Monday 30 December 2013

Best of 2013 - Science-Fiction (Humans)

This category is unique so perhaps requires a bit of explanation. The category of science-fiction is much too wide, so I had to narrow it down a bit, by separating movies which involve otherworldly elements or aliens or other races, in a separate category.

This post will seek to explore on the movies which is mostly set on Earth and involves mainly on humans, with the involvement of science-fiction elements. No clear and accurate distinction is to be made, but is more based on feeling of similar elements of the films.

-The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
-World War Z

          I hope you don't get too confused with the distinction I try to make, but I believe things will be clearer as you read the next post which will be on the other side of the genre. But as seen in the movies listed on the nominees, it should be relatively clear that this is about films which are mainly on humans or based on human elements and human actions. Other films like this include G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which did not make the cut due to its unintelligent plot, focusing too much on fun and action.
          Elysium is decent in its plot, but is great with the mix of drama and action, along with its loose depiction of some of the world's political and social issues. Catching Fire is a great sequel to an already great film, while keeping us wanting for more even after the end of the film. World War Z is amazing for its balanced mix of action, humour, drama, and even some horror elements. It's accurate portrayal of character reactions is also of positive note.

Winner: The Hunger Games - Catching Fire

          This one is not an obvious one, as I am highly compelled to consider the other two nominees well. However, CF manages to overcome the others due to its excellent cast and strong characters, and a great plot that drives audiences to root and wonder for the characters. It feels like an improvement over its predecessor, which is already a great movie on its own.


Thursday 26 December 2013

Best of 2013 - Action

This post is on the "action" category, and action here simply means action films that can be real and is set on the real world we live in now, with little or no elements of science-fiction and hence is not of a science-fiction category (which will come later on)

-Fast & Furious 6
-Now You See Me
-The Lone Ranger

          Not a lot of action films this year stands out more than others. Some like Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down are, coincidentally and surprisingly, similar. Both didn't manage to make it, although WHD nearly did for its extra dose of fun incorporating a lot of humour in the midst of the gunfights. One film in particular which highly disappoints, is A Good Day to Die Hard, which must be one of the worst action films ever, especially coming from a franchise that should know better.
          Fast & Furious 6 is a great film, which manages to take things to a whole new level, with actions involving flip cars, tanks, and even planes. Now You See Me is brilliant as it doesn't feel like a common action film, instead incorporating the likes of magic & illusion to pull off amazing & cool sequences for some awesome action entertainment. The Lone Ranger is a bit slow paced, but is overall an entertaining experience, especially due to the dynamic of the two main characters.

Winner: Fast & Furious 6

          Again, it feels a bit unanimous for myself. The three great sequences on the flip cars, tank, and plane is already on a whole new level, and would have made it the best of the year. Yet, it is more than that. The movie manages to bring back past characters which strengthens the plot points well, and also connecting the franchise one film to another which is a remarkable feature, and puts this film on a big margin away from the other nominees. 


Tuesday 24 December 2013

Best of 2013 - Animation

With the end of the year close by, it is again the time to look back and find out which films excel more than others, for my version of the "Best of 2013"

The categories here will be distinctions that can be made within the scope of the movies that I watch, which will be revealed as we go, along with some description of the category.

Firstly, animation films. A pretty obvious distinction, and one type of film that I still follow quite closely too, for their unbounded creativity and genuine quality they may bring.

-Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
-Despicable Me 2

          Animation films this year have seen some of the better ones, along with some that fail to entertain. The likes of Free Birds and Turbo just didn't meet the required expectations for animation movies that aim to be the show for the families, while some other films are just pure fun and joy that bring along the qualities of modern animation.
          For the sake of making it fun, I decided to put in 3 nominations for each category. For this one though, some are just unlucky to not make it, like Monsters University and The Croods. MU possesses an overall decent quality, but unfortunately has annoying characters which lets down the overall experience.
          Cloudy 2 is an overall fun experience, while displaying some excellent visuals, brilliant story, and some emotional ride for the families. Despicable 2, on the other hand, is pure entertainment with all the fun, humour and action, but simply excels at it. Frozen is the film that manages to rekindle the Disney fire, and brings back all good things about Disney, including the songs, comedy, and drama.

Winner: Frozen

          Truthfully, Frozen is pretty much the obvious winner here. Although Cloudy 2 and Despicable 2 is really a fun time for the movies, but Frozen recaptures the Disney quality, and Disney quality means awesome. The mixture of the comedy and drama, as well as the enjoyable songs is the true quality that shines, and puts Frozen in the position as the best animation film of 2013.


Thursday 19 December 2013

Looking Forward: January 2014

The start of the year is relatively quiet, but not without a few that could be a surprise package...

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (Jan 17-USA, Jan 24-UK, Jan 16-Singapore)

          At first glance, it seems just like another typical covert agent type movie. But at the absence of other well-known franchise, this one looks to be one to watch in January. It certainly has potential, the character being an adaptation of the Jack Ryan novel series by the late Tom Clancy, although this particular film is the origin story and won't be adapted from a specific novel. And I have always enjoyed these kind of action movies anyway. With a decent cast in the likes of Chris Pine & Kevin Costner, and a seemingly promising story, this might just give us the extra dose of movie needed for at the start of the year.

