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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Resident Evil: Retribution" is strictly for fans of the series and for
those who love mindless, long action sequences filled with blood.
Period. Anyone expecting a storyline or strong performances should stay
away with this film.
The "Resident Evil" series has reached its fifth installment and this latest one delivers the same thing it's good at: mindless action scenes. There is hardly a storyline here. The opening sequence of the film runs way too long. That takes roughly fifteen minutes off the ninety-minute run. It directly takes place where the last film left off and Alice is captured by the Umbrella Corporation once again. Then, with unlikely help from Albert Wesker, she plans to escape the facility (now controlled by the Red Queen, that AI girl) by going through replicas of cities which are used as testing ground for experiments by the Umbrella Corporation. That's it.
The replicas explain the numerous environments portrayed in the trailer. Actually, it's only one place. The trailer also displayed the return of some characters that appeared in the previous installments. We see the return of Michelle Rodriguez as Rain Ocampo, Oded Fehr as Carlos Olivera, and some others who died in the previous films. They're actually just clones, made to serve the Umbrella Corporation. However, there are also good clones of them, which are used to be part of the simulations.
"Retribution" is full of mindless action sequences that never seem to stop. You won't have time to take a breath before the next action sequence begins. The fight choreography is outstanding and the 3D enlivens the scenes. That's probably the shining spot of the whole film.
Other than that, the film is decent at best. I wonder if there will be a sequel to this film. Director Paul W. S. Anderson stated that the sixth installment will conclude the series. If that is so, then the last shot of this film sets up a good atmosphere for the next film.
Rating: 5/10 Final Verdict: "Resident Evil: Retribution" will attract fans and action buffs but will not be suitable for others who want a clear story and convincing performances.
So what made them decide to remake the great 1990 sci-fi classic? No
answer. This year's "Total Recall" remake is an entertaining sci-fi
flick with lots of mindless action, extraordinary sets, but redundant.
Its visual effects are energetic and watching them on the wide screen
is a pleasure but that can't hide the fact that it has a convoluted
plot and decent performances by the actors.
Colin Farrell replaces the Governator as the lead character here Douglas Quaid. World War III has caused most of Earth uninhabitable and only two territories exist, the United Federation of Britain (UFB) and the Colony (Australia); there is no Mars in this film although it was mentioned in one occasion. Quaid lives in the Colony and every day he uses this elevator service called "The Fall" to get to work in the UFB. One day, he decides to visit Rekall, a place where they implant memories into your mind. The police arrive and Quaid escapes. Later on, everything in his world turns upside down. He then gets involved in a series of action sequences filled with mind-blowing special effects to discover his true identity.
Let's start with the good things. The visual effects are just marvelous. The buildings, cities, and everything was just jaw-dropping. It's full of energy. Everything that is part of the set is just so energetic and bright. This is certainly a triumph over the remake. And the action sequences come along with the visual effects. You'll be satisfied with the action sequences as there are more than enough presented here. You have action all the time and you can only catch a short break before explosions run all over the screen again.
Like most Philip K. Dick's stories, it's science-fiction and set in the future. So, we expect some rad futuristic technology in this film. And it does not disappoint. A lift that takes you half around the world in just 20 minutes. Flying cars that use some magnetic force or something (I'm not good at science). Handphones that are integrated into your very hand (for video calling, all you have to do is put your hand on any solid like glass or mirrors). This is all great stuff. For those who love seeing futuristic items, this movie offers some great inventions.
However, the actors' performances aren't all that great. Colin Farrell is a great actor but he hasn't got the power yet to head an action film. He ain't Arnold Swarzchnegger. A lead in an action film may not be his strongest point but I'm sure he can improve that in a couple of years. Also, Kate Beckinsale gave a stunning performance. She portrayed Lori maliciously. However, Jessica Biel drove a mediocre performance as Melina, the good girl. Her dialogue delivery was typical and she gave a normal performance. The others did decent performances and didn't give anything special.
The plot is definitely NOT one of the biggest points for this film. It doesn't change much with the original plot. I like how they added some finishing touches and gave some extra bits to this one. But not all of the scenes work. In fact, sometimes I get confused on what is actually happening in the film. Some of the twists work but some of them just leave me confused. Who's the good guy? Who's the bad guy? Maybe that's part of the movie experience as the main character is in a desperate search for needs but for me, that just makes it confusing.
Oh yeah! If you're taking your kids to watch this film, watch out! There's one particular scene where it is inappropriate. Yep!
All in all, "Total Recall" is a fun and energetic sci-fi film that is easily forgettable. It's full of action sequences, mind-blowing visual effects, impressive fictional inventions, and fascinating sets. It's full of energy but is downed by some mediocre performances and unclear plot. Overall, it is good but easily forgettable.
Final Verdict: This "Total Recall" remake is an energetic sci-fi effort filled with endless action, pleasing visual effects, and cool fictional inventions that is easily forgettable.
Christopher Nolan's "Batman" trilogy that started with "Batman Begins"
back in 2005, continued with 2008's "The Dark Knight", finally
concludes with the arrival of "The Dark Knight Rises". And this
conclusion is a very ambitious, thrilling, exciting, and epic ending to
one of the greatest trilogies of all time. Nolan has transformed the
meaning of superhero films. "The Dark Knight Rises" is no longer a
normal superhero film, it's something beyond that.
