Tuesday 26 April 2016


"Ah, this is the worst plan ever"

          Its safe to say, though, this film is not as drab as its predecessor. It has some fun moments and cool action moments, and during these moments, the movie was enjoyable. The plot isn't actually half bad - it works and there are some solid moments, but the it plays with the common theme of trickery, love, yadda yadda yadda. Not a powerful concept, unfortunately. 

            Well, lets start with the simplest aspect - the action. The action sequences are probably the biggest selling point of the movie. There were some pretty sweet fight sequences & choreographs, and these are generally very entertaining to watch. They were not, in any way, groundbreaking, but they are entertaining & fun to see, especially for action buffs.

           Meanwhile, the plot is just basic. Like I said, it isn't half bad, because it works. But the theme and the overall plot is very basic & common, and plays around with a rather weak (and boring) concept of love, trickery/betrayal, etc. Claiming the plot is good will be an overstatement, but at least the plot works for the film.

           The above explanation on the plot similarly applies to the characters. Very basic & predictable, but just about works for the film. Fortunately, we are treated to some very funny dwarves. And so the journey with these characters (and the dwarves) becomes a bit more enjoyable & humorous because of how these characters interact with each other - the little clashes of arguments, etc. These are very minor moments of the film, but they provide us the entertainment where the story fails. We are treated to some funny scenes thanks to these guys.

            On the other technical aspects of the film, there isn't a lot to say. Nothing notable of the directing apart from some solid fight sequences. The music/soundtrack is good. These big name actors/actresses did their part well, but unfortunately, the story rather let the characters down. Oh, and the narrator is a surprise voice that cinephiles would know in a jiffy. Unfortunately, its nothing more than a pleasant surprise - it adds nothing to the film.

           In the end, The Huntsman: Winter's War has its cool action sequences and has some very funny moments throughout the journey. Unfortunately, the plot & the characters are very basic & predictable, and doesn't add anything to the film. The movie can be a good fun time for action-lovers, but those seeking quality film may want to pass on this one.


Tuesday 19 April 2016

Looking Forward: MAY 2016

Captain America: Civil War (May 6-USA, Apr 29-UK, Apr 28-Singapore)

           This film needs no introduction...and it is my most anticipated movie of the year. Not only does it have the biggest number of superheroes ever assembled on screen, but it is based on a powerful storyline, too. So, you can bet that it won't be all spectacle. Because what transpires on screen should be a very personal & emotional clash between two groups of superheroes we have grown accustomed to over the past years. And in the hands of the directors that brought us one of the best Marvel films to date, I believe we are in for an epic clash in less than a month's time. And also, both the trailers we are shown so far are super cool! Check them out!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkTybqcX-Yo (Trailer #1) (Must See!!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGfhS1hfTWw (Trailer #2) (Must See!!!)

The Angry Birds Movie (May 20-USA, May 13-UK, May 26-Singapore)

           They just never run out of ideas when it comes to animation flicks. This time, its based on a popular mobile video game Angry Birds. But the idea doesn't really appeal to me, and I'm not sure what kind of story they are trying to tell here. Plus, I am also unfamiliar to the team behind this project, so right now, I am kind of skeptical and uninterested. But we'll see, maybe something (critics review or friends or just plain boredom) may end up changing my mind.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gvreP74cuw (Teaser)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pIi4tMJoUs (Trailer #1)

Alice Through the Looking Glass (May 27-USA, May 27-UK, Aug 11-Singapore)

           I was personally never a fan of the stories of Alice...not even the first film, for that matter. Perhaps, a good thing, too...given the release date of this film in Singapore. But anyways, when I saw the first trailer for this film I thought it looked interesting. It's just that I was never a fan, so I wouldn't be the most eager person when it comes to this film. But anytime it comes out, I'll definitely be checking it out.

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

X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27-USA, May 19-UK, May 19-Singapore)

          Six months ago, I would have been super stoked of what is looking to be the greatest & biggest X-Men movie ever. With Bryan Singer (the man who started it all and made the best X-Men movies) at the helm, a great villain like Apocalypse, and a stellar cast with the likes of McAvoy, Fassbender, J-Law, and even Oscar Isaac.
           But a few months & a few trailers later, it suddenly doesn't feel as epic as it should. Firstly, the villain Apocalypse should have looked more fearsome & imposing than he does in the trailers. But I'm not speaking strictly in terms of the size. If you look at his body & facial structure...it really looks like a man with make-up & apparatus. There should be more to him than that. I really don't see Apocalypse in this film as fearfully as I have seen him in the comics or the video games.
         Also, there's the case of Katniss Everdeen appearing in the wrong universe. I don't see Mystique anywhere in the trailers! The way she speaks & behaves...that is all Katniss Everdeen. Mystique don't give orders or lead a team...she's supposed to be manipulative. It should have been Professor X leading the team. It really does look like the case of J-Law's star power being too great to not be seen in the frontlines.
          And so now, this doesn't look to be the X-Men movie I've been waiting for. But we'll see...I think I should still have a pretty good time with this movie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0io2w_6vT8 (Trailer #1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oVht1Y8Meg (Trailer #2)

Other Movies:

The Nice Guys (May 20)
-A very fun looking Comedy with a mix of Action & Mystery...plus, its Russell Crowe & Ryan Gosling...and directed by Shane Black....

