darkly humorous and, some might say – downright weird. But if nothing else, they are consistently mesmerizing. Indeed, if I had to sum up the experience of watching any of his films – in one word, it would be – captivated. I find it impossible to take my eyes off the screen – for even one second.

Del Toro’s portrayal of the monstrous and otherworldly as being sympathetic in the face of human cruelty is a signature theme which he revisits from time to time (most notably in Pan’s Labyrinth) – a theme which he again explores here with The Shape of Water. His protagonists are generally societal outcasts we can all relate to and whose motivations we fully understand and here Sally Hawkins delivers this on-point and seemingly without effort. Considering her character – Elisa Esposito – is essentially mute for virtually the entire running time, she does a superb job in utilizing this potential limitation to her advantage. The on-screen chemistry between she and the gill man is palpable and Hawkins is a crucial part of this. Indeed, while the idea of interspecies romance may seem like it could potentially be somewhat problematic to present convincingly (and, well, tastefully) – Del Toro and his pitch-perfect cast succeed brilliantly in selling it. And prosthetic character actor and long-time Del Toro collaborator Doug Jones again delivers another finely-nuanced performance under impressive make-up – generating enormous sympathy for the enigmatic creature. The supporting cast is equally as strong – with Richard Jenkins delivering a stand-out turn as Elisa’s hollywood musical-loving neighbor and confidant. But it is Michael Shannon as Colonel Strickland, the primary antagonist – who essays a presence one simply can’t look away from. Despite the volatile Strickland’s knee-jerk brutality, Shannon is still able to generate a considerable amount of empathy for his character. He is a man of the system who feels just as unfulfilled in his life as Elisa – but his frustration manifests in more explosively violent ways. We may be horrified by his actions, but we at least understand him as a person and are privy to his motivations.

There’s no doubt the look of this film is nothing short of gorgeous, featuring lush cinematography by previous Del Toro lenser Dan Lausten (Mimic, Crimson Peak) imbuing the film with that signature Del Toro texture we come to expect. With production design by Paul D. Austerberry, art direction by Nigel Churcher, set decoration by Jeffrey A. Melvin and Shane Vieau and costume design by Luis Seqeira contributing enormously to the realizing of a highly-detailed, very specific – almost hyper-real re-imagining of the early 1960s. And Del Toro’s extensive use of floating camera moves throughout lends the film an all-pervasive dream-like quality which perfectly matches the fairy tale tone of the piece.

Despite the American setting, the film does very much have a European feel – particularly with regard to scenes of frank sexuality and Alexandre Desplat’s accordion-centric score. Indeed, considering the way the world of Sally Hawkins’ character is presented here – it would come as no surprise if the inherent whimsy of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amelie was a significant touchstone for Del Toro’s development of the material.

The Shape of Water is perhaps Del Toro’s finest achievement to date which, considering the high standard of his output so far, makes it a must-see for fans of     his work. And to those who are less familiar – I definitely recommend you add this to your ‘to watch’ lists (which, hopefully, come Oscar night – with its 13 nominations, including best picture – everyone will be doing).

5 stars out of 5

Star ratings: 1 – poor / 2 – below average / 3 – good / 4 – excellent / 5 – unmissable

Viewed at the Wallis Cinemas Mitcham, Adelaide, January 21st 2018

Greg Moss is a film school graduate with a background in directing music videos     and is currently seeking representation as a screenwriter. He likes creative people, feeding the cat and watching genre movies. Greg can also be heard on the Blu-ray commentary track for the 1980 sci-fi thriller Saturn 3, out now from Scream Factory.

2017 – End Of Movie Year Round Up

Looking back at the films released this year – well, the ones I saw anyway.