Not many movie sequels are able to match its predecessors' quality especially when the bar is so high. When the first entry is excellent, many sequels fail to match their predecessors' quality. But "The Dark Knight" on the other hand improved on the already amazing "Batman Begins". The third entry is even harder. An example is the Godfather trilogy which faltered with its third installment. But "The Dark Knight Rises" is different, it manages to meet the high standard set by its nearly-perfect predecessor.
Four years have since the release of "The Dark Knight". But the gap in the story is double that. Batman has taken the blame for Harvey Dent's crimes and he has disappeared for eight years since his encounter with Two-Face. In the process, Gotham is experiencing peace time while Bruce Wayne has grown during his hiding in Wayne Manor. He's even grown facial hair and uses a walking stick. Meanwhile, Wayne Enterprises is falling apart and is on the verge of bankruptcy.
However, Gotham faces a new threat, someone who is powerful both physically and mentally. He is no other than Bane. Equipped with a mask that supplies him a specific gas to help alleviate the excruciating pain he sustained years ago, he is one of Batman's most terrifying adversaries. What helps him become an even more dangerous villain is the brilliant performance by Tom Hardy. While his performance is no match for the brilliant performance of the late Heath Ledger, Hardy's is pleasing in its own right. His menacing voice adds a layer of tension to whenever he makes an appearance and his body-language performance is just outstanding. And of course, this Bane is much more menacing than the Bane we witnessed years ago in "Batman & Robin".
"The Dark Knight Rises" starts off slow and the first hour of the film focuses on Bruce's eventual return as the Dark Knight. The tension eventually builds up into one of the best climax scenes Hollywood has ever created. Early on, minor characters get more screen time than they did before and this includes Alfred, Bruce's loyal butler, and Lucius Fox, the man behind all of Bruce's devices. We also meet some new characters, and those include two mysterious but important women whom we will meet throughout the film.
The two women are Selina Kyle and Miranda Tate. Selina Kyle is a professional cat burglar who is able to steal almost anything. She's also able to obtain Bruce Wayne's thumb prints. She's also known by her more famous alias, Catwoman. Her presence in the film ups the tension and excitement. Anne Hathaway's performance is also amazing as Catwoman. I didn't think she had what it takes but her performance here proved me wrong. She was able to portray someone who was charming, sly, and bad-ass. As for Miranda Tate, she is more than just Bruce's love interest and Marion Cotillard's performance successfully hides that.
"The Dark Knight Rises" proves to be the biggest, darkest, and most epic "Batman" film yet. This is the first time we get to see Gotham in total chaos. Literally total chaos. Bane unleashes all the criminals Harvey Dent imprisoned during his time as DA and as a result, tremendous chaos ensues on the streets. The government is dead, the rich are robbed of their wealth, Gotham is in anarchy, everyone's life is at stake, and Gotham is on the verge of destruction while Batman is preparing to rise for one last stand against Bane. It's also the most emotional installment of the trilogy as the relationship between Bruce and Alfred is more damaged than ever.
Batman doesn't make many appearances here as he is struggling to rise but every time he makes an appearance, he does it in spectacular fashion. His presence on the screen always makes the audiences engaged. This can be attributed to Christian Bale's outstanding performance as the Caped Crusader. His 'Bat' voice is more menacing than ever and he mixes a perfect balance of emotions.
The other minor characters were also driven by amazing performances. Gary Oldman gave his best to portray Commissioner James Gordon. James Gordon-Levitt also gave a great performance for young cop John Blake. Michael Caine gave Alfred heart as his relationship with Bruce deteriorates. Morgan Freeman was stunning as he gave out some laughs as Lucius Fox. The cast's performances were all very excellent and they deserve the Oscars.
"The Dark Knight Rises" is also the most action-packed movie of the trilogy. It may be slow at first but it switches to full gear in one of the most sensational climaxes ever. We get to see Batman fighting in the daylight. We also see Batman fight to his fullest against Bane as well as saving Gotham from total annihilation. It's lengthy, it's full of explosions, casualties, unsuspected revelations, and accompanied with flawless yet heart-pounding music.
All in all, "The Dark Knight Rises" is a beautiful piece of art. It changes the way people think about superhero films. It changes its meaning. It's beyond a normal superhero film. The villain is satisfying, the film is emotional and filled with heart, the performances are outstanding, and the climax is just brilliant. The ending of the film does not disappoint either. Christopher Nolan is now legend and "The Dark Knight Rises" is his magnum opus.
Final Verdict: "The Dark Knight Rises" is a stunning finale to Nolan's brilliant "Batman" trilogy and is truly legend.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
We've arrived at the fourth chapter in the "Ice Age" franchise, and
believe it or not, it's been a decade since the original film. The
fourth one offers a great time for families, and is hilarious. However,
after reaching its peak in "Dawn of the Dinosaurs", I felt that
"Continental Drift" was unsatisfying when compared to predecessors.
