Monday 31 October 2016


           To say that this film is formulaic Marvel is a bit unfair...but it does tread along the tone & style of Marvel Studios' movies that came before. So much so that this movie is -like said Marvel films - a ton of fun. The visuals are striking & the action is cool. And they do not forsake character & plot. There really is nothing to criticise...

          In a positive way, the visuals are striking. The visual effects team really did not hold back. I have to admit that there is a moment where too many things are in motion, and that got me out of focus for a bit. But most of the is just a joy to behold. And all these brilliant visual effects plays out to enhance the action sequences. And the parts I like best is when the environment is made to shift/twist/bend - like when a corridor stretches, or the landscape turns sideways. Like I said...they do not hold back.

            Now, in the spirit of Marvel, there really is a lot of humour accompanying this film. And the best thing of all - is that the humour usually comes from character or dialogue. It is the best kind of humour - one that feels natural & relatable. And which is why I can also add that this film does not forsake character & plot. The overall plot may feel a bit generic by now, but it works. And I like how they introduce us to the mystical side of the Marvel universe.

           And like I mentioned above, there really is nothing to criticise about in this film. Even the drama is there when it needs to be. And while the music/score doesn't stand out, I enjoyed it and it works for the film. And even as the villain doesn't steal the show, I really enjoyed Mads Mikkelsen's charisma. And of course, Benedict Cumberbatch was excellent - and so was Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, and best of all, Tilda Swinton.

             The movie does indeed tread along the tone & style of many Marvel films before, but what it also means is that it also is an excellent film & is a ton of fun to watch. A thoroughly entertaining blockbuster!

VERDICT: 81/100

            An easy recommended - especially if you enjoy the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Friday 28 October 2016

Most Anticipated of 2017 - Part 3

Top 3 are...

3. Kingsman: The Golden Circle

           Last year, Kingsman: The Secret Service took the world by storm. It was the surprise hit of the year, and brilliantly combines action, humour & plot into one cocktail of an entertainment. It is the very definition of a true summer blockbuster (even though it was not released in the summer). I loved the story (which has a lot of heart), but it was the action and the humour that really made it the beast it was.
           Expecting this sequel to be as good as the first movie might be a bit too much to ask. But with the return of director Matthew Vaughn and actor Taron Egerton, along with some spectacular new cast additions (Julianne Moore, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, etc), this film looks like it might just be the summer blockbuster we need next year.

2. War for the Planet of the Apes

          The two films preceding this one was spectacular. Rise (back in 2011) surprised a lot of people (including myself) and it was very good. Then Dawn came (in 2014) and upped the game in every way. It had amazing characters being pitted against each other in a powerful plot with huge & deep emotional ramifications. It again surprised a lot of people (including myself) and it was easily my second favourite film of that year.
           Now, director Matt Reeves is back and so is lead actor Andy Serkis - who has always been nothing short of excellent in his motion capture performance as Caesar. Like the film above, expecting this new film to be as good as the previous one may be a bit too much...but I do expect to see another strong & solid entry in the new Planet of the Apes franchise.

1. Star Wars: Episode VIII

            Was there ever any doubt? Being the Star Wars fan I am, this was always going to be my number one. The Force Awakens was a magical film that kicked off this new saga...and even left us with so many more questions. So, yes, I truly can't wait to see what follows the staring contest of Rey and Luke. And not just our heroes - as I have always personally been a champion of the dark side - I seriously can't wait to see what happens next with Kylo Ren, General Hux, and that one dude called Supreme Leader Snoke.
             And this being written & directed by Rian Johnson - with what I know of Rian Johnson - only puts in a better light. He will always put characters first over spectacle, and this is exactly what I want, especially when it comes to characters as interesting as Rey, Kylo Ren, and the lot. There is nothing more I could ask for than another magical adventure with these characters in the galaxy far, far away. And with Rian Johnson at the helm, I certainly believe we're up for so much more...

Thursday 27 October 2016

Most Anticipated of 2017 - Part 2.5 (Honourable Mentions & Big Name Misses)

Before I jump into my Top 3...