The film year 2017 was, for me anyway, a year of mostly pleasant surprises – the stand-outs being the films which went in directions I wasn’t expecting (avoiding trailers only adding to the experience). Time being what it is, I made a pact with myself to be more selective in my movie-going this year. Which is why I only saw thirteen films in theaters. Seeing as I didn’t see as many this year as in previous years, I thought I’d start by briefly mentioning some of the other films I did see – but didn’t end up posting about for one reason or another.

Star ratings: 1 – poor / 2 – below average / 3 – good / 4 – excellent / 5 – unmissable

Baby Driver

3.5 stars out of 5

While it kinda’ feels like a Michael Mann heist movie for milliennials, Edgar Wright’s passion project is still great fun.

John Wick: Chapter 2

3 stars out of 5

More of what we got from the break-out, super-violent, Keanu Reeves-starring instant cult action flick from 2014. Although it very much feels like the middle chapter of a projected trilogy, Chapter 2 does indeed present itself as a natural expansion of the John Wick universe – leaving us wanting more and excited to see what happens next.


4 stars out of 5

Perhaps the most divisive film of 2017 (aside from The Last Jedi, that is). There are those who either love Darren Aronofsky’s latest adult fable – or hate it. And yes – I’m aligned with the former. Deliberately shying away from knowing anything about it before going in – and prior to all the post-release uproar – I found it a troubling, mesmerizingly visceral and ultimately haunting cinema-going experience – something not felt since Jonathan Glazer’s equally polarizing and visceral Under The Skin four years ago.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day 3D

5 stars out of 5

Having seen and been impressed with James Cameron’s 3D reissue of Titanic in the theater some years ago, I was intrigued to see just how much the added dimension of depth would benefit T2. As it turns out – it contributes quite a bit, being particularly immersive during scenes where the camera meanders through specific locations   (the Skynet office block in particular). The climactic chase sequence involving the chopper flying beneath the freeway bridge is also rather impressive in 3D. Quite apart from the added bonus of the third dimension, it really was great to just experience T2 in a large theater for the first time since 1991 – particularly being remastered in 4K. And I’m pleased to say – the movie has barely dated and holds up remarkably well after all these years (still more than deserving of its status as an all-time action classic).

War for the Planet of the Apes

4 stars out of 5

Or a more appropriate title might be The Great Ape Escape. As, despite obvious nods to Apocalypse Now War is more akin to a prison break-out movie than a full-blown war film. With his third and final appearance, Caesar firmly cements his rightful place as one of the most keenly-drawn and iconic figures in recent cinematic sci-fi history. And reprising his role as the compassionate and deep-thinking Caesar, Andy Serkis again delivers a finely-nuanced performance. As great as Serkis is in this particular role, however, it does seem he has been upstaged yet again by a supporting player. In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes it was Toby Kebbell as the traitorous Koba and in this one it is definitely Steve Zahn as a brand new character known as ‘Bad Ape’ – a character whose joining of Caesar’s quest brings a welcome dose of levity to proceedings. With director Matt Reeves at the helm for a second go-around, War undoubtedly positions this new Planet of the Apes series as one of the most consistently brilliant genre trilogies of the millennium; one which cleverly leads – integrity maintained – into the events of the 1968 original.

And now my picks for the best and worst of the year (most of which I reviewed):

Best studio film of 2017: Blade Runner 2049

Best indy film of 2017: Infinity Chamber

Honorable mentions: Passengers, Logan, Only The Brave, War for the Planet of     the Apes

Worst film of 2017: Alien: Covenant

The ones I missed: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Detroit

Even though I had originally reviewed Travis Milloy’s Infinity Chamber (previously titled Somnio) in 2016 – the film only secured an official release this year, making it not only the best indy genre movie of 2017 – but one of the best indy sci-fi films of the decade. Smart and funny, with an intriguing premise (also featuring a terrific central performance from Christopher Soren Kelly) – Infinity Chamber is the latest directorial offering from the writer of cult sci-fi fave Pandorum, and with a Blu-ray release likely in 2018, it is well worth checking out.

