Monday 30 January 2017

Looking Forward: FEBRUARY 2017

This February is still relatively quiet, but there is quite a mix of good action movie, animated movie & even drama...

The Space Between Us (Feb 3-USA, Feb 10-UK, Feb 16-Singapore)

                   A science-fiction drama/romance. It definitely is not a film I would immediately jump into, but I have to say the premise of this film intrigues me. And the trailer is also pretty good, which give us a sense of the mix of adventure, drama & humour. My expectations of this film is still pretty reserved, and it is still a movie I won't be jumping in to watch in an instant. But I do see some potential with this film, and if it can pull it off, it might just be a good film to watch.

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

John Wick: Chapter 2 (Feb 10-USA, Feb 17-UK, Feb 16-Singapore)

                 I may have mentioned this before, but I am one of those rare people who actually doesn't like the first John Wick film. The action sequences were great, but I thought the plot was just dull. I may need to re-watch it again to see if my perspective might change this time around, but the first time I saw it, I definitely did not find it good.
                That being said, I know the potential this franchise can have, so I will definitely be giving this franchise another chance. The trailers are pretty cool, and yes, I am actually looking forward to this sequel, and hoping to get a much better experience with this one.

Trailers: (Teaser) (Trailer #1)

The Lego Batman Movie (Feb 10-USA, Feb 10-UK, Feb 9-Singapore)

                    This is perhaps the movie I am looking forward to most in February. It is a lego movie but it is also a Batman movie. And the thing that sells me is that it looks like it just doesn't hold back. It has that kind of vibe as Deadpool did last year where it just looks to have a lot of fun with the humour & the story. The only thing I'm concerned about is if plays out to be like the twist in The Lego Movie back in 2014 - I didn't like that. But if that doesn't happen, then this will really look to be a very fun movie that doesn't hold back, and I can't wait to watch it.

Trailers: (Teaser #1) (Teaser #2) (Comic Con Trailer) (Trailer #4)

The Great Wall (Feb 17-USA, Feb 17-UK, Dec 29-Singapore)

                   As you can see above, this film has been out in Singapore for a while now. So yes, I have watched this movie, and I can't really write a preview for a movie I have basically seen. But, my full review for this film is already out, so you can check that out for my full thoughts on the film.

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

Other Movies:

                  A Cure for Wellness ( is a movie that comes out on February 17th in the US. It is a psychological thriller by Gore Verbinski, who directed the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. This film looks to be rather intriguing, but I am holding back for some reviews to come in before I decide whether to watch this film.
                  Despite having some big name stars in the film, Collide ( looks like another one of those B action movies, so I won't be running to see this film, unless it somehow has great reviews.
                  Did I forget any movie? Oh, right...Fifty Shades Darker ( Well clearly I don't care about this film at all - but no disrespect if you do like or are interested in the film. If you are one of them, I can tell you this film will be out on February 10th.

Sunday 22 January 2017


             I went in expecting a dumb, fun action movie...and I went out getting a dumb, fun action movie. Indeed it has a very generic plot with very silly characters who speaks very cheesy lines - but it does have some cool moments, too.

               The overall plot is kind of generic & dull...and though it is not good, it is not the thing that troubles me most. In fact, it is the moments in between when we see these silly characters do things that just doesn't make any sense. Worse still, the dialogue is very cheesy most of the time. As such, even the humour doesn't come through most of the time - the jokes are not laughable. Which is why I can easily say that this is not a well made movie at all.

                That being said, the movie does have its cool moments. Donnie Yen kicking ass is never boring to watch. And the opening sequences (first 10-15 minutes) are pretty solid. And some of the twists/revelations are pretty cool. And unlike some movies (ehm...Suicide Squad), the music in this film is quite good, and I like the mix of songs & scores. Musics may not the most critical piece of a movie, but credit where credit is due.

                So overall the film is not a well made movie at all. The generic plot might have been acceptable if not for the silly characters & the cheesy dialogue. But it does have its cool moments, so it is not a boring experience. And someone may have mentioned this, but now that I think about it, it does feel a bit like a second-rate Fast & Furious movie.

VERDICT: 50/100

              If you are a fan of the XXX franchise, I think you may just like this film. For most people, I would say its not totally worth the price of a movie ticket - though its a good Cable watch.

Sunday 15 January 2017

Best Movies of 2016 - Part 3

Now for the Top 3...

3. The Nice Guys

             This is a film that really surprised me. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this film. I watched it three times already and I enjoyed it all the same every time. Ryan Gosling is super funny in here, and he really showed how good he can be as a comedic actor. But also the dynamic between him and Russell Crowe is brilliant. And yet both character is balanced by a terrific young actress by the name of Angourie Rice who plays Ryan Gosling's daughter. The overall plot (though good) is nothing too special, but it is these characters and the dynamic between them that really makes this movie fun & amazing.

