Movie

Shouldn’t superhero movies have their own genre?

In the past few days there has been a discussion about Superhero movies and how a time will come when they stop being so loved by the audience, in a similar way to how Western films were the be all end all at one point and now we only get one every year or two.  Well I guess anything is bound to become a talking point when a legend like Steven Spielberg is the one that makes the comment.

That is an interesting topic, nevertheless I wanted to turn the angle just slightly, and instead of focusing on the future where Superhero movies die, to their present dominance in the film industry and their categorization.

It seems crazy to me, that after a series of box office hits and successes of comic book adaptations (including Batman, X-Men, Avengers, Superman and so many more), that increase with each passing month, we still see them being categorized in a varying range, from Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi to Crime, Drama, Thriller omitting one very important word that would be 100% accurate and true to the actual genre.  Action, Adventure is more often than not correct, however Sci-Fi and Fantasy don’t really cut it in terms of giving a complete interpretation.  It is very much like categorizing a Western as an Action, Adventure or Crime, Drama, without using the actual name of the genre; hence the audience isn’t able to comprehend the actual content of the film.

Haven’t we had enough time to get used to the superheroes dominating box office time and again? Shouldn’t we be at a point where we can agree of a genre-categorization that would encapsulate all that comic book-adaptations/superhero movies are about, so that it can be described correctly and accurately instead of being an opaque Sci-Fi, Fantasy, like it is now?

Inside Out Review

This is one of the most critically acclaimed movies of the year.  However for some obscure reason my hometown cinema decided to release it on the 4th of September.  You can imagine how hyped me and my friends were going in; after all this was a long overdue viewing.

Inside Out really has a mind-blowing and in some ways oddly accurate take on how human emotions work together inside a person’s brain in order to act according to their surroundings.  It was very easy to tell early on, only in the first couple of minutes, that this was going to be at the very least a good film.  The premise of the movie is all one needs in order to get interested, add a great opening music score by Michael Giacchino and everyone is raring to go.

Every member of the voice-over, was casted absolutely spot on and they did a tremendous job. Special mention has to be given to Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Phyllis Smith and Mindy Kaling who provided the voices for the 5 emotions: Joy, Fear, Anger, Sadness and Disgust respectively, and more importantly managed to capture and embody with the help of the animations the emotion at hand perfectly.

Pete Docter is probably one of the most pivotal people in the production and development of this movie, and he really can’t be commended enough.  Firstly for carving this great concept in his mind and secondly for achieving greatness in his efforts to make it a reality (or at least a reality on the big screen).  It’s a very absorbing movie that not only shows the different emotions in action and focuses on their importance, but also manages to get those emotions running in the audience.

Combining a fast paced adventure comedy with some serious messages and life lessons to be learned seemed to work with Pixar and Toy Story for the past 20 years, it seems like they did just that without recycling the same old material.

8.5/10

Spy Review

Spy is a movie about a CIA desk analyst, who is required to do some undercover work and ends up being in the center of an operation attempting to save the world in the face of definite global disaster.  Sounds like the n’teenth movie we’ve watched over the years with the same old plot.  Well beside a few changes, it is mostly true, however a great cast, a very smart script and fun directing by Paul Feig, make it a worthwhile 2 hours, despite the premise not being very original.

Melissa McCarthy gives a mighty performance in the lead of the film; she is simply amazing with her incredible comedic prowess that we are now starting to get used to, as she keeps doing all the right things in every scene to get the most laughs possible.  She is of course accompanied by the also great Jason Statham who shows that he is capable of producing a very funny performance and also Jude Law doing his charming agent thing with the necessary charisma you would expect of him.

There isn’t a lot to say, without giving anything away and there isn’t really anything to criticize.  Most of the thing the movie does, it does well.  It has some great comedy bits and also some nice action sequences to get the adrenaline going.  It’s everything you would want from a light-hearted film with the hilarious Melissa McCarthy and her antics.

Everyone enjoys a good comedy and a good spy movie, and equally a mix of the two genres.  Well, every once in a while a great one comes around and it’s time to sit back and enjoy.

8/10

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. review

An American spy, a Russian spy, lots of action, a bit of comedy, a few twists and tons of charisma and style added by Guy Ritchie’s directing.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E is a very good movie, it starts off with a common premise, categorizing it in the spy genre, which has been very popular in the past few months, with films like Kingsman and Mission Impossible, however it manages to be authentic and unique by distinguishing itself with its peculiar tone, character dynamics, great music score and 60s backdrop.