Who would have thought we’d have a Blade Runner sequel in 2017, let alone a film as brilliant as Blade Runner 2049. Once it was announced that Ridley Scott had stepped aside – allowing Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Enemy) to helm, from a screenplay by original Blade Runner scribe Hampton Fancher – the prospects that this might be a good movie after all increased ten-fold. But who could have foreseen that Blade Runner 2049 would become an instant classic – let alone a sequel sure to be held in the same regard as The Empire Strikes Back and Terminator 2. Despite its failure to ignite the US box office, I for one would love to see Hollywood continue to take risks and produce more thoughtfully-made, adult-oriented sci-fi films like this one (and the under-appreciated Passengers).

On the flipside, it’s a sad irony that the same man behind the original Alien is also     the one who has completely ruined the experience of seeing it for future generations. Gone is the representation of the creature as an unexplained and terrifying force of nature – here being sloppily and pointlessly retconned as the creation of a mad scientist robot – itself created by humans. The result being, Alien: Covenant is nothing more than Ridley taking a great steaming dump on common sense – while giving the middle finger to life-long fans of the original trilogy. It really pains me to list this film as the worst of the year – as I feel drained even just thinking about it for five seconds. Hopefully, if Ridley is disallowed to carry out his threat to make another one, I’ll never have to mention it ever again. Ever.

The films I’m most looking forward to seeing in 2018:

Mortal Engines, Annihilation, The Tangle, The Shape of Water

Greg Moss is a film school graduate with a background in directing music videos     and is currently seeking representation as a screenwriter. He likes creative people, feeding the cat and watching genre movies. Greg can also be heard on the Blu-ray commentary track for the 1980 sci-fi thriller Saturn 3, out now from Scream Factory.

Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi – film review


Course correction steers saga away from expectations.

Reviewed on Thursday 14th December 2017

Written and directed by Rian Johnson. Starring: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. Running time: 154 mins.

Forced to flee their secret base after it is attacked by The First Order, the Resistance fleet, commanded by Princess Leia, are pursued across the galaxy. Meanwhile, Rey attempts to convince an exiled Luke Skywalker to join the fight against his former pupil Kylo Ren and take down The First Order.


Revisiting The Force Awakens in the lead-up to seeing this latest installment and, having not seen it since its theatrical release – I was somewhat shocked to find Abrams’ entry doesn’t hold up nearly as well on a re-watch. The relief I felt that it wasn’t terrible having long since faded, the issues I had with it initially are now all the more glaringly obvious. While its recapturing of the sense of fun of the originals was indeed welcome (particularly in light of the stodgy seriousness of the prequels) – the nonsensical motivations of some of the characters in The Force Awakens, not to mention the fact that it is structurally a beat-for-beat copy of A New Hope really do make for a frustrating and ultimately unsatisfying re-watch. Indeed, as with last year’s downright abysmal Rogue One, it really does feel suspiciously slapped together without any real passion or forethought. My biggest gripe with The Force Awakens this time round however is just how pathetic a villain Adam Driver’s Darth Vader wannabe Kylo Ren actually is. Portraying him as a petulant brat prone to tantrums     is not nearly enough to instill a sense of awe or fear in the audience. Also, the fact     he got his ass kicked by a female half his size does nothing to paint him as any particular threat to anyone (well, aside from his own men, that is).

With The Force Awakens so closely aping the structural template of A New Hope, speculation was rife this new sequel trilogy would be nothing more than a lazy rehash of the story arc of the original films. However, with Rian Johnson taking the creative reins – this thankfully no longer appears to be the case – as the unfolding story arc     of Kylo and Rey, so far, is very much its own thing. Structurally, at least – the film recalls The Empire Strikes Back – in the way it segues back and forth between Kylo’s pursuit of the Resistance fleet and Rey’s tutelage under Luke. But, to Johnson’s credit – that’s pretty much where similarities end.