I, Frankenstein (Jan 24-USA, Jan 29-UK, Jan 23-Singapore)

          A fantasy action film revolving around the famous mythical creature 'Frankenstein'. This looks like another one of those movies that takes a famous myth, but iterates it as something different than what it ought to be. In this case, Frankenstein, though still being an experimented creation, is now embedded with superhuman abilities and fighting skills, and also being involved in a war of mythical creatures. The trailers show some decent fantasy action sequences, with good looking visuals & CGI. But the story didn't look promising as of yet. No idea why the title is as it is, but still, this is probably one to watch in a rather lifeless January.

Other Movies:

The Nut Job (January 17)
-Yet another animation movie with some amazing ensemble voice cast...

Sunday 15 December 2013


A mountain pile of gold, a big terrifying dragon, and more...

          The Desolation of Smaug is filled with fun and action from start to end, and brings lots of great characters in the mix like Tauriel, Bard, Legolas, and most importantly, Smaug. Though the plot is straightforward and predictable, it is still fun to watch, and the visuals are beyond praise.

          Many have stated this, and I will have to agree with them, the movie is an improvement as it packs a whole lot of action from the very beginning to the very end. Furthermore, elves with bow and arrows are a bit more entertaining than dwarves with swords and axes (no offense to the dwarves). And the most entertaining action sequence is indeed the barrels in the river sequence, which sees elves leaping around, arrows flying everywhere, and a massacre of the orcs. 

          The introduction of new characters are great, because they strengthen the plot points and are individually amazing characters themselves. Bard is an excellent addition and seems to be the character that is more than meets the eye. And though the characters of Tauriel and Legolas are cause for some debate, I have to say they are both excitingly brilliant characters. While the love connection between Tauriel and one certain dwarf felt unnecessary (except for, understandably, the cause of dragging more female viewers), it somehow felt a bit disrespectful to Tolkien's vision and doesn't feel coherent anyway. However the character Tauriel itself is great, while Legolas returns with a bang with some of the coolest and funniest scenes, and fans will really enjoy his return.

          The titular dragon Smaug looks amazing and I was stunned by the massiveness and the terrifying feel of just looking at it. Not only it is humongous, but it looks great with the wings and the breath of fire, and...well, you just have to see it yourself. The plot is straightforward and rather predictable, but it is not a big issue as there are more to enjoy than the need of a good plot line. The existence of a cliffhanger is not a problem, as this in turn keeps us anticipated and expecting the third and final film (kind of what Catching Fire did as well).

          The existence of consistent humour is a great addition to the already exciting action sequences, and most is due to Martin Freeman's brilliant acting. On the emotional side, there are less drama than what they have in the first film, so its a bit of a let down. In terms of technicality, the 3D effects are stunning and can really be felt at all times. And the visuals are, as I said before, beyond words and praise. The running time is shorter, but is still a hefty two and a half hours long so is still a wonderful journey.


Good: Fully action packed, Decent humour, Amazing characters, Stupendous titular dragon, Brilliant visuals & 3D effects

Bad: Less emotional exploration

SCORE: 9.0

Tuesday 10 December 2013

SPOILER Discussion - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire



This one is going to be a relatively shorter one, as there is only one obvious twist to talk about, and its in the ending...
It may be more questions than answers, but its the things in my mind I can't let out without spoiling anything...

          The most surprising fact in my mind, is that Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) turns out to be a good guy, in that he plans this whole rebellion thing with Haymitch, and Finnick, too. But as I said in my review, the ending is just so abrupt and fast, that it lacks the clear explanation of what is going on, who are involved, etc. It could be deliberate, but it still gives us the half-frustrating, half-eager feeling.

          So, questions. Aside from those three, wonder who else are involved. Johanna could be in the whole thing, as she said the line, "I did this for you" or some sort during the arena. No idea about Peeta, there are no clear indications of his knowledge, but it could go either way. But most of all, is Gale part of the plan all along? Because he was the one in the very last scene of the film explaining things to Katniss.

          And yet, Plutarch's involvement intrigues me quite a lot. Or perhaps, the overall plan itself. Why would he go through all those things in the games, hurting Katniss and her friends, killing a few (like Mags). Did they really do all this to deceive President Snow? Is their plan that deliberate, and require lots of sacrifice? What about the risks of Katniss falling in battle or anyone else essential in the plan? They could instead just tell Finnick the idea to shut down the system, and make him lead the group there. Intriguing issue here.

          The bigger picture is also interesting here. Was this games literally part of the plan? Perhaps it is, maybe even the rule change here. Perhaps it was in their plan to collect some of the victors, and to take them away discretely to 'District 13' for their next step in the rebellion. It makes sense, because, as of now, President Snow is on the blind, which meant that the games was more of an advantage for them.

          But finally, what is really going on, and what is this plan their doing? This one needs no urgent treatment, as it will be better saved for the sequel. And also, the mention of district 13 is haunting. What is this place? But again, better to be saved for the next. Some cliffhangers like this are better explained in the sequel, to grab the attention of viewers, and keep them eager for more. Its just that the details of what happened in the movie, like who knew about the plan in the arena, etc, should have been explained already. As it stands, (at least for me), the film felt a bit too rushed with the ending, and there are some unsatisfactory feeling combined with the curiosity of what's to come next.

