Friday 28 March 2014


"Looks like you're giving the orders now, Captain..."

          Putting The Avengers (which is an entirely different level of cinematic entertainment) aside, The Winter Soldier ranks as the best among the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe. With great action sequences, suspenseful moments, and emotional unravelling flow of events, this film strengthens Marvel Studios' status as not just giving quality entertainment, but also giving fans & audiences the thrill of cinematic experience, while also adding new dimensions to the easily predictable superhero genre.

          The film starts a bit slowly by re-acquanting viewers with Captain America and his story, so it sets up the situation & emotion for the main plot. The first half an hour felt rather casual, but it didn't really matter when the remaining one and a half hour is full blast entertainment filled with action, drama & suspense. The action sequences are great, despite being less superhero-ish, employing hand-to-hand combats, gunfires, and shield bashing. So, after a specific event happening in about the half hour mark, the movie takes a turn, and suddenly Cap finds himself surrounded by enemies & shrouded by trust issues, and the suspense takes over.

          The strongest aspect of this film is the unfolding plot. Now, Marvel being Marvel means there will be twists & reveals in between. For the sake of this review, I'm going to throw a bone and divide it into the little twist and the big twist. The little twist (comic book fans will know) is what accounts for the existence of drama, striking hard into the personal life of Steve Rogers himself. Meanwhile, the big twist is a game changer. It changes a big part of what we know in the universe, and brings in a bigger threat in place, thus changing the future of the cinematic universe.

          On the little pieces, this film (as compared to others in the MCU) is the one which has the most connection to the other films, both past and upcoming. This film has drama flowing through in the personal life of Steve Rogers, and one good thing is that it didn't follow Thor: The Dark World's sense of humour (otherwise it would be a permanent identity of the franchise) but still manages to give audiences the laugh. And yes, this film has mid-credits scene and post-credits scene, and they are the best yet, so I highly recommend you to stay back until the very end.

          On a side note, SHIELD being a major part of the film, introduces the sense of a political thriller and the vague concept of intelligence, which is what I previously mentioned as the extra dimension in this film. The soundtrack plays a part too. While not every minute of it is great, but when it needs to, it brings added suspense & thrill to the action. And with the help of it, the Winter Soldier's presence on screen is chilling and worthy of a mysterious yet ruthless villain. The fight sequences between Cap & Winter felt awesome, both physically & emotionally.

Note 1: I will be writing a spoiler-filled discussion in two weeks time.

Note 2: My claim is fixed: The Winter Soldier is now my favourite character in the Marvel Universe.


Good: Great action sequences, Full of thrill & suspense, Brilliant unfolding plots, Decent soundtrack, New dimensions to the genre

Bad: Slow start

SCORE: 9.0

Thursday 20 March 2014


"You made a mistake choosing Dauntless...they'll find out about you"

          Not quite the quality of The Hunger Games, but still have its own persona and unique setting. The story takes time to find its feet, and while the action sequences was great, the vast number of characters kind of put things in the mix for this decent young adult novel adaptation.

          The world felt a bit weird and extreme at first, and it takes time before we can finally believe and be immersed in the world. Meanwhile, story-wise was great in the bigger picture, but the first half of the film was all about Dauntless and so it flows in a very narrow scope. Afterwards, the bigger picture is revealed, when we finally realize the significance of "Divergent" characters, and the scale of the conflict. That's when the story kind of takes a hard turn and get going for a full blast finale.

          The vast number of characters makes it hard to follow most of the supporting characters, making things a little confusing, all the while making us less caring for them. Yet, this also means that we can kind of like the main protagonists. With all the different kind of characters, those we want to hate, those we don't care for, leaving us with the main protagonists to like and root for. This is perhaps the reason why we can care for them emotionally, despite the less emotional nature of the unfolding plot. The first half of the film has no drama for us to feel, while in the second, there was too much of drama where we end up getting lost emotionally (in the end, all I care about is the two main protagonists).

          The visuals were great, and so were the action sequences, supported by a decent soundtrack with some very likeable themes as well. The villain of the film was interesting on its own & fresh for a new franchise like this, and the acting by Kate Winslet was also brilliant, but to be frank, they will need a more threatening & challenging villain if they are to up the stakes for the sequels (truthfully, it is well decided in the novels already, but given that I don't read them, I cross my fingers that the next villain will prove more challenging). The twist towards the end is interesting, and quite a nice touch as well. Meanwhile, the ending felt much too abrupt and unfinished, and it just begs of a sequel to come fast.


Good: Great visuals & action, Decent soundtrack, Unique setting, Vast array of characters (mixed)

Bad: Takes time to find its feet, Abrupt ending

SCORE: 7.5

Saturday 15 March 2014


"We'll settle this behind the wheel!"

         This is one of those clear cut action film which excel in its main goal (intense car racing) but kind of ignores everything else. Plot is straightforward & not emotionally driven, but is generally fun to watch and high in adrenaline.

          So to begin with, the team proved their ability in making the action sequences feel suspenseful and look awesome at the same time. And you can really feel intensity of the crashes and the speed. Furthermore, it feels more special with the inclusion of hypercars like Lamborghinis and Koenigseggs for the races. It is the first film for a long time to have really, really powerful cars like these, and they are simply a joy to watch. A dream come true for car fans. 

