Monday, 31 August 2015


"Okay, I'm positive that you will get lost in there"

Note: This film has only recently came out in my country...hence the late review...

          I am in total shock as to how good this particular animation flick is. I can't help it. This film is great in almost every way, and is thoroughly heartful and perfectly executed. There is already a certain awe and pleasure in seeing how the actions that these "emotions" - AKA "Joy and friends", which is how I like to refer to them - corresponds to what is happening to the person in real life. Better yet, the whole film works in a very interesting & relatable way to create an emotional adventure for Joy and friends that reflects Riley's life every step of the way.

          As I've always said, there is a particular area of creative themes that animation films can tackle (such as talking cars, interactive arcade game characters, living toys, etc) that live-action films can't. This is something that excites me with animation films. Inside Out is a very great (and successful) example of that. Every step of the way (every minute of the film) - even from the introduction of these "emotions" - the things that Joy and friends do...accurately reflects a genuine & believable act/behaviour with the human character Riley. From minute one until the end, I am always hooked in to see how one world (mind) corresponds to the other (real life). And there's a certain awe in just seeing these things reflect one another, because not only is this a very creative & fresh theme, but Inside Out executed it brilliantly. Every other minute, I would go "Oh, I see" or "So, that's what happens". Hats off to the writers!!!

          The paragraph above should already make it sound like a film worth watching. But Inside Out is much more than that. There's a lot of heartful drama, and a lot of fun humour, too. And the plot is quite the opposite of generic...I couldn't even guess where the film is headed. To make both worlds (real life & mind) correspond to one another in a very interesting & exciting way is already a very positive aspect - one that I can't give enough credit for. Furthermore, even the characters of Joy and the other emotions themselves have specific personalities of their own...and together they become a team with interesting chemistry & dialogues. (Some films find it hard to do this...*wink at Fantastic Four*). And I say again, there's some very fun humour in the midst of this emotional roller coaster, and more importantly, a strong heartful drama within the plot.

          The partial successes of this film would already make for an interesting & exciting film to see. But Inside Out is the sum total of it all. Creative theme, heartful plot, interesting characters, and all the while executing a story of two worlds (that I can never thought of) brilliantly and intelligently. For a lot of you, this film may no longer be in theatres, but for those of you in countries where it still is (like Indonesia or Singapore), I personally urge you to see this film, because it is amazing. Others...wait for the blu-ray or something to come out, and then check it out one way or another. It is an absolutely stunning animation blockbuster that is still leaving me breathless in awe as I wrote this. Best film of the year so far!

SCORE: 9.5

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Looking Forward: SEPTEMBER 2015

Usually the most boring month of films, but this September seem to have a number that looks to be fun enough to fill your time...

The Transporter: Refueled (Sept 4-USA, Sept 4-UK, Sept 10-Singapore)

          To me, this franchise has been but a good old action film with some exciting fight sequences & car chases, and one badass protagonist. They are of those typical non-blockbuster action films with a fast-paced but straightforward plot. This new film looks to be more of the same for me. In fact, if anything, this film seems to lack a Jason be replaced by Ed Skrein (from Game of Thrones and next year, Deadpool) as the main protagonist. I have no qualms about the guy, but his character looks to be one-dimensional. I could still be wrong, though. The rest of the cast are mostly unknowns to me, as is the director. But the trailers do seem to promise good action, if nothing more.

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

Black Mass (Sept 18-USA, Nov 27-UK, Sept 17-Singapore)

          Johnny Depp in much less make up than many of his previous roles, but his character does still seem to have that edge of eccentricity. His films of late has flopped big time, but personally, I believe that they are because of the film itself, not Depp. He's a great actor, and dare I say that he is one of the best for these kind of eccentric roles. He was better as Tonto (The Lone Ranger) and Mortdecai (Mortdecai) than he was in Transcendence, despite the former films also flopping bad.
          With this film, Depp's character better have that eccentricity, otherwise there's no point of having Depp in that role. With respect to the film, it doesn't have the feel or the style of a typical crime film. But I don't have a lot to be judging now - and I am simply curious to see this film. And with a cast like that - Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton, Kevin Bacon, and the list goes on - it should already be worth the price of admission.

