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17 reviews in total 
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A beautiful modern fairytale, 7 November 2015

It is clearly set in modern day, but the story has strong fairytale vibes, weaving in folklore and legends with the endearing 2D animation, and the folktales seem to have parallels with much of what the adult characters are experiencing.

This is the tale of a little boy who discovers that his sister is a selkie. We don't often get to see touching stories about a brother and a sister, and this was a welcome addition!

It was also refreshing to watch a 2D animated movie; the medium is seriously dwindling. This is a film from the same people who made Secret of Kells, and in my opinion, this was much better.

Lucy (2014/I)
0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Pretend its a Comedy, 19 November 2014

If you think this is an awful movie, I totally get where you're coming from.

But I'm serious. Pretend it's a comedy or like some kind of intelligent parody. The science and logic are so unbelievably ridiculous, that there seemed to be no way that the film makers would take it seriously. Yet they do take it very seriously. And you can either balk at how inane the movie is, or you can pretend the film makers had a great sense of humor.

I'm not saying it's so bad it's good. I'm saying the amount of ridiculous is so high in this movie, that it's hard to believe that it wasn't meant to be intentional.

My friend and I were laughing so hard in the theater I'm afraid we might have confused the other viewers. But then they started laughing too. And I know none of those scenes were meant to be funny.

All of that aside, I do think Scarlett Johansson was great in the role, and this really isn't the type of role I would expect to have a female lead, so at the movie has that going for it.

But I recommend this movie only if you're able to watch like it's a comedy.

Big Hero 6 (2014)
8 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
Disneytacular!, 19 November 2014

It's Disney, of course I enjoyed it. Big Hero 6 has the same type of feel recent Disney movies have had starting from Tangled, to Wreck- it-Ralph to Frozen (and you might have noticed that those 3 movies were highlighted in the Big Hero 6 trailers – "from the creators of …"). I can't put my finger on exactly what these films have in common that earlier films didn't, but clearly they make up a new "era" of Disney movies. I wonder what it will come to be called.

Big Hero 6 had great characters. Hiro and Tadashi were great, and I think it was a big deal that they were mixed race, and that their lives incorporated aspects of both Eastern and Western culture. Although that was also partly due to the portrayal of San Fransokyo. I've never been to Tokyo, but I've been to SF enough times to recognize the structures and it was fun to see it get a Japanese architectural twist. The concept of this mash-up city is kinda weird because it raises all sorts of questions about geography and the politics of their world, but the movie makes it not matter. The point wasn't a sound world-building with logical explanations. It was to create a great sense of East meets West. I would've loved to see more East, but hey, it's a start!

I loved the message of pushing the limits of what you can achieve with science. Hiro is a child prodigy who graduated high school at 13 and now is bored with life and doesn't want to go to college for more of the same. But then his brother takes him to his (Tadashi's) lab, and Hiro is amazed by the cutting edge technology that he sees there. It really speaks to him and he is really inspired to contribute to robotics.

You may have seen from the trailers that Hiro designs the super- suits (because this is after all a superhero movie) for the other members of the team, but what was awesome about the group is that Hiro isn't really the only brains of the team. Each of the super- suits actually incorporates tech that the respective member developed, except Fred, I suppose. But Fred is hilarious, from his slacker appearance, science enthusiasm to his family history. Gogo is funny because of her deadpan attitude and she reminds me a bit of Melinda May from Agents of SHIELD. Wasabi is fun and reminded me a little bit of Cyborg from Teen Titans. Honey Lemon was a pretty great character because she was smart and geeky and girly all at the same time. They have varied personalities, none of them stereotypes, and most importantly they each care about their tech deeply and love to expand the possibility of the uses.

And then there's Baymax. Easily the best thing about the movie. Baymax never ventures into the WALL-E territory of a robot having emotions. Baymax operates within the bounds of his programmed logic. We might think he gets excited when he is flying with Hiro, but he really is only reacting to Hiro's emotions. Yet, he is so absolutely lovable, and so funny in how he takes everything so literally, and can deliver emotional scenes without ever having "free-will". I also loved that the flying sequences reminded me so much of How to Train Your Dragon.

All that said though, the movie does fall a tiny bit short of packing the emotional punch we got from Wreck-it-Ralph, or the great sense of superhero team we got from the Incredibles. But it opens up exciting doors, and all MARVEL fans out there can also carry on the tradition of trying to spot the Stan Lee cameo and waiting for the after-credit treat at the end.

