Haven’t been to an 11.30am session for a movie for a long time (if ever) but that’s the life I lead nowadays, actually I just wanted to avoid the crowds so we watched this just a couple of days after release. I actually really liked the original Captain America (surprisingly) so I was looking forward to this one.
I won’t bore you with the details, you can go watch it for yourself (I recommend it), basically the bad guys (Hydra) are tearing up S.H.I.E.L.D. from the inside and it’s up to Captain America (and the Black Widow) to solve the riddle and triumph over evil. There’s also the Winter Soldier to deal with, even though his metal arm has a commie star on it, he works for the Germans (or whoever Hydra is at this point), I’d also like to point out that he seemed to have super strength in his other arm and legs too because he was punching and kicking pretty powerfully with those limbs.
I just wanted to point out a couple of things that seemed a bit strange, the laser cutting device that the good guys kept using to dig out of cars and through the ground. How far could Nick Fury really have gotten when he used it, and then how did the good guys drop out of the car safely without anyone noticing during the daring escape? And why did the bad guys have such a bad setup with the convoy, the captives shouldn’t have been in the car at the back of the convoy, they should have been in the middle, no wonder they lost!
Of course there were the customary explosions and impossible flights of fancy (nothing close to Iron Man though), what I found really surprising was that Iron Man, Thor, the Incredible Hulk, and Hawkman were all too busy to help out, the case would’ve been done and dusted inside half an hour if they whole team was there. I guess they must’ve been saving other cities. Good film, I liked it, now waiting for the next one which happens to be The Avengers 2 (or Guardians of the Galaxy if just counting Marvel films, not sure if I’m up for this wacky one). Actually, X-Men is out in a month or so, going to be hard to get out to that one though.
The latest film by Ben Stiller, this one is a little different from his usual comedies, it’s more of a light-hearted drama but has its moments. Walter works in the negatives department for Life magazine (fictional equivalent of Time I guess), he has a lot of day dreams which cause him to completely lose focus of what is happening, the cause is due to his father dying when he was a teenager meaning he had to work and make money to support the family rather than go on a youthful adventure through Europe.
So the plot is that the magazine is going completely digital and they are releasing one final physical copy and the negative reel has been sent to Walter, but the cover shot is missing from the reel. So Walter has to find the negative of get fired, thus begins the adventure, can Walter overcome his finally break out of his shell and go on the adventure of his life to find the lost negative? The film includes some nice scenes in Greenland and Iceland from a comedic standpoint, and slowly, as Walter makes hi way around the world, his day dreams start becoming reality.
As I said, it’s a pretty light-hearted film, I don’t think it takes itself to seriously, and it’s good for a laugh or two with some nice scenery from Iceland and some mountainous (real or fake) place added in. It’s no Dodgeball but something interesting and a bit different from Ben Stiller’s usual stuff. Has anyone seen Anchorman 2? Is it good or a massive letdown? Picture taken from wikipedia. Yeah, so my movie reviews are getting pretty lame, shows how much attention I’m paying I guess.
Got distracted by a few things since we went to see this on Saturday, but now am finally back to get this review up (don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about Switzerland, I just haven’t got around to posting about it, maybe this weekend). Ahhh, even this one I keep getting sidetracked, any way, we have some cheap movie tickets that we haven’t used and thought we better go see something before they expire, nothing particularly inspiring at the cinemas so why not watch another marvel comics film to make sure that we keep in the loop.
So, back to the movie, a sequel to the original Thor movie and based two years after the Avengers, the plot is that some Dark Elves want to destroy the universe and kill everyone (using a weapon called the Aether) so Thor has to save the universe again. The start seemed to have some Hellboy about it (but nowhere near as well done), and I still get confused when aliens from other planets speak their own special languages, while other aliens from other planets speak English, just make them all speak English in the different accents and we’ll assume that they’re speaking their own language, save me having to read subtitles for a made-up language. So this plot was originally thwarted by Thor’s grandfather thousands of years ago, but then when “The Convergence” occurs (or is about to occur, dimensional wormholes start opening up all over the “nine realms” transporting people and objects all over the universe. This releases the power of the Aether and awakens the Dark Elves (the ones that escaped, hidden in suspended animation somewhere), and even though they have been asleep for thousands of years they still have weaponry that is at least as advanced as the Asgardians as they attack and leave the Asgardian capital city completely defenseless.
