Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man Review

Theatrical release poster
The Amazing Spider-Man is a superhero movie. It’s the first of another Spider-Man trilogy so you can probably guess what the movie is basically about, the origins of Spider-Man and how he saves the day.

After director Sam Raimi decided not to make a fourth Spider-Man film, Sony Pictures Entertainment decided to start from scratch and reboot the series so that they can keep the rights to make a motion picture based on the franchise.

Initial impression of the casting choices was, at first, skeptical  Sure, Garfield and Stone are great actors but were they suitable for their role? After seeing the movie, you can see the effort that the cast puts into their role, especially Garfield, as well as the easy chemistry between Garfield and Stone.

As usual, the actions sequences are thrilling to watch but some of them, as well as the CGI for The Lizard, were very unconvincing. The Spider-Man costume looks a bit weird but this doesn't drag the whole movie down. The film also feels rushed as the film moves along; it just couldn't wait to get to the next scene.

We do want to see Spider-Man back in action but we don’t want to see the origins of Spider-Man over and over again. The movie revisits many of the same plot points from Raimi’s first Spider-Man movie. It would've been more exciting to see Spider-Man 4, despite the disappointing third film, because then the story would've continued.

It’s hard to feel sympathy for Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man when compared to Raimi’s Spider-Man. His films displays the struggles that Peter Parker goes through every day, whether he’s Spider-Man or an unpopular high school student. Garfield, as Parker, is a little cocky, despite getting picked on by Flash, but still quite likable.

In conclusion, The Amazing Spider-Man is far from amazing with its many flaws. But for what it is, The Amazing Spider-Man is a thrilling superhero movie thanks to Webb’s bold direction and the enjoyable performances from its cast. It’s great to see Spider-Man back into web-slinging action but we could probably live without the reboot.

7/10

Monday, 3 September 2012

Blasting on Metacritic Users 2: The Three Stooges Review

This new blog series titled "Blasting on Metacritic Users" is about metacritic.com users who overrates or underrates a movie, TV show, game or music and just how wrong they are. Today, we're taking a look at The Three Stooges. It scored an overall 6.1/10 based on 81 ratings according to metacritic (the scores can easily change) which indicates "generally favorable reviews", obviously overrated and this article is going to explain why this movie is more of a 5/10. If you strongly agree with this review, you can help bring the ratings down by submitting a negative rating on the website. A review is optional!
Theatrical release poster
The Three Stooges is about a trio of men Larry, Curly and Moe who still lives in an orphanage since they were babies. Hitting, slapping and finger-poking each other all the time, they’re nothing but bad news for the Sisters of Mercy Orphanage, an orphanage that would soon be shut down if they don’t come up with $830,000 within 30 days.

The trio then travels to the city to try and raise the money somehow despite the fact that they know nothing about inner city life. A series of adventure begins as The Three Stooges becomes involved in an attempted murder plot as well as a famous reality TV show during their quest to save their orphanage.

When it comes to comedy, the Farrelly brothers forget to add the laughs these days. Children may find this movie very humorous; after all it is juvenile. But older viewers won’t find any fresh jokes, or at least amusing ones, in his comedy and the result of this movie is basically nothing but pure slapsticks.

Some Catholics have even criticised the film for its disrespectful portrayal of nuns, especially Kate Upton in her "nun-kini". You know the ending went a bit too far despite Kate looking drop dead gorgeous. If you’re not religious, then you don’t need to worry about it. It’s certainly an improvement over the Farrelly brother’s previous films, Hall Pass and The Heartbreak Kid, thanks to the performances from its three leading actors.

In conclusion, The Three Stooges is characters attacking each other for 90 minutes. Though it’s not unpleasant or painful to watch, and it’s certainly an improvement over the Farrelly brother’s previous work, audiences other than children will find very little entertainment.

5/10

American Reunion Review

Theatrical release poster that mirrors the original 1999
American Pie movie poster
A group of friends reunite for a guy’s night out before attending their high school reunion and, as predicted, things become disastrous.

If you love the American Pie film series, then this film will not disappoint. If you haven’t seen the previous films, then you might want to appreciate the earlier films before giving this one a go and if you don’t like the film series overall then American Reunion will surely be a let-down.

It’s good to see the cast reunite once again, probably for the final time. While the rest of the characters are more responsible for their own actions, if not mature, the highlight character, Stifler, has not changed a bit. Fans will appreciate this but those who aren’t American Pie fans to begin with will be put off by the lack of interesting characters, as there are hardly any new character developments.

