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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Once upon a time there was a TV Show called Constantine on the NBC. In
their infinite stupidity they cancelled the show and it was the end of
Enter Arrow the show on CW that manages to keep surprising it's audience every time you think it's getting predictable or repetitive. Arrow manages to wrap up one story arch in a satisfying way but also do something that as far as I can tell has not been done before. To bring back a character from a show that has been cancelled. I for one was sad that it did because it promised to be a good show had it given been a chance. Now I am going to spare you the rant about the dated Nielsen ratings and the treatment NBC gave the show. However I do think that the show really was heading in the right direction and maybe just maybe CW doing this crossover could mean a revival of the show. But never mind that for now. Just let the awesomeness of this sink in. Seriously even if this episode would just show us Constantine and Oliver playing cards it would be magnificent. Obviously Constantine is made better use off and Arrow becomes so much cooler because of that.
With all of this one would almost overlook the cliffhanger Haunted ends with. One that probably most of us knew was coming but were waiting for since his disappearance. It almost is astonishing how Arrow keeps things interesting and fun. If you weren't convinced before then you seriously have to reconsider and start watching the show. Yes it is that good.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Usually it's a good thing if you can't define a movie by just one genre
since that often gives the viewer more than they bargained for.
Unfortunately Crimson Peak does not do anything convincing no matter
the genre you favour, it just disappoints.
Crimson Peak starts real well. It does not waste any time to draw the viewer in. Right from the start we are served one creepy scene that serves as bait and basically tricks you into believing that at least the film will be compelling. And the haunting setting and other visuals back this feeling up. However at one point it feels like details about the supposed mystery are prolonged and avoided so strongly that very soon I suspected that there is not that much of a mystery. Here I was waiting to be dazzled by some awesome twist only to be let down by the incredible poor storytelling. Whatever was build up suspense wise (mostly by visuals) was immediately gone and turned Crimson Peak into a real bore fest. Mind you it's never super bad but it's not good either. Seeing how Guillermo del Toro normally is a reliable director I can't help but feel that he is slipping. His show The Strain also is filled with incredible poor plot developments. Crimson Peak is so much worse since none of the characters are remotely interesting or compelling. I did not care about any of them. Much emphasis is put on the romantic relationship between Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska). And I did not buy any second of it. Not that their acting was that bad but the plot failed to show us the sexual tension and love between them. Both Thomas and Edit act like idiots since there were many opportunities to take action. Nothing prevented them to do so. If the plot had given us some real reasons I could have accepted that. Surprise surprise the plot even fails to do such a simple task. Seriously at one point I just wanted Crimson Peak to be over with cause everything was so pointless and all for the sake of romance that was barely there.
By the time things get revealed to you it does not really matter since you will have figured out what is going on long before that. It's safe to say that Crimson Peak is incredibly underwhelming and a total disappointment. I can't recommend this. Only good enough to watch very late at night or a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Now with some mysteries solved Thomas and his gang adjust to their new
environment only to find out they have been tricked again.
It takes only a few minutes for Thomas to figure out something is really wrong and from that point he rolls from one event to another. Where in the original the location for the most part was fixed and constrained now we get to see a glimpse of the real world out there and it is not pretty. Part of the enjoyment is not knowing what comes next so I will not reveal too much. What I do want to mention is that more and more Thomas seems to be embracing his leader qualities and a lot of people gladly want to follow him. I personally love these kinds of things since it makes it interesting for me. Like in the original this film is filled with great action sequences and thrills. If you were thinking that it would be hard to top the original in that department think again. Maze Runner: Scorch Trials is bigger and better throughout. While the overall tone is still quite serious more humour is added to the mix providing some welcome laughs. However some of the quieter moments do feel a little forced and I wished they would have made better use of them to deepen the characters a little more. Not that it is needed much since you do learn enough about them to know where they stand. The ending of this film sets up the third one quite nicely and again it makes me look forward to what it has to offer.