Any way, Thor works out a way (with Loki, OMG they teamed up! Who would have ever thought of that?) to lure the elves away from Asgard and fight them somewhere else (the elves’ home planet of all places), obviously this doesn’t quite work as planned but he is given a second chance as The Convergence has not occurred yet and will take place on Earth, miraculously (!) there is a wormhole that Thor and Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) somehow find and transport themselves back to Earth just in time to make another counter attack and rid the universe of the Dark Elves once and for all.
So in conclusion, the film is obviously quite predictable, but pretty entertaining if you ignore all the obvious plot holes and the sheer stupidity of the whole Thor concept, they’re Norwegian or Swedish (are they based on the Nazi Aryan race, hmmm)? I’m not sure if it’s worth going out to watch, but it will fill up two hours of your life without killing you, plus one for brain-dead entertainment! Picture taken from the wikipedia page, we also got to see the Captain America trailer (although I don’t know who the bad guy is) but we didn’t stay for the end credits scene (something to do with The Collector apparently).
To say this was a bit disappointing would be an understatement, my initial thoughts were that this was just going to be another robots vs monsters action film; that was, until I found out that Guillermo del Toro was the director. This got me excited, I was really hoping to see some really good puppets and costumes as the monsters waged war against the giant robots.
But it turned out that my initial preconceptions were pretty much spot on, this was nothing more than a clichéd action film like so many more before it, it was almost exactly the same as Independence Day, the epic “humans versus aliens” film that I compare everything to it seems. The aliens invade and seem unstoppable, but then the humans find a weakness, but then the aliens find another advantage, before finally the humans through sacrifice, ingenuity, and dumb courage manage to sneak in to the alien stronghold and blow everything to smithereens using a nuclear (or thermonuclear) bomb, sounds familiar right? They even managed to communicate with the aliens directly through their brains (just like Independence Day), with the annoying scientists and the troubled heroes (a bit like Jurassic Park).
Well, at least in this one they didn’t hold the monsters and the robots back until half way through the movie, they knew what the drawcards were and put them all up there from the first minute. Although, I felt that there wasn’t enough of the Jaegers and the Kaijus, especially in well-lit scenarios, they always seemed to be fighting at night which made it hard to get a good look at the monsters. OK, so I didn’t expect Pan’s Labyrinth-depth storytelling and character development, but they could at least have provided some more jaeger vs kaiju battle scenes with actual puppets or costumes (if I’m mistaken and the costumes were actually that good, then I would be pleasantly surprised), it just seemed to be too much CGI for a del Toro film. The last point I want to make about the film is, how the hell is the Gypsy jaeger analog? They’re all built from 2015 on or something, why would anyone build anything new nowadays using analog technology? Worst Guillermo del Toro film ever, maybe, I don’t know, I haven’t seen them all, can’t we just have a Hellboy 3 or something? That would be worth watching for sure.
The latest (and last?) installment of the Ironman franchise (probably the last not including The Avengers before they reboot it as they usually do) starring Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow. This one had the old arch nemesis of Ironman, The Mandarin, LOL, an arcahaic reference to a cold war era super villain. There is a bit of back story and narrative at the beginning before the movie finally gets moving and we find out what is actually happening. It sort of follows on from the Avengers movie and he is still all sorts of anxious and panicky about what happened there with the aliens and gods, and other crazy characters.
Apparently a terrorist going by the moniker, The Mandarin is attacking the US and has big plans of taking out the president, he has already made many attacks before finally making his mark and getting to Tony Stark which starts the middle section of the movie. One where Stark is chased out of his home and left to fend for himself without his super computer Jarvis, or any of his working Ironman suits. Through sheer ingenuity he is able to piece together the mystery as to who and where the Mandarin is, but is it too late? And why didn’t he work all this out when he had all the tools and power easily at hand in his high tech home? Well, obviously you don’t realise what you have until it’s gone, and as in Ironman 2, Tony finds himself and rediscovers what he is about and what he can do. Through even greater advancements than previously seen, he is able to foil the Mandarin’s plan (where we discover an hilarious Ben Kingsley is just an actor!) and save the world! Oh wait, not yet, actually, for whatever reason, the bad guys choose not to just kill him (as they usually do) and give him the opportunity to save himself and the world by finding one of his Ironman suits.
