Movie Review, Solo: A Star Wars Story (mild spoilers)

I’m gonna be a pilot… best in the galaxy.

Solo is directed by Ron Howard, it stars Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Paul Bettant and Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo.

Solo tells the story of young Han Solo and his origins steaming from how he met Chewbacca and Lando Calrisssian and their adventures years before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope.


The Good

One of the notable things about this movie is that it looks great, it has some spectacular set pieces almost like a theme park with very big rides scattered around. One prominent line you would have heard from the original Star Wars movies is Han Solo doing the Kessel run in 12 parsecs and they show it here and it’s a great set piece, and it definitely puts you on the edge of your seat.

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Elden Ehrenreich is decent as Han Solo, he’s not quite Harrison Ford but a notable aspect of his performance is he’s not trying to be Harrison Ford but rather he’s putting his own take on Han Solo and it works.


The Bad

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With this being an origin story of a character we already know who’s dead, the movie lacks real stakes. We know Han Solo survives, we know Chewbacca and Lando survives so what’s the point? Though there are interesting other characters here and there, since we have never heard of them from previous movies we can assume what happens to them at the end and that results into this being a predictable movie.


Rating

Overall Solo is a decent addition to the Star Wars canon, though it is an origin story it still manages to add more story to the Star Wars lore. Your supporting casts are also great, Donald Glover as Lando is good and with a hot talent like him, you can almost assume that they might make a stand alone Lando movie.

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However that doesn’t save this movie from the fact that it’s an origin story of a character that we know is dead. And for that it might fail in grabbing any emotional investment from it’s audience. But if you are interested in the origins of Han Solo this one is for you.

Good Bad 3/5
    • Kessel Run in 12 Parsecs
    • Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo
    • Donlad Glover as Lando Calrissian
    • Predictable
    • Lack of Stakes
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Movie Review: Annihilation

It’s not destroying… It’s making something new.

Annihilation is the second movie by director Alex Garland and it’s based on a novel by Jeff Vandermeer. It stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Oscar Isaac.

Natalie Portman is a biologist who signs up on a mission to investigate the shimmer, a mysterious area where the laws of nature don’t apply.


 

The Good

One way to describe this film is it’s depressingly beautiful, the movie starts of with a scene depicting the events that lead up to the creation of the shimmer and once we get into the meat of the movie and our characters get into the shimmer it’s vibrant and colourful setting is wondrous to look at. Giving us a well used visual effects that benefits the movie tremendously.

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Our leads are also good with Natalie Portman leading them, you understand their motivation as to why they want to carry out this mission. The true beauty of the film however is it’s story elements, this is a thinking person’s sci-fi and it allows the viewers to fill in the blanks. Alex Garland, who directed Ex Machina, once again created a science fiction that allows it’s audience to soak in what they’re watching and leaves them to ponder afterwards.


The Bad

This movie is a slow burn which means we get plenty of slow moving scenes with very quiet dialogue. Also being a smart sci-fi movie I can see plenty of people being bored by this and not understanding what the movie is about and it’s completely fine.


Rating

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Though not as intriguing or fascinating as Ex Machina, Annihilation is still a solid sci-fi flick there’s a good mixture of suspense and mystery as well as some touches of horror. At times it’s beautiful but sometimes it’s disturbing, the visual effects were used to great effect and the acting is decent. This might not be some people’s cup of tea but if you like thinking science fiction movie this might be for you.

Good Bad 3.8/5
    • The Shimmer
    • Natalie Portman
    • Great Visuals
    • Slow Pace

Movie Review: Blade Runner 2049

Sometimes to love someone, you got to be a stranger.

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Blade Runner 2049 is the sequel to the 1982 cult classic Blade Runner. Directed by Denis Villenueve (Arrival), starring Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, Ana De Armas, Jared Leto and Harrison Ford.

Set 30 years after the first Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049 follows K, a Blade Runner set to find older model replicants. Along his finds he follows a dangerous path with a very dark secret.