One remark I have to add. I read some reviews where book fans are outraged. Apparently the films don't follow the books as they should have. Now I understand that this can be very infuriating and frustrating. But as someone who has not read the books I have found myself enjoying these films since whether they are poor adaptations or not they are incredible enjoyable movies in their own right. Well made blockbuster action adventure films like these are very rare these days so I will embrace them wholeheartedly if they come along. Trust me on this if such a movie is crap then I will be among the first to critique the hell out of them.
But main point is that Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials like the original is immensely fun. And that ladies and gentlemen is important too. A must watch!
Skyfall was the film in the reboot film series to bring it back to the
old franchise we all love. Spectre should have been the perfect mix of
updated Bond and the classic one. Sadly Spectre suffers from real
Spectre opens spectacularly in Mexico City where they are celebrating Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos). I really loved it. Then the title sequence starts and I hear the song for the second time and it sounded even worse on the big screen. I fail to understand what this song has to do with Bond and the film. I literally sat in agony waiting for it to be over. If only I was prepared for what was coming next.
First the good stuff. Daniel Craig is excellent as James Bond. He really blended the modern Bond with the classic one quite well. It almost looked like he was having fun. But maybe that was because this might be his last and wanted to end on a good note. Or he just tried to fool us and still is up for playing Bond since it is rumoured he will do one more.
There is More Q. Ben Wishaw got to do more and it was very welcome. The action from what was present was nice too. There is a nice take on the classic Bond chase including the gadgets. It made me smile since it was a nice funny reference to old times. Spectre is filled with easter eggs and little references like that but honestly I did not catch them all since I was still in utter confusion about my viewing experience.
Because while I can't deny that there are some good things in this film there are equally or even more so bad ones. Spectre as an organization and the man heading it are underwhelming. Since Casino Royale we have been teased about a secret and dangerous criminal organization and when we finally get to meet the big chief and it's minions I can honestly say that it did not intrigue me in the slightest. Christoph Waltz as Blofeld is an incredible boring villain. He is only interesting because of his return into this franchise and who shares the same trades as the Blofeld from the older movies. It is said that he is everywhere hinting the fact that like the old Blofeld he has made several clones of himself. Plus his pet the white cat is back. Waltz did not add anything to his character. One of his henchman called Mr. Hinx played by Dave Bautista only is a fraction of what Jaws and Oddjob were. I had high hopes of him coming in at the most inconvenient times and making Bond's life so much more difficult. Instead he is out of the movie before you know it and almost seems like he was being mocked. (Would it not have been great if Jaws would barge into one of the scenes and starting hassling Mr. Hinx for stealing his thunder again siding with Bond since ultimately he is his own man?) Then you have the Bond girls. Monica Belluci gets like two minutes of screen time and it's one of the many moments we could have done without. It is almost astonishing to find out how underused she is. Are people aware that apart from her looks she actually can act? Madeleine Swann as Bond's new love interest fails to impress. Actress Léa Seydoux who plays Madeleine even insults the previous Bond girls by saying she is not cliché but a real person. Yeah right and I am Santa Clause. There is nothing real about her. She is only interesting because the plot tells she is. Otherwise she is incredibly forgettable. Spectre has a duration time of 148 minutes which is noticeable when it comes the pacing. It is completely off. It feels like the film takes forever in the quiet moments. It would not have felt like that if these moments were filled in with substance but unfortunately with such a poor script that would take a miracle. And what is even worse the cinema where I went to watch this film made me pay extra because of it's length.
Which brings me to my overall opinion of Spectre. It is forgettable, underwhelming and very disappointing. There are hardly any iconic or special Bond moments that stick. Skyfall might have been flawed but it was full of memorable moments and characters. Spectre does not even come close to the vibe Skyfall had but at the same time we have a Bond that is much more like his previous versions and therefore remarkable again. Maybe now you understand my confusion. I think I will come back to this review after I have viewed this a second time in the near future to see if my opinion changed.