There are some good laughs for fans, thanks to Stifler, but others might not find it funny, nor will they appreciate its recycled jokes and plotting for nearly two hours. All in all, the film is a decent entry in the teen/adult comedy genre with hit-and-miss jokes. No surprise that American Reunion is a box office success which might lead to a sequel, but what comes after adulthood?

In conclusion, if you’re not a fan of the American Pie film series then this movie will not be rewarding. But if you’re a fan of the film series, then you can expect a satisfying return.

6/10

The Dictator Review

Theatrical release poster
Sasha Baron Cohen stars as Admiral General Aladeen, the dictator of the fictional Republic of Wadiya, who pays a visit to the United States of America to ensure that democracy would never come to his country.

After starring in Larry Charles’s previous two mockumentaries, Borat and Bruno, it looks like they’re both taking a turn for scripted comedy, not exactly for the better. The result is equally funny and offensive just like Bruno though The Dictator is, of course, more predictable and it doesn't quite meet the standards of Borat.

Some jokes go on for too long, such as Aladeen complaining to Nadal that he wants his nuclear weapon to be pointy and that the round edge would bounce the nuclear weapon back to his country, little slapstick here and there but it serves some good laughs, throughout 90 minutes, for fans of Borat as well as Bruno.

If you’re new to the works of Larry Charles and Sasha Baren Cohen, you might still enjoy this but watching Borat first and then Bruno is highly recommended. Otherwise, if you’re not a fan, you might not appreciate The Dictator’s crude and vulgar measures.

The Dictator is worth the watch, even if it’s not the funniest movie of the year. So far that award goes to 21 Jump Street, well worth the watch. The movie may not be new or fresh in laughs, but it’s nice to see the film’s familiar comedy style.

In conclusion, The Dictator is a decent comedy that, more or less, measures up to Bruno. But from the works of Larry Charles and Sasha Baron Cohen, Borat still remains triumphant.

6/10

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Blasting on Metacritic Users 1: Unknown

This new blog series titled "Blasting on Metacritic Users" is about metacritic.com users who overrates or underrates a movie, TV show, game or music and just how wrong they are. Today, we're taking a look at Unknown. It scored an overall 6.3/10 based on 214 ratings according to metacritic (the scores can easily change) which indicates "generally favorable reviews", obviously overrated and this article is going to explain why this movie is more of a 5/10. If you strongly agree with this review, you can help bring the ratings down by submitting a negative rating on the website. A review is optional!
Theatrical release poster
Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) and his wife (January Jones) arrive at a hotel in Berlin to attend a biotechnology summit. He realises that he left his briefcase at the airport so he takes a cab but on his way to the airport the cab crashes off the bridge and into the river. He wakes up from his coma four days after the crash at a hospital.

Martin then returns to the hotel only to find out that his wife does not recognise him and is with another man who has his identity. With the authorities believing that he’s crazy as well as being hunted by mysterious assassins, Martin take matters onto his own hands to find out who he really is and what is happening to him with a help of an unlikely ally.

Unknown starts off well as it begins to make you wonder what is going on and what happens at the end. Of course, I’m not going to spoil the ending but during the whole film it becomes so derivative that the movie is simply not plausible. The director, Jaume Collet-Serra, succeeds in making the film better than average, just like in House of Wax, but fails to build up the film, despite an interesting premise, just like in Orphan.

There were a few contrived scenarios such as the scene where Nurse Herfort gives Dr. Martin Harris a contact information card to a PI, all of a sudden, and Smith breaks Nurse Herfort’s neck leaving her body next to Dr. Martin Harris, who was able to reach for her scissors. Why didn't he hide her body in the first place? Then Liam Neeson wouldn't have escaped. Sure, he's the protagonist but that's what a smart person would've done.

Couldn't the screenwriters, Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cornwell, come up with something better or, at least, make the scenario more convincing? Since the movie is based on the novel, they either changed the scenario to something worse or the novel is just as bad as the film.

To regular audiences, you may enjoy Unknown. But for those who have seen one too many movies, you may spot the plot points from other, better, thrillers, such as Guillaume Canet's Tell No One, but Liam Neeson’s performance makes the movie worth watching, at least, as he gives it his all. Not to say that Unknown is a completely terrible movie but it’s certainly not a good one either with a so-so ending and a twist that feels like it was ripped from The Bourne Ultimatum.

