Saturday, 20 January 2018

THE COMMUTER



              It looked like another typical Liam Neeson action flick before I watched the film...and it feels exactly like another Liam Neeson action flick after watching it. But, this is definitely one of the better ones. It is not exactly a great story overall...and even within it, there are moments which just doesn't feel right or makes sense. Yet, it is still nicely written and the thrills are there, so as an action film, its pretty enjoyable.

             With these kind of lower budget action flicks, there are usually quite a lot of wrong things that I ended up just listing down what felt wrong, or what could have been done better. This film does the basics right and I pretty much enjoyed it, so I don't feel too inclined to criticize it. The overall story isn't that great, and even after watching it & thinking about it for the next 3 hours, some things just doesn't make sense. 

             Yet, it does the other basics right, and does what an action movie needs to have. Some decent progressing narrative, yes. Some cool action sequences, yes. Even the thrills. I actually find myself surprised that I was enjoying the thrills when some things happen in the latter half of the film. And even the ending - though not necessarily groundbreaking - felt right and nicely written.

             So overall it does feel like a nice action flick that is pretty enjoyable. Not great, but neither are there big gaping flaws that turns you off. A pretty decent action flick to kick off the year.

VERDICT: 64 / 100

Friday, 12 January 2018

Best Movies of 2017 (Top 3)



3. Coco

                  By far the best animation movie of the year. The story of this film is as brilliant as it gets - as we follow this boy into the world of the dead and learns about the meaning of family. The characters are all wonderfully crafted, and music in this film is just brilliant. If anything is lacking, it would, in fact, be the humour - but in terms of quantity, not quality. But the rest of the film is just brilliantly done, and it is a wonderful story/adventure to behold. And the overall story is just so deep & meaningful that I would not hesitate to recommend this film to anyone.

2. Logan

                  This is a truly special film, and a very different kind of comic book film. The overall story is great, but its in the little details and scenes which I find special. There are so many memorable moments & interactions between the characters, and a lot of that is credit to the performances of these wonderful actors (Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and also Dafne Keen). Of course, the way they were written are also brilliant, and I like the fact that this film feels more like a character drama than a comic book film, with a lot more character conflicts than physical ones. And it has a western road trip feel to it, which is not something you'd see in typical comic book flicks. And the overall quality & execution of the story makes it such a special movie, and very much a great send off to the brilliant Hugh Jackman as Logan.

1. War for the Planet of the Apes

                   I surely can't pick another film with a one-word title, so I chose the longest title instead. No, just kidding, of course that is not the reason why. The reason why is simply because this film is such a perfect end to a trilogy of Caesar's story arc that began in Rise back in 2011. Though this film does not have as much action as the title seems to imply, it just feels right. What the character Caesar goes through feels true to his journey, but moreover, the other characters in the film stole the spotlight all the same, including new characters Bad Ape and Nova. They provide such perfect balance to Caesar in terms of character spirit and sentiments, and occasionally, the much needed humour. Overall, it is such an excellent film to end the trilogy - which overall is right up there challenging the best trilogies of all time.


Thursday, 11 January 2018

Best Movies of 2017 (10 to 4)



10. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

               If the list is about my personal favourite movies, The Last Jedi will be right up there, in the Top 3 for sure. But I have to take into consideration the quality of the film, so here it is. This film is nowhere near perfect, with some humour that didn't really hit, and some sequences which drags on too long. But overall this remains a solid Star Wars movie, with great characters and some very memorable & amazing sequences. There are some sequences which are just visually stunning, and some which are just exciting to watch. And all this makes for another solid entry in the Star Wars saga of the new generation.

9. American Made

                When people mention of a biographical film, I tend to think twice about it. But this film employs a good blend of fast-paced editing and documentary style sequences, and it is a lot of fun. I really have to credit director Doug Liman for approaching it this way and crafting an excellent & fun way to watch & understand how this character grew from being a normal airline pilot to one of the drug cartel's best smugglers. And Tom Cruise plays this man Barry Seal in such a way that is both fun & charming. This is one of those rare films that got me hooked into a real life story.

8. Spider-Man: Homecoming

               And this is the best MCU film of the year. Don't get me wrong, I really love the other two as well (they are in the list for that reason), but I feel that overall this is a more complete film. The other two have something that's not that good or slightly lacking, but this one is great all around. It has great characters, great action, great humour. It is not a particularly special or memorable film, but its all round quality makes it a complete summer blockbuster.

