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Check out my blog at http://www.seraphion.wordpress.com
The contents are mostly movie reviews.
I don't rate a 10 score to any movie because for me there's nothing perfect.
I also don't rate 1 1 score because for me there's nothing that is so bad.
When I rate a 5 score it can mean that it's a 5 score movie, I have seen it somewhere but haven't seen enough of it to make a more thorough rating.
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
A great telling that even war victors don't get a happy live
If I watched this movie before I watched Bicycle Thieves, maybe it would've ended up as just another post-war movie for me. But in combo of Bicycle Thieves, this movie tells the complete story from both sides of the war victors and losers; none get the happy live. War torn everything, even the lives of the victors. We see it first hand as how Homer struggles to regain himself after losing his hands. Fred also struggles as he has everything a decent man dreams of, but lacks any other skill that he has to bow himself down to the harsh reality of the available work. AL also struggles morally as he chooses to do the right thing. And as we see only Homer's and Frede's story closes out well, as Al's didn't really get a justified ending to his ordeal. The actors did a great job in bringing live to the scenes.
Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
Well, it's a wrong way to look at the current Hollywood pattern
After about twenty years, Hollywood decided to revive this franchise. As someone who watched the first movie as a kid, and got amazed by it, I must say that this movie is a fifty-fifty for me. It's half good because it continues on a story that I liked as a child. And further, watching this with my friends makes the movie a good talk material. But as someone who has seen a lot of movies, I'm a bit disappointed. The movie blatantly follows suit on the current pattern of Hollywood sequels to make the next movie bigger and larger, all without paying justice to the original story. Nowhere in the original movie speak about a queen or sorts. Anyway it makes the aliens to common as other alien movies have used the premise before. And killing off Will Smith's character, just because he's now an expensive actor is really a bad idea in my view.
Dirty Grandpa (2016)
I thought It wouldn't be as funny
I sure did think it that way. De Niro in a pervert grandpa role? I didn't think he'd go that far, especially after the wise and experienced senior citizen in The Intern just last year. But really he nailed the part very well. Zac Efron nicely balanced the duo that the story flowed naturally. It's worth a mention that even though the movie's plot is dependent solely n the perverted jokes, I think that it executed them in a decent way that it didn't feel disgusting like most dirty comedies do. The acting in overall is not a really good one, mainly due to the fact that it's only Efron and De Niro who's cranking up the real performances, while the rest of the cast are only there for show.
The Jungle Book (2016)
A decent attempt at the classic
Making a live action version of their own classic 2D animations shows that Disney is indeed taking advantage of all their Intellectual Properties, as well as assuring their grip over them. I must admit that it's not easy to do this, let alone make a trend like what they're doing now with Cinderella and Maleficent, and now The Jungle Book. There's the challenge that they can't really change the main story lines, which are already well known. These makes the movie predictable in many ways. But serving them in a new way, in this case the live action version, is giving a new breath to the classics. This movie particularly served a great job with all those big names behind its voice acting cast. The whole CGI also didn't disappoint.
Central Intelligence (2016)
Kind of flat I guess
The movie really tried to be funny. But with all those Kevin Hart movies, it's just a bit much with this movie. It's like people anticipated more after all those movies, which don't really got to be so funny. This movie's earlier premise seems interesting enough that it spots the focus on Dwayne Johnson being a new kind of character than his usual buffed up macho man. But the movie clearly failed to deliver the justified conclusion to its premise. The character development also didn't feel good. The acting is just flat, just all other Kevin Hart comedies. Yet while they depend on the story and jokes, this one failed to deliver in following suit.
Fifty Shades of Black (2016)
Even more stupider than the original material
Bad story got even worse in this attempt of a movie, This movie's jokes are lame. The buildups are more than predictable. The movie didn't even bother trying to be funny without using swear words. Wow, I'm surprised that someone even backed this movie financially. The acting didn't help either that it looks so bad. And I'm even amazed at my self for wasting my time watching this movie, even though I rated the original material by 4 out of 10. This movie is indeed an abomination. I regret watching this movie. Such a waste of time and bandwidth. I'm even angry that I have to write more to fill IMDb's 10 line review rule for this stupid movie.
