Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Furious Seven (2015)
Not the Fastest, But the Most Furious
I doubt anybody who was in any way involved with The Fast and The Furious (2001) had ever been bold enough to predict that this series could ever be steered this far, and towards so different a direction. But here we are, at the 7th entry in this franchise that was established upon the simplest possible idea of racing with hot guys and chicks. If one has never peeked at any of these films, and merely know the series from its sensational commercial success and its seemingly endless string of sequels that occupy cinemas every two years with rocket-science punctuality, he might cringe at the very notion of yet another succession of mindless money-grabbing hormone-oriented flicks for young generations, who seem to have nothing better to do than ruining the market of motion picture as we know it. Well, he wouldn't be entirely wrong, that is, until this point.
Fast & Furious 7 is---there's no better way to describe it---the ultimate Fast & Furious movie. For more than a decade, this series has been somewhat a bunch of random ideas, cast at the wall by producers, directors and other involved parties. Now it's time to finally gather everything that sticks, and aggregate them into a 137 min of one breath- taking action sequence segueing into another that's even more mind- blowing.
The subject matter this movie deals with is "the death of a friend"--- actually, scratch that, it's "a death in the family". Inside the world of the movie, it's about Han; outside, it's about Paul Walker. This is a major reason why Furious 7 not only aspires to be the best of its kind, it also NEEDS to be the special one.
The two deaths, both in reality and in fiction, propels this movie up to an unprecedented level of expectation even before it begins. This is everything that's been built up to. And amazingly, it lives up to it. Since the character of Han was introduced and killed in Tokyo Drift, Fast 4 to 6 became, to a certain extent, The Final Odyssey of Han. I don't know if they ever deliberated every move like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but in hindsight, it's brilliant. The tragic death of Paul Walker only adds to the movie's heavy sense of fatalism, even further making it the culmination of everything. The filmmakers are fully aware of this. The last minutes became a sentimental farewell to Walker's character, the most perfect send-off they could have visualized. Are they perhaps consciously capitalizing on Walker's tragedy? Absolutely! But we wouldn't have it any other way!
The more I like this movie, the more I can't help but lament why Fast & Furious 6 didn't seem to work just as fine. Furious 7 brought out the best part of Fast Five, the fascinating chemistry among the team members, including the Rock. They spill out wittily-designed dialogue, every syllable a manifestation of their own personality. Whereas last time, it all seemed rushed and contrived. Probably something to do with Justin Lin, the director behind Fast 3 to 6, who, by that time, had to be feeling a bit exhausted. I'm glad to see James Wen, who is more celebrated with his filmography in the horror genre (Saw, Dead Silence, Insidious, The Conjuring, etc), rejuvenates the series without losing its sight or style.
I could compliment this movie from a thousand more different angles, but the truth is, it's not without its faults. I still don't completely agree with the decision of bringing back Letty, which renders some of the previous adventures totally pointless. She has her share of struggle in this film, still suffering from amnesia and wishing she could be whole again. I can't honestly blame her for not remembering her past in a flash, considering that I, who saw all previous movies, couldn't quite recall what she did before her "death". This subplot conveniently became useful in the end, in a scene where conflicts are so obviously created just so this subplot can be useful. To be honest, between the death of our beloved character and people, between Vin Diesel's talk about family and everything else, we really have little emotional room left for this. Also, because actions are so tightly arranged, one is liable to feel some slight visual fatigue at a later point. I also don't recommend watching it in 3D. The effects are okay, but the last third of the film largely took place at nighttime, or in dim-lighted places, which means not ideal for 3D viewing (if you remember Pirates of the Caribbean 4).
Fast & Furious 7 is exactly what fans have been hoping for, and is most probably what non-fans wish this series could become. It's not perfect, but then again, it's not supposed to be. What it should be is special, and in that it indubitably succeeded.
Missed opportunity? Perhaps
The 5th entry in this longevous slasher series was released one year after the 4th one, which was most inappropriately titled The Last Chapter. This is the movie that was supposed to link the old series centered on Jason (including the first one about his mother) to a new series of sequels surrounding Tommy, the child victim turned psychopath. So the task was simple and clear, to pay homage to the old and tell an origin story for the new, what could go wrong? By 2015, 6 more Friday movies were released, including a reboot, plus a crossover with the Nightmare franchise, all of which are about the original Jason. So the inevitable solution is, A New Beginning failed.
Had they gone as they planned and installed Tommy as the new villain, this movie might not be put in such an awkward place in the series, being the only one that doesn't feature the real Jason or his mother. Similar to Season of the Witch, the 3rd film in the Halloween series, which is the only one not concerning Michael Myers. That film is known for being better than reputed, because fans are too mad about its irrelevancy to notice any actual good about the project. So could this be the same case with A New Beginning? Is it also misunderstood, just because it's different?
IT IS NOT!
As explained above, the core plot line of this film is predestined, which means all they had to do was add some typical slasher-standard characters, and invent new ways for them to die. And they couldn't even do that right!! At least 70% of this movie is filler, completely pointless scenes that refuses to end, characters acting as stupidly as possible, annoying your butt off while doing so, until you actually cheer for the murderer when he kills them off, restoring what little tranquility that's left in you when watching this disappointment. It's boring, it's stupid, and it's plainly a bad film.
But in every case of failure, there are redeemable elements. The big mystery of this film is the identity of the killer. You do have to guess all the way (if you manage to actually care, that is). Is it Jason who came back to life? Is it Tommy who finally lost his mind? Is it the lunatic that hacked another kid in the beginning? I do admit that the final answer is something probably nobody saw coming. But simply because it's stupid as hell. But everyone to their own opinion, somebody might think it's brilliant and they're entitled to it. Considering the overall criticisms this film received, I doubt there're many defenders.