7. Blade Runner 2049

               On the other hand, this film isn't your usual blockbuster flick, but it feels special. This film brings back a lot from the classic original Blade Runner, but expands the universe and the story in such a way that makes the original more meaningful. The visuals are particularly beautiful and the overall story is great. The pacing is slow (and the film is long), and like I said, is not your typical popcorn blockbuster, but what it is is a perfect Blade Runner sequel.

6. Darkest Hour

                Another in this list which is more of a historical drama. But this one in particular feels way more special for a few reasons. The first is that the performance of Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill is just exceptionally good such that he brings out both the strength yet the confusion/weakness of the man...with both the emotional side and the humorous side also in display. And to carry from that, the second reason is that there is perfect balance between the dramatic tension and the humorous moments, and that makes the film engaging and fun as it delivers a well written story. And finally, just overall, this is a high quality film that is well written & directed, and it certainly is a great film to watch.

5. Kingsman: The Golden Circle

                The definition of a true sequel. The film takes everything great from the first film - the fun humour & fast-paced action sequences are all on display again. But more than that, this movie takes the story to the next chapter which feels bold but right. It properly makes use & references the events of the first film, and because of how this plot unfolds, the ending makes it such that there is kind of a closure of story for the characters which began from the first film. A proper sequel, but more importantly, a properly fun film to enjoy.

4. Wonder Woman

               This film also feels like a complete blockbuster. But it ends up higher in the list here because it just feels a little more special. For one, the visuals and the setting look particularly stunning, considering that the locations include a mythical island and the time period is set during World War 1. Put into that some great characters with a lot of funny (and other times, emotional) interactions, some great story & moral message, and some brilliant action sequences, it becomes one hell of a comic book film.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Best Movies of 2017 (15 to 11)

And now for the best films of 2017. Again, please take note that these are just based on the films which I have watched...
And in many case, the list might not correspond perfectly to the score I gave the films, because my feelings about the movies can change over time, I take consideration my personal feelings when watching the films as well (not just the quality itself)...



Honourable Mentions:


John Wick: Chapter Two
-This film has great & memorable action sequences, but the film's dialogue & story can be improved.

Baby Driver
-I like the way this film makes use of the songs in the sequences, but there is another film that does it better (a little later in the list), and the story is still a bit generic, unfortunately.

Dunkirk
-I did not give this film a good score the first time around, but I began to appreciate the film for what it is and for what it did. I maintain that the lack of story makes it not as appealing for me, but I appreciate it's cinematic achievement.

Top 15:

15. Beauty and the Beast

               I remembered really admiring this film a lot the first time, and thinking it would be up there in the Top 10 for sure. But then I have to be fair and realize that a lot of it is due to the original animated film, which was a gem of its own. That being said, credit where credit is due, I think the performances in this film was great, and so are the visuals. Even the new songs they have added are quite memorable, so well done for that. And then there's also the humour, which was not the cheesy sort of humour that you see in an animated flick, but some real funny lines. Overall, the film has a powerful base to work with but credit where credit is due, they added some nice humour and delivers great performances to make a worthy live-action adaptation of a Disney classic.

14. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

               I am probably going a bit against the status quo here, but I have to be true to myself. I actually liked this film. I understand it has it faults, and there are scenes which I did not enjoy as much (opening sequence, for example). But overall, this film is a lot of fun and I like the way they play with the humour. And most of all, I enjoy the directing & editing style of director Guy Ritchie. And deep down, I actually want to recommend this film to people - not because its the best film or whatever - but to appreciate the rare & unique (and fun, for that matter) directing style & humour used in this film. This is a rather special film I will personally cherish.

13. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

                As mentioned above, Baby Driver employed songs in a very fun way, but for me, Guardians did it better. If you just look at these specific sequences, there is more color and more visual appeal in what James Gunn did in Guardians Vol. 2. Look at the sequences like the opening sequence (Mr. Blue Sky) or the "Yondu killing Ravagers" sequence (Come A Little Bit Closer). I really loved them. And while the overall story is a bit shallow, I still like the characters a lot (especially Yondu), and overall this film remains a fun & good film to enjoy.

12. Thor: Ragnarok

               Next up is another film in the MCU. This film is a lot of fun from start to finish. While there are no particular scenes which are as memorable as those in Guardians Vol.2, what this film does brilliantly is craft a film that is paced perfectly and is a lot of fun throughout. It may not be the best, and it sure has its faults (or rather, moments I don't quite like), but it sure as hell is one of the most entertaining films of the year.

