Sunday, 13 August 2017

Looking Forward: SEPTEMBER 2017

As usual, one of the quieter months of the Year...but with a nice little surprise towards the end of the month...



American Assassin (Sep 15 - USA, Sep 14 - UK, Oct 12 - Singapore)

             At a quick glance, this, to me, looks just like another action flick. There could be more to it, but not from what I can gather from the trailers. It might still be an exciting action flick to enjoy, but I don't see this being much different from many other action flicks that have come before.

Trailers:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tlFfArvVDY (Teaser Trailer)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yoEyzOkTOI (Trailer #1)


Kingsman: The Golden Circle (Sep 22 - USA, Sep 20 - UK, Sep 21 - Singapore)

               Not sure if this qualifies as the nice little surprise, but it certainly is the only major big-budget blockbuster in September. The first Kingsman film was a surprise, spectacular hit, and it was (I think) my number 2 or 3 film of that year. It was a really fun movie with lots of great humour & cool action, and not without a nice touching story, too. And this sequel, judging by all the trailers that has came out, looks to aim for more of the same, and that is exactly all I want from a Kingsman movie. With some great cast additions (mainly the American counterpart to the Kingsman), this is looking to be one hell of a film to watch.

Trailers:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6reo6h7h1wk (Trailer #1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48WwGPbXhMo (Trailer #2)


The Lego Ninjago Movie (Sep 22 - USA, Oct 13 - UK, Sep 28 - Singapore)

               This is the third movie in the Lego Movie series after the highly successful The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie. Both were critically very well received and I really liked both of them, so that actually gives me the confidence in the quality of this next film. But it is the property that I am not quite familiar of and so far, the trailers have not made me much interested in it either. It still does look decent and looks to be a funny animation flick, so I hope to be enjoying this movie. But if you are asking if I am excited about it....not so much yet.

Trailers:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJBS1ogEVHE (Trailer #1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1d2MYRboCsk (Comic-Con Trailer)


American Made (Sep 29 - USA, Aug 25 - UK, Aug 31 - Singapore)

               Another collaboration between director Doug Liman and actor Tom Cruise. The film is supposedly a biographical crime story which tells about Barry Seal (who I only heard the name before from Narcos). And initially, I wasn't too sure what to expect from this film, and I figured it might well be a serious drama (like most biographies are) about the life of this person. Instead, the trailers came out and I was pleasantly surprised. It took the fun, high-octane style and Tom Cruise looks like he's having a lot of fun in the role. It just seriously looks fun, so I'm quite excited about this film.

Trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HG9lMOUtyXc (Trailer #1)


Other Movies:

            As usual, you can expect to find some major horror flicks in this section because I actively avoid them. In this month, the big one has to be It (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAUTdjf9rko) which is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, and will be out on September 8th. Meanwhile, this next film is more of a psychological horror/thriller instead and is directed (and written) by acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky. The film is Mother! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtTE_DBKpRY), and will be out on September 15th.
             There's quite a few comedies out in this month, but none of them really caught my attention. So I'm going to go ahead to a drama flick which did caught my attention, and that is Victoria & Abdul (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9Ad1M9DP-c), which actually looks pretty good. It is out on September 22nd.
              The last film I want to call out is a remake/sequel (not sure which) of a film in the 90s, and that is the science-fiction thriller Flatliners (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1S52y5ZVlY). I'm personally not that sold, but if I hear good things about this film, I might go and check it out.

Friday, 4 August 2017

BABY DRIVER



            A movie directed by Edgar Wright is always going to be fun. And this film is very much so. The style of the film is really fast-paced and unique, and the songs incorporated in the film is perfectly put to use. But there seems to be a lack of substance or depth in the plot - which doesn't actually make it a bad movie, but its just not as special as I thought it'd be.

              For sure, there is never any doubt in the directing ability of Edgar Wright. And since he also wrote this film and chose the songs and all, this is his film through and through. And the style he brings into the film is just unique & fun & fast-paced. The way the songs are incorporated in the film is perfect. The beats just match the scenes perfectly, and they enhance the feeling of the sequences. The whole film is really just straight-up energetic and fun to watch throughout.

