Friday, 20 October 2017

GEOSTORM



             I didn't actually expect to like this film, but truth be told, it's not bad. This film has all the looks of a typical simple-story action flick, not unlike a few things Gerard Butler has done recently. And it actually ends up like one...but it's pretty well done. So it's not that this movie has brilliant story or great action or anything, but for what it is, it is done quite well & I kind of enjoyed it.

              Almost all aspects of the film can be classified as 'good not great'. One thing that stood out for me - because I really don't expect it at all - is some of the character relationships, especially Gerard Butler's character and his brother. It is very well thought out and explored throughout the film. Again, I feel like they could actually show or tell more about their backstory to make it more meaningful, but I didn't expect such intricacies, so I'm glad they went out this far.

               On the other hand, if I had to pick out a thing that I don't quite like - that would be the dialogue & the humour. A lot of the jokes are dull and flat - some, a little cringy. Meanwhile, the plot is fine, the action is decent...even the visual effects were pretty good. Again, nothing particularly stood out or is outstanding, but they were good enough to make me enjoy the film. A decent watch.

VERDICT: 60 / 100

Saturday, 7 October 2017

BLADE RUNNER 2049



             I mentioned recently that I am probably not the biggest fan of the original Blade Runner, but I do appreciate its story potential & world expansion...and I think this sequel more than delivered. This film treads on similar footsteps to the original in some aspects such as the lack of fantastic action sequences (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, by the way) and slow pacing, but the story & characters are excellent, and the setting is gorgeous.

             For a futuristic setting science-fiction movie, Blade Runner 2049 lacks the fantastical action sequences which most others have, but then again, this film was never meant to be about that. In fact, what made Blade Runner special was the concept of Replicants and how their existence challenges the idea of what it meant to be human.

              And so to have a story revolving around that concept which is both smart and constantly engaging, I think, is brilliant. And that is where Blade Runner 2049 duly delivered. In many ways, the story is much like a typical police-detective story with a lot of mystery/investigative element as we follow the protagonist in uncovering the plot - but again, with the added science-fiction concept of Replicants - and that is probably why the slow pacing didn't bother that much. As such, the overall plot is smart & interesting, meanwhile the story which slowly unfolds keep us constantly engaged.

              The remaining aspects of the film are kind of a mixed bag. The lack of action sequences remain a missed opportunity to take this film up another level. Similarly, a little more humour will never be out of place, as long as it is delivered in the right place & time. Meanwhile, I really like the engaging story & dramatic elements that pours out from it. And to quickly speak about the more technical stuff, I think the visual effects are really well done, and I find the world & setting both gorgeous and unique.

               One last thing I want to credit are the acting performances of some of the cast. In general, all the performances are decent, but without spoiling anything, the stand out scene for me is when two people are looking at a certain memory and you see the emotions immediately in their facial expressions. That level of performance stunned me.

               Anyway, initially I didn't really think I would like this film, but actually, I do. I still feel that by not having more action sequences & humour (though this is in keeping with the tone & style of the original film) is a missed & untapped opportunity to take this film to the highest level among the cinematic elite. Yet, it remains one of my favourite films of the year, and I really like it.

VERDICT: 80 / 100

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Looking Forward: OCTOBER 2017

Despite the lack of big-budget blockbusters, this October is packed with a lot of potentially good, interesting movies...


Blade Runner 2049 (Oct 6-USA, Oct 5-UK, Oct 5-Singapore)

               I am not the biggest fan of the original Blade Runner, but I do appreciate the story & the setting, and I also realize its potential for story expansion. And it seems that this sequel does just that. Everything I have seen and heard about this film points to this being a great film - the strongest aspect being the director, Denis Villeneuve, who's recent work is nothing short of brilliant (Arrival, Sicario, Prisoners). And to top it off, the trailers for this film are excellent, especially the second trailer. Really looking forward to this now!

Trailers:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJA48WZ9bis (Trailer #1)
MUST SEE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOn-ICHKTE0 (Trailer #2)


Professor Marston & the Wonder Women (Oct 13-USA, Nov 10-UK)

                Well, what are the chances that in the few months after we have our very first live-action Wonder Woman film - and just about a month before that same character reappears in Justice League - we have a biopic about the creator of Wonder Woman himself. Either this is brilliant planning to try and make use of all the hype of the superhero flicks, or just lucky timing. But about the movie itself, I am slightly curious but have no real intent of seeing it.

Trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r991pr4Fohk (Trailer #1)


Geostorm (Oct 20-USA, Oct 20-UK, Oct 12-Singapore)

               Oh, look, a sequel to London Has Fallen. Wait, what? Oh, it isn't. No wonder the president looks different. Anyway, I actually have a bit of concern with Gerard Butler's recent action films. They have been either very generic (like LHF) or just poorly written (like God's of Egypt). And looking at the trailer for this film, I have this bad feeling that it could fall into either category (or worse, both), especially with some bad jokes/lines already shown in them. If this film could prove me wrong, it will make October (in terms of movies) a little bit brighter.

Trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FStnSqKi9KI (Trailer #1)


The Snowman (Oct 20-USA, Oct 13-UK, Dec 7-Singapore)

              Mystery thrillers like these are always intriguing to begin with. Especially with a trailer like this one has. There is a sense of creepiness and danger, as the lead character picks up the clues from the actions of the serial killer - and for audiences, it is an intriguing ride to follow the character as we ourselves try to figure out the truth. Whether the film pulls it off and whether it's good or not is another thing we'll have to wait and see. But for now, I am quite intrigued by this film.

Trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8LttobzeQ4 (Trailer #1)


Suburbicon (Oct 27-USA, Nov 24-UK, Nov 23-Singapore)

                A crime comedy film, but with a very different & unconventional style. Much like the above, I am quite intrigued about this film right now, especially due to the interesting setup and how the film is presented...but whether it ends up good is something we'll have to wait and see.

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


Other Movies:

              As mentioned above, there are quite a lot of potentially good/interesting films. The first of which is The Mountain Between Us (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mu41hu1a_8c), which is out on October 6th, and looks pretty interesting judging by the trailer. Not to mention the brilliant main leads.
             Now on October 13th, there are four films of my radar (though none that I'm really too keen of). The first of which is an action film starring veteran actor Jackie Chan, which is called The Foreigner (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33iuQu3UtjI). Unfortunately, it does look like a second-rate action flick. The other three are biopics. The most interesting for me would be Marshall (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfvzEXhhWNk) which is about the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. It stars Chadwick Boseman, and the trailer looks pretty cool.
             The next one, I think, will bring out a lot of tears, and it is called Breathe (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6y0t2n_8iTc), starring Andrew Garfield as a man paralyzed by polio as his health deteriorates, but not his spirit. Finally, there is Goodbye Christopher Robin (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQq3aFSijRg) which is a biopic about the writer/creator of Winnie-the-Pooh, starring Domnhall Gleeson.
             Out on October 20th is a film about a crew of firefighters titled Only the Brave (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EE_GY6zccqc). The cast involved looks great, but I'm not entirely convinced about the plot. Nor the trailer for that matter. But, we'll see, it might be good.
             Finally, you guys who follow my blog will know I actively avoid horror flicks, but if they come to my radar, I will let you know. And on October 27th, we have Jigsaw (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcb68kAOvt4), which is apparently part of the Saw franchise.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE



            This is a proper sequel, in every sense of the word. It takes all the best parts of the first film and either brings it back or enhances it. Though I don't think a lot is enhanced, but given how good the first film is, sometimes its good enough just to enjoy more of the same. And like the first film, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, to my satisfaction, has a very heartful story and some very emotional moments.

              This sequel brings back all the qualities that made the first film great. The high-octane action sequences are great fun to watch - with great action choreographs (especially those whips & lassos) presented by fast camera movements. And given the R-rating, director Matthew Vaughn didn't need to hold back. Although, I have to say it is used more to the comical side than to the gory side of things.

               And there's also some of that fun humour & dialogue. Meanwhile, the plot overall is probably nowhere near best story of the year, but it is decent. And I like the fact that it really progresses the story & development of the characters - which is also why I can say that this film is a proper sequel, because it is, even in the sense of the story.