Weightless despite the ensemble cast
With a parade of great names in its ensemble cast, this movie really disappoint in overall. The story tried really hard to be intriguing, using all those black and white coloration, and the back and forth story flow. But at the core the story just emerges as one that is merely predictable. With all those big names on as by-standing characters, audiences surely get easily alarmed and guess who's the really bad guy in the movie. Having Gina Carano as the main character surely isn't the best choice. She made the character looked flat, despite the movie's attempt to enrich Mallory's character. Acting wise, this one is a strange pick. As Gina Carano made her character bad, the rest of the big names in the cast okay to give live to their parts.
A reasonable zombie may not be a reasonable movie plot
Although it first seem interesting, the movie's plot of mixing in zombie plagues to the classic Jane Austen literature Pride and Prejudice soon become stupid as the movie goes on. It's because the story got it hard to transition between the two opposite polar of story elements of the aristocratic England and the zombie plague. With all those weak buildup, people get easily confused that the movie is still trying to hold on very tightly to the old Jane Austen piece that the zombie thing is just a mere background notch. This made the ending as just below mediocrity as it hasn't have sufficient significance in the story all along. Acting wise, I think Lily James and Sam Riley did enough for their characters, although I blame the story for the lacking of character development. Bella Heathcote, Douglas Both, Lena Headey and the other supporting names did sufficiently in giving live t the aristocratic England vibe, but didn't really do justice for the whole zombie stuff.
The Shallows (2016)
Missing something at the least
Nancy Adams go to a solo surf vacation to a beach where her mom used to surf in Mexico. But as the movie's trailer and promotion materials simply put, now there's something different on the beach. Bitten and having her body giving in to gangrene, she fought alone in avoiding the shark which is determined to eat her. But at the end she gains the courage to fight the predator back and win her life.
As you ca see, I've decided to shorten my plot summary part for my movie reviews here as it would help me finish these posts quicker, LOL. Back to topic, The Shallows (2016) feels like a mix of a few different movies altogether. You'll definitely feel the Jaws (1965) mix, some degree of All is Lost (2013), and a hint of Soul Surfer (2011). But the thing is, having signatures of all those movies together didn't really help this movie's creators on how to incorporate them well and creating something new to see.
We still get the usual dose of sex appeal, like if the audience are those who will only see this movie for Blake Lively's body. Also story- wise, the movie didn't really build it's background well. The buildup that's supposed to ground Nancy's will to fight, that she lost her mother and she's currently distancing herself from her family, didn't really connect to the story as a whole, as they're not well reinforced. The whole deal with the ride and the surf just takes the movie into a very slow pace that it got very hard for the movie to suddenly jump into the thriller parts.
Speaking of the thriller parts, you don't get a fair amount of suspense from this movie. The thriller is mostly anticipation mood buildup where the saddening things mostly happen outside of the camera angle and we'll only see Nancy's reaction to it. There's just small amount of real shark fight moments that arouses our adrenaline. But in my opinion, the movie did well enough in setting up the flow after the buoy sequence kicks in. And the ending is something that is out of the classic shark movies.
The acting overall is just a standard level performance, as it's all Blake Lively's scenes and she performed just at a standard level. The CGI feels quite nice as the movie adds in the nice placement, duration and camera angle considerations to keep the CGI just out of the keen eye's ability to discern it.
My say for The Shallows (2016) is a 6 out of 10. Is it recommended? I think so, but only if you watch it for free, LOL, as the suspense level isn't as satisfactory as expected.
Umimachi Diary (2015)
A great family drama after some while
Three sisters Sachi, Yoshino and Chika live together in their old house. Their father abandoned them as kids and ran our with another woman. Soon their mother followed suit and left them with their grandmother. As their father died, while already married to his third wife, they find their half sister Suzu, their father's daughter from her second wife. The movie tells the story with Suzu as a new addition to the house, including the friction with the sister's mother, Suzu's development in her new environment, and the deaths of close people the sisters know from childhood. I really like this movie. It's no secret that Japan can also produce gripping family drama stories like this. Our Little Sister (2015) tells us a "what if" story which may not happen in the real world, but the story's development is nicely logic and emotional at the same time, without having to be full with confrontation. I like how the story stretches wide enough but still gets confined into the limits of the small town where the sisters live in.
What strikes as strange is that this is the second good Japan drama movie that has great story after Departures (2008). Both movies strongly feature themes related to death, particularly death of an estranged father. Both also focus on the live of small Japanese town instead of the metropolitan or the rural area.