Note: I know these plot points would have been resolved in the books, but I am no book reader, and I don't intend to, as I prefer to see it unveil in the movie itself...

Thursday 5 December 2013

Just Some News - 6 Dec 2013

There are just a few too many interesting news going on recently, well maybe not all news, but interesting updates going on with some films...

Fast & Furious 7 Future?

          The death of Paul Walker (RIP) resulted in the film production of Fast & Furious 7 being stopped to an unknown extent. I had thought that they were filming at the moment, and supposedly nearing its end, so it was a tricky situation depending on how much and which part of Paul Walker's sequences they have shot. But now, apparently, they have decided to halt production, so most likely we won't be seeing it in 2014, and we'll just have to wait for further updates to come from Universal. (All the prayers for Paul Walker and his family).


X-Men: Apocalypse

          Bryan Singer, director of X-Men 1 & 2, and the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past, recently tweeted signalling a potential sequel titled X-Men: Apocalypse to come in 2016. Furthermore, the release date have been tentatively set at May 27 of 2016. This is really big, big news, at least for me, because I love the X-Men franchise so much, and just knowing that it will go beyond Future Past is great news. Plus, while it is only a few years to go, it means most characters may have their roles reprised by current actors. Good thing its in 2016, as 2015 is far too packed as it is. And yet the question that begs, is "Apocalypse" the villain they will be up against??


The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Trailer

          In the link below is the trailer for the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man 2, please check it out if you have not. It is one of the best trailers ever, one that shows a hell lot of action, and not afraid to hide anything. You can clearly see 3 villains there fighting Spidey. And yet, for comic book fans, there looks to be some hidden easter eggs if you can spot them (#SinisterSix). This movie is just one that I highly anticipate for next summer. The first film was, well, amazing. And this one promises much more action, more secrets to be revealed, and with two more sequels confirmed, it just cannot be any more interesting and exciting as it is. Oh, and Electro looks badass and electrifying in this one.


Saturday 30 November 2013


Relives the classic Disney moments...

          Before I start, I just have to say, this movie is in many ways similar to Tangled, and that is a good thing. In fact, Tangled is one of my favourite animation films of all time. Firstly, the film is about the character 'The Snow Queen', but retitled to Frozen, as 'Rapunzel' is retitled to Tangled, action words relating the character. And then, the leading female, Rapunzel and Anna, are way too similar, in that both are adventurous, awkward, clumsy, yet charming. This is very much a good thing because it is one of the main reasons I like Tangled, pushing aside the mainstream ladylike character and opting for a more interesting & dynamic one instead. So, these similarities are, in my opinion, a positive aspect and an embracement of what they did well with Tangled.

          I said earlier that this movie relives the classic Disney moments, because it just feels so. It has such beautiful songs, good story, and quite an emotional ride too. The voice acting is also good, and the 3D effects are awesome as well.

           The thing that I like the most are the wonderful, beautiful songs. I immediately fell in love as soon as I heard them. They resonate the brilliant, brilliant songs that Disney had brought before, and they are just enjoyable to sing along. The story line is decent, and is not too straightforward. It even has some twisty moments as well, which though were not all too surprising, but lets the plot stray from classic obviousness.

           Though not as strong as Lion King or the Toy Story's, it has quite the emotional ride for a family film, and yes, the moral of the story is a strong one too, good for children to learn. The blend of humour and sadness is brilliant. When it gets emotional, we can feel for it, and when it gets humorous, we can laugh at it. On a further note, the voice acting of the cast are brilliant as well. And to add some technicality, the 3D effects are great and definitely worth the extra price of admission.

          This is indeed one of the best animation films of recent times, and it is old yet new. Reliving the classic moments, but with a modern touch of visuals and songs. A must watch film for the families, for audiences who like music, for those who like animation films, and for everyone, really.


Good: Beautiful songs, Interesting & dynamic main character, Decent storyline, Good emotional ride

Bad: -

SCORE: 8.5

P.S. My favourite song of the whole movie is "For the First Time in Forever". Just the song to cheer up the mood for a better day.

Saturday 23 November 2013


Escalates everything good about its predecessor...

          Catching Fire really improves everything that makes The Hunger Games a great movie. While there are are some minor flaws in the mix, everything else just seem to grow in depth and quality. The film felt so immersive, and the world so real, that the political issues presented, as well as the reaction of the characters, resonates in our feelings as well.
          The plot is one of the strongest aspects of this film, in that it develops from its predecessor quite brilliantly, properly displaying the consequences of the first film, yet also staging for the '75th Hunger Games' which was to be played towards the end of the film. It does not stop there, as the plot is dynamic and ever changing, and really presented us with events that audiences wouldn't come to expect.

          The characterizations are brilliant, and the cast was great as well. Jennifer Lawrence was amazing, and did a wonderful job conveying the emotions like one would really do, given the situation. It's not like other science-fictions where the main hero just seemed so calm, and have no trouble killing bad guys. In this one, Katniss is such a fragile, vulnerable character thrown in the middle of a political warfare in a harsh and violent environment.

