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Man of Steel (2013)
Best Superman movie so far - don't trust the critics!
The Superman franchise is the latest to get the reboot treatment. With Warner Brothers having had success with Christopher Nolan's rebooted Batman series, they decided to bring him on board for the Superman reboot. It has worked very well.
This movie has somewhat taken the same route as Batman Begins did with exploring the origin and beginning of Superman which really added substance and more depth to the protagonist.
While the Christopher Reeve movies had a more light-hearted tone to them, this movie is more grounded and gritty. The old Superman movie theme tune and red trunks on Superman's suit are gone which was a good thing.
While the action sequences were admittedly over the top, they were still great fun to watch. The special effects were also fantastic.
I have to say that I am bewildered that this movie didn't get great reviews. Then again, I've come to realise that movie critics can't be trusted because they really don't know how to enjoy movies and end up taking them too seriously. It's not the first time either. They have also given negative reviews to other popular movies including Taken and Man on Fire. So the take home message is simple - don't trust the critics!
Arguably, this is the best Superman movie so far. Christopher Nolan's touch has really worked here. The long-term hype was worth it.
Furious 6 (2013)
Arguably the best movie in the franchise
The sixth and latest installment in the Fast and the Furious franchise sees Agent Hobbs ask for the help of Dominic Toretto and his gang help track down a wanted criminal.
I have to say that this was the movie I was most looking forward to in the 2013 Summer blockbuster period, and I'm glad to say that I got what I wanted from it.
The movie had a lot of exciting action sequences which made it an improvement to the previous movie. Given that a lot of action movies lately have been disappointing mainly because of the lack of action, this is continuing the resurrection of proper action movies following The Expendables movies and The Last Stand. Let's hope this path remains open.
Being a UK citizen, I loved the idea of having it set in London and having some of the action scenes take place in London, even though they were actually filmed in Glasgow. It made good use of the London scenery and it was nice to see the fabulous Rita Ora make a cameo.
It also had a lot of humour which made it funnier than most bad comedy movies and even some popular ones which in my opinion were overrated (*cough* The Hangover *cough* Ted *cough*).
The story-line wasn't exactly good but then again, none of the story- lines in any of the movies in this series are. At the end of the day, it's more style than substance.
If I have one criticism to make, it's that one or two of the stunts were unrealistic. But let me put it this way - at least it's not as bad as a lot of really terrible and over-the-top Bollywood movies.
I seriously think that this is the movie that should've rounded off the franchise rather than make a seventh movie for next year. All I can hope for now is that without Justin Lin on board, they don't mess it up.
The Sweeney (2012)
Makes a good action movie
This is a movie adaptation of the popular 1970s British television show only the setting is in modern day and with Ray Winstone and Ben Drew playing the respective roles played by John Thaw and Dennis Waterman in the original series.
Alone it makes a good action movie with one or two good car chases and gunfights. The storyline was reasonable even though its the sort you would see in an episode of the original series. Although Ray Winstone does well for himself, his interpretation of Jack Regan is different to how John Thaw portrayed the character if it doesn't lack any background. The interpretation of Detective Chief Inspector Frank Haskins isn't as robust as it should have been and doesn't get much screen time. Instead, a completely new character is introduced and appearing to have more emphasis than the Haskins character. One thing the makers of the movie did was capture bird's eye views of London which one could argue was a bit unnecessary. Even though a lot of movies have it and I personally don't get offended by it at all, a lot of the profanity in the dialogue was also on the unnecessary side.
I like the original television series but I'm a much bigger fan of movies, particularly action movies which is why I enjoyed it. I can understand that a lot of people who were fans of the TV show may not find this much to their satisfaction. But as far as I'm concerned, I got what I wanted from it.
The Expendables 2 (2012)
All the action heroes from the first movie are reunited in this movie, plus a few extras and a little bit expanded roles from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis.