Pompeii (2014/I)
92 out of 161 people found the following review useful:
rofl, 26 February 2014

I got dragged to see this. I knew it was going to suck. It sucked in a "it's so bad it's good" kind of way. I was never bored. Mostly laughing and saying, "You know nothing John Snow."

But you know a movie is bad when it ends with a scene that is supposed to be emotional and tragic, and the whole theater bursts out laughing.

I feel like there's no point in me going over how poorly written the characters were, because I'm sure everyone else has already done that. The romance was extremely random. It's like they didn't even care about the story.

To be fair, the visual effects were great, but really, today there are so many movies with great visuals, this one does nothing new. Although it turns out that the filmmakers did their research for this film and the set designs and the eruption were very true to fact (except for the lava bombs and the tsunami) and even the ash-figures we see at the end were based on (stress on based on) actual figures that were discovered. So that raises the film a bit in my respect.


Atticus: Which bastard will be the one I kill today? Me: Ned Stark's bastard.

Sorry. :P

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Okay, so I finally got to watch a movie in IMAX-3D and it was worth it, 16 March 2013

I do think that the 3D in this movie was great or maybe just the IMAX 3D was great. And maybe that's why it is getting such a high rating from me. The story wasn't fabulous but I expected it to be terrible (based on the trailers). But I was pleasantly surprised how well they tied it into the original Wizard of Oz story - or tied it in as much as they could. As in I'm surprised that they even put in this much effort to tie it in with the original story. I'm thinking of Wicked and how it was more like a different version of the story rather than a prequel.

Overall, the movie was entertaining. I was really tired and about to fall asleep while I was watching it. But it was interesting enough to keep me awake. Although I must say I didn't like the very last scene because (without spoiling it) there was no justification for it - it was like a cop-out reward to a character and it also actually doesn't work with the original story now that I think about it.

Anyways, I would recommend it just for the 3D. The opening sequence and the floating down the river sequence were fantastic. And it really did make it worth it.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
I liked how the film *didn't* try to be politically correct, 16 March 2013

Every other film (of not many) I've watched which deals with Muslim identity conflict issues, there is this tendency to try to be politically correct so that you're not alienating non-Muslims or liberals while at the same not offending the more conservatives. In the end it leaves neither party satisfied. I liked how this film unashamedly didn't try to find the middle ground. It told it like it is. Okay, I don't know what it is like. I know nothing of the Muslim punk rock scene or any other punk rock scene. But really, nothing about this movie felt pretentious.

(Most of) these punk rockers really push the ideals of don't be who your parents want you to be or who society wants you to be or what the Qur'an tells you to be - be who you want to be. That's kind of cliché. I've seen that way too many times. But the film does keep it fresh by having the Taqwacores rebel in unorthodox ways. Like Rabiya who wears a full burqa covering every inch of her body down to her fingers. She doesn't do it out of devotion to Allah or Islam. She does it to make a statement. I could (sort of) relate to that. If you meet someone who doesn't drink or smoke, or someone who's still a virgin, you might assume they're a "good girl / good boy" who is a goody-two-shoes and plays it straight and doesn't dare to embrace who they want to be inside. But isn't it possible they've made a conscious choice - not because they think this is wrong - but because they think they don't need to? Because they're secure in their decisions? Don't get me wrong, I don't think the Taqwacores are secure in their decisions. In fact, beneath all that confident protesting against societal norms, there is a highly veiled layer of deep insecurity. At least that's what I felt. I got that vibe especially from Jehangir. And did I love that character to shreds! I love the message he sends out at the end - who are the Taqwacores to exclude Taqwacores who are "different" when Taqwacores themselves are excluded by other punks because they are "different". People always have the tendency to segregate and to exclude those who are "different". Even those who are excluded themselves. For example, homosexuals might be more accepted by the wider population these days, but bisexuals and asexuals are still weird and even homosexuals find them weird. This might be a bit of a generalization and I may not have a large enough sample to make these generalizations.

I liked that this film led me to think outside the scope of the film, but I kind of wish it did address some of these ideas on its own.

110 out of 169 people found the following review useful:
The movie knows it's stupid and has fun with it, 27 January 2013

This is not a quality film and I don't think they even meant it to be good or memorable. If you watched the trailers and *didn't* expect it to be terrible, I'd be very, very surprised. I would never have paid to see this. I only saw it because I got passes to a free advance screening. And it was just as ridiculous as I expected - and I was pretty entertained. We were laughing pretty hard the whole time.