          The other characters were great as well. Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) seem more like a developed character than he was in the first film. Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) becomes more like a father figure (but with some "alcohol"). New characters like Finnick and Johanna are interesting additions to the series. These are two contrasting characters that seem to spark some initial rivalries, but quickly grow to become likeable. Praise to Sam Claflin and Jena Malone for brilliantly portraying these respective characters. Oh, and the character introduction of one of the best ever, really smart, funny and cunning. You'll know what I mean when you see it. 

          The movie is not without flaws, even though they are minor and not really a big deal. The games itself felt more like survival than fights. While the stakes are higher, the battle is different this time around. The action sequences weren't what I hoped they would be.

          The finale is interesting. The movie ended with some strong twist and revelations, but finished rather quickly without, perhaps intentionally, explaining clearly what had happened, leaving audiences in a blur. This raises more questions and is such an obvious cliffhanger, one that frustrates a bit, but makes us eager for more. The ending was good, and I liked it and I really didn't come to expect such a conclusion. The only issue was that it felt too abrupt and fast.


Good: Strong dynamic plot, Great characterizations, Amazing cast, Brilliant new characters, Strong conclusion, Clear portrayal of emotions

Bad: Fast and abrupt ending, Not so great action sequences

SCORE: 8.5

(note: I may need to write a spoiler discussion about this, sometime soon)

Monday 18 November 2013

SPOILER Discussion - Thor: The Dark World

I had to make this post because there are some things I like to share about the movie, but won't able to do so without spoiling the surprise. The movie is now out for nearly 3 weeks in Singapore & UK, and nearly 2 weeks in the U.S. So I'm hoping most of you would have watched it by now. If not, then please don't continue below, unless you don't mind spoilers.



Marvel always have delicate surprises for the fans, and Thor: The Dark World is no different. With this one, there are a few things to be discussed, most notably Loki's mischief, Frigga's death, and Captain America's cameo...

Frigga's Death

          This scene, I believe, is where they just had to make that dramatic scene. If there is a character they can kill off, Thor & Loki's mother would be it. The impact is apparent on the main characters, but is not a substantial character to the universe and the fans. So, if there is any character that can be killed off and would make an impact without disappointing the fans, this would be the one. By the way, the funeral scene was majestic, and the visuals of it along with the realm of Asgard, is just stunning.

Captain America's Cameo

          This is a very funny scene that Loki did to annoy Thor. After transforming Thor into Sif, he transformed himself into Captain America. This little cameo by Captain America is a bit of a fan service, while at the same time may also tease for the upcoming movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But the fact that Cap appears in this cameo, is just funny and satisfying for the fans.

Loki's Trickery

          Being the God of Mischief, you would expect him to do naughty & bad things. While this side of him was never emphasised in previous movies, director Alan Taylor made good use of this fact in Thor: The Dark World. From making illusions in the dungeon, and even unto annoying Thor on their way out of Asgard, Loki's trickery was of the funnier bits of the whole film.
           While some were made to be funny, the major acts of Loki were the dramatic twists. Firstly, its the scene where Loki uses his mischief to trick Malekith, while seemingly betraying Thor in Svartalfheim. It was the kind of thing that I half-expected, as Loki's allegiance was one of my greater interests of the movie. When I first saw it, I thought Loki had really betrayed Thor, but when the truth was revealed, I felt caught off guard, while also feeling relieved that Loki turned out good. But the main thing I liked about this scene, is the idea that a stereotypically negative concept like "mischief", when used against the right individual, can be a good thing as well, as in this case, it helped Thor in his plan.
            The second twist was the faking of his death. I was disappointed to see his apparent death, as he was one of my (and certainly many others') favourite character in the Marvel universe. But he was an obvious fan favourite, and so I guess one of the reasons that his death was faked, aside from making it a potential story line for a sequel, is that Marvel felt that a character like this shouldn't be killed off, for the sake of the fans. They did realize their mistake in badly portraying a character in Iron Man 3, perhaps they are now aware that the heart of the fans is an important aspect in this business and intended to not disappoint them.


In the end, I feel that Frigga's death is just a scene that had to happen, while Captain America's cameo is simply a nice touch. While Loki's trickery twisted the plot a few times, but I am glad that the first one was of good use, and with the second, I am just extremely happy that he is still alive, while bringing upon a potential story for a third movie.

Thursday 14 November 2013

Looking Forward: December 2013

This December lacks the quantity of huge blockbusters, but not in quality with one of the biggest movies of the year...

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Dec 13-USA, Dec 13-UK, Dec 12-Singapore)

          And yes, I'm referring to this one as one of the biggest movies of the year, and frankly has also been my most anticipated movie of the whole year. Last year's Unexpected Journey did not receive highly positive acclaim, while some (including me) believed that it properly sets up the story & the world for what's to come next. I just have to mention that everyone's eyes will be looking towards the dragon in this sequel, having its name in the title, teased in the first movie, and shown part of, and his voice, in the trailers. The dragon is certainly the biggest thing here, but the trailers itself promises more action, more drama, and certainly more than just dwarves and hobbits (but elves and men and spiders and orcs and everything that makes Middle-Earth the world it is).