Honourable Mentions:

             These are the films that were just unlucky to not make it to the Top 10...for the simple reason that there are 10 other movies I look forward to more.
            In the order of the release, first up is Wonder Woman. And please hear me out before you make any quick judgment. This is not a "female" thing, fact, it is one of the reasons why I really want to watch this film. But, story-wise, the film doesn't seem to offer a lot. The trailer (from Comic Con) show some great action, but didn't really hook me in in terms of story & characters. And that's my only concern - is that they will forsake plot for spectacle. Otherwise, I am so looking forward to this film, and as such, just barely misses out my Top 10.
            This next film is a film I have heard no other news or anything about...but if they stick to schedule, we should have Cars 3 in June of 2017. And I know a lot of people don't really like the Cars franchise (especially Cars 2), but I have to admit...I personally love them. So, irrespective of whether it'll be good or not, I really anticipate Cars 3, whenever it arrives.
               The other film that just barely missed out is Spider-Man: Homecoming. The titular character is arguably the best character introduced in Captain America: Civil War (emphasis on the word arguably...because for me personally, it was Black Panther). And with the addition of some great cast, it is shaping up to be another great entry in the MCU. But a plot that revolves around Peter Parker's high-school life - interesting, but not really what I'm clamouring for right now.
           Otherwise, these are some very excellent-looking movies to look out for in 2017...

Big Name Misses:

            Meanwhile, these would be films that are big titles that fails (but not that closely) to make my Top 10.
           Similarly, in the order of the release date, first up is John Wick: Chapter 2. I know a lot of people (and even critics, too) loved, or at least, appreciated John Wick for its action sequences. But I found the film bit boring & generic. So, with this sequel, I am definitely interested but I don't see it as anything more than another cool action movie.
             Next up is Kong: Skull Island. This seriously would have easily made my Top 10. But then the trailer dropped (in Comic Con) and I am seeing a lot of problems - not least of which is the look & size of Kong himself. Here's hoping the film proves me wrong...
            Then, in April, we have Fast 8. Yep, its number 8, already. The previous seven films have some hits and misses between them. Number Six was stellar & my personal favourite. Five was great, too. But Seven was very messy and I didn't quite like it. And with number Eight, I'm not sure what else they have to offer. I enjoy the franchise and their films, but they don't seem to have anything that would make me clamour for another entry in the franchise.
             Next, The Mummy. Universal's first movie in their Universal Monsters Cinematic Universe has a lot of big names to carry their franchise. But being the first film in the franchise and most likely telling an origin story makes this film less appealing (as compared to sequels). Well, at least we have Tom Cruise, I suppose?
              In that same month, we also have Transformers: The Last Knight. I know, I know. I understand that this franchise hasn't really shun, and hence, it very easily misses out on my list. That being said, I am going to stand by my opinion and I have to say I do enjoy the films in the franchise (especially the latest one: Age of Extinction). But, I know better than to expect too much from this series.
            Finally, we also have Despicable Me 3 - if they do still plan to release it in June 2017. If there is one thing I know this film will deliver - it is the laughs. But, as like the other films above, I am a bit concerned as to what else this film has to offer that we haven't seen before. The first film was spectacular and had a heartful story. The second one, not quite. Let's see if the third can bring up something new.

Top 3 up next...

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Most Anticipated of 2017 - Part 2

7. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

            After Guardians of the Galaxy, I would trust James Gunn in a jiffy to deliver a fun & action-packed spectacle. He knows how to play with distinct characters and put them together and most of all - made us to like and root for these unique personalities. He is also smart when it comes to dialogue and character interactions. The teaser trailer that recently came out reminded us of that. But the first Guardians didn't really stand out when it comes to the plot - and also the villain.
           But if he can rectify these in the sequel and keep all the qualities that made the first film a success, then I think we're looking at one of the best summer spectacles ever. As of now, I am definitely looking forward to this super sequel next summer, but I will reserve my full judgment for then.

6. Thor: Ragnarok

            It's been three years now since we last saw Loki - and now we still have to wait another year. Loki is very simply one of the main reason for my anticipation of this film. But it is not the only one. Thor remains a very likeable character and can be very funny when put in certain situations. And then, we have Hulk who is set to be part of this third Thor standalone adventure. 
           And we haven't even got to the title - well, actually we have, but what I meant to say was that the title 'Ragnarok' means something - as Marvel fans would know and come to expect. All this together, along with some great new additions in the cast (with Cate Blanchett, Karl Urban & Jeff Goldblum on board...just to name a few), this promises to be another spectacular adventure with Marvel's God of Thunder. 