2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

              This is a movie that provides me with perhaps the most complete experience in 2016. While the above film (The Nice Guys) may have given me the most fun in the cinema in 2016, Fantastic Beasts gave me the complete experience, with an excellent combination of action, story, characters, drama & humour. A lot of that is down to J.K. Rowling who is a brilliant storyteller. She knows how to craft great characters, and how to tell good stories with them. And the humour & drama very naturally develops from there. I had great fun with these characters, but I also feel for them. And hence, I really do wish to see a sequel with more of these characters.

1. Captain America: Civil War

                The reason why this film is on top is not plainly because I am a Marvel fan. But when a great movie is a movie that I am also a fan of, it becomes more than just a great movie. It is like being a fan of your favourite football club and then seeing them win. This film Civil War pulled off a spectacular feat, putting a dozen of main characters and not making their presence feel forced. Moreover, the story progression feels very natural and it still ends up with a super massive battle between the heroes (which some are calling the best action sequence in a superhero film) and still ends up with an emotional closure of the story. The quality of this film is already of high standard, and being a Marvel fan, it becomes more than just a high quality becomes a special & wonderful cinematic experience.

And there you have it...and now lets hope for more of these kind of awesome films in 2017!!

Saturday 14 January 2017

Best Movies of 2016 - Part 2

Part 2...

8. Kubo and the Two Strings

            The next animation movie in the list is the stop-motion animation film by Laika. I found the stop-motion a bit jarring at first, and I did not immediately buy into the voices of Matthew McConaughey and Charlize Theron. Their voices did not seem to fit the characters at first. But as the film goes and the story develops, I find myself more invested in these characters. The plot wasn't extraordinary or ground-breaking, but they did the basics right with the characters, and from there, it was easy to follow and feel for these characters, and it became an emotional journey with Kubo and his companions.

7. Arrival

                Arrival is a film I only got to watch recently, but it is a very good film with a powerful ending. I was left in awe thanks to the ending of this film. Apart from some parts of the plot which was left without a clear answer, the movie as a whole was a brilliant experience. The way that Denis Villeneuve shot the film made the scenes feel significant, and the pacing of the film was brilliant as we slowly learn about the extra-terrestrials. But it is mostly that unexpected & powerful ending that struck me. A very good & smart science-fiction movie for the modern audience.

6. Moana

               Another one of those Disney powerhouse. This film extends Disney's great record of brilliant films of a powerful female character going into her own adventure following the likes of Tangled & Frozen. Apart from one scene I don't quite like in the realm of monsters, this film is excellent in every single minute. I love the interactions between Moana & Maui, the heartful plot, and also, the brilliant songs. I can't stop listening to these songs for a few weeks after watching the film. Easily one of the best Disney movies in the last few years.

5. Zootopia

                I have to was neck-and-neck for me between Moana & Zootopia. I wanted to put them equal, but I think I gave the edge to Zootopia simply because of the smart plot & setting which reflects our own human society. Moana has its advantage in all the excellent original songs which I totally adore. But everything else, this film also kind of has. Brilliant character interactions, heartful plot, etc. But Zootopia manages to reflect human society in an animal world, and the plot is just very smart, I just had to give the slight edge to Zootopia.

4. Rogue One

                If I have to choose...I might say I personally love The Force Awakens more...but I admit that Rogue One is the better film. In any case, Rogue One is a really brilliant Star Wars film. If I have to mention some drawbacks, it would be that the characters are not too developed, and there are some scenes which I feel wasn't right for some of the characters. But these are minor nitpicks, and otherwise it is a really good film, and is a really different Star Wars film and I love to finally be able to see a proper war in a Star Wars film. 

Friday 13 January 2017

Best Movies of 2016 - Part 1

And here it is, my favourite movies of the year.

As usual, please take note that I don't always go and watch every movie out there, and this list will be very subjective...

And since there are so many good movies I'd like to mention, I will put out a Top 12 this time around instead of a standard Top 10...

Honourable Mentions & Personal Favourite:

             Before starting with the list, I would like to quickly put out some honourable mentions that just misses the Top 12 list, and they are 10 Cloverfield Lane, Central Intelligence, and Jason Bourne.
              And also to some of the movies that I really like but were not good enough to come close to the Top 12...but I really like & enjoy these. They are Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, X-Men: Apocalypse, Warcraft & The Legend of Tarzan.