Trailers: (Teaser) (Must See!!) (Main Trailer) (Must See!) (Sneak Peek)

Note: The first two trailers are just among the best I've ever seen. The teaser trailer is super brilliant, with an amazing soundtrack, as well as teasing the dragon in the end (being the core of the movie). The main trailer is just worth the watch because of what it shows, as well as the dragon's voice.

47 Ronin (Dec 25-USA, Dec 26-UK, Dec 19-Singapore)

          An American fantasy film, featuring an ensemble Japanese cast. Keanu Reeves is the only American actor in the movie, but even so, you got to admit he's got that Asian look in him. I have to say, the trailers did look cool, with science-fiction action in a fantasy world. Oh, they have a dragon as well. But to be honest, I didn't feel convinced in a way. The story is of a classical & traditional tale, but with a fictional take to make it an entertaining science-fiction. But I have doubts on the quality of the story. And the stylishness of the action sequences could be annoyingly far-fetched and be a drawback for mature audiences. But still, the trailer displays some decent fantasy action, and curiosity may just drive me to go and watch this.


Other Movies:

Out of the Furnace (December 6)
-A thriller film with a powerful drama, supported with some great casts...

Saving Mr. Banks (December 13)
-A biographical drama that looks good with some amazing cast...

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (December 25)
-An epic film with a strong blend of comedy & drama...

Saturday 9 November 2013


A satisfying science-fiction with solid characters & great visuals...

          Ender's Game is overall an enjoyable story following the character Ender in his pursuit of becoming a commander of a fleet. While the plot may be relatively straightforward, it is still fun to follow, with the addition of strong character developments & excellent visuals, that made this movie a rather satisfying piece of art.

          The trailers may be a bit deceiving as most of the movie is on Ender's progress in the battle school instead of the battle against the aliens. While the technology & setting of the school seems way too advanced, the basic story is very much grounded, reflecting typical issues such as friendship, competition, and even bullying. The story though is very much simple & straightforward, except for the finale where, without revealing anything, the story uncovers a great deal of mystery, while ending with a rather strong & unexpected conclusion.

          The visuals are excellent, giving the movie an extra dimension to the relatively simple plot. The character developments are good for audiences to be able to understand the characters. The finale feels grand in scale, despite it being fast & shallow. The soundtrack is amazing as well. However, the drama isn't really felt, while the humour is lacking, which otherwise might increase the value of watching it.

          It is a simple yet enjoyable movie to follow, with some great character moments, only lacking in the humour & drama which could have made it a great movie adaptation.


Good: Solid characters, Great visuals, Decent soundtrack, Good plot

Bad: Relatively simple plot, Lack of humour & drama

SCORE: 7.0 

Monday 4 November 2013


Touches of drama salvages what is an otherwise unamusing and uninteresting animation movie...

          With the likes of Cloudy, Despicable Me, and 'Disney' animations on the rise, this one stands no chance and is nowhere near the level of these animation movies. Even Turbo which lacks quality in many aspects, still manages to amuse in some ways. Free Birds is for the most part boring and cheesy, and lacks a good plot, apart from a slight touch of drama.

          The humour in this one is all too cheesy & childish. While undoubtedly targeted for little kids, what they should know, is that kids normally watch with their parents, and so there have to be something to show for them. While recent animation movies have been on the rise, and manages to drag not just the below 10 audiences, but even teenagers and adults as well, this one does not.

          The first half of the movie is unbelievably boring. With a very boring unfolding plot, and utterly unamusing humour & jokes, I kept looking at my watch, while regretting going to the cinema in the first place. The second half is slightly better, with touches of drama & even some thrills in the action, which made it just decently good to see, and saving me from the boredom I had experienced for the first 45 minutes or so.

          But in the end, this is still a boring & unamusing animation movie, with a predictable & weak plot, uninteresting characters, while only salvaged by the little touches of drama in the final moments of the film. Otherwise, this is a movie you may want to avoid for the time being.


Good: Touch of drama

Bad: Unamusing humour, Weak & predictable plot, Uninteresting characters, Boring first half

SCORE: 3.0

Thursday 31 October 2013


Everything I expected from a Marvel movie...and more!

          The Dark World is incredibly humorous and light hearted at its core. With delightful visuals and entertaining action sequences, touches of drama, and amazing cast and characters with a flow of story that is so close to the heart, it is yet another marvellous blockbuster by Marvel.

          The whole movie is hilariously entertaining from start to end, incorporating tons of humorous scenes in the mix. Since The Avengers, and followed by Iron Man 3, Marvel have been making their movies so light & funny, it probably has become their legacy now. I have to say, Loki's scenes are highly entertaining and are among my favourites. Moreover, even the final battle is riddled with humour as well. (For countless times, the whole theatre burst into laughter, that I missed some lines because I could not hear them.)

           The overall story may be simple and very classical with not much depth & substance, but it was perhaps Marvel's intention all along, to make a movie that is easy to follow, yet joyfully entertaining. The few touches of drama and some good twists made it not seem all that shallow. And while the fantasy may be of gods & monsters, but the plot is grounded and made relatable to audiences, such as the simple brotherly relationship between Thor and Loki.

            The scale of the movie is so much bigger than its predecessor. In Thor, the only thing we see of Asgard is probably just the centre "castle", so to speak. In this one, the world is shown like a medieval but magnificent city, with houses, arenas, and bridges too. Brilliant soundtrack adds to the excitement, while the visual direction of Alan Taylor deserved praise as well. Oh, and Stan Lee's cameo is so funny, and is much better than in Iron Man 3.

