Saturday 30 December 2017

SPOILER TALK: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Part 2)



Supreme Leader Snoke

               Well, surely Snoke would be the big bad of the whole trilogy, and we would get to know more of his backstory and who he was in this film. Well, to quote Luke Skywalker, every word in that sentence was wrong. There was no clue at all as who he was before, how he gets his powers, etc. But more importantly, he is now dead as we see Kylo Ren kill him instead of Rey. This is totally not what I thought would have happened at all.

Kylo Ren & Rey

               And for a second, I was curious (and nervous) to think that Kylo Ren is turning good. Though then of course he made clear his intention of ruling the First Order as the new Supreme Leader, and it seems to carve a path to him being the real big bad of this trilogy.

               But before we get there, can we spare some time to cherish and admire that action sequence where Kylo Ren & Rey teams up to fend off Snoke's Royal Guards. That could well be the best action sequence I have ever seen in a Star Wars film. It had excellent choreography, but more importantly, there was an intensity & realism to it. It was not just smooth & beautiful moves like we see in the prequels (though I enjoyed those), but you can see in the Royal Guards that they are trying hard to find ways to beat Kylo Ren & Rey, and vice versa. And of course, that final blow by Kylo Ren was just slick. Easily the best action sequence I have seen in a while now.

Episode IX

               So, what next for episode 9? Of course, if there is one thing I have learned from this film, is that a Star Wars film is never predictable. That being said, I can think of a few things that are likely to happen, or at least I would like to see happen.

                The first of which is something we didn't see between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi...and that is a time jump. The ending of this film makes it suitable for the next chapter in the saga to be set a few years in the future instead. And I like that idea. Additionally, it gives a proper opportunity to maybe consider the passing of General Leia Organa within that time frame - or better yet, to have her funeral in the beginning of episode 9. I think this makes a lot of sense for the story, and gives more layers/depth to what problems may lie ahead in episode 9. And of course, a great send-off (without the need to kill the character off on screen) to our late dear princess Carrie Fisher.

                Actually, I don't really have much idea for speculation regarding episode 9, and I actually do prefer it that way, but one thing it does look like to setup is another great confrontation between Kylo Ren & Rey, as the first two films has been a lot about setting up the journey and the path of these two characters. There has been different interactions even within The Last Jedi itself, from despise to actually understanding each other and working together. There is a lot that has happened between these two, and it looks to set up a great final confrontation between Kylo Ren and Rey.

This is my last article of the Year and I will see you all again in 2018...
My best wishes & a very Happy New Year to all! 

Friday 29 December 2017

SPOILER TALK: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Part 1)



Luke Skywalker

              This film was always going have a lot of focus on Luke, all with that ending of the previous film and the title basically referring to him. But to be honest, the first time we see him, I thought he was a little "not-Luke". But the moment he first speaks, I start to feel his presence again. It wasn't the greatest scenes to see his life in exile (though nice to know), but since he meet R2-D2 again, and R2 plays out that original message from Leia (from A New Hope), I can see the old Luke Skywalker back again.

                His interactions with Rey are also good & fun to watch, from the trainings to the flashback stories. And it ends (physically, at least) with a great confrontation/duel between the two.

                Of course, a major talking point with Luke would be that scene in the planet Crait. I had my suspicions initially...but then I thought it was really Luke as everybody else could see him. From then on, I was just thoroughly amazed with Luke's ability, but more importantly, I enjoyed the confrontation between Kylo Ren and Luke. It was emotional & powerful. Then, it was revealed that Luke was never there. Looking back, I should have spotted more of the clues (no physical contact, no red dust in the ground, etc), but I actually liked being surprised this way.

               So I'm happy to know that Luke isn't dead...but, NO. In the moments after, he sat in peace and he looked towards the sunset and vanishes into thin air. I was sad, but it felt right. And sure, he could always come back as a Force Ghost later on. Another thing I would like to add is that I am glad that we get to see Luke & Leia (despite not physically) have a nice moment together. That was a special scene.