5. Justice League

            When this was first announced, I thought to myself: this should easily break into my Top 3 most anticipated movies of the year. Now, however, I just can't seem to do that. But hey, number 5 doesn't mean I'm not looking forward to it. It remains a film I look forward to so much - to finally see DC's own super band of heroes. The performances of Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman only helps the case, and so does Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman and Jason Momoa's Aquaman. And while Batman v Superman wasn't a super hit, I still think that Zack Snyder is an excellent director, and I look forward to see what he brings to Justice League.
          But if I have to justify myself, I can think of two reasons why this didn't break into the Top 3. Firstly, Marvel's The Avengers (back in 2012) had earlier made us dream & feel of seeing a band of our favourite superheroes together in the same screen for the first time - so this element will not be Justice League's strongest selling point. The other reason would be that the footage that dropped during Comic Con earlier this year kind of showed some flaws. For me, the trailer seems like it is not sure whether to go with a fun tone or with dark...its like it doesn't have a clear identity and wants to be both. But also, even the humours in that trailer felt cheesy and forced, and I don't quite like them. So, there's that. But, Justice League remains a film I look forward to a lot next year.

4. Logan

            In some ways, I do not wish this film to come too soon, because that means that our adventures with Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is at an end. But this final Wolverine story promises to be different, and that is exciting in its own right. But more than anything, I wish to see a spectacular send off for Hugh Jackman's Wolverine - a character we've grown accustomed to seeing (and liking) for the past decade and a half.
            The teaser trailer that came out recently really puts it on a different light than any other X-Men films. The tone of it makes it feel more like a character drama than a comic book movie - and I love it. Here's hoping for a great one last Wolverine film...

Up Next: Honourable Mentions & Big Name Misses...

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Most Anticipated of 2017 - Part 1

It seems only Yesterday that we stepped in into 2016 (not really, though), and now we're only a few months away from 2017...the good news is: the big, bad movies keeps on coming...

Again, don't be too surprised to only see big titles in this list...this is what I anticipate most, not what I think will be the best (although I do hope they are, too)...

10. Dunkirk

             This may sound like a very cliched statement, but it is what it is. This is a Christopher Nolan film. And after all the brilliant films he's done, you'd be a fool to bet against him. And while Interstellar wasn't particularly spectacular, it remains a very good watch. And his films always have that "power" & depth in the plot. And the way he directs his films is always brilliant. The scenes will feel intense, meaningful & powerful. And the teaser trailer for this film has shown glimpses of that, too. So, yes, this film will be one to look out for next year.

9. The Lego Batman Movie

              Before seeing the trailers, I have a very conservative feeling about this film. I'd thought it'd be a fun watch, but I wouldn't have invested on it. But then the trailers came out - and they totally sold me. It looks like a lot of fun, and it certainly looks like a film that doesn't hold back. And because of that, I am totally into this and this is easily the animation film I'm looking forward to most come 2017. And plus, it has Batman. And maybe even a plethora of other DC comic book characters, too...

8. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

           Johnny Depp has had hits and misses in the past few years...more misses than hits. But if there is one character of his that I know I will like - that would be Jack Sparrow....Captain Jack Sparrow. He is such a charismatic, eccentric, fun & likeable character. He is easily the best thing about the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and is the one irreplaceable element. The character doesn't take himself seriously and always does things from a certain point of view that we don't usually expect - this is a protagonist unlike any other.
          But more than that, the films in the series has always been fun & entertaining to watch. Not all of them are great, but they have always been fun to watch, regardless. With a promising villain (played by Javier Bardem), I really have to say I can't wait to sail the seas again with the ever-awesome Captain Jack Sparrow and his beloved Black Pearl...

7 to 4 in next post...

Saturday 22 October 2016


          I went into this film expecting a generic action movie. And while that is kind of what I got...I have to say, I really enjoyed it. There's some cool action sequences, some good character dynamics (emphasis on the word some), and there's a bit of humour & drama here and there, too.

