Saturday, 26 December 2015

Looking Forward: JANUARY 2016

None of those big budget blockbusters, yet, but still quite a lot of films to look out for...

The Hateful Eight (Jan 1-USA, Jan 8-UK, Jan 21-Singapore)

            If I were any other film reviewer, all I'd need to do is mention the director's name. But I am not them. In fact, the only Quentin Tarantino film I've ever seen is Inglourious Basterds - which is a good film with many memorable moments, but a bit too peculiar and slow-paced for my taste. I know Pulp Fiction is good, but its a bit too far for my time. And honestly, I've been meaning to check out Django Unchained, though...soon, perhaps.
            In any case, I get the idea of how QT has his own unique vision and take on films. All those Academy Awards nominations & wins speaks for it as well. But as I said before, they're just a bit peculiar and slow-paced for my taste. As such, even personally, I have yet to decide in seeing this in the theatres.

Trailers: (Teaser Trailer) (Trailer #1)

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (Jan 15-USA, Jan 29-UK, Feb 18-Singapore)

            I suppose, in contrast to the film above, the director of this film, Michael Bay, has been criticized time and again for his recent Transformers films. While they make a lot of money, they didn't get a lot of love, especially from critics. I could understand all the hate, but I am one of the few people who appreciate some of the cool aspects of the film.
             And now, looking at the trailers of this film, it certainly looks like a film right down his alley - with tons of action & explosions. Judging by the kind of film this looks to be (and his Transformers films), I would not even expect this to be a very good film. But I do expect this film to be quite entertaining & action-packed, i.e. a watchable film.

Trailers: (Trailer #1) (Trailer #2)

The 5th Wave (Jan 22-USA, Jan 22-UK, Jan 14-Singapore)

            It's not only the superhero films that keeps on coming...the Young Adult Science-Fiction Novel Adaptations keeps on coming, too. There has been hits and misses with this particular genre, and the same doubt hovers around this film, for me. The theme of this film certainly looks cool, and it looks promising, based on the trailers. But if they don't pull this off well, then it could yet be another miss for the YA Sci-Fi Novel Adaptation. If they focus too much on the romance thing, specifically...I'm out. So, actually, this film will decide whether or not I'm going to be invested with the saga, and more importantly, whether the critics and audiences will like it such that the sequels can be made.

Trailers: (Trailer #1)

The Finest Hours (29 Jan-USA, 19 Feb-UK, 18 Feb-Singapore)

            I have recently seen a film about a disaster at sea. But this one looks to be much more on the suspense & thrill. I'm not particularly fond of disaster films where things just go from bad to worse. It's a bit depressing. But if they are done well, then they're worth the watch. And I'll be looking out for this film because it has the potential to be a good one.

Trailers: (Trailer #1) (Trailer #2)

Kung Fu Panda 3 (Jan 29-USA)

            The first two films of this franchise took me by surprise because they were awesome. I'd never thought animated film could pull off brilliant action sequences until I see the Kung Fu Panda films. But somehow, I'm not too excited with this next one. It feels like as if the series doesn't have a lot more to offer. I'm still excited enough and I'm definitely going to see it, but I'm not as excited as I would have, because it seems like the series doesn't have a lot of new things to show for.

Trailers: (Teaser Trailer) (Trailer #1)

Other Movies:

The Revenant (January 8)
-A western survival thriller with a really dark and gritty tone...

Ride Along 2 (January 15)
- A sequel to the hit comedy, Ride Along...

Jane Got a Gun (January 29)
-The third western film for the month, and has a similarly great cast...

Monday, 21 December 2015


"It's true...all of it"

          A few days before watching this film, it came to my realization that this film will be the first Star Wars film that I will watch in the movie theater. I was 12 when Revenge of the Sith came out. Not long after, I began watching all six films, and then playing the video games, and soon enough developed this love for Star Wars. And now, to be watching this film in IMAX...was a majestic experience. I've seen many SW opening crawls before, but never feeling it like this. I was living the dream for about 2 hours in there, and by the end, I was emotionally exhausted.

           It really is a majestic Star Wars experience. The visuals are brilliant. And I'm not just talking about the beautiful settings (which mostly is of the real world) or the creatures and spaceships (which mostly are practically built) that made the experience so real. But JJ Abrams is such a brilliant director with awesome variety of tracking shots, wide angles, and the like, that made the world feel so real and the experience so immersive.

           And yes, obviously Star Wars is not Star Wars without some excellent action sequences. It doesn't take Master Yoda's wisdom to figure out that there'd be a lightsaber battle somewhere - and it was great! But its not all about the coreography. In fact, its more of the power of the moment and where we find these characters that makes this lightsaber battle great. But my favourite action sequence has to be the aerial battle between the Resistance X-Wing Fighters and the First Order TIE Fighters. The aerial sequences in this film are seriously beautiful.

           Now, the characters. Some of the characters are underused or underwhelming, but I have no qualms about them. The characters that matter...were great! And brilliantly acted, too. Daisy Ridley's Rey is such a cool character, and you just can't help but love her. I've always fancied the dark side, and Kylo Ren made me love them even more. Meanwhile, Harrison Ford's Han Solo, to me, stands out yet again. He still has that charisma, that small talk persona that made us all love this scruffy-looking smuggler in the first place, but also has that wisdom and experience that sees him a different person than where we left him.