           Marvel is really making a name for themselves, to be the cinematic series that takes the fantasy of the world of superheroes and giving them a light & family-friendly take, compared to other science-fictions that conveys darker story lines. Thor: The Dark World is a brilliant representation of Marvel's work, and with excellent visuals & great action sequences, along with the humorous take from start to end, is just an immensely satisfying adventure that is not to be missed.


Good: Delightful visuals, Entertaining action sequences, Humour from start to end, Touch of twists & drama

Bad: -

SCORE: 9.0

Sunday 27 October 2013


An entertaining old-fashioned action flick...

          Before watching the movie, I was expecting a good fun movie, but without a strong plot. After watching it, that's exactly what I feel that I got, but with a little something extra though. The whole movie is entertaining and thrilling for the prison breaking bits, but otherwise felt a bit boring and lifeless.

          The scenes in the prisons are enjoyable for the most part. Just when Stallone's character was scanning around, and then describing the flaws and weaknesses, it felt cool already. Although when inside 'The Tomb', the seemingly escape-proof prison where most of the movie is set in, he seemed way more vulnerable and worried, and it puts audiences in the position where they can root for the character in his troubles.

          Stallone's chemistry with Schwarzenegger was not as good as I had hoped, although there were some memorable scenes, and most of the funny scenes do came from them. The action sequences were simple, old-fashioned action, but it was still decently entertaining. With a mix of humour in between, the scenes in the prison are mostly great to see. 

          However, away from them, the movie seemed a bit boring, and gets uninteresting, even though a big part of the plot was from there. The overall plot was straightforward, and the whole movie is only about breaking out. But there is a small twist in the end that kind of clear things up, which surprised me a bit, as I wasn't expecting it, really.

          Another small disappointment was in the finale, where the sense of intelligent prison breaking is just lost. When things go haywire, instead of having our hero rethink another smart improvised strategy, it ends with actions that made the prison lost all its credibility of an escape proof-prison with top security, while at the same time making Stallone's character feel like just another old-fashioned gun slinger.

          The acting wasn't awfully great, but we would have loved seeing Sly and Arnold together anyway. But in the end, its just a fun movie that's worth the watch, especially while waiting for the blockbusters to start coming in soon.


Good: Decent action sequences, Good mix of humour

Bad: Straightforward plot, No drama, Disappointing finale

SCORE: 6.5

Monday 14 October 2013

Looking Forward: November 2013

The month of November signals the return of big blockbuster movies, and in this November, we have more than we could ever ask for...

Thor: The Dark World (Nov 8-USA, Oct 30-UK, Oct 31-Singapore)

          After the highly successful Iron Man 3 earlier this year, Marvel took no time for a break, with the imminent release of Thor: The Dark World. Our hammer-wielding Avenger returns as a new evil rises in Malekith and the dark elves, who plans to plunge the universe back into darkness. Not only that, Thor must also ask help from his imprisoned step brother Loki, who has been a villain in his past two appearances in Marvel movies. What intrigues me the most from this movie will be to what extent Loki helps Thor, and if he will actually redeem himself, or return to evil in the end. 

Trailers: (Teaser) (Trailer)

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Nov 22-USA, Nov 21-UK, Nov 21-Singapore)

          The first Hunger Games movie was a huge success. In terms of story and action, it was great. This next one looks to build up on the first one, and despite my definite decision to watch this one, the trailers further convinced me that this one is going to be bigger and better than the first. With the games' president turning out to be evil, threat seems to be everywhere for our young heroes. But the fact that blows my mind away is that the 75th Hunger Games in this movie will consist of past victors, and when Haymitch said "Last year was child's play, this time you're dealing with all experienced killers", that's when shivers went through my spine, and I thought to myself, this is going to be epic.

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

Ender's Game (Nov 1-USA, Oct 25-UK, Nov 7-Singapore)

          Another science-fiction in the mix, and one which is also based on a well-known novel. The story is about one young teenager who sees and thinks differently than others, and have the potential to save the world from the alien invasion. One of the few movies this year that initiates a new potential franchise, which if it succeeds, could spark upcoming sequels based on the many books already written by writer Orson Scott Card. Not the one I'm most looking forward to, but given the stellar cast in Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley, and the cool-looking trailers, I'm curious to see what this one has to bring.

Trailers: (Trailer #2)

Other Movies:

Free Birds (November 1)
-An animation movie that doesn't seem great, but could be a joyful ride...

Frozen (November 27)
-Another Disney animation movie which reminded me of Tangled at first glance...

Homefront (November 27)
-An action flick with a potentially good story line...

Thursday 10 October 2013


Fully immersive, but felt shallow at times...

          Gravity is a visual artwork at its best, and with some brilliant direction and unbelievable 3D effects, it is one of the most immersive movies of recent memories, as audiences are able to really feel like being in space. Amazing it may be, this masterpiece was not perfected with a strong plot & substance.

