Posts

Showing posts from May, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road

Image
Update (9 July 2015): Caught it again on IMAX 3D, and - boy! - it was worth it! IMAX was spectacular and the 3D really added to the depth of the cinematography. The action scenes were still just as exhilarating!

A bit late to the show, but this was a great film, even if measured beyond a Summer blockbuster yardstick! This film was exhilarating, exciting and gorgeously stylish throughout its whole 120 minutes which was barely felt.

George Miller has a very interesting eye for the visuals and action choreography. He and cinematographer John Seale created many gorgeously sumptuous images with both wide-angled and close-ups. The intense action scenes barely let up from start to end, and it is to Miller's credit that none of the sequences were messy. And this was also despite the tonally similar palette.

Kudos also to Junkie XL for the music. The drums and bass really enhanced the adrenaline pumping thrills from the screen.

The story - also by Miller - was deceptively simple and yet be…

Tomorrowland

Image
Tomorrowland may be one of the biggest disappointments of Summer 2015. A visually stunning movie by Brad Bird who clearly had big visions for the story that he wants to tell, but unfortunately, Damon Lindelof (and Jeff Jansen) came along and Prometheus-ed it to where Lost now lays and wither.
The good thing about this movie is the potential that it had from the moment it starts. A great opener and a brilliant choice by Bird to start the movie with a double prologue. The black box mystery was established early - the concept itself interesting though not highly original - and the audience’s imagination was tickled.  
Bird’s directing, Michael Giachhino’s score and Claudio Miranda’s cinematography really brought Tomorrowland to life, and there were a few set pieces that were truly impressive. Britt Robertson is the modern Disney heroine – more in the vein of Katniss Everdeen – and an excellent protagonist for us to root for. It was established early that she was special and we were achin…

Poltergeist

Image
A scare-less horror movie that paled in comparison to the original.
This was a remake that basically just updated the story to the 21st century: with Apple products, flat screen TVs and drones. However, it lacked the creepy atmospheric feeling of the 1982 original and the few scares that it had was due to jump cuts and the always effective clown-dolls.
The trailer of Insidious III that played before the movie had more scares than this movie itself.
The clown-poster above is also scarier than anything in the movie, which is kind of sad considering that it's about poltergeist and not scary-possessed clowns.
The original movie itself was scary because of the build-up to the capture of the youngest girl, but in this update, there were barely any hauntings in the beginning, and we were told the background to the house almost straight-up.
Poor Sam Rockwell seemed almost as exasperated as us in dealing with the whole situation; Rosemarie DeWitt too.

There were many made-for-3D shots but…

Ex Machina

Image
An original sci-fi movie not in its concept but in its smart narrative and storytelling, and bolstered by great acting from its three principle casts: Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac.
Alex Garland’s script was interesting and fascinating and leads us to question certain aspects of ourselves, our roles in society now and in the future, and the role of technology in our life. It is not a new concept but the storytelling behind Ex Machina was intriguing.
As a director, Garland has a very stylish aesthetics but the narrative could have been tighter with more focus placed on the “inventor” or the “sessions”. Although kudos for the design and filming of Ava without looking overly CGI.
The title of the movie itself is also a glib choice, playing both to the literal meaning as well as to the missing component of the more common phrase: deus ex machine. And in this case, even the missing God is a double-edged sword.
Gleeson is really going places and once Stars Wars VII h…

Kingsman: The Secret Service [SQ Inflight Entertainment]

Image
This was a fun and entertaining romp as long as Colin Firth was on screen, with great action choreography and snappy British quips.
It started off mildly campy but always had its British tongue firmly in cheek, even Samuel L Jackson was besides his usual bad-ass self and brought his game along for the ride. Jack Davenport had a small but highly entertaining role, and Mark Strong remained grossly undervalued.
The action sequences by Matthew Vaughn was very well directed especially Firth’s big show down at the end of the Second Act. Someone needs to make Firth the next Bond when Daniel Craig steps down.
Firth has the best suits in the house. Double-breasted suits are going to make a comeback. But, anyways, Firth has the amazing ability to be funny and yet keep that serious British fa├žade going. This kind of suave, Bond-ish roles, with a side of humour and wry, is made for him – more so than the serious, Oscar-baiting roles which he too tackles with aplomb.
Taron Egerton played the young rec…

Pitch Perfect 2

Image
An entertaining piece of fluff that had a few laughs, but lacked the heart of its predecessor. With Elizabeth Banks at the helm, this felt like a very extended and highly unfocused MTV medley.

Banks directorial debut definitely helped saved cost, but the results was a poorly and messily directed movie especially during the choreographed bits. When the "action" slowed down, Banks was able to focus better.

However, the script by Kay Cannon was no better. There were one or two smart quips and asides, and genuinely funny moments courtesy of Rebel Wilson, but most of the laughs were cheap and mildly offensive - taking stereotypical, cheap digs at culture, race, gender and sexaulity. Just because there are a few laughs at yourself - "America" - does not make this smart, self-aware or satirical.

Furthermore, Cannon and Banks - and all the other producers - had decided to do what sequels are prone to do: bigger, louder and more, more, more! Throughout most of the movie, i…

Wayward Pines

Image
Pilot: This pilot did everything a pilot was meant to do! It delivered on an intriguing and interesting premise that left you hooked and wanting more. A small town mystery that threw more questions up in the air than you would expect. There were mysteries in terms of plot, characters and motivations, with twists, turns and surprises occuring with such speed that I am concern whether M. Night Shyamalan and gang can keep this momentum up through all 10 episodes. Matt Dillon is convincing in his role and as equally bewildered as us in this evil-Storybrook-esque town, but the real standout is Melissa Leo. She is delightfully evil with the right amount of creepiness and humour. The plotting could use a bit more tightening, but stylistically this is a very Shyamalan film. It is smart of Fox to delay this till after Empire, with Terence Howard star-power drawing in more eyeballs. Juliette Lewis's and Carla Gugino's characters are the most enigmatic and interesting, but I am intereste…