            The not only is it difficult for me to cover this ground, but its also the only aspect of the film in which I have slight qualms about....just the slightest. Generally, the plot works and feels natural. But know this - some of the minor details slightly disappoints me. But it still doesn't take away a lot from the film. Where there is humour & fun, I enjoyed them. Where there is drama, I felt them. It is a complete plot that works, with only some minor details that I may have overexpected. (To be explained in the Spoiler Discussion).

           And one last thing that I cannot leave out - the soundtrack (by the legendary John Williams) is gorgeous!! I loved it...and after hearing it again and again, I loved it even more. If you can get your hands on it, listen to the tracks: "Rey's Theme" and "The Jedi Steps" - they are the most un-Star Wars-y of musics, but they sound so gorgeous!!

          The Force Awakens is not terribly groundbreaking or perfect, but it brings out the best in Star Wars. As a film, it is a complete experience filled with adventures, action, splendid visuals, great drama & humour. For 2 hours and 10 minutes there, I was living the dream!


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

SPECIAL: Top 10 Most Anticipated of 2016 - Part 3

Top 3 below...

A quick shout-out to Alice Through the Looking Glass & Independence Day: Resurgence for almost making the Top 10...

Now, TOP 3:

3. Star Trek Beyond (July 22)

the film's logo

In case you're wondering, yes, I moved the film that was supposed to be third into fourth...check the previous post to see my thoughts on that film...

            (Now, why did I move this film up to third? Well, I just saw the trailer for Star Trek Beyond...but its not because the trailer is cool or whatever, no...those kind of excitement don't last long. What the trailer reminded me of what made the Star Trek stories so powerful, i.e. the friendship & relationship between the very distinct characters - the reckless James Kirk, the uptight Spock, the ever-complaining Bones, the light-hearted Scotty, etc. The interactions, and henceforth, the development of the relationship of these distinct characters (especially between Kirk & Spock) is amazing & emotional, and it really has been the core of the Star Trek stories wherever they go and whatever they do.)

          Star Trek Into Darkness was one of the best films in recent years, and it was my best film of 2013. So, I was rather disappointed when I found out that JJ Abrams will not be doing Star Trek 3. Not only did he not get to complete a trilogy (after the brilliant Star Trek and the equally spectacular Into Darkness), but also he didn't get to do the film that is to be their 50th anniversary. Instead, he jumped into an entirely new galaxy with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Of course, after seeing all the amazing hype & buzz of The Force Awakens, and being a SW fan myself...I'm glad he jumped ship.
           With Star Trek Beyond, it gets even worse to know that writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (who penned both Trek and Into Darkness) also left the project. I mean, seriously, isn't anyone taking this 50th anniversary seriously? But it has to happen anyway, so they scraped what they can and had Simon Pegg to write the script. And then they found a great director in Justin Lin (who did the awesome Furious 6 - the best in the Furious saga for me), and I think they may have just enough to pull off a great film for their monumental landmark. There are still doubts and concerns within this film for me, but I think they should be able to pull off another exciting film.

2. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (March 25)

          The title alone should be reason enough as to why this would be one film not to be missed. Batman & Superman - perhaps two of the most iconic superheroes in the world - set to go head-to-head and share the same screen for the first time in a live-action film. And no matter what others say - for me, Man of Steel was amazing and the best superhero flick of 2013. If there's anyone that can pull off a spectacle as big as Batman taking on Superman, it is Zack Snyder. And all the trailers so far (especially the Comic Con one) have been really amazing. Many have qualms about the latest trailer, understandably...but it doesn't take away the excitement.
          There has been a lot of casting concerns from fans, and I admit that I am one of them. Though I am growing in to accept Affleck as Batman, the same could not be said for Wonder Woman and more so, Lex Luthor. I realize I probably shouldn't judge before I see them in the film, but I just have to say this now - I don't see Jesse Eisenberg's character as Lex. He may be a great character, for all we know, but to me, he is not Lex Luthor.
          Apart from that, the film looks to be awesome. The trailers have been showing some very epic action sequences and film looks to open the gate wide for the DC Extended Universe to find their way into the hearts of fans and mass audiences alike.

1. Captain America: Civil War (May 6)

          If you wonder why this superhero clash tops my list...the answer is in the final line of the first trailer for Civil War. The moment when Tony Stark said "So was I...".
          This is something that Batman v Superman doesn't have. A brother vs brother fight always has more depth than a vigilante fighting off an alien. The relationship that Captain America and Iron Man has developed after fighting side-by-side for so long - now looks to reach new depths. And it looks to split The Avengers (and some other heroes) into two opposing sides.
           The title shouldn't even be Captain America when the cast is larger than previous Avengers films, but I suppose the heart of the story will remain with Cap. This ensemble becomes the biggest group of superheroes ever seen in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film, and Phase 3 just cannot start any bigger than this.
          And I'm not just talking about the sheer size of the cast, but the story itself is inspired on one of the most popular events that came out not more than a decade ago. While fans may know the plot, character allegiances, and even the outcome in the comics, I expect to see deviations and changes to suit the events that had come before in the MCU. I feel that even the fans are still to be surprised with what is to come.
          With a stellar cast unlike any other, trusted directors (the Russo brothers) and the marvelous Kevin Feige at the head of this project, Marvel is set to begin Phase 3 with more than a bang! 

Other Movies:
-Kung Fu Panda 3
-Gods of Egypt
-London Has Fallen
-The Divergent Series: Allegiant
-The Jungle Book
-The Huntsman: Winter's War
-Alice Through the Looking Glass
-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
-Now You See Me 2
-Finding Dory
-Independence Day: Resurgence
-The Legend of Tarzan
-Ice Age: Collision Course
-Suicide Squad
-Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Saturday, 12 December 2015

SPECIAL: Top 10 Most Anticipated of 2016 - Part 2

Part 2...