You would think that a film with the title Heist in it would be all
about that. Instead we get a simple robbery that does not go as planned
and where three gang members end up on a bus. And where they are forced
to keep the passengers hostage.
As intriguing as this sounds it gets downhill from here. Most events are predictable to a tee apart from a few surprises that do help redeem this flick somewhat. But seriously with a cast like this I can't but help to be disappointed. With names like Robert De Niro, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Dave Bautista, Gina Carano, Morris Chestnut, D. B. Sweeney, Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Kate Bosworth I expected a little more. Not much but come one what we got from this film is almost unacceptable. The only reason why I kept watching is because of the sincerity of Jeffrey Dean Morgan's character. He only is involved since he needs the money for his daughter's surgery who has cancer. I am a sucker for that kind of melodrama especially if some of the main characters sell it well. I am not entirely sold on Gina Carano yet but I liked her part in this. For me it was far better than her role in breakthrough film Haywire. All the other actors are wasted. What happened to Robert De Niro? Why is he still acting? It does not seem like he is enjoying himself. He hasn't brought his A game in a long while now and it does not look he is going to very soon. It's almost embarrassing to see him like this. At least we were spared that 50 Cent was not involved.
Most of the film plays out as you expect and the action is decent enough but nothing really special. For a film with a duration of 90 minutes it feels like it takes forever. This is due to lack of real tension and build up of suspense. How can it be if director Scott Mann plays it safe and goes for the ending everyone can live with.
This is one of those movies that is decent enough when it is on television. I don't think this is worth seeing in theaters or watching on DVD or bluray.
Before I get accused of someone who has ADHD or is only into action
films I was not expecting this film to have action sequences at all.
However I did expect more from the guy who directed Prisoners.
Sicario does have some tense and thrilling moments especially in the beginning. There were 5 of them in total. I don't know about you but being able to remember and count these moments is not a good sign. If a film was tense throughout there would be too many too count. And that simply is not the case. The biggest problem of this film that it is counting on the plot and nothing else. But what if the plot is not that interesting? What if you already know what the plot is going to reveal? Anybody who has been following the news on a regular basis and has been watching cartel related films already will know what this film is trying to tell. Seriously if you are so surprised at how this film unfolds then you need to ask yourself why you are so uninformed. You just have to type in the drug trade into any search program of the internet and you will get overwhelmed with the information about this topic. 98 percent of the plot is based on these supposedly super secret revelations.
Even if you never read or heard anything about the drug trade you could have guessed right from the moment when Emily Blunt's character is freaking out. Kate Macer who gets recruited to take part into a special team is oblivious. She is supposed to be intelligent and capable. At least that is what we are told. She never ever demonstrates this. Because apart from what you might except this is not about her. She just serves as the one the audience can identify with. The one who is innocent and ignorant and who will be forced to be confronted with some harsh truth. This gets increasingly difficult because she keeps crying and whining to a point that I wished someone would just shoot her. Yes she is that annoying. Anybody who claims that she has given a top notch performance don't know what they are talking about. Speaking of performances. There is only one that matters. That of Benicio Del Toro as Alejandro. Unfortunately while important he is not in this film as much as he should. Maybe the director thought he would be more mysterious and interesting that way. With an actor like Benicio you don't need to artificially create an environment or plot to do so. He is always interesting. Actually I think director Denis Villeneuve has undermined his performance by giving Emily Blunt so much exposure. Apart from Benicio all the other characters are insignificant. They are all just there to tell the plot and nothing else.
Like I said, most of Sicario is plot based. This supposedly brilliant plot is extremely thin containing surprises and reveals that actually aren't surprising at all if you could be bothered to read a newspaper once in a while. Another focus of the plot seems to be the destruction and devastation caused by the drug cartels and what needs to be done to set thing right in this war on drugs. It's like this film tries us to say that this is the only way to deal with the problems. And I say bullshit to that claim. There is only one way to stop this foolish war on drugs which is the legalization of drugs. With this measure you would annihilate the cartels and their influence and every crime related to this would stop. But of course this won't ever happen because of the greed for power and money.