In conclusion, the narrative is muddled and Unknown borrows twists and plot plots from better thrillers; ultimately wasting its talented lead actor, Liam Neeson, as well as the films interesting premise. Your money would be well spent on another film. Something like The Bourne trilogy and Tell No One, the films mentioned earlier.

5/10

Mysterious Skin

Theatrical release poster
Mysterious Skin is about two young boys who were sexually abused by their baseball couch and how the event changed their life forever. One of the boys grew up to be a reckless male prostitute (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and the other boy (Brady Corbet) repressed his assault by believing that he was abducted by aliens.

Mysterious Skin is a powerful tale about trauma and abuse that shreds light on child molestation, which is a very taboo subject that gets shoved under the rug in society. The film shows us that childhood incidences can stay with you forever, even child molestation, although the situation in Mysterious Skin isn’t very common.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt's bold performance and Gregg Araki's (director of Smiley Face) sensitive direction makes this film less difficult to watch as it rewards you with a thought-provoking, touching experience.

It’s heart-breaking to see that Neil McCormick’s abuse was what steered him towards the self-destructive path of prostitution and the realistic portrayal of the long-term effect of child sexual abuse on young boys. This film has to be taken seriously by both movie buffs and regular audiences; otherwise it might actually make your skin crawl.

In conclusion, Mysterious Skin is Gregg Araki’s best film to date that open the eyes of the audiences. The film teaches us that for the abuser, the sexual act may seem harmless. But for the children, they can carry the resulting trauma for the rest of their lives. Mysterious Skin could've been painful, due to its subject matter, but it’s strangely the most moving film about child abuse.

8/10

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Attack the Block

Theatrical release poster
Attack the Block is about a group of teenagers defending themselves from alien invasion on a council estate in South London on Bonfire night.

If Attack the Block doesn’t break any new grounds, then it is a good blend of genres. Which includes science-fiction, horror and occasional comedy. Apart from the obvious alien invasion theme, it's also a good look at British urban youths although it’s not exactly realistic.

It’s a very enjoyable, fast-paced sci-fi yarn with some great set pieces. It has an eerie atmosphere with an energetic performance from its young, and unknown, cast. It also has a nice blend of themes and genres that makes this movie appealing from all kind of audiences, from sci-fi buffs to fans of British pop culture.

It’s a very clever movie from first time director Joe Cornish that creates something different in a familiar situation seen in other movies, such as Independence Day. From the producer of Shaun of the Dead, you can see the resemblance between these two movies. A mix of genres, fight for survival and a distinctive British flavour. If you’re a Shaun of the Dead fan, this is a movie for you. You could say that Attack the Block is the new Shaun of the Dead.

In conclusion, Attack the Block is a movie you don’t want to miss. It works as an action comedy, alien invasion sci-fi and horror adventure with modern visuals as well as terrifying sound effects. A thrilling movie all around that’s appealing to all kinds of audiences, so it's safe to say that you’ll definitely have a good time watching this movie.

9/10

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

Theatrical release poster
The Cabin in the Woods is about five friends spending their vacation in a remote cabin in the woods and bad things happen; zombies rise from the grave. First impression, you've seen it before. Bad things happen in House of Wax and zombie kills in Dawn of the Dead.

It seems to start out as a typical horror film but the killing zombies are part of an operation by two technicians of an unknown and complex industrial facility, which raises questions throughout the movie. That’s how the movie actually starts out instead of descending to good looking actors being killed of the film. If the movie feels typical in some way, then it’s one filled with actual scares.

Luckily all will be revealed at the end and The Cabin in the Woods goes from shocking scares to all out gore, which makes this film suitable for horror fans that likes being scared as well as corpses. Full of twist and turns as well as strange but astonishing creatures, which includes a scary clown, The Cabin in the Woods is more than just a typical zombie flick. It’s a refreshing take on a well-worn genre and probably the most original horror movie in ages. For some, it may be an unpleasant experience for about one and a half hour.

In conclusion, The Cabin in the Woods is full of shocks, surprises and even laughs on occasion. If you’re an audience looking for something new and inventive, then The Cabin in the Woods is the movie for you. If you’re a horror fan, then you won’t be disappointed. All in all The Cabin in the Woods is one of the best horror movies in years, one that’s made for a wide audience but obviously one who is age appropriate or has the stomach to watch a horror movie.

9/10

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Super 8

Theatrical release poster
A group of young teenagers discovers a train crash while filming a Super 8 movie, though it wasn't an accident. An extra-terrestrial was then released from the train cargo causing strange events and disappearances in a small town in 1979.

