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|172 reviews in total|
Doug Liman and Tom Cruise paired up together again for a fast-paced and
colorful biography on Barry Seal. American Made may not have the
blockbuster action but it holds up on its own firmly with the help of a
great direction by Doug. Tom Cruise is definitely the main highlight of
the film and he is what made it so entertaining.
The story: The pace is brisk; it takes the audience on a crazy ride from the start and never slows down. Though it never felt boring, sometimes I felt that it could have slowed down for some development. After the film ended, it seems that Doug and Tom had a clear mind on just keeping the audience as entertained as they can be. It cuts to the chase and never dwells on anything such as emotions. It moves quickly from event to event. Advantage is that I was not bored at all. Disadvantage is that it felt like a 2 hours montage on Barry Seal's life. There is no real tension or character's development. The realism is helped by the smart decision of filming like a documentary. Be warned: Action genre fans may be disappointed that is no big action. It is strangely classified as action.
Acting wise: Tom Cruise looks like he had lots of fun filming. It is just entertaining watching him immersed himself in the crazy and fast-paced world of Barry Seal. The rest of the cast are decent but not impressive.
Music wise: Christophe Beck created a decent mood of the different years. Since Doug wanted the film to feel realistic, it is not jam-packed with music. There are many moments where sounds and ambiance take the front seat.
Overall: It is not impressive but it is a solid entry to Doug Liman's and Tom Cruise's filmography. I went in with low expectation and had no idea about the outrageous stuff Barry Seal did. And not only was I entertained, I was immersed into the world of Barry.
To be honest, I have not watched the first movie which is a spin off to
the popular The Conjuring franchise. But hearing that Annabelle:
Creation is a prequel, I guess I do not actually need to know what
happened in the negatively received Annabelle (2014). Before watching
the prequel, I did not have much expectations. I have seen David F.
Sandberg's horror debut, Lights Out, and I found it to a decent horror
movie. However, after seeing Mike Flanagan's disappointing take on
Ouija, another horror movie franchise, my hope for good horror
directors taking helm on horror franchises dimmed a little. So is
Annabelle: Creation any good? Aside from conjuring an effective
atmosphere and tension, it is generic and lacks of character's
development and originality.
The story: It goes pretty straight-forward. A group of orphaned children stays in Dollmaker Samuel Mullins' house and discover a powerful and terrible force living in the same house. Most of the screen time show extended experiences with the evil entity and there are not many dialogues. Things proceed in a straight-forward way. The movie builds an urging tension before unleashing hell on its characters in the climax. The characters are molded to do a certain action that will motivate a horror scene. I admit that David can competently directs an effective horror scene and the movie is all about that. The dialogues during the day time act just as a breather before throwing the audience back into another terror-filled night. The jump scares are clichés and unnecessary. Acting by the young and older cast is alright. The score by Benjamin Wallfisch helps to enhance the mood.
Overall: It is decently shot horror movie but there are many flaws. After this movie, I hope David will go back to directing horror movies that are not based on anything. David has a good sense of holding tension but he needs a better script. Annabelle: Creation may be a crowd-pleasing horror movie but it lacks the originality to stand out from the huge pool of horror movies. It does its job in entertaining you but it is not enough to become memorable.
As a Death Note fan, I was excited when a new film is green-lighted. It
is only later when it is revealed as a sequel to Death Note: The last
name. Though doubtful, I was still looking forward to see how the saga
of Kira could be continued. Crafted as an original story, the first
trailer looked intriguing. So how does the final product fare? Death
Note: Light up the new world is a decent installment to the popular
franchise, paying homage to the franchise. Although it is a sequel, it
could easily be a stand-alone film with all the new characters. It may
not match the standard of the first two films directed by Shusuke
Kaneko but it is a step up from Hideo Nakata's L: Change the world.
