Greetings, movie buffs! I know it’s frustrating because film studios are refusing to release their movies digitally, but we gain occasional victories. Antebellum is a horror film and thriller that’s available for rent and Enola Holmes is a mystery that Warner Bros. sold to Netflix. Did either movie impress me or are we better off binging other choices through streaming? I’ll give you my thoughts below.
Let’s begin with Antebellum. It takes place through the eyes of two characters who are played by Janelle Monae. One character is a slave who was captured during the American Civil War and the second role is a successful author and steadfast activist who gives public lectures during the modern era. These time periods and characters overlap somehow, which seems confusing for a while, but everything becomes clear eventually. Sorry, but I can’t give it away without spoilers.
I’ll talk about the positive elements first. Truthfully, I found this movie quite disappointing. 2020 is showcasing a lot of ambitious films with female leads and this one has issues. However, it gets better along the way. The third act was much better than I expected. There’s a really interesting twist late in the film and I thought it elevated the story. Some people hate the twist, but I thought it was the film’s redeeming feature. It gave a lot of context to the movie’s brutality and there’s a lot of retribution at the end. The last twenty minutes are pretty exciting and made the movie worth watching. I found Antebellum very topical. It illustrates many ugly truths that haunt American culture today. I can’t say it’s a fun movie, but the overall work makes a good point.
Now I need to address the problematic elements. Antebellum has a slew of problems, including a really vague and disorganized plot. It makes sense later, but the journey isn’t very enjoyable, clear, or well crafted. The entire middle of the film is confusing and weird. I spent a lot of time playing on my cell phone because the story lost my interest. Even the good parts are on the nose.
I wasn’t crazy about the characters and actors either. Most of the characters are generic and one dimensional, except the roles played by Janelle Monae. The performances seem pretty forgettable and I’m not sure if it’s a problem with the actors or the director. I have a feeling the director didn’t bring out the best in the actors. So, Antebellum has a mediocre story and characters. That’s a huge blow to this film.
Also, this movie isn’t very scary. It’s more like a dramatic thriller. The trailers are almost false advertising. It doesn’t have supernatural elements, I don’t remember any frightening moments, and the atmosphere doesn’t fit the horror mold. Horror fans are going to be disappointed. This movie has many disturbing scenes, especially in the first act. But it just felt like exploitation for shock value. I took a similar issue with Hotel Mumbai and several torture porn movies.
Ultimately, Antebellum isn’t worth a rental for twenty bucks. You could check it out for the sake of curiosity, but keep your expectations low. It’s not a real horror film and I can name several better examples with female leads. Better luck next time.
I’m also reviewing Enola Holmes, which you can watch on Netflix. It’s based on a YA book series by Nancy Springer and it features an original character who’s Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister. Enola is a rebellious teenager and a detective who shares some eccentricities with her older brother. In this case, she’s trying to save a young nobleman from being assassinated while searching for her mother who is missing.
Both films on this post feature strong female leads, but I was a lot more impressed with Enola Holmes. It’s a really fun, charming, and delightful movie with strong entertainment value. This film has good mystery elements, decent action scenes, a little bit of humor, and interesting characters. It’s a well rounded movie with many enjoyable components. What else could you want? I think it’s a decent YA adaptation with enough substance for adults as well.
The story is surprisingly good. Mystery films can be hard to follow, but this one makes sense without being predictable. It’s fun to follow Enola’s journey while she uncovers each clue. The movie is also a solid coming of age story that shows Enola’s venture from being a naive teenager to a rebellious lady. It also has a decent subplot with a potential love interest that doesn’t hurt Enola’s independent spirit.
Also, the characters were quite entertaining. Millie Bobby Brown gives a delightful performance as the titular character and it shows young women can be fiercely independent and modern, but still compassionate and a true lady at the same time. Her brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft, are only in a handful of scenes, but they’re pretty entertaining too. Henry Cavill gives a different take on Sherlock Holmes while Sam Claflin plays a more straight and narrow version of Mycroft. Everyone plays their part, including Louis Patridge as Enjola’s potential love interest and Helena Bonham Carter as Enola’s mother. The characters pull a lot of weight in this film and keep the pacing brisk.
Overall, I have very few complaints. I suppose it might skew to female audiences, especially the YA crowds. This film has a strong feminist spin and I consider that a good thing, but select audiences might find the material preachy and outside of their personal beliefs. That’s really my only criticism.
In the end, Enola Holmes is a lighthearted movie with some thought provoking elements and decent storytelling. It’s really fun and accessible because you can watch it on Netflix. This movie can easily bring some cheer and laughter to your life and I believe most of us could appreciate uplifting entertainment during this uncertain time period. Streaming was definitely the right platform for this film because it’s really good, but I doubt it would have been financially successful in theaters, even without the pandemic. Considering you only need a Netflix subscription to watch Enola Holmes, it’s a must watch.