Clearly the issue I had with the Kylo Ren character being ineffectual was also an issue for Johnson, as he has addressed this directly – using it to his advantage in     a wholly satisfying way. Also addressed is the matter of Finn’s flip-flopping loyalties, taking what began as a poorly-written character in the previous film and turning him into an (albeit) reluctant hero – willing to sacrifice his own life for the greater good. The Poe Dameron character also benefits here from better writing – playing a more prominent role in proceedings – becoming essentially the dashing rogue – impulsive in nature. As played by Oscar Isaac, I can see his character quickly becoming a firm fan favourite.

The scenes between Luke and Rey on the island are really the glue which hold this film together – with the theme ‘accepting failure’ being central. And Daisy Ridley, given more to do here, only cements what an incredible presence she is on screen. While Mark Hamill (Luke is now the self-exiled sage his old mentor was – albeit a more bitter one) – does a great job in portraying just how spiritually damaged Luke has become.

As one might have guessed from the poster art alone, Last Jedi is tonally a lot darker than the previous episode. Sure, there are a number of genuinely funny moments scattered strategically here and there. But overall, there is a palpable sense of melancholy which, either knowingly or unknowingly, pervades the film. Having witnessed the generally negative backlash against the darker tone of The Empire Strikes Back upon its initial release, I find it ironic that history appears to repeating itself with Last Jedi. Perhaps in years to come, this film will be fully appreciated and embraced just as fondly as Empire is today.

As with all Star Wars films outside the original trilogy, Last Jedi does have its share of flaws – sporting the longest running time of the series, momentum does tend to flag somewhat leading into the final act. But the finale – cross-cutting back and forth between various characters in peril (much like in Return of the Jedi) – more than makes up for this. My only other issues are relatively minor, the most annoying being the inclusion of earthly slang and colloquialisms in some of the dialogue (something Lucas – to his credit, took great pains to prohibit writer Lawrence Kasdan from doing in his penning of subsequent installments) – these stories do take place a long time ago in a galaxy far far away after all. My only other gripe is the virtual side-lining of Artoo and Threepio – characters through whose eyes, up until now anyway – we are meant to be experiencing the saga. It’s sad to see – with these recent episodes – this well-established given, for whatever reason, has been basically abandoned.

These minor quibbles aside, The Last Jedi is excitingly bold, full of surprises, emotionally involving and already appears to be the most divisive of all the Star     Wars films so far. I find it odd that some feel it is a flaw the film ends with no         clear indication of where the story may go from here. I would suggest this is     probably a good thing.

4 stars out of 5

Star ratings: 1 – poor / 2 – below average / 3 – good / 4 – excellent / 5 – unmissable

Viewed at the Wallis Piccadilly Cinemas, Adelaide, December 14th 2017

Greg Moss is a film school graduate with a background in directing music videos     and is currently seeking representation as a screenwriter. He likes creative people, feeding the cat and watching genre movies. Greg can also be heard on the Blu-ray commentary track for the 1980 sci-fi thriller Saturn 3, out now from Scream Factory.

Only The Brave – film review


Oblivion helmer delivers profoundly moving, hugely affecting third feature.

Reviewed on Saturday 2nd December 2017

Directed by Joseph Kosinski. Screenplay by Ken Nolan and Eric Warren Singer. Starring: Miles Teller, Josh Brolin, Taylor Kitsch, Jeff Bridges and Jennifer Connelly. Running time: 134 mins.

A true-life account of a legendary squad of Arizona wildfire fighters known as The Granite Mountain Hotshots who, on June 30th 2013, faced the biggest challenge       of their lives – survival.

Helmer Joseph Kosinki has quickly established himself as a one of the most exciting directors around today. With his previous films Tron Legacy and the insanely underappreciated Oblivion already demonstrating a keen eye for impressive visuals and the ability to effectively immerse an audience within the worlds depicted. With this latest offering, Only The Brave, Kosinski here demonstrates he is also more than capable of engaging an audience emotionally with the characters on screen.