A big battle with big explosions ensues, and a million flying (solo) Ironmen (suits that are remotely controlled by Jarvis or Tony Stark one or the other), in which Pepper Potts (!) is the one that actually ends up slaying (that’s right, I said slaying) the real Mandarin, not even Chinese, just regular old Guy Pearce with his shifty ways (and his super human powers provided by some nifty magical genetic science) because he injected her with the same thing. And then over the next twenty seconds (or so it seemed) TOny Stark explains that everything ends well and everyone lives happily ever after, and he is even able to solve the riddle of the gene science and fix Pepper. We didn’t stay for the end credits, but apparently The Hulk makes an appearance but I’m not sure whether it’s to plug the new Hulk movie, or the next Avengers movie. The film itself was ok, lots of bangs and explosions, probably the first one is still the best, not sure what Robert Downey Jr will do after this, whether he will continue to play Ironman or whether he can get any other roles any more. There was a trailer for the next Superman movie, it looked kind of lame, except that perhaps Zod (!) is back.
Anyway, picture taken from wikipedia.
Gosh, I’ve been lazy and holding this one off for a week and a half now, anyway, here it is, another rom-com for review, well, I can’t actually remember the last one I reviewed (it certainly wasn’t Crazy Stupid Love which I don’t think I will ever get around to reviewing, it’s been sitting in the draft box for about a year now or however long it’s been out), but this one had a mental illness theme to it which almost pushes it up into the drama genre. Pat has just been released from a mental illness hospital (suffering from bipolar disorder) and is heading back to his parents place for more rehabilitation. So the story goes, he is trying to get himself back in shape and healthy again so that his wife will take him back.
After he gets back, his friend tries to set him up with his sister-in-law Tiffany (whose husband has died recently), and this is how the movie goes, the two of them are caught in several situations mostly from Tiffany’s making as she is clearly the one trying to catch the fish, meanwhile all Pat can talk about is how he will get back together with his wife, totally ignoring the clear and obvious choice/option right in front of him (as all romantic comedies tend to go). Along the way there are some jokes, some tears, some laughs, and lots of love, so it sounds like your typical rom-com, pretty much, but this one does have a bit more substance and if you’re a guy, there are much worse ones you can get dragged along to (and Jennifer Lawrence won the Oscar for her role, so there’s that). Of course it’s not too much to say that the obvious happens in the end and they get together (it is a romantic comedy after all you can’t have one without the other) and everyone lets out a loud Awwwww, and it’s smiles all round. Chris Tucker plays a nice cameo too, he is much fatter in this role than what you may remember from Rush Hour :D.
Picture taken from wikipedia.
Next up, I’ll be posting some pictures from Vietnam, it will be another month or so before I even start on those for flickr, so this is the preview basically, I’ll try to get them up this week.
Caught this one last week having heard about all of the hype, and also pretty excited about it because I like the book a lot too. I read the book a couple of years ago now so I couldn’t remember that much of the details but could remember most of what happened, and certainly was wondering how they were going to work on the big screen. Directed by Ang Lee, this film was always going to have a certain aesthetic to it that was going to be pleasing to the eye.
Based on the novel by Yann Martel about a boy that is shipwrecked in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with nothing more than a lifeboat and supplies on board and some zoo animals for company, this film is certainly something beautiful to watch. The tiger, Richard Parker is almost completely done in 3D but it would be hard to guess when it’s real and when it’s CGI because it is really well done. If you put aside the ridiculous story of survival and marvel at the imagination, the creativity, and vision of the story, and then the movie, it is definitely one of those really great stories and movies to watch. I really liked watching it, yes, there are hard to believe moments like a perfect reflection in a perfectly still ocean (but that was probably in the novel), everything in the movie looks just right, it all looks so vivid and if you are a fan of the book I don’t think you will be disappointed by the movie. I remember reading the book and trying to picture in my head the green island that killed fish to support itself and it’s thousands of meerkats, wondering what it might look like in real life, and it really did not disappoint seeing it on the big screen. So a great story with a great movie, great acting and great direction, this is a pretty disappointing review I know, I haven’t said anything bad or funny, just how great this movie is, go watch it. They said it couldn’t be done, but they did it, and it is very well done.
Oh, just thinking about it, and this is a bit of a spoiler, but I wish that when Pi was telling the “alternate story” they would have had the actors act out that part instead of just showing him in bed telling it, but then maybe it would have been too gruesome for the intended audience.
Picture taken from wikipedia. We didn’t watch the 3D version.
Went and watched a musical movie for the first time at the cinema last week, this story had never struck any interest for me, it has to be one of the most famous musicals/stories of all time, but for me, probably knowing that it was a musical I never bothered. But we got some free tickets and so went to see this out of all the choices available.