          The action sequences in this film are pretty cool. It is much like in the first Jack Reacher film, with a lot of raw punches & kicks all around. And I think there's just something about Tom Cruise in a fight scene. And I have to give credit to Henry Jackman for a decent score that quite enhances the tone of the action.

          The plot is probably what lets down the film a bit. The overall story is generic & predictable. And then even some of the scenes actually fall to generic movie cliches - and some of the resolution or events that happen feels a little too convenient. But on the other side of that, I have to give credit that some of the scenes actually do feel quite intense as well.

Thanks to this movie, I may be setting a record for the number of "some" being used...

            As mentioned, some of the character dynamics were interesting to watch - and these would be the ones among the main protagonists - which brings a little family drama feel to an otherwise raw & fast-paced action flick. With these characters, there's a bit of humour & drama between them, too. But, the other characters were rather dull & unmemorable.

             However, I still maintain that I do enjoy this film. It is not great or memorable in any way, but there is nothing that really is bad, either. It is simply an enjoyable action flick.

VERDICT: 68/100

            A solid (albeit generic) action movie - if you ever want one.

Sunday 16 October 2016


"I left you a path...Inferno is at the end"

              After recently re-watching The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, I expect more of the same (mystery, problem solving, thrills, etc) from this film. But, I ended up with less. It is by no means a bad film, but it lacks the smart problem solving & intense thrills of its predecessors. The action and the plot is fine, but everything else is kind of a letdown.

             This film seems to have more focus on the action rather than the mystery - which is a pity. I liked the predecessors of this film for its emphasis on trying to figure out the situation and solving the puzzle in hand. But, this film always goes back to an action sequence in every single location - to make it worse, its all just running & chasing.

             And the puzzle solving in this film feels a little too easy. There is no suspense or mystery whatsoever. I still remember how the revelations play out little by little in The Da Vinci Code - especially like that moment when Sir Ian McKellen's character was explaining about The Holy Grail, or like in the end when Tom Hanks' Robert Langdon finally solves the location of the grail. I don't get that kind of feeling in this film.

            The overarching plot is actually not too bad. And the main twist (while generic & predictable) works fine for the story. But they sacrifice the mystery element and the intense thrills for the sake of action. 

           And somehow I can't appreciate too much of Ron Howard's directing this time around - especially when I consider his overuse of the screech & blur to put us in Langdon's confused point of view. A little bit is a fine, but overusing it is not nice. And even Hans Zimmer's music (to my own sadness) doesn't stand out - apart from the end credits which I believe is the same music from the first film.

            In the end, the film to me drops to the level of a generic action thriller. It no longer has the intense thrills or the smart mystery & problem solving of its predecessors. Quite a let down.

VERDICT: 45/100

           It is a pity when I can't recommend a Ron Howard/Tom Hanks film - but that is the reality with this film. It is not the worst movie if you want to go catch one in the theatres this week. But I can't recommend it.

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Looking Forward: NOVEMBER 2016

The big, blockbuster movies are back as we near the Year's end...

Doctor Strange (Nov 4-USA, Oct 25-UK, Oct 27-Singapore)

          This is probably the Marvel superhero I have been waiting to see for a long time now. The mystic & supernatural elements is a new realm that has yet to be touched upon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And Doctor Strange feels like the perfect way to introduce this. As is always the case with Marvel, the cast looks brilliant - Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and not to forget, Mads Mikkelsen who looks to be an awesome villain. And if you need convincing, then please check out the super cool trailers below. The visual effects look brilliant, the characters look great, and in the spirit of Marvel, they never forget to add a touch of humour...

(Must See!) (Teaser)
(Must See!!!) (Trailer #1)

Arrival (Nov 11-USA, Nov 11-UK, Jan 12-Singapore)

             A science-fiction drama/thriller by director Denis Villeneuve. If that is all I know, I would still be excited for this film - especially after his previous films Prisoners and Sicario. The premise of the story sounds interesting, although it could easily fall into the usual cliches of an alien movie. But I don't expect it to. At least, I hope it doesn't. In any case, the trailer looks pretty interesting and it looks to be another solid thriller.


