Wednesday 30 November 2016

SPOILER TALK: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them



Gellert Grindelwald

            Thanks to movie news that spreads fast nowadays, I did happen to know that Gellert Grindelwald is to be played by Johnny Depp, and that he would have a cameo in this first film. But given that we see the back of his head in the beginning of the film, it is a slight surprise to see his revelation at the end.
           But the real surprise for me is to find out that Colin Farrell's Percival Graves is the man that turns out to be Grindelwald himself. It is a nice surprise for me. And I do like the look of Depp as Grindelwald, so I can't wait to see more of him in the sequels.
            And I do recall the mention of Grindelwald in Deathly Hallows - Part 1, but I wasn't actually too familiar with the character. Then I did a little research to discover that Grindelwald is the most notorious dark wizard before Voldermort. This fact really excites me, and I like the idea of this character being the big bad of this Fantastic Beasts saga.

           And finally, I just want to add a point which I realized from a video review in Collider (YouTube), which I echo 100%: Does this revelation means that we won't see Colin Farrell in the sequels?
          I mean it could be that he never existed, or it could also be that his is locked up somewhere and Grindelwald simply borrowed his form. But even if its the latter, will the real Percival Graves be significant enough to appear in sequel films? Personally, I really hope so because I like Colin Farrell so much, and I like his character here. But now it all depends on Rowling's story...

The Deathly Hallows Symbol

             I spotted the Deathly Hallows symbol in the necklace that Graves gave to Credence, and I thought it was a real nice easter egg. But then after realizing that Graves is in fact Grindelwald, it makes complete sense now. After all, he did own the Elder Wand at one point. And I would even bet that we would get to see him wield it in one of the sequels...


            The ending of this film really felt like a closing of a chapter so its hard to see what the sequel will hold. But we do know for sure that there will be sequels, and there's even word that the next one will be set in Paris. This brings up a lot of question like how many years on would it be, what events takes place, etc. But it would remain as speculative questions until we have more news about it.
             Meanwhile, my concern now is that we might not get to see Jacob Kowalski in future movies, especially given how it ends. And yes, btw, I did get a bit tear-y at the end there just before Jacob stepped into the rain. I liked the character a lot, and I do want to see him and the girls rejoin Newt in a new adventure...but given that Jacob's memory is wiped, and with the fact that the next film is set in Paris...I'm quite concerned we might not see them in future movies. At the very least, I am hoping that they would appear in one of them, if not the immediate sequel...but we'll have to see...

Sunday 27 November 2016


          This may be one of the most boring & predictable...REVIEW (not movie) - you will see from me. Because the feeling that I have watching this film is almost the same as most of the Disney animation films that came out recently (Tangled, Frozen, Zootopia, etc). Everything you'd expect them to get right, they did. And the talent on board really brings the best out of the film, with proven Disney directors Ron Clements & John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin) and music with the collaboration of the brilliant Lin-Manuel Miranda.

            One of the best things about recent Disney animations has always been characters. In Moana, this film has a very strong & relatable lead protagonist, and her interactions & dynamic with Maui is fun to watch. It becomes so easy to be invested with your lead character when the problems that they face is something so relatable. 

               From there, its down to the plot to take the character to different places and different situations. And I have to say, the plot didn't disappoint. There is a certain arc that Moana goes through, and it is fun to watch her deal with different situations in her own unique way.

              And like Tangled & Frozen, this film really has some excellent original songs. These songs are nice to hear, and even better when seen in the context of the film. They really enhance the emotions of the scenes, and when they're this good (thanks to the talent of Lin-Manuel Miranda and co.), it elevates the feels of the film significantly.

              And while there is no doubt in the talents of directors Ron Clements & John Musker, and the voice of Dwayne Johnson, there is one unknown talent in this film - and that is lead voice actress Auli'i Cravalho. She is a revelation! For one, her singing voice is excellent. But more than that, she is excellent with her character emotions, and to be specific, I like the scenes where she reacts frustrated/angered by Maui's actions.

              The film is not absolutely perfect because there is a scene which I don't quite like which has a song that doesn't fit in. But apart from that one small blip, I really enjoyed the rest of the film a lot. I was very much emotionally invested with the film and with the characters, and with such excellent characters & interactions, and some brilliant songs along the way, this film is yet another brilliant Disney animation film!

