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Wonder Woman (2017)
Fun, but a bit over-hyped
I enjoyed the film a lot more than the other DCEU movies. That being said, it was a bit over-hyped. The story fell a little flat to me. It was fairly predictable (I could tell who Ares really was as soon as that character came on screen). Steve's secretary (honestly don't even remember her name) was so one note. She obviously was written in to be some comic relief but she just didn't end up feeling real. Like for instance, Steve (who was presumed dead) shows up with a strange woman, and she just doesn't question it. Not too mention that whole scene in general was silly to me. Steve has made it clear that getting this notebook back to his superior is incredibly important, so why waste time making Diana try on a bajillion dresses. I mean, I know its to have a funny scene where Diana rips a dress as she tries to fight in them, but it just doesn't make sense in context of the movie. I will say though that I did like the war scenes. I felt like it accurately portrayed what war would have felt like back then. The desperation, the pain, the fear in people's eyes. And I also liked that the film had elements of PTSD in there. It brought another layer of realism in there. Those were some aspects of the story I appreciated.
The CGI was lackluster. Certainly not the worst thing ever, but there was a number of times where it looked fairly obvious they were standing in front of a green screen. And they overused the slo-mo in fight scenes.
I know this review seems fairly negative, but honestly the film was still really entertaining. And I do appreciate seeing more women driven films, and specifically women superheroes. I just don't think its some huge game changer that people are making it out to be.
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
A very pleasant experience
If you loved the original animated film or if you love the Broadway production, then I think you'll end up enjoying this production as well. One thing I really liked is that this film provided some more backstory on the curse and filled in some spots the original never made clear. The cast is also very good and they fit their roles well. The singing is also good. Emma's voice isn't as strong as the others but it was nice anyway. And of course the costumes were beautiful (although not as outstanding as Cinderella was). But the production design was gorgeous and would be a shame if it didn't get an academy award nomination next year.
With a couple of minor changes, it does pretty much follow the route as the animated movie practically beat for beat. Although one change I thought was kind of unnecessary/silly was making the Belle the inventor. Its not like it added anything to the story or having Maurice be an artist add anything different but they also barely even focused on it. They show her make one thing and its never referenced again. Not even in Beast's castle is she seen working on something. At least in the animated movie, it served a purpose by making the townspeople already think of Maurice as kind of kooky (and therefore unbelievable when he comes back to tell them of the beast). Plus, one of his inventions actually helps Belle escape from the basement. Here, it literally doesn't add anything.
I saw it in a theater with a bunch of kids present and I heard giggles of delight from them, so I think it will be a hit with them. Overall, I enjoyed it.
We found love in a hopeless place...
Equals was quite a beautiful, aesthetically pleasing movie. One of the highlights for me was the direction, and cinematography. There was a crispness to it that really fit in well with the world of this story. And I loved the contrast between with their silhouettes when they first meet up in the bathrooms.
I also did like the story. It is a more of a character study than it is suspense or action. It does have some predictable moments. For instance when a "cure" is announced its fairly obvious the two leads are going to try and escape. There are some parts that seem to draw from Romeo & Juliet. But overall, I liked the storyline and it still felt fresh to me. And I also think Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart did well with their roles, though I think Nicholas stood out more for me.
Don't Breathe (2016)
Pretty decent nothing revolutionary (Tried to keep this as spoiler free as possible)
I had heard some good things about Don't Breathe and decided to check it out. Overall, I think its a good popcorn flick. There were some good tension and a good twist but it was also wrought with clichés and a stupid ending. One of the things I specifically liked was the direction. I liked how the camera moved around the house and focused on different items. For instance showing the audience early on where the gun was being hidden. It definitely added on another layer of tension because you would keep thinking things like "Who's gonna get to the gun first?". I think the movie also did a good job of making the main characters likable and wanting to root for them even though they are doing something bad in the first place (robbery). The cast did well with their roles. If I had to pick a standout I would go with Jane Levy. Now on to the stuff I didn't like. The "aww shucks" nice guy being in love with the main girl and she doesn't know it cliché. It's so overdone. And with Rocky's (Jane Levy) broken/abusive home life, I get its to bring sympathy to her character but it also feels contrived. Kind of like the lazy, easy way of getting sympathy. And then the ending
.oh boy. I don't want to go in too much detail cause I'm trying to keep this as spoiler free as possible but, it just seemed to ignore a lot of details that happened earlier and therefore didn't make a whole of sense. If you're looking for a film that's going to flip the horror genre on its head, this isn't it. If you're looking for a quick thrill ride, then this would be up alley
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
Why so much hate?