Despite some clunky expositional dialogue early on, the screenplay by Ken Nolan     and Eric Warren Singer (based on a GQ magazine article) – does a nice job             of steering well away from cliched melodrama in the depiction of the various relationships the principal characters have with their significant others. While     Jennifer Connelly once again demonstrates why she is considered one of the best actors of her generation – here essaying Josh Brolin’s headstrong love interest.

Set over a period of several years, we are given ample opportunity to see these characters evolve – as we ultimately develop a genuine fondness for each of them. While essentially an ensemble piece, the success of this film really rests squarely   on the shoulders of Miles Teller – here playing a recovering junkie, looking to reform and clean up his act after the birth of his daughter. And Teller does a exceptional job in generating sympathy for his character in the face of his character’s major flaw. While Josh Brolin is equally solid in his role as the determined squad leader – a man also dealing with his own demons. And the great Jeff Bridges is, as always, a joy to watch – here delivering one of the best lines in the film, in a scene where he pep talks the Granite Mountain squad, prior to their all-important evaluation, “The only place you’ll find sympathy here – is in a dictionary. Somewhere between shit and syphilis.”

Utilizing his training as an architect, Kosinski possesses a heightened ability to stage spatially-coherent action sequences – so we know precisely where we are geographically at any given time. And the seamless blending of practical and CG effects (not to mention the impressively immersive sound design) – really does give us a sense of being right there – in the middle of the action. The beautifully-staged aerial sequences, involving various water bombing aircraft (both fixed wing and helicopters) are also a major draw card – making it apparent why Kosinski has been rumoured to be on-board with the Top Gun sequel for Tom Cruise. And based on his achievement with this film alone, things are looking very good for that long-awaited movie, if he is indeed attached. The surreally-handled reveal of a Sikorsky helicopter sucking water from a man’s swimming pool, which happens within the first few minutes – was the moment this film hooked me and didn’t let go.

And the ending. Oh boy, the ending. Being completely unaware of the true-life     story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots (and deciding not to research the subject beforehand) – this made the finale, for me anyway, all the more devastating. I highly recommend any prospective viewers of this film shy away from knowing anything about the actual events before going in, particularly if you want to experience the visceral gut-punch of the film’s final minutes to their full effect.

Only The Brave is a superbly-crafted and compelling illustration of the best aspects of the human condition – best experienced on the biggest screen possible.

4 stars out of 5

Star ratings: 1 – poor / 2 – below average / 3 – good / 4 – excellent / 5 – unmissable

Viewed at the Wallis Cinemas Mitcham, Adelaide, December 2nd 2017

Greg Moss is a film school graduate with a background in directing music videos     and is currently seeking representation as a screenwriter. He likes creative people, feeding the cat and watching genre movies. Greg can also be heard on the Blu-ray commentary track for the 1980 sci-fi thriller Saturn 3, out now from Scream Factory.

Blade Runner 2049 – film review


This Blade Runner does the biggest thing the original failed to do. It moves us.

Reviewed on Friday 6th October 2017

Directed by Denis Villeneuve. Screenplay by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, story by Hampton Fancher. Starring: Ryan Gosling, Robyn Wright, Ana De Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Harrison Ford and Jared Leto. Running time: 163 mins.


First up I have to say I was there when the original Blade Runner was released in theatres in 1982. And even though I was aware of all the meddling that had been     done to it in the lead-up to seeing it (being an avid reader of advance genre news magazines such as Starlog, Starburst, Fantastic Films and the like) – I still came away feeling somewhat disappointed. Actually, to be perfectly honest – it left me kind of cold. For me anyway, there is a certain aloofness to Ridley Scott’s third feature which makes it an oddly empty and un-engaging experience (quite the polar opposite to his previous film Alien). For a story about empathy it confusingly doesn’t make me feel anything for anyone in it and, to this day – I’m not entirely sure why this is. Perhaps this is why I revisit it so often – to try and figure out why it fails to engage me on any real emotional level.