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

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (Sept 18-USA, Sept 10-UK, Sept 10-Singapore)

          The first film was a decent franchise starter with some fun & action. It wasn't particularly great in any aspect or level, but it was good enough to watch. Same goes with this second instalment, I am neither really anticipating it nor despising it. But the trailers does seem to show some improvement over its predecessor, at least in terms of action & visual effects. Probably the director was given more resources this time around. Probably.
          Anyway, I still couldn't find myself to really care about the story or about what happens to these young adult protagonists. But with more exciting action sequences, and some great additions to the cast, The Scorch Trials is probably a good enough way to find some fun.

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

Hotel Transylvania 2 (Sept 25-USA, Oct 16-UK, Sept 24-Singapore)

          I had some unexpectedly great fun with the first film. And one of the good things about it: I can enjoy Adam Sandler without having to see him do something weird & foolish. But seriously, the first film was surprisingly good. The creative themes of the film was something I tend to enjoy with animation films, as does this one. And with the predecessor, there was also a lot of heart in the simple & straightforward plot. If they can repeat what they pulled off right in the first one, I'm looking at a very good time in the cinema this time around. But the trailers have not shown a lot, so I'll be here waiting to see what this sequel can bring.

Trailers: (Teaser) (Trailer #1)

Other Movies:

Everest (September 18)
-I'm probably going to watch this when I can, but just for the thrills. I don't see a lot more this film can offer, as of now...

Captive (September 18)
-Though the general plot looks predictable, I'm curious to see this crime-drama and witness how the two main character's relationship develops...

Pawn Sacrifice (September 18)

-Saw the trailer, and it looks to be a very interesting dramatic biography...

Sicario (September 25)
-An crime thriller! Looks to have solid drama & action...

The Intern (September 25)
-An interesting theme for a comedy that looks to be both funny & heartful...starring a well known cast, too...

Monday, 24 August 2015


"They want what's in our DNA...speed...intelligence...strength"

          Agent 47 is really not a bad film at all. Its nowhere near great - you can feel that the summer movie season really is over - but it is quite enjoyable to watch. There's some very cool action sequences despite the occasionally weak execution of CGI. There's some interesting characters. And as far as movies with secrets go, it has some minor twists & revelations that actually works.

          For some reason, they decided to employ a lot of CGI effects for a non sci-fi action flick. And to be honest, sometimes they don't look very well done. In a couple of scenes, its very easy to spot the added visual effects. But if you can put it aside, the action sequences does feel very cool indeed. I enjoyed the fight scenes for the whole film.

          There are some dull characters, including the villian, but there are some interesting ones, too. I had half-expected all the characters to be dull and cheesy. But Agent 47 (Rupert Friend) himself was quite interesting as far as emotionless assassins go - I like the way he talks and fights. And Katia (Hannah Ware) was the surprise for me - I thought she'd be a totally cheesy & generic badass woman, but she started out a struggling, confused character. And towards the end, there is somehow a bit of chemistry between the two characters. Meanwhile, the villain lacks the persona, despite the obvious physical superiority. And with the character Le Clerq, it is not a bad thing, but somehow I hear the voice of Baron Strucker of Avengers: Age of Ultron everytime he speaks.

          The general plot feels rather generic & predictable. In fact, some of the scenes feel a bit messy or even unsensible. But the little details & revelations piece together some very interesting information to keep the film interesting. And there's one minor twist/revelation at the end which, probably shouldn't surprise me much, but is quite a nice touch in my eyes.

         The dialogues aren't that great or memorable, but they also aren't weak or cheesy to the extent that they annoy me. The film lacks humour, though. I don't recall any funny bits. There's also only a little bit of drama. And even the soundtrack feels also very generic & unmemorable. The whole film feels like it just works, and while it is nowhere near great, it is good enough for someone who want to enjoy an after-summer action flick.

SCORE: 5.5

          For me, personally, there's a bit more of pleasure to be had in seeing it take place in Singapore for the last half hour or so. There's a special feeling that makes me enjoy it just a little bit more, but I took it out of the equation for the review above. I guess that's what happens when you don't see a lot of Singapore in films. Hollywood, you know what to do!


          I feel like I just want to share about this. The twist/revelation at the end is when Agent 47 reveals that his mission all along is Le Clerq. It probably isn't a great twist in any regard, but it works well to my surprise. It makes a lot of sense, and I guess it adds to the character of 47 being quite intelligent and badass in using all the possible tools to accomplish his mission. Pretty cool, I have to say.

