Sunday, August 14, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

We get treated to a pretty cool prologue scene of Cyberton in war, and a ship escaping from that planet, carrying technology that could decide the outcome of the war, but not before taking major damage. The Ark, as it is called, crashed onto our moon, and basically sparked the entire moonlanding race of the 60s.

[Oooo, history!]

Fastforward to the present, everyone who's anyone discovers the Ark, and inside, the previous Autobot leader Sentinel Prime, who is brought to Earth and revived by Optimus using the Matrix of Leadership from the last movie. The good guys also discover the Pillars, an invention by Sentinel that, when placed in strategic locations on Earth, would create a space bridge large enough for teleportation.

What exactly, those of you who have not seen Transformers 3 yet, may ask?

Cybertron itself.

When that little bit comes to light, all hell breaks loose, and that is when the fun proper totally begins.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is definitely darker than its predecessors, and despite 10 minutes of Ken Jeong, the storyline is definitely better and much more interesting than the earlier movies. It's more expansive, in that the Decepticons pretty much take over downtown Chicago the world (humans get obliterated this time!), and it also touches on an aspect of the human-robot relationship that hasn't been explored before: humans colluding with Decepticons, which apparently goes back waaay before the Autobots made an appearance.

I don't think I need to go into detail on the robots, they look awesome as usual, though I still can't really tell one Decepticon from the other (except for Megatron, since he's taken on that whole nomad look). That one scene in the second half of the movie where our human heroes are in the building (it looks ridiculous in the trailer, but it's explained), and Shockwave is just destroying the crap out of it, is absolutely fantastic. But my favorite scene would have to be the part when Bumblebee transforms into robot-mode to defeat some Decepticons (with Sam still inside him, car-mode), and grabs Sam before turning back into a car, with Sam inside, all in slow-mo. Even without Sam screaming like a little girl, it's still an amazingly-enjoyable sequence.

T:DotM is bigger, more violent, with so much damage and robot-on-robot action, and we get to see what Cybertron looks like. It has a tone of epic finality, since all the major Decepticon players get wiped out. It should be awesome, but it doesn't really reach the mark.

Why?

With the exception of the first one, final fights in the Transformers movies have always been disappointingly short, but this one takes the cake. And the reason behind it is even more ridiculous.

During the final fight between Sentinel and Optimus, Megatron backstabs Sentinel, because Sam's new girlfriend, Carly, manages to convince Megatron that he wouldn't be the leader anymore if Sentinel wins the fight.

Yes, new girl Rosie Huntington-Whitely is the deus ex bloody machina.

With Sentinel badly injured (because he didn't count on Megatron was that big a moron) and out of the way, Optimus takes out Megatron, and subsequently ends Sentinel for his betrayal. All in all, final fight took roughly 10 minutes.

[It's a very convenient and quick ending, and affirms this article that Megatron is a bloody idiot that also takes the advice of humans he doesn't know.]

Huntington-Whitely was generally not awful until the end, when she starts staring above-camera with a look of wonderment for 10 whole minutes, and only in the next scene do we realise that she was looking at Megatron and processing her idea at the same time.

I wish Megan Fox was in this. If Mikaela was still around and had thought of something like this, we would have appreciated it even more, because she knows Megatron, and what he's like and stuff. Instead, we have the new girl doing this, and it's like, "What the eff, man?!"

Mikaela would've shown more expression on her face.

7/10. T:DotM is a worthy third movie, but would've been so, so much better if Megan Fox was still around since she's an original castmember.

[Plus, I kinda miss Ramon Rodriguez :)]

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Green Lantern (2011)

Despite what people said about the trailers, I thought they looked pretty good. Sadly, I can't say that about the movie.

Green Lantern revolves around Hal Jordan, a young fighter pilot who suddenly finds himself in possession of a green power ring and a member of the Green Lantern Corps (an intergalactic peacekeeping force for the entire universe), when the ring's former wearer Abin Sur dies. The rings choose the closest and most suitable candidate, that is, one who is strong of will and able to overcome fear, and can create hard light constructs limited only by the wearer's imagination.


Throw in disgruntled scientist Hector Hammond who develops telekinesis and mind powers after being infected by Parallax via proxy (he was autopsying Abin Sur when it happened), and the main villain, Parallax himself, a massive smoke monster creature that sucks out life essences from other beings by sensing their fear, and you have the perfect situation for the hero to prove himself, defeat the bad guys, save the world, and what befits an awesome movie, right?