VERDICT: 88/100

              It is, like most other Disney animation films, a highly recommended film to watch!

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Most Anticipated of Q1 2017

I know I had just recently did my Top 10 Most Anticipated of why am I doing another one just for Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) of 2017...?

1. Well, firstly, a full year is too broad, and hence I am not able to call out most of the movies that I'm excited about...I suppose 10 is a bit too small of a number...

2. Secondly, and more importantly, the trailers usually only come out within 3-6 months of the release of the film - so movies in the latter part of the Year don't usually get fairly judged because no trailer had came out for them yet. And trailers are important because they show us the tone of the film, the characters, and what the plot in general is...and their job is to get us excited... 

The Top 10 of the Year will always remain as to call out the upper echelon of movies I am most excited for within the Year (regardless of the trailers)...but this quarterly posts will give more movies a chance to be mentioned...

My Most Anticipated Movies of Q1 2017:

           A quick shoutout (honorable mention) to King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and The Great Wall, both of which I'm quite excited about simply because of their respective directors Guy Ritchie and Zhang Yimou...both of which has their own unique style & vision.

5. John Wick: Chapter 2 (February 10)

            Unfortunately, it seems, I am one of those few people who actually didn't like the first movie. The action was excellent, but I didn't find anything else interesting. The plot, to me, felt really dull. I don't know - maybe I need to re-watch it. But with everything that others had been saying, and with everything I've been hearing & seeing about this film - the cast, the trailers, etc - I feel like I'm quite excited about this film and willing to give this franchise another chance.


4. Beauty and the Beast (March 17)

             A romantic fantasy film is usually not my thing...but this is more than that...this is a Disney live-action remake of an animated classic. And like their animated counterparts, Disney's track record of their live-action films show have been nothing but great. I loved the recent movies Cinderella and even more so, Maleficent. I can't predict if this will be in the same league, but with a director like Bill Condon, and a cast that includes Emma Watson, Luke Evans, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Sir Ian McKellen, and more...I think this film is on the right track indeed...


3. The Lego Batman Movie (February 10)

           Oh man, this film looks super fun! All the trailers for this film shows us that it is going to be a very fun movie and it is not afraid to mess around with the lore and reference its live-action counterparts. It really looks like a fun movie, and it probably is my most anticipated animated film of the Year. Just check out the trailer!


2. Kong: Skull Island (March 10)

            Everything I've heard about this film is so good - and I always like the idea of a group of people going to this island to uncover its secrets. And I think we all know how its going to go down - but I am super stoked about this film. The first trailer came out and I was initally concerned with the look & size of Kong. But the second trailer came out just recently, and I really like it. I am hoping that they focus on the story on its own and doesn't focus too much in setting up the upcoming Godzilla v Kong movie. But I like the look of this film, and I really look forward to this movie.


1. Logan (March 3)

            This film is one of the main example why I had to do a quarterly Most Ancitipated post. Logan was initially ranked lower in my Top 10 of the Year, but then the trailer came out - and I fell in love with it - I just needed to push it up. The trailer really made a statement - that this was not going to be your generic comic book movie. The tone of it made it feel like it was a character drama more than anything. I feel like crying everytime I watch the trailer...and I probably will by the end of this movie as Hugh Jackman's run as Logan comes to an end...


Saturday 19 November 2016


              In a lot of ways, this is a really, really good film. The characters are great, and the character dynamics are even better. The overall story is good, with a lot of humour throughout, yet it doesn't forsake the dramatic tension of the main plot. And the visual effects and the look of these magical beasts are, for lack of a better word, fantastic! The bits and pieces of connections to the original Harry Potter saga is just the icing on the cake...

             The best thing about this film, for me, are the characters. Eddie Redmayne's Newt Scamander is a very unconventional yet likeable protagonist. And I like the fact that his character is one that feels more comfortable with creatures than with humans. Even more so when we get to see him have such relationships & interactions with some of his creatures.

              And still on characters & relationships, I really like the team of protagonists that accompanies Newt in this quest (Kowalski, Queenie & Tina). Kowalski (Dan Fogler) is the surprise standout for me, and his character dynamic with Newt is brilliant. And even as this film doesn't focus on the romance, I can feel the relationship that develops between Kowalski & Queenie. And finally I just have to add that Colin Farrell is brilliant as always, and I really like his character.

