As a comic book reader/fan there really is something about seeing a movie like this that evokes a certain emotion in you, while I have enjoyed pretty much all of the MCU films this and movie and the first Avengers did something that is entirely on its own level. In the Avengers, seeing the moment in which the Avengers first 'assemble', there is a very emotional response. This movie has a similar moment that evokes that same emotion of seeing the characters you have known and love from the comics come to life on the screen. Endgame truly felt like a large comic book crossover event that ties everything together satisfyingly.
While this film definitely has 'plot holes' and flaws, to me it is a 10/10 film because I truly doubt that anyone would be able to recreate the magic that this film represents, 22 movies in over a decade, this saga represents more than a single cinematic motion picture can accomplish but elevates the artform of 'film' and forges its own category of epic sagas.
This version of Dumbo chose to focus more on the human characters as the movie must meet the longer length of the modern feature length movie, and I don't necessarily dislike the choice. I thought it was a very solid and heartwarming rendition of the classic tale that fleshes out a lot of the side characters, allowing them to have meaningful side plots and character development.
Despite this, the main storyline of Dumbo still manages to amaze, with brilliant acting from the child actors, Danny Devito, Colin Farrell and Eva Green the movie elevates the sense of awe and childlike innocence. It also doesn't hurt that the CGI for Dumbo was amazing, making it one of the most adorable live action rendition of an animal I have seen thus far in this age of live action talking animals. I fell in love with the little elephant and was emotionally invested in his story the whole time.
Dumbo is a great choice for a solid family friendly fun, not too much to delve into but great emotional storytelling that is brilliantly acted and executed.
This movie on a standalone horror perspective is much better made in comparison to Get out, there was more scares and was overall more intense and harkens back to classic Horror. It also manages to include comedic elements that were not cringe worthy and were very fitting.
While being a better horror film compared to get out, it also nails its social commentary, the use of symbolism and metaphors is just amazing to see, making viewers want to pause at every frame to discover the subtle details. Us was a great experience that not only succeeds in Horror but also in Peele's no trademark social commentary, making viewers really think about cinema again.
Personally, I enjoyed the movie for what it was, it was a solid MCU entry but nothing amazing, which for MCU's standards is kind of disappointing. It was good, but lacks a lot of story and character development for one of the MCU's future stars. For me, the movie reminds me a lot of the MCU's phase 1 movies where the origin films weren't clear on who these characters are so they have very little layers and substance to them. In many ways Captain Marvel was very two dimensional and bland, exhibiting little that the audiences can relate to.
I did somewhat enjoy Nick Fury's story arc and his relationship with Carol in this movie that has already played an important role in the greater MCU to come. Nick Fury is shown to be more comedic and with more character than in his previous iterations, this is something that I liked.
In many ways this movie sets up a lot for the greater MCU as well as the future for the character and characters in this movie which I will be looking forward to but Captain Marvel seems more like a supplement than a fully self realized entry.
But like I side, just fine is probably not good enough for the MCU at this point since they have shown time and time again that they have now mastered even origin stories with the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther being major successes.
Honestly, going in I did not think that this movie would work given that the characters are not as well established as something like the MCU with rich lore and backstory that supports its grand storytelling. It kind of feels like jumping pass the origin story and straight to the final chapter, but like I said before, kudos for making it work.
The characters were all likeable and interesting variations of Spiderman, and I think that the reason it worked is that the movie played on the fact that the Peter Parker Spiderman story has been retold so many times over the years that they are not only self aware but uses it to their advantage. By showing us a version of Peter Parker who is older and grizzled, it breathes new life into the character's arc and brings us a much different story to what we are sued to.
Miles Morales' portrayal was also great, allowing the movie to explore a new character to become Spiderman and furthering the legacy of the character, overall it was a great experience that was fun, and energetic.
Bumblebee had tender character moments and comedic moment that weren't cheap but actually funny. Successfully fleshing out the warmth of Bumblebee's character and making us sympathize with the loveable autobot.
Bumblebee truly sets itself apart with the addition of John Cena's agent Burns, aka 'the military guy'. John Cena's Burns is not over the top and wasn't a caricature of military stereotypes, but rather had empathetic motivations and was a wholesome character in his own right.
Overall, Bumblebee is a fresh entrance in the Transformers franchise and can mark an exciting new direction for the franchise.
Which really is the story of Aquaman's success, it is a film that is wonderful to look at, the visual aspect of this film is that of a completely new level, with underwater shots and CGI that is groundbreaking and something that audiences have never seen before. The film had an interesting villain in Ocean mater, his motivations were well justified as the best villains should.