              But the part I like best is the fact that this film has some very heartful moments. Obviously, I won't spoil them here, but there really are a few scenes I could pick out which were surprisingly quite emotional. So although this film is made more as a fun, silly action movie on the surface, this also shows that Matthew Vaughn cares about the story and the characters - and I like that and that deserves commendation.

              In the end, this film is really a proper sequel in every way, from the story & characters, and to the qualities it brings back. If you have a movie as good as the first Kingsman movie, sometimes more of the same is good enough. And this story moves forward and expands the world, and yes, I want to see more Kingsman movies...

VERDICT: 82 / 100

Sunday, 17 September 2017

SPOILER TALK: The Defenders S1

It has been a month since the release of the first season of The Defenders...
But I just have this nagging thought on why, on a very personal level, I didn't actually like it...

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               Before I start, I just want to call out again that I didn't necessarily think that this is a terrible show. It's not really a good one either, but as mentioned in my non-spoiler review, there are some things to enjoy from this series, and the story progression of the characters are fine. But there are things which happened which I really didn't like, and this is why I really disliked the final two episodes...because at the end of episode 6...

               Elektra killed Alexandra and took over as the main antagonist. On so many levels, I didn't like this. First and very simply, you had a character like Alexandra played by the amazing Sigourney Weaver who is suddenly undermined by an Elektra character who had been like a lost child throughout the series. Though Alexandra wasn't necessarily a great villain herself, it just gets worse by being undermined by Elektra.

             Furthermore, this is an Elektra who had spent a full episode sleeping in Matt's bed and seemingly remembering her past life. And all of a sudden, she is now this badass who wants to take over the world? How this that happen? What was the plan?

            And the worst part for me is that, on a very fundamental level, Elektra is not this big bad main antagonist character. If she is to be the best killer in the world that The Hand unleashes upon the heroes, then that works. But you look at that character on a very fundamental level, and you can see that Elektra is not a big bad antagonist. She is not a villain with a plan. It just doesn't fit and doesn't make any sense.

            And this is why I really disliked how the final two episodes of the series turned out to be. It did not make sense on many levels as I have described above, and it just loses its powerful opposing force. Especially when you've had great villains like Wilson Fisk or Kilgrave, this is just...pathetic, unfortunately...

Sunday, 10 September 2017

AMERICAN MADE



             The only knowledge I have about the man named Barry Seal - which is who this movie is all about - is from the Netflix series Narcos. Meanwhile, this film employs the narration style similar to that which was used in Narcos as well - albeit with more humour such that it becomes more Guy Ritchie-esque. So, to me, it ended up feeling a little bit like watching a Narcos episode (or movie, rather) that is directed by Guy Ritchie (which it isn't, because the director is Doug Liman).

              That being said, the movie is pretty good and pretty damn enjoyable. While my comments above make it seem like its nothing I've never seen before, it does not mean that I didn't enjoy it. As a matter of fact, I did. To think about it, it is actually a very fun style of storytelling which actually (fortunately) has not been overly used in modern movies. Of course, not all movies fit this type of style. So then, to be able to see this kind of fun, fast-paced style (and one that is done brilliantly) is a joy.

              To add on to that, Tom Cruise is perfect in the role. Of course, the real Barry Seal probably would not be remotely close to how he is portrayed, but for the sake of the movie, Tom Cruise did a bloody good performance that really fits and enhances the style of the film. The rest of the cast was okay, but there was no standout.

                The plot is decent, but again, it is the narration style that stood out - credit to director Doug Liman for that. The music was great as well and fits the tone of the movie perfectly. Otherwise, I think this is an excellent film which pulls of the style to perfection, and it makes it a rare biographical film that is just fun to watch with a great character you like to see. Really worth the watch.

VERDICT: 82 / 100

Saturday, 26 August 2017

TV Series: THE DEFENDERS S1



            The Netflix MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) team has produced some of the best series ever. Apart from Iron Fist - which wasn't that highly rated but still enjoyable - the others have seen very positive reception with the high quality series of Daredevil, Jessica Jones & Luke Cage. So, there is a lot of expectation riding on this mini-series that finally brings together the four street-level New York heroes.