Now, for the Top 12:

12. Star Trek Beyond

               While I maintain that the first two Star Trek reboot films are better (Into Darkness is my personal favourite, and is my 2013 film of the year), Star Trek Beyond is still very much an overall good & fun film. The brilliant characters lay the foundation for a fun adventure, while the humour & action is ever-present. Overall a very good film in a very strong franchise.

11. Hell or High Water

                I like this film for being small scale, but carries a lot of heart & emotion. And I suppose the reason it didn't reach higher in my list is because it is very small in terms of plot and events. And watching this film...I wanted more of it. That being said, the dynamic between the two brothers (played by Chris Pine and Ben Foster) is really good, and so is the character played by Jeff Bridges. The things we see in this film carry a very real feel to it, and we feel very connected to these characters and understand the things that they do. Also, there's quite some humour in there. A very small scale film, but a really excellent watch.

10. Doctor Strange

                  A very solid entry in the MCU canon. This film has everything from cool action, interesting characters, great humour, good villain, etc. There is actually nothing too special except from a great performance by Tilda Swinton, and a very cool third act. But nothing is bad. Everything else is good - the action, the villain, the humour, the character development, etc. They are all good and combined together makes for a very fun story as we learn about Marvel's latest superhero.

9. Finding Dory

               The first of quite a few animation movies in this list. The animation movies of 2016 are really very good, and to be honest, there's not too much between them. Finding Dory is the first here on this list. It is a really brilliant film with a lot of humour and some very touching scenes. There are also some brilliant new characters, and overall I think this film will be adored by kids, but adults will find it fun, too. The only reason why this film is not higher in the list is because some plot points feel forced & non-sensical (getting a bit nitpicky here), but it doesn't change the fact that it really is a good film that is worth the watch for audiences of all ages.

Thursday 12 January 2017

Most Disappointing Movies of 2016

I am planning to do my annual best of the year list, but I thought I'll start off with the bad ones first...

And please know that I did not put "Worst" of the year as the topic, simply because these are not all terrible movies (disappointing, for sure) and I actively avoid those terrible movies out there...

That being said, the movies that disappointed me the most in 2016 are:

5. The Divergent Series: Allegiant

               You know that a movie is bad if the studio even decided to go against making the final movie in the series. The series had potential in the beginning, and I do like the first movie Divergent. But since then it has just got worse and worse with both Insurgent & Allegiant, and I find myself very much bored watching the latter. In a way, I am glad the series is over.

4. Suicide Squad

                  I had so much anticipation with this film, especially after all the brilliant & fun trailers that came out. But the movie itself just sucked. Mainly because the plot is so dull, the scenes are repetitive, and all the things that the characters do makes no sense at all. For my complete rant, you can read my spoiler talk of this film, but in any case, this film is a huge disappointment after the promises from the trailers.

3. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

                  This film has great action, and I can see why some people might like them. And it is a better movie than some of the other Michael Bay films. But I somehow find myself super bored in the middle section towards the end of the film. It really felt just like a video game with enemies coming wave after wave. I think I dozed off for a bit somewhere in the movie, and it really is very boring for me as person who highly values storytelling.

2. Inferno

                 Another collaboration between Ron Howard and Tom Hanks...and in the Dan Brown novel series, no less. You would have thought this would be another great film, but it is not. The Da Vinci Code (and Angels and Demons, to an extent) has some smart movie twist & revelation. In those films, there is some thrill to finding out the answers, and they are very intelligent films. Inferno doesn't have that. The plot is very basic, and so are the twists. And the movie spends a lot of time with the characters running (as if that's going to entertain us), and the opening 15 minutes of this movie is just plain bad. A disappointing movie in an otherwise good franchise.

Before I move on to number one, some quick dishonourable mentions to The Huntsman: Winter's WarMechanic: Resurrection & Assassin's Creed. And now, the award of Most Disappointing movie of 2016 goes to...

1. Independence Day: Resurgence

              The predecessor of this film wasn't super spectacular or anything, but it was a lot of fun, and it had some very cool & iconic moments, and great characters. All things need for a fun & great time at the movies. This sequel just dumps all that away. In Resurgence, the characters are dull, the plot is boring. The only thing I can praise is the aerial battle which is pretty cool, but otherwise I cannot care for the rest of the movie, because both the characters & plot are completely dull. They have just thrown storytelling down the drain and I hate this movie for it.

And there we go, now let's hope that 2017 will have less of these disappointments...

Sunday 8 January 2017


             This film isn't out until February in the US, so I'm quite surprised to find this film already out in Singapore. Anyway, the film itself is a pretty good watch, with some cool actions & visual effects. But the film does have its drawbacks, among them the dialogue, the characters & the overall plot.