Master Yoda

                And then of course, how could we not talk about that Yoda cameo? It is a nice little surprise to see the Force Ghost of Yoda again, still giving that same lecture & teachings to Luke. That chemistry between Luke & Yoda is exactly the same as it was in The Empire Strikes Back.
                I didn't particularly fancy the idea that Yoda can conjure that lightning as a Force Ghost, but it didn't bother me much. I still like the scene overall and it was a very nice character moment.

Beautiful Sequences

                I will get into more of the main characters in the next article, but for now I'd like to call out some of the sequences which are amongst the most gorgeous I have ever seen in film. This is my biggest appreciation to director Rian Johnson.

                The first of which is the sequence in the cave, where Rey sees mirror images of herself, and I especially like the sound design involved, like when she snaps her finger and the other mirror images followed in quick succession. It was beautifully shot, and just an amazing sequence to behold.

                Next up is still with Rey, but this time involves Kylo Ren, in a Force-Communication, where they see each other and can speak to each other. I really like how Rian Johnson shot this sequence, and the positioning of both characters made it feel like they are literally facing each other, despite being in two different places. And again, the sound involved was great. When we are with one character, the other character's voice fills the whole theater/room, as if their voice are really all that we can hear inside our minds. And that is brilliant.

                 The final sequence was that one where Vice Admiral Holdo engaged the cruiser into light speed and drove straight through the enemy's command ship. That shot was just gorgeous to witness, and the fact that there was no sound at all is just amazing. It was breathless.

Thursday 28 December 2017

Looking Forward: JANUARY 2018

It is quite typical that the month of January is filled with lower budget action flicks or the wide releases of some Oscar nominated films from scent of any major blockbuster flicks at all...

Molly's Game (Jan 5-USA, Jan 1-UK, Jan 4-Singapore)

                Aaron Sorkin is one of the best writers in recent time, with his award-winning works in The Social Network and Steve Jobs. Now, this next film may also be his directorial debut, but it looks great. And sometimes, I prefer it if directors pay high respect/attention to the story first and foremost. And yet, the trailers for this film show that the directing may not be half bad at all, and with a very intriguing crime drama story, this is a film I am excited to see.


The Post (Jan 12-USA, Jan 19-UK, Jan 18-Singapore)

                Even if I do not know the plot of this film, I would already be sold. Directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Meryl Streep & Tom Hanks, music composed by John Williams. In sports terms, this is like the All-Star Team. I did not need anything else to be sold, but knowing that the plot is about The Pentagon Papers story is good. And so is knowing that this film is already nominated for the Golden Globes in six categories.


The Commuter (Jan 12-USA, Jan 19-UK, Jan 11-Singapore)

                 Non-Stop, Run All Night, the Taken films. This new film is just the next one in a series of Liam Neeson as an action hero in a lower budget action flick. I suppose Liam Neeson is not a bad action hero, and it is nice to see him do these movies while he still can. But when the stories and the quality of the film does not justify it, it becomes a problem. In fact, with this film being directed by his frequent collaborator Jaume Collet-Serra, I can imagine this movie to be just like Non-Stop, but switching the plane with a train.


12 Strong (Jan 19-USA, Jan 26-UK, Jan 18-Singapore)

                 What this film really reminds me of is that film from Michael Bay titled 13 Hours. Not only because of the resemblance in the title formatting, but also because the plot seems to revolve around a group of soldiers facing a large threat with the odds stacked highly against their favour. I can seriously see this being a repeat of that film, just in a different setting. And I have to say, I did not quite like that film. But I won't brush off this new film just yet. The cast looks pretty good, and if the word out there is quite positive, I might give this a chance.


Maze Runner: The Death Cure (Jan 26-USA, Jan 26-UK, Jan 25-Singapore)

               I have never been a big fan of the Maze Runner series. They may be an okay/decent watch, but they are not that good, in all honesty. And even if there are no sequels or anything, I wouldn't mind at all. But knowing that this is the last in the series, maybe it is worth giving it one last go and at minimum, to see how the story ends. I won't be going in with much anticipation or excitement, but I would be willing to give it one last shot and hope it ends the trilogy with a good run.


