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Wonder Woman

Jun
16

It’s been ages since I did a movie review, partly because of the greatly reduced number of movies since #dadding, and partly because there are chores to be done, instead of whimsically going over the movie details, plot and stuff.

But I watched WonderWoman, and it will be a disservice not to document it. The DCEU movies have been known to be grim, dark and depressing, with marked changes to characters’ very core personality and beliefs.

So it’s a refreshing change of pace to see Wonder Woman having a pretty decent dose of humour. Gal Gadot is perfectly cast as Princess Diana, something we already knew in BvS but reaffirmed with aplomb here.

The film is bookended in the present day, but all of the action really takes place in WWI era, and kickstarted when Steve Trevor’s (Chris Pine) plane crash lands in Themyscira, a hidden island inhabited by the Amazonians, a race of warrior women created by Zeus to protect and guide Mankind.

Told about the ongoing War, Diana decides to follow Steve back to the real world to help stop the war from escalating by stopping Chief Chemist Isabel Maru from developing a new and deadlier form of mustard gas for the German forces.

Steve rounds up a ragtag group of friends and off they go on Wonder Woman’s maiden adventure. It’s a fun ride, and definitely a very worthy addition to the superhero film basket.

Rating: 8/10 

Wonder Woman Got Your Back, But You Still Probably Shouldn’t Try This At Home (Or at a Prom)

Now, in one of the scenes, Wonder Woman had to infiltrate a ball to try and kill General Ludendorff. But she was wearing a dress, so there wasn’t a lot of space to hide her sword. But she improvised well.Wonder-Woman-Sword-In-Back-Wallpaper-05338

This scene has since inspired (and probably seriously injured) a whole bunch of ladies to try the same thing, together with the hastag #WWgotyourback.

Seriously, look at this:

wwgotyourback

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Mad Max: Fury Road

Jun
02

I’d never seen the original 1980s Mad Max, and only watched Mad Max: Fury Road because I had some time on my hands. The following 120 minutes after that was just pure cinematic poetry in non-stop action.

To say that Mad Max: Fury Road is a 2-hr car chase is not in any way an exaggeration. The fact that it’s directed by a 70 year old man, who’s last 3 films in the last 17 years included Babe: Pig in the City, Happy Feet, and Happy Feet Two is just unbelievable.

Although this is technically a sequel, there’s no need to be aware of any backstory. As the film opens, civilization has collapsed due to a nuclear fallout, and the world largely becomes a desert wasteland. Survival is the name of the game, and before we can say “Ew, did Max just eat a two-headed iguana??” he’s captured by a group of pasty teens called the War Boys, and brought back to the Citadel led by cult leader Immortan Joe, to be used as a human blood bank.

But none of this matters as Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), Immortan Joe’s trusted lieutenant, has betrayed him and made off with his five (really hot) wives!

Mad Max Fury Road

Presenting… the 2015 Spring Summer Derelict Collection!

Max gets strapped to the hood of the car (continuing to supply blood) and flung into pursuit, and here we begin what’s possibly the greatest car chase ever seen in history. The action never lets up, and the visuals are simply exhilarating.

George Miller first had plans for  a mad max sequel in 1998. It’s since been mired in development hell due to various circumstances (Writer’s strike, September 11 attacks, other projects coming up), but he’s never given up, and thanks to that, we’ve been given this insanely awesome film.

He’s announced that a sequel is already in the works, tentatively titled Mad Max: The Wasteland. What a lovely day that will be!

Rating: 10/10

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Jan
14

In the last installment of The Hobbit (finally!), Smaug the Smug is reduced to a prologue, couldn’t even last till the opening title!

Well, that’s cos the title no longer contains Smaug, but ‘The Battle of the Five Armies’. I’ll wait while you count the five… yeah, it’s a little confusing.

smaug

I used to be a gold hoarder like you, then I took an arrow in the chest

So, Desolation of Smaug left us with Smaug breaking out of Lonely Mountain, gold encrusted, pissed off, and headed straight for Laketown. He razed through almost the entire town before he took an arrow to the chest. With that (quickly) out of the way, the dwarves had little time to celebrate their reclamation of Lonely Mountain, as word of Smaug’s death would spread quickly (via Twitter?) and other factions would come and fight for the gold and pristine views.