There is no denying Scott’s film is visually impressive. And his gritty, almost insanely detailed depiction of a future Los Angeles has indeed impacted massively on the sci-fi genre (both books and films) in the decades since its initial release – so I can appreciate Blade Runner on this purely aesthetic level. But meticulous world building alone is not nearly enough to invite emotional investment.

Although he has his own particular visual aesthetic, Denis Villeneuve’s sequel is as equally gorgeous – with every frame again a work of art. And it undoubtedly looks, sounds and (most importantly) feels like a genuine expansion of the Blade Runner universe. However, the overriding difference between this Blade Runner and the ’82 original is the sense of emotional inclusion we have with the characters. Scott’s original is bizarrely distancing; giving us the sense that we are merely passive observers to events and not active participants. In this film we are right up close and personal with the characters and emotionally invested in their fates. This new Blade Runner has clearly been made with a lot of love and respect and honourable intentions. And having the original’s primary screenwriter Hampton Fancher (the man charged with adapting Philip Dick’s source novel into the movie which became Blade Runner) – on board for this is a major coup and hugely instrumental in maintaining thematic integrity with the original film (and indeed the voice of Dick’s source novel).

As far as the actual plot is concerned, I’m reluctant to go into it in any detail for fear of spoiling the experience. So all I’ll say is – whereas the original Blade Runner is essentially a straightforward chase film, Blade Runner 2049 is first and foremost, at its core, a compelling mystery to be solved. And the mystery to be solved at the heart of this film is the significance of the date 6.10.21. Is it a birth date? A death date? And if so – who’s is it? After a succession of effective plot twists and turns,     the answer is satisfyingly revealed.

There is a very definite and cohesive vision to this film – a combination of the talents of screenwriter Fancher and helmer Villeneuve. It feels like a solid story well told. And who could ask for more than that? Fancher’s sensibility perfectly fits hand in glove with Villeneuve’s aesthetic and it would be great to see these two team up again on other unrelated projects (sorry – my inner fanboy slipped through).

This is without a doubt the best performance Harrison Ford has given since his heyday. And despite the limited time he appears on screen, he is given plenty of scope to showcase his emotional range as an actor. Perhaps this is why he felt Fancher’s script was the best he’d ever read. Likewise, Ryan Gosling is also very good in the lead and perfectly cast (for reasons which become readily apparent). Actually – much like the ’82 film – this one is extremely well cast overall and again features a bevy of visually fascinating actors in the various supporting roles.

The breathtaking cinematography by the Cohen brothers’ resident DP Roger Deakins beautifully recalls Jordan Cronenweth’s landmark lensing of the original. And utilizing that atmospheric, swirling, soaring signature Vangelis sound to great effect – the music score by Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer perfectly emulates and effortlessly captures the feel of the original score – while injecting something fresh and new into the mix.

Dedicated nerds may also get a smile from the clearly deliberate inclusion of the waste dumping ships from David People’s (Paul WS Anderson-directed) 1998 Blade Runner spin-off Soldier – again cementing the idea that this much underrated Kurt Russell-starring film is in indeed canon.

As I post this, it’s been several days now since leaving the cinema positively overwhelmed by the experience and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about           it – always for me a surefire sign of a great film. In future retrospect, I see a time when Blade Runner 2049 will be looked upon fondly in that much-coveted, but limited pantheon of superior sequels to highly-regarded movies.

5 stars out of 5

Star ratings: 1 – poor / 2 – below average / 3 – good / 4 – excellent / 5 – unmissable

Viewed at the Event Cinemas Megaplex Marion, Adelaide, October 6th 2017

Greg Moss is a film school graduate with a background in directing music videos     and is currently seeking representation as a screenwriter. He likes creative people, feeding the cat and watching genre movies. Greg can also be heard on the Blu-ray commentary track for the 1980 sci-fi thriller Saturn 3, out now from Scream Factory.