          Critics around the world have been giving this universally positive responses, and understandably so. This movie is able to make audiences feel as if they are really there. This is an outstanding feat, which I believe is because of director Alfonso Cuaron's amazing direction, with cameras spinning as if its floating, and the takes are longer extended shots, instead of short jumps from one angle to the other. And the graphics played no small part, as its stunning and flawless visuals provide the sense of really being in space.

          However, there are some drawbacks within this movie. One is which I have feared all along (and as I have mentioned in the preview post), is that the movie is not supported by a strong script. The movie was all about thrills and survival in space, but not based on a strong emotional plot. In between thrilling, dangerous sequences there are some quiet moments for the characters to tell their stories, but is not enough to grab the heart of audiences. Some moments felt emotional, but mostly they don't pull audiences to their level. I remember a scene where audiences laugh, when I realize it was supposed to be something dark & questionable. In fact, the more dramatic scenes I think was due to Bullock's brilliant acting instead. 

          This movie is indeed one of its kind, at least, for now. Yet it could be perfected with a strong script and substance. If it had been so, it would have been the perfect movie, and one which is not just an amazing thrill ride, but will remain in the heart of audiences for long. Though the case is not so, Cuaron have made his mark in the world of cinema, and will surely trigger something in the mind of other movie makers in the near future.


Good: Fully immersive experience, Great direction, Stunning visuals, Good 3D effects

Bad: Not supported by script & substance

SCORE: 7.5


Predictable but emotionally satisfying...

          Cloudy 2 is a creative and entertaining sequel. However, it lacks in the story line and memorable scenes. Plot is predictable overall, with minor surprising twists as the spices. The visuals are great, and the story has emotional scenes that convey a moral message.

          The plot is predictable in the big picture, but has surprising minor twists that audiences may not realize. Though the villain of the movie is made aware to audiences from the beginning, the unfolding turn of events is pretty enjoyable, especially on the more emotional scenes when the gang realizes the truth about the world, which in my opinion, conveys a deep, emotional, moral message that, although simple, is a good note for children watching this movie.

          Movie-wise, the visuals are good, however there are no scenes that are memorable or fun to watch for. Simply put, there are no action scenes that could have made it more entertaining. The humour is good overall, but gets too repetitive (especially with the food references) and boring as it goes. Other humour are more child-targeted ones, which may still be laughable, but not great.

           In the end, Cloudy 2 is fun to watch, and certainly a good one for the families. Though it did not achieve as high as its predecessor, its still just fun to watch, and worth the price of admission.


Good: Great visuals, Emotionally satisfying, Good humour

Bad: No memorable scenes, Repetitive references

SCORE: 6.5

Monday 7 October 2013


Changing the scoring system...

          Based from feedbacks from my friend, I realize that the scores I put in my reviews are always high. While I admit that I did deliberately so for a couple of reasons, I also realize that its not good for audiences as it does not provide a proper reflection of how well the movie achieved.

          The system I will now apply is simply a proper 0 - 10 rating, as according to general movie reviewers, while putting myself in a position to give scores that genuinely reflect the movie in my views. For clarification of the scoring system, I will provide a simple reference below. 

          I have now decided to revise all movie scores I have published, and continue with this system for upcoming reviews. Hope this works well for all you readers. Do check out reviews and see if they now portray a better sense of the quality of movies, and I hope this will be better for future reviews. 

10: Special! Memorable! Legend!

8: Brilliant! Must watch!

6: Good. Enjoyable. Worth the price of admission.

4: Not Good. Too many flaws. 

2: Bad. Avoid watching it.

Saturday 5 October 2013

SPECIAL: My Top 10 Anticipated Movies of 2014 - Part 2

Below are my top three most anticipated movies of 2014, along with a list of other movies that caught my eye...

3. Fast and Furious 7 (July 11)

          Being one of the most successful movie franchise, with recurring actors & characters that have become a favourite in our hearts, Dom (Vin Diesel) & friends will be back, this time pitted against a villain with a score to settle. Jason Statham's cameo in the credits of Furious 6 not only provided a linked continuity to the series, but is a great build-up to a movie that is coming just one year later. Let us hope that James Wan can continue the legacy that Justin Lin had left behind on the franchise.

2. X-men: Days of Future Past (May 23)

          Similar to Fast 7, X-men: Days of Future Past was teased in the credits scene of The Wolverine, and now the anticipation to this movie is surely high. From the credits scene itself, it is obvious that Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) are back. Not only that, with the whole new cast and the original trilogy cast set to return, and Bryan Singer, practically the father of the franchise, back; the whole family have gathered together, and it will surely be the biggest X-men movie ever. As the cast of old and new unites, so does the mutants, for the threat they face, bigger than ever, is extinction.

1. The Hobbit: There and Back Again (December 17)

          It is always sad to see when a fan favourite series must end. 'The Hobbit' trilogy will end with this one, and while the second movie is yet to be out on cinemas, the one year intervals will seem like days when this movie comes out to end the epic journey of Bilbo Baggins and the dwarves. They say "All good things must come to an end", and while the Marvel movies you know and love can (and will) always be followed up...this one will surely end, and let us just hope that Peter Jackson will amaze the fans and movie-goers with this final instalment of the wonderful Hobbit trilogy, and place it in the hearts of fans as a big part of the Middle-Earth folklore.

