Thursday 26 November 2015


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday 22 November 2015

SPOILER Discussion - Spectre

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



"Tempus Fugit..."

The Connections...

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

Ernst Stavro Blofeld...

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

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

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

Sunday 15 November 2015

Looking Forward: DECEMBER 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Movies:

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

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

Monday 9 November 2015


"I was taking some overdue holiday"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday 1 November 2015


"Say witch hunter..."

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

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

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

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

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

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