Monday, 17 August 2015


"This is our chance to make a difference"

Fantastic Four 2015 poster.jpg

          As a film, Fantastic Four is bad. As a superhero film, it sucks. To me, its even worse than the one back in 2005 (and its sequel in 2007) was. Because, at least, with those films, I had fun. Not this one, though. This reboot tried to be dark & gritty while forsaking the fun & humour. Furthermore, the action sequences are dull. The characters are (mostly) boring. And the villain is bad. To make this review easier, I'm going to split the film into three acts.

          The first act, which is about the first half of the film (45 minutes or so) is the one part that I can tolerate. It's not all doom & gloom in this first act, because I can see what they're trying to do. Mind you, I can mention flaws, too, but at least, its watchable. Setting up the character & their origin stories, and there were some relationships that begin to develop. There was still a terrific lack of humour or even interesting dialogues, but at least I can see where they were trying to bring these characters, right up until the moment they get their powers.

          The second act lasts for just about 20-25 minutes, which isn't right, when they're supposed to be the meat of the story. The one good thing about this part is when their reactions after getting hit by the radiation (or whatever) from the other dimension. It seems very real (and dark) but its cool to witness how real people would really react in these kind of circumstances. The bad things come afterwards, when they jumped the timeline and skipped entirely how they explore & discover their powers, and the potential struggle to control their powers, etc. None of that! Or just very little, that is. But it is not what you'd expect. You expect there to be more minor conflicts, be it internal or external, but in this film...none of that! They skipped all those supposedly interesting bits and then suddenly...the villain!

          The villain, Dr. Doom, is the worst aspect of the film. He was one of Marvel's greatest ever villain in the comics, and here he is one the worst villains I have ever seen in film. Firstly, there is something very wrong when your main baddie only comes in the last act. Worse, is if that last act only lasts for 15-20 minutes. And then there's that moronic look, that I can't even begin to comprehend that this is Dr. Doom. Because he is not! Not for me.

          But this is a comic book movie, right? So, there's sure to be a great action sequence? Well, you'd be wrong! The climactic battle feels so dull & generic with no interesting use of powers. Not even a combination of powers or a "teamwork" kind of action - the kind you probably saw in The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Very dull, very rushed, and very stupid.

          The film as a whole feels like an incomplete experience. It feels as if it was trying to build up to something, but nothing interesting came. There was no humour, no (fun) action sequences, no interesting characters. The only interesting part came when dealing with the science concepts, and the human reactions to them. But they made a mess with everything else. With better action sequences, fun banter between the characters, and a lot of humour, I can safely say that I enjoyed the 2005 & 2007 films a lot more than this.


Tuesday, 11 August 2015

SPOILER Discussion - Ant-Man

It's been almost a month since Ant-Man...its well past time I talk about this...



Directing Style

          Let's start things a little light here. If you noticed in my review that I praised Peyton Reed with two particular scenes in mind. Both are of similar style & tempo - the first is when after Scott Lang used the Ant-Man suit for the first time, and then returns the suit, before being caught in the act. The use of quick shot after shot to reverse the initial theft is cool, and the moment he jumped out only to get caught is a priceless kind of comedy. The second is when (on two occasions) Luis tells some story. The creative genius is seeing Luis speak exactly as the characters would mouth them (or the other way around). Its a spectacular laugh for me, and something I would never have thought of. A creative masterpiece.

Ant-Man vs Falcon

          A fun surprise! Who would have thought, that in his first own film, Ant-Man gets to tangle with an Avenger. And now we know how powerful Ant-Man, as a superhero, can be, after seeing him take down the Falcon. It was a great fun action sequence, and I'm pretty sure it meant more than that for fans. A real, pleasant surprise!
          What made it more surprising was that the film was released just about 2 months after Age of Ultron, and it already links together by having Ant-Man visit the new Avengers facility and meet a new-suited Falcon.
          And now, fans will expect to see these kind of things happen in future standalone films like Doctor Strange, Black Panther, etc...I suppose. It may just be me, though. 