7. Doctor Strange (November 4)

          The next Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) superhero to be introduced in his own full film is the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Stephen Strange - my favourite hero in the MCU, yet. With powers relating to mystics and magics, the introduction of Strange will probably also open up a vast array of other dimensions to the MCU. And perhaps, still regarding to his powers, the one thing I'm looking most forward to in this film - is the action sequences, and how the battle of magics & mystics will be portrayed in this film. Let's hope the visual effects team can get it right. Because if they do, it may come out with one of the coolest action sequences in the MCU so far.
          The director and the writer is unfamiliar to me, but Marvel does have that knack on recruiting less well known individuals - but I trust their judgment. Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular hero is just a dream come true, for me. And with other exciting casts like Tilda Swinton and Chiweter Ejiofor, I'm expecting yet another brilliant entry in the MCU.

6. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (November 18)

          The magical universe of Harry Potter and Hogwarts returns to the big screen. Only, this is way before the time of Harry Potter, and it is set in New York, across the pond from Hogwarts & London. So, while the Harry Potter saga has ended in the films, the vastness of the world allows for such spin-off stories to be told. Of course, with the success of the main saga, this spin-off sounds like a good proposition. JK Rowling wrote the screenplay herself - for the whole trilogy, it will seem. Director David Yates returns to direct, and Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne will take on the lead role. He does have that look of a wizard, doesn't he? The only thing I'm wondering is what will the story be about. But it looks to be an exciting adventure, and I'm intrigued to see how this film will expand the Harry Potter universe that we know.

5. X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27)

          The next superhero flick on the list. A few months ago, this would have been higher on the list. But since then, the film have come under some scrutiny, especially regarding the looks of some of the characters. And then there's me - hard to be convinced when most of the cast are relatively new and unknown.
          But I was just pointing out my concerns and not trying be miserable or anything. Director Bryan Singer is perhaps my biggest hope with this film. He gets all his X-Men films right, where others don't. And the main cast - some superstars J-Law, McAvoy, Fassbender, Hoult and even Oscar Isaac - is an ensemble you'd pay to see on film.
           But it still looks to be a very great film, and if anything, the battle sequences should be bigger and better than any X-Men film before. Some minor bits and aspects concerns me, but the film has all the potential to prove me wrong.


4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (December 16)

          While The Force Awakens isn't even out yet, the buzz and anticipation surrounding it is so overwhelmingly positive. All the signs are looking very good indeed for the film to kick start a whole new era of the Star Wars universe in films. Personally, right now, there is nothing I anticipate more than The Force Awakens. It is already breaking records and it may yet break more and be one of the biggest films ever!
          So the film that follows it - the spin-off story Rogue One - will have the most difficult of tasks to keep up the momentum. In this film, we follow this Rogue Squadron in a desperate attempt to steal the Death Star plans. A very familiar setting, but the take is from a very unique angle. And the characters we follow is an interesting group, too - a wayward band of fighters. Director Gareth Edwards have proven himself with Godzilla, so I have no qualms there. The cast looks exciting, and Felicity Jones' character looks particularly badass, too. I'm so excited to see this brand new take of a different kind of film in the Star Wars universe.

(For those of you who have read, you may realize the film at number 4 was initially Star Trek Beyond...for the reason why I moved it up over Rogue One is found at the next post)


Note: I have this feeling that one or the other will budge (move their release date) with both X-Men: Apocalypse and Alice Through the Looking Glass set to release on May 27...

Anyway...Top 3 to come in the last post!

Thursday, 10 December 2015

SPECIAL: Top 10 Most Anticipated of 2016 - Part 1

Another year, another bunch of big, fun blockbusters to look forward to...and let me tell you something about 2016 - it feels like the year for comic book films!! And yet there's still many other exciting films as well...

Note: I've considered putting in Top 15 or even 20 for this list due to the number of films I'm interested in...but I felt it might be overkill, and those films from 11-20 are those I would definitely watch, but ultimately, NOT the ones I'm super excited about. So I'm going to keep it at ten...

As usual, release dates are subject to change in the future...

Assassin's Creed film logo.jpg

10. Assassin's Creed (December 21)

          While I'm not the biggest fan of this video game series, I am quite familiar with the franchise, despite only ever completing one of the games - Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. But in that game alone, I see all the potential it has to be adapted into a film. Black Flag itself has a thrilling plot and a very likeable main character. I wouldn't mind seeing it directly adapted into film as it is. But this film is going to be an entirely new story - separate from any of the games, it seems.
          A probable key aspect to its success would be its style & action. There are several iconic moves and kill strikes that should be a joy to behold in the big screen. If they can bring this kind of style & action to life - with a great plot and equally great characters, it could well be the rare success of a video game adaptation.

9. Bourne 5 (July 29)

          Let us welcome the return of both Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass to this iconic action franchise! The Bourne Supremacy & The Bourne Ultimatum was the best in the series so far, providing thrills & action with a strong performance from the actors. It's also a rare feat with those two films such that they defy the norm where sequels tend to be less superior than their predecessors. The latest instalment, The Bourne Legacy, was nowhere near exciting nor thrilling as Ultimatum was. So, to see Damon & Greengrass back in this franchise is a welcome one - for both fans and (maybe) newcomers to the series.