Both Jason Momoa and Amber Heard were brilliant as Arthur and Mera as director James Wan excellently blends the actor's own traits into the characters. Utilizing Momoa's culture in the form of war cries and tribal tattoos to establish this new and modernized version of Aquaman.
Aquaman is bound to wow audiences, while it's not the most interesting story wise it definitely sets itself apart as a fun and thrilling explosion of colours and visuals.
Mortal Engines looks amazing, it had an interesting premises that would draw audiences based on sheer curiosity factor but after that would have little to prove for itself. Beyond the visual appeal of the film and the interesting world building there is little character development and thus I found myself hardly caring about what happens to said characters. The film throws out terminology and characters like it is an established franchise in which audiences already understood what and who they are. The result was a film that hardly connected to its audience and an unbearable watch.
I did find interest in one particular character, Shrike, a cyborg killer machine who was the most empathetic and garnered the most interest. Perhaps it had something to do with the focus they gave to the character's background and build.
While Mortal Engines definitely failed in what it set out to do I wouldn't say that any of the performances or dialogue was horrible, it's simply mediocre and bland. Perhaps it is time to call it quits on these YA adaptaions.
In my opinion, the film does drag a bit and the 'twist' doesn't really seem all to original or unexpected. It was a very well made, well performed film but story and action wise lacking.
In many ways I find that this new series, the 'Fantastic Beasts' series mirrors that of the Harry Potter films in terms of the film structures. The first Fantastic beasts movie was a lot like Harry Potter and the sorcerer's stone in that it takes us into this wonderful world of magic and wizardry, we see through the eyes of Jacob much like we did through Harry in the original series. Now that we have reached the second installment, I find that it is a lot like the original series' weakest link, 'Chamber of Secrets', in that it is slow, expository and mainly serves to set the chess pieces and begin to tease a darker story. Although arguably, Chamber of Secrets does have more of a narrative than, Crimes of Grindelwald's "who is Credence's mum".
But as a fan of the series, I find myself still enjoying Crimes of Grindelwald despite it quite literally being more like a 10 fun facts of the wizarding world rather than a film. I think this just goes to show what a complex world Rowling ahs built, how intricate and interesting this world is in that it can make such a film interesting despite not being 'good' in terms of being a piece of cinema. I think Crimes of Grindelwald does set the franchise up for greatness, by filling in all the missing parts, and a very well done final act, I think it sets this new series up for a really interesting future.
But unfortunately the film is not much more than that, the story is elementary at best and the mystery isn't really that much of a mystery. There was suspense, but that is to the most part due to loud bangs and body-horror imagery, that as I mentioned were done well. The story was very simple and overall the film had a very small scope, set within a small French village.
However, despite this, it could be serviceable as a 'fun' watch, there isn't much depth, just a coo and action packed movie with intense fight scenes and is moderately enjoyable.
Perpetuity Perpetuity is a theme that the film absolutely nails, the film portrays this vicious cycle of drug abuse, rehabilitate and relapse in a brilliant way. The whole film felt like a constant cycle with each relapse being worse and worse, both in Nic's actions in terms of the severity of the drug use and in terms of the emotional toll it takes on both Nic and David Sheff. The song choice and music also helps to emphasize this perpetuity, each time Nic returns to the house the music choice was uplifting versus the intense and angsty choice of music for when he relapses. One song in particular really got to me, 'Heart of gold' by Neil Young, it was almost perfect for the story of Nic, trying to do good, and trying to not be this 'disappointment' to his father but just failing to do so.
Growing up and letting go Personally, I saw Beautiful Boy as a coming of age story, that focuses not just on the child transforming into adulthood but also in the parent learning to let go. It was a beautiful mirroring and metaphorical exploration of this dynamic. The film would cut from scenes of Nic's drug use to Nic as a child engaged in laughter and play. The film's title: Beautiful boy almost felt like something that was pressuring Nic, the idea that he didn't live up to his father's image of him was what led him to his descension. There was a scene in particular where Nic asks his father 'are you proud of me now', you can see the angst of David, just wanting to tell his son that regardless of who he is he is loved. The film Explores how Steve Cowell's David Sheff has to let go and stop being the controlling parent that he is. In one of Nic's final relapses, David finally said he's had enough and that he can't help Nic, this was a moment of heartbreak but also a moment of realization, to me I see this as him breaking the perpetuity and the cycle, it was his character's transformative moment. I think the film round this up beautifully when in the final shot we see Nic after a near fatal overdose is weak and frail, presumably at a rehabilitation center, with David by his side holding him. It was a beautiful shot to end the story at. Concluding this idea that David, as the father is no longer trying to 'control' Nic but it doesn't mean he has given up on him either, he's simply supporting Nic regardless of his decisions, it was this sense of unconditional trust, because no matter what, he would always be his Beautiful boy.