Acting-wise, Haruka Ayase, Masami Nagasawa, Kaho and Suzu Hirose did well in giving life to their characters. I like how the they kept their character steady along the whole two hours of the movie. They acted well that audience will easily sympathize to them, even though their characters have oddly awkward backgrounds facing each other, particularly Suzu to the sisters. My say for Our Little Sister (2015) is a solid 7 out of 10. For me it's a really recommended watch. But then again it may be hard to find this movie in local theaters.
It has its good and bad
As the basic premise is quite interesting, it turns out that the movie's creators didn't quite get it to be good in overall. The movie has its good and bad sides, all balanced and spread all over the movie's run time. There are scenes which cross paths with other scenes from similarly placed time and place, which didn't come close to comparison as they fail to live the standards the previous movies had set. The crucifixion scene look authentic in some degree but pale in comparison from previous movies. Other scenes tell the story well enough that they complete the experience from watching those other previous movies. The acting feel somewhat at just a standards level, with nothing special.
Didn't really have the impact it aimed for
Will Smith's portrayal of the character is quite nice although he overdo it at times. But as the movie tells of a sport related story, it doesn't really established the relation between the doctor and the sport itself. With most of the movie happening around the doctor, the sport itself lacked appearance and thus felt distant even though this movie is based on a true story. The romance thing feels really flat, as only that it is used to lengthen the movie's duration somehow. Further the spouse character doesn't really fit into the whole story that her appearance felt redundant. All the athletes portrayed are pictured convincing enough, although again, the movie seemed like it didn't do them the justice of depicting their better days.
Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
Funny, very funny, albeit mediocre in overall
The movie franchise still retains its likability by having it's third installment full of chuckles. There are tons of laughter here and there spread out to both main and side characters. It feels like there's only little room to breathe between those comedies, except for those small parts where the movie goes nostalgic of Po. Yet this has the movie driven into an unbalanced state as it felt lacking in other terms. The movie's pace feels to fast as there's little transition between scenes. The villain gets into the movie very quickly, relying only to an old character that's supposed to be dead already. The conflict and its resolution also feels too much forced that the movie ends quite abruptly. Then again the movie's fun laughters will suffice to bring good ratings in.
R rated fun and all
Never mind all the fuss about the movie being unsuitable for kids. Parents would be very stupid if they generalize all movies with costumed characters in them as movies suitable for kids. Deadpool finally received justice in treatment for a movie. This movie kept it staying true to the character's whole aspects; the fourth wall breaking, the smart mouth, the crazy comedies, and all the nicely flowed action. Though it seems that the studio put some distance to the wider X-Men franchise by only showing the group's name and references without any cameo from the previous movies, Deadpool in itself has already been a great fun.
Disney masterpiece as usual
I like how the movie did well in creating the world in overall that the contradictions and conflicts of the main character fits right in and gets identified easily and quickly by the audience. The building for each character is nicely thoughtful. Not just the main characters, but the whole array of side characters got to have great distinctive traits that easily sets them apart even if the movie has only one species portrayed. The conflict resolution should really be a predictable one for seasoned movie goers. But the movie did it that well that the audience enjoy the flow and forgot their awareness about the predictability of the conflict.
The 5th Wave (2016)
It's weird that this movie has so many good reviews
Pretty much everything is messed up in this movie. I can say I cast a neutral movie-only vote on this one since I haven't read the book. In fact, I didn't even know that this was abased on a book before I read the other reviews here. The way I see the reviews is that many, if not most, of the reviews here are already tainted with the experience from the book, something that made those reviews biased.As a movie, the story is really unbalanced. I really feel that the trailer cheated on those who watch this purely as a movie, not as a best-selling novel's adaptation. The drama is quick at pace but so much predictable all the way. All those grandiose momentum buildup with those fancy CGI heavy scenes only amounted to a predictable drama, that for me is not a good reason for a movie. Chloe Grace Moretz and Liev Schreiber's talents are relatively under utilized here as they don't really have any significant moment in the movie.