            Meanwhile, the characters are decent, with some special standout like Jamie Foxx. And the dialogue is brilliant, and a lot of the humour pulls through excellently. Instead, what the film lacks is the substance - the depth of the plot. It is a very simplistic plot. And especially the last act of the film is also kind of dragged out. This is definitely the area that could've been improved.

              But otherwise, it really is a fun watch, with the Edgar Wright-style action & music. It is definitely worth the watch for a good fun, fast-paced movie. Unfortunately, it is all style, but little substance. So, don't expect a great movie, but expect a very fun one.

VERDICT: 70 / 100

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Best Trailers from San Diego Comic Con 2017

It's been more than a week since SDCC 2017, so this is actually quite late, but I just want to share my thoughts on it...
There so many interesting announcements & information from SDCC 2017, but I won't be talking too much about them...I will focus only on the trailers that came out...especially the very good ones...



Star Wars: The Last Jedi (from D23 2017)

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye6GCY_vqYk

               Okay, I know this is not from SDCC 2017, but Disney's D23 Expo happened just a week earlier, and this is the only good thing that came out from it (in terms of trailers/clips). That being said, it is indeed really good. It is a behind-the-scenes video, but you really get the feel from it. Some of the images that they show are really cool, and there are some funny remarks (like the one from John Boyega) and some very inspiring ones, too (like from Carrie Fisher). And the music that accompanies it is really awesome, and fits perfectly to the tone of the montage.

Netflix Trailers

Bright: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EZCBSsBxko

The Defenders: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_6J9BqgonU

Star Trek: Discovery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWnYtyNKPsA

                First off, Bright is a movie that will be released immediately on Netflix in December. Personally, I am not that keen into this film, but it does look pretty interesting and has a great cast. Meanwhile, if I have to pick the product that I am interested in most, it would be The Defenders. But the trailer is not that great. It's decent, but its nothing to rave about. Finally, Star Trek: Discovery actually looks very cool & has a pretty good trailer. I was initially concerned about a Star Trek TV series, but thanks to the involvement of Netflix, it received a high budget (for TV) which allows the special effects to be done so brilliantly well. It really looks good.

Other/Marvel TV Trailers

Inhumans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU9Z6cKsbY0&t=2s

The Gifted: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSvX-azZmG4

                Now I know that there are a lot of DC trailers (Arrow, The Flash, Gotham, etc) that came out...but I have to admit that I am no longer following any of them. Unfortunately they feel too repetitive and I have lost the interest in watching them. Meanwhile, these shows (Inhumans, The Gifted) are new shows, so obviously I am interested and will give them a chance....whether I ended up liking it or giving up on them is another story. Also, before I have DC fanboys shouting at me, I need you to know that I have given up on Agents of SHIELD long before I had given up on the CW shows.

              Now in terms of the above trailers, I have to say that I am just borderline interested in Inhumans. The trailer actually doesn't look that good, and I'm not too sure how the show will be. I am still interested, but I am cautiously optimistic with the quality of the show. On the other hand, initially I was very skeptical about The Gifted, but this trailer is really awesome! It looks very cool, and I like some of the characters involved (Polaris, Blink). And with Bryan Singer directing the pilot, I am now really quite interested in this show.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fvqnGmr9S8

              The trailer is pretty cool, but it didn't add too much excitement for me. Partially, it might be because I am already sold on the film, anyway, but its also partially because the trailer is not great (decent, but not spectacular).

Thor: Ragnarok

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue80QwXMRHg

               Marvel Studios may have released a bunch of videos in the panel itself, but the only one released to the public/internet is the new trailer for Thor: Ragnarok. And I have to say, I kind of enjoyed the trailer and where they are taking this film. I still admit, deep down, I would rather have a dark Thor movie (I mean, the title is Ragnarok, for God's sake). That being said, I really like everything that I have seen so far, and I am super excited to see this film now. Even the trailers themselves are already enjoyable to watch on their own.

