Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Short Movie Review

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is basically a remake of Star Wars: A New Hope, with better special effects, a more diverse cast and a bucketful of nostalgia, with tons of nods and winks to the original trilogy.

Have to say though that the good guys are all idiots even if it serves to help move the plot; if the BB-8 is so bloody recognizable, for The Force's sake keep it safely hidden in a compartment somewhere instead of letting it toddle alongside you like some stupid shining beacon broadcasting to the entire galaxy who and where you are.

Still, it's entertaining enough, so 4 out of 5 stars for me.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Short Movie Review: The Good Dinosaur? More Like The Really Bad Dinosaur Movie.

Just as Inside Out is easily the best Pixar movie yet, so is The Good Dinosaur easily Pixar's worst film.

With a disjointed, weak narrative and characters painted in broad strokes with no real depth to speak of, The Good Dinosaur waddles on a crutch of stereotypes, cliches and tired archtypes to tell its story.

Young kids might enjoy it but I highly doubt adults will, which is a real anomaly in a Pixar feature.

2 out of 5 stars for me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Hunger Games Movie Series Ranked

1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

My review of Catching Fire

2. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

My review of Mockingjay Part 2

3. The Hunger Games

4. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

My movie review of Mockingjay Part 1

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Movie Review

While not as good as Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part 2 is the second strongest movie in the quartet and provides a satisfying conclusion to a great, if sometimes uneven, movie series.

A rare YA dystopian movie that is able to grow out of its roots and evolve into a full-fledged adult war movie, it is a must-watch for hardcore fans, casual fans and even just moviegoers in general. You do need to have watched Part 1 because Part 2 continues right where Part 1 ends.

4 out of 5 stars for me.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Mr. Holmes Short Movie Review

Fans of Benedict Cumberbatch's BBC Sherlock series; if you think this movie could be the thing to tide you over until the next season, you need to look elsewhere. The pace of this movie is rather languid and sometimes rather disjointed, with, the movie is split into three different narrative strands. The only reason to watch this movie is quite simply Sir Ian McKellen, who turns in a great performance here and is the only thing propping this movie up.

3 and a half stars out of 5 stars for me.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Short Black Mass Movie Review

I have to confess, the only reason I decided to watch this was because Benedict Cumberbatch is in it. He's in a handful of scenes at the start of the beginning of the film and in a couple of scenes near the end. The real star of this movie though is Johnny Depp, who plays a menacing Whitey Bulger rather well, although it seems rather one-note at times.

Unfortunately, the movie badly wants to emulate Goodfellas, a far superior gangster movie (to this day I don't understand how it lost to Kevin Costner's Dances With Wolf for Best Picture); instead what we get is a very mediocre run-of-the-mill gangster movie.

3 out of 5 stars for me. Do yourself a favor and go check out Martin Scorsese's infinitely better Goodfellas instead if you haven't seen it before.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Insomnia, my nemesis

My nocturnal menace

You're no nightly rendezvous

No lovely illicit paramour

I stare wide-eyed

Helpless and hapless

Into your endless

Gaping black maw

Tossing and turning

We wrestle mightily

As I strive to reject

Your leeching embrace

Akin to a vampire

You suck all vitality

Until I am no more

Than a withered husk

Bedraggled in defeat

Glassy-eyed with fatigue

Bleakly I blearily greet

The painful dawn

Monday, September 21, 2015

Minions Review

Just last week, Minions overtook Toy Story 3 to become the 2nd highest grossing animated movie ever, behind Frozen.

There can then be no doubt that the movie is a huge commercial success. But how does the movie stack up critically?

While it is true that in the 1st Despicable Me movie the Minions stole the movie from its human characters, and Despicable Me 2 suffered from featuring too little of the Minions as their usual yellow silly selves, Minions shows that there can be too much of a good thing.

Centering an entire movie on characters that sprout mostly gibberish that are occasionally punctuated with the word "Banana" is no mean feat and alas, unlike the superior Shaun the Sheep movie which also featured no real dialogue, Minions doesn't manage to successfully pull it off. Instead we get a mostly mediocre movie where the really funny moments are very few and very far between.

2 and a half stars out of 5 stars for me.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Jurassic World review

After hearing friends say that they enjoyed Jurassic World, I decided to give the movie a try even though I wasn't really crazy about dinosaurs.

The movie stars Chris Pratt as Owen, a dinosaur trainer, a dinosaur whisperer of sorts, and Dallas Bryce Howard as Claire, Jurassic World's operations manager. All chaos breaks loose when the park's latest genetically modified dinosaur escape its enclosure and it is up to Owen and Claire to join forces to save the day. To complicate matters, Claire's two nephews Zach and Gray are visiting the park when this happens.

While the movie is enjoyable enough, serving a nice blend of action and comedy, what I found hard to get out of my head throughout the movie was: "How on Earth did Claire spend several hours running around the park in her high heels without ever falling once?" I felt this detracted from the rest of the movie and might have marred my enjoyment of the movie quite a bit.

Also, all the characters are rather two-dimensional, with Owen and Claire playing polar opposites, Owen as an easygoing guy and Claire as an uptight corporate type. Claire’s eventual character growth and development is too predictable and makes her character rather boring.