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Nov 18-USA, Nov 18-UK, Nov 17-Singapore)

             The universe of Harry Potter is so rich that it allows for such spin-offs such as this. And to be honest with you, I find this film to be more interesting than the original Harry Potter saga itself. Firstly, there is the eccentric Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne) - who isn't your typical protagonist but seems like a fun & likeable character. Then there is also the plot which seems to have a lot more impact on the social & political side of things. And finally, the visuals and the 1926 setting looks brilliant - as can be seen in the trailers below - which has a cool rendition of the original Harry Potter music. Check them out!

(Must See!) (Teaser)
(Must See!!) (Comic Con Trailer) (Trailer #2)

Allied (Nov 23-USA, Nov 25-UK, Nov 24-Singapore)

           A romantic thriller? This is not something we see every day. One that is directed by the brilliant Robert Zemeckis? Cool. The premise of this film is already very interesting - with two spies falling in love in the midst of their mission. This raises the stakes for these characters, so it is interesting to see how the plot will develop. And with a great director in Robert Zemeckis and equally great lead actors in Brad Pitt & Marion Cotillard, this looks to be a interesting film to look out for.

Trailer: (Teaser) (Trailer #1)

Moana (Nov 23-USA, Dec 2-UK, Nov 24-Singapore)

          This is a very easy buy for me. First off, and I know you may have been bored of hearing this over and over, this is a Disney Animations production - and their track record (Tangled, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia) has shown that they always produce nothing less than brilliant. And I don't see a reason why this will break that trend. More than that, the plot and the characters of this film look very interesting, and I fancy the idea of an adventure in the seas and off the islands. And finally, the trailers look very exciting & fun, and it does seem like we're about to have some brilliant new songs from Disney.

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

Other Movies:

           Out early in the month on November 4 is the Dreamworks Animation Musical film Trolls ( I saw the trailer for this in the theater recently, and it does look fun and colourful. But it just doesn't appeal to me that much. Instead, something that does appeal to me is the biographical war film Hacksaw Ridge (, which also comes out on November 4. Directed by Mel Gibson, the trailer got me interested - but it's not a film I'll be waiting in line for.

           Up next is also another war drama film - Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk ( directed by legendary director Ang Lee is out on November 11. Meanwhile, if you're looking for a good drama, then you might want to look out for Manchester by the Sea ( - out on November 18 - which has had excellent reviews after its screening in Sundance Film Festival and many other film festivals. And finally, for a good comedy, Bad Santa 2 ( out on November 23.

Saturday 1 October 2016


"I seek righteousness...but I'll take revenge"

            Now, I really can't wait for the better big budget blockbusters to return. This film is not that bad, but it doesn't really have anything to offer. It has good action sequences, some humour scattered throughout, and some interesting characters (to a certain extent) - which is why this film doesn't become boring - but it doesn't offer anything else. Even the plot is generic.

              Let me start with the positives. The film does have exciting action sequences - especially the final battle. There is never any doubt that Antoine Fuqua is a brilliant action director. And the film has some humour throughout - and to have some laughs is always a positive point. And before I get to characters, let me just additionally say that the only other good thing this film has is a great score - which is partially done by the late James Horner.

              Now, characters. In my humble opinion, characters are a key aspect of a film. Any film which has characters that are brilliantly crafted (and introduced) are guaranteed to not be boring, because we will be invested & locked on to the characters - as is the case with Kubo. The Magnificent Seven has some rather interesting characters...but the film does not play to it. The film doesn't have scenes that really plays to the uniqueness of the characters and in the end, none of these characters felt memorable. And that is quite a pity - there is potential for interesting characters (and more importantly, character interactions & dynamics), but the film just let it slide by...

             And apart from not capitalizing on the distinct characters and the brilliant actors in their disposal, the film also lacks an interesting plot. The plot is super generic and utterly predictable. It is exactly what you think will happen, and it all plays out as anyone can expect. To make it worse, the film is a bit too long. When there is no action, there is simply nothing much to enjoy.

             Which is why, in the end, it is kind of a pity when a film has this much potential but didn't play to its strengths. Again, it is not a boring film - but apart from the action, it has nothing else to offer.

VERDICT: 47/100

            I wouldn't really recommend this to anyone - unless you're badly in need for a cinematic entertainment (like I was)'s not boring...but it's not really worth the trip and the price of admission...