Great movie, too bad it lacks something though
1947. Dalton Trumbo was one of Hollywood's finest screenwriter, and a known communist. He and his fellow Hollywood communists including Arlen Hird, Ian McLelland Hunter, Edward G. Robinson soon found ideological enemies in the columnist Hedda Hopper, actor John Wayne, and the Congressman J. Barnell Thomas, who heads The House of Un-American Activities Committee. The committee subpoenaed Trumbo and 19 others on communist activities. 9 of them follows Trumbo's lead to not to answer the committee's questioning, getting them tried for contempt of Congress. Hedda forces MGM to push all studios to fire the Hollywood 10. The trial found the 10 guilty. Trumbo filed an appeal but couldn't get any work. He wrote the script for Roman Holiday under Ian McLelland Hunter's name. A judge on the 10's case died, leaving the case hopeless and the men going to jail in 1950. Arlen Hird got lucky because the government put him in a hospital due to his cancer. Trumbo befriended Virgil Brooks in jail. He also met the ex-Congressman Thomas there. Eddie Robinson got subpoenaed and he betrayed his fellows and sold their names, this time naming Ian Hunter. April 1951 saw Trumbo's release, but still he couldn't get any job. He came to Frank King's meager studio, getting screen writing jobs under pseudonyms. But his ideology as a communist stills took tolls on him and his family as his neighbors vandalized his house. 1953 saw Roman Holiday made it big but Trumbo and even Ian Hunter didn't get its fruits due to the blacklist they're on, even though it gave Ian an Oscar nomination. Trumbo lobbied the King brothers to hire his fellow communist screenwriters under pseudonyms. He even got his family to handle administration for his other pseudonyms for other producers.
Rewriting a bad script from Arlen, Trumbo told him an idea that would become The Brave One. Roman Holiday won Best Screenplay. Buddy Ross asked Trumbo's help and, despite Ross' previous adversity, Trumbo helped. He asked Arlen to help but Arlen refused. The following hectic schedule created a friction between him and his daughter Niki. Soon he found Arlen had died of his cancer. Trumbo soon visited Eddie and returned his money. Trumbo argued with his family about the work schedule. He apologized to Niki after his wife talked him him into it. Trumbo went on and wrote The Brave One, which eventually won an Oscar. Words fly out since there's no real person under the pseudonym Robert Rich under whom Trumbo wrote its script. Despite the controversy, Kirk Douglas went to Trumbo for Spartacus. Douglas shrugged off pressure on him about it. The director Otto Preminger went to Trumbo for another side project. Despite more controversy, Trumbo listened to Niki's advice and came forward with truth about Robert Rich. Douglas opened up about Trumbo writing Spartacus, stirring more controversy. But as President Kennedy attended the movie screening, the controversy died down. Soon Trumbo got the recognition he deserved.
The movie is quite well written in general. It moves fluidly enough as it depicts the important stages of Trumbo's struggle along the blacklist time. Yet I feel that the movie lacks enough "silent time", where the characters slow down and reflect. The transitions between the movie's scenes occur very rapidly as if it's an action movie.
The production design feels somewhat awkward. We can see nice mix of archive footage into the scenes, which are done very smoothly. The movie did decently in portraying the costumes for the time frame. Yet the movie just lacks very much in picturing the era's signature in properties. There are very few scenes on outdoors setting which displayed the era's cars or architecture.
The acting in overall feels rather imbalanced as only Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane and Elle Fanning who displayed the effort to really give it all into their characters. Even Helen Mirren didn't really shine, though I think it's because of her small duration on screen on each of her scenes. Louis C.K. and John Goodman's performances were also just at standard. But surely Cranston's performance really deserves the Oscar nomination he got. He nicely delved into his role's character with adequate mannerisms and accent.
I give Trumbo (2015) a 7 out of 10 score. A recommendation will be a yes from me (provided the movie is at the movies at this time). The movie delivered the true story very well, completing the perspective about the era's view about arts and movies.
Nice crime biopic, but rather lacking somehow
The movie serves a nice story in overall. The biopic seems nice and the events depicted feel significant enough for the movie. But it's strange that the movie left a whole lot of the story behind, leaving them to the narration by Francis. This makes the movie feel severely lacking since there's no adequate transition between scenes. Also this obscures the time perception since the movie didn't really mention the time setting for each event. This makes the distance between each event seems unclear. The movie can really use some montage also as it will improve the storytelling. The acting overall feels great. Tom Hardy did well as the two characters, providing adequate distinction to deepen the story. Yet Emily Browning didn't give enough depth to her character, making Francis look so sad even as she's happy with Reggie. Taron Egerton and Paul Anderson did well to complete the story.