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (May 20)
-An interesting follow-up to the rather successful comedy Neighbors...

Saturday 16 April 2016


"It's a song about the good life"

           A very good and enjoyable movie. While it is not a special/memorable movie, it really is a thoroughly enjoyable film, and it is very well done in a lot of ways. From the CGI, to the voice cast, and even the "politics" (or the theme) of the film. They are very well done, indeed.

           Let me start off with the thing that is clear to the eye. The visual effects (CGI) is amazing! You would have been forgiven for thinking that they use real animals when shooting this film. From start to finish, there was not one moment when I stopped to say, "Oh, that was CGI". Although that could be partially due to how immersed I was to the narrative, but everyone who sees it will agree, the visual effects are certainly top notch.

            And then there's the excellent cast. Of course, they are mostly voice cast. But I've heard someone say this, and I have to completely agree...Bill Murray as Baloo is as perfect of a fit as a voice cast can ever get. Him and Lupita Nyong'o (as Raksha) are the two standout voices. But with Baloo, its not just about the voice, its the character itself. Baloo is that kind of character that talks a lot and likes to play around...like a playful uncle of a sort. I think if you see the film, you'll know what I meant. And I also have to give credit to Neel Sethi (as Mowgli). He did brilliantly as the only human character in the film.

            Oh, but wait. There's one more. The villain. Shere Khan. Firstly, Idris Elba was, similarly, perfect as the voice of Shere Khan. This character is terrifying, charismatic & angry, all at once. And not only that, the way he is portrayed in the film is brilliant. The way he moves, the way he talks...every other animal, justifiably, fears him - you can see that right off the bat with Shere Khan's introduction. He was even given a backstory for us to understand his motivation. I'm not sure who to credit, but Shere Khan is as good as any other human villain I've ever seen in film.

            Now, the narrative. The plot in general is just about good enough, but its a pretty straighforward plot, truth be told. There is a sense of adventure that Mowgli undertakes, meeting one character to another - meeting friends, running from enemies. There are some very fun moments, but there also some where I didn't care so much. But let me make this claim: any scene with Baloo is just a joy. I can watch two full hours of just Baloo, Mowgli and the company.

              Also, I did say earlier that they are able to tackle the "politics" or the theme of the film very well. Without spoiling anything, let me just say that this is mainly on what differentiates the animals and Mowgli (as a human). Its about the "tricks" that he can do, and also about the Red Flower. You will know it when you see it.

            The Jungle Book is a thoroughly enjoyable film, and it is very well done in a lot of ways. It has its fun moments, it has its character moments, and it has Baloo. Not the best of plots, but it is driven by a very human story. A really good time to spend with the families/friends. The other Jungle Book film (by Warner Bros) coming out in 2018 will have to up their game if they are to match this film at all.


Monday 11 April 2016

SPOILER Discussion - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Note: A rather long post below...



Capitol Explosion

            If you notice from my non-spoiler review that I mentioned one shocking scene that kicked off the intensity & action of the film. That would be the hearing scene in the Capitol where Lex Luthor engineered an explosion that went off while Superman was in the room - killing everyone else except him. And honestly, I didn't expect that. It was a surprise for me, and it was a smart move by Lex Luthor, speaking in terms of the plot. It really elevated the hate towards Superman, and it propels Batman/Bruce Wayne into full preparation of the battle. An unsuspecting yet brilliant move.


             As shameful as it is to admit, I seriously never realized that the name of both Bruce Wayne's & Clark Kent's mother is the same. Probably because I always see them in separate medium, and never both in the same one while delving in deep into their stories...until this film. It felt like a pleasant slap-in-the-face seeing that scene.
            But in terms of how that scene played out, I kind of agree that it could be handled better. It felt okay at the time, but as one of many plot holes of the film, I agree that Batman couldn't have immediately accepted Superman as a friend just like that. He should have gone to save Martha but while keeping Superman in check (tied up or something like that). It played out too conveniently for them to be friends just because of their mother's name.