Other Movies:

                As is customary, I can call out some interesting horror movies to look out for, but don't expect any word from me, in any way. The next installment in the Insidious franchise, Insidious: The Last Key ( is out on January 5.
                In addition to those action flicks above, there are still a few more action films which I personally rate as generic because they look just like any other action flick and does not offer much more in terms of plot variety, casting, etc. These are Stratton (, out on January 5 in the US, and Proud Mary (, which will be out on January 12.
               Next up is a very interesting western film, Hostiles (, which will be out on January 19. The trailer looks pretty cool. Also out on the same day is the heist action film Den of Thieves (, which also looks pretty cool, especially with the idea that these group of cops have no limits.

Sunday 24 December 2017


              This film is quite the pleasant Christmas surprise. It might be one of the funniest movie I have seen all year. The setup of this story primes itself for a lot of comedic moments, and I am glad to say that they executed it perfectly. And the action itself is pretty cool, and the story is not half bad.

               What I like best about films like these are that the comedic moments are not forced. The setup of the story/plot already puts itself in the perfect position - in the case of this film, having young teenagers inside game avatar bodies who look so different than they are in real life. And fortunately, this film has great writers who crafted the perfect dialogue & scenes for these comedic moments, and also great actors to pull it off. All four of the main cast (Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black & Karen Gillan) deserves praise for this.

              And while the comedy is what stands out, the rest of it is not half bad. There are some decent action sequences throughout, and the overall story is (though not great) pretty decent and works well for the film. Similarly, the film has some decent character moments - though again, it is always the comedic interactions that takes center stage.

               In the end, this movie is by no means perfect, but it is really fun & funny, and it sure makes for a great time in the theater with family & friends. A pleasant Christmas entertainment, indeed. Definitely worth the watch!

VERDICT: 70 / 100

And have a Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!!!

Saturday 16 December 2017


            This film is probably not as great as I hoped it would be, but I sure as hell enjoyed it. I'm not entirely able to exactly pinpoint the flaws right now, but one thing that I felt was that the story wasn't that tightly written. That being said, the characters were great, the action sequences were great, the visual effects were great. It feels great to be back in a Star Wars movie again.

             The overall story was pretty good, but I felt that there were too many things happening at the same time to too many characters, and it wasn't that neatly packed. Some scenes ended up feeling a bit rushed, while some felt a bit too long. Sometimes it is nice to say that a film is breathless and is packed from start to finish, but in truth, I would appreciate it more if there was a bit more time to breath in the moment.

             However, the characters were mostly great. Even the new characters were pretty good, especially Kelly Marie Tran's character, who I really like. It is so easy to feel for and like most of the characters.
             Between the plot and the characters, there were some emotional moments, although most didn't really hit hard - again, maybe because we don't receive enough time to breath the emotions in. Similarly, some of the humour were pretty good, but some felt a little out of place as well.

               All that being said, I still do enjoy the film a lot. The action sequences were really good. There is this one action sequence (which you might know when you see it) which I think is the best action sequence in a Star Wars movie ever. I really loved watching it. There was also a few other sequences which were just beautifully shot mixed with great sound design. And meanwhile, the visual effects is great, as always, and so is the feeling of being in these different worlds. And that is always one of the specialty of a Star Wars film.

              And in the end, despite there being some flaws in this film (and I didn't find it as great as I would have hoped), if I can watch a Star Wars movie and feel like I am there, in these unique and different worlds, and enjoy some great action & adventure with great characters, I will always cherish the feeling. And that is exactly what I got from Star Wars: The Last Jedi...

VERDICT: 82 / 100

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Most Anticipated Films of 2018 (Top 5)

5. Aquaman (December 21)

               Among the characters in the Justice League, Aquaman is the character I am most excited about, and I am excited to see the story and the conflicts in Atlantis. And among all the potential upcoming films in the DCEU (except maybe The Batman, because of director Matt Reeves) this is the film I am most excited about. Imagine all the characters and the battle which takes place underwater in Atlantis. And with James Wan at the helm, this film has all the potential to be among the best DCEU film as well.