As Thorin and gang work overtime to reinforce their entrance, the Elves, Orcs and leftover humans from Laketown come knocking for a cup of tea and more.

So there you have it. The five armies. Wait, there’s only 4 of them: Dwarves, Elves, Humans, Orcs.

Are you able to guess the last “Army”? Yup, it’s the eagles from Dial-An-Eagle service. Uber never stood a chance in Middle Earth.

gandalf eagle

Uber never stood a chance in Middle Earth

Wait, can we still call it a battle if it’s 4 against 1? Shouldn’t it be called “The Massacre of the Orcs”?

Rating: 7/10

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The Interview

Jan
09

There’s so much to say about the film ‘The Interview’ that is not about the film, but the circumstances and controversy surrounding it, the Sony hack, it being pulled off theatres initially, then releasing it on a few indie theatres alongside VOD.

But first, let’s get the review out of the way.

In and of itself, The Interview is a mediocre comedy about a bumbling, arrogant talk show host from Skylark Tonight and his producer scoring an interview with Kim Jong Un (because he’s a huge fan of the show), and subsequently coerced by the CIA into making the interview an assassination mission. The usual toilet humour accompanies a Seth Rogen directed/produced film, but This Is The End had much better humour in it.

In my opinion, the best bit was the Eminem cameo right at the start of the film, and things went downhill from there. James Franco acted like he was acting, and Seth was just being Seth. The only laudable actor in this movie is Randall Park, who plays Kim Jong Un as a shy, actually almost likeable dude who just needs his father’s approval, and secretly likes Katy Perry songs (who doesn’t??!).

The-Interview

Definitely not worth getting hacked and having all that sensitive information out in the open for such a film! If you really want to watch something, I’d suggest a re-run of Team America.

Rating: 3/10

Freedom of Speech/Expression needs to be used responsibly

I understand the need for us to be able to freely express ourselves in order to spur creativity, inspiration and innovation. But I think this freedom should not be taken for granted, and certainly not abused.

The plot and depiction of the assassination of Kim Jong Un in The Interview is simply overstepping the line. No wonder he (allegedly) sent an army to hack into Sony. I’d do the exact same thing.

Obama said that Sony shouldn’t have “pulled” the film from theatrical release, and that freedom of expression should not be stifled by threats, what if the opposite had happened?

What if North Korea, or Russia had made a movie that explicitly showed the assassination and facial explosion of Barack Obama in the name of freedom of expression? Would he have sat back and said “Wow Russia, that was a hugely entertaining piece of fictional filmmaking. I am Barack Obama and I endorse this film.”?

It’s one thing to go on SNL and make fun of yourself, but it’s another for an enemy nation (or at least a non friendly) to release a movie about killing (AND ACTUALLY KILLING) your President, and not do anything about it.

Freedom of Speech needs to be accompanied (at all times) with common sense and basic etiquette.

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2014 in review – Film edition

Jan
01

This year saw a mixed bag of movies, some good, others perhaps not meeting expectations.

Here are my top 10 picks for 2014:

10. The Lego Movie

The_Lego_Movie_poster

Essentially a 100 minute lego advertisement, but done so well and with so much heart, we’ll even forgive the tired ‘The Chosen One’ trope. Plus, with the sountrack, everything is indeed awesome!

9. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I

MockingjayPart1Poster3

One of the few series that, in my mind, got progressively better ever since the dud that was the first Hunger Games. Mockingjay was my least favourite of the books, but I found the film version of war politicking intriguing.

I still don’t get how Peeta has any kind of chance over Gale though.

8. Godzilla

Godzilla_(2014)_poster

Yes, Bryan Cranston died less than a third of the way through the film, but let’s be honest. No one goes to a Godzilla movie to watch Bryan Cranston, badass as he may be.

No, people go to a Godzilla movie to watch THIS! Fuck Yeah Atomic Breath!

godzilla-breath

7. Open Windows

Open_Windows_poster

Open Windows is a delightful little indie written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo. If you haven’t heard of him, I suggest watching TimeCrimes, his 2007 time-travel feature debut.

Open Windows stars Elijah Wood as an obsessed fan who bites off more than he can chew when he finds that he has won a dinner date with his favourite actress Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey!?!!).