The movie wasn't trying to have a good plot or a surprise twist. Clocking in at a little over an hour, it could have been season finale of a B-grade TV series of the same premise. I think movie was just trying to be funny, and I think their jokes worked. Like how Hansel has a "medical condition" (not spoiling it here). It doesn't work in a physiological sense - but who cares? It was really funny that they even made that connection!

There was an incredible amount of gore in this movie; but I suppose that itself was a joke, given the premise of the movie. Their other jokes relied on anachronisms (weapons, fanboys, crime investigations). But they were careful enough that the anachronisms were funny in the context of the world-building instead of being glaring anomalies.

There might be some people complaining about what an inadequate film this was with respect to plot, but that would be missing the point. Don't watch this expecting to take away anything - it's really only just for the lawls.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Come on! What do you expect from a film called "Aliens in the Attic"?, 1 July 2012

I only write this review because I see all the hate for it on IMDb. Really what were people expecting from it? It was *supposed* to mindless fun!

I watched this when it came out on theaters with my cousins. Two of us were older (in our late teens) and the other two were in their preteens, and we had a really good time. It was perfect bonding time because this film was about a bunch of cousins!

Sure it had all the kid-movie clichés (e.g. grown ups are too dumb to realize anything is wrong), but it was fun, it was genuinely funny, and for a movie called "Aliens in the Attic" it had a surprising amount of character development. All the kids grew as characters throughout the movie and even the aliens had some character growth! Nothing deep, yes, but I was surprised that it was even there!

Besides, when else will we get to see Raymond's mom kick some alien ***?

Brave (2012)
4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
1. All things Pixar. 2. Misleading Marketing. 3. Merida rocks!, 1 July 2012

Let me say right off the bat that I thought this was a great film. Just like any other Pixar film, it kept me invested and it elicited a whole range of emotions and reactions from me. It looked wonderful, the characters were beautifully drawn and developed, it was hilarious without being cheesy, it was suspenseful when it needed to be, but it had its extremely sweet and touching moments.

Nevertheless, I totally went in expecting a different movie; and I blame the movie's marketing for it! The trailers had me pumped for a darker, more mature and more epic story with higher stakes and more realistic consequences. Thinking back on it, I'm not sure why I fell into that trap. This was a Pixar movie after all - and Pixar wasn't about to make it's film inaccessible to kids!

Let me explain why I was misled. I've watched every trailer for this movie, and after watching it, I must say that the trailers reveal information regarding only about the first 20 minutes of the film. We did know that there was some type of spell involved, but we were never told what it would do. My cousin and I had talked about this; and we had our guesses. And we were right. Not going to spoil it here; but that should have tipped me off that this was going to be a kid's movie.

Many people will disagree that this is a kid's movie because there are some scenes that are legitimately too scary for kids. Hence the PG rating. I'm not talking about the scary sequences when I say this is a kid's movie. I'm talking about the logic; and this film follows a very kid-movie logic with kid-movie stakes and kid-movie consequences. That's not a bad thing at all. It's just that the trailers had set us up for something much more mature and more epic. The trailers focused so heavily on how Merida broke tradition, that I had really come to expect more focus on the consequences of that. And the movie does start out on a very mature note. But then at one point it starts to go down the kid- movie path, once you realize that the scale of the story is pretty small. No grand adventure where she scales mountains of 10th century Scotland and conquers her destiny like the trailers would have us believe. There was an adventure, yes, but of kid's movie proportions.

I can't explain this in the context of Brave without spoilers. So I shall explain this in the context of Up (spoiler warning for Up). The first 15 minutes of Up had some of the best story-telling I had ever seen. It had a lot of gravity and a lot of depth; and then the fun adventure that followed - with houses floating away on balloons, and dogs that can voice their thoughts through a machine, scary dogs with chipmunk voices, and a cartoony villain - had a completely different tone to it. The first 15 minutes and the rest of the movie are like two different movies. You get tuned for something mature, but then you have to readjust your expectations really fast, because you realize Up isn't about an old man dealing with the emptiness in his heart as much as it is about a fun family-friendly adventure with a senior citizen, a little Asian kid, a dog and a giant bird. The same thing happens with Brave.

