‘I’m Totally Effective’
Vanessa (Jillian Bell) is a wreck after the unexpected death of her childhood friend and business partner, Jennifer (Natalie Morales, from “Dead to Me”). Until Jennifer suddenly turns up again, fresh as a daisy. “I’m simply an extraterrestrial who has taken her form,” she tells the stunned Vanessa — the alien is a “species remark officer” and has been sent to check earthlings.
The premise is analogous to that of “Starman,” from 1984, and each movies directly cope with grief and renewal. But whereas John Carpenter’s movie was a romance, Brandon Dermer’s “I’m Totally Effective” borrows its structure from the buddy-comedy genre. And it’s, indeed, quite funny, in addition to sweetly affecting.
Bell mostly plays it straight, while Morales’s performance is ceaselessly inventive, with every line reading feeling unexpected. The actress even injects latest life right into a sci-fi stock character — the alien whose connection to emotion is theoretical. Jennifer 2.0 looks startlingly like her dead host but that doesn’t mean she thinks or behaves like her. And while she has downloaded the unique Jennifer’s memories, those don’t translate into experience, and Jennifer 2.0 must learn as she goes along. Like, for instance, friendship is real, and it’s best to not eat a complete sandwich in a single gigantic bite.
An info dump across the 50-minute mark helps somewhat, but there isn’t any denying that the plot of Park Hoon-jung’s latest feature is convoluted. Not less than the entertainment factor is high. Technically speaking, this can be a sequel to Park’s “The Witch: Part 1 — The Subversion,” though the characters are latest, with the notable exception of the nice Jo Min-soo’s Dr. Baek. It’s value starting with “The Subversion” anyway since we’re in the identical universe — and an epilogue after the top credits of “The Other One” suggests that the director is planning a trilogy.
This prolonged saga centers on young women who escape from a lab wherein they were created, raised and endowed with superpowers, and the varied factions trying to search out them. Park throws every part he’s got on the screen: nefarious secret organizations, potty-mouthed mercenaries, a thoughtful scientist in a wheelchair, surprise twin siblings and, after all, gallons of blood and an elevated body count. There are such a lot of groups of rival goons that it will probably be hard to maintain track of them, however the director, who has a terrific eye for striking visual compositions, keeps viewers wondering what could possibly come next.
‘Among the many Living’
Harry (Dean Michael Gregory) and his little sister, Lily (Melissa Worsey), take off to go to their father. Harry estimates the journey will take about two weeks through the countryside, which seems a bit long but they’re walking and, well, there’s been a zombie apocalypse.
Mind you, we don’t actually see that lots of them in Rob Worsey’s indie release — simply enough to learn that they move fast and react to not sound, as per common lore, but to smell. The merest whiff of blood is a very big lure. In a neat example of economical world-building, we discover that duct tape has change into a mandatory commodity because it will probably be used to seal off wounds.
The story is principally concerned by the small details of survival because the siblings make their way in an eerily empty world. And since Britain doesn’t have guns lying around in every single place, people need to make do with whatever tools they will find — Harry, who was an accountant, doesn’t suddenly change into a sharpshooter. Fans of zombie carnage is perhaps frustrated by the emphasis on the drudgery of life in a catastrophic latest normal, but that precisely is what makes this movie value a glance.
Like “Among the many Living,” this low-budget Tubi Original from Daniel Byers, which is streaming free of charge, is a modest effort that ventures off the beaten post-apocalyptic path. And here, too, the smell of blood is a strong draw for very hostile creatures. David (Harry Aspinwall) has by some means managed to make it through a pandemic that just about laid waste to the US. There are a couple of other survivors but David is different: He was infected but remained seemingly healthy.
Holed up in a house within the woods, he sends samples of his blood at regular intervals to his wife, Sam (Anita Abdinezhad), a scientist working to search out a cure in a Washington, D.C., lab. After two years of that routine, David starts getting odd calls on his landline and slowly realizes that his situation isn’t quite what he had been led to consider. “Eradication” is at its best when describing the crumbling psyche of a person cut off from on a regular basis interactions while being under surveillance — an exaggerated version of the way in which lots of us live now. What really gets to David, in any case, isn’t a lot monstrous ghouls created by a virus, but being alone.
Some science fiction experiments with plot and a few with form; Anisia Uzeyman and Saul Williams’s “Neptune Frost” does each. Set in Burundi, the story centers on Matalusa (Bertrand Ninteretse), whose brother was killed within the open-air mine where they worked, and the intersex hacker Neptune (Elvis Ngabo then Cheryl Isheja).
The movie, which contains songs by Williams, is a head trip that refuses to be tamed into convention yet eschews the “wackiness for the sake of wackiness” that gives a protected, noncommittal refuge to so many directors. Fluidity is essential here, starting with dialogue and songs in languages that include Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, English and French. Similarly porous are the borders between genders, various dimensions, even between man and machine — the costumes look as in the event that they were fabricated from recycled electronic parts. The film often looks like an excessively cryptic flight of fancy, nevertheless it also offers a startling vision of a realistically chaotic near-future (or alternate present), made up of jury-rigged scraps and hardy souls fighting off oppression. That is the rare pamphlet that feels equally political and poetic.