8. Inferno (October 14)

          And now, the return of both Tom Hanks and Ron Howard to the Robert Langdon stories, this time, adapting the book: Inferno. For reasons unbeknownst to me, they skipped the third book's adaptation - The Lost Symbol. But I never read the books anyway, so for me, its always nice to see another chapter after The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. While both received less than stellar reviews and brings about clouds of controversies with the depiction of some religious themes & concepts, I enjoyed them as a mystery thriller that seriously thrilled me with fear & suspense alike. Recalling back those feelings, I'm quite looking forward to Inferno this time around.

More to come in Parts 2 & 3...

Saturday, 5 December 2015


"As I live and breath...he's mine"

          Certainly not Ron Howard's finest film, but still a good one, nonetheless. I find the first half superbly entertaining...with some excellent build-up, great introduction to characters & some cool action in the sea. In the second half, the pace slowed down and the tone gets dark & depressing - which is still okay, because that was the intended tone. The problem is that the plot lacks depth & meaning, and things seem to just happen without reason or meaning, towards the end.

           There are some very good aspects with this film. To me, most notably, is the characterization. From the get go, you can feel the strain and conflict between Chris Hemsworth's Owen Chase and the Captain of the ship, George Pollard. This relationship develops throughout the film quite naturally, and it was great. There are some other very distinct characters, too, and it was easy to know who to like, who to root for. It was great for us, and for the film, too.

          There are cool action sequences in the first half of the film, accompanied by an excellent soundtrack - I thoroughly enjoyed them. Although not standing out, there is the occasional humour as well. The second half took a dark & depressing tone after the catastrophe, but it should have been okay. The tone is how it should be, but what comes after mostly happens without reason or meaning. Essentially, there is no depth in the plot.

            This is what's so different with Ron Howard's previous film, Rush. Rush was an extremely good film, in case you never caught me saying that in my review two years ago. One of the reason is because in the core of the plot, is the rivalry between two men, and how far their commitment & their passion is to the sport. Both men have distinct personality, but equally strong passion to their cause, and it became the recurring theme from start to end. That's why its great to see the plot develop for these two, and by the end, there is a strong meaning that audiences take home.

            The same could not be said for In the Heart of the Sea. In this film, the things that happen towards the end seemed like something that would normally happen, but there is no meaning for audiences. It just...happens. I would have thought that there would be one moment of realization or revelation, which would then end the plot with a meaningful change. Unfortunately, that's the problem with this film. Owen Chase is the same guy at the start of the film and at the end of the film. The encounter with the whale and all doesn't seem to change these characters prominently. From this, I hope it is implied to you that the ending is, in essence, unsatisfactory.

           The film is still good, with a spectacular first half followed by a watchable second. There are some cool action, and more importantly, great characters. But, the plot has no meaning. The things that happen has particularly no meaning and doesn't change the characters in a significant way. The ending is unsatisfactory. But overall, it's an okay film to watch.


Thursday, 26 November 2015


"Nothing good is safe while he's alive..."

          A solid enough finale for the much loved Hunger Games films, but is nowhere near a spectacular or memorable conclusion. It has some good moments and some great action sequences, but there is little left to explore with these characters. Most of the film just feels like a slow march towards the Capitol.

          There are some great action sequences, something sorely missing in Part 1 of this concluding chapter. Well...a finale without some would suck bad. There's also some suspenseful scenes as we follow our heroes towards the Capitol.

          In terms of plot, there isn't much left happening until near the end. Towards the end, we have some very powerful and intense moments of plot. Nothing surprising or shocking, but they are powerful character moments. The twists, while easily predictable, is still nice. Until then, however, there isn't much happening in terms of plot, as we simply follow our heroes finding their way to killing President Snow.

          Unfortunately there isn't any room left for characterization at this point. They've been through all and we know them all, so all we're seeing is the culmination of what has happened in the past three films. There isn't any more of character development, apart from some powerful scenes between the major characters. 

          The film is dark, but not too dark. It has some emotional moments for sure, and it has great action. The plot is good enough, though there's nothing particularly spectacular in it - as is the other aspects of this film. Most notably it lacks characterization, apart from some powerful character moments. 

          Like I said before, by this time, the film just felt like a slow march towards the Capitol, and in the end, for me, its more relief than awe. The theme between this film and the previous ones are too similar, and I've had enough of it - so its a relief that the saga has come to an end. Nevertheless, its a good enough and solid finale for those who follow the series but it is nowhere near memorable or spectacular.


Sunday, 22 November 2015

SPOILER Discussion - Spectre

In my review for Spectre two weeks earlier, I had mentioned that there are some problems within the details of the narrative...and here's why...



"Tempus Fugit..."

The Connections...

          Spectre aims to be the film that finally connects the story arc since Daniel Craig's first Bond film - Casino Royale. The problem is...there is no connection! Bond fans (me included) may squeal initially at the mere mention of Le Chiffre, Silva, and all. But that's all there is...mere mentions. The film tries to make us believe that all those villains of the past is connected to...Blofeld, somehow...but there really is no concrete connection. Nothing that happens in the previous films actually impacts anything here. There isn't even the slightest of notions that suggests that all those people were linked to Blofeld in any way. And to me, this ends up looking like a shallow & weak attempt at making this Blofeld and his organization feel big & powerful. A poor narrative detail on the writer's part.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld...