So, I really enjoyed Xmen : Apocalypse. And I honestly don't get why there were so many negative or mediocre reviews. There was one review in particular, that said the first 30 min were boring and was hard to get into (and keep in mind this was one of the few positive ones I watched) and I had no problem with the beginning. It set up a backstory of Apocalypse (which is kind of important) and it didn't spend too long that. We got to see how Cyclops got his powers. There is a cool fighting ring scene with Nightcrawler and Angel (and also at the same time find out what Mystique's been up to). Like, it was entertaining. Plus, most movies start off with some backstories/exposition before they jump right into the villain/battle scenes. I just don't see the problem there.
There was a lot of scenes I enjoyed. I was really happy with Nightcrawler and was happy that he had a much more prominent part then what was led to be believed by the trailers. I loved the Quicksilver scenes as well. Michael Fassbender gets to do this really heartbreaking, touching scene that is so well done. Really well acted. And without giving too much away, there is a really cool Inception-like fight that happens with Apocalypse. I think that is the best way of describing it. But a just a cool and different way to take on the villain. And another thing that I like (and what I kind of like about Xmen as a whole) is that there is more of a darker feel to it. There is one scene with Angel that is kind of gruesome.
Now that being said, I don't think it was a perfect film. I still enjoyed Days of Future Past more. Maybe even First Class. It could have maybe tightened up some story lines or not throw so many out there. As much as I like Wolverine, he didn't need to be in this. (And no, I don't consider this a spoiler as it is in the trailer). And also Apocalypse is searching for the strongest mutants to be on his side as the Four Horseman but like literally just chooses the first 4 mutants he comes across. That didn't make a whole lot of sense to me.
But overall I liked it. At the moment, I would rate it an 8. Maybe that will change once I've had a chance to re-watch the previous films.
The Hateful Eight (2015)
Hateful Eight Gets An 8
I know this film won't be for everybody. It can be excessive, sure. But, if you're a fan of Tarantino I think you'll really like this. It has the stylized violence, the witty dialogue, the stand out characters you've to come expect and enjoy from his films.
That being said, it wasn't my favourite Tarantino film. I didn't start really LOVING the film until almost half way through. It was hard for me to find a character that I truly liked and wanted to root for. Every one of them is truly awful. I guess that's to be expected though when the film is called The HATEFUL Eight. Tim Roth was a little too cartoon-y, Walter Goggins was a little too stereotypical hick. If I had to pick a MVP for the first half, I would go with Samuel L Jackson. He had the best performance out of the bunch especially his "pictures in your head" scene. Even though I instantly disliked his character at that point.
The second half though really picked up for me. I liked the "whodunnit" nature. And despite what I said about Walter Goggins before, this where I think he shined and actually became my favourite character overall. Not only did he have the comedic timing when necessary, but I especially loved the scene between him and Jennifer Jason Leigh when she's trying to bargain with him.
I also really loved the score for this film, and thought that deserves a shout out. The production design and costumes were pretty great as well. Make-up was good except I think they could have tried to make Jennifer Jason Leigh's black eye more realistic. It kind of looked like it was just make-up applied around her eye.
Overall, I really enjoyed watching the movie. Would recommend.
The Force did awaken after it flatlined in the prequels
I thought the film was a lot better than the prequels but still wasn't as good as the original trilogy for me as I still took some issues with the film. I'll try and keep my review as spoiler-free as possible, but you still might come across some minor spoilers.
Let me just start off by listing my issues with the film.
1)Captain Phasma. She ended up being quite a lame character. She gets taken down so easily by Han, Finn and Chewie, and the only scene we really get before that is her barking some orders at Finn. That's about it. She really did nothing to further the plot and could have easily been replaced by another stormtrooper.