I loved the first movie and scored it 10/10 mainly because a lot of action movies before have been disappointing when it comes to action. This sequel also contains enough action to satisfy although it could have been a bit better by extending one or two of the action scenes in between Another thing that would have made it better was to include a car chase which the first movie had. The storyline is not a very good one but when it comes to a straightforward action movie like this one, its what you would expect. This movie is style over substance, so don't go in expecting Shakespeare or whatever. It also contains a lot of good humour making it funnier than most overrated if not bad comedy movies. And as one of my friends pointed out, Jean-Claude Van Damme made a better villain than in the first one.
Even though I thought it could have been better in one or two ways, I still liked it. Lets hope Expendables 3 will take this on board.
The Iron Lady (2011)
The Iron Lady is a biopic of Britain's first female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.
Now I'm not really fond of Margaret Thatcher myself although I was interested in seeing a movie biopic about her and expecting it to be up to the standards of other great movie biopics including Gandhi and Braveheart. Unfortunately, The Iron Lady fails to meet this standard by a long chalk. There are two major factors that make this movie fail. The first is that it focuses much more on the elderly Margaret Thatcher and her suffering from dementia. The second factor is that much less focus is placed on her life, her ascent in politics, and her notorious premiership which is exactly what many of us remember her for. What should have been the main focal point of this movie ended up becoming the opposite of that. Although the focuses on her life and career were interesting to watch, they were minimal in the context of the movie.
The best part of the movie by far was Meryl Streep's performance. She definitely looked like Margaret Thatcher and she got the voice and mannerisms right. You really sense that it is Margaret Thatcher and not Meryl Streep playing Margaret Thatcher, much in the same way as Heath Ledger played the Joker in The Dark Knight.
This biopic is disappointing because its focus was shifted to the wrong aspect. Years before, rumour had it that Oliver Stone was making the movie. If only those rumours turned out to be true...
The Bourne Legacy (2012)
Not as good as the original series but good enough
The Bourne Legacy loosely takes off from the events that took place in The Bourne Ultimatum and continues from there. This time its not Jason Bourne that's the protagonist but another by the name of Aaron Cross.
When news first came that this movie would be a stand-alone of the franchise, I thought this would be better rather than continuing Jason Bourne's story. Despite this, this installment does not live up to the standard of the previous movies. Even though the setting of the movie is good, the storyline isn't as great as the previous movies. The hand-held camera technique which made the previous movies more gripping and realistic is absent. They put a bit too much humour in the movie which undermined the gritty tone of the series. Another major flaw was that the movie ended abruptly giving the impression that the story will continue with another movie. This goes to show that the franchise is now on the road to running its course, their intention was to continue the story rather than make a stand-alone movie, and that Hollywood is now running out of ideas if you also consider this year's reboot of Spider-Man and the remake of Total Recall (which I haven't seen yet).
It is a worthwhile movie, just don't expect the same standard as the previous Bourne movies.
Good adaptation of a Shakespeare play
This is a movie adaptation of the William Shakespeare play Coriolanus. I had never heard of this play before and I suppose its a good thing to have another Shakespeare play adapted in comparison to the more well- known ones including Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet.
Even though the play itself takes place in ancient Rome, Ralph Fiennes decided to make a modernisation of this play. I have to say that it has worked very well and can be compared to Baz Luhrmann's modernisation of Romeo and Juliet, even though I thought that particular movie overall was just watchable. I am not actually that fond of Shakespeare's plays mainly because I find it so difficult to understand the language he uses which isn't used in this day and age. But this movie told me that he knows how to write a good story. Even if you had never read or even studied this particular Shakespeare play at school, you can tell that the dialogue in this movie is typically Shakespearian. But despite this, you don't really need to understand the language in order to understand what is going on in the movie. After all, it's much more difficult to understand if you're reading the text alone. I guess it was better to use the Shakespearian text rather than modernised English given the setting of this movie. Ralph Fiennes played his role very well, especially when his character becomes angry.