          However, though, the plot is very much straightforward, and predictable enough. And while the use of humour is good and energetic throughout, the same could not be said for the drama. There is a genuine feel for some of the characters, but I would say it was not plot driven and instead mostly due to the brilliant acting by Aaron Paul, who was the only stand out cast. His portray of emotions & joy, along with the charisma he brings to the screen easily makes him the likeable action hero we want to root for, and so everything that happens around him kind of find its way to our hearts. I believe that after this people will remember him more than just a meth maker (Breaking Bad). 

          So, this is really an energetic and full of adrenaline action movie full of powerful, powerful cars, which makes it one worth the watch despite an ordinary plot.


Good: Excellent & Intense car action, Beautiful inclusion of hypercars, Lots of humour, Great main character

Bad: Straightforward plot, Average supporting cast, Less emotionally driven

SCORE: 6.5

Monday 10 March 2014

Looking Forward: April 2014

Summer starts early with some big blockbusters in the month of April...

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Apr 4-USA, Mar 28-UK, Mar 27-Singapore)

          Marvel studios is the early bird as they deviate from their early May spot (taken by Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man 2). But this doesn't signify any cut back on quality entertainment. On the contrary, as we have seen from the brilliant, brilliant trailers so far, it promises lots and lots of awesome action sequences. What's more, I personally believe that The Winter Soldier story arc is one of the most interesting stories in all of Captain America. All that, and now Marvel is already planning to attach the directors for a third film, after only a pre-screening test. They must have done things right, and with some common sense, this means that this film is going to be top notch. Great plot, awesome action, and brilliant direction could mean that this will take fans by storm when it hits into theatres, very soon.

Oh, and Winter Soldier is my favourite villain of Captain America. Doesn't he just look great in the trailers?? :)

Trailers: (Trailer #1) (Must See!) (Trailer #2) (Must See!!) (Clip + Trailer) (Must, Must See!!!)

Rio 2 (Apr 11-USA, Apr 4-UK, Apr 10-Singapore)

          Three years back, and Rio soared to new heights thanks to its amazing visuals and wonderful musical numbers. It received positive acclaim and obtained big bucks in the box office. So, its no surprise that we find ourselves now with a sequel that takes the birds back to the wild. With all the amazing casts returning, along with some new voice casts, this would easily be the family entertainment for the month, one for the kids to enjoy.

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

Transcendence (Apr 18-USA, Apr 25-UK, Apr 17-Singapore)

          A film about a scientist who uploaded his mind and intelligence to a computer. This science fiction thriller does not only look awesome from the trailer, but also delivers an exciting plot line with lots of social & ethical issues in the mix. The idea of an artificial intelligence that may be of harm and danger to human beings is no new idea, but this film looks to be the one that properly explores the authentic consequences to what problems these advanced technology may possess. There looks to be more than just an exciting plot here, with some excellent looking visuals, and great deep drama among the main characters. Quite the blockbuster to look forward to.

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

Other Movies:

Draft Day (April 11)
-A sports comedy-drama film starring Kevin Costner...

Thursday 6 March 2014


"Let it be shown...we chose to die on our feet...rather than live on our knees!"

          Gloriously employing Zack Snyder's style of slow-fast continuous shots, as well as taking the scale and dynamics to the next level, this is a worthy sequel to the awesome 300. It has pretty much the same weaknesses and strengths of its predecessor, but improves on what made the first film a success.

          A pretty obvious notion is that no other film does better with the long continuous shots of action with the occasional slow motions. This is a wonderful style to marvel on, for those who like these kind of things (I do!). This is the main reason I came to watch this, yet it is not the only thing that impressed me. But before moving on, I want to further claim that I seriously enjoyed these style of shots and frankly, all...ALL of the action sequences. They are just marvellous and glorious to watch and from minute one, I was attached and just smiling on every fight sequence.

          Still on the matter of action sequences, they are better in visual quality & dynamics of the setting, although I suspect the reason may be the budget and resource constraint on the first film. If Snyder had this the last time, it would be as good as this. Fortunately, Rise of an Empire, even in the hands of new director Noam Murro, didn't mess it up and brilliantly improves upon it. And though the quality of visuals were not perfect (such as the blood effects), the style is just so gratifying to watch. One last thing, the soundtrack is genuinely amazing, and is unbelievably fitting for the scenes. Even before the action begins, my heart pumps up, and during the fight itself, the soundtrack did good to enhance the suspense of the action. Words are not enough to explain have to listen to it first hand.

          Actions aside, the plot was overall a straightforward one, except for those which relates to the original 300, which I was quite impressed of. Despite the lack of drama & humour, and the limited emotional range of the characters, some of the characters were great. I was initially skeptical of the main character, and though he may not have outdone Gerard Butler's Leonidas, Themistokles is still quite the likeable action hero. And while I had a great feeling about the villain, Eva Green's Artemisia really stole the show on every scene she was in. As further praise, if the producers do intend to make another sequel, they will need one hell of villain to top off Artemisia.

          Overall, this is a very very entertaining movie, if what you're looking for is fun, action, and visuals. They did extremely well in these aspects, and make it such a wonderful film for a great time in the movies.


Good: Excellent style, Improved visuals, Highly entertaining fight sequences, Brilliant soundtrack, Amazing characters

Bad: Lack of drama & humour, Less compelling plot

SCORE: 7.0