Plot sounds generic enough, but the conceit of the film is similar to the found footage genre, where most of the action takes place on Elijah Wood’s laptop, via several program windows, hence the title Open Windows.

6. Coherence

Coherence_2013_theatrical_poster

Technically a 2013 film, but it was released late in 2013, and I only saw it this year, so I’ll put this film under my list for this year. Another indie gem, a dinner party goes awfully wrong after a comet fly-by opens up parallel universes with parallel dinner parties.

What would you do, if your situation in your universe kinda sucked?

5. Gone Girl

Gone_Girl_Poster

A breakthrough performance by Rosamund Pike, in my opinion. Brilliantly directed by David Fincher, the man who made making a website look exciting.

I’m definitely setting time aside in 2015 to read the book.

4. X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men_Days_of_Future_Past_poster

One of the best sequences of the film was the rescue of Magneto, heavily dependent on QuickSilver, and it’ll be interesting to see how the same character is depicted in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

DOFP was also crucial in that it connected the 2 separate X-Men series, serving as a sequel to First Class as well as The Last Stand, featuring cast from both with equal-ish screentime.

If DOFP is a sign of things to come, I can’t wait for X-Men: Apocalypse.

3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier 

Captain_America_The_Winter_Soldier

I always felt that Cap was one of the weaker characters for the standalone films, and wasn’t too impressed with The First Avenger. But The Winter Soldier totally blew me away with the action, plot, and the overall impact in the aftermath of the film. The pacing never let up, and the action never let me down.

2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dawn_of_the_Planet_of_the_Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes told of how a certain ALZ-113 virus gave modified intelligence to an ape named Caesar, and how that same virus would be calamitous to mankind.

10 years after the events of Rise, a generation of intelligent apes have made themselves a home and community in Muir Woods, while the human race dwindled and collapsed.

A chance meeting between the remaining humans in San Francisco and the apes and a misunderstanding between them would lead to an impending war. And if the prelude to the all out war could be so intense, sign me up for the actual war please!

Mark down this date. July 29, 2016!

1. Edge of Tomorrow

Edge_of_Tomorrow_Poster

Tom Cruise dies again and again until he wins. Aside from the ending, everything else about the film was just about perfect. It was a real toss up between this and Dawn for my number one spot, but i’m sorry, in my books, aliens always wins apes.

What were your favourite films of 2014?

I will share some of 2014’s most disappointing films in a future post! Time to feed the baby!

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Edge of Tomorrow

Jun
14

Live. Die. Repeat.

Sounds like  something a FlappyBird player goes through every other minute. But this is the tagline for Tom Cruise’s latest sci-fi actioner Edge of Tomorrow. Playing against stereotype, Cruise stars as Major William Cage, a United Defense Forces PR man, who spends his days speaking and recruiting young men to join in the 5 year fight against an alien species known as Mimics.

A coward at heart, he tries to excuse his way out of combat duty when ordered to cover Operation Downfall (their latest and final salvo against the aliens) from the frontlines.

Forced into combat, he dies within minutes of being airdropped, right into a mimic ambush. Right before he dies, he kills an unusually large Mimic, in the process getting acidic Mimic blood all over him. Instead of reporting to the Pearly Gates, Cage finds himself waking up the morning before, and having a really dreadful sense of de javu.

He tries to warn the rest of the soldiers of the ambush, fails and dies. He tries to save another soldier from being crushed by a plane, succeeds and dies. He does this a few more times, getting the hang of rebooting each time he dies, gets a little farther each time, and comes into contact with Rita Vatraski (Emily Blunt).

edge of tomorrow

even though we’re in the midst of losing a 5 year battle with an alien species, my hair still looks perfect

She seems to know why he is afflicted with this ability, and they start training, making use of his new found ability against the Mimics.

Just like playing a game, they learn things the hard way, and improve stage by stage until they complete the tasks required. And just like playing a game, many times when we get to the end, we go “that’s it?”.

Yes, unfortunately, this rather awesome film has a super “meh” ending, which mars an otherwise enjoyable flick with great pacing, humour and action sprinkled throughout.

