Possessor (2020)

Brandon Cronenberg may be following in the footsteps of his father in terms of style but he sure isn’t in a hurry about it as this is his first film since Antiviral in 2012, which we really liked. I found this one less impressive unfortunately. It is of course very visceral in its depiction of a killer of takes control of the bodies of others to commit murders but the theme of her sense of self blurring as a result just isn’t a particularly original one.

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Tekken 7

Soon after starting this up for the first time, I knew that even just buying this was a bad idea. Tekken is of course one of the very well-known fighting game franchises but I’ve had no experience with it since a short time button mashing a PSP version a very long time ago. I bought this out of curiosity and of course because I wanted more games to play on my Hori Mini fighting stick. But it was a bad idea because this is very technical fighting game franchise that has no place for amateurs at all and this particular installment has very scanty single-player content.

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Tenet (2020)

I put this off for a long time due to the awful reviews but I always knew I would get around to it eventually. As I feared, this is pretty bad, not so much because it is confusing but because it seems so sloppily made. The central conceit of moving backwards through time is sound enough but everything else around it is so generic and flat. At times, it was so bad that I wondered if Christopher Nolan was deliberately making fun at the inherent silliness of James Bond films but I fear that the humorless Nolan was being completely earnest.

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Vitalina Varela (2019)

I did not truly understand director Pedro Costa’s last film Horse Money but it did seem to have some interesting things to say. This one is puzzling in many ways as well but I felt that I more or less understood its themes. Unfortunately I also felt that it oversells itself by being so focused with its visuals that almost nothing else matters. This is a film that truly tries to aspire to being a painting in every frame, but shows its hand so much in doing so that we are reminded over and over again that none of this is real.

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All Systems Red

Martha Wells is another one of the a relatively recent crop of writers whose work gets nominated for awards over and over again. This year, her latest Murderbot Diary book Network Effect was nominated so I thought I’d check the series out beginning with the first book. Unfortunately it looks like this was only a novella and while this first one is priced cheaply on Amazon, the other three ones which complete arguably the first volume are each sold as full-price books. That explains why the reviews are full of complaints about this exploitative marketing practice.

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Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)

This is of course the final installment of a trilogy that started all the way back in 1989, rumored but delayed for so long that it seemed increasingly unlikely it would ever be made. But of course the delay has been incorporated into part of the story with Bill and Ted being well into middle age with grown up daughters. While it is kind of impressive how they pull out all of the stops for this and the plot is fitting, this film lacks the spark of brilliance that made the first two so memorable. It makes for an adequate ending to the trilogy but no more than that.

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The unexamined life is a life not worth living