The story: Set 10 years after Death Note: The last name, Shinsuke Sato (Director of Gantz) goes straight into the thrills as he opens with a killing rampage in Tokyo. He keeps the pace brisk without slowing down for character's development. The viewers will be thrust into the middle of the cat-and-mouse chase. I think it will be helpful to watch Death Note: New Generation, a mini-series that is the prequel to this. The new characters are interesting enough but nothing beats Light and L. The third act falls to Shinsuke's familiar territory. A thrilling chase followed by an action-packed climax with revelations. Some twists may be a little surprised but if you know Death Note, it wouldn't come off as a big surprise. Shinsuke directs with enough thrills to keep the film afloat. Acting is alright. The characters are fighting for their own screen time. None of the characters stand out. Even Ryuk, the iconic shinigami, has limited screen time. Music is throughout and adds to the thrills.
Overall: It may not hold a candle next to first two films in term of smartness and thrills but it is decent enough to warrant a watch. It is definitely not boring and the CGI has improved a lot. The CGI of the three shinigamis feel more realistic and organic. Is it worthy of being in the Death Note franchise? I would say a 'Yes'. It ends with a common cliffhanger and I wouldn't seeing Death Note taking a new direction. But it will have to wait until this film is deemed as successful. Meanwhile, let's see if the Hollywood remake in 2017 is worthy of its title.
The direct sequel will not win any new fan of the live-action
adaptations. Those who hate the first part, this is not any better.
This has the same flaws. I enjoyed the first part and I enjoyed the
second part. But the novelty feeling of watching the big CGI set pieces
The story: The film starts with a long flashback of what happened previously which is unnecessary as the first part was released just about one and a half months ago. Eren is captured and there is a debate on who he is actually. I won't spoil the story but there is a new titan and a few twists up its sleeve. The short runtime, 1 hour and 27 minutes, does not do justice to the ambitious scale of what the live-action adaptations should have. Thankfully it is not boring and contains enough action set pieces including a heavy CGI climax. However its character's development is underwhelming that I felt almost nothing for them. At the end of it, it does not feel like a journey of the characters, it feels more episodic than a rousing finale. Acting wise is alright; there is no improvement. Music is somewhat jarring in this one. I know the music for the first part is a weird mix but this one is more noticeable.
Overall: It is worth the watch just for a sense of closure but it could be much better given the scale. I enjoyed it but not as much as part 1 due to the rushed pace. I feel that the live-action adaptations should have been at least a trilogy. As a stand alone film, it is pretty enjoyable but as a closure, it does not deliver what it is expected of.
*Minor spoiler* It is inevitable that they do not want to end the story of the adaptations just here. Perhaps due to the success of the films, they may move forward for a third part.
I am not a fan of Attack on Titan however I read the first few volume
of the popular manga. The manga is action-packed and tense enough with
lots of characters' deaths. The film, noticeably has a few major
changes, is fortunately as action-packed but with its short runtime of
1 hour and 38 minutes, its characters' development is undercooked. In
the end, ignore the awkward characters' development and you will get
one of Japan's most visually interesting films.
The story: It starts slow before punching straight into the destruction and gore. The opening scene establishes the relationship among Eren (Haruma Miura), Mikasa (Kiko Mizuhara) and Armin (Kanata Hongo). It comes a bit cheesy with the music but overall, the scene did its job. When the destruction, it is a spectacle. The Titans are cleverly a mix of human suit and CGI. The huge set pieces throughout the film look visually good albeit some cheap-looking scenes. I have enough knowledge to know some of the changes such as the popular character Levi being replaced by a new character. The setting is true to the source material however as I recall, the setting for the climax is different (It is shot in the ruin outside the wall). The injected humour falls flat. Acting wise is alright for most cast. They have a lot of emotions to portray except looking glum. Some tend to overact and some are awkward. Music is a little off at times but it is serviceable during the set pieces.
Overall: It received overwhelming negative reviews from the fans that the filmmakers had to defend the film's creative changes. I think it would fare better with general audience who are looking for a big budget Japanese movie packed with good visuals and action. I enjoyed it as I didn't think too much about the creative differences. Is it worth to catch it in cinema? If you like watching a big budget film on big screen. As a two-parter film, I am not sure how this will end as the manga is currently ongoing.