After protecting a human child, avoiding a meltdown, and surviving dinosaurs, the super continent of Pangeaea is separating into today's continents. All this is caused by our lovable squirrel Scrat, accidentally due to his endless quest to get his acorn. This causes a large landmass to move and separates Manny from his family (wife Ellie and now-grown daughter Peaches). Manny, along with sloth Sid, saber-toothed tiger Diego, and Sid's "lunatic" Granny, now stranded on a small block of floating ice, attempt to return back. Meanwhile, the moving landmass forces Ellie, Peaches and the other animals to head to a land bridge.
During their little journey, Manny, Sid, Diego, and Granny encounter a crew of pirates led by the ape Captain Gutt. From here on, we experience a whole lot more action scenes than we expected and needed and makes "Continental Drift" as the most action-packed installment of the series yet. While this is the most action-packed yet, I still think that the story is a bit lacking in richness. This installment lacks subplots causing me to believe that the filmmakers might have been quite lazy when writing the film. In fact, they recycled some of the elements from the previous films for this one. Quite embarrassing when the previous installments were all brilliant.
There were some subplots that try to enrich the story but some of them are just mediocre at best. This refers to the love subplot between Diego and one of Captain Gutt's apprentices, a saber-toothed tiger named Shira. After Diego saved her life, a relationship sparked but it had poor development. I felt it was too rushed and it would have been killer if they had been more careful. But well, it's a family movie. There's another one which features a love triangle between Peaches (Manny and Ellie's 19-year-old daughter), Louis (a mole hog who is Peaches's best friend and who has a crush on Peaches), and Ethan (the popular mammoth whom Peaches has a crush on and is unexpectedly voiced by rapper Drake). This one was done perfectly and was impressive.
I also felt that the film lacked that heart and touching feeling we experienced in the previous three films. I mean, we were sort of tickled when we discovered Manny's desire for family in the first film, and when we discovered Ellie's past in the second film, and when we saw Sid say his final goodbyes to the dinosaurs in the third film. In "Continental Drift" that feeling is gone. Nowhere to be found. I personally felt that that was one of the strongest points of the "Ice Age" films but it was nowhere to be found in this one.
For the first time, we catch a glimpse of Sid's family. That includes his mother, father, Granny and etc. Apparently they only came to dump "lunatic" Granny for Sid before they escaped because Granny is too hard to handle. Granny later on makes an addition to the trio and despite being sort of crazy, she proved to be useful in the climax of the scene.
In "Continental Drift" we meet new species of animals. We meet an ape, kangaroo, wild boar, rabbit, badger, elephant seal, a Blue-footed Booby, and more. Most of them are part of Gutt's crew. But interestingly, we meet a creature that is part of legend, Greek mythology to be exact. They are none other than the Sirens. They take on the appearance of loved ones to lure the animals into danger. They are indeed deadly, but were almost unable to lure Scrat, after taking the form of former girlfriend Scratte.
Speaking of Scrat, his quest to grab that acorn continues. This time, he encounters a map that would take him to the heaven of acorns, Scratlantis. He doesn't interact with the trio like they did in the previous installment. Even if you thought it would be exhausting to see him again and again, it never gets old. Seeing Scratch's futile attempts at getting his hands on the acorn is just hilarious.
I have to say the animation was excellent. It was wonderful, flawless and extremely detailed. This is a significant improvement over the previous three installments. The 3D works although it isn't mandatory.
There is a big crew of voice talents behind the studio. Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, and Denis Leary, reprise their roles as Manny, Sid, and Diego, respectively and they are still better than ever. Queen Latifah also reprises her role as Ellie as she drives her character with power. Keke Palmer fills in the role of Manny and Ellie's teenage daughter Peaches, who is stubborn and grown-up. Some of today's hottest singers are also here. Rapper Drake fills in the voice of Ethan whereas Nicki Minaj provides the voice of Steffie, another woolly mammoth. We even have Jennifer Lopez filling in for Shira.
"Continental Drift" may not be a worthy follow-up to the previous installments but it promises to be a great fun time in the theaters for families. It's hilarious and the most action-packed entry of the series yet. I just felt that it didn't capture the heart of the previous installments and the story wasn't rich enough. But hey, it's a family movie not a drama film.
Final Verdict: It may not compare to its brilliant predecessors but "Continental Drift" is a promising movie-going experience for families filled with hilarious moments and action-packed sequences.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Who doesn't know Spider-Man, especially when a trilogy of films based
on the superhero started a little over ten years ago? All three films
have been tremendous successes and have become movie phenomenons.
Sadly, the third film was a mess, filled with too many villains and
disastrous subplots. So to make things easier, they went for the
'reboot' route with Marc Webb replacing Sam Raimi, Andrew Garfield
taking over Tobey Maguire, and Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy replacing
Kirsten Dunst's MJ. Luckily, they did a great job of it.
The story of Peter Parker's origins in "The Amazing Spider-Man" is not necessarily the "Untold Story" as the advertisements say but rather a revamped version. It goes back to basics, taking the key plot points of the original "Spider-Man" film and putting it all together with a few more details and finishing touches. Peter Parker, an orphan living with Uncle Ben and Aunt May, is in high school. He's nerdy and sort of unsociable. He has a hobby in photography although his true passion lies in Science. In an attempt to discover his father's secret life, and of course due to curiosity and stubbornness, he gets bitten by a modified spider and gains his superpowers. His superpowers however don't include being able to shoot webs out of his hands as now he uses mechanical devices to shoot out the webs.