          And also, I'm kind of surprised to find that we have a clear winner of the fight between Bats and Supes - I thought it would have been a draw - and the winner is Batsy. And I'm happy it turned out that way.

The Death of Superman

            Despite me knowing that this death won't last (with the Justice League film on the way) and knowing that Doomsday killed Superman in the comics...I was still surprised to see that they went ahead with this move. But more importantly, this brings me several concerns. One for Marvel, one for DC and one for comic books films in general.
            For comic book films in general, this death (and ressurection-to-come) will just strengthen the fact that comic book characters don't really die and will cause superhero films to lose weight with character deaths even more.
            For DC, my concern is that they have shelled out a lot of their most famous stories already (The Dark Knight Returns, The Death of Superman, etc) and they are only in their second film. Hence, my worry is that, what story can they bring in future films that can top these stories that have already been used? They have a long line-up of films to come, but how many of them can top the Death of the Man of Steel in terms of emotional weight?

            Meanwhile, for Marvel, my concern is that I was actually expecting Marvel to be the one (with their upcoming Civil War film) to end their film by killing off a major character and (most likely) dismantling the team. But now that DC has done it first with Superman...if Marvel follows a similar act with their upcoming film, then the people's comments would be that Marvel is imitating DC...while I know it definitely is not the case. Hence, poor Marvel wouldn't be able to pull this kind of act of without attracting criticisms/complaints.

Justice League (Teases)

            For a second when watching the film, I thought the teases of the Justice League members was a bit cheap. But the more I think about it, the more it works for me. It really makes sense now that Lex Luthor have been keeping track of these kind of individuals, and now that Bruce Wayne has this information, he can then use it to recruit the team. Furthermore, it actually made perfect sense for Diana Prince's appearance and role in the film. 
           But then again, the Aquaman scene could have been done better, though.

DCEU Future?

          Apart from Lex's comments of the bell that has been rung, a lot of the teases of future Justice League films comes from Bruce Wayne's nightmares. I did say in my review that I have a particular concern for these dream sequences - and its because I'm not sure if they are just dreams/nightmares, or are they visions that means something for the future. 
           Especially that scene where The Flash (I think) kind of sends a message to Bruce Wayne, but then he wakes up from it. I know The Flash is capable of going through time with a speed vortex of some sort...so it would make sense for a future version of the character to be sending messages. But the fact that Bruce Wayne wakes up from that scene confuses me whether it really is a message or just a dream.
           In any case, it really does seem that Darkseid is to be the villain in the Justice League films, with the Omega symbol & the parademons in Bruce's dreams...and the bell that Lex mentioned of. Though I have no particular comments at the moment, I really need to say this, though...Darkseid for DC and Thanos for Marvel??

Friday 8 April 2016


"To rule Nassau, you must know her"

Note: This is a show for mature audiences ONLY. Rating is TV-MA...in other words, 18+...I think.

           A show that just gets better and better. It gives no quarter in terms of story, and it still leaves you wanting more. To be honest, in times between the early to the middle of the season, I was less hooked with the show. It felt like it had lost the wind. But the final few episodes struck me hard. And the finale was as brilliant as any I've ever seen, with both spectacle in visuals and substance in narrative.

          The series began by introducing some very great characters (like Woodes Rogers and Edward Teach) who play a significant role throughout the season. It also sees more familiar characters in a different state/situation altogether. It was very interesting with all the pieces set in place, but afterwards, the wind began to die down.

          And by that I mean the narrative slows its pace, and the plot takes time to unfold. There were still some great character moments/conversations, but it took its time, and there wasn't really anything very eventful. Not like Season 2, where we find surprises in episode 3, episode 5, etc. 

           But towards the end of the season, the show really picks itself up. The major characters began crossing paths one way or another, and there was a lot of interesting clashes (and team-ups, too, for that matter) between these major characters.

           And then the finale really outdid itself. Episode 10 was one of the best season finales I have ever seen. There was a lot of fight sequences (both ground & naval), and yet it was the least interesting thing of the episode. Because the narrative that drives it is even better. More so, the characters that drive this particular narrative. I won't spoil it in here, but it perhaps is the best interaction between two characters I have ever seen...ever!


          If you have seen past seasons, then by all means, this is a must watch! March on through the series, because the end of the line is as rewarding as it gets.
           If you have yet to watch the series at all, then I really do recommend to follow up and catch-up before its too late. 28 episodes isn't that much. Take your time to watch it. But of course you have to be okay with the theme & concept of the show (pirates and all) and also be aware that this is a mature & bloody show. 