That’s all for now. Keep watching for movie updates and news. The situation keeps getting weirder and more convoluted all the time. Even the gaming world is a mess because the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are premiering soon without major game releases. I haven’t decided next week’s post yet. It might be another round of game reviews. Alternatively, I might discuss the disastrous preorder situation for both game systems. I’ll figure it out next week. Have fun watching movies at home and I’ll see you guys soon. Have a good week!
Welcome back! Social distancing is still an important part of our current situation, which can be difficult for people in the steampunk community. It means we can’t have public gatherings, parties, and other standards of steampunk culture. Luckily, steampunk fans are creative people and we can find clever ways to celebrate at home. Here are my suggestions to bring a little bit of steampunk at home whether you’re a huge steampunk fan or a newcomer to the idea.
A Virtual Tea Party
Who says we can’t dress up in steampunk garb and socialize with our friends? Thanks to Zoom, Skype, and other digital tools, steampunk fans can link up through video coverage and connect with others. Everyone can wear their favorite steampunk costume and enjoy a nice cup of tea. It’s a great way to talk about current events, projects, hobbies, and anything else that comes to mind.
Make a New Steampunk Outfit
Many steampunk fans create their own costumes and the pandemic could be a good opportunity to work on something new. Scared to go outside for materials? You always have the option to buy material online and ship it home. I’ve never had a knack for sewing, but many people find it quite enjoyable and therapeutic. It might even be a decent project for individuals who enjoy sewing, but never made a steampunk outfit before.
Write a Steampunk Book
It seems like many people want to write a novel, short story, or anthology, but it never happens. This is the perfect time to write a fun steampunk story for your friends, self-publishing, or your own entertainment. Writing is a healthy way to stimulate the mind and it would definitely be a good way to keep your mind away from the pandemic. Steampunk worlds can be vast and the possibilities are endless in literature.
Watch Steampunk Movies
You can find steampunk elements in a number of films, including Mortal Engines, The Golden Compass, Howl’s Moving Castle, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Sherlock Holmes, and many others. If you just want to kick back and relax, checking out steampunk movies on Netflix and other digital options is a great way to bring those fantasy gears and cogs home.
Listen to Steampunk Music
Yes, steampunk bands exist. Some notable examples include Abney Park, Victor Sierra, Unwoman, Steam Powered Giraffe, The Cog is Dead, etc. You can purchase their music digitally and much of it is available on YouTube. What’s the difference between steampunk music and everything else? First of all, steampunk musicians participate in the subculture. Also, a lot of steampunk bands take influences from Victorian music or tell steampunk stories in their lyrics.
Learn about Steampunk Culture Online
What the heck is steampunk anyway? A basic Google search will give you a plethora of resources. Online, you can find entire blogs, newsletters, YouTube channels, social media groups, and other resources that educate the public about steampunk. Even the general steampunk page on Wikipedia is a decent start. I know it’s easy to be judgmental about these types of subcultures, but learn about it first before passing judgment. You might be pleasantly surprised.
A Virtual Dinner Party
Our current situation is a great time to experiment in the kitchen. We can’t have barbecues or dinner parties in public right now, but virtual dinners are a good idea. Everyone can make their favorite meal and sit down in steampunk attire. The adventurous ones can also search for traditional Victorian meals online. Social distancing is essential at this time, but you can still socialize with your friends digitally.
Play Steampunk Games
I’ll never forget about the gamers. Current gen consoles have a variety of steampunk games, such as Dishonored, The Order: 1886, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, and the BioShock collection. They vary in quality, but it’s still a good way to understand steampunk on a visual level. Steampunk games have impressive graphics and world building with elaborate stories. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to blow up things with steampunk weapons. Kaboom!
Read Steampunk Books
Maybe you don’t want to write a steampunk book, but reading one is more enticing. There’s a large quantity of steampunk literature ranging from big publishers to indie writers. You can find steampunk books in both physical and digital forms, including The Parasol Protectorate, Leviathan, The Clockwork Century, The Infernal Devices, my own series titled The Post-Apocalyptic Society, and countless other works. It’s a great way to experience grand steampunk landscapes without leaving home. Don’t forget about the classics by H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Mary Shelley.
Create Your Own Steampunk Project
The possibilities for steampunk projects are infinite. Basically, steampunk can be weaved into your favorite hobbies with a little imagination. Some people enjoy painting, woodwork, drawing, crocheting, leatherwork, and other crafts. You can even fight COVID-19 with steampunk. Try making a steampunk mask. I’ve seen some pretty impressive ideas.
That’s end of my latest post. If you feel creative, try any of the suggestions on my list. We can still have fun until it’s safe to go back outside. Just think outside the box. Bring some steampunk into your life and have fun!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.