The visuals are awesome, but that's it
I got to say that the movie really has very nice visuals. They look so beautiful on the those Neverland scenes. Also the scenes in the real world look very much in contrast that they are clear see-through for children. They are very suiting as a children's movie as it encourages imagination. Yet that's all I see good in this movie. The story is essentially crippled. I don't think the producers knew how to handle the story of Peter Pan's origins. They seemed to ignore the more older generations who were told these stories when they were going to sleep as kids. The fairies look odd since only Peter can understand them while in the original story Tinkerbell look more than just a light. TRhe acting overall is just as a standard children's movie. I personally think there's isn't any significant problem with the acting, rather with the story and the dialog themselves.
The Revenant (2015)
A great gem for the eyes to see
Hugh Glass is a military scout. With his Indian half-breed son Hawk, he serve in with John Fitzgerald, and Jim Bridger under Commander Andrew Henry, tasked to hunt animal pelts. They have to face both the Indians and the French. While hunting, Glass returns back to camp after hearing a commotion when the Indians attack. They flee to the river as the attack kills 33 men. Fitzgerald suggest a route but Glass suggest an opposite route. Henry listens to Glass and they rest for the night. At first light Glass goes ahead first as Hawk remains with the company. But Glass enters a Grizzly bear's domain and gets attacked viciously. He manages to kill the beast, but his throat is injured badly, making him unable to speak. The company finds him and carries him. Fitzgerald suggests to leave Glass as apparently they can't save him. Eventually Henry gives up, but he insists that Glass die naturally, promising money for three men who stay with Glass. Hawk and Bridger volunteer, and surprisingly so did Fitzgerald.
But Fitzgerald gets impatient, offering Glass a quick death if he just blinks. Glass closes his eyes for some time, and when he opens them Fitzgerald considers it as blinking then tries to kill him. Hawk catches Fitzgerald and the two struggle, but eventually Fitzgerald kills Hawk. Bridger comes and Fitzgerald convince him to bury Glass alive in a shallow grave. He stops as Glass is neck deep. Glass crawls out of his grave, surviving on eating bits and pieces until he can stand again. Able to walk, Glass meets an Indian man carving meat from a dead beast. Glass begs for some and the man gives, but he faints after eating. The Indian is actually pursuing his daughter Powaqa's kidnappers. He helps Glass after he explains his ordeal. The man builds Glass a makeshift shelter when they face a blizzard. When Glass wakes up the man has gone. Glass finds a French trappers' camp, and waits until nightfall then readies to steal a horse. A French man brings an Indian girl and rapes her near Glass. He rescues the girl and they escape on a stolen horse, but Glass dropped the flask Bridger left him.
The girl leaves Glass and The French pursuers catches up on him, so he runs off of a cliff, killing his horse. As another blizzard looms, Glass removes the horse's entrails and use the carcass as a cocoon. One of the French wanders into Henry's fort, bringing the Bridger's flask. Henry wonders if it's the missing Hawk, so they set out to find him. They instead find Glass himself. Henry rides back ahead but Fitzgerald had already gone with the company's money. Glass reveals the truth, asking supplies to hunt Fitzgerald. Henry goes with him. As Glass spots a camp's smoke in the wilderness, he and Henry check it out from opposite directions. But Henry meets Fitzgerald, who then kills him. Glass finds the body and uses it to lure Fitzgerald out. He succeeds and they fight a bloody melee. Glass finally has the upper hand and readies his killing blow. But he spots a band of Indians up the river and remembers the words of the previous Indian man that revenge is in God's hands, and he lets Fitzgerald floats on the current to them, who kills him.
Another great movie this month, The Revenant (2015) is full of great work in acting, directing and effects. The story is like other revenge movies, although I don't think the movie was clear enough at it. There's a lot of unnecessary footage if we see it story-wise. There are quite a lot of other story elements which are not concluded in the end.
But I must say again that the movie is a gem technical-wise. It's a beautiful sight to see. Inarritu was very kind in supplying us with another trick up his sleeve. Here you see a lot of mind bending close up shots of crazy stunts. They are enabled by the help of moving camera and impeccable timing execution that lets it require less editing.