Warner Bros Studios

Ready Player One: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znavw4akfoY

Justice League: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_6yBZKj-eo

              Everything that I have heard about Ready Player One is nothing short of exciting. A great premise based on a great novel. Directed by Steven Spielberg, scored by Alan Silvestri, and includes an array of great actors (Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance, etc). But the trailer wasn't very good. In fact, I was quite disappointed by it. The visual looks pretty cool, but the overall trailer quality was poor.

              On the other hand, the winner of the best trailer of SDCC 2017 has to be Justice League. The trailer is 4 minutes long, and it is awesome! The glimpses of the villain is pretty cool (and that voice is super menacing!), and the whole trailer contains some very cool shots and exciting action sequences. I am still not totally into the jokes from Barry Allen (The Flash), but save that, this whole trailer is spectacular. Even the music in the trailer is just epic! And if we're getting into some of the details, I like the the fact that the villain mentioned 'No Lanterns' as reference to the Green Lantern, and of course, we can only guess who that mysterious individual was at the end there. But, as a trailer, it is a very good trailer with cool shots and great music. It is easily the best trailer of SDCC 2017!

Friday, 28 July 2017

DUNKIRK



             For what it set out to do, I think Dunkirk is brilliant. The portrayal of the war and the soldiers trying to survive & reach home is done in a spectacular cinematic experience...with some great visuals, action & intensity, and accompanied by one the best musical scores of the year (by one of the greatest composers of all time). But as a film, I didn't particularly like it. There is a lack of character & emotional journey.

              This is perhaps a film that I watch with more admiration rather than enjoyment. For what it set out to do, in terms of the portrayal of the battle of Dunkirk, it was done brilliantly. Few can do better than Christopher Nolan when it comes to directing action sequences like these. And some of the shots, especially those in the air with the spitfires, are just gorgeous. And the action is brought to life with great intensity.

                The intensity is especially so prominent thanks to the musical score of my favourite composer of all time, Hans Zimmer. I don't know how he keeps creating these awesome score, but he definitely did it again this time. So, if there is one thing that I particularly enjoy in this film, it would be the score. There is one music titled 'Supermarine' which is spectacularly awesome. It will definitely be put on repeat in my Spotify for the next few days.

                 However, I actually don't like the film that much. I think this is no fault of anyone - not the director nor writer, and most certainly not the actors (who were brilliant) - but they set out to do a realistic portrayal of the battle, and not focus on the characters. As such, there is a lack of character development and therefore has no emotional journey that I could have gotten invested in.

                  For me, that is such a pity because I go to the movies for some good plot & characters where I can get invested in someone's emotional journey - otherwise, I could always simply watch a documentary. So it is just unfortunate that this film didn't put forth the characters, and for me personally, that makes the film feel a bit shallow.

                   Which is why, in the end, it was more admiration than enjoyment for me (except for the score, of course), and I do appreciate the great visuals, action & intensity...but as a film, it didn't stuck with me. I might still recommend some people to catch this film if only for the one-time cinematic experience, but I will warn them not to expect too much from it.

VERDICT: 55 / 100

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Looking Forward: AUGUST 2017

August officially marks the end of the summer big-budget blockbusters, but there still quite a few interesting & fun films to look forward to...



The Dark Tower (Aug 4-USA, Aug 18-UK, Aug 3-Singapore)

           A few months ago, I would have been really excited about this film. A science-fiction fantasy western film based on the book by Stephen King. Not to mention the starring roles of both Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. It does sound like a very promising blockbuster near the end of the summer. But the trailers then came out, and I was a bit let down. I'm not sure how to say it, but it just doesn't look as substantial or as action-packed as I thought. I'm not even sure what the plot will be (I don't read books, by the way). And the latest (and hopefully, the last) straw for me would be knowing that the running time is a mere 95 minutes (including credits)....which is very short. In the end, I will probably still watch the film, but I don't feel excited any bit at all now.