The 3 leads As mentioned, Steve Carell further solidifies himself as a serious actor, he gives a performance that is so subtle but with bursts of uncontrollable emotions in a very very impressive outing. While Timothee Chalamet furthers his highly impressive resume with the likes of 'Call me by your name'. The third lead, Maura Tierney who plays the step mother was equally as impressive, you see how her character was a stern figure, a rock that kept David from drifting too far into trying to bring Nic back the whole time, her performance was subdued and intricate. It was all the most impressive when you finally see her let loose and seeing the tears roll down her face for what seems like the first time, in one of the saddest and most emotionally intense car chase scenes I have seen.
Beautiful boy was a really good film, that explores serious topics that happens to a lot of people, ourselves, people around us could all have suffered similar situations. The film explores this and discusses the importance of family and support in a subtle and beautiful piece of work.
While the film definitely delivers whenever Queen were performing, they can't always be on stage and whenever they are not I can only say the the pacing is slow at times and may even seem formulaic. How many times have we seen a movie about a band that hits every checkpoint as they do in Bohemian Rhapsody. You got the simple pattern of, 'formation of band, label disapproval, success, descension, lead goes away, lead fails and abuses drugs, returns to sing kumbaya. I mean, seriously, outside of the eccentricity that is Freddy Mercury brought alive through Malek's performance, the rest of the movie can be seen as quite a drag.
But, the movie still got me singing along and on an absolute Queen craze afterwards, so I guess they did something right.
Johnny English Strikes again had many laughs and the slapstick comedy that is such a staple of the franchise has been done as always very well. However, do focus on the 'as always' because this is not a franchise that reinvents itself, there is nothing more to be added to Johnny English as a franchise, quite frankly this was rather disappointing considering the competitive market of comedic movies these days. With high concept movies such as Game night, it is difficult for something like Johnny English to be fleshed out against this sea of competition. Unfortunately for me, Johnny English Strikes Again was mediocre at best.
However, I should also add that if you are unfamiliar with the other Johnny English films you would definitely have a good time, this is definitely a funny movie, just very formulaic and scarcely differs from the previous films.
The reason why I think this actually works to the film's favour is that it manages to make the already brilliant acting seem even more authentic and genuine, because there isn't a sense of being on a movie set but there is a sense of realism and a sense that you as an audience is peering into the lives of these people. This realist approach is captured so brilliantly as the use of technology goes into such fine details. The filmmaker took notice of the apps that we use, the internet trends and all of this comes together to form a brilliant backdrop to the film that exuberates authenticity.
But all this only goes to elevate John Cho's performance in this film, the way he conveys emotions is especially fascinating to watch. Especially considering that most of the time when we see him he is reacting to the computer screen. His facial expressions of distraught, confusion, pain and worry is so brilliantly acted out in this film that is bound to be one of if not the best John Cho performances. Pitch that with a mystery that is filled with twists and turns that ends in the final reveal that was smart and unpredictable, we have ourselves a wonderful thriller.
This is a premiss that doesn't sound to unfamiliar however, the distinction of being in a culture that is unfamiliar to American audiences and to the Hollywood industry means that there is a lot of freshness and nuance to the genre despite its generic premiss. The spin on the classic 'fish out of water' romcoms much like Ben Stiller's "Meet the Parents" makes this film a lot more vibrant and interesting.
However, by no means am I suggesting that the film is only great because it features a different culture but that this point is one that elevates the genre. If the film were to be poorly acted it would've still been a bust. Luckily, this film had a brilliant cast who all delivers brilliant performances, there was charm and relatability in the acting that makes this film resonate deeply with audiences. From the main cast to the support all brought to the table something that is new and interesting because they play their roles so well. Even characters who are very two dimensional were able to flesh out their character traits in a unique way that can almost only be portrayed by them (I will not name them here to avoid spoilers).
Overall Crazy Rich Asians was a fun and enjoyable ride that is almost surely setting a precedent that Asian actors can sell at the box office and is bound to be the beginning of a new era of Asian actors in Hollywood films.
Alpha very much delivered on its cinematography and there was some decent CG as well however when it comes to the storytelling often falls flat. Even though the main character goes through rather precarious situations the film has a hard time making audiences believe in the danger that the main character is actually in, perhaps this is due to his early escapes or just a lack of emotional stakes and resonance to the character. It is often difficult to establish a empathetic character who speaks a completely foreign and almost alien language and this doesn't help at all in the creation of a character we as audiences empathize with. It is perhaps this reason and a not so strong performance that leaves a rather forgettable impression and lackluster story.