All in all, this is good movie adaptation. Even though I never intend to read any of Shakespeare's plays, I guess for the first time I appreciated Shakespeare, not for his language but for his story.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Meets the mark
The Dark Knight Rises picks up eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, and this time around, Batman has to tackle Selina Kyle aka Catwoman, and Bane.
The Dark Knight really set the bar high and this made me think that even though Christopher Nolan is at the helm, there was a chance that this movie could fail to meet the standard set by The Dark Knight. Another reason for my thinking is that anyone, even if they are very good at something, can trip up. Even acclaimed directors like Steven Spielberg don't get it right every time. This has been one of if not the most anticipated movies of the year. So here's the million dollar question: has it managed to match the standard of The Dark Knight? To give a very brief answer, yes.
The storyline is a very good one spiced with good character background. Anne Hathaway does well in her role of Selina Kyle. Tom Hardy did a great job as the menacing Bane, although there are one or two occasions where you can't quite understand what he is saying. But this is probably the best role he has played alongside Bronson. There are also one or two satisfying action scenes but don't expect so much of that as this focuses much more on story and characters. The movie rounds off the trilogy well and it's a good thing Christopher Nolan decided to do that rather than leaving it open and potentially lose its track. It looks like my prediction of it not being able to match The Dark Knight has been proved wrong.
A couple of months ago, I watched the 1989 Batman movie and I have to say that it looked pretty buffoonish if you compare to The Dark Knight trilogy. The main reason is that the new movies have a darker and more edgy tone. Christopher Nolan has taken a close-to-failure franchise to a whole new level that no one could possibly imagine and has gone on to become one of if not the greatest movie directors in this era. I still maintain that the best movies he did are Inception and The Prestige. Nevertheless he deserves credit for putting Batman back on the movie map and more. I look forward to what he has to offer with next year's Man of Steel and beyond.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Nothing special really
The Amazing Spider-Man is supposed to be a reboot of the Spider-Man movie franchise. Tobey Maguire is replaced by Andrew Garfield in the protagonist role of Peter Parker. His main love interest switches from Mary-Jane Watson to Gwen Stacy, and the villain in this installment is Dr Curt Connors aka Lizard. As expected, this reboot goes back to the beginning when Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man only it is told in a rather different way to the 2002 movie. This time they also try to add a bit more character oriented storyline.
Is it a good movie? Yes, particularly since I saw this movie in IMAX. This made the action scenes more exciting to watch. It also uses a villain that hasn't been used in the previous movies so at least it does make it different from the previous movies.
Is it a successful reboot of the franchise? In my opinion, not really. It's been five years since the last Spider-Man movie came out, and ten years since the movie franchise was first introduced. Even when they made the announcement of this movie being made, I was questioning it because it's just too soon to make a reboot. For the same reason, this reboot is not refreshing. Without trying to give anything away, you can recognise that this movie takes some of the elements from the 2002 movie. The character oriented storyline doesn't add that much meat to the character of Peter Parker as its supposed to. Its easier to count this as another installment only with different actors playing the roles.
I really enjoyed the first three Spider-Man movies, and yes that includes Spider-Man 3. This new Spider-Man movie is also enjoyable but it fails to refresh the series. It seems that I was right in thinking that its too soon to do so.
Safe House (2012)
Met my expectations
In this movie, Denzel Washington plays an agent who has gone rogue, finally captured, and taken to a safe house guarded by Ryan Reynolds' character. But then the safe house is attacked leading to both characters going on the run from the attackers.
Without giving any details of the story away, one could argue that it was fair bit predictable, but the story was still a good one. There were a couple of scenes which do get you on the edge of your seat. If you're an action movie fan like me, then there is enough to satisfy. I should also like to emphasise that its about time that they put in proper action scenes since many action movies as of late don't seem to have scenes like this anymore making it all the more frustrating. Hopefully this movie will repave the way for future action movies to follow the same style.
After seeing the trailer for this movie, I was blown away and left wanting to see it. I'm glad to say that I got what I wanted from it.