Those who watched the 2002 original blockbuster may feel over-familiar with the first hour of the film as it stays very similar with it. Even Uncle Ben's death is present here, albeit killed by a different person. However, I must say that the origin story is done perfectly and more enjoyable than the one provided in the first film. It's more detailed and his parents, especially his father, is more involved here. It's also surprisingly more touching, and more emotional.
Here, the villain is someone who hasn't appeared in any of the previous films. It's no other than the Lizard. Apparently the Lizard is the result of an experiment done by Dr. Curt Connors, who is the working partner of Peter's dad, Richard Parker. Both of them have been working on cross-species genetics planning to cure others. Unfortunately, Richard died in a plane crash along with his wife resulting in Peter becoming an orphan. Connors has also lost his right arm in an incident and has been observing the regenerative abilities of reptiles (particularly the lizard) in an attempt to grow his right arm back. With the help of Peter Parker, he successfully creates the serum and it worked. However, it does just more than that, the serum completely changes him and turns him into a monster named The Lizard, now equipped with superhuman strength and abilities.
Gwen Stacy's is Spider-Man's main love interest here. Unlike MJ, she is also interested in Science, not someone into singing or anything like that. In fact, she is like the assistant of Dr. Connors and works in Oscorp. Even though she loves Peter Parker and knows of his secret identity, her father is apparently Captain George Stacy and Captain in the Police Department and has issued an arrest warrant for Spider-Man. So much trouble. This creates a stronger romance for the film and is definitely another triumph over the original Spider-Man.
"The Amazing Spider-Man" offers very powerful performances by the actors. Andrew Garfield gave a great performance as the newly revamped Spider-Man. However, I thought that he would be unsuitable as he would look like someone you don't want to mess with and hardly a nerd. But that all changed when I saw this film. He successfully gave Peter the teenage personality needed and was stunning. Emma Stone also gave a great performance as Gwen Stacy and the chemistry between the two leads were convincing. Rhys Ifans gave a cruel and menacing portrayal of Dr. Curt Connors and also did a great job.
The reboot also had impressive 3D effects and one of the few films that uses the 3D wisely. The sets more realistic and envelops you into the action. Talking about action, the battles here are also very exciting and creates high levels of suspense. However, I thought that some of the action sequences are less creative than others and therefore not consistent. The battle in the bridge was satisfying whereas the battle in the school was less creative although it incorporated a very humorous scene.
Just when you thought Spider-Man was becoming "Batman Begins" and descending into darkness, it instead became an action film filled with lots of humor too. There are many comedic scenes that make the film fun and not too depressing. The most humorous scene was actually the one with the signature Stan Lee cameo, the creator himself. This is by far the best Stan cameo I've ever seen and was very hilarious.
"The Amazing Spider-Man" is amazing indeed. It has great acting, impressive 3D effects, and a detailed familiar plot. The two things that downed this film was probably that familiar feeling of the plot which makes it less intriguing (especially when the original film just came out a little over ten years ago), and the less creative battles in the movie. However, the former can be repaired by the more detailed additional plot points and polishes to the origin story. Otherwise, I enjoyed the film immensely. It had a great villain, fun comedic moments, exciting action sequences, and a strong love subplot. I would say that this reboot is probably better than the original, far better than the third, and on par with the second. And watch for that one scene after the credits start rolling.
Final Verdict: "The Amazing Spider-Man" offers viewers an excellent reboot to one of the greatest Marvel franchises ever, thanks to Andrew Garfield's excellent performance, and director Marc Webb who has polished the origin story and crafted an action-packed, emotional, and funny superhero film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Today, Pixar is undoubtedly one of the most invincible force in the
movie industry. Since "Toy Story 2", the studio has unleashed
nine-straight string of $200 million movies and each of their movies
have been favored by both audiences and critics alike. Even though last
year's "Cars 2" failed to meet expectations in both critical (I still
liked it though) and box office prospects, Pixar is still undeniably
one of the most powerful studios existing now and the arrival of 2012's
"Brave" just reaffirms that statement.
Stepping away from the world of racing cars, "Brave" explores the life of Princess Merida , a master archer princess living in the lands of Scotland during the Middle Ages. Apparently, she doesn't like being a princess because she thinks her whole life is fully planned and therefore she lacks freedom in her life because of her mother, Queen Elinor, and of course because of old traditions. Also, she has to decide which oldest son of the three allied clans would she marry because of old tradition which causes her to show more hate to her mother. In an attempt to change her mother's mind, she seeks a witch living in the middle of a dark forest for a magical spell that will change her mother. Unfortunately, "change her mother" to the witch means change physically and so Queen Elinor is transformed into a bear instead. Now, she has to reverse the curse before it's too late.
Unlike other princesses out there, Merida is a tomboy, a master archer, a rebellious teenage girl who dislikes being a princess. Her father, King Fergus gave her her first bow in the beginning of the movie. This causes it to distance the movie from other princess movies. She's a warrior, magnet to danger, full of courage, unlike those princesses who act all clumsy when they meet the villains. She has triplet brothers: Harris, Hubert, and Hamish. They are even worse than Merida. They act like little devils and are incredibly naughty and bring lots of trouble but they can be helpful sometimes. They are adorably-designed and will undoubtedly be audience favorites.