There are many moments where the movie builds up suspense with the camera closing up on the actors, pans away, rotates to view the surroundings, and suddenly we have them getting shot at point blank. The special effects are done well that the stunts achieved their intended effect. Many times I was left behind as I was wondering how did they rigged the stunt that just happened when suddenly the movie just shoves another crazy stunt in my face.
The cinematography is great. Emmanuel Lubezki is really looking like he's aiming for another Oscar. Aside from the great job on the main story elements, there are also very pretty photography in this movie. Lubezki did a great job in capturing the spirit of the location to insert into the movie.
The acting overall is just superb. Leonardo DiCaprio did great in handling the dominant focus his character has as the entire movie mostly centers on Glass. Tom Hardy managed to bend himself into yet another believable character, despite the original reasoning of his apathy to Glass' ordeal remains unclear. Domnhall Gleeson's star is clearly rising steadily, as he secured roles in three acclaimed movie this year so far; here, Star Wars Episode VII, and Ex Machina. Will Poulter nicely adds depth to the whole story, as with the native American cast.
For me The Revenant (2015) deserves a 7 out of 10 score. It would have been more enjoyable for the ordinary people if there's less duration that only contains silence. I did enjoy the movie though, yet I don't think many other ordinary people will too.
The Hateful Eight (2015)
The eighth Tarantino movie still retains his signature
In post civil war American frontier, the bounty hunter John Ruth rides a coach steered by OB Jackson to Red Rock in a blizzard, bringing in the fugitive Daisy Domergue to collect. On the way they meet another bounty hunter former Union Major Marquis Warren. Ruth lets him in though with some doubts for they've met once before. Warren lets him see his correspondence letter with Lincoln. Soon the coach finds another man hitching a ride in the blizzard, Chris Mannix, who claims to be the new Sheriff for Red Rock. Again Ruth gives a ride with caution. They reach Minnie's Haberdashery in the mountains to rest for the blizzard. Minnie wasn't there and a Mexican named Bob welcomes them. Inside Ruth finds earlier guests Joe Gage, Oswaldo Mobray who claims to be the area's hangman, and an old man. Warren, Mannix, OB, and Bob tend to the horses before going in. Warren questions Bob's employment at Minnie's. Inside, Mannix recognize the old man as a former Confederate General Smithers, and Warren does too as he was at opposite sides at the Battle of Chattanooga with the general. As their dialog heats up, Mobray suggests they stay on opposite corners of the room as northerners and southerners.
Ruth suspects something's fishy, so he makes a clear warning to everybody, and collects the earlier guests' pistols. At dinner Mannix claims that Warren's Lincoln letter is fake, which disappoints Ruth. Bob starts playing Silent night on the piano, and Warren chats with Smithers. Warren reveals that he killed Smithers' son, and he puts a gun beside Smithers. This gets to Smithers and as he grabs the gun Warren shoots him dead. The others don't question the killing as it was self defense. But nobody else knew while Warren was revealing about Smithers' son, someone poisoned the coffee and Daisy saw it. Mannix is about to when OB and Ruth, after drinking the coffee, suddenly vomit blood and die. Ruth had time to warn Mannix about it. Daisy kills the dying Ruth, and Warren quickly control the situation. He rounds up the men as suspects, but dismisses Mannix as he almost drink the coffee himself. Warren reveals that he knows Minnie and her stew, that Minnie disliked Mexicans. Warren kills Bob then hell breaks lose as somebody in the basement opens fire, causing Mannix, Warren and Mobray getting shot.
The movie flips back to the morning before at Minnie's. Four passengers in a coach reach Minnie's. They are Joe Gage, Oswaldo Mobray, Bob and their gang leader Jody Domingray, Daisy's brother. They dispatched everybody else except an old man in order to keep the place's pretended mood. Back to the story so far, Mannix and Warren survives with grave wounds, pointing guns at the gang. Daisy and Gage is uninjured, so is Jody in the basement, while Mobray is also gravely injured. Warren and Mannix threaten to kill Daisy to lure Jody out, and kill him as he does. Daisy negotiates a deal with Mannix, offering Mobray's and Bob's bounty. Mobray backs Daisy's talk up, but Warren shoots him dead. In the commotion Gage reaches for a hidden gun but Warren and Mannix get to him first. Warren shoots at Daisy but he's out of bullets. Mannix keeps Daisy talking but eventually doesn't buy it. But he faints and Daisy goes for Gage's loaded gun. Mannix wakes up and shoots Daisy, disarming her. Warren says that they shouldn't just kill her. Instead they must hang her in honor of John Ruth who saved Mannix.