4. X-Men: Dark Phoenix (November 2)

               X-Men: Apocalypse wasn't really among the best X-Men films, but it does so well in capturing the great feeling of X-Men films, especially the scenes in the school and with this young group of X-Men characters we have always known. And in many ways, the ending in that film felt like a new beginning of a great adventure to come. But outside of it, it felt as if it could be the end for the main folks James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and co.
              So to see all of them returning and really continuing on from where we left off is exactly what I want to see. Apocalypse ended with so much promise and potential, and I'm glad they took this opportunity. And I don't know how this will work, but I like the idea of going beyond Earth and into space. And though this will be Simon Kinberg's directorial debut, he has been such a mainstay throughout the series that I have all the confidence in the world that he can deliver.

3. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (November 16)

               The first Fantastic Beasts film was surprisingly very good and I think it was in my Top 3 of last year, too. It has a great mix of fun & drama, and the visuals of the period and the magical world is just, well...magical. With both J.K. Rowling returning to write the script and David Yates to direct, and all the key cast returning (especially Dan Fogler, who I really like), I can't be any more excited with this film. Wait, actually, I can - because now we have the addition of Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald and Jude Law as young Albus Dumbledore. So excited for this!

2. Black Panther (February 16)

                Remember when I said earlier that director Ryan Coogler is working on another project. This is the one. This is him proving that he really is one of the top, young directors out there. The trailers are really cool! I like the look of Wakanda and I am really glad that we get to explore this fictional nation. Nowhere in our real Earth will we ever get to see a technologically advanced region hidden among the forestry natures of Africa. And the cast also looks great, including Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger, and I am so especially happy to see the involvement of Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue. Everything I have seen in the trailers are just so cool - the story, the characters, the action sequences, the visual design, everything. If not for the fact that the film in number 1 is the culmination of an era, Black Panther would top this list.

1. Avengers: Infinity War (May 4)

               So what is this film that tops Black Panther? It is a movie involving Black Panther and more than a dozen of other characters that has made up 18 other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I mean, we're talking about a movie that culminates an arc of a dozen big characters over 1.5 dozens of movies. Many of the previous MCU films have touched upon or even heavily involved the Infinity Stones. This film is set to be the culmination of it where one of the great beings in the universe, Thanos, aims to hunt down and potentially wield the power of all the stones, requiring all the superheroes that we have been introduced to to team up.
               Well, do I actually even need to explain this? I mean, I think you all will already know of all this and probably already feel the same excitement as I do. And just look at that teaser trailer they put out. It breaks a record viewing of a trailer within 24 hours (230 million views). And even from Marvel Studios' perspective, this has to be like the biggest film of the decade! Let's just bring it on!

Monday 11 December 2017

Most Anticipated Films of 2018 (13 to 6)

13. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June 22)

              The predecessor to this film was a bit special for me because it took me back to my childhood. I loved the original Jurassic Park as a kid, and Jurassic World brought me back those feelings and a little bit more - I never imagined seeing a guy riding a bike flanked by raptors. But truth be told, that film delivered not much more than that. And this sequel won't have the benefit of just bringing that feeling back. It will have to deliver well with the story and the characters and stuff. The trailer & synopsis didn't get me too excited either, but the director did some great work recently, so here's hoping for something good.

12. Tomb Raider (March 16)

                I am a big fan of the Tomb Raider video games, especially the reboot series: Tomb Raider (2013) and Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015). Now, whether I'll be excited with this film reboot is a different question. I like the look of it from the trailers, and the cast looks pretty good. But the story seems to be rehashing story points from the video game. It normally would be okay (to an extent), but the fact is a lot of us have just played the games recently and those games have excellent visuals. So, what will this new film bring to the table, then, will be the big question for me.

11. Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 (November 21)

                The first Wreck-It Ralph was one of the best film of that year, and certainly among the better Disney films that came out recently. It was funny but also very touching & heartful. And the great thing is, this sequel already has the smart vision to expand the universe to involve the Internet with the possibility of adding some form of other Disney characters, including from the other animation flicks (Frozen, Moana, Mulan, etc), but also from their owned properties, Marvel & Star Wars. Exciting, isn't it?

10. Mission: Impossible 6 (July 27)

              I have to say, the latest MI film Rogue Nation wasn't really as good as I had hoped, especially after the brilliant Ghost Protocol. But it was still a solid action film, and the characters were pretty good. So to have most of them returning and with some excellent new cast additions, they have the opportunity to once again create a great MI film (while Tom Cruise is still young...ish). And yes, Tom Cruise is such a national treasure, you can't help but love the guy and hope his next film is great.

9. Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6)

              The first Ant-Man film was a lot of fun, and it remains a film that I still like to watch. It has cool action, great music & a lot of (creatively) funny moments. And the story has heart, too. But among the MCU pantheon, it does not really rank that high, and could do with a better story. For this sequel, though, with all they key people returning to this project, I have hopes that they could deliver at least another great, fun film, but maybe even more than that.

8. Mortal Engines (December 14)

                I always loved Peter Jackson and his visual ideas, and it has been a while since we last saw a film of his. Of course, he also won't be directing this film, but being a screenwriter and a producer in the project, I am pretty sure he has more than small part to play. And even the concept of this film alone is intriguing, a post-apocalyptic world where cities are mobile and battle each other. It kind of has a Mad Max feel to it, by the sound of it. Because of all that, I am really excited to see what this world will look like when brought to life in the big screen.

7. The Incredibles 2 (June 15)

                 The Incredibles remains, to this day, one of the best Pixar animation film of all time. It is such a shock that a sequel hasn't been done until 14 years later. The good news is, it is now here, and with Brad Bird returning to both write & direct the film, it will be great to finally jump back into the world of The Incredibles, and it sure has all the signs to be another great Pixar film.

6. Solo: A Star Wars Story (May 25)

                 Truth be told, if this was any other potential upcoming Star Wars projects (Episode 9, Obi-Wan spin-off, Rian Johnson's New Trilogy), this would easily crack the Top 3. But a film about Han Solo is the one that I don't personally crave for - especially having just recently seen the great Harrison Ford as Han Solo again just two years back. Though, it remains a Star Wars film and I am always excited to see one. And if anything, what I really want to see is if they really explore and delve into the underworld and the crime/smuggling/bounty hunter life - like really delving into the dark cracks of the Star Wars universe and not just the fantastical worlds in the surface.

Sunday 10 December 2017

Most Anticipated Films of 2018 (20 to 14)

As is tradition, I like to share my most anticipated films of the coming year, but given how much big films there are in my radar, I will have to resort to Top 20 this time...

Honourable Mentions:

A quick shout-out to the films that didn't make my list. In order of release:

- A Wrinkle in Time (March 9) 
- Robin Hood (September 21)
Venom (October 5)
- Jungle Book (October 19)
Bumblebee: The Movie (December 21)

20. Ocean's Eight (June 8)

              A spin-off of the Ocean's Trilogy but with a whole female crew this time. Hell yes! I like the overall idea (though the quality of the execution will be another matter entirely) and you just have to look at the cast to get excited. Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, and one of my favourite actresses of all time, Sandra Bullock - among many. Mind you, this film could very well fail, but it sure looks like a fun idea.

19. The New Mutants (April 13)

              This film should be high in this 'maybe cracking Top 10' high. I like the way Fox is operating with their Marvel properties, playing with many different genres (like the very comedic fourth-wall breaking Deadpool or the western drama Logan) and not pulling any punches with any of them. They're doing the same with this one....but why oh why it has to be horror/thriller. Damn. Don't get me wrong, I am so excited to see how this goes, but whether I'm that excited to step into a dark, loud theatre to watch this is a different question altogether.

18. Soldado (June 29)

               A sequel to the brilliant crime-drama Sicario. Unfortunately, director Denis Villeneuve is not returning, but the fact that writer Taylor Sheridan is back to write the script gives me confidence. His recent work has been brilliant, brilliant & brilliant (Sicario, Hell or High Water, Wind River). One can cautiously hope this next one to be similarly so...

17. The Predator (August 3)

               I am just a little bit unsure of this. I am excited to see a new Predator film, and moreover I am also very excited to see a new Shane Black film. His last film The Nice Guys is extremely good & funny, and is a must watch. But what he is really good at versus what I think a Predator film will be like are two quite different things. I suppose now the question becomes how much of his style/vision will be stamped into this new Predator movie and what the outcome will be.