Merida's parents are Queen Elinor and King Fergus. Queen Elinor is a highly proper mother. She's caring, kind, patient, but also stern, highly organized, very tidy, and sometimes can be annoying to Merida because of her queen-like personality. King Fergus on the other hand is more cheerful, messy, and playful, sometimes to Elinor's dismay. In the beginning of the movie, King Fergus lost his leg in an encounter with an ancient savage bear named Mor'du. From then on, he's sworn revenge against the bear.
The rendering of Scotland during the Middle Ages is amazing and incredible. Every point in the grasslands, every shrub is just incredibly detailed. The trees and everything look so lifelike that I almost forgot that I was watching an animated toon, not a live-action film. This shows how Pixar is one of the best movie creators of all time. The 3D enlivens the scenes even more and is recommended.
Perhaps the one thing that downgraded this film was its climax. I was expecting a battle with Mor'du yes, but also a little involvement with the witch, maybe a little cameo or maybe using the full potential of her powers. Instead, the witch skipped the scene and left it to Mor'du to handle alone. Also, Merida didn't really get involved in the climax because it was actually Queen Elinor as the bear who did most of the fighting. Even King Fergus and his allied clans are no match for Mor'du.
Continuing the tradition of having short films precede the films, "Brave" is preceded by an animated short named "La Luna". The short is about a boy with his father and grandfather who are sailing on a boat. They then stop in the middle of the sea and use a ladder (that's right) to go to the Moon. Apparently the Moon is made up of dozens of glowing smaller stars. The three then sweep the stars to form a crescent moon shape. All I have to say about "La Luna" is that it's gorgeous, marvelous, and beautiful.
"Brave" is a highly recommended film and anyone disappointed with Pixar's previous entry "Cars 2" will be satisfied with the latest film from one of the most dominant forces in the movie industry. It may not be groundbreaking but it offers a lot of fun, plenty of humor, and lovable characters notably Merida's triplet brothers. "Brave" also sends out a message to improve communication between mothers and daughters. With great voice performances, "Brave" offers satisfaction.
Final Verdict: It may not be groundbreaking but "Brave" is a great film that reaffirms the fact that Pixar is one of the powerful forces in the movie industry.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When I discovered this movie, skepticism washed over me. I mean,
Abraham Lincoln as a vampire hunter? Having one of the greatest
presidents of all time as the character of a vampire hunter would be
the last thing anyone would expect. When I entered the theater, my
initial thought was that this movie would bring me disappointment. But
it turned out to be much better than expected and a fun film filled
with lots of violence, blood, gore, and vampire decapitations.
So, in the film adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's fantasy novel, Abraham Lincoln is a vampire hunter. But before he becomes that, he's just an ordinary boy living in a world consumed by slavery. One night, his mom died from an undiscovered disease and from then on, he's waited and searched for his mom's killer, only to discover a new large world of vampires. There he becomes a vampire hunter under the guidance of Henry Sturges (who has a secret).
However, his vampire hunting career reaches a hiatus in the middle of a movie where Abraham is now interested in pursuing a career in politics. In the end, he becomes the President of the United States, only to have his career troubled by the devastating Civil War where vampires play a part in it somehow. In the 20 or so minutes that focus on his presidency, I felt there was an issue with it as it shifted the focus of vampire hunting and focused on politics and the Civil War instead as nothing about vampires was stated during this 20 minutes.
The vampires are led by a leader named Adam. Although he might appear to be the strongest, I felt that the vampire John Barts (killer of Abraham's mother) was actually the main antagonist of the film and represented a bigger threat. While Adam had a lengthy climax, the fight with John Barts was much longer and was more personal as only the two of them were involved and more engaging. The scene also displayed more of the abilities possessed by a vampire.
Talking about action scenes, they were all great and fantastic. They were energetic, full of blood, full of gore, extremely violent, and dead brutal. Most of them feature decapitations of the vampires and anyone seeking brutality, deadliness, blood, gore, and violence should be satisfied with the action scenes provided here. But what I noticed in the action scenes, particularly the Lincoln-Barts fight and parts of the climax, was that it was quite unclear. In the Lincoln-Barts fight, the two were in a sandy place with many horses galloping. I felt that there was too much sand flying around and the fight became unclear and a bit brownish. This made it hard to see what was going on. It might intentionally done like that to give it more of an old feeling but it may also be a distraction because you don't know what's going on. The same happened in parts of the climax but this time, smoke and sparks caused it.
The script was a bit uneven. While the second half of the film was a bit better, I felt that the first half of the film was a bit lacking in dialog. There was little talk and there was too many decapitations, blood, and gore. I felt that the scenes progressed too fast and they should have taken it more patiently. In fact, most of the talk in the first part of the film comes from Abraham, due in part to the narration of fragments of his diary. The others rarely talk and probably only talk so little and it's only by the second half that they talk more. However, the performances by the actors were okay, not too terrible to burden the overall movie experience.
