Upgrade

Upgrade ★★★½

A fun action film that explores AI while using a tech-noir setting to display stylistic set pieces.

One of the things I love about this film, and hope other action films replicate, is the inclusion of action gore. A lot of action films skip such displays for superficial wounds. Not this film.

While I enjoyed the film, I resent the high marks given to it on Letterboxd.
Having watched both Solomon Kane and Upgrade as part of the Queer Film Challenge 2021, I genuinely don't understand why people loved this movie and not Solomon Kane.

Both are superficial genre pictures. Upgrade tries to include the elements of surprise but unintentionally telegraphs every major plot point (if you want us to think a marriage is safe from harm, make it appear more mundane!)

Solomon Kane lets you know where it's going from the outset without trying to hide it. I respect that more than the Sixth Sense approach to film making. I think a lot of cinemaheads know what's coming in genre movies with twists but don't want to look like an asshole by saying "That was obvious".

The truth is that it is difficult to bury sharp turns in plot if you do so under cinematic convention or passive cliches. People who watch a lot of movies pick up a sort of intuition, a semi-conscious intelligence about the patters that they are observing. Watch enough magic shows and you'll pick up some tricks yourself.

Despite this, many fellow cinema viewers seem to reward the conventions we encounter as long as they are superficially covered. Films that find such efforts trivial (Solomon Kane) are punished for not making the effort, though that effort (Upgrade) is patronizing.

The honesty of a straight forward genre film well executed should be equally (more so in my book) rewarded with films that try to hide an obvious quarter behind the viewers ear.

Watched for Queer Film Challenge 2021 23/40- A film with a non-binary character

I diverged from Kyle's list as I had already seen Hedwig a handful of times (including Michael C Hall (Dexter) on Broadway, which was awesome!)