2)Rey was too powerful. She literally just found out she had the force like an hour ago, and easily was about to kill Kylo. The only reason he was saved is because the scene called for a "deus ex machina". I realize they wanted a cool lightsaber battle in the movie, but I would found it more believable if Rey was the one on the losing side and somehow managed to escape HIM. Then took the time to properly train. There are theories out there that she is also a skywalker, but both Vader/Anakin and Luke weren't THAT bad-ass straight out the gate.
3)The CGI characters. This is a minor complaint, but in a movie where there is a return of practical effects and actors in costumes/make-up, it felt out of place to have 2 prominent characters be CGI. It felt really distracting to me.
4)Some of the humor felt a little out of place. I don't mind that there's humor in the movie (there always were with Star Wars) but there were some moments where the scene felt serious and a joke was added in and just seemed unnecessary to me. For example when Poe first meets Kylo. Kylo had just stopped a blaster in mid-air (pretty cool shot), and now he's captured Poe by freezing him one spot. There's a lot of tension in the scene and it kind of gets ruined when Poe turns to him and basically jokes about how he can't hear him because Kylo is wearing a mask.
5)Domhnall Gleeson. It honestly hurts me to type this, but I was so disappointed in his acting in this. I've seen him put in some amazing performances in other films, but I felt he was easily the worst in this. It's like he read a handbook on how to act as an stereotypical evil dictator and just went with it.
Now let's talk about some of the good things.
1)Daisy Ridley. Wow, she was quite amazing in this. She was very multi-layered and pulled it off quite well. And I liked her character a lot as well.
2)BB-8. I already fell in love with the little guy before the movie, so some of you might say I'm biased. But based on audience reaction it seems like he went down very well and got lots of good reaction. He was funny and oh so cute.
3)Kylo Ren. I thought he was a pretty cool villain. I liked that he's still growing in a sense. Flawed, still having "fears". But he also did some pretty cool things. I already mentioned stopping the blaster mid-air. Or freezing people in one spot.
4)Obviously the special effects were really good. The battles were just amazing.
5)The Nods to past Star Wars. Not just seeing characters like Han Solo return, but other things like "I've got a bad feeling about this" returning or even just parallels with the new characters. Like Rey growing up on a desert planet like Luke/Anakin and obviously being strong with the force like they were.
6)The Plot. I felt the movie did a good job of setting up the story (and stories to come). I felt like it made sense. The movie felt like it was constantly moving forward instead of getting dragged down with senate meetings (*cough prequels *cough*).
So yeah, I did really enjoy it and would easily see it again, but I didn't think it was a perfect film. I still look forward to future installments (including the spin-off movies).
Fantastic Four (2015)
Better than the 2005 version, still a long way to go
So I didn't hate it as much as some critics seemed too. But, I do think the script could have been better. For instance, it's kind of ridiculous that Victor was allowed back on the program after setting fire to one of Franklin's labs. Also, its pretty ridiculous how Johnny becomes part of the program as well. We don't really know much of his backstory (besides that he likes to street race). Like is there any reason the government would allow Johnny in on the project just solely based off his dad's word that "he can build anything"? Are there no other scientists that could help? Also, the last 30 min or so is pretty messy in general. Reed has been on the run for a year and once he's been back for all of 20 minutes, he magically seems to fix the issue of re-opening the gate. It's just a bit too convenient. Also, while I liked the battle taking place on another planet (more fresher than Earth), the battle itself was a little lame. I felt like Victor got defeated a little too easily. And I also didn't like that we didn't get to see much of them as a team. Hell, I don't think we ever see Sue and Ben have a conversation. Also, while the special effects are better than the 2005 version, they still look fake. Reed's stretching powers and even Sue's forcefield ball that they float in. Also there was no Stan Lee cameo and you just don't F around with Stan Lee cameos.
I did like the darker tone. I liked that it wasn't as cheesy as the 2005 version. Like, it didn't need Johnny making a billion jokes about how hot he was. Or anything like that. I also thought it was more believable when they get these powers that the military locks them away and uses them for their purposes. I feel like thats what would actually happen in real life. I thought the whole sequence where Victor walks down the corridor and melts people's brains was pretty bad-ass. And I also really liked that they put scars on young Reed to match Miles Teller. I liked little details like that.