J.J. Abrams directs a tribute to alien sci-fi movies, such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, by Steven Spielberg, who is one of the producers of Super 8. The film was rumoured to be a sequel or prequel to modern monster movie Cloverfield and although that was quickly denied by Abrams, Super 8 is similar to Cloverfield as well as Spielberg’s Close Encounter of the Third Kind.

However, going back to the 70’s does work in Super 8 even with all the modern technology surrounding it. It’s a thrilling and well-made movie with spectacular visuals, great sound mixing and musical score. If you like summer blockbusters and brilliant cinematics, then you’ll enjoy this popcorn-filled flick.

Super 8 is built entirely around nostalgia, which can be a problem because then it would be another film we've all seen before, for those who want to relive Spielberg's golden era. It evokes nostalgia too eagerly but if it's not as good as Spielberg, it's not an embarrassment in comparison either but just keep in mind that Super 8 is less family friendly. Young actress Elle Fanning and even newcomer Joel Courtney (protagonist) gives a wonderful performance that displays heroism, chemistry and brings life to their well-developed character.

In conclusion, if Super 8 being too similar to other films isn't a problem then Super 8 is one of the best blockbusters of 2011 with a powerful, if rushed, and emotionally satisfying ending. If you love the films mentioned earlier, give this film a go. Don’t forget to sit through the credits just like some people did with Thor and Captain America, if you really enjoyed it that is.

8/10

Killer Elite

Theatrical release poster
Ex-special ops agent Danny Bryce (Jason Statham) attempts to rescue his friend Hunter (Robert De Niro) who is being held by Sheikh Amr, king of a small region of Oman, for not completing his job for Amr. Amr wants Danny to kill three former SAS agents for killing his three eldest sons and in return, he will release Hunter. Former agent Spike Logan (Clive Owens) has been sent, by a secret society of former millitants, to investigate on the mercenaries looking for former agents. A cat-and-mouse game then ensues between Danny and Spike.

Killer Elite is a bad film on almost every level. Sure we love to see lots of action, that’s certainly "better" than a plot. This is something for die-hard action fans to enjoy. Owen and De Niro, both stellar actors, is just a bonus. But all the good qualities in the film are nothing special as we have seen it one too many times in other movies, even with good acting. The filmmakers certainly remind you that the film is based on a book called The Feather Men which is apparently a true story denied by government officials. So true or not true, first time director of feature films Gary McKendry makes this film utterly unbelievable with all its Hollywood junkies.

In conclusion, for die-hard action fans you may find this movie worth watching although Fast Five gives you more for your money.

2/10

Friday, 13 April 2012

Alvin and the Chipmunks

Theatrical release poster
Dave (Jason Lee) is a failed song writer who discovers a group of singing chipmunks and he turns them into an international phenomenon but even chipmunks can be hard to take care of. The chipmunks then find a new owner, Ian (David Cross), a business man who owns everything. Ian gives them the time of their life but Ian is also dedicated to his career and pushes the little chipmunks to be an even better pop sensation which wears the chipmunks out. Dave realises that he has grown fond of the chipmunks and he actually misses them but it is too late to get them back. Or is it?

Alvin and the Chipmunks is a live action CGI animation comedy, just like Garfield, one that little children will find very entertaining, very funny and the little chipmunks very cute. It’s nice to see Jason Lee playing a character with a similar charming personality to his main role in the hit US TV show My Name Is Earl. So if you’re a fan of Garfield or a little kid still in primary school, then you will most likely find singing chipmunks to be very enjoyable and humorous.

For older audience however, your reaction to this movie may be mixed. If you enjoy your kids enjoying this movie then you might feel the same way but as the novelty of the CGI wears off, Alvin and the Chipmunks is just a formulaic kiddie film with bland humour and one cover song after the next. You can only expect an average family adventure comedy from director Tim Hill who directed Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, the sequel to the live action Garfield movie, and Muppets From Space. Even Muppets from space lacks the charm and the wit of the other Muppet movies.

In conclusion, kids will enjoy Alvin and the Chipmunks but older audience will most likely find this movie to be too simplistic with annoying voice acting.

2/10

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Hangover Part 2

Theatrical release poster
The Wolf Packs are back and a pre-wedding brunch can result in a really bad hangover the next morning. Once again, the gang stumbles on an adventure to find out what happened the previous night and find Stu’s soon to be wife’s little brother who joins them for only one beer. You can't get a hangover with only one beer but how they got a hangover will be revealed in the film.