Henry Cavill steals the show in his role as Napoleon Solo, he gives a remarkable performance showing impeccable drawing power and pulling off the charming agent persona as well as anyone. Armie Hammer is also good as the Russian spy but it’s Alicia Vikander who has another great appearance and seems to be on the up with a couple of very good performances on the bounce.

The plot is definitely the weak part of the film.  It doesn’t have anything particular to offer in terms of dramatic development or mind-blowing twists, which keep you awake for days.  It is rather simplistic and remains more light-hearted instead of exploring darker themes. Even though we’ve come to expect more from Guy Ritchie’s scripts, he chooses to leave more room to work his magic in the director’s chair in this one.  He imposes his style as always, and it’s a joy to watch, as he captures the essence of the 1960s and allows his “agents” to show their on-screen magnetism.

A decent, kind of throwback to the 1960s spy movies with the Guy Ritchie stamp and a wee bit weak story.

7.5/10

Dark Places Review

Dark Places is a film about people dealing with hard times and loss. It has an exceptional story to tell but somewhere along the way it finds it hard to showcase everything it has to offer, and focuses on the investigation side of things, instead of the more interesting emotional aspect of its characters.

Charlize Theron gives a very good performance, equal to her character’s multi-layered personality and she really manages to bring through her characteristics and feelings.  She makes the script work for her and she is committed to make the best out of what she is given to work with.  There are a lot of memorable cast members doing a great job, but the characters they portray feel more like supporting peons in a movie that should have been more about them and their place in it.

The direction of the film, doesn’t do the story by Gillian Flynn justice, now that’s probably down to the director Gilles Paquet-Brenner, he himself adapted the book and wrote the screenplay so he is probably the one guy to blame for bringing the quality of the movie down and stopping it from being something more than just a decent watch.

It’s rushed and it’s sloppy, however it is still a very interesting story that is told.

6.5/10

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation Review

There is a reason this is one of the longest running franchises in the movie industry.  Instead of diminishing returns in terms of quality with each sequel, Mission Impossible gets better every time (MI: 2 is the obvious exception here).  So how does Rogue Nation fare in the grand scheme of things?

Firstly the one thing that fans of Mission Impossible want to see and is rightly a big part of the movie, is Tom Cruise doing crazy stunts and being involved in action packed scenes.  Just like the audience, Cruise himself seems to have grew into the character of Ethan Hunt and he portrays him to perfection in all possible kind of scenes, drama, comedy or action filled, he simply is Ethan Hunt.  Rebecca Ferguson is a great asset for the movie, she is excellent throughout and she also has a great chemistry with Tom Cruise.  Moreover it was great to see Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames as Benji and Luther respectively return.

The action sequences as we’ve come to expect from the MI series are top notch, they are as good as any and it’s great to see that they are still committed in creating spectacular scenes that get the viewer at the edge of their sit.  There is however one criticism to make, the shaky cam and cutting from one angle to another during hand to hand combat scenes, leaves you imagining the fighting instead of depicting it.

On a final negative note, the story unravels in a very straightforward and not very uncommon way, making it easy to predict, especially for those that have watched the previous movies on repeat.  Of course returning to something familiar is good for fans but to a slightly lesser degree.  The plot isn’t as sharp as it should be and having experienced 4 Mission Impossible movies beforehand, Rogue Nation makes it easy to catch on the usual twists and tricks of the IMF.

6.5/10

Southpaw Review

Southpaw is a very emotional ride, following the story of a great boxer, who after being on top of the world, is facing difficulties and obstacles along the way as his tries to overcome them and regain his prior mental integrity.

Jake Gyllenhaal is in the lead of the movie, and he proves to be a real force of acting, as he once again masterfully portrays another complicated character with his dynamic performance. Gyllenhaal is physically transformed for this role, but he doesn’t stop at the physical side of things, he also manages to embody the mental side of his character (similar to his work in Nightcrawler) and proves himself as the best aspect of the movie. Forest Whitaker is also great, as the support to Gyllenhaal, and the two of them work great together on screen, feeding off and bettering each other in the process.

