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Showing posts from November, 2014

How To Get Away With Murder

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Pilot: First time really watching a Shonda Rhimes series, so am expecting much and yet also at the same time not expected to be blown away. And that was what I came away with after the pilot episode. The premise is interesting and the likely series-long mystery does seem intriguing, however the flash forward technique is getting more and more contrived every year we move away from Lost. Viola Davis is a fabulous actress but her character is such a contrived mess. There had better be a good back story to explain her character. None of the other main cast appear to be likable or relatable, not even the underdog, perhaps only Connor is mildly interesting because he turned out to be gay. Liza Weil is underutilised. The case-of-the-week structure so far is fairly interesting as it at least it involved the interns - whom we are supposed to be invested in - vying to get Davis' attention.

Episode 2, "It's All Her Fault": The case-of-the-week concept got a big boost here if Da…

Gone Girl

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Disclaimer: I really didn't like the book by Gillian Flynn. I could understand why people liked it - especially the concept - but I didn't like how the book/story was presented. 

Gone Girl is a typical David Fincher movie, i.e. smart (if you have never read the book), stylised and strangely sexy, but at the same time it is also a typical David Fincher movie, i.e. the style palette, directing and soundscape. Nonetheless, Fincher's hands definitely improved the telling of Flynn's story. 
Without ruining the plot, the story unfold closely to the book in terms of structure and was presented smartly and smoothly by Fincher.

For those who do not know the book, the movie was well paced, gripping and tense throughout its 2.5 hours run. 
Even those who knew the plot, the movie was still stylised enough to hold your attention. But then the faults become more apparent and jarring especially the music by Fincher's frequent collaborators Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, and the r…

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

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Expanding the third book into two parts may be the best thing this series has done. With the increased length time, they are now able to tackle the more substantial issue of a revolution - giving it more depth and showing the broader country-wide social impact - rather then the slightly more juvenile - albeit more personal - survival game itself. This was also something that Suzanne Collins was not particularly good at when writing book 3, so kudos to writers Danny Strong and Peter Craig, and director Francis Lawrence.
All the old cast were great and were welcomed back like old friends especially Effie, Elizabeth Banks - who was not in the book. She was the definite comedic highlight of the show; even more so than in the previous installments where she tend to be too screechy. 
Philip Seymour Hoffman and Woody Harrelson had smaller roles here but those roles were vital and showed what great actors they are. 
Liam Hemsworth, on the other hand, was not missed, and he did nothing outsta…

The Babadook

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The best horror movie since Insidious and if only its Third Act could have maintained that level of creepiness, horror and originality, this would have easily been one of the best horror film in a long time.

Like Insidious, this movie focused its horror using old-school techniques of ratcheting up the tension, with the use of music and edits, and very, very minimal jump scares. The whole movie felt scary and the psychological terror that imbued in the audience was extremely effective.

Unfortunately, the final act fell apart. Not greatly, but still it felt flat compared to the excellent first two acts. It became rather generic and run-of-the-mill, and even then, because of the low budget, the run-of-the-mill-ness felt broken. Which was a real pity.

But nonetheless, the whole movie was definitely worth a watch for horror fans and even just the casual movie goer looking for a good scare.

Boyhood [SQ Inflight Entertainment]

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Possibly the best movie of 2014 thus far, and this is saying a lot considering that it was out in Summer and I had only just watched it in Fall.

Amazing, epic and ambitious scope by writer/director Richard Linklater that was matched only by its heart and sincerity. Narratively, it was rather weak but taken as a whole it showed a rare heartfelt glimpse into the growth of a child.

Granted that character development was not significant for many of the characters of the show, but our titular hero was a boy who grew up (over 12 years) into a man and this movie was a depiction of that passage. In many respects this was like the Up series.

Patricia Arquette provided the anchor for the series as the main adult figure for which the parent-child relationship resolved, and she held herself well as we see the changes to her life over the 12 years.

Ethan Hawke was also present throughout the movie and his character gave the boy a father-figure to look up to and possibly even aspire. Again, we see…

Interstellar

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Interstellar is like the illegitimate love child between Gravity and Contact with The Hitchhiker Guide To The Galaxy and Space Odyssey 2001 both fighting to be its godparent. You know you are in trouble when the best thing about the movie is the wise-cracking robot a la Marvin from THHGTTG. 

Christopher Nolan has not made a good movie since The Dark Knight and even then his best movie still remained Memento. Perhaps responding to criticisms about Inception, this movie has been dumbed down exponentially definitely as a bid to wow all of Nolan's new found fans. But there is a difference between dumbing down to appeal to the masses and dumbing down to being outright stupid. For the former, see Michael Bay's Transformers; the latter - I can't even think of one now.
Jonathan and Christopher Nolan's script was filled with such bad writing. Clunky dialogue and heavy handed exposition. Poor line readings also did not help matter - will get into that soon. The robots had the be…

Constantine

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Pilot: To be fair, I do not really know much about Constantine the DC comic that this is based on, and as for the Keanu Reeves movie back in 2005, I vaguely remembered that it was entertaining for a Keanu Reeves movie. Anyways, Matt Ryan seems like a good fit thus far, although surprisingly un-british enough: his Constantine needs to be a bit more sardonic and deadpanned (Johnny Lee Miller's Sherlock in Elementarycomes to mind, but less eccentric). Thankfully, the show is losing Lucy Griffith's Liv. Unfortunately she really did not fit the show, seemingly awkward and lacking chemistry with Ryan. There were some good scares in this pilot - kudos to director Neil Marshall - and hopefully the show runners can maintain that level of creepiness. However, David S. Goyer remains one of the most over-rated writer in Hollywood. His script was the second weakest link (after Griffith) with pokey dialogue and clunky exchanges. The idea is there but the execution lacked polish. Hopefully i…