I also felt there was a bit of a disaster with the make-up. Since the time in the story spans from Abraham's early adulthood to his fifties, we could clearly see a change in his facial appearance (a beard). We can also see this change with Abraham's friend Joshua Speed. The same cannot be said with Abraham's wife Mary Todd, and Abraham's other friend Will Johnson. Mary Todd doesn't appear to change with the exception of very few creases on her face whereas Will Johnson doesn't have a change in appearance at all. His face is exactly the same his hair didn't even turn white.
However, the 3D was excellent. It takes you and makes you part of the scenes and is recommended although some of the scenes would make the 3D a nuisance. But other scenes where there is blood will be enhanced by the 3D and some of the blood may even squirt out to your face. And the visual effects! Oh they're such a wonder. But of course, impressive visual effects and eye-catching stunts would be what you would expect from a movie directed by Timur Bekmambetov.
Overall, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" is a film that offers moviegoers a fun time with plenty of bloody and gory action sequences filled with eye-catching stunts, impressive visual effects and excellent 3D effects. Despite the interesting plot, the film is downed by some poor unclear shots, an uneven script that mostly focused on action, not on dialog, and poor make-up. Regardless, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" is a movie you should see if you want a bloody fun time.
Final Verdict: Despite the uneven script, some poor unclear shots, and poor make-up, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" promises moviegoers a bloody fun time with gory action scenes, eye-catching stunts, impressive visual effects, and excellent 3D effects with an interesting and somehow peculiar plot line.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's hard to believe that it has been over seven years since the first
"Madagascar" film arrived in theaters back in 2005. Now, the number of
installments in the movie franchise has risen to three. In "Madagascar
3: Europe's Most Wanted" we are reunited with our beloved Alex the
Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe. Our
favorite animals are stuck in Africa and are missing their home in
Central Park Zoo in New York. In the process, they head to Europe
(marking a shift in the setting compared to its two predecessors which
are set in Africa) where most of the adventure takes place. Regardless,
this third installment is a marked improvement from its two excellent
predecessors, offers a great deal of fun, and promises a hear-pumping
"Europe's Most Wanted" is mostly set in Europe, from Monte Carlo all the way to London. This marks a shift in the setting compared to its two predecessors which are set in Africa. Anyways, you're probably wondering "What happens in this third installment?". Apparently our four favorite animals are stranded in Africa along with King Julien, Maurice, and Mort. The penguins and monkeys left them and head to Monte Carlo (specifically the luxurious casinos) and promise to never come back. The remaining seven animals then head to Europe to capture the penguins and monkeys in the hotel, only to cause trouble. Because of the chaos that ensues, Animal Control Captain Chantel DuBois is hired to capture these escaped animals in a chase that spans all over Europe. DuBois is ruthless and she actually wants the animals dead, especially Alex. Aside from ruthless, she possesses some of the coolest moves you would least expect from an elderly woman, and some of the most preposterous tracking methods, more reminiscent of a dog's.
Along the way, the escapees encounter the circus train belonging to the Circus Zaragoza (later renamed Afro Circus) where we meet new friends (which consist of the circus's members). This includes Stefano the sea lion who is a sea lion cannonball, Gia the jaguar who is a skilled trapeze, and the most harrowing of them all, Vitaly the tiger who can jump through a ring of all sizes (even as small as an engagement ring). We also meet Sonya the Bear, whom King Julien develops a romantic yet comedic relationship with. Apparently the circus has been losing its luster ever since Vitaly's bad incident years ago. From then on, the circus crew just didn't have that same energy and excitement they had before. Alex later on along with his friends attempt to rebuild the circus by developing some of the sickest and breathtaking stunts ever for a circus show.
The breathtaking circus stunts bring one of the most entertaining scenes in the entire movie. The scene I'm talking about is when the circus crew, now added with Alex and friends, performed in London. I like how they combine the different acts together along with the neon lights, fantastic sets, and not to forget, Katy Perry's "Firework" song playing in the background, to create something so spectacular and bright and colorful. Add the stunning 3D effect and this scene is just flawless.
"Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" is humorous and is better than the previous two installments even in terms of humor. Marty the Zebra' jokes assure that this film will be humorous while the romantic relationship between Sonya the Bear and King Julien is silly that it makes you laugh. But what made me laugh the most was DuBois's preposterous methods of tracking the animals. She can crawl on all fours and inhale the air to see what the scene was like hours ago. It is so preposterous that it's funny and humorous. She also possesses some of the coolest moves you'll ever see, most of them present in the chase scene in Monte Carlo where DuBois jumps over obstacles with her bike and does crazy stunts.
The actors gave applauding voice performances. Ben Stiller was great as usual providing the voice of Alex the Lion. Chris Rock delivered a great sound for Marty the Zebra. Jada Pinkett Smith gave a strong voice for Gloria the Hippo whereas David Schwimmer provided a great sound for Melman the Giraffe. Frances McDormand gave one of the best performances as she voices DuBois with ruthlessly and hauntingly whereas Bryan Cranston delivered a menacing voice for Vitaly the Tiger. I also loved Martin Short's performance as the sea lion Stefano where he makes Stefano an extremely likable figure and I wished that his screen time had been extended and made longer.