          Yepp, it's him, alright. People have been speculating about this for a while, and now, it's confirmed. The twist didn't feel particularly satisfying, not because of how it unfolds in the film, but more because of...I think...the title. I mean, you can't blame the fans for quickly associating Spectre with this film kind of already loses this battle even before it begins. But this is not a problem for me, it works, and I like the character, anyway. And his introduction is rather marvelous for me - with his first scene in the "Meeting", and then with his torture theatrics that also explains his connection to Bond. The problem, is how it ends for him in the film.

           Up until we see Blofeld with the scar on his eye, its still fine. From then onwards, it spirals down for his character. Firstly, a man like Blofeld should ideally have more resources and henchmen than what he unleashes at Bond in the final act. Bond had a relatively easy escape, easy chase, and several shots is all it takes to take him down. Secondly, the look of fear in his face when the helicopter is falling. I mean, yes, anyone would look scared in the face of death, but surely a character like Blofeld could do better than that. If he had looked more angry or something, surely we'll (or at least, I'd) still see him as a badass villain. 

          And finally, his fall from grace and his capture looks way to easy. I would wager that the intention with this film was to re-introduce Blofeld and maybe put him into play for at least the next few movies. Unfortunately, because of how this film ended for him, he will no longer look a powerful or menacing figure. If he had ended with an escape instead of a capture, at least it would show us that this person has his resources and tricks, hence allowing us to still hold to the fear that his character brings when he shows up again. But, being captured and already in the mercy of Bond, that charisma or fear that Blofeld brings initially, is gone.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Looking Forward: DECEMBER 2015

As usual, Decembers have just a few big budget blockbusters...but this December, it seems that we're up for a record-breaking one...

In the Heart of the Sea (Dec 11-USA, Dec 26-UK, Dec 3-Singapore)

          A Ron Howard film, so, yeah, why not?? Honestly, I'm not entirely sure where the focus of the plot is. The trailers seem to show a lot of the action (& drama) in the sea but the synopsis I read seem to suggest an emphasis on the shipwrecked & stranded part. I'm not entirely sure what to expect with this film. It doesn't look like my kind of popcorn film, but I'm intrigued about the film.

Trailers: (Teaser) (Trailer #1) (Trailer #2) (Trailer #3)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Dec 18-USA, Dec 17-UK, Dec 17-Singapore)

          Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation moved to July 2015, Kung Fu Panda 3 moved to January 2016, Warcraft pushed back to June 2016 - Why?? Because they're scared of this film, that's why.          
          Record-breaking, you say? It already has - in ticket sales and in trailer views and probably some other stuffs. This film is breaking records even before its release. Yeah, so far its probably just a reflection of the anticipation & the excitement of awaiting the return of the biggest science-fiction fantasy franchise. But if you look at the trailers, it looks great and promises great things.
          Do you remember JJ Abrams' last two science fiction space action film - the ones with starships and aliens? Yeah, those earned a spectacular rating of 95% and 87% in Rotten Tomatoes respectively. Surely that gives you confidence about the quality of this film. And already, just seeing the trailers, the shots look great - the angles were brilliant - and the visuals & settings look beautiful. 
           More than that, The Force Awakens sees the return of our original heroes, the introduction of great new characters, and a plot still very much shrouded but carries on the core plots of the saga. I'm rather amazed how this film managed to keep a lot of things under wraps and still garner this much excitement and anticipation. And the trailers show a lot of cool stuffs but very minimal on the plot - which is terrific. I've always wanted to go into a film knowing as little as possible, while having just as much anticipation as ever.
           And finally, I admit that a lot of my excitement comes from being a lifelong Star Wars fan. Yeah, we SW fans tend to squeal just hearing the hum of a Lightsaber or the roar of a TIE Fighter. But even for those general moviegoers, just go see the trailer (the final one) and you should be hooked in. If you're not, please go and see the film anyway - I promise you'll have a great time.
          SW fans, The Force...its calling to you.

Trailers: (Teaser #1) (Teaser #2) (Full Trailer) (Must See!!!)

Point Break (Dec 25-USA, Feb 12-UK, Dec 3-Singapore)

          The only reason I'm moderately excited for this film is because of the trailers. While I am aware of the existence of the original movie which stars Keanu Reeves, and I am well aware of how good, or at least, how popular the film, I have not seen it and I don't really intend to. Nevertheless, all it takes is for me to see the first trailer for this modern reboot. It looks so exciting & quite promising in both action & character, so, yepp, I'm on board (board...surfboard...get it??). Anyway, check out the trailers below...

Trailers: (Trailer #1) (Must See!!) (Trailer #2)

Other Movies:

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (December 18)
-Singing for me, thank you very much...

Note that The Hateful Eight and The Revenant only has a limited release in December, but will have a wide release in I'll bring those up then..

Monday, 9 November 2015


"I was taking some overdue holiday"

 like a comet. It's a one-off, and there's no way to match that spectacle. But Spectre...has everything that makes a great Bond film. Great action, great directing, great music, great villain, and some great humour. Now you probably notice I didn't mention the narrative...well, its because there's where most of the problems lie.

           The action sequences are brilliant. They're either very entertaining to watch or very suspenseful. There is this one fight scene in the train that stands out in my mind - very suspenseful, yet very cool to watch. The weakest action scene to me is, in fact, the car chase because there isn't a lot happening in the chase. A bit lacklustre. But most of the action sequences are just great fun to watch. And Daniel Craig makes it all look so cool.

          Now, I have to give special credit to director Sam Mendes because the opening shot - a non-stop tracking shot that follows Bond for a few minutes - is a visual treat & masterpiece. Accompanied by a catchy rythmic music, the opening shot brings us from the middle of a festival, and into the action! And throughout the film, Sam Mendes' work is nothing short of brilliant.