Rating: 8/10

He ain’t heavy, he’s my battle suit

The battle suits you see Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt wear, weigh an average of 39kg! Between takes, the actors needed to be suspended by chains to help take the weight of the suits off their shoulders.

edge of tomorrow

You don’t happen to have a kitkat, do you?

Godzilla (2014)

May
24

I’m a huge fan of monster movies. Cloverfield, loved it. Pacific Rim, stupid actors, awesome sequences, loved it. The trick to watching these kaiju films, is really to just embrace the fact that there will be things out there that we can’t explain, and when the time comes when these things come out of hiding, run.

There is no explaining, there is no plotting, there’s just enjoying seeing what monsters do best. Destroy stuff. Stomp on stuff. Without a care to any humans whatsoever.

There are times in the movie where you’ll feel like it doesn’t make any sense. Questions like “Why does Godzilla not eat the MUTOs?”, “Wait, is he really just killing them for us, and then jumping back into the sea?”, and “Is he the… hero?”

There are no heroes and there are no villains. There are just… monsters. And watching it this way makes the movie better.

godzilla attacks

Sorry, need to floss

Watch Godzilla like we’re ants watching a dude hunt a lion

Now let’s put us into the perspective of ants. There we are, walking in and out of our ant mounds, doing what ants do all day to keep busy, harvest nuts and food and aphids, and basically going about securing the mound from what we ants call “floods”. Now, all of a sudden, a monster appears, galloping at high speeds, and destroying many of our surrounding and cities. It bellows a deafening roar, shakes its monstrous head, plonks it’s huge mass of a body down, and destroys 3 more mound entrances. The science ants nickname it a “lion”.

Us ants are all panicky, and totally out of our depths in dealing with this disaster. We can only run and burrow and hope our loved ones somehow make it, and we’ll find one another someday. When from the distance, we spy another strange monster, this one with only two legs and taller. It approaches pointing a long antenna at the “lion”. The antenna emits a searing blast, and the “lion” falls on its back, grunting its last breath.

The new monster doesn’t come forward to eat the “lion”, but instead utters a triumphant roar. It then proceeds to turn its back, make its way into the mouth of yet another mechanical looking monster with round shapes for legs, and goes off into the distance together, never to be seen again.

See, it didn’t make any sense to the ants neither.

Would have loved for it to have more Bryan Cranston though.

Rating: 7/10

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Apr
04

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the second to last film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before they bring down the curtains on Phase II with Avengers: Age of Ultron.

As the slate of marvel films go, this is definitely one of the better films. Capt assimilates into modern life while catching up on the last few decades with the help of the internet, by checking off a list including Star Wars / Trek, Apple, Thai food, Moon Landing and I Love Lucy. Cute.

black widow

Scarlett Johansson has a lot more lines in this movie. A lot more dialogue too!

In between catching up on history, he also takes time out to complete missions for S.H.I.E.L.D, and engaging in idle chatter with Black Widow on potential hot dates within the agency. Alas, this isn’t a romantic comedy, and evil lurks just around the corner. As S.H.I.E.L.D prepares to launch 3 new top of the line helicarrier with pre-emptive strike capabilities (think Minority Report’s pre-cogs, except each pre-cog is a fully weaponised helicarrier), able to predict using algorithms when anyone might turn rogue, or pose a threat to the establishment.

With the possibility of S.H.I.E.L.D compromised, the new weapons landing in the wrong hands become a very real possibility. When Nick Fury is taken out, and hands Steve Rogers with the heavy responsibility of finding out the truth, who can he trust? More questions get unearthed as old friends and foes arise. Who is the winter soldier? What forces are hiding behind S.H.I.E.L.D? Where the hell are his Avenger friends when he needs them?

At least 2 of these questions will be answered by the movie’s end.

And as usual, stay back for 2 stingers after the credits roll.

Rating: 9/10

Winter Soldier, Easter Egg!

Remember the scene where Steve Rogers whips out his notebook and we see the list of cultural references he means to catch up on?

Well, this list is different in different countries!

Check this out.

This is the US version with I Love Lucy.

To do list - US

And this is the UK version with Beatles and the 1966 World Cup Sean Connery instead of Steve Jobs.

To do list - UK

Apparently, the Korean version of the film has the legendary reference to “Old Boy”.

 

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