            While there are some really enjoyable moments within the series, and some memorable scenes, too, I find The Defenders rather disappointing. The high quality storytelling and dialogue (as seen in their respective individual series) is missing. The series kicked on a little in the middle episodes after a very slow start in the first few episodes - but then was disappointing again at the end.

              Some of the positives includes the interactions between these main characters. The clash of personality is an interesting aspect of the show. And so is the coming together of the supporting characters from respective shows and the banter they have. The new villain Alexandra (played by the wonderful Sigourney Weaver) is good to an extent - but still lacks that cutting-edge persona. And of course, the action sequences are visually among the best we've seen.

              That being said, the storytelling & dialogue is poor. It didn't hook me in and get me invested as much as I did with the other series. The story feels shallow and without spoiling anything, a lot of the plot points only made me confused & annoyed. And those final two episodes also highlights why - despite having a high caliber actress in Sigourney Weaver - the villain in this show is nowhere near the likes of Kingpin or Kilgrave. And by the way, I underlined the word 'visually' in the previous paragraph because while the action looks cool, it didn't feel like it mattered because I wasn't invested enough and it never felt dangerous. Take, for example, the fight between Daredevil and The Punisher where each of the blow felt dangerous and you fear for what happens next. This one does not feel like that at all.

            With so much expectations riding on this series, it certainly feels disappointing. There are some cool action sequences & enjoyable moments, but is overall a disappointing set of events to watch...poor storytelling. Among the Netflix MCU, Daredevil S2 remains my personal best & favourite, closely followed by the high quality Jessica Jones S1 & Daredevil S1. Iron Fist S1 is still enjoyable, but Luke Cage S1 & The Defenders S1 are both disappointing for me.

VERDICT: 40 / 100

              I would not personally recommend this to anyone, but if you are an avid follower of the Netflix MCU, then it seems that there is no choice for you but to watch it and just try to enjoy the positives and keep your expectations low. Here's hoping The Punisher will be a much better turnout...

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.

Friday, 7 July 2017

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING



           I am undecided on whether this is the best Spider-Man movie ever made, but for damn sure, it's the one I like the most, and it really is another excellent film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They just don't know how to make bad movies. This film has great humour, great story, great characters...and this is, for me, the best Peter Parker/Spider-Man in film.

           I just have to start off by talking about Tom Holland's Peter Parker. Unlike other heroes like Iron Man (who is a billionaire) or Thor (who is a god), this is a character who has to deal with day-to-day stuff like school, socializing & even falling in love. It is so nice to see a superhero that needs to deal with & balance these things. And I can say that this is the best Spider-Man on film because of how he acts when he is on that suit. I don't want to spoil anything here, but if you just see what he does when he's in that suit, it is just fun & hilarious, in the way only Spider-Man can be. Which is why the humour in this film really hits!

             The plot was pretty good, but it is the characters that really made it work. All the supporting characters were quite memorable, from the likes of Tony Stark & Happy Hogan, to his high school friends Ned, Liz, Flash, Michelle. There was some great chemistry between the high school peeps, and they really feel like a modern bunch of kids. I was initially skeptical of the high school rom-com part of the film, but I ended up really enjoying it. And on the topic of supporting characters, the villain in this film is arguably one of the best in the MCU. Michael Keaton's The Vulture looks menacing & awesome in the suit, but he stands out more in his human persona.

              If there is anything that lacks in this film, I think that would actually be the action sequences. Not that it's bad, but some other previous Spider-Man movies did it better, so I can't say that this one stood out. That being said, (as mentioned above) I really like whenever this Spider-Man is in his suit in whatever he does...so there doesn't even need to be an action set piece...I thoroughly enjoyed watching this character do what Spider-Man does. There aren't too many jokes/humour throughout the film, but when there is, it really hits the mark.

              Another thing that probably didn't stood out much was the score/soundtrack...but I do have to say that the Spider-Man Homecoming Suite (theme) was excellent, so I'm going to give the composer credit for that. And without spoiling what it is, the mid-credits scene really got me excited for the future, meanwhile the post-credits scene at the end...well, it is very simply a must see!

VERDICT: 83 / 100