Monday 4 April 2016

SPOILER Discussion - Daredevil S2



"...it won't be to wage war, it would be to win one"

Elektra, Stick & The Hand

          Like I said in my non-spoiler review, the subplot involving Elektra, Stick & The Hand is not particularly satisfying for me. Maybe its because the other subplot involving Frank Castle is much more interesting. Or maybe because the enemy is neither frightening nor charismatic. But I would say its more of because it plays out a bit too messy, and in the end, it wasn't clearly explained. I thought it was trying to play more of the mystics/magic that exists within the MCU - which, for the record, I don't quite like to see in this show...especially as the more interesting characters (The Punisher, Kingpin, etc) lives in the real world.
          But in any case, I thought, fine, seeing as this is Marvel, then the mystics/magics part may be inevitable. Even more so when we see the 5 kids (that were drained), etc. I thought something big is going on. But nothing is explained of it, even by the end, and we have yet to see anything mystical or magical. Maybe we'll get to see this in Season 3, especially since...
          Elektra died. Although for comic book fans, this wouldn't come up as very surprising. Because she did die once (and is then resurrected...obviously) in the comics. The only surprise for me is that it happened this soon. And so clearly, I wouldn't be surprised if she was resurrected in Season 3 with the mystics/magics thing. I just hoped her storyline will be much more interesting than what we got in Season 2.

Frank Castle (The Punisher)

           I wasn't very familiar with Frank Castle before the show...but now I'm a big fan of him. So, the show did something right. And its not just down to Jon Bernthal or how badass he looks/speaks/fights. I mean, Jon Bernthal deserves a lot of the credit for that...but I am honestly surprised with the story arc of Frank Castle in this show.
          We see him in the beginning just being a one-man army who kills gangs, but after a few episodes, he was captured. I didn't expect it to happen that soon, but his story arc at that point was just beginning. Then we have this trials, where he began to recall of his family, looking for answers...and most of all, develop a relationship (on some level) with Karen Page. Mind you, I really loved that bit. I really loved when Karen Page and Frank Castle connects on some level, and begin to understand & respect each other.
             Then of course, things turn out (unsuspectingly) quite differently in episode 8...and we get to see...Wilson Fisk (a bit more on that later). But still on this subject, I love seeing Frank Castle face down with Wilson Fisk in that prison. And then, yes, thanks to him, Frank Castle is out, and then of course, had to cross paths with Matt Murdock again.
            The more pleasing bit is seeing Frank Castle don The Punisher suit with the skull on his shirt. Even more pleasing, however, is seeing him help Daredevil towards the end, and Daredevil himself acknowledging it. Its a nice closure seeing these two really understanding and respecting one another. I just hope we go into Season 3 with these two being more of allies than enemies.
          And I hope I'm not the only one wishing to see Daredevil team up with The Punisher to take down the Kingpin (and Bullseye?). Well, a man can hope, right?

Wilson Fisk

          And yes, one of the biggest surprises in the middle of the series. We see Wilson Fisk again! And he even gets to the use the name 'Kingpin' in there somewhere. Two moments to talk about Wilson Fisk.
          The first is the staredown between him and Castle. I like how Castle doesn't fear Fisk, but Fisk respects a man of Castle's talent and intends to put it to good use. But more importantly, when Fisk says that when he gets out of prison, he intends to "not wage a war, but win a war"...that to me is really defining his character. He tends to have these henchmen deal with Daredevil first, then but of course, after gathering all his strength & resources...he will rise again and bring the world (or just New York) to its knees. So, definitely expect him to be back sometime in upcoming seasons.
            The second moment will be when Matt Murdock himself came over to visit Wilson Fisk. You start feeling good especially when Matt goes on about taking the Fisk down with a letter and a $6 postage. But then Fisk himself stands up and shows his hand. He's got power over the prison now... the guards, the inmates, etc. That really shows the resources he's got, and in that moment, you can feel the fear in Matt - how powerless he is. And if anything, it only further strengthens the notion that Matt will not be able to take down the Kingpin within the law...he has to do it as Daredevil (outside of the law). But, yes, he is still in prison and he has that much power/resource already. Surely Matt would dread the day he comes back to the world and unleashes hell.
            Speaking of which, Fisk has begun to look over the files of Matt Murdock again. Will he discover the identity of the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, then?

Season 3?

           I know I kept saying Season 3 or Upcoming Seasons throughout, and I clearly know that a third season hasn't even been greenlit. But surely a show this good would have, right?...right?
          If for nothing else, I really would like a third season just to see Frank Castle again...unless he somehow appears in his own spin-off show. But seriously, with Elektra yet to be revived, Kingpin yet to come out and unleash hell upon NY...definitely Season 3, right, Netflix?? #fingerscrossed