Meewella | Critic

According to P

Tag: Maxime Alexandre

QuickView: Oxygen (2021)

“I cannot satisfy that request.”


A French sci-fi take on Buried, a scientist wakes up in a sealed cryogenic pod with no memory of how she ended up there, her only hope of rescue being calls to the outside. Although perfect for shooting during the pandemic, Oxygen had been in development for several years before. The entire film rests on Mélanie Laurent’s performance, which deftly slides between agitated and analytical, fearful and ferocious. Her primary contact is an A.I. named M.I.L.O. (Medical Inferface Liason Officer) who is monitoring her pod but refuses to allow her to leave. The pod’s futuristic design is less claustrophobic than Buried’s coffin — it actually feels more like Locke’s car, a confined modern space that is shot with attractive lighting. Oxygen is less committed to the experimental conceit than those films as, although we only hear others as disembodied voices, we frequently cut to the protagonist’s clouded memory fragments. This is purposeful, since Oxygen has a broader science fiction story to build out from within its restricted set. The result is less noteworthy an achievement, but a compelling and memorable tale nonetheless.


QuickView: Shazam! (2019)

Shazam! poster

“If a superhero can’t save his family, he’s not much of a hero.”

Billy Batson

DC’s struggling attempts to mirror the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have left me wanting them to shelve the shared dark and gritty Snyderverse in favour of individual movies with wildly different tones to reflect their vast stable of characters. Shazam! shines for just that reason, a self-aware exploration of how a child would respond to superpowers that has more in common with Kick-Ass or Deadpool (albeit with violence toned down for a teen rating) than any recent DC film. Zachery Levi is a perfect choice for Billy Batson’s alter ego, bringing childlike exuberance to his physical performance and drawing heavily from Tom Hanks in Big. The supervillain conflict is formulaic and the film runs out of steam by the end, but genuine humour keeps this a light-hearted entertainment experience that hopefully encourages DC to greater variety.


"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

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