            The overall story is also very good. But J.K. Rowling is someone you will never bet against, anyway, when it comes to writing great stories. There is some really good fun humour throughout, and I really enjoyed them. But at some darker moments, I can feel the dramatic tension, too. The story really has the perfect balance of action, humour & drama.

            Finally, my special credit should go to director David Yates and his visual effects team. I watched this film in IMAX 3D, and it looks spectacular. The look of these beasts are brilliant, and overall the visual effects are really well done, especially with the 1926 setting.
            Also, with the IMAX 3D, the 3D effects were really put into effect. There are many moments when the objects or the creatures just jumps out of the screen and close into your face. The last time I felt such 3D effects would probably be in one of the Hobbit films, and they didn't even do it as much as David Yates did here. So, if you have the extra bucks to spare, I would actually recommend IMAX 3D.

             If I have to nitpick, maybe I can (with some slight pacing issues, etc), but I don't really want to because I really enjoyed this film a lot. A perfect blend of action, humour & drama, and some spectacular 3D effects makes this a wonderful return to the wizarding world! Can't wait for the sequel now...

VERDICT: 91/100

             Highly recommended. For Potter fans, a must watch!!

Wednesday 16 November 2016


I don't really know too much of the Doctor Strange this will be less of a discussion of the story, but more of just some fun thoughts about the movie...

Still, SPOILERS below...



Mid-Credits Scene

          If you ask me about the scene itself, I'd say it looks a bit cheesy. For a second it almost looked like a spoof or a parody, in the way that both Strange & Thor are just sitting down casually and especially Thor with more of a casual outfit. Not to mention that glass of beer that just came out of nowhere and refilled itself. The way the scene is executed feels less professional...and without any context, it almost felt like a spoof. Especially as we recently had that Team Thor spoof from the blu-ray of Captain America: Civil War...

            But anyway, maybe in the context of the movie, it will make more sense. Instead, my main takeaway from this scene is the likelihood that Strange will make an appearance in Thor: help Thor & Loki find Odin. Imagine that...Strange & Loki...Benedict Cumberbatch & Tom Hiddleston...two of Internet's biggest boyfriends showing up in character in the same film...licking your lips already, fangirls?

Doctor Strange or Sherlock?

              Another thing I can't help sharing is the similarities I find between Doctor Strange & Sherlock (from the BBC Series). Well, first and foremost, they are clearly played by the one and only Benedict Cumberbatch...but more than that, both characters have similar personalities - in that they are both sort of arrogant, egoistic & a genius, too.
              And that mid-credits scene I mentioned above...kind of reminds me of how Sherlock sits in his apartment in Baker Street as his client sits down opposite him sharing their problems and asking for his help. I suppose the only thing missing is a Wong to be his John Watson?
             Speaking of which...Sherlock's Apartment v Doctor Strange's Sanctum: 221B Baker Street v 177A Bleeker Street. Feel the resemblance?

             And finally, as a fun note, Benedict Cumberbatch has now come against both Mikkelsen brothers. Lars Mikkelsen (Charles Augustus Magnussen) in Sherlock and now Mads Mikkelsen (Kaecilius) in Doctor Strange. Maybe its now time for the brothers to team up?

Saturday 12 November 2016

Looking Forward: DECEMBER 2016

The month of December not only holds some big blockbuster films...but it also where you can find a lot of movies running in for the Oscars. Kindly note that films like A Monster Calls or Live by Night will not be mentioned here, because they will only have wide release in the US on January 2017...

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Dec 16-USA, Dec 15-UK, Dec 15-Singapore)

            This is it. This is the big one for me. I am super stoked about this film. This being a Star Wars movie should already make it one of my most anticipated film. But also, what I've seen in all the trailers so far made me excited even more. I thought I can't get any more excited about this film, and then that last trailer dropped - and now I am super excited beyond any realm of imagination. If that trailer had dropped last year, Rogue One may well be number one (or two) in my most anticipated movie of the whole year.
             And really, the best thing about this film is the fact that it takes place just before the original Star Wars (A New Hope). And this makes it a feel like a true prequel and will surely have lots of scenes that connects it with the original film. And for any Star Wars fan who loved the original trilogy (basically, every one of us), this film will surely take us back to the moments & feels of the original Star Wars.
             And to add on, the director Gareth Edwards is a brilliant director - and I love his visual style, and he knows how to play with scale - like that scene with the large AT-ATs in the first teaser trailer. And not to mention some brilliant cast which includes two of my favourite actors alive in Mads Mikkelsen and Ben Mendehlson. I am sure to watch this in IMAX the first time around...and then watch it again many more times. This is a must watch film - and for those of you not convinced...really watch the trailers of this film, especially the final trailer below!!