Eh, not so much.

So what went wrong?
  1. Far too much time was on character development at the beginning, so much that it actually got boring. Some scenes we could've done without, since in general pre-attainment of superhero powers usually involves the depictions of 'cocky', 'arrogant', and 'prat', and it's pretty much implied that Hal and Carol have history from the way they argue. Not really necessary to go further. 
  2. One villain two many. [Geddit?]. Hammond was perfectly capable of being a major villain himself, since he had quite a bit of screentime, and Peter Sarsgaard was effectively creepy as the softspoken scientist. Despite changing Parallax's nature (he's the embodiment of fear in the comics), Parallax could've been saved for the next movie, with Hammond serving as a herald in the first movie.
  3. The story's a bit disjointed, and some parts didn't make sense. The ring only warns of imminent danger, so how did Hal know that Hammond was causing a ruckus at that underground bunker/lab place? How did Hal know where Carol was being held captive? Why have Hal make that big speech imploring the Guardians to help him when they're not gonna? What the hell is the Yellow Power Battery doing within range of Oa? And the Guardians saw one of their own fall to fear's corruptive power, and yet they agree too easily to Sinestro's request to forge a yellow ring! Thereby continuing that good ol' movie stereotype that people in high places are most often idiots that never learn. Sigh.
  4. Not enough of Sinestro. In the comics, Sinestro is eventually sacked as a Green Lantern and starts his own Corp, where its members use yellow rings. The Sinestro Corps is the Green's most direct enemy, due to their rings' weakness towards the color yellow. In this movie, Sinestro seems like a decent enough person with no hints of a darker, twisted side enough to warrant him putting on the yellow ring. Fanservice.
What was good?
  1. Cast and chemistry. The only thing was that Ryan Reynolds seemed a bit restrained in this one, humor-wise, but other than that no complaints. Also, Peter Sarsgaard. 
  2. Crapload of character development actually got us vested in the characters, especially Hal. It was also realistic in the sense that Hal was at odds with himself in attempting to save the world. Unfortunately, it served to hurt the movie's flow and pacing.
  3. The part when Carol recognises Hal despite him wearing his facemask. "You don't think I would recognize you 'cause I can only see your cheekbones?!" Best. Line. Ever.
  4. Oa, homeworld of the GL Corps. It looks stunning, and we got to see the Guardians, the Green Power Battery, Yellow Power Battery (just 'cuz it don't make sense don't mean it don't look cool), alien creatures, etc. Just 'wow'.
  5. Light constructs in general. Whatever Hal or the other GLs thought up looked simply awesome, and definitely worthy of the term 'wearer's imagination'. That whole racetrack bit? Wicked.
  6. Amanda Waller FTW!

I give it a 5. Green Lantern had so much potential to be awesome; sadly, the lousy storyflow and double-trouble did nothing to help.

Reviews in Queue:

Green Lantern
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

and soon to come:

Captain America.

My writer's block is back, and it's bloody preventing me from putting words to my keyboard. Will try to bang the GL one out over the next few days.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fast Five (2011)


What do you get when combinig all 3 hunks in one movie? You will get an awesome kicka** action pack flick with hot kicking dudes, babes fighting a** you wouldn't wanna miss this season. Although lack of chemistry among cast.

Overall 7/10.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)

Ska-doosh.

I was actually thinking that Po could've saved a lot of lives and property damage if he'd just managed to grab hold of Lord Shen's anything, and ska-dooshed him. Just like what he did with Tai Lung in the first movie.

But I digress. If that happened, the movie would just be a little under an hour.

Kung Fu Panda 2 is the first Dreamworks Animations movie that I willingly went to see, and one of the rare ones with substance (the other is the first film). It continues from where we left off, with Po and his friends, the Furious Five maintaining the peace when they receive news that Lord Shen, exiled prince of Gongmen City, has returned to take his throne and conquer China using cannons and gunpowder. We also have a backstory on Po's origins, as an encounter with Shen's minions triggers repressed memories of his childhood (as Shen is tied to his past), and he finally realises that his father (a noodle-making goose) is not his biological father.

Usually, movies fall apart when they try to complicate the storyline (I'm not talking about twists and turns) with minor arcs, but the movie manages to fit in Po's history quite well. The 2D sequences, especially the one using shadow puppets to tell of Shen's background and exile, are beautiful, and the most moving scene in the film would have to be when Po finally remembers his past, with the 2D making way for the 3D when his mother puts him in that radish basket.