I got to say this December is surely a great month for it has some great movies worth the score 8 out of 10. The Hateful Eight (2015) surely deserves such a score. Story-wise it's an intriguing piece, very well done in the classic Tarantino style of storytelling. The story gets to be deeply character driven, offering seeds of mystery and suspicion all along the way. The twists and turns were laid out and positioned very well. The mood and pace did greatly in helping story to achieve critical mass.
Since the beginning, Tarantino movies have always had their strong part in the dialog. They effectively steer the scene, deepening the character introduction, and ultimately helping the audience let down their guard and anticipation for the surprises and twists to have maximum effect. I like how Tarantino have always make his movies have certain levels of humor, even amid bloody scenes. But it's exceptionally funny in this movie as there are more laugh spots spread across the movie.
Technically speaking, the movie displays great cinematography work. You can spot great timing direction that resulted in the long single shot at the very beginning. There are also classic camera angles and moving camera examples here and there, which are rarely found on westerns. The blood effects are really a signature of Quentin Tarantino movies. What's great to see here is that those blood work has been improved very well that they appear very grandiose. Maybe they look less realistic, but they sure look more artistic.
The acting work in overall is a great work. Samuel L. Jackson is just an essential part in a Tarantino movie. It's like not having him in one makes the movie feels awkward. Kurt Russell did great in adding into the fray, contributing very well to the movie's starting first half. Jennifer Jason Leigh did well enough in her character's concealment of the plot twist. What's bad about the cast is that we tend to see many old faces that frequent Tarantino movies. We have additions like Channing Tatum here, but the main cast only has Russell and Jason-Leigh as the new faces.
Nevertheless an 8 out of 10 score is rightfully deserving for this latest Quentin Tarantino movie. A recommendation goes out from me as I enjoyed this movie very much as I did Django, the Basterds, Kill Bill, and Pulp Fiction.
The Peanuts Movie (2015)
Very funny especially for the first half
I watched this movie without knowing anything about it. I've seen Snoopy art on little kids things such as pencil cases, backpack and water bottles. But I didn't have the pleasure of seeing the cartoons or the comic strip. I got to say that the movie is very funny especially on the first half. There are so many crazily funny scenes that reminds me of the old Tom and Jerry or Looney Tunes style cartoon jokes, yet minus the hyperbolic violence. After the mid point the movie felt kind of strange as it constantly changes perspective from Charlie's to Snoopy's story and vice versa over and over again. The movie has such a speedy pace that I' sure it will feel confusing for kids. The voice acting is quite alright in overall. If the second half could only balance the fun level from the first half, I think this movie would have been a great comedy for the family.
Great movie about Irish people, which is not about The Troubles
The romance is nice in this movie. It doesn't overwhelm the movie as in many other romance movies. I like what the movie did with the setting and mood, even though the movie lacks in long and panoramic shots. The costume, the location choices and the set built were great in depicting the authenticity of the era. The focus on the main character nicely sets the movie aside from the common mediocrities of other romance movies. There are some nice call-backs at the end of the movie. The movie is dominant on the indoor setting than the outdoor, yet it nicely managed to stay away quite a bit from heavy use of close-up shots. The acting overall feels nice, mostly of Saoirse Ronan's performance. Emory Cohen and Domnhall Gleeson did well enough to provide balance as the men in Ellis' life.
great start for a new trilogy
The movie starts with the traditional scrolling marquee, narrating that First Order had risen in place of the Empire and Luke Skywalker is missing. Leia's best Resistance pilot meets Lor San Tekka to retrieve a map to Luke. The first Order lead by Kylo Ren storms through the planet Jakku to intercept him. They succeed, capturing the pilot and killing San Tekka. But the pilot put the map chip into his droid BB-8 which escaped. Meanwhile one of the Order's stormtrooper feels guilty of his actions. The droid find it's way to a scavenger. The guilty stormtrooper breaks the pilot free. The pilot introduces himself as Poe Dameron and he names the stormtrooper Finn. But their escape fighter gets shot down and they're separated as each survives the crash. Finn wears Poe's jacket and finds his way to the scavenger. They escape First Order pursuing the droid by stealing a ship, which happens to be the Millennium Falcon.