There isn’t a lot in the film that we haven’t experienced before, in terms of plot and characters. However Antoine Fuqua is too smart to let that harm the essence of the movie. He lets the best means at his disposal, his actors, show their worth by giving them more than enough to work with and by complimenting them the best he can, with some impressing camera work. The boxing is captured as good as I have ever seen, with the audience being at the heart of things and without relying on cheap techniques, like shaky cameras and the changing of angles in order to make it look realistic.

Overall it’s a movie worth watching, due to the heartfelt acting by amazing its actors, a stunning piece of music score by James Horner and a very smart directing by Antoine Fuqua, which makes this a very good and absorbing movie, despite its linear storytelling and common premise.

7.5/10

Is it Groundhog Day for the Film Industry?

Dotty Jottings

All it takes is a brief glace at this year’s summer blockbusters for a recurring pattern to emerge. Films topping the list included Jurassic World, Terminator: Genisys and Mad Max: Fury Road. So what do these films have in common? They have all, in one way or another, been done before; perhaps a remake or a sequel, but essentially just a different spin on another movie. This is becoming an increasingly common occurrence in today’s film industry. Now it seems that a film created from a truly original idea is rare.

Of course, every concept for a film has had to come from somewhere. A large number are adapted from books, plays, and even video games. Even if it are not a direct remake, every movie contains borrowed elements, and it could be argued that there is no such thing as a completely unique film. However, now cinemas appear…

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Terminator Genisys Review

A reboot, a prequel, a sequel, nobody really knows how to categorize this movie.  The Terminator franchise from the original, always used to mess with your head because it brought time travel in the mix.  Terminator Genisys, is a lot more confusing than previous installments due to having a lot of time traveling involved and also a lot of timelines interchanging and altering the original.

Emilia Clarke is cast as Sarah Connor, Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese, Jason Clarke as John Connor and thankfully Arnold Schwarzenegger reprises his role as the Terminator, although with a new mission.  Emilia Clarke hits the nail on the head with her performance, choosing to portray her character somewhere in between the Sarah Connor of the original and the second Terminator movies and it makes sense that she is not exactly the same as Linda Hamilton in Judgement Day because the events occurred differently for her character.  Jai Courtney, disappoints again with his performance in a major franchise, as he is bland more often than not.  Nevertheless Schwarzenegger steals the show, he still remembers how to put on a good performance as the Terminator, and delivers his punch lines and comedy bits as he only knows how.

The plot is very good, especially for someone that has watched the movies that preceded it; it’s interesting to see how they answer to a few questions (by opening tons of plot holes but whatever) which have been asked since the beginning of the franchise.  Moreover it was great to revisit some of the scenes in the original, although in an altered timeline.  The worst aspect of the movie, has got to be the dialogue, it is so very cringey and in particular scenes (usually between Sarah and Kyle) you just want someone to press fast forward to skip them.

It is unfortunately a bit dialed down in comparison to the rest of the Terminator films, in order to qualify for that “precious” PG-13, however the difference doesn’t really hurt in any way, maybe the action sequences would be a bit more gory and exciting, but its fine as it is. Overall, Genisys is a solid action movie and a good addition to the franchise.

7/10

X-Men: Days of Future Past-The Rogue Cut Review

First off, the original cut by itself, is amazing, the best x-men movie to date, it has everything, from drama, to hilarious moments and exciting action sequences that leave the viewer in awe.

We are used to Hugh Jackman being the lead in the X-men movies, and that is again the case, as he leads the gang in the quest of survival and of course delivers as he only can.  Furthermore it was really great to see the original cast and the First Class cast together, a humongous ensemble in a humongous blockbuster.

The presence of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, even for a limited amount of time, takes the movie to a different level, both because we are used to seeing them in their roles as Professor Xavier and Magneto respectively but also because they are respected legends of the business.  Moreover it was great to see the contrast between the older aforementioned characters next to their younger selves portrayed by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, something that is enhanced by the Rogue Cut (there is a sequence when the movie interchanges setting).

Bryan Singer really takes the franchise to a different standard with this installment.  There isn’t a moment that is dull or uninteresting.  With truly engaging storytelling, impeccable performances required by the complex and dynamic characters, stunning visual and sound effects that bring everything to life.

The “rogue cut”, is probably what they had in mind to release in the first place, however due to the movie being too long, they decided to cut the sequence involving Rogue and probably rightly so.  It’s not that it feels out of place or anything, but it just doesn’t add anything new to the story other than Rogue and a few more action scenes.

8/10