Posts

Miss Sloane [SQ Inflight Entertainment]

Image
This film laid on the strong, capable shoulders of Jessica Chastain. But otherwise, the film was an uncomplicated, wannabe political thriller that only superficially skimmed through the issues at hand. Similarly, other than the eponymous Miss Sloane, the other characters served to only advance the narrative and reinforce her badass-ry.
Director John Madden competently steered the story towards its inevitable conclusion, but with so much signposting and blatant foreshadowing, the audience was kept wanting the other shoe to drop rather than teetering on the edge not knowing how our anti-hero(ine) was going to win. 
Writer Jonathan Perera similarly painted the whole scenario is broad strokes and never really explored new grounds. This could have just been an episode of a Shondaland drama and we would not have even noticed the difference. Even his characterisation of Miss Sloane, for all its blustering and balls-breaking innuendo, actually bordered on misogyny. If it was not for Chastain…

The Lost City of Z [SQ Inflight Entertainment]

Image
A very well executed adventure epic by writer-director James Gray that was equally riveting, inspiring and touching, with a superb performance by Charlie Hunman. Co-stars Sienna Mille exuded subliminal graces, Robert Pattinson remains underrated and Tom Holland cements both his undeniable talent and star calibre.
Gray has crafted a story that traced the mysterious true story of Percy Fawcett but he did not mine it for unnecessary sensationalism or Indiana Jones-esque adventure/thriller. Instead what we got was an intimate exploration of a man’s obsession and how it informed his life’s decision. Smartly, Gray also chose to put some focus on how such obsession affects his family instead of broadly brushing it aside. And it was these moments that Miller shone in a role that would have otherwise been nothing but accessorising. 
Hunman deserves a leading man role as deep/complex as Percy Fawcett. Sure, he could also convincingly play an action character a la King Arthur, but Guy Ritchie’s…

War for the Planet of the Apes

Image
The strength of this film laid in its narrative. Director and co-writer Matt Reeves had, unexpectedly, gone smaller and more intimate in this three-quel and that has paid off. Together with yet another amazing performance by Andy Serkis, the film related the inevitable fall of Humanity without sacrificing character. If anything, the film could have been tighter and its tone less scattered. At times the film felt like a Western, and at other moments, a heist film, a buddy film, a spy thriller and even a biblical epic. But otherwise, this was an entertaining film with a satisfying conclusion to Caeser's story.

Reeves and co-writer Mark Bomback wisely used this film to further explore their main character. Instead of expanding the universe and just going for bigger, louder and flashier - like most sequels are prone to do - they chose to look inwards and used the exploration of Caesar's character to illuminate the situation of the movie-world.

In the film, the apes exhibited more…

Spider-Man: Homecoming [IMAX 3D]

Image
As a second reboot, Spider-Man: Homecoming had a lot stacked against it, but what Marvel/Sony had wisely chosen to do was to steer away from the over-trodden origin story and instead focused on the growing pains of a being (super)hero. And also casting Tom Holland in the lead. With Holland, the MCU had hit another gold mine in casting like what they had with Robert Downey Jr. That being said, the film itself, unfortunately, was a mid-tier entry in the MCU. It was fun, enjoyable and entertaining - everything one would expect from a Marvel-film and a summer popcorn release. However. for all its quips and maniacal energy, it lacked the kinetic and effortless humour of Ant-Man, The Avengers (both parts) and Guardians of the Galaxy(part one only), and also the thrilling excitement and adrenaline-pumping actions of the first two Tobey Maguire/Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies and Andrew Garfield/Marc Webb's first The Amazing Spider-Man.

Jon Watts' direction was apt and competent, b…

Transformers: The Last Knight

Image
A typical, mindless, over-bloated, all-out sensory assault by Michael Bay that although was just slightly more coherent than the previous "Age of Extinction", it was also less exciting and adrenaline pumping than an usual Bay fare which was very unfortunate since that was the least of all expectations. 
Like the past entries, the story here was a distant third place to CGI and action, with acting a pithy consideration. Even if all that was expected, the film would have benefited a lot more from being shorter. Maybe trim off about 20 minutes and skip the whole unnecessary prologue which served no narrative purpose other than for Bay to do an Arthurian ripoff. And maybe because dragons are wicked. 
Also we could have easily skipped the ridiculous "Stranger Things" homage too and the unnecessary child actor inclusion. 
This go round the main action sequences were more human centric and less Transformers-bases action. And even less Transformers vs Transformers one which i…

The Mummy [IMAX/3D]

Image
Generously speaking, The Mummy would have made for a good TV-movie and be better appreciated as a standalone film in itself rather than as a reboot of the Branden Fraser's 1999 hit.  Even Tom Cruise's innate charisma could not save it from its poor writing, mundane blandness and generally bad acting. However, having said that, there were four really, really great action sequences that were a lot better than anything in Wonder Woman, so there's that. But still, Penny Dreadful this ain't.

The potential of this Dark Universe, monster vs monster franchise is surely there, but director Alex Kurtzman and the whole team of writers basically just gave us a tone-deaf version of what could have been great (again, see John Logan's Penny Dreadful). And it all starts from the miscasting of Cruise. Or better put, the mischaracterisation of what a typical Cruise-character should be. To his credit, Cruise has an insane amount of charisma, but it plays much better when he portrays…

Wonder Woman

Image
As a DCEU film, Wonder Woman was definitely less dour and more lighthearted than the other Zack Synder entries, but Patty Jenkins still managed to make it take itself a bit too seriously and all amidst DCEU's usual gloomy palette; as a superhero-origins film, it delivered the heroics, the awe of self-discovery and also the extravagantly megalomaniac villain; but as a film in itself, it lacked a strong thematic cohesion, was saddled with a rambling narrative that could be at least 20-30 minutes shorter, multiple poor script choices with plot holes and contrivances, and beats telegraphed miles away, lackluster and often uninteresting - to the point of bland/boring - action sequences that relied on too much (bad) CGI, and bad banter. However, through it all, Gal Gadot was the absolute star and saving grace of the film and proved that her appearance in Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice was no fluke.

With Jenkins at the helm, Wonder Woman definitely felt unlike any other previous DCE…