But the Falcon gets pulled into a freighter and Han Solo and Chewbacca finds them. They fend off a two pronged attack by the Kanjiklub and Guavian Death Gang. Once safe they exchange stories, and Han Solo decides to help them and brings them to Maz Kanata. Meanwhile Kylo is tasked by Supreme Leader Snoke to get the map. The patron's at Kanata's bar alerts both First Order and the Resistance about the droid's presence. Finn asks Rey to follow him to flee. But Rey instead follows a calling she hears and finds Luke's lightsaber. The First Order alerts Kylo about Rey and he manages to capture her. The Resistance storms in and pushes the Order away. They retreat without the droid since Kylo thins Rey is enough due to her already saw the map piece. The Resistance meets up as The Order fires its massive weapon The Starkiller, destroying The Republic sanctum at multiple planets at once. But Rey manages to defy Kylo's mind probing. She even manages to Jedi mind- tricked a stormtrooper into releasing her.
Leia asks Han to bring Kylo, who turns out to be their son, home. Finn, Han and Chewbacca sneak into the Starkiller planet to seeking Rey. They find her, and as they rig explosives, Han confronts Ben, Kylo 's birth name. But the son kills Han. Chewie shoots Kylo but he manages to chase Finn and Rey. Finn uses Luke's lightsaber against Kylo but he fails to defeat him. Rey takes it and manages to slash Kylo's face, but the same time Poe's fighters and the explosives manages to destabilize the weapon planet, creating a gorge separating Kylo and Rey. After Rey comes to the Resistance base, R2-D2 comes back from his power saving mode and completes BB-8's map to Luke. Rey finds him and brings him his lightsaber.
The movie indeed feels epic at all levels. You name it; nostalgia for older generations of the first and second trilogies, continuance of the old saga, the flood of cameos, and for Indonesians especially; The Raid trio pulling up small roles. The story is nicely played, able to satisfy the saga's fans while also heavily leaving an assortment of curious questions for the next movie. This makes the movie feels somewhat lacking due to it incites more curiosity than it quenches.
It's quite a different approach that Episode VII has to face, providing a continuation story arc after thirty years of the iconic trilogy followed by a controversial prequel trilogy. Anticipating the prequels, die-hard fans had already known how the story would eventually end. This time they get more curious as the movie throws in a heap of new materials, still with the classic signature of the story elements being intricately weaved. Those inter-weaving of story elements are clearly designed to be completed at the end of the trilogy as there are only questions so far.
The new characters are at least able to balance the legendary icons here. The story nicely incorporate them and let's the icons have a grand gesture before they fade in the story to give room for the new generation. The twists and turns feels somewhat less strong, only Han Solo's death becoming the real kicker. All the rest feels like they are in the movie just as snippets of reference from the old movies.
The CGI looks great, adding great depths to the more mysterious story elements such as Kylo's saber glowing wavy, Snoke, and especially the Starkiller base. The CGI helped greatly to make the weapon look cool, although it's essentially only the Death Star getting significantly magnified. The creatures also look great. I had the thought that maybe Maz Kanata is of the same species as Yoda, only with different skin color. After all, nobody knows what Yoda's species should look like.
The acting feels nice in overall. John Boyega did well enough to divert the audience's attention from the absurd background of his character. Daisy Ridley did great in playing as the awakening Jedi while still keeping Rey's mystery for the next movie. Oscar Isaac, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and even Peter Mayhew did well in their characters. All the small roles and cameos also adds to enjoying this movie.
I score Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) a solid 8 out of 10 score, and a definite recommendation to go and see it in the movies.
The Good Dinosaur (2015)
This is a Pixar movie?
I was planning to write a full fledged article reviewing this movie on my blog, but then cancelled it. For a Pixar movie, The Good Dinosaur stand very far, particularly on the bad side, from the others Pixar had produced. The story base feels interesting. It felt like it could make a great comedy. Yet it failed to do more than just simple laughs. The animation feels nice, but the whole story is a mess. It's definitely not for kids as there's a lot of negative values hidden in plain sight. The movie literally reverse the role of pets and human owner, as with Spot and the four-limb-walking Arlo. There's also a lot of intrinsic violence here and there. And the ghost scene is just weird. The voice acting is quite decent, but the dialog feels flat in overall.