Sicario does not offer anything else note worthy. The few tense moments aren't nearly enough to captivate you. You will only be impressed by the plot if you are uninformed. Characterization is weak and most of the time you will be bored out of your mind unless Benicio appears on the screen. Only there is not enough of him. Would I say that this film is super bad? No, I mean it's decent enough. But in no shape or form is this deserving of the praise and hype it is getting.
The premise made it sound like this was going to be a comedic take on
the Bourne franchise where screw up Mike Howell was going to be the
sleeper agent who got activated. Naturally American Ultra was going to
be full of action but where was the comedy? It was strangely absent.
There were only a few actors who understood how to play their roles.
John Leguizamo and Walton Goggins. Everybody else took the whole film
far too seriously. I must admit that on occasions it worked but for the
most part I was gasping for some fresh air and it never came. Most of
the action was entertaining enough and amusing although I kept
wondering why it mattered so much that Jesse Eisenberg's character was
supposed to be a stoner. A big deal was made about this and I was kinda
expecting something funny be done with this. I mean just look at Jesse
Eisenberg. How could you ever take him seriously as an action hero? But
luckily for us Kristen Stewart adds some spunk to this flick. I am not
a huge fan but I really like her and it is because of her that the
couple Mike and Phoebe was tolerable. Topher Grace as the villain is
out of his league. It was almost embarrassing to watch him like this.
I don't think this would be an entire waste of time. But if you were expecting to laugh like I did then you will be disappointed. People who love action and romance will find more to their liking. Despite this not being bad I can't recommend this.
Quantico is for many things interesting. First and foremost is the fact
that Priyanka Chopra (as Alex Parrish) as the lead is a curious choice.
The Indian actress who has starred in big Bollywood productions might
be huge in India in the US she is largely an unfamiliar face. What is
even more groundbreaking is the fact that she plays a character who is
not plagued with a heavy accent or any other stereotype you can think
of. Actually the show plays around with the different ethnicities and
prejudices surrounding them in a way that I found refreshing. For this
alone Quantico deserves recognition.
It's also quite admirable that the show doesn't waste time to propel you in a plot where Alex Parish becomes a suspect of the biggest terrorist attack since the 9/11 one in 2001. Through flashbacks we get to see how it got to this point and who might be behind it. Quantico basically is a whodunnit. And I love those.
But Quantico can't escape some flaws. Some events aren't tied up neatly. Often for convenience sake certain developments are left out or not mentioned until they can't be ignored any longer usually leading to let downs. After all the build up some explanations simply aren't satisfying enough. Which brings me to the biggest flaw of this show. The soap opera antics.
Unfortunately Quantico too often focuses on relationships and everything that comes with it to a point that it completely detracts from the big conspiracy plot. Granted sometimes they make great red herrings. But sometimes they don't add anything and are just there to fill the plot. Or they might be intended for the people who love their guilty pleasures like Revenge and Gossip Girl.
For now I will stick with the show to see where it is heading and hopefully it will be less soapy and become more thrilling. Do let me know what you think of this show so far.
And that both of the two other reviews are positive? That is very
suspicious if you ask me.
Anyway now here is my review (which you can find on my site called chrichtonsworld): In my search for everything heroic bloodshed My Heart is that Eternal Rose has popped up several times. And when you read the reviews most of them are positive. I only could find one negative review on HKMDB but that was more because the reviewer could not remember the film and was unable to track down the title to do a proper review. I don't know about you but whenever this happens my Spidey sense goes into overdrive. Even the most perfect masterpieces get negative reviews. So if those are non existent then I question the honesty of the reviewers.