Trailers:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK9LpM7qmJY (Trailer #1)


Detroit (Aug 4-USA, Aug 25-UK)

               These kinds of 'based on real life' stories aren't usually my favourite kind of films, but this particular one really intrigued me. Well, the main reason for that is that it is a Katheryn Bigelow directed film. That sells me straight away. Then you have some excellent cast in the film with John Boyega, Will Poulter, Anthony Mackie, and more. It still probably isn't my most awaited film in any stretch, but it certainly has lots of positive buzz around it.

Trailers:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5h7Kgo-zeI (Trailer #1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-2_1tUnIWM (Trailer #2)


Wind River (Aug 4-USA. Sep 8-UK)

          After his awesome work in writing the screenplay for both Sicario & Hell or High Water (which were really brilliantly written films), Taylor Sheridan has got my full attention for this next project of his. Perhaps the only existing question mark is from the fact that this is his first run as a director. But after seeing the trailer, this doesn't feel like much of a concern anymore. I like what I've seen in the trailers, and I like the tone/style of this film. Really quite looking forward to this.

Trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZgN0dpFoaE (Trailer #1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGk_sO57Gr4 (Trailer #2)


The Hitman's Bodyguard (Aug 18-USA, Aug 18-UK, Aug 17-Singapore)

              This really looks like one of those hilarious action comedies with a great dynamic from the main duo. I have always enjoyed these kind of films which has excellent chemistry between the main characters, like The Nice Guys, Central Intelligence, etc. And by the looks of it in the trailers, the Samuel L Jackson and Ryan Reynolds certainly looks like they have an amazing & funny partnership brewing. And that's all I need to buy this film. I can only hope that the story delivers, too. But I'm excited about this.

Trailers:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-d1XOshDSbg (Trailer #1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXKgEBkjZ2k (Trailer #2)


Logan Lucky (Aug 18-USA, Aug 25-UK, Aug 31-Singapore)

                Another great looking comedy. This one, instead, has an array of great actors with the likes of Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Seth MacFarlane, and even Daniel Craig (sporting a southern accent, no less). And with a heist element added into the film, this really has the potential to be one of the better comedies of the year, and I really look forward to this film.

Trailers:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsOIuzxMplA (Trailer #1)


Other Movies:

          As most of you may well know by now, I am certainly not a fan of horror flicks, but for those of you who are, Annabelle: Creation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0s3XdCN1uks) is out on August 11. Meanwhile, if you are a fan of animation movies, The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nF8T_V22ng) is also out on the same day, while musical animation Leap! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vM-CnKojrQ) will be out on August 30th in the US.

Friday, 21 July 2017

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES



            When I first started this blog, it was because of an awesome, powerful film that concluded what is arguably one of the best trilogies of all time - the film was The Dark Knight Rises. And I gave that film a perfect score. And 5 years later, I have that very same feeling again with War for the Planet of the Apes. It is spectacular in so many ways, from the story, to the characters, to the performances, and more.

            The emotional journey that Caesar went through in this film is so powerful, and you really feel that in this film. And this is due to a great mixture of awesome work from the whole team - from the brilliant performance by Andy Serkis, the visual direction of Matt Reeves, and even the visual effects that really brought it to life.

           Meanwhile, a lot of the other supporting characters are also very memorable. For example, the likes of Maurice & Rocket are such excellent companions to Caesar. They counterbalance Caesar's emotions, but they also care so much for him. On the other side, The Colonel, who acts as the antagonist, is both menacing when he needs to be, but you can also understand the reasons why he does what he does.

               But in terms of standout characters, it has to be both Bad Ape & Nova. Bad Ape acts mostly as a comic relief, but it did not feel forced or cringey at all. The humour really works and adds a nice balance to the overall dark tone of the plot. Nova, meanwhile, is just something else. I don't want to say too much about the character now, but she is really such a wonderful character & plays a big role/impact (not necessarily physically, but emotionally). You'll like her.