The film also relies very heavily on 'coincidence' characters just randomly running into each other in the vastness of North American ice age and events that happen out of the blue. These all create a sense of having a 'cheap escape' and builds on the issue of having low stakes.
Of course the relationship between the main character and the wolf/dog is a vital part of this film's success and even this was somewhat oversimplified and ignorant of the actual process of evolution and adaptation. Overall making the film seem much more fantasy fiction than gritty reality.
Kumaré takes a deep dive into the world of spiritual gurus as an everyman, film director Vikram Gandhi decides to experience first hand what it means to be a spiritual guru and whether this whole New-age deal is complete nonsense of is there in fact something deeper that people can dwell into. it's a very very interesting look into this idea of the New age and the modern man's need for self fulfilment purpose and the existential fulfilment that these modern gurus are able to fulfill.
Personally my experience with the film drew many parallels with many so called 'gurus' that I have personally had experiences with, while never fully convinced of these 'holy men' and 'advanced being' or whatever they choose to call themselves I always had the personal agenda that aligned very much with Vikram's visions in that we ourselves have the innate ability to distinguish right from wrong and to self improve.
The most interesting parts of the documentary reflect this belief and how this agenda of Vikram eventually divulges into a belief system of his own. Just going to show that while the idea of a spiritual guru or spiritual leader may be simply phathomed out of thin air the sense of belief that people are able to mirror and reflect onto the figure or themselves is undisputedly real and genuine. Kumaré takes audiences on a fascinating exploration of this idea and director Vikram's eventual conclusion of this genuine relationship and bond that actually came out of an idea that had no authentic basis. I wonderfully emotional and suspenseful documentary for anyone who has any interest in the subject matter.
There wasn't anything significantly deep or thought provoking about Ant man and the Wasp but that is perfectly fine in the movie's own rights, not every single Marvel movie has to address a serious world ending crisis or explore political and racial issues. And that really is what's so great about the MCU in its current state, the diversity in their product, they can range from small scale heist/comedies to the most epic of battles but be equally as entertaining and great films.
Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly reprise their roles as Scott Lang and Hope Van dyne respectively, coming back better than ever. The new role for Evangeline Lilly as the Wasp adds a much needed female badassery to this franchise and very much elevates the action and intercharacter relationships. Paul Rudd further proves why he is one of the most likeable actors by utilizing his charms and the father-daughter relationship to build a more well rounded and well liked lead. Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer were both very good in their roles adding a layer of intrigue and interest to the MCU, creating more questions about the superheroes before the Avengers came about.
Overall I was very impressed with how Ant man and the Wasp manages to exceed Ant man and what a great and enjoyable time this movie was.
The Incredibles 2 has clearly been incubated with much love and is a case where I would think a sequel is absolutely needed, unlike many of today's sequels that are set to make a quick buck The Incredibles 2 had a story to tell and a purpose. Personally, this holds up as one of the best Pixar sequels on par with Toy Story's brilliant additions. See, unlike films such as Monsters University or even the highly successful Finding Dory, while there was anticipation, it could be seen the the writers didn't necessarily have any material for the continuation of the stories of our beloved characters. In which case, I would think that having sequels is unnecessary.
Incredibles 2 handles its characters impeccable, with fun character moments that highlight the growth and development of each of the characters. All this was enhanced by the use of new technology to craft very fine and intricate images. This was a sequel that had something to add to the foundation created in the first film, a wonderful, heartwarming sequel and a brilliant family film.
The filmmakers and Ryan Reynolds understand the character well, it is a good transition from comic book to film, with interesting cameos and a plethora of references to pop culture. Side characters get more of a shine in Deadpool two and proves to be one of the strong suits of Deadpool as a future franchise. The film builds firm foundations for future installments beyond the necessary 'origin story' that the first film was almost obliged to convey as a priority.
Deadpool 2 is a welcomed addition and builds on what the first film was, better jokes, references and stronger character development of both Deadpool and the many side characters.
The film does have some merits to be mentioned, Donald Glover's portrayal of Lando Calrissian for one was very good. Portraying the character as the level headed gambler that he is. Another interesting addition is Lando's droid 'L-3' adding a different dynamic and characteristic to Star Wars' many droids. There was even a decent build up for the relationship between Han Solo and Emilia Clarke's character 'Kiera'. However eventually runs its course and gets thrown aside by the film. There were several awkward moments in the film especially between these two characters who never regain the chemistry beyond our initial introduction. Solo had a very slow pacing, dragging along on boring storylines and uninteresting characters, while this greatly improves in around the second act the final act brings it back down to a slow burn ending that does not meet up or exceed the standard of the second act.
This all comes down to the lack of actual storyline that Solo had to tell and the forceful nature that resulted in the film that was awkward and boring, a disappointment.