Especially after having seen this film I am astonished that it gets so much praise in the first place. There is nothing extraordinary about it. In fact I think it is pretty average bordering to incredibly bad. Maybe a case could be made in favour of the camera work with the use of it's colours. But that really is about it. The supposedly brilliance of director Patrick Tam (He is known as the mentor of Wong Kar-wai.) is nowhere to be found. In fact if you ask me this film was stylish in all the wrong places. There are a lot of scenes where slow motion was used when there was no use or point to it. It only delayed the already super slow action. At one point it's used for like thirty seconds in a scene where all you see is a black wall and a little smoke. (Ok exaggeration on my part. It was more like ten seconds. But that is similar to two hours in cat years.) In another scene slow motion is used where character played by Tony Leung gets pushed out of the car. It takes forever with very little positive effect. I mean what was the point of that? Then there were some freeze frames undoubtedly for dramatic effect but here it came off as comedic. I could have overlooked the shortage of action and the misplaced stylization. But not the overly melodramatic empty triangle love story. It was tragic just for the sake of being tragic devoid of any logic or reason. It did help to have Toney Leung Chiu-Wai and Joey Wong to portray the characters. They did bring this film a little credibility. Still they were not given that much material to work with and you can tell that for the most part they felt lost. Which I assume a lot of people are confusing with artistic and symbolic depth.
Apart from the title there is nothing artistic or poetic about this film. It simply is a very poorly made movie that drags on throughout. The few action scenes that are present are far too short and not very enjoyable and therefore ultimately pointless. This film would have been more effective had it just been filming the roses (that are shown in the beginning) for 90 minutes.
Seriously this film is a waste of your time. Especially if you are looking for a decent heroic bloodshed title. This is just an overly melodramatic but incredibly minimalistic love story with no redeeming factors whatsoever. AVOID!
The Great Hypnotist does not waste time to show us what out main
character is about. It's a thoroughly fascinating introduction and it
makes you look forward to see more of it. Our main character called
Chen Ting who is a famous psychologist is asked to take on a case that
is very peculiar. A lot of mystery and intrigue is surrounded by it
which for half an hour or so does grab your attention. But then it
fades and fades and eventually sizzles out. What was supposed to be a
hair raising thrilling viewing experience becomes rather dull. At one
point everything is explained in great detail and I could care less.
Not that the mystery we are presented to is not interesting or clever.
Because it was, very much so. Only the way it was told killed the
atmosphere and tension. Questions are raised whether what we see is
real or not. This usually is an interesting mechanic since it's quite
challenging to give solid explanations for supernatural elements. Plus
it is fun to be fooled by a film. Only The Great Hypnotist never leaves
too much doubt about what is happening. Not that you can predict
everything right from the start. But enough to kill the enjoyment. It
does not help that we don't learn a lot about Chen Ting. For which
there is a good reason plot wise. At the same time though it makes it
hard to connect to him emotionally. Which seems to be extremely crucial
at the end. The Great Hypnotist had all the ingredients to go crazy and
over the top and tell a compelling story. Since it had a plot angle
that could do so in a very acceptable way. However I feel they dropped
the ball on that. They did not even scratch the surface of the
possibilities. And that is a real shame. When I started watching I was
completely psyched (no pun intended) but gradually lost interest. The
Great Hypnotist plays it too safe and borrows too much from other
similar thrillers so that it's not that hard to predict which direction
it is going. Now that does mean that if you have not seen enough this
could prove to be offer more than you bargained for.
Overall it's not a complete waste of time. Visually the film is very stylish. And that does help a lot. But I do think that fans of the genre will be very disappointed especially after the strong opening. As a drama this fails completely since there is not much time given to connect to any of the characters. Whatever is there is because of good actors like Karen Mok. She is able to give her character a lot of depth with minimal means. Only it's not enough to keep you drawn to the story. On top of all the tension and suspense that was very much needed is gone and with such an interesting premise is that is difficult to accept.
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