So except that little ounce of mystery, nothing in this film works at all. There is no scare, no blood gushing, no exceptionally entertaining ways of murder, no believable or likable characters. Even the sound design is kinda crappy. Not helped by the complete idiocy of all characters. There are a million chances for these victims to finish the killer off, but they never even try it. When it comes to Friday movies, expectations aren't raised very high, but A New Beginning still manages fall below.
Had this movie worked as planned, what would have happened for this beloved series? We can't know for sure. It's hard to imagine anyone replacing the machete-wielding disfigured under hockey-mask. Perhaps we should be secretly glad that this Tommy thing didn't work out, or we wouldn't have Freddy vs. Jason.
Worthless piece of garbage
There is one trait I find common among modern Hollywood horror movies, a genre that has taken gratifying and progressive steps in recent years: they're always ambitious and have a strong first act, so much so that they tend to end underwhelmingly simply because they can't really cover that much potential that has been promised.
This movie is NOT the case!
Ouija board is one of the most common props for horror films, so it's only natural that a movie after which is named is centered around a Ouija case. However, although I don't know who really wrote this film, I can honestly say as a viewer, that this could be written by ANYONE! The plot is so appallingly clichéd and shallow, it would mostly make a Supernatural episode---a mid-season filler, not even one of the better. There is zero creativity in this movie. What's worse? You don't sense any effort, either. How a script so simple could be green-lighted for a feature film is beyond me. I can only assume it's a quick money-grabber to be released on Halloween. And I heard it worked pretty well commercially.
None of the other aspects of the film made any attempts to make this movie, if not a good motion picture, but at least an entertaining experience. As we know, bad films can be equally fun to watch, which is especially true in the horror genre. But, again, not this one. The acting is bad, even by horror standards. Character development, well, not bad, BECAUSE THERE ISN'T ANY!
So far, my comments can also apply to another 2014 horror film, Anabelle. But that film excelled, at least, in creating an intense atmosphere, great sound effects and some really good scares, even if many are plain shameless jump scares. Ouija, sadly, fails at delivering even the faintest idea of fright, which is the basic idea of horror films. Not even the jump scares are scary here. How the hell do you fail jump scares? Any dude with a hand-held camera can shoot jump scares!!
So my conclusion of this film is...exactly the title I employed. There are no redeeming factors. I can't imagine any group of filmwatcher to find this entertaining. Not that my opinion counts for much, but don't even waste your money to rent this.
The Flash (2014)
First episode? Amazing!
So finally it's here. After swearing not to follow another CW cheap series after Supernatural ends, which hasn't happened, I found myself catching up with two seasons of Arrow in a matter of days after ignoring it for 2 years, just because a friend told me that Flash is featured in it and there'll be a stand-alone show for him. I had been waiting for something for Flash for years, with its exciting ideas and possibilities, and now, the first episode didn't disappoint.
The show appears to be following some standard superhero and CW routines, which is frustrating and annoying sometimes, but also can be done well. It's at its worst when it gets into relationships and characters we couldn't care less, and at its best when...you guessed it, when it strikes you with the actions. Some over-familiar elements have to be addressed here. Anyone who has seen one episode of Smallville can tell the unmistakable similarity between their pilots, namely the big idea that create our one-episode super-powered freaks. Only what used to be a Kryptonite meteor-storm becomes an unknown energy breakout in the city. Then there's the "my dream girl's dad is a cop and he wants his daughter out of it so I'm filled with guilt" formula that has been used just way too many times in recent years. From the Amazing Spider-Man series to Flash's sister show, Arrow. Seriously CW? You guys really that short on scripts?
Speaking of Arrow, Oliver's guest appearance is most welcome here, even though he didn't really do anything. It gave me some expectations in his coming 3rd season. But to be honest, I usually have to fast- forward some Arrow sequences that involve his girlfriend Laurel or his sister. Green Arrow is a very limited hero, so a large part of the show has to be focused on relationships and character development, which usually in CW shows range from mediocre to downright unwatchable. The Flash, on the other hand, although share some of those problems, does promise a kick-ass action that wakes me up instantly. It's not of movie standards of course, but it's satisfactory enough it made me say "so that's where my Supernatural budget went."
So where does it stand among the many superhero-themed shows today? It's still hard to tell because it's only the pilot, but for now I would place it above Arrow and Agents of Shield. Gotham? It's also a new show and it looks promising, we'll just see.
Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014)
Best DC Animation in a Long Time!
Why is Batman the most popular superhero? His dark edges? His vulnerability? Actually it's the villains. Batman has officially the BEST villains of all comics, even everywhere.
Which is why Assault on Arkham works so surprisingly well! It focuses more on the new Suicide Squad than the Dark Knight. We've known so much about Batman that we really can't get that sympathetic about his murdered parents anymore, but once we shift to the struggles of Deadshot and Harley, it becomes fresh again. Let's face it, everyone in Batman stories are lunatics, Batman included. But just maybe it's not so easy to be a villain after all.
Apart from the clever change of perspective, this movie offers just enough of the familiar stuff to keep traditional fans satisfied. Batman doesn't cover as much screen time as before, but from the eyes of villains, he is more menacing and awesome than ever. The animation is superb, voice acting is also top notch and satisfying. All in all, this is a movie that knows what fans want and delivers.
Every time we lose faith in the Bat, his villains make us fall in love with these characters again. Keep up the good work, DC, and don't screw up the B V S movie!