So it certainly wasn't the worst thing in the world, and I did enjoy it more than the 2005 version, but it could have been improved on.
It Follows (2014)
Different and Unexpected
It Follows you is certainly refreshing in this day and age of horror films. Not once does it rely on a jump scare. It doesn't even rely on gore too much. It just is quite unsettling at times. I like the fact that there isn't much back story about this so called "it". I think that makes it even more creepier. You don't what it is, where it came from, how to stop it. It's just there...and you can't do anything about it. It's incredibly effective and I wish more writers/directors/producers were taking risks and coming up with more original content like this.
Now while I certainly like the idea behind this movie, I wish they maybe had a different cast or more interesting characters. I wasn't that compelled by the lead actress. She certainly was better than the majority of the cast, but there was a number of times where she just seemed flat and emotionless. And I'm talking about BEFORE the attack when her life was normal. The scenes with her hanging out with her friends are boring, her going out on a date was boring. There was nothing really interesting about the characters themselves. And that sucks because I felt like I could have given up on this movie so easily. Sometimes, the direction just seemed like it was trying to hard to be artsy fartsy. Like, oooh lets a close-up of her lining up blades of grass on her leg. Why? Why is that needed? And I didn't care for the score either. Trying to hard to be reminiscent of the 80s.
What truly makes this film work, and why I think its worth a watch is because "IT" is effective. I honestly had a knot in my stomach during the horror parts. Sometimes what is most scary is that feeling of helplessness. And that is what this movie accomplishes.
Small Heroes Deliver Big
Ant-Man was soooo good! I liked it a lot more than Avengers : Age Of Ultron, and I also liked it more than The Kingsman (I know that isn't MCU, but it does fall under "graphic novel" movie). So yeah, we'll have to wait and see how well Fantastic Four does, but so far I think this easily could be the best comic book/superhero movie this year. I had already expected that Paul Rudd was going to be funny in this, and some of the reviews I read confirmed that. And after seeing the movie myself, I agree. But how come there was no talk of Michael Pena? He was so hilarious! He stole every scene he was in. Probably one of the best "sidekicks" in a movie.
One of the other things that I liked is that Ant-Man actually got his man and saved the day rather quickly. Unlike the other MCU movies where they seem to destroy entire cities or it takes weeks to get the bad guy, Ant-Man pretty much took down yellowjacket within the same night of coming face to face with him. Like, impressive. And yes, there was damage done, but nowhere near the carnage in other films. It was really refreshing.
As for the villain, I'd have to put him somewhere in the middle. Like, certainly more memorable than Malekith (then again, I think everyone is more memorable than him) and also Ronan, but like just doesn't have that screen presence that Loki or even Thanos has. I'd maybe put him in the same place as Ultron, even though they were both different. Cause I liked Corey Stoll and the fact that his villain (Yellowjacket) was a bit more serious than Ultron was, but at the same time I think Ultron stood out more to me. There was plenty of funny moments in the movie. The train scene in particular (which got a lot of laughs in my theater) was great. But it did also have some touching moments.
But it doesn't mean I didn't see some fault in the story. Like, in one scene where Hope and Scott are training she tells her dad Hank "I don't know why you insisting on lying on what really happened to mom". And then practically in the next scene, Hanks decides to tell the truth about how Janet died. Like, I know the writers wanted some way to let the audience about how going "sub-atomic" was bad (because its kind of important for a later scene). But it just seemed, I don't know, a little contrived. Like, why would he suddenly tell her the truth now? And also, I think Hank's plan relied a little too much on Scott taking the suit and then later on deciding to try it on. What if when Scott entered the vault and saw there was no cash, just simply left and didn't take the suit? Or what if he did, but never tried it on? Just sold it or something to make some quick cash or something? Did Hank think of that? I just think it was rather lucky of Hank that it played out the way it did. And the other thing that kind of bugged me (although it's a small gripe) is at the end where we find out the daughter has kept the giant ant as a pet. A bit eye-roll inducing.
But overall, it was a really fun movie. It definitely is more a heist film than a traditional superhero action flick, which is neat too.