The Good

One of the most striking aspect of the movie is the cinematography. This movie is gorgeous, from the misty cyberpunk cityscape of Los Angeles to the red desolate desert of Las Vegas, this movie looks incredible.

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Accompanying the great cinematography is the performances from some of your notable characters characters. Though one performance that stood out is Ana De Armas, who plays Joi who is very good in the film. However the CG that accompanied her character is also visually impressive.


The Bad

The movie is almost three hours long and unfortunately you feel the length of it. There are plenty of scenes that drag and some moments where there are plenty of talking. Though the movie is visually striking, there are scenes that are hard to get through due to it’s slow pacing.


Rating

Overall Blade Runner 2049 is a visual masterpiece. The cinematography of the movie is incredible and Roger Deakins who’s the director of photography will surely get nominated again for an Oscar and could possibly win it. Your performances are mostly decent and even characters with smaller roles played by Dave Bautista and Barkhad Abdi were great.

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However with the long running time this can be a tough movie to get through overall. But if you’re a huge sci-fi fan who enjoyed the first Blade Runner and doesn’t mind movies with slow moving pace Blade Runner 2049 is for you.

Good Bad 4.5/5
  • Incredible Visuals
  • Ana De Armas as Joi
  • Trippy Ménage à trois
    • Long Running Time
    • Unnecessarily Loud

Movie Review: War for the Planet of the Apes

Apes Together Strong!

War for the Planet of the Apes is the third movie of the Apes series. It’s directed by Matt Reeves and it stars Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Amiah Miller and Andy Serkis as Ceasar.

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After the events of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Ceasar and his people are trying to live a peaceful life in the woods. Unfortunately for Ceasar, a tyrant with a battalion of soldiers is hell bent on eliminating Ceasar and his kind.


The Good

One of the strongest points of War for the Planet of The Apes is it delivered some of the most convincing CG effects this year, the Apes looked incredible. The emotions and expressions showed by the apes are convincing and it empowers the movie tenfold.

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Andy Serkis is also to be given credit, once again delivering a powerful performance as Ceasar. Having followed Ceasar’s story from the Rise of the Planet of the Apes. You can’t feel anything but admiration to his character.

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A surprise hit in the movie is Bad Ape. With the dark gloomy tone of the movie, Bad Ape played by Steve Zahn, delivers some much needed humor which in return alleviates some of the serious tone of the film. The character itself is tragic but Steve Zahn managed to make it lovable.


The Bad

War of the Planet of the Apes will not be an easy watch for some, it has a running time of 2 hours and 20 minutes. There are some scenes that drag and though the scenes themselves are good you can’t help but feel the movie’s length.


Rating

Overall War for the Planet of the Apes delivers a blockbuster with strong characters and more importantly a blockbuster with a deep story. Andy Serkis as Ceasar deserves a recognition for his motion capture performance. Woody Harrelson is also great and gives a strong argument as to why he wants to eradicate the apes and all of it makes a compelling conflict of interest.

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War for the Planet is easily one of the better movies that came up this blockbuster season and if you’re someone who’s followed Ceasar’s story from the beginning you will have a deep appreciation for this movie. War for the Planet of the Apes is highly recommended.

Good Bad 4.8/5
  • Andy Serkis as Ceasar
  • Amazing CG
  • Deep Story
  • Long Running Time

Movie Review: Doctor Strange

Stephen Strange, might I offer you some advice? Forget everything that you think you know.

Doctor Strange is the 13th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is directed by Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister) and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen and Tilda Swinton.

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Doctor Stephen Strange a brilliant yet arrogant neurosurgeon has everything a man could ever dream of. However after one horrific car accident he loses stability in his hands and desperate to work again he searched everywhere for a cure. His search led him to Kathmandu where he learned the ways of the Mystic Arts.