It’s nice to see the Wolf Pack for the second time after the hilarious first film and Ken Jeong did get more onscreen time for his role as Chow which gave the film more humour that matches the amount, or exceeds the amount, of humour as the first movie.

But all that cruel and lowbrow laughs comes with a price. The Hangover Part 2 doesn't have the full surprise that the first film has that makes the first film so good it covers most of its flaws. At the end of the day, it’s exactly the same as the first film which is probably the reason why they call it The Hangover Part 2 and not The Hangover 2.

For those of you who don’t know the difference, compare this film, as well as the original, to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and 2. The last Harry Potter installment is one movie split into two, whether they choose to split the movie because the adaptation would make a movie too lengthy or they want to make more money isn’t relevant, whereas a direct sequel is another movie that continues the story of the previous movie.

In conclusion, if you’re willing to pay to see Todd Phillips recycle his materials then The Hangover Part 2 will consist of laughs worth having a laugh about. Otherwise, the carbon copy of the original is much darker and raunchier.

3/10

Tower Heist

International release poster
Tower Heist is a 2011 crime comedy movie about a group of employees, of an exclusive penthouse, who plans to rob $20,000,000 from businessman, Arthur Shaw, after he invest in their pension, what he invested their money on will be revealed in the film. The film follows Josh (Ben Stiller), Charlie (Casey Affleck), and Enrique (Michael Pena) with the help of criminal mastermind known as Slide (Eddie Murphy), former Tower tenant and businessman Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick), and another employee of the penthouse Odessa (Gabourey Sidibe).

Does the plot sound familiar? It should as it recycles plot from other heist film such as Inside Man which is also about a group of criminals who robs a bank and outsmarts the cops. Tower Heist obviously replaces intelligence with a few short laughs.

On the other hand, director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) did manage to make a formulaic film very enjoyable, as always, with a handful of stellar casts, namely Stiller (There’s Something About Mary), Sidibe (Precious), and FBI Agent Claire Denham portrayed by Tea Leoni (You Kill Me) but Eddie Murphy steals the show with the most hilarious performance out of all the cast in the film which is just as noteworthy as his performance in older movies such as 48 HRS and Trading Places.

In conclusion, Tower Heist feels very rushed, due to its less than 2 hours running time, and dull at times but the stars put a lot of effort into their characters. While film buffs may find the movie to be worth watching, regular audiences will find this film to be very appealing.

6/10

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Theatrical release poster
Three years after the event of the second film, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) grows from being a spoilt teenager to a mature young adult and the Autobots collaborates with a military force called NEST (Networked Elements: Supporters and Transformers) that discovers a secret alien technology, founded by Apollo 11, that could bring a war to Earth. The Decepticons plan to use the secret technology to enslave all of humanity and bring back their home planet known as Cybertron.

The plot may not be basic, since fans of the Transformers toy line and animated series will fully understand the movie, but it is no different than its two predecessors. This is a film about good vs. evil, the Autobots vs. the Decepticons. A plot as thin as this one can only be written by a child who has seen Die Hard.

As usual, Michael Bay is one of the best directors when it comes to 3D action sequences as well as visual and special effects but that alone doesn’t make the movie any more pleasant to watch throughout two and a half hours. Shia LaBeouf was very good in Disturbia but in this movie, he couldn’t make his character come to life nor could Megan Fox’s replacement Rosie Huntington-Whiteley who is even worse than her; she's just eye-candy not an actor. This is a woman that came out from lingerie fashion modeling for Burberry and Victoria’s Secret, not from Lost in Translation where the performances are a spot-on showcase for the two leads. Whether or not she is hot is completely up to the audience but it has no relevance to the film whatsoever, she makes Megan Fox look like Meryl Streep.

It is a little bit better than the second installment though, removing all the bad jokes and the racist stereotype seen in the previous movie as well as casting some good actors for supporting roles such as John Malkovich (Being John Malkovich) with a hilarious moment from Ken Jeong (The Hangover). Michael Bay also promises less action sequences, making the movie less noisy and head banging. But, of course, a Michael Bay formula consist of one long action sequence at the end which could be just as long and as loud as the second installment’s final action sequence, but do you really want to find out by watching both scenes again?

In conclusion, if you’re a die-hard action fan then Transformers: Dark of the Moon may be the movie for you but the film is just as silly as its title. Whether or not there will be another pointless sequel, let’s just hope that this movie isn’t the kind of movie Hollywood will be making in the future.

3/10