Travis Milloy on Infinity Chamber – interview

Writer-director Travis Milloy gives us the low-down on the release of his new movie Infinity Chamber as well as potential new projects he has in the works.

With the hotly-anticipated release of his new sci-fi thriller Infinity Chamber on iTunes and Amazon Prime, I again had the great pleasure of sitting down for a skype chat with writer-director Travis Milloy. Having seen and reviewed the film last year (under its original title Somnio) – I’m so very excited it is now finally out there to be seen.

Greg: So congratulations on the imminent US release. Exciting news!

Travis: Thank you! It’s been a long road, you know. So we’re finally almost there.

So how did finding a distributor come about?

We hired a sales agent who knew my manager. And he went out to several companies. And we only had two offers – a bigger company and then XLrator Media. But XLrator were offering a better deal. So we went with them. And you know what, they’re probably perfect for our movie coz they kinda’ do, you know, low-grade, low budget movies – so we fit in there pretty good.

Well that’s not to say that Infinity Chamber is low-grade by any means.

No, but meaning – no stars, low budget. So, you know – we know where we sit. But they’re excited about it. So we’ll see what happens.

How did the title change from Somnio to Infinity Chamber come about? Was it suggested by the distributor – or was it a decision you guys came to?

Yeah, they knew – right out of the gate when we started talking to them, they said they wanted a title change. And I wasn’t surprised by it. You know, I kinda’ expected it. I always knew that from the beginning coz Somnio was – it’s a little bit of an abstract title – so it doesn’t appeal to what they’re trying to do with marketing. You know, when people are scanning through Netflix or whatever, Infinity Chamber is probably a better title – just for that purpose alone. And the funny thing is – the whole time I had been involved with that movie, every time I would tell someone – when they’d say ‘What’s the name of your movie?’ And I’d say ‘Somnio’. Everyone would say ‘What?’ But when you say Infinity Chamber – they get it. It might not be the greatest title, but it works better from a selling point than Somnio did.

So was it a title which you came up with?

Yeah, you know what – they were pretty cool about it. We submitted probably a dozen titles. And then they came back – they picked a few of ours and then they had a few of their own. And then they let me pick – which was nice. The one they had – I didn’t like. So at least I got to go with something I had submitted to them. So that worked. They’ve been good to work with – they let me cut the trailer. So I did that all myself. So yeah, it’s been a good experience working with them.

Did they have input into what would be done with the trailer?

Yeah, a little bit. A little bit. Actually, they gave me the choice. They were gonna have a company to do it – they hire people to do those kind of things. But we woulda’ had to pay for it. So I was like, well I might as well try and do my own version. So I did one cut and I submitted it to them. And then they had a few notes, and I improved upon it and then it slowly became what we ended up with. The only down side was – I didn’t have very much time. I had to do it in about a week. So I would’ve liked to have more time to work on it. And actually, it’s funny coz I’ve improved it since – but that’s not the one that’s out there (laughs). But that’s okay. We’re getting a pretty good reaction from it. So it’s been good so far.

Having viewed the film again just recently, it really struck me this time round that there are several ways to interpret the ending and there appears to be a certain ambiguity built into it.

Right. It’s interesting, coz I love talking to people who have seen it. And it’s split pretty much down the middle about what they think that ending meant. It could be this or it could be that. But I like people to accept the ending they want to imagine. Just the fact that there’s a debate about it – is great. The key for me is that whether you like a film or you don’t, as long as it gets you thinking and it makes you think about it after that viewing – coz, you know, to watch a movie and it’s like uh, okay – I’m done thinking about that and I have nothing to say about it – nothing to talk about – that’s not the kinda’ movie I like.

So apart from finding a distributor for Infinity Chamber, what else have you been up to since we last spoke?