          About the villains, Mr. Hinx & Franz Oberhauser...well they're both great! Mr. Hinx looks big & menacing and proves to be a real physical challenge to Bond. And Oberhauser, played by Christoph Waltz, is a creepy & cunning figure. His first scene is just...marvelous. He doesn't appear for a lot of the film, but when he does, he always brings that charisma in with the way he speaks. Well, how could you expect any less from an actor with two Oscars?

           Now, onto the plot. Unfortunately, its hard for me to explain without spoiling details of the story. But know this, the main plot that follows Bond as he journeys to unravel this mysterious organization & character from his past is still great. There are some pivotal scenes in mind that are great moments within the narrative. But what happens towards the end is less than satisfying in terms of plot, and the thread that tries to connect the dots feels very weak.

(For the full explanation on this narrative issue, keep a look out for a Spoiler Discussion to come in about two weeks from now...)

           But in any case, there's still lots of humour throughout, much like its predecessor. And despite the flaws, I had great fun from start to end and the 148 minutes running time didn't even feel like it. And you have everything that makes a great Bond film in Spectre. A solid action blockbsuter!


Sunday, 1 November 2015


"Say witch hunter..."

          It's just that kind of film again where you get fun action, cool visuals, some memorable scenes, and nothing more. The characters are dull & the plot is generic that I felt bored time and time again in the film. There are some fun moments but that's about it.

          There are some fun action sequences in the film - good ones, but not great. Its nothing spectacular, but fun enough to watch. The visual effects are, similarly, good - but not great. And still in the same level of quality, the soundtrack is good, but not great. Occasionally, the soundtrack feels nice when some action is going on, but otherwise its either too subtle or too generic or just missing. Some, on the action part, its not bad.

          Outside of the action, there's only about a few excellent humour. Especially when dealing with the theme of crusaders of the past living in the modern world. (That iPad scene is brilliant. You'll know it when (or if) you see it). Fortunately this theme is not overused, because it gets old quick. Apart from these, however, well...this is the point where I rant.

            First and foremost, the characters are dull & generic. I couldn't even come close to caring or understanding any of the characters. Not the main character. Not the sidekick. Even the villains are so uninteresting. It's probably no different replacing these characters with rocks...okay, maybe that's a bit too harsh, but my point remains. When the characters are dull, you become uninvested in the story.

          And then there's the story. Largely very generic, very predictable, & very uninteresting. When they had the theme of ancient crusaders in the modern world, I thought maybe the plot could go somewhere. But no, its just another one those films about a lone hunter with a sidekick, hunting witches and stopping the end of the world. I'm pretty sure you can get a brief idea about the film, and that's exactly what you get. Okay, there may be one (not bad) twist towards the end, but it really doesn't come close to saving the plot.

         If some cool action sequences and some fun moments is good enough for you, then I suppose this is a watchable film. But otherwise, I couldn't find a reason to even recommend anyone to watch this. It's not entirely terrible, if you're curious to see. But no, it's not a movie I'd recommend anyone to go and see.


Saturday, 24 October 2015


"Every one deserves a defense...every person matters"

          Bridge of Spies is a movie without combat, cars, or gunshots, but its as good a film is gonna get without all three. A decent plot, some great humour, amazing characters...this is some fine & memorable work by Steven Spielberg and the team.

          To start with, yes, this is a film without action sequences. It was never intended to, and it didn't have. Unfortunately, a guy like me always reserves some points for good old action sequences, because that's one of the reasons I go to the movies. Thankfully, while the film does feel long and lacks the action, it isn't draggingly long or even close to boring, because the characters themselves are interesting and the dialogue is great, with a lot of the humour coming out from the witty dialogues.

           So, yes, there are some very interesting characters in the film. Tom Hanks' James B. Donovan is one of them, no surprise there. He has great character moments and some excellent, meaningful lines. Couple that with Tom Hanks' acting ability, and yes, he's a character you'd root for. But the surprise standout for me is Mark Rylance's Rudolf Abel, the soviet spy. I've never heard of the actor before this film, but wow! He's so great as this character. Very charismatic, and speaks with short, simple, witty lines. Amazing character!! (And now I can see why Spielberg decides to get him as the lead for his next film, The BFG). And there's some excellent & loveable humour between these two characters.

           Now, the plot...when I think about it, the plot isn't actually great. In fact, it's rather predictable and a little too convenient in how it unfolds. But then the ending really gets me. The climactic scene and the ending is brilliant. I just love it. And maybe, to me, it compensates the lack of an intense plot throughout. And I suppose, when you have an ending as good as this one, it makes the 2 hours you spend feel very much worth it.

           Again, without action, this is as good a film is gonna get. Very great characters - Excellent humour & dialogue - A good enough plot, and with an exceptional ending. It really is a good film, though you have to forgive me for putting some emphasis on the lack of action. But its one of the reasons why I (hopefully, we) go to the movies. So, what I would say is this...this is a must watch film...but not a must watch on the cinema. There's no added thrill in watching it in the theatre, but its a film you really have to watch at one point. It's worth it.


Tuesday, 20 October 2015


The full (and final) trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out!! 
And this two-minute beauty is worth every other minute of the six months I've been waiting since the last trailer...

First things first...

Why I am Writing this post?