The 3D is also one thing to note about for this film. It's excellent and enhances the movie experience. One of the scenes that benefit from 3D is the circus show set in London where there is an eclectic mix of fantastic sets, breathtaking stunts, and the beautiful upbeat song ("Firework" by Katy Perry) in the background. It makes you feel the movie more and makes the ride more thrilling.
Whether you're a fan of the previous two installments or not, go watch this one. "Europe's Most Wanted" is an improvement from the previous two films, even when its predecessors are already excellent. Its shift in the setting makes the movie more interesting and the presence of a human villain makes it more exciting. The 3D enhances the movie experience and allows you to feel more and capture the heart of the film. Overall, "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" is a great film and highly recommended especially after it's been a long time after the last family-oriented animated movie came out in theaters so go watch this film with your families.
Final Verdict: "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" is an improvement from its two excellent predecessors that entertains you immensely and delivers a great deal of fun - and it has to be watched in 3D.
What created humanity? Why are we here? Who created us? The answers to
these questions are what the characters in "Prometheus" seek in this
two-hour sci-fi film. In this magnificent two-hour adventure of
exploring our beginnings, we are taken to a moon located in a distant
galaxy named LV-223 where clues and secrets to humanity's beginnings
are kept and where dangers against undiscovered species await.
"Prometheus" is a prequel to 1979's science-fiction horror masterpiece "Alien", also directed by Ridley Scott. It's been over 33 years since that critically acclaimed film influenced the movie industry and aside from James Cameron's "Aliens" released in 1986, subsequent films in the series (and that includes the two crossovers "Alien vs. Predator" and "Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem") have brought disappointment and it must have been painful for Ridley Scott to watch his beloved franchise crumble into pieces. But that all changes with the arrival of "Prometheus", the long-awaited prequel to the original "Alien" film.
The first moments of "Prometheus" show us the beautiful sceneries of Earth in the distant past. Is it Earth? We don't know. Then we see an alien with extremely pale skin and well-built standing by a massive waterfall. However, we don't know where the scene is set. The alien drinks a mysterious black liquid and then vomits. He then disintegrates with his remains falling into the bottom of the massive plunge pool where it morphs into something alive.
We then travel into 2089 where Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway discover mysterious markings in a cave located in the beautiful Isle of Skye located in Scotland. After comparing these markings with previous markings found in other locations, the archaeologist couple believe that this is an invitation from humanity's ancestors, which they call the Engineers. Then we go to 2093 where we arrive in LV-223 using a vessel called the Prometheus. Then the violent and gory adventure begins.
"Prometheus" is divided into two parts. The first hour focuses on discovering the magnificent dome located on the moon and examining the various extraterrestrial objects while observing some beautiful visual sets. The second hour of the film is when action sequences become more prominent, when it gets more violent and gory, and when there are many deaths.
Most of the film takes place inside the dome or pyramid located on the moon. It is where most of the story takes place. At first, it seems like an ordinary network of corridors with nothing interesting but as we get more into the film, we discover some horrifying stuff here and the movie starts to get more interesting from there on. The horror scenes are reminiscent of those present in the original "Alien". We discover multiple vases filled with disgusting but deadly black liquid, a massive statue of a humanoid head, and corpses of giant aliens (believed to be those of the Engineers').
Even though most of the film takes place in dark and gloomy spots, the visual effects of the film is still one of the strongest highlights of the film. The murals on the ceilings of the dome are very detailed and beautiful. The carvings on the walls of the pyramid are intricate and very meticulous in detail. One of the scenes where David discovers a room and finds a star map highlighting Earth has amazing visual effects. It's one of the bright scenes in the film and is the best scene in terms of visual effects. The holograms and everything incorporated in that scene is a job well done. The 3D is also excellent and it does not disappoint.
Let's talk about the characters now. Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley is now replaced by Noomi Rapace's archaeological character Elizabeth Shaw. She is a strong believer in God and throughout the movie, she still believes that God is the ultimate source of life and creator of everything. However, she's less bad-ass compared to Sigourney Weaver's Ripley but a scene in the movie depicts her sense of feminine strength. Accompanying Shaw is her love interest Charlie Holloway portrayed by Logan Marhsall-Green. Unlike Shaw, Holloway is not a strong believer in God and skeptic. Onboard the ship is the android David portrayed excellently by Michael Fassbender. He is an android who doesn't show feelings and is envious of mankind's feelings. There also others on board the ship: Meredith Vickers, Captain Janek, Millburn, Fifield.
The characters were portrayed excellently from their respective performers. Noomi Rapace didn't give an Oscar-worthy performance but she still delivered a powerful performance. Logan Marshall-Green's portrayal of Charlie Holloway was also strong. Charlize Theron gave one of the more powerful performances in the film as Meredith Vickers. The minor characters were given excellent performances too. However, Michael Fassbender's portrayal of the android David grabs the spotlight. His performance as the android is intriguing and very powerful that for a second, I thought he was portrayed by a real android.
The characters in "Prometheus" are driven by intrigue and curiosity. They are so interested in discovering their origins that they would pay any cost to uncover the truth and reach the answer. Their sense of curiosity is what caused the disaster. "Prometheus" is later on fueled by extremely intricate sets and amazing visual effects and accompanied by solid performances (a special note to Michael Fassbender's portrayal of David). Whether it's a prequel, sequel, standalone film, "Prometheus" is a magnificent film. It's not perfect and it has some flaws but "Prometheus" is a must-see film of the summer movie season - and in 3D.