              One of the things that actually stood out for me is the music/score from Ramin Djawadi. On one hand it says that Ramin Djawadi is a great composer, and its great to see another of his better works in here. But on the other hand, it means that the movie doesn't perform too well when it comes to the core elements of film (story, characters, etc). And for a director like Zhang Yimou, it is a bit underwhelming.

               However, to his credit, I do find the action scenes very enjoyable. And the visuals are pretty well done, too. And what people say about his cinematography and use of colour, I can see that in this film. And the movie has some humour too, throughout, so the film never got boring for me.

               But the film does have its drawbacks. The dialogue is one of them. Throughout the film, the dialogue sounded very cheesy and dull. It sounded more like what a 10-year old would say, and it spoonfeeds audiences with basic information. People like being shown, not told. But the dialogue became better towards the end, and it contributed to some of the humour, too. So its not all bad, but for the most part, they could have done better.

               The overall plot is also very basic, so there is nothing new about it. And none of the characters are memorable at all. Pedro Pascal is the only character which I like, but even so, that is only because of one or two humourous moments towards the end.

               As a whole, the film is a pretty good watch and its not a boring film. But there were a lot of cheesy moments, and there is a lot that this film can improve.

VERDICT: 65 / 100

               This is a film which I don't think I would immediately recommend. But I can say that if you are interested, this is not a bad film to catch.

Saturday 7 January 2017


             Denis Villeneuve is on a roll. I think he may have just set his own standards too high with this film. I have some minor issues with the plot of this film, but otherwise, it is a really excellent film.

              The plot itself is actually both a strength and a weakness. It is really good, and I like the way the story unfolds slowly as we learn more about & how to communicate with these extra-terrestrial beings. And the twist/revelation at the end is very surprising & unexpected. I am left quite in awe, and if I watch this film a second time, I will surely look at it differently.

             But I have some minor issues with the plot, too. I won't spoil anything, but I just want to say that the plot twist at the end puts a great more depth & meaning on one part of the plot, but it left me with a big (unanswered) question on the other main plot. I know this is really vague, but that's pretty much how I feel about the plot. It is really good and has great depth & meaning, but at the same time weakens other parts of the plot.

             Now if we talk about the directing, the cinematography, the editing...they are all superb. The scenes were brilliantly shot, and I especially like a tracking shot of the base camp. Denis Villeneuve makes all the scenes feel powerful, and I thought the pacing of this film was brilliant. It was relatively slow, but it was not boring. It was just enough for us to understand it, to think about it, and even make some guesses/expectations on it, but it never became too slow or boring. All the scenes felt intense & exciting at the same time. And I think we have Mr Villeneuve to thank for that.

            Another thing that I really like about this film are the characters. The characters were brilliant, and the acting was great. But more than the acting, I really felt like if there is a real alien ship on Earth, this is how the people would be reacting. Meanwhile, the score/music was really good, too. It was a bit jarring at first, because I felt that it was too loud, but towards the end it felt really good and brilliantly used.

             There are some minor issues with the plot & score for me, but otherwise it is a really excellent film overall. And that twist at the end was brilliant, and it will really get people talking. Director Denis Villeneuve is indeed one of the best (if not the best) director working now, and this film is a testament to that...

VERDICT: 85/100

           Highly recommended!!

Sunday 1 January 2017


             The video game movie trend (or curse) continues. Not to say that this is a wholly terrible movie...but it is not particularly good either. One of the main positives I can pick out is the cool action sequences, but even that comes with a drawback. Although, now that I think about it, there is nothing I really dislike/hate about the movie. The remaining aspects just about works for it, but they are pretty basic and predictable.

              It is rather funny when the positive aspect about this film is also what carries a negative feel with it. The film has some cool action sequences, with a style of action that directly takes from the video games themselves. Unfortunately, the whole action sequences are too loud. Not only because of the music/score that accompanies it, but also from the fact that there is too much going on without giving audiences time to breath in or to catch on what is happening.

               In the video games themselves, there are always moments of pure stealth & assassination missions. This film could do with one, rather than having all loud, all-action fight scenes.

                And like I said above, there is nothing I really dislike about this film in particular. We can talk about the plot, the characters, the visuals, etc - and these things just about works for the movie. They could be improved with a bit more complexity or depth (in terms of plot & characters), but for now, I can't say I dislike/hate them.

                This is a film that could do with a whole lot of improvement if it is to be considered a good action movie. For me, this is just about a movie that I can accept, but in no way I can recommend others to watch. There is also the disappointment, however, that video game movies are not yet breaking the trend/curse - and I'm pretty sure next year's Resident Evil movie won't do it. Here's hoping a future movie (Tomb Raider reboot?) will manage to do so.

VERDICT: 46 / 100

                Not recommended to anyone. Perhaps if you catch this on Cable, it wouldn't actually be too bad to consider.