So, aside from being French, I had absolutely no idea what the story was about, so it turns out that the story is actually really interesting and that I should have paid more attention a long time ago, so this incarnation starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and a whole bunch of others (including Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham-Carter), that’s why they call it an ensemble cast. So it’s based in historical France back around the Napoleon times (well after he got exiled), and follows Jean Valjean, an ex-con on his journey to redemption against the to-letter-of-the-law strict Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe). That story then intertwines itself with another story with Fantine (Anne Hathaway) and her daughter Cosette, and so on and so forth, until the end story, that of the July Revolution in 1832 France merges them all together into one about love, revolution, loyalty, and friendship. So what about the singing, it’s basically 99.99999% of the dialogue, I don’t even remember the one bit where they weren’t singing (I just remember there was one tiny bit), for the most part if was ok, although maybe it is just me but Russell Crowe sounded a bit funny, but good effort especially the parts where multiple people are singing different lyrics/songs at the same time, that did seem really difficult, but it was also a bit hard to understand. Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham-Carter played their roles well and got the funny parts which I found the most entertaining but the whole film was watchable and I thought quite good, I think if I have to watch a musical, it’s better if it has some factual/historical context to it, for me it makes it much more interesting. That’s all I’m going to say about this one, good watch, good story most importantly, as I have Life of Pi waiting to be reviewed, just saw it last night but I’ll leave it at that for now.
Image taken from wikipedia.
Went and saw Skyfall, the latest James Bond film which also marks the fiftieth anniveresary of the movie franchise, in true traditional James Bond fashion this one starts off with an action sequence where Bond is chasing some crazy guy through some foreign country. This opening sequence ends a little differently though with the antagonist unceremoniously shot and falling from space a la Felix Baumgartner (or so it seemed any way) into a raging river, and then over a waterfall into the abyss. The opening credits with theme song then play in a style reminiscent of the old Bond movies before we find Bond doing it with some hot girl in some exotic location far removed from where he was shot, apparently having lost the zeal for his job. London is under attack and the whole world knows about it, even Bond on his remote island can catch the latest on CNN which prompts him to return to his homeland. He waits in the dark in M’s house before announcing his comeback and learning of the implications of his failed mission in the opening sequence.
The film goes on a bit as he tracks down the guy that got the best of him in the opening sequence which then leads him to Macau and the villain of the film, Silver (Javier Bardem), an ex-MI6 operative, crazy and now evil, and possibly swinging for the other side (or maybe he plays for both teams, it’s hard to tell), any way back to the story. He has used his modern day gadgetry and IT nouse to do whatever he likes and now he wants revenge on M who betrayed him and gave him up to the Chinese. Having taken over some island and run his netowrk from this secret hideaway, complete with its own open data warehouse with blinking lights, kilometres of network cabling, and noise-free cooling, he has now got M right where he wants her, although one has to wonder why he couldn’t just surprise her in her apartment the way Bond did at the beginning of the film. Once again faced with impossible odds, Bond is able to save himself with mechanical-trap like reflexes and movements and capturing Silver, although he couldn’t save the beautiful Bond girl this time.
But of course Silver isn’t that stupid, he wanted to be captured and once in London the game twisted again and he was the one holding the aces, so through unnecessarily complicated schemes, superior H4X0rZ l337 skills, and luck he managed to get into a situation where he had the chance to kill M in a public area where everyone could see, but through sheer determination and persistence Bond is able to save the day once again and force Silver to plan B. At this point the film has started to drag on a bit, but we must carry on and fight it out to the end so we see how Bond has set the trap for Silver, knowing that Silver has the technological advantage, the game is then turned and played on Bond’s terms, using old school techniques such as hunting rifles, gas cyclinders, gun powder, and medieval siege defense techniques, Bond is able to overcome and kill Silver using the old and trusty throwing knife. In the end though, M still died from a bullet wound but perhaps it was not the way SIlver wanted her to go which meant that the good guys still won the day. From my point of view, the film was quite entertaining especially if you ignore all the overly complex schemes and counter moves that had to absolutely fall perfectly for the whole thing to come together (as you have to do in these films), the last part did drag on a bit. Javier Bardem was awesome though, I think that he is the ultimate bad guy actor and very much look forward to seeing him play the crazy psycho that you never want to run into in many a future film.
Picture taken from wikipedia.