I just wish they hadn't marketed it so much to an older audience. Mirror Mirror did the same thing. That movie should have just marketed itself to little girls instead of to teens, and then it wouldn't have received so much hate; because in my opinion, Mirror Mirror was a good film for little girls. It had a positive and empowering message as well.

Brave fares much better than Mirror Mirror though just because it's Pixar. Pixar can always deliver a fun heartwarming tale (pretend that Cars 2 didn't happen). It was awesome in the way only a Pixar movie can be; and it had one of the best cast of characters I've seen. And Merida was honestly a rocking heroine. Her animation gorgeous - and not just her hair, but all of her movements were spectacular!

Thankfully I was able to reorient my expectations in time to enjoy the lovely cinematography and heart warming tale; and so this movie gets a 10 on 10. But if you've heard people say that this will be one of Pixar's forgettable flicks, I can't totally disagree, and that will be because Pixar picked the wrong way to hype up this film. But Princess Merida, you keep rocking, girl! Pixar's first female protagonist definitely delivers!

3 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Oh the Irony of the American Audience, 25 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I considered dressing up for the Hunger Games. But as always, it would have took too much effort, so I didn't bother. Only after seeing pictures on Facebook about people going all out to dress up for this event, did it strike me. How ironic is it that there is so much effort to dress up for a movie that is critiquing this very culture?

Yes, the movie is a critique on entertainment culture and of mindlessly giving into this culture, especially the one on reality TV. The book is also critiquing this, but I was pleasantly surprised that the movie played up this critique. I afraid it would sell out and focus on the love triangle, which in my opinion was the biggest problem with the book. There was too much at stake to expect the reader to be invested in the love story. Yet the book really focuses on it. (I also disliked the characterization of Peeta in the book who went from very interesting to very boring, and you don't really get that in the movie, so points for the movie.) Everything about the trailers and billing Liam Hemsworth in the first three of the cast suggested they were going to play up the romance, but really, Gale was in like 5 minutes of this 2.5 hour movie.

The movie shifts its focus to the cruelty and inhumanity in Panem. It opens with the MC and the Gamemaker discussing the upcoming Games like they were discussing the upcoming football season. It was disgusting.

The movie shows you clips of life in District 12 - of complete and abject poverty. Ten minutes later we see the opulent life in the Capitol (where people dress like its Halloween and have completely given in to the entertainment culture). The contrast was jarring. (Btw, the shots of the Capitol and of the train traveling to the Capitol were breathtaking. Just saying.)

I applaud the filmmakers for bringing out these details. The book was so fast paced, I didn't get a chance to feel so revolted. The movie gave me some of the emotions the book didn't provide. The Reaping was terrifying. The book is from Katniss' perspective, and she wasn't terrified of the Reaping, having been to it several times already. But the movie shifts the focus to Prim at times, and she was trembling. I felt sick to the stomach as I looked at all these kids and realized what must be going on in their minds. If their name is picked, they are being sentenced to die.

Shifting the focus between Katniss and the Capitol was a good choice, because it would have been hard to otherwise convey Collins' gripping voice through Katniss' thoughts. The present tense narrative of the book is excellent and it works really well, but it's hard to translate that to film.

When we get to the Games themselves, the brutality was of course largely toned down. If they had went all out and made an R-rated film, it would have conveyed the inhuman nature of the Games much more effectively. But it did a good job as it is, and I don't know if I personally could have handled any more! The movie didn't need the actual brutality to stress me out - the context of the brutality was enough to make me want to stop watching.

Yet I wondered, did all this go over the audience's head? I was shocked when my theater clapped - clapped - when two of the Tributes were killed. (These were the two most brutal Tributes who were trained to kill, so yes, they were evil, but still!) Yes I know they clapped out of different emotions than the Capitol dwellers (who were clapping out of entertainment), but this is not something to go fangirly about - "Yay Katniss did not die!"

Jennifer Lawrence told the director at some point (or so I read in a magazine) that when Katniss killed someone, her face should not be bad-ass; it should be broken. ---> Respect.

I haven't cried or trembled this much at the movies since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. But this was a whole new ball game. In Deathly Hallows I cried because it had been like watching your friends die - I grew up with those characters. But in the Hunger Games, I cried at the cruelty and I cried at the inhumanity. This is not a feel-good movie. Don't expect to come out happy. But if you do come out excited and talking about how Peeta wasn't tall enough, and that there was no passion in the love story (like I heard coming out of the movie), then I imagine the whole point of the movie must have gone over your head.

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