Final Verdict: It may not be perfect but the fantastic sets and visual effects accompanied with extremely powerful performances, especially Michael Fassbender as David, assure that "Prometheus" is a must-see movie of the summer.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What do we think of Snow White before this film? We perceive Snow White
as someone full of joy, care, kindness, humility, and love but also as
a flawed and vulnerable person. Adaptations of this universal fairytale
have been light-hearted & cheerful and depicted Snow White as having
these attributes and that includes the 1937 Disney classic "Snow White
and the Seven Dwarfs". This trend has continued even until last March's
"Mirror Mirror". But no one envisioned this type of Snow White film, a
dark and gloomy tale with a bad-ass Snow White.
Based on the universal fairytale penned by the Brothers Grimm, we all know what happens in the story, and eventually how it ends. The Queen is envious of Snow White because her magical mirror states that Snow White would soon replace her to become the "fairest of them all". The Queen therefore attempts to kill Snow White. Even though we know how the story would end, we are given enthralling and spectacular scenes that take us on a breathtaking and heart-stopping ride.
In "Snow White and the Huntsman" we see a much more mature Snow White played by Kristen Stewart. For countless years, she has been imprisoned in a cell located in Queen Ravenna's castle. The malicious and cruel queen gained power when she married Snow White's father after Snow White's biological mother died. The Queen killed the father and brought immeasurable suffering to the people. Snow White escapes due to a bit of luck and later on leads a revolution to kill the evil queen.
"Snow White and the Huntsman" takes the famous fairytale and converts it into a dark, gloomy and riveting tale. Much of the joy in watching this film is witnessing the breathtaking and spectacular scenes of visual effects. The visual effects and art direction of the film are amazing but none could rival the two locations: the Dark Forest and the enchanted fairyland which is the home of the fairies.
The Dark Forest is a supremely dark and devoid of life. The trees, although move, are essentially lifeless. Despair lingers through the countless rows of harrowing trees. This is where Snow White escapes to and meets Eric the Huntsman who was originally sent to kill her but later on becomes her most helpful ally. The Dark Forest is harrowing, frightening, and intimidating and full of dangerous creatures. Even the Queen's supposed powerful soldiers don't dare to venture into the darkness, not until the Huntsman came.
The duo (Snow White and the Huntsman) then escape the forest and meet eight (that's right) dwarfs, although one dies in the process and reduces the amount to the original seven. The dwarfs then lead them to the magical enchanted fairyland, home of the fairies, filled with a diverse amount of beautiful creatures. It's like the Wonderland Alice visits but much brighter and joyous. There are mushrooms with eyes, turtles covered in moss, magical fairies, lush vegetation, and a mighty white stag with majestic antlers. The scene here is one of the highlights of the film and demonstrates the power of visual effects and art direction.
Another highlight of the visual effects is the magic mirror of the evil queen. Most films portray the magic mirror as a face residing within the reflecting object. This one is much more sophisticated. The mirror melts into golden liquid and takes a much more intimidating form, a hooded faceless figure. This reminds us of the liquid mechanical assassin in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day", the T-1000.
I also praise Charlize Theron's transformations as she shifts from young to old and young again. Her character, Queen Ravenna feeds on the youth and beauty of others to keep herself alive and beautiful. For her beauty is the essence of her life. Without beauty, she ages and dies. Without beauty, her powers weaken and make her vulnerable. Her powers are intimidating. Aside from being able to suck others' youth and beauty, she is able to transform into a flock of black crows, and create warriors made of shattered glass.
The action sequences were very entertaining. While most scenes in the middle of the film boast the breathtaking visual effects, the climax of the film is powerful and mildly entertaining. The battle between Snow White's army and the glass warriors was very stylish. The glass warriors were amazing and the fight between the two forces was just splendid.
The performances were very powerful and outstanding. Kristen Stewart embodies Snow White perfectly and delivers an astounding performance as the bad-ass Snow White. Chris Hemsworth also did hell of a job acting as the Huntsman. However, I admire Charlize Theron's portrayal of Queen Ravenna. She is the perfect person for the role. Her sly smiles hint that she is always up to something evil. She makes an imposing figure and even looks more frightening when she gets older due to the waning of her powers. The rest of the cast also did solid performances.
"Snow White and the Huntsman" is a satisfying epic film that delivers epic action sequences, wonderful sets, gorgeous visual effects, and solid performances. This is the darkest adaptation of the Snow White fairy tale I've ever experienced and one of the best. This is probably the only Snow White adaptation which features a kick-ass Snow White. Just having Snow White in the title doesn't mean the movie is only for females. In fact, there are many satisfying action sequences to impress males and wonderful visual effects to wow the audience. The uneven script may burden the overall film experience though but that won't hurt the film substantially.
Final Verdict: "Snow White and the Huntsman" is a dark take on the universal fairytale of Snow White and features solid performances, dynamic visual effects, and entertaining action sequences that will take viewers on a thrilling ride.
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