Oh boy this was a long film, hopefully my reiew/synopsis/recap doesn’t take as long to produce/read! A quick note on the previous two instalments of this franchise which I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed, they were well done and just hoping that this third edition would be a good send off. Actually, I just want to make a few points rather than recapping the entire film as that would certainly take too long. The film starts off in Uzbekistan where the CIA is apparently taking custody of a Russian scientist and some other prisoners, but lo and behold one of them is Bane, some super criminal/terrorist, he manages to kill everyone on the plane and escape with some friends and the scientist. Next, we see that Gotham City is now pretty clean and clear with relatively low crime and violence compared to the first two episodes, some eight years after the conclusion of the second film (in the chronology of the story), Batman (along with Bruce Wayne) have disappeared as he is no longer needed. But of course we wouldn’t have a film if he wasn’t needed any more, Bane makes his way to Gotham and starts running some business in the sewers, his plan was about as coherent as his speech as far as I was concerned, there were certainly times at the beginning where the (extra) pompous Darth Vader was terribly hard to understand. I don’t read Batman comics so I have no idea where Bane is meant to be from or what he is meant to sound like, the posh English accent seemed a bit odd to me. Any way, Bruce Wayne got bored and decided (I think thanks to Commissioner Gordon) that Batman needed to come back and have his go at Bane (also a former member of the League of Shadows, but in better shape) but as expected so early in the film, he got his arse handed to him and then locked up in some prison (Hell on Earth) where he was to witness the destruction of Gotham City as a cripple. *Personal Note: I found Bruce Wayne’s correction of the pronunciation of Ibiza a LOL moment.
Bane has somehow worked out that Bruce Wayne has an awesome fusion reactor which can be used as a thermonuclear weapon and steals it and activates it while holding Gotham City to ransom. The US government and the police are powerless to stop him as he has captured the police underground and blown up all entries to the city and threatened to detonate the bomb if anyone intervenes. Meanwhile Bruce Wayne suffers in the prison watching the struggles of the Gothamites and eventually decides that he can’t take it and starts rehabilitation, he is helped by some guy and the (former) prison doctor, basically Bane has been providing the motivation for him to return. Eventually he is fit and healthy enough to try his escape which he initially fails with the bungee cord, he then decides to try it without the bungee cord and of course, he is able to make the final leap, once he makes it to the surface, we see the prison is in India. He returns to Gotham to see Catwoman, no mention of how he got there since he has no money or friends (in India or anywhere else), so I guess he pulled a super marathon swim and run. It’s been five months, not that anyone would have any idea apart from the fact that it is now cold and snowy in Gotham, and somehow Batman knows that the bomb is set to blow in one day, he certainly has a perfect sense of timing!
The plan to deactivate the bomb and capture Bane is set up, Batman and a bunch of escaped police officers will do what they can, but they will require a lot of luck! The police start the plan by marching toward the bad guys carrying only batons, for some reason the bad guys don’t shoot them until they get within grappling distance. At which point Batman shows up to take on Bane mano-a-mano for the Heavyweight title of the world! This time Batman has the advantage as he has surprised Bane and has regained his sense of fear and is able to weaken Bane by striking his mask. To his surprise (though not to my Em, she picked the girl that sleeps with the good guy first in the film to end up being the baddie) he is stabbed in the side by Miranda Tate his business partner who happens to be Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter (Liam Neeson from the first Batman film) who has been planning this whole vengeance thing for years. She leaves to try and set off the bomb, leaving Bane to finish off Batman, but wouldn’t you know it, it is Batman’s lucky day because Catwoman has come back and shot Bane to bits. Together they chase down Miranda Tate and manage to kill her (not before she gets her last words out though) and take control of the bomb, but there isn’t enough time, it’s about to blow. Batman decides to sacrifice himself (or does he?) and flies the bomb out to the sea where it explodes far enough away that it only kills all the fish in the sea and the radioactive fallout can only affect those living right on the coast for the next fifteen thousand years.
Gotham is saved and everything can return to normal, there is even a new superzero in town as Robin (whom I didn’t mention cos he was boring) takes over the bat cave after Batman’s death and peace returns until the next crazy from the League of Shadows returns (or the Joker, or maybe even the Riddler?). Oh, actually it turns out that Batman was too selfish to sacrifice himself, he used the autopilot on the Batcopter/jet to fly the bomb out and managed to escape the blast radius as well and is enjoying life with Catwoman in some luxurious Mediterenean country, well away from the nuclear fallout surrounding Gotham.
So yes, in the end I liked the film despite it going on for a bit and also the few plot holes (but it’s a movie, it doesn’t have to make perfect sense!).
Picture taken from Wikipedia.