You know, I’ve been keeping busy. I’ve been writing a lot. Writing some new scripts. I’m trying to find the next movie to do. I’ve also been working on some commercials and just some other video production stuff and some other scripts. So, just been keeping real busy on the keyboard – writing a lot.

What is the status of Monstrum? I love that script and it’s a great read and it would definitely make for a fun movie. Are you still planning on making that one?

Thank you! Definitely, that one’s on my radar. How and when to do that movie – honestly, right now I’m planning on that one being – if I continue to make movies – to make that my third film. But first I wanna do another smaller film. I think that one demands a certain budget level to do it right. And I know how long that process takes and so if you’re gonna spend that amount of money, you definitely need name actors and that’s such a long process. So I’m gonna do another movie and I’m gonna try and go into production as soon as I can – this next spring – and shoot another film. But it has to be another very self-contained lower budget project – where, I’m gonna try and get names of course – but I’m gonna try and keep it at a lower budget – just because I know how to do that and we can have another film shot and improve upon what we did before and then move towards bigger projects like Monstrum for sure. I tried creatively to think of a way to do that movie for a lower budget, but even the lowest possible – like sacrificing a lot of stuff – you get a certain point where it starts to hurt the movie more than the project, so its like, yeah, definitely to do that movie and to do it right you definitely need a few million at the minimum so, that’s why I’m gonna hold onto that one and hopefully do it as the third project or one that’s further down the road.

So can you tell us anything more about this other lower budgeted project?

It’s interesting, I’ve been writing a lot and I can’t really – I’ve been a little scattered – coz I’ve been a little gun shy on what project to commit to next – because I know how long of a road it is. So I’ve been writing a lot of sporadic stuff – where I’ll start on an idea and I’ll just dive in and get all excited and I’ll write twenty or thirty pages and then I kinda’ set it aside and then see if it sticks with me – if I can’t stop thinking about it then I know something’s there. So I’ve been doing that a lot – especially over these last six months; writing just these kinda’ random crazy ideas. So I’ve got some interesting stuff in the works – just nothing that’s like – okay, that’s the one. I’ve got a few scripts that I’ve got my eye on, that I’m interested in – but none of them are ‘the one’ yet. I’m close, but its like – do I commit that much energy and time. It’s gotta be perfect. So I’ve been second-guessing myself more than I normally do and I think its just because of what we went through to get that one movie made. There’s so much time and energy spent on it, I’m just gun shy to commit and say okay – this is it.

Tonally the script for Monstrum is quite different from Infinity Chamber and also Pandorum. Was this a conscious decision?

For some reason, with this next project – I’m looking at doing stuff that has a bit more levity to it. I don’t really know what it is. I think that once you go through that whole thing and then – I think it was watching Infinity Chamber with a crowd, I felt – for me personally – I felt like the movie could have been scarier. Or it could have been funnier. You know what I mean? So its like, I wanna push more extremes. There were a lot of times when I was in that theatre with a crowd, and I kept thinking – oh I could’ve really got them there if I woulda’ went this way. I could have really made it scary if I wanted to. Or I could’ve made it a lot more fun. So for some reason, I’m leaning towards things with levity – like Monstrum. Monstrum I think is the perfect example – to do a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously; that has some good laughs and is a good thrill ride. Those are things that are appealing to me right now. So we’ll see.

Infinity Chamber is available on iTunes and Amazon Prime from September 26th with other streaming platforms to follow. For updates and further information on current and future releases of Infinity Chamber, please visit and bookmark the official website here:

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article copyright © 2017 Gregory Moss

not to be reprinted either in part or in whole without prior permission of the author

Greg Moss is a film school graduate with a background in directing music videos     and is currently seeking representation as a screenwriter. He likes creative people, feeding the cat and watching genre movies. Greg can also be heard on the Blu-ray commentary track for the 1980 sci-fi thriller Saturn 3, out now from Scream Factory.