Mid-Credits Scene: New Wasp

         If it isn't already obvious, Hope van Dyne finally gets her father's blessings to suit up and become the new Wasp...and also the suit. But this really isn't a surprise at all. Its not hard to speculate, even since the casting announcement, that Hope will be the one to be the Wasp, a core member of the Avengers in the comics. In fact, if anything, we didn't get to see her in full gear in the film yet. So, instead, we have to wait for a possible sequel, or another Marvel film for her to appear.
          But this is not a criticism from me. Having too many superpowered characters for an origin film may be too much, anyway. Plus, the plot works for Hope to get this at the end, after what she and her dad had been through in the film. The plot did it justice, so its fine.

Post-Credits Scene: The Accords

          And if this one isn't already obvious, this already has the sense of the Civil War which is to come. The scene on its own doesn't give a lot, the way I saw it. The only thing of note is that Cap is already unwilling to ask Stark for help, and that Falcon recommends them to seek Ant-Man for help instead, after his first encounter.
          From what I heard, this scene was to be one of Civil War's. So, it probably will be the path as to how Ant-Man (Scott Lang) become a part of the huge conflict that is Civil War...and finally anounces himself to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The only question that remains, is whether Scott will remain siding with Cap, or will he end up siding with Stark instead?
          Let us patiently await the answer, and the iconic battle of superheroes...when Captain America: Civil War comes out in May 2016! just can't come sooner, can it?

Wednesday, 5 August 2015


"Heh...that doesn't sound impossible"

          Rogue Nation is quite a good action blockbuster, because it is half as good as Ghost Protocol (its predecessor) was. Its not a bad film, mind you. I had great fun with it, and I recommend people to see it, anyway. But its just less than Ghost Protocol. It tried to bring back everything good that went well in the last film, namely the humour & the super stunts. But it did wrong with the minor details within the film, and most of all, lacks the intensity & suspense.

          Even from the beginning of the film, it lacks focus & coherence. The first 30 minutes was a bit messy with the jump from scene to scene. It was different to Ghost Protocol where we followed our protagonists in solving the one major trouble throughout.

          Now, with this film, I feel like I have to go and pick on some of the scenes in particular. No spoilers here, don't worry. Firstly, that big "hanging by the aircraft" scene. With respect to Tom Cruise and the whole crew, it was a great effort to pull it off, but it felt needless with regards to the plot. I watched it feeling like the only reason this exist, is to outmatch the Burj scene in Ghost.

          Secondly, the opera scene. Now, the fact is - I've had my fair share of scenes with an opera music, and good ones, too. In Rogue Nation, however, the background opera music went for far too long, that it no longer matches the tone of the scenes, and becomes a purely background noise, really noise. In other words, it is overused. Look at The Avengers ("Loki in Stuttgart" scene) or even Quantum of Solace for that matter. In those respective films, the opera music fits the tone of the scene, and was perfectly timed in my eyes.

          And finally - my favourite scene in the whole film. Starting with a positive note - the underwater sequence - was brilliant. And the use of no music, adding in the sense of pumping heartbeats instead - excellent! The problem here is - that no music thing - is overused. Its perfect on this particular underwater scene, but they used it again and again, notably on the motorbike & car chase scene. I've heard that some films had great car chases with no musics to accompany them, but in this case, when you've had a "no music" on a very great scene, and then having more of that to other scenes, makes it feel lazy. Just lazy. I was hoping that with the chases, there would be more music to add to the energy & intensity. This is simply a case of not knowing when enough is enough.

          Okay, now I'm done picking on this film, because its not a bad film, really. There's just scenes and moments in particular that went wrong & could have been done better. But the humour is always there, and its great. The action piece is there, and its quite a thrill ride from start to end. Tom Cruise is great, as always. Simon Pegg, funny. Jeremy Renner, funny. Rebecca Ferguson, a great addition. And if there's one thing that this film did better than Ghost Protocol - it is the villain. A more creepy and characterized villain - compared to the generic nuclear terrorist in Ghost. So, credit to Sean Harris for that.

          One last point. I can neither confirm nor deny that the climax is a good scene. Its different. It feels more like a battle of wits than a test of combat. I enjoy the variant, but it feels incomplete without a proper combat sequence. It was supposed to be intense & suspenseful, but it wasn't. Not for me, at least. So, its not particularly great, but I find it interesting, and quite enjoyable. 

          This whole film really is still a very fun & action-packed film, which apparently lacks in particular scenes & moments. A shadow of what Ghost Protocol was, but a decent action flick, nonetheless.