11. The Lego Batman Movie

              What I really like about this film is that it is not your typical Batman flick. It has all the characters from the Batman universe, but the story is deeper than that. There is a lot of character conflicts, especially on the part of Batman as he tries to fix his own normal life (not-Batman life). It is a very different & unique story, but it works, and it delivers the message well. Additionally, the humour in this film were great. And for an animated movie (with some Lego characters at that), the action sequences were pretty entertaining. Would have been the best animation film of the year, if not for one special little film you'll see later on.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Disappointing Movies of 2017

Please note that these are not necessarily the worst movies of the Year...these are just the ones I find most disappointing out of the ones I have watched...
And I wasn't really able to order them, so its just a list of them in chronological order of release...



Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

             I recall a sentiment from someone else that the best thing about this film is that it is the last in the series. There is almost nothing good from this film. None of the Resident Evil movies in the franchise has been good, but usually they have something interesting to show for. Not this one. It really is as boring and as bad as it gets, so I'm glad to say that it's over now.

Ghost in the Shell

             This could well just be me, but, I fell asleep a little bit during the film. The movie might have cool visuals but it has nothing to hook me in. The characters were kind of dull, the story was not particularly engaging nor paced well. I just didn't really care much about what happened, and I only got some cool action to see.

The Lost City of Z

               I tried to give this film credit and appreciation where its due, but to be perfectly honest, it is perhaps the most boring film I watched all year. The pacing was just super slow, and nothing was really happening most of the time. And watching it, I feel like they could (and should) throw in a bit of humourous moments now and again (and it won't feel out of place), but they didn't. It could have been a bit more engaging that way, but they didn't make the effort to put in even a little humour at all.

Transformers: The Last Knight


              I was one of the minority who actually enjoyed and appreciated Transformers: Age of Extinction for what it is, and for some cool moments. With this film, I gave up. This one is just terribly boring, and not even the visuals look cool anymore. The character, dull. The story, dull. Even in the final battle sequence, I was just begging for it to end so I can spend my precious time sleeping at home. I sure hope that with new people involved, the future of the Transformers series can be better. 

Despicable Me 3

               For sure, this is not the most awful film of the year. There is still a bit of fun & laughs to be had, but the rest of it is just disappointing. The story is just so dull, and there isn't much happening in the film. From where they began with the first Despicable Me (which is among the best animation flicks in the past few years), this has been a very disappointing fall, and I hope they think twice and look back before making the next one.

Murder on the Orient Express


            Out of all the films in this list, this is probably the best. The overall story is still quite interesting, though this is probably more credit to the writer of the book, Agatha Christie. However, the execution of the plot in this film is quite bad. It didn't keep me engaged with the story. A murder mystery should be more intense - a feeling that the killer could be nearby - and more engaging - where we can follow & have thoughts/ideas about the culprit ourselves. This film does none of that, and that is why it feels rather disappointing.

Justice League

               There is just so many things wrong with this film, that I probably feel more pity than dislike on Justice League. The signs are already there from the first scene when you see Superman's mustache. Not that that was the only thing wrong, but it shows that when a big budget superhero flick can't get that right, then something is just isn't right. The overall story is super generic, the villain is dull. Even the dialogue is terribly inconsistent. They tried, but it just didn't work.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

DARKEST HOUR



            Gary Oldman puts in one hell of a performance in this film, but so did the rest of the cast. And with the addition of great script, great directing, great music, it makes for a very fascinating and entertaining telling of Winston Churchill's finest moment.

             First and foremost, though, the performance of Gary Oldman - one of my favourite actors alive - cannot be overstated. It was so brilliant, and he brings out a great mix of strength & confusion of the character, showing both the emotional and also humorous side of the man. And yes, there is quite a lot of humour in the film, which is not something you can often say about a historical drama. Gary Oldman deserves a lot of credit for this.

              The rest of the cast also put in quite strong performances, especially Lily James who plays very well opposite Gary Oldman. Both struck up an excellent chemistry and has lots of memorable scenes.

              But more than just the performances, the writing of the story was good. It was paced perfectly, and the dialogue was excellent. The mix of excellent directing & writing makes for a very well-paced film that keeps the story & characters interesting, but also provides a lot of memorable (and funny) moments. I don't want to overstate this, but there really is quite a lot of funny scenes, and they provide a perfect counterbalance to the dramatic feel of the overall story.

              So, as you may imagine, I actually find this film surprisingly very entertaining. Especially for someone who is interested in what happens in WW2, this is a very fascinating film. But even if you are not, I still think this is a quality film to enjoy.

               And funnily & coincidentally, I find this film a perfect complement to the Dunkirk film by Christopher Nolan released recently. Both films make the other a little more interesting.

VERDICT: 81 / 100

Saturday, 30 December 2017

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

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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!