There is a special preview for part 2 in the middle of the ending credit.
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Tom Cruise is back and though he is ageing, he still proves he is
capable of stunts. Mission: Impossible - Rough Nation is an
action-packed thrill ride but everything is familiar from the
mysterious organisation to the double-cross agent. It does not deliver
anything we have not seen in the Mission: Impossible franchise.
Luckily, director Christopher McQuarrie injects the same thrilling
energy into his set pieces and keeps the pace fast enough.
The story: IMF is disbanded and a wanted Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is determined to bring down a mysterious organisation, the Syndicate. Yes, that is all the story offers. The series of action set piece push the story forward. Director Christopher is known for his smaller film, Jack Reacher. From the get-go, he is determined to show that he can handle an action film on a bigger scale. The beginning shows Ethan hanging for his dear life on an airplane. And the action gets bigger and disappointingly balloons down in the climax. This is one of those action films where the climax cannot top the big action scenes in the beginning and middle. The notable action scenes are in the opera and an extended set piece where Ethan breaks into a power station and ends up on a thrilling motorcycle chase. Perhaps Christopher realised that he could not top them so he opted for a more personal and smaller scaled climax. Acting wise is the usual in the franchise. Newcomer Rebecca Ferguson plays a decent character. Music by Joe Kraemer is great.
Overall: Is it worthy to be in the franchise? Yes, it is. It has all what a Mission: Impossible film needs. However, as with Tom Cruise ageing, the franchise is close to loosing its steam with its already-seen-it-all plot. What this franchise could do is to have a fresh take on the spy genre. With the sixth film announced, let's hope it can be something more than just a big- bang action film.
The Terminator is back with a strange title, Genisys. It is clear that
they are eager to continue the franchise however they do not know how.
Terminator Genisys shows promise to the visionary world of James
Cameron but it is hampered by non-stop big and loud action scenes, it
does not stop to develop the story further. That said, it still capture
the interesting premise of time travel. It is better than Terminator
Salvation but that is not saying much. What you get here is series of
thrilling and big CGI heavy action set piece that propel the story
The story: It starts off in 2029 where John Connor (Jason Clarke) and Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) set to destroy Skynet. However they are too late, it sends a T-800 back to 1984 to kill John's mother, Sarah Connor. Kyle volunteers to go back and save her. From there, the ball starts rolling. Loud action piece after another. Alan Taylor (director of Thor: The Dark World) proves that he is capable of directing huge CGI action scenes and it shows. Although they are not very imaginative, they are serviceable for action fans. He became too engrossed in showing the audience what he could do with CGI that he neglects character's development and plot progression. The pace moves quickly and does not get boring but when you take out some action scenes, the movie will fall apart.
Emilia Clarke plays a decent Sarah Connor. Arnold Schwarzenegger is back with his usual stone-cold Terminator's expressions. The rest is alright but forgettable. Music by Lorne Balfe is decent enough with enough hints of the iconic theme. However the iconic Terminator theme can only be heard in the ending credit.
Overall: Terminator Genisys is a big budget blockbuster choke full of action and CGI. It is a thrilling yet exhausting ride but there is nothing that particularly sticks out to me. For one watch, it is good. Even the action scenes will wear out if you watch more than one time. If the idea of a planned trilogy move forward, let's hope it will get better.