Unfortunately for me, I found the plot rather sexist at times. Claire's female assistant is attacked by a dinosaur in an extended scream-fest scene more suitable in a horror than a PG-13 movie like this. Also, oddly enough, after seeing their aunt Claire be all bad-ass and save Owen from becoming dino-chow by shooting a dinosaur with a gun (minor spoilers), her nephews adamantly want to stick with Owen instead of her, just because she lacks a Y-chromosome. I also found it rather unrealistic that one of Claire's nephews was easily able to fix up an old vehicle and have it running and fully operational in no time flat without any outside help.

Right from the get-go, you’ll know who is going to make it and who doesn’t, which takes some of the suspense out of the movie. The army subplot provided by the character of Vic Hoskins, who wants to use the raptors as military weapons, is rather over-the-top and silly.

Despite the rather predictable and at times really asinine plot, the movie is entertaining enough and enjoyable at times, mostly from its nicely orchestrated action sequences.

3 and a half out of 5 stars for me.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Inside Out Short Movie Review

Inside Out is an excellent movie. Funny, whimsical. innovative and touching at times, a movie that can make you cry over a part elephant, part cat and part dolphin imaginary animated character is no mean feat.

Hope Jurassic World doesn't divert too many people from checking it out.

A must-see for both adults and children!

5 out of 5 stars for me.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Insurgent Short Movie Review

Draggy and overlong, devoid of much of a pulse in what is supposed to be a high-octave dystopian action movie, Insurgent disappoints when it should thrill.

2 out of 5 stars for me.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Cinderella Short Movie Review: Visually Gorgeous and Sumptuous but Emotionally Inert

The Cinderella bracelet I wore to the screening. My friend Jenna sells a variation of it in her Etsy store.

The Frozen necklace I wore to the screening. The Frozen Fever short before the movie wasn't at all narratively satisfying, seeming to exist more to give everyone a glimpse of all the characters from Frozen than anything else. Jenna also has it in her store.

And to complete the ensemble, a Game of Thrones t-shirt, which seems apt since Prince Charming (Richard Madden) and his Captain of the Guard (Nonso Anozie) were both Game of Thrones alums. You can get the shirt from Amazon.com.

"Have courage and be kind." And so, with her parting words to Cinderella, which gets repeated ad nauseum in the movie, Cinderella's mother, played by Hayley Atwell, condemns our titular heroine to a life of drudgery under her stepmother and stepsisters after her parents pass away. (Centuries old spoiler alert here)

Cinderella, or Ella, as is her real name, is played winsomely by Lily James (Downton Abbey), as is her Prince Charming, played by Richard Madden (Game of Thrones), he of the toothsome grin and oh-so-blue eyes. Their onscreen chemistry is palpable and strikes a magical spark for the film. Indeed, it is one of the few things, besides the gorgeous visuals and a crackling campy performance by Cate Blanchett as the Wicked Stepmother, that makes it a decent movie, but alas not a great one.

Great as the casting is, and wonderful as the visuals and costumes are, the movie is let down with a merely serviceable script by Chris Weitz and a very by-the-numbers directorial effort by Kenneth Branagh. Which is crying shame really, because the movie could have and should have been so much more.

Both director and scribe should have heeded the movie's message to "have courage" and instead crafted a more bold and daring rendition than this very safe and rather bland adaption of Disney's classic 1950 animated feature.

3 out of 5 stars for me.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Jupiter Ascending Short Review

The world building and special effects are gorgeous to look at, but there is really nothing of substance behind the pretty facade. The movie is entertaining for sure, but I felt quite frustrated at all the wasted potential. Instead, this intricately original science fiction universe created by the Wachowski siblings is let down by badly-conceived one-dimensional characters, a terrible script and cliches galore.

2 and a half stars out of 5 stars for me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Wedding Ringer Short Review

I knew in my hearts of hearts that Kevin Hart's brand of humor wasn't really my thing, but when I overheard someone saying that it was one of the funniest movie that she had seen in a long time and when I read online that the whole audience was in stitches throughout the entire movie at a screening someone else was in, I thought why not?

And that was a terrible idea because it led me to waste 2 hours of my life watching a terribly unfunny movie. At no point did I feel like walking out of the screening (I was tempted to at the Need For Speed screening that Pamela Moore dragged me into) but I have to say I really regretted going to see it and came out of the movie theater feeling rather angry that I wasted my time on a movie that was not worth any of my time at all.

2 out of 5 stars for me.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Selma Short Review

Deeply moving, Selma director Ava DuVernay manages to avoid the many pitfalls that tend to plague most biographical movies (turning it into a hagiography or trying to cram a person's entire life into a movie's running time and thereby not doing it justice). She manages to achieve this by humanizing and giving us a blood-and-flesh Martin Luther King Jr. and also by choosing to focus on just a short time period in his life.

My only quibbles are that President LBJ's is historically inaccurate portrayal as King's adversary rather than ally, that Tim Roth's portrayal of George Wallace that at times runs into caricature mode, and that Oprah WInfrey is too starry to play Annie Lee Cooper in the film; seeing her in the movie jolts me out of the movie the same way Brad Pitt's role in 12 Years A Slave did.

4 and a half out of 5 stars for me. An uncannily timely must-see film.