KFP2 has a lot more action than the previous movie, with the other animals getting their chance to shine, and a lot more humor to boot. As the film also develops the relationship between Po and Tigress, I'm sure eventually we'll see one falling for the other, amidst an attack from a villainous animal yet to be represented in the movies.

[Have you noticed that the primary villain is always white? Snow leopard, white peacock :)]

Even with the minor arcs, surprisingly the movie didn't feel rushed at all. The end result, though, is that the movie feels longer than its 1.5 hour run-time, but that was totally fine by me.

8.5/10. Can't wait to see what the next one holds.

[Spoiler: Guillermo del Toro is Creative Consultant on this movie. I'm still reeling.]

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Thor (2011)

For a summer superhero movie, Thor rightfully addresses what the Iron Man movies lacked: Action. And a whole lot of it. The sequences and fights are top-notch, especially when Thor and his friends battle the Frost Giants, and Asgard, Jotunheim and plus the end-credits sequence are absolutely beautiful. It's very much a pleasant surprise, since director Kenneth Branagh is more noted and established for his Shakespearean adaptations and heavier, dramatic work.

Unfortunately, as lovely as they looked, the non-Earth realms are a bit too developed, and some of the time spent on that could've been allocated to Thor's exile on Earth. I mean, this is an origin movie; we're supposed to see how Thor matures from reckless and arrogant youngling over the course of the film. Instead, all it took were 45 minutes real-time (which looked like 5 days in the movie) and two hits from Natalie Portman's 4WD for Thor's hammer Mjolnir to deem him worthy enough to return to him.

Speedy life lessons aside, the plot is most interesting when it shifts back to Asgard (double standard I know, but I compliment what I'm given), where the focus is more on Loki, Thor's half-brother and villain of the movie. Watching how Loki manipulates to keep his brother on Earth and pave his own way to the throne is just awesome, and I actually found myself waiting for each Earth scene to be over just so we could see what Loki is up to next.


[At that point I was wishing that Loki spin-off was in the works, though without Thor, it probably wouldn't be very interesting.]

Though a tad hammy (on second thought) at one point towards the end, Tom Hiddleston is perfect as Loki, with all that insecurity and vulnerability coming to a boil as the movie progresses. It is his lone scenes with Anthony Hopkins, who plays his father Odin, that he comes off as a very misguided, very sympathetic and tragic figure, in that he sees throne-usurping (and basically causing a whole lot of ruckus) as a way to live up to his father's expectations and gain parental approval.

Props must also go to Chris Hemsworth, who did a bang-up job as Thor (by not making him seem ridiculous), and it's his time on Earth (however brief) that Thor is most entertaining. Hemsworth was simply adorable, and his old-fashioned ways and absolute cluelessness brought the best out of the actors around him. My favourite scene had to be the one in the pet store, where he demands for a horse.

As with every Marvel movie, there be Easter eggs. The best is the you'll-miss-it-if-you-didn't-know-it Hawkeye cameo, because the scene where he chooses his bow over a regular, the shot pans back to the action so fast I thought he went for some state-of-the-art high-end firearm instead. It wasn't till he cocked his bow did I see it was Jeremy Renner. And realised that I was the only person in the theatre who realised that that was Hawkeye.

7.5/10. Thor is highly entertaining, and definitely exceeded expectations (because action makes me happy), and even a week after watching it, I still feel like going back to the theatres for a second round. But Thor's 180˚ was much, much too quick, and in terms of development, the focus should've been on Earth, not Asgard, no matter how awesome the end-result looked.


[Actually, Thor could've traded action for character development with Iron Man. Just sayin'.]

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tron: Legacy (2010)

Five words: All style, very boring substance.

Visually, it's arresting. It's one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen, and one I felt should've been seen in 3D. Other than that, it seems like a great excuse for a two-hour long Daft Punk music video.

An awesome Daft Punk music vid. No complaints about the music here; kinda reminds me a bit of Inception.

6.5/10. Can't stand the ending.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Wizard of Oz (1939)


Fun cast. Hilarious act. Hahaha. A great adventure golden movie. A 7 too!

Cromwell (1970)


Was hoping for much more old movies from TV2 though. They don't make films such as this nowdays. Sigh. A 7.

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)


Thanks to Straits Quay's FREE screening, yet another free token. Ms Hepburn is an absolute stunning legend! A 6.