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

Passengers (Dec 21-USA, Dec 21-UK, Dec 22-Singapore)

             This film has a great premise, a great director (Morten Tyldum), and a great cast (Jennifer Lawrence & Chris Pratt). This isn't like a must-watch movie for me, but the above points definitely are reasons to be excited about it. To let you know, I'm actually one of those people who have had quite enough of Jennifer Lawrence in too many movies...but it doesn't change the fact that she's a terrific actress (when she's on her game). In any case, the premise is really interesting - with these two individuals suddenly awoken from their hibernation pods while still 90 years away from their destination in space. This is a really interesting premise, and the trailer do indeed convince me of that.


Assassin's Creed (Dec 21-USA, Jan 1-UK, Dec 22-Singapore)

              I am excited about this film...but not as much as I thought I would - for two reasons. Firstly, the film is told to be set 40% in the past and 60% in the present. But I don't really want to see the scenes in the present. The scenes in the past are the fun parts - being in an entirely different period & setting. When I played the games, I really dread the scenes in the present, and I immediately wish to go back to the setting in the past.
             Secondly, the trailers. I mean they did show some very cool scenes - but the music that accompanies it...terrible. The musics are so off and doesn't fit the tone of the trailer. Now, I know that this is only the trailer and not the movie itself - but trailers are supposed to make me excited for the film. These one doesn't do that for me.

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

Other Movies:

             First, we have La La Land (, a musical drama by director Damien Chazelle, who surprised a lot of people with his Oscar-nominated film, Whiplash. This film will have its wide release on December 16th. Still on the same day, we have The Space Between Us ( which carries a very interesting premise. Meanwhile, if you're looking for an animated film, Sing ( comes out on December 21st. And finally, we have Gold ( that comes out on December 25th.

Wednesday 9 November 2016

Ranking the Harry Potter Movies - Part 2

Top 3 Harry Potter films...

3. Deathly Hallows - Part 1

           The main reason that this film found its way to my Top 3 is because this film felt different than any of the other seven. It follows these characters we've known for almost 10 years now, but in a different setting. We don't see them in Hogwarts anymore - in fact, we sort of go in a road trip with them. And this makes it feel special - to be in a different journey with characters we already love - its like going on a vacation with family having been living with them day by day at home.
           Moreover, the film still has some special moments, and yes, a lot of humour. The scene in the ministry is one of them. And while sometimes I feel that the character conflict between our heroes feel a little bit forced...its nice to see some clash between them and a representation of how much of an acting ability that these young actors have developed since the first film. Overall, this film is a nice road trip film, but a very special journey to undertake with these heroes we've seen in school for the past 6 films.

Verdict: 84/100

2. Order of the Phoenix

             This film is great in almost every way. It has great action, great drama, great humour - the whole deal. There is a political tone in the plot, and I like how our young heroes band together and discreetly train magic in a secret room in an attempt to defy the powers that be - and my, these scenes (or rather, the montage of it) is brilliant. And the scene with Fred & George's fireworks is another memorable moment. Not to mention the scenes where Argus Filch keeps on nailing new rules to the wall. Dolores Umbridge is a great character that everyone likes to hate. And the final sequence in the ministry is brilliant - it is not the biggest spectacle but it strikes the perfect balance between action & emotion/drama. This film brings out the best of the Harry Potter saga with no shortage of action, drama & humour. A spectacular film all around.