          The answer - a combination of how far JJ Abrams & co. have rekindled my love for this dream fantasy, and of me trying to make up a mistake I made a year ago. The mistake - is putting this film in number two of my most anticipated film of 2015.
           Well, in a hollow attempt of justifying myself, a year ago we know next to nothing about this film...and Age of Ultron seems like one hell of a movie (until I watch it and find it less than spectacular). If I knew then what I knew now...The Force Awakens would have been at Number 1 by a long mile. And it is now!
          And the other reason being that since I wrote that post, the teaser trailers came out...teases after teases, interviews, toys, behind-the-scenes...and now my love for this dream fantasy world is rekindled. I remember now why I fell in love with this epic universe more than a decade ago. (And perhaps the fact that I recently played Star Wars: The Old Republic helped...)



          Now, don't be silly, if you haven't seen it by now, do it! If you have, go see it again! It's so cool. If you're a Star Wars fan, then even the music itself should see you squeal like I did. And then there's the lightsabers, the Millenium Falcon, the Stormtroopers, the Fighters, Han Solo, Kylo Ren, Rey, Finn, and the list goes on...oh, yeah, don't forget BB-8...
          It's a super cool trailer! The shots look great. The continuous angles, the wide shots...JJ Abrams fingerprints is everywhere, and I love it! The shots of the flying Fighters or the X-Wing blasting away is spectacular in terms of visual.
          And the best thing about this trailer...we know nothing more about the plot of the film. It's how it should be. This is the perfect marketing. We get all squealy & excited about the film, but still know nothing about the majority of the plot. They even left this one and only full trailer to come out only two months before the film. And even before then, fans everywhere are already eager to see it. They don't have to use a lot of bait, and they're already getting all the fishes. This is marketing at its best!
          In any case, the trailer is super cool. I've watched it more than 5 times now...and I'm probably going to see it another 50 times by the time the movie comes out...oh, I'm so in love with Star Wars!  

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Looking Forward: NOVEMBER 2015

As we near the final months of the year, and with the holiday season approaching, some big blockbusters are making their mark...

Spectre (Nov 6-USA, Oct 26-UK, Nov 5-Singapore)

          With the same team behind the highly successful & undeniably great Skyfall, Spectre looks to build upon the success and is looking to be one of the best Bond film in decades. In all that I've seen & read, all the signs are very positive and looks to improve upon its predecessor. Nothing has seemed to suggest otherwise.
          The return of the criminal organization Spectre also brings a terrifyingly resourceful & threatening villain in Christoph Waltz's Franz Oberhauser. He certainly looks the part, and the way I see it...he seems to be born to be a Bond villain. The trailers all look very cool with explosive action sequences, but also brings that theme of Oberhauser being that mysterious figure that Bond has overlooked in his past missions. None of the signs are showing this film to be less than what Skyfall was, and if you've seen Skyfall, then you'll know why I am really, really excited about this!

Trailers: (Teaser) (Trailer #1) (Must See!)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (Nov 20-USA, Nov 20-UK, Nov 19-Singapore)

          After three films of similar theme with Katniss pitted against Snow each time, somehow, I'm not too anticipating this final film in the saga. Others may feel differently as they await the conclusion of this epic revolution. And I can understand why. Its a great story. The action sequences are great. The characters are interesting, and the actors are brilliant as well. Our protagonists have grown from participants of a cruel game into icons of a rebellion, and we are close to the final battle that sees this game's end.
            But unlike many other final chapters in film, I'm just not too anticipating this one. The similarity in theme, in struggles, in conflict, and so forth, has kind of overstayed its welcome (in my mind). I'm fed up of seeing Katniss whine at one point and then suddenly acting all rebellious and angry on the other. In fact, I'm kind of pleased that the series is concluding. I'm still excited for this and obviously I'll be watching this film, for sure. I'm just not too anticipating it as much as I suspect others do, for reasons above.

Trailers: (Teaser) (Trailer #1)

Creed (Nov 25-USA, Feb 19-UK, Nov 26-Singapore)

          I'll be honest with you...I didn't even know this film existed until I saw the first trailer. But seeing said trailer made me quite interested about this film. Not that I've seen all the Rocky films, but I know how big the franchise is. And seeing this spin-off intrigues me. Its nice to see another side of Stallone's Rocky being the mentor this time around. And its even better to find Apollo Creed's son as his mentee. In my deepest hopes, I expect to see some good chemistry and a growing relationship between these two main characters. Apart from this, I know little about this film, but the trailers sold me. I unexpectedly find the first trailer quite catchy.

Trailers: (Trailer #1) (Must See!!) (Trailer #2)

Other Movies:

The Peanuts Movie (November 6)
-A very childish looking animation, I'll pass...

Legend (November 20)
-A crime thriller with an array of talented cast...

The Good Dinosaur (November 25)
-Pixar rarely disappoints with their animation flicks...but I find little appeal (as of now) with this film...

Victor Frankenstein (November 25)
-Looks to have quite the chemistry between the two lead characters. If there's not too much horror elements, I might go...

Sunday, 11 October 2015


" Neverland!!"

          This film is fun! Yes, its very cheesy and a bit too fantastical, but its a lot of fun and very light-hearted, and surprisingly comes with a heartful plot. Some of the characters are particularly interesting, despite being over the top. Visually, it's a treat, and the action is accompanied by a great high-energy music.

          Let's get the mud out of the way first. It is a, actually, its very cheesy. A lot of the dialogues, as well as the characters themselves, in fact, are very cheesy and over the top. But the actors themselves did a great job. Only Hugh Jackman could make an over the top Blackbeard very cool & charismatic as he is in the film. And then, even some the action sequences and the effects are very cheesy & fantastical, you'd be laughing out of the silliness at one point.

