A little hidden gems

This weekend I had a pleasure of watching two surprisingly entertaining movies that seem to have fallen below the radar. I wanted some silly, brainless entertainment, after a previous weeks when I have seen “The wrestler” and “The reader”. These two were excellent, thought provoking dramas that moved me and made me shed a tear or two. Now I was hoping to see something so awful as to be entertaining to recuperate after seeing all this ambitious cinema. My wife picked two promising titles - “Black death” and “Pandorum”. The first deals with a group of warriors send by a bishop to a remote village somewhere in swamps of England that is said to be spared of ravages of bubonic plague. From a trailer I expected a gory, action packed movie with monsters, zombies and such. Instead, I was watching a fairly plausible story of men trying to make sense of the plague in the only terms that possibly could – the religion. “Black death” is a well made low budget movie. The actors are not major stars, with exception of Sean Bean, who is anyway playing a side character. Still, it was thought provoking story, with great combat scenes, costumes and a plausible “medieval” feel to it. It reminded me of “13th warrior” crossed with “Wicker Man” with a dash of “Pillars of Earth”. Big thumbs up!

Second movie I have watched this weekend was “Pandorum”. I liked it because it delivered precisely what it promised – a horror and science fiction story with interesting characters, entertaining plot and astounding visuals. While there was no sense of a particular depth or moral ambiguity that was to be found in “Black death”, “Pandorum” was pure fun. The best part was the starship - “Elysium”. It was both majestic a dreadful at the same time. As it turns out, the visuals were created the old school way – by building a set, and monsters were guys wearing elaborate rubber suits. Not so much CGI as you see in most of the movies this days. It made for quite “realistic” feel. I think that this movie is a mixture of Alien, Pitch Black and to some extent reminiscent of Alastair Reynolds' Chasm City – with similar motif of colony ship lost in deepness of space.
I really have hard time finding any complaints about this one. Sure it is no “District 9” but it was a great science fiction show nevertheless. And the ending – call me a sucker but I loved it. I would say that only fault is that it is not very original. Well, if I can enjoy playing nth reiteration of Quake or Call of Duty I cannot see why I should complain about a robust movie. So if you like science fiction you should have fun with this one.

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