The Good

One of the major aspect that this movie promised are the visuals and boy did it deliver. This is one of the most visually impressive film this year and it’s safe to say the visuals are spellbinding (no pun intended… of course it was pun intended). Though we’ve seen similar effects in Inception. Doctor Strange did it in a grander scale and it’s fascinating, you never get tired of it and it keeps getting better as it went along. It’s a MC Esher painting brought to life.

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Another great aspect of the film is Benedict Cumberbatch himself. Marvel has found their Doctor Strange and Benedict is Doctor Strange as much as Robert Downey Jr is Iron Man. It was perfect casting in Marvel’s part and Benedict delivered. The movie is surprisingly humorous, it knows that it’s a comic-book movie and it doesn’t take itself too seriously.


The Bad

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Unfortunately like most Marvel villains, the villain in this movie is as dull as the others. Mads Mikkelsen, as terrific as he is felt wasted in his role, having very little presence in the film. Another wasted actor is Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo. His one dimensional take on the character dragged this movie down a bit. He played the role a bit too serious with very little relatability, unfortunately didn’t work too well on the screen.


Rating

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Overall Doctor Strange is a solid addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It truly is one of their unique properties the mind-bending visuals and a strong lead complimented the movie really well. The action-sequences were incredibly fun to watch but in the end it’s still an origin story and it follows the same beats of previous origin stories in the MCU. Nonetheless Doctor Strange is definitely worth checking out especially in 3D IMAX.

Good Bad 4.5/5
  • Incredible Visuals
  • Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr Strange
  • Unique Action Sequences
  • Uninteresting Villain
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo

Movie Review: This Giant Papier-Mache Boulder is Actually Really Heavy

Oh my god we’re lost in space

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Directed, written and starred by Christian Nicoloson, this movie follows three guys who goes into a nerd convention and upon watching a screening for a B-grade science-fiction film, are sucked into the movie’s universe.


The Good

The first third of this movie is incredibly funny, the movie is extremely self-aware, it knows it’s audience, it knows it doesn’t have a big budget, it knows itself that it too is a B-Grade Science Fiction movie. It’s parodying itself and majority of the time it’s effective. It has a lot of humour to offer and most of the time it’s clever.

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The movie is consistent to it’s theme and it knows how to work it very well, it captures the tropes from 80s science fiction films and works it on it’s favour. From the cinematography to the movie’s overall look, and that gives it a very unique yet impressive take on parodies.


The Bad

Unfortunately the movie does suffer from several problems and it’s heavily noticeable. The pacing is slowed down tremendously around the second and third act and the story drags at this point onward. The movie is two hours long, and for a movie that’s a parody, it is thirty minutes longer than it needed to be.

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Though it offered a lot of clever jokes the use of fart jokes did downgrade this movie’s quality down a bit.


Rating

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Overall this movie is fun, the characters looked like they’re having fun and it resonates throughout the movie. For what it’s going for, it is competently well filmed and well edited. Even with it’s problems, if you enjoy indie-films, this is a movie worth checking out.

Good Bad 3.7/5
  • Hilarious
  • Great Consistent Look
  • Sluggish second/third act
  • Fart Jokes

Oscar Thoughts and Predictions 2016 (winners updated)

Alright the Oscar Nominations just came out recently, here are my thoughts and predictions on this last year’s nominees. I will list down which one should have been nominated which ones maybe don’t belong and of course my predictions.

Note: This is purely my opinion and it’s not an official list of anything. I will only have predictions on categories I’m familiar with.

Writing Original Screenplay

Nominees

Bridge of Spies.PNG
Bridge of Spies

Trailer

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Ex Machina

Trailer

Inside Out
Inside Out

Trailer

Spotlight
Spotlight

Trailer

Straight Outta Compton
Straight Outta Compton 

Trailer

Prediction: Ex Machina

This is a strong collection of nominees, specially for this category. Personally, I would be happy if any of these movie won, however my least favored choice would be Bridge of Spies, mainly because all the four movies gave me an engaging movie to watch where I cared for the main protagonists, Bridge of Spies, not so much. However I do think the strongest contender is Ex Machina, Alex Garland did an exceptional job with the concept of Artificial Intelligence and also gave Oscaar Isaac and Alicia Vikander strong dialogues to deliver.