16. Creed 2 (November 21)

              Creed was one of the best film of that year, and it's the film that got me liking Ryan Coogler as a director. Of course, Ryan Coogler is not returning because he is working on another film that is very high in this list (you'll see). But when you have someone like Sylvester Stallone taking over, with the love & passion he has for this franchise, and with some great people returning, including Dolph Lundgren, this is definitely one film I am very much looking forward to.

15. Deadpool 2 (June 1)

              I really appreciate & like what they did with the first Deadpool film, but I maintain that I still don't find it that great. It's funny (to a certain extent), but the rest of it is still quite standard. The story, the action, etc. So, if I am to really be excited with this sequel, they better kick it up a notch, especially in terms of the quality of storytelling.

14. Ready Player One (March 30)

               A Steven Spielberg big-budget science-fiction blockbuster. Probably should've easily made my Top 10, but the trailer that has been released didn't really get me much excited, unfortunately. I mean, I would never bet against this film in any way, but my anticipation level for this film isn't particularly that high either.

Wednesday 6 December 2017


              This film is actually not that bad. In many ways, the film was okay. But I didn't really feel quite satisfied walking out of the theatre. It feels like something is missing/ doesn't feel like it was executed very well. It might be the editing (which was a bit too fast), or it could be the dialogue, too.

              There is nothing in this film that is particularly bad, but then again, there isn't anything that is particularly good, either. The thing that sticks out most before the film was the stellar cast. But none of them actually pulled out a spectacular performance. Josh Gad was perhaps the only one who did pretty well.

              The visuals in the film was pretty good, and I have to say I particularly liked the wide shots of the setting - whether it be a shot of the city when they first set off, or the many shots of the different backdrop that the train traversed along. But one thing I find annoying (which could well be one of the reasons I didn't feel quite satisfied with the film) is the editing. It just cuts from scene to a scene a little too quickly. It didn't give us much time to digest or think about what just happened or what could happen.

               And then there is also the dialogue, which I feel wasn't particularly good. And in the moments when they try to make a joke, it didn't quite land....most of the time. They tried to make the story a little more fun & light, but it didn't really work.

               While the overall story was fine (which I think is more credit to original writer Agatha Christie instead), the execution of the film wasn't very good, especially for a director like Kenneth Branagh. And in the end, it's not that the film is bad. Especially if you have not read the book or know the story (like I do), it ends up being a good watch with an interesting mystery solving. However, I don't really feel the film was that good either, and I don't feel quite that satisfied walking out of the film.

VERDICT: 52 / 100

Sunday 3 December 2017


            Disney...Pixar...these folks just don't know how to make less-than-stellar movies, do they? They say Pixar has a blip with their Cars movies, but that is just a testament to how good their other films are. And Coco is another spectacular outing from the studio. It's hard to find a flaw in this film, but more than that, I don't even want to.

               In so many aspects, this film did brilliantly well. At it's core, it is a very touching story with amazing characters. All the characters in the film are quite distinct but feels like real characters we see in our lives. And it is so much fun to see the interactions between these characters, and occasionally, it becomes very emotional & touching moments. A lot of these characters develops and changes throughout this adventure - perhaps because the story is so powerful & meaningful.

             The plot is easily the strongest element of the film, but I won't say too much more, because it needs to be experienced first-hand. Meanwhile, though there isn't particularly too much laughs to be had, but there are some very great humour along the way, even towards the end. And I suppose I don't need to re-emphasize about the dramatic/touching moments of the story. The music is another strong part of the movie. There are quite a few memorable & enjoyable songs that really enhances the emotions of the story. 

              Like I said, it's hard to specify the flaws in the film, probably because I don't really care much when the rest of the film is just so good. Even the voice cast - who are mainly new names I am not quite familiar of - did really solid performances. And finally, I'd like to call out that I also appreciate how they stuck to and explored the Mexican culture. For a lot of us not from that area of the world, it is a very eye-opening knowledge, and it is really nice to see the beautiful things they do and the festivals they have.

               This film really is right up there alongside the best of the Pixar films like Toy Story, Inside Out, and more. I would recommend this film to anyone and everyone, because I think this is a movie that is both eye-opening but also just a damn good story to experience...

VERDICT: 90 / 100