All that glitters in the streaming flow is not gold. We looked at five productions this year that recently started online. Result? Two flops, one okay, one semi-recommendation. But also: a nice surprise.
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By Dan Trachtenberg, 2022
To be seen on Disney+
That John McTiernan’s 1980s cult film Predator – in which Arnold Schwarzenegger as a mercenary in the jungle matches an extraterrestrial killer – pop culture hardly cares about regular sequels: the contributions to the myth of the eponymous space poachers are too different and mixed. Part two with Danny Glover was lost, and more followed in 2010 and 2018 – along with films in which predators fight HR Giger’s “alien” critters. Now imagine: What if a “Predator” encountered Native Americans? A spun “fan fiction” idea, which is mainly known from comics – and which has now been successfully implemented in the streaming film “Prey”.
The young Komanchin Naru (diligently: Amber Midthunder) wants to prove herself as a fighter among men – and gets the target of an intergalactic huntsman. His brutal fighting style, spiced up with sci-fi hunting gear, makes for the strongest spectacle of the film, which, despite authentic details, adapts its setting in the 18th century to strongly aesthetic and narrative norms of the present: twenty years ago, the criticism of colonialism in “Prey” would be subversive been, today it seems downright obligatory. (and)
By Peggy Holmes, 2022
Seen on Apple TV+
The departure of longtime Pixar creative director and “Toy Story” director John Lasseter from his parent studio was not a glorious one: Disney/Pixar parted ways with him in 2018 after allegations of sexual misconduct. The new animation company Skydance immediately snapped him up as animation boss – which made Emma Thompson leave the first project “Luck”. Now Jane Fonda voices the role of a dragon in a lucky charm kingdom where an 18-year-old orphan roams in search of the origins of good and bad luck. A digital patchwork that is flat both visually and in terms of content, which vainly emulates the depth and magic of some Pixar films. (canoe)
By Arne Feldhusen, 2022
To be seen on Netflix
Because the fans were outraged that the self-made criminal Buba died at the end of the first season of “How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast)”, the series makers decided without further ado to create a spin-off. It tells how Buba became what he became – and it’s because of his first kiss! How happy he was! He only had to learn shortly afterwards that half his family had an accident. His conclusion: if he is doing well, the others are doing badly. Since then he has allowed himself to be beaten before every kiss. At his side: Georg Friedrich as a brother, who since the accident (the brain!) speaks broad Viennese dialect. The rest is just as weird. The film looks a little as if the Viennese joke had been exported and its heart left behind. (best)
By Adrian Lyne, 2022
To be seen on Amazon
Rumor has it that Disney didn’t bring this erotic thriller to the cinemas out of shame and made it available for streaming (in Europe too Amazon) deported. Suggestive sex scenes were probably not the reason: the Patricia Highsmith film adaptation is too tame for that. It is more likely that the clumsily told thriller about a jealous parvenu and his promiscuous wife was considered too bad. Although Adrian Lyne (“9½ Weeks”) was directed by a pioneer of upscale soft porn and two stars (a soporifically expressionless Ben Affleck, an annoyingly lascivious Ana de Armas) embody the married couple, the result is clumsy staged high-gloss botches. (mt)
By Elizabeth A Rosenbaum, 2022
To be seen on Netflix
Don’t watch the trailer! It reveals far too much about “Purple Hearts”, and that too in the wrong order. Just before he goes to Iraq, the Marine Luke (Nicholas Galitzine) marries the musician Cassie (Sofia Carson) – for financial reasons. He needs money to pay off debts from his drug past. her to pay for her diabetes medication. Although they don’t really like each other, they play a couple and soon develop feelings for each other.
“Pride and Prejudice” hits pretend, but with a twist: the characters’ worldviews are really very different. Feminist Cassie refuses to be mansplained by the patriotic elite soldier. Luke, in turn, thinks Cassie is ignorant and complacent. But there is also something that unites the two, and that doesn’t mean love. Both main characters are reluctant to fall in love because they don’t trust others. The film shows sensitively and comprehensibly how the two burned children succeed.
Intelligent love films are rare. This one can be viewed without turning off your brain. (her)