Verdict: 92/100

1. Prisoner of Azkaban

              I used to think that Order of the Phoenix is the best HP film - but this film is, to me, a little bit more special. Firstly, this is the first film that expands the physical world of Hogwarts and makes use real world setting instead of CGI. And it makes Hogwarts feel a bit more lively & real and reminds more of those Scottish countryside. And that is just the start of it. 
             Alfonso Cuaron is a genius director and it shows in this film - especially with the Knight Bus scene which is a spectacular scene. And the whole film doesn't feel too stretched out like most of the other films in the franchise. With some excellent humour and intriguing plot peppered all around - the film is paced perfectly and is very interesting in every turn.
           Now, speaking of plot - the best of it is the mystery surrounding Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew & Remus Lupin. It does feel a bit scary the first time around when you think about Sirius Black, and when you see Peter Pettigrew in that map...but then everything makes sense towards the end. And this film has one the most satisfying plot twist I have ever seen in film.
           And to cap it all off, the time-travel scene was superbly done. It was perfectly done and it made everything make much more sense & satisfying. The build-up and the mystery throughout this film is excellent (and without compromising humour & drama), and it all ends with what is arguably one of the most satisfying resolutions I have ever seen in film. This is a spectacular film in any regards - and would have easily been my film of the year. Best Harry Potter film!

Verdict: 96/100

Here's hoping that the upcoming Fantastic Beasts film can deliver the same quality of story & spectacle as these Harry Potter films did...

Tuesday 8 November 2016

Ranking the Harry Potter Movies - Part 1

A lot of the earlier Harry Potter films came out throughout my teenage days...from primary all the way to high school...and for most of that, I watched Harry Potter as a fantasy...and not so much as a film...

But, I have recently re-watched the whole saga, and I finally have more of an idea of how it is as a film. And below is my ranking of them from worst to best. 

Also, none of these are bad films. Some are less special than others - but they are all good films, at least. And if I have one sentiment about the whole saga - is that they know how to pull of humour when they do. Some scenes are just spectacularly funny.

8. Goblet of Fire

          This fourth entry has lots of cool stuff...and is even the first time we get to see main baddie Lord Voldemort. But, the film itself doesn't feel special in any way. It feels a bit predictable, and also a bit like a video game going from one task to the next. And probably the Quidditch World Cup that didn't happen is a prime example of why this film feels lacklustre. But there some very cool stuff in this film, and the main actors begun to show their acting chops really well....especially Emma Watson. 

Verdict: 62/100

7. Chamber of Secrets

           This second entry is a solid entry in the series. It also lacks anything special because it is not the beginning of the series but it is also not where all the major stuffs are happening. This film is more like telling us that this is what a year in the life of Harry Potter looks like. And another thing I don't very much like is how convenient the final battle/conflict is.
          That being said, this movie represents the core of what the Harry Potter films are about. There is a mystery that our young heroes are trying to solve...and it is only near the end when all is revealed and starts to make complete sense. And this film also has lots of humour which I'm beginning to feel is one of the core elements of a Harry Potter film.

Verdict: 66/100

6. Philosopher's Stone

              The first entry is a similarly solid entry. It introduces us to this magical world of Hogwarts and some very interesting characters, as well. Like its sequels, there are mysteries that happen in which our young heroes are trying to figure...and only at the end is the twist revealed. Come to think of it...Harry Potter films were using plot twists before it was cool (nowadays a plot twist is almost a necessity). This film is indeed a very solid introduction to a group of young heroes that we follow for 10 years on.

Verdict: 68/100

5. Deathly Hallows - Part 2

              It is a decent finale for a spectacular saga. But given that the saga has been going on for 10 years now and has been spectacular throughout...a great ending doesn't seem good enough. It has its moments, and it has some very cool battle sequence which trumps any battle sequences of the franchise. And it has that very special twist/revelation of Professor Severus Snape - arguably the greatest undercover hero ever. However, everything else about the film is a bit predictable, and is very slowly heading towards that moment between Harry & Voldemort. There is nothing else notable that makes this film the special finale that the saga needs. But, it still remains a solid & good finale.

Verdict: 71/100

4. Half-Blood Prince

             The first time around, I felt this film is a bit boring - especially considering the books has a battle sequence at the end (yes, I did read the book). But now I realize that this film has a lot more to it. And while the film was slow-paced, I think it really fits the tone of the film. And the tone is indeed quite dark but it is just what the film meant it to be. There are a lot of powerful scenes in the film, and I find myself surprisingly taken with this film, watching it this time around. But also, this film doesn't forsake the humour. In fact, it has lots of it - one thing that I just couldn't get off my mind now is the scene in the hospital wing when Ron was lying injured and Professor Dumbledore says "Oh, to be young, and to feel love's keen sting" - that and the look on Professors Slughorn & Snape says it all. That scene alone totally made my day.

Verdict: 79/100

Top 3 in the next post...