Other Movies:
-RoboCop (February 7)

-300: Rise of An Empire (March 7)

-Divergent (March 21)

-Rio 2 (April 11)

-Transcendence (April 18)

-Godzilla (May 16)

-Maleficent (May 30)

-Edge of Tomorrow (June 6)

-Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 18)

-Planes: Fire and Rescue (July 18)

-Hercules (July 25)

-Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1)

-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (August 8)

-Resident Evil 6 (September 12)

-Interstellar (November 7)

-Exodus (December 12)

-Tomorrowland (December 12)

-Night at the Museum 3 (December 25)

What are your most anticipated movies? Comment below and share...

Monday 30 September 2013

SPECIAL: My Top 10 Anticipated Movies of 2014 - Part 1

We can already see movies lined-up for an epic year of cinema with some well-known franchises, as well as some new ones, for an amazing 2014...

I will list down below my 10 most anticipated movies of 2014, while also listing out other movies to look out for when the year arrives.

10. Need for Speed (March 14)

          Being a gamer myself, I'm always interested to see games adapted into movies. While many were not successful, some are just among my favourites (Prince of Persia: Sands of Time), while some became established franchises (Resident Evil). Need for Speed is a well known franchise in the world of gaming for its high speed races and super cars. But now it will be interesting to see how these Lamborghinis, Koenigseggs, & Bugattis fare in the big screen.

9. The Expendables 3 (August 15)

          To see a stellar ensemble cast of big classic action stars is always a pleasure. While the first movie was a bit of a let off, the second one improved a lot, and it was a great joy to watch. With further additions of Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Antonio Banderas, and many more, this movie looks to be a blast when it hits theatres next August.

8. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (June 13)

          The first How to Train Your Dragon back in 2010 was a hit. It was one of my favourite all-round animation movie with some terrific action sequences, good story (drama & comedy), and excellent visuals & 3D effects as well. I really enjoyed it, and now I am eager to see what the sequel can bring. Plus, it is already planned for a trilogy, so that is something to look forward to as well.

7. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -Part 1 (November 21)

          While Catching Fire is not even out yet, eyes are already looking beyond, as they have planned their final adaptation to be split in two, as with the 'Harry Potter' series and 'Twilight' saga. The first 'Hunger Games' movie was a huge success, and with the second one; anticipations are high, as the trailers psych up audiences for what promises to be another epic journey. The third one will not be any different - if not better.

6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4)

          The next marvel movie (Thor: The Dark World) is still to come, but as an established superhero (Avenger), Captain America will be much anticipated, and this next one comes with a story that takes a darker turn of events (for comic book readers who know of the Winter Soldier). Although this movie will be much more grounded than the likes of Thor and Iron Man, it is still one of the movies I am looking forward to most next summer.

5. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (May 2)

          Another Marvel superhero also coming out next year. The first Amazing Spider-Man was, in my opinion, brilliant. The reboot was an improvement in terms of plot, action, and cast. Now, the story continues, as Spider-Man takes on a new enemy in Electro and encounter characters central to the story like Harry Osborn. Marc Webb did a great job with the first, we hope he can do better in this one. And with two further sequels already given a release date, it's just intriguing to see what Marc Webb have in store for us.

4. Transformers: Age of Extinction (June 27)

          Despite what the critics say about the first trilogy, the 'Transformers' movies are always a joy to watch with explosive robot actions. The commercial success of the movies probably led to Michael Bay creating this one. But more than that, the characters revealed are as interesting as it gets, with the Dinobot rumours psyching up fans, and hyper cars like Bugatti & Pagani joining the cast. This is one that will surely be a blast, and probably to be the most action packed of the summer.

Top three to come in the next post...
Want to hazard a guess?? Comment below and see if you can read my mind...

Thursday 26 September 2013


Like telling an untold story...


          The story of the rivalry between Formula 1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, during their most famous, controversial, yet dramatic season in the year 1976.


          Rush is an excellent movie that thrills from start to end. With amazing visuals, brilliant story line, and great actors in the mix, this is one of the most fun story told in recent movies. I consider this a drama film because, despite what may seem to be some fast Formula 1 action presented, they were actually drama-oriented, as they were cut short & focused only on those affecting the main story line.

          What I'm really amazed with this movie is that, despite the results & outcomes which are unable to be altered (since they are based on true story), the way it is brought and how the plot unfolds is brilliant. What goes on in the characters' minds, what they do off the track, and how they feel about the events that occur, is essentially the core of the movie.   

          The character development seem a bit fast-paced in the beginning, but found its rhythm properly as the movie progresses. Initially it was a bit difficult to understand the main characters (James Hunt and Niki Lauda), but soon enough we get the feel to root for one of the characters, before finally getting the feel for both towards the end.

          Ron Howard is undoubtedly an amazing director, and his work in this one is no different. The visuals during the on track events are exhilarating. There are some well placed humours to keep it fun, and spicing things up is the soundtrack which is brilliant as well. Adding to that, Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl brought the two characters to life, displaying the two characters which are indeed two sides of the same coin.

          A drama film in its core, added with some exhilarating visuals, and characters that are truly amazing, makes it one of the best drama that I truly enjoy and highly recommend to watch.


Good: Excellent plot, Exhilarating visuals, Great cast

Bad: -

SCORE: 8.0