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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Surprisingly, this seems to be inspired by the book, Tracers, by J.J. Howard. Although, it is not listed as an adaptation, the book and the movie follow the same plot. Taylor Lautner acts in a low-budget action movie that seems to take the Direct-To-DVD route. Unsurprisingly, the trailer is unconvincing. Perhaps, the trailer didn't show much except pointless parkour scenes. So when I watched it, I have already lowered my expectations. It turns out that the movie is just borderline entertaining. Calling it an action thriller is an overstatement. The story: Taylor Lautner acts as Cam, a bicycle messenger, who is in debt. One day, he knocks into an attractive female, Nikki (Marie Avgeropoulos). And guess what, he becomes interested in what she does: parkour. If you are wondering where the story is leading to, for the first hour, it is leading to nowhere. You see Cam training hard and falling for Nikki. There is no sense of threat and there is no life-threatening or thrilling action scene. The last half and hour sees Cam realising what he has involved himself with. The action plot catches up late and it becomes rushed and pointless. It is almost for the sake of action sake, a character turns into a 'villain' and gives Cam the chase of his life during the climax. The parkour and chase scenes are not too bad however at times, they are marred by extremely shaky camera work. Acting wise is just passable. Music is serviceable during the action. Overall: It is screened in Singapore's cinemas. I would say the shaky camera work and tepid action storyline are not worth the watch on big screen. It is disappointingly tepid when it is classified as an action thriller but if you are able to overlook at its classified genre, it may be worth a watch on a rainy and boring day.
Wong Jing is back with more madness, action, explosion and a longer
runtime. As every sequel tries to top its original in every way, From
Vegas To Macau 2 is no different. Lots of explosion, lots of wacky
humour and more CGI, if these are your entertainment, the movie will do
you no wrong. From the opening gun fight to the CGI climax, the story
is kept brisk to keep your attention in check.
The story: Chow Yun-fat is back as the titular gambler, Ken, with the magic hand. This time, the movie exaggerates his skills with CGI poker cards until it almost becomes a fantasy. But that's to be expected in a Wong Jing's movie. This time, the location is shifted to Thailand where Mark (Nick Cheung), an accountant in a money-laundering syndicate, DOA, is chased by Interpol and DOA. Ken has to save him and help his protégé, Vincent (Shawn Yue). Wong Jing tries to pack in everything that is entertaining into a 2 hours movie. Though it feels bloated, expect a lot of crazy and random fun. Don't expect a coherent story and character development and it will be an enjoyable entertainment. Action is ramped out. The action scene in the middle sees a break-in of the safe house with lots of explosion and gunfire. The movie's climax turns into a CGI set where a fight breaks out in an airplane. Music is serviceable. Direction and acting is fine too.
Overall: It is an enjoyable movie for the Chinese New Year holidays. There isn't anything new served but if you are looking for a low-brow funny action-packed movie, I don't see why this won't fit the description. With everything ramped for the sequel, fans will be able to enjoy the second outing. With where the movie ends, I wouldn't be surprised if Wong Jing returns for a third outing.
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The long-delayed young adult book adaptation finally shows up on big
screen. Asia noticeably has an earlier release date. The question now
is "Is it worth the wait?" For a movie delayed this long, people have
already forgotten about it so I won't be surprised if it flops at box
office. This gets as generic as what a fantasy period film can be. It
is packed with every cliché you find in the genre however it is still
entertaining with its action set pieces, decent CGI and 3D.
The story: Jeff Bridges plays a gruff Master Gregory who has lost his apprentice (Kit Harington) during a fight with a powerful witch (Julianne Moore). Thomas Ward (Ben Barnes) is chosen to be Gregory's new apprentice. And there you go, an action-packed adventure with perilous monsters and witches lurking. Nothing in the movie surprises, even the twists have been seen before. There are a few set pieces including a full-blown climax that use extensive CGI. Although entertaining to watch, they are lacking in the creativity department. Acting wise is alright. Music is generic but does elevate a sense of peril during the action.
3D: It is surprisingly decent. I thought it would be another sloppy post-converted 3D movie that barely has depth. The 3D effects work the most during the CGI set pieces with monsters chomping right at your face. It has a reasonable amount of depth between characters and the background.
Overall: Is it worth to watch it in cinema? Only if you are interested in young adult adaptations. If you don't, you are not missing much. It has all the clichés what a fantasy period movie has and does not break any new ground. Is it worth the wait? Probably not. But if you are in need of entertainment, this would just entertain you for 2 hours.
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