What was Snubbed: The Hateful Eight – Quentin Tarantino

A usual shoe in for this category, surprisingly Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight didn’t get a nomination.

Winner: Spotlight


Writing – Adapted Screenplay

Nominees

Brooklyn
Brooklyn

Trailer

Carol
Carol

Trailer

Room
Room

Trailer

The Big Short
The Big Short

Trailer

The Martian
The Martian

Trailer

Prediction: The Martian

Now I haven’t read most of the books that these films were based off, except for The Martian. However I do feel that Drew Goddard’s adaptation of Andy Weir’s book was close to the book and the minor changes worked for the film itself.

What was Snubbed: Steve Jobs – Aaron Sorkin

Aaron Sorkin won the best screenplay at the Golden Globe, but he’s not even nominated here which is a big surprise as Steve Jobs was a strongly written film, from pacing to the dialogues.

Winner: The Big Short


Visual Effects

Nominees

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Ex Machina

Trailer

Mad Max
Mad Max: Fury Road

Trailer

Star Wars
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Trailer

The Martian
The Martian

Trailer

The Revenant
The Revenant

Trailer

Prediction: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

I personally think it would come down between Star Wars and Mad Max, however seeing as Mad Max is nominated for Best Picture and Star Wars isn’t, makes me believe that they will give this award to Star Wars.

What Was Snubbed

There has been a lot of Blockbuster movies in 2015, to say a few, Jurassic World deserved a nomination event the underwhelming Avengers: Age of Ultron deserved a nomination as well.

Winner: Ex Machina


Directing

Nominees

Mad Max
George Miller

Trailer

Room
Lenny Abrahamson

Trailer

Spotlight
Tom McCarthy

Trailer

The Big Short
Adam McKay

Trailer

The Revenant
Alejandro G. Inarritu

Trailer

Prediction: Alejandro G. Inarritu

Again strong nominees, but as I posted on my Golden Globe predictions, Alejandro G. Inarritu, will win this for the ordeals him and his crew that had to face while filming The Revenant.

Who was Snubbed

Once again Quentin Tarantino’s name isn’t in there and also F. Gary Gray for Straight Outta Compton should have been nominated. Lastly Ridley Scott for The Martian should also have been nominated. If I were to replace one from the nominees, it would be Adam McKay.

Winner: Alejandro G. Inarritu


Actress in a Supporting Role

Nominees

Alicia Vikander
Alicia Vikander

The Danish Girl

Jennifer Jason Leigh
Jennifer Jason Leigh

The Hateful Eight

Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet

Steve Jobs

Rachel McAdams
Rachel McAdams

Spotlight

Rooney Mara
Rooney Mara

Carol

Prediction: Jennifer Jason Leigh

Kate Winslet won the Globe in a shocking manner, however I’m still going to bet on Jennifer Jason Leigh to win the Oscar on this category for her work on The Hateful Eight. I am happy to see Rachel McAdams in there for Spotlight though Alicia Vikander was more of a main actress in her role on The Danish Girl.

Winner: Alicia Vikander


Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees

Christian Bale
Christian Bale

The Big Short

Mark Ruffalo
Mark Ruffalo

Spotlight

Mark Rylance
Mark Rylance

Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone

Creed

Tom Hardy.PNG
Tom Hardy

The Revenant

Prediction: Sylvester Stallone

Seeing as he won the Globe for the same role, I don’t see anyone from these nominees to halt his momentum to win the Oscar.

Who was Snubbed

There has been a lot of great supporting actors on several movies, I personally would have preferred to have Steve Carell over Christian Bale for The Big Short. But no nomination for Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation, same goes for O’Shae Jackson Jr for Straight Outta Compton saddens me. Now Mark Ruffalo was great on Spotlight but I don’t think he should have been nominated.