Just Go With It (2011)


What can I say, its a fun movie to enjoy with over the weekends with your loved ones. A fun combination of Love and Romance! A 7!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mamma Mia! (2008)


It was my FREE movie at Straits Quay.I definately love ALL THE SONGS in it, the dance and also the casts. Nice movie to enjoy over the weekends with family and friends. A definate 7 1/2!

Zombieland (2009)


The title says it all. Funny, nonsence yet its laughter all the way till the end. Special appreance from Mr Murray himself. Definately insane if you ain't catch it! Hahaha. A 8!

Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! (2004)


Nothing much to enjoy from, story line was rather slow. An average movie with gorgeous casts.6.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Black Dawn (2005)


The usual Mr Seagal movie. The bad guys always get their ass kick and yet Mr Seagal will still always maintain his good hair day! A 5 1/2

Michael Clayton (2008)


THE TRUTH CAN BE ADJUSTED. A: It's true! I would rate this 7. Understand the true meaning of life.

The American (2010)


An average movie to enjoy, though some scenes are definately for those above 17.
A 6.

Never back Down (2008)


Hot casts with cool fighting scenes too add on with something to learn from. You won't regret saving this for your selection of movie either with friends or even mummy and daddy!
A must be 8 movie!

Eat Pray Love (2010)


Italy, India and Indonesia is a definate place to visit after watching this movie. Prefer the book more though as to the movie. Envy to Eat Pray Love too :)
A 7 1/2.

What Happens in Vegas (2008)


Mr Kutcher, he's funny honestly! Ms Diaz, totally awesomy witty! A definate MUST go see movie. You'll enjoy it that's for sure!
A definate 8 too!

No Strings Attached (2011)


The movie could have have been better. Some scenes in the movie are at times draggy. A mix combination of funny, sad in a combo for those lovy dovvy couples out there. Grab a pop corn and enjoy it! The first part of Mr Kutcher's character reminds me of his 2008 movie hit- What Happens in Vegas
A 7 would balance this movie :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

Following the gradual dark and moody setting from previous installments, HP7 has Harry and his two compadr├ęs go on the run from Voldemort, as his Death Eaters infiltrate the Ministry of Magic and the good guys go into hiding.

The final Potter book gets the two-movie treatment. So how does it fare compared to the previous movies?

Pretty well, actually.

HP7 presumes that you have just read / re-read Book 7, and jumps into the storyline. Gone are updates and gentle reminders on the events that have happened, gone are naming spells before casting them, no more introductions to new characters (with the exception of Bill Weasley and Xenophilius Lovegood), very little deviation from the source material... in other words, this movie is a purist's dream come true.

My dream come true, in fact. But I'll digress.

Unfortunately for those who have not read the book, the movie might seem like two-plus hours of nothing absolutely happening. Part 1 focuses on the conflicts between our trio, with Ron taking off midway through the movie, and though faithful to the book, most of the screen time is spent on staring pensively at lovely landscapes and visiting people.

Kind of a treasure hunt-type movie, really, except that in Part 1, nothing was really found.

One scene that really got to me was at the beginning, when Hermione wiped her parents' memories so that they could be safe while she's out fighting bad guys. It added to the gravity of the situation for our heroes, and also in a subtle way, told us that this is no longer a kid's show anymore, that it's evolved towards heavier material, dire grown-up stuff.

Though I believe that this will only sink in on some, when in Part 2, we will see a crapton of familiar faces die. But that's really depending on which actors make it to the final movie. Probably everyone, though.


[Except Bill Nighy.]

Anyway, one scene that was made longer (probably to pack a more emotional punch) was Dobby's death, near the end of Part 1. The emotional effect was definitely delivered; however, extending that scene made it look like nobody wanted to save poor Dobby, instead just hanging about, shaking their heads, looking tearful. It was quite awful, and I feel that Dobby deserved a heck lot more than that, despite him not having much screen time in the movies. I guess my emotional attachment's developed from the books.

A far, far better adaptation compared to the previous ones, though some changes/additions were really unnecessary. Like that dancing scene between Harry and Hermione which went on for five minutes. What the hell, man. Absolutely pointless.

Between 6.5–7 / 10, for I'm undecided.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Gulliver's Travels (2010)


A funny story, without Mr Black, the movie would not have been so nice. Easy task for Mr Black too in this movie since its rather not a long tale. Overall, I would say its easy to be digest movie during the weekend with your family.
A 7 for its plot but an easy 6 goes to Jack Black (a total waste of talent).