          But, if you can bear the silliness of this film (like I did), you'll find that there's gold beneath the mud. Its seriously fun if you can ignore the occasional silliness. Blackbeard is the standout character for me. He's so charismatic! And cool and a little bit badass, too. Just from the way he looks, he'd be laughable if it wasn't Hugh Jackman behind the beard. And he's funny at times, too. A wonderful character. And Garrett Hedlund also makes James Hook very likeable, you'd want to root for him. And main characters Peter Pan and Tiger Lily weren't half bad, either. A great array of characters and cast, for the most part.

          And then there's the plot, which is surprisingly very heartful and easy to follow. There isn't a lot of surprises or twists, but the characters themselves have their own motivations, and the intertwining of these makes for very nice subplots. Meanwhile, the main plot regarding Peter himself is very touching and heartful. And if there's one thing that this film did right (which I find recent films don't), is the pacing. I felt it was paced perfectly -nothing was too fast or too dragged on.

          And yes, there's quite a lot of humour. But I bet you wouldn't suspect that a lot of them came from Hugh Jackman's Blackbeard. And then the action sequences are good enough...not great, but they're accompanied by a brilliant high-energy soundtrack/score by John Powell. There isn't a truly quality aspect of this film that makes it special, in fact it is quite a light & straightforward film. But if you can bear/ignore the cheesiness, it is really fun with lots of humour with an awesome villain and a heartful plot. A good film that's worth both the time and the price of admission.


Tuesday, 6 October 2015


"I'm gonna have to science the shit out of this..."

          The Martian is a surprisingly very enjoyable yet thrilling experience as we follow astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) in his attempts at survival. Films like these tend to be more dark & depressing, but not this one. This film instead explores on the science behind the survival - the situation, the options, the outcome, the consequences. And what made it enjoyable is mostly due to the humour & light-heartedness all around, yet is also partially due to Matt Damon's charisma that we enjoy seeing him in HAB, and get to root for his rescue to be a success.

          The time we spent with Mark Watney in the HAB is probably the most surprisingly entertaining moment. He's just so cool & full of spirit, yet remains light-hearted and humorous as can be seen when he's entering his log, or when he's attempting communication with NASA. It's just fun to be there with him and see him do his thing - botany and all. It's easy to have scenes of a person stranded alone to be dull & depressing, but Mark Watney here makes it seem like an enjoyable experience. Of course, there's bound to be trouble here and there, but not to the extent of it being a grim & depressing situation. There are major setbacks, yes, but we get to really root for the character to think and solve the problems.

          The scenes on Earth also feel very real, while keeping it quite light-hearted as well. There's a lot of discussion and issues that feel very true to what is in the real world nowadays. There's some very modern complications & events that plays out. Similarly, there's a lot of fun banter & chemistry between the crew of the Hermes. And the array of distinctly interesting characters makes for fun scenes & conversations between them.

          But the film is not the perfect film by a long shot. The plot in general is very straightforward (though its hard to expect otherwise), although the little details of them attempting this survival & rescue is interesting on its own, incorporating a lot of math & science. And there aren't any action sequences per se, although we are seeing intense, physical, thrilling scenes along the way. Despite it being just a bit too long for my taste, the pacing is generally great. Ridley Scott knew what he was doing - when to jump, when to montage. And overall, it makes for a very pleasant & enjoyable experience in the theater. Not the perfect film, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend anyone to see this.

SCORE: 8.0

Tuesday, 29 September 2015


"Everest is another beast altogether"

          What a coincidence that this film releases close to another film I recently watched that is also based on a true story. The good news is, this film feels a lot more cinematic & engaging. The bad - it has similar pacing problems and further lacks a plot.

Note: I have just thought of this problem with films based on true stories. Yes, they tend to be good tributes and allow unaware audiences to know of these events that really did happen. Unfortunately, stick too close to reality and the film becomes dull, and deviate too far and people complain about the facts. I prefer the latter because movies are meant to be movies and not documentaries...but people in this world are just too critical. Anyway, this is why I mostly seek for the science-fcition/fantasy films because they take me places I can't go in the real world.

         Okay, back to the review. This film is really engaging and its nice to feel as a part of this team in this grand climbing adventure. The scale is huge, and the visuals are well done, so we are able to really feel how it is to climb Mount Everest. Knowing the challenges and dangers involved, we tend to suspect something bad will happen, so we know the stakes. And these distinct characters are interesting and well-acted, so we get to be quite invested and cared for these characters.

          The film also jumps into the mountain itself quite quickly. I had expected there to be a lot of backstory to begin with, but we arrive at the base of Everest in less than 10 minutes into the film. Unfortunately, for the remaining 100 minutes or so, we are still in that mountain. Its a bit too long for my taste, especially with nothing significant going on apart from seeing the dangers in the mountain, and how the characters deal with them.

          It may sound slightly cruel but it is as if there's no plot in this film. The whole movie is just about them climbing up this mountain and all the struggles and dangers involved. There really isn't anything else going on...its just a detailed adventure to the summit of Everest. But at least, we are following interesting characters. The backstory and persona contributes to these characters and we get to care for them. So, decent characterization, but no plot.

          Apart from that, well, there isn't any action sequences, per se. The visuals are great. I recall almost no humour, however. But the soundtrack is great! The actors are also brilliant. The film basically is a cinematic experience of climbing to the summit of Everest, but its not really a full movie experience.