Winner: Mark Rylance


Actress in a Leading Role

Nominees

Brie Larson
Brie Larson

Room

Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett

Carol

Charlotte Rampling
Charlotte Rampling

45 Years

Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence

Joy

Saoirse Ronan
Saoirse Ronan

Brooklyn

Prediction: Brie Larson

Same reasoning as Sylvester Stallone, she won the Globe for best actress drama and I don’t see anyone beating her for the Oscar. Cate Blanchett might come a close second and I would be happy just as well. Though Charlotte Rampling might win in a surprising fashion.

Who was Snubbed

Alicia Vikander who really should be in this category or at least her role as the android robot from Ex Machina should’ve given her a nomination.

Winner: Brie Larson


Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees

Bryan Cranston
Bryan Cranston

Trumbo

Eddie Redmayne
Eddie Redmayne

The Danish Girl

Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio

The Revenant

Matt Damon
Matt Damon

The Martian

Michael Fassbender
Michael Fassbender

Steve Jobs

Prediction: Leonardo DiCaprio

I firmly believe it’s his time to win the coveted Oscar, I can’t see anyone in the nominees that will take it from him otherwise. If anyone comes close it would be Eddie Redmayne, though seeing as he won last year, him winning twice would be a long shot.

Who was Snubbed

Michael B Jordan from Creed, should have been given a nomination, in place of Bryan Cranston, though I’m glad Bryan Cranston is getting award consideration roles out of TV. Surprisingly no Will Smith for Concussion, which I thought would be given a nomination as well.

Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio


Animated Feature Film

Nominees

Inside Out
Inside Out

Trailer

Anomalisa
Anomalisa

Trailer

Boy and The World
Boy and The World

Trailer

Shaun the Sheep
Shaun The Sheep

Trailer

When Marnie Was There
When Marnie Was There

Trailer

Prediction: Inside Out

Inside Out is easily the strongest contender here, though Anomalisa isn’t far behind, though I would’nt be surprised if Boy and The World won, as the movie itself had some truly unique animated visuals.

What was Snubbed

One can argue that The Peanuts Movie deserved a nomination and I agree, I personally would take The Peanuts Movie over Shaun The Sheep.

Winner: Inside Out


Best Picture

Nominees

Bridge of Spies.PNG
Bridge of Spies

Trailer

Brooklyn
Brooklyn

Trailer

Mad Max
Mad Max: Fury Road

Trailer

Room
Room

Trailer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Big Short
The Big Short

Trailer

The Martian
The Martian

Trailer

The Revenant
The Revenant

Trailer

Spotlight
Spotlight

Trailer

Prediction: Spotlight

The Revenant may have won the Globe for best picture drama, however I still think that Spotlight has a strong chance of winning the Oscar for this category. The realistic atmosphere brought by the director as well as the actors/actresses makes this an unforgettable film. Not to mention the disturbing theme of the whole film takes this movie up a notch compared to the rest of the nominees.

Who was Snubbed

One of the biggest film of 2015 is Star Wars and it’s odd to see that it wasn’t nominated. Another film that should have been nominated is Straight Outta Compton, acting wise it wasn’t the strongest however it is a fascinating film nonetheless. Two more big names that aren’t nominated are Carol and The Hateful Eight which I would have preferred over Brooklyn and Bridge of Spies.

Winner: Spotlight


So there you go, with my predictions and thoughts on some of the nominations. I can easily see the controversy coming back from the previous Academy Award where the nominations lacked diversity and who can’t blame them, the nominations did lack diversity and it is a disappointing look on these award shows. Though with Chris Rock hosting, he will have a ball pointing out the problem with the nominations.

Stay tuned on the day as this blog will be updated with the winners and to check whether or not I got my predictions right.

Oscars show on Sunday, Feb 28, 2016