                I seriously can't find anything in this film that I don't like at all. I thought to myself, that if this film has a more epic battle, this would be even more perfect. But actually, it doesn't need it. Even as it is, the film is already the perfect conclusion to a spectacular trilogy, and I really enjoyed/appreciated every single moment in this film...for me, this already is the perfect blockbuster. 

                 It has the perfect blend of intense action sequences (with a great accompanying musical score by Michael Giacchino), a great emotional story, excellent memorable characters, and even nice touches of humour along the way. I thought about it for a while, but then I realize, it was a very easy decision for me...this is easily the best movie of the year so far!

VERDICT: 100 / 100

Saturday, 15 July 2017

SPOILER TALK: Spider-Man: Homecoming

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Spider-Man

            In my main review, I spoke about this being the best Spider-Man seen in film. And I obviously can't spoil it back then, but I would like to list down some of examples of these excellent moments. There are actually a lot of these but a good example would be the montage early in the film when he does these little things in the street like stopping a bike theft or helping an old lady with some directions, when Tony & Happy were not responding his calls. All this really feels exactly like what a Spider-Man would do.
           But the parts I like best was when Peter has these conversations with his suit AI, Karen. These are just hilarious. Like when the suit keeps suggesting the instant-kill mode, or when suggesting the different type of web shooters...Peter's responses were just hilarious. And I also like it when the suit was in enhanced interrogation mode and masks Peter's voice. It made the voice intimidating, but the words that came out was one of a young teenager. The most memorable scene, for me, was when he was stuck in the warehouse and has these conversations with Karen while also trying out the different type of web shooters. Again, he does these funny things that only Spider-Man can do.
              All these scenes are super fun & hilarious to watch and which is why I can easily say that this is the definitive film version Spider-Man.

Peter Parker's Friends

             Also as mentioned in my review, I was initially very skeptical about the high school scenes in the film, but I ended up enjoying those a lot. Ned is a surprisingly very fun character, and so is the snarky, sarcastic Michelle. By the way, I don't quite like the MJ reference...but it doesn't bother me much. Meanwhile, I really like this version of Flash Thompson for being more of a fun character & modern bully, instead of the old school physical bully.
              The character of Liz was okay, but what I like was seeing how Peter has a crush on her and how he approaches her. I mean, these are things that we all feel at one point in time, but we don't see it happen with Captain America or Iron Man or Thor. By the way, the reveal that Adrian Toomes was her dad was such a surprise to me. I didn't see that coming at all, but it was a nice surprise.

The Avengers

               A very quick one here. I like the fact that while Iron Man and The Avengers deals with all these big threats and aliens and monsters, but they ignore these street level crimes on the ground, and that is where Spider-Man comes in. This gives that perspective that there are more dangers than just the ones from the sky, but even those closer to home. Which is also why I like that, at the end, Spider-Man rejects the option to be an Avenger, and instead chooses to stay at home and look out for the "little guy" in and around his neighbourhood.

Credits Scene

             I mentioned in my review that the mid-credits scene got me really excited for the future. And that is because, for a while, I thought Mac Gargan (who will end up to be Scorpion) had fallen from the ferry and died. But to see him in the mid-credits scene there gives me not only the relief that the character is alive, but also the excitement that if he gets teased like this in a credits scene, you can bet that he'll show up in future movies.
               And in case you are wondering, I am not necessarily a big fan of Scorpion, no...that's not the reason why I'm excited about this character. Rather, I am very much a big fan of the actor Michael Mando. I am such a big fan of his work, including as Nacho Varga in the Breaking Bad spin-off, Better Call Saul. But his best role remains as antagonist Vaas in the video game Far Cry 3, which is my favourite character ever in video games. I became a fan of him because of this game, and anywhere I can see more of him (more so if its in the MCU) is just going to get me excited.
                 Meanwhile, the post-credits scene is just brilliant. It is hilarious, and was brilliantly delivered by Chris Evans. Amazing stuff.