THE DOGMAN COMETH
When I first heard about this movie, I, along with a lot of other people, thought that this could be the first Marvel movie that was going to bomb. I mean seriously, who would want to watch a movie that stars a talking raccoon and a humanoid tree? Fast forward to one year later, and I’m eating my own words.
Yes the whole movie is silly, but the film embraces its silliness wholeheartedly that audiences would almost immediately push that fact out of the way. It’s a typical summer movie in the sense that it has eye popping visuals and special effects, but all that seem secondary to the scenes in between those action sequences. Make no mistake, those action sequences were all well made, but it’s those scenes in between them that seem more memorable. All the absurdity amidst a bazillion pop culture references create such a uniquely funny film. I usually hate movies that rely on pop culture references for jokes, but somehow in this movie, it works! It’s amazing how these characters have such perfect comedic timing, i can’t remember having so much fun while watching a movie. And in its quiet moments, this film actually has heart. People might actually end up shedding a tear for a humanoid tree, no matter how preposterous that sounds. The plot may be typical of science fiction adventures, but at least it makes sense, which is something i can’t say about most movies released in the summer. Trying to find fault in this movie would be nitpicking. Audiences should just embrace the silliness, sit back, and enjoy the ride.
Better than The Avengers? I’ve always thought that movie was overrated, so I say HELL YEAH!
If Marvel can make such a great movie with these ridiculous characters, is there anything they can’t do?
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My rating: 4.5/5

When I first heard about this movie, I, along with a lot of other people, thought that this could be the first Marvel movie that was going to bomb. I mean seriously, who would want to watch a movie that stars a talking raccoon and a humanoid tree? Fast forward to one year later, and I’m eating my own words.

Yes the whole movie is silly, but the film embraces its silliness wholeheartedly that audiences would almost immediately push that fact out of the way. It’s a typical summer movie in the sense that it has eye popping visuals and special effects, but all that seem secondary to the scenes in between those action sequences. Make no mistake, those action sequences were all well made, but it’s those scenes in between them that seem more memorable. All the absurdity amidst a bazillion pop culture references create such a uniquely funny film. I usually hate movies that rely on pop culture references for jokes, but somehow in this movie, it works! It’s amazing how these characters have such perfect comedic timing, i can’t remember having so much fun while watching a movie. And in its quiet moments, this film actually has heart. People might actually end up shedding a tear for a humanoid tree, no matter how preposterous that sounds. The plot may be typical of science fiction adventures, but at least it makes sense, which is something i can’t say about most movies released in the summer. Trying to find fault in this movie would be nitpicking. Audiences should just embrace the silliness, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

Better than The Avengers? I’ve always thought that movie was overrated, so I say HELL YEAH!

If Marvel can make such a great movie with these ridiculous characters, is there anything they can’t do?

My rating: 4.5/5

When i first read this movie’s synopsis, I would say it had potential. The premise that the titular character is just a mortal man made larger than life by false praises and fabrications is intriguing, to say the least. But like most stories that seem good on paper, the finished product leaves a lot to be desired. Primarily, it’s an action movie. Sadly, the action set pieces would leave most action fans wanting. The story is incredibly simple, even for action movie standards. Well there’s a twist halfway through, but anyone who has seen a lot of movies could spot it from a mile away. It’s a generic tale we’ve seen dozens of times, only in a different setting. There are lots of characters, none of which viewers could really care about. Instead of wasting precious screen time on certain scenes that contribute nothing to the story as a whole, scenes could have been allotted for character development. As a result, we have tons of characters asking for sympathy that they haven’t earned. Who knows, maybe with a more capable director, this movie could’ve been such a gem. Instead we got a Hercules movie that could best be described as forgettable. At least it’s better compared to the first Hercules movie released this year. But that’s not saying much now, does it?
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my rating: 2.5/5

When i first read this movie’s synopsis, I would say it had potential. The premise that the titular character is just a mortal man made larger than life by false praises and fabrications is intriguing, to say the least. But like most stories that seem good on paper, the finished product leaves a lot to be desired. Primarily, it’s an action movie. Sadly, the action set pieces would leave most action fans wanting. The story is incredibly simple, even for action movie standards. Well there’s a twist halfway through, but anyone who has seen a lot of movies could spot it from a mile away. It’s a generic tale we’ve seen dozens of times, only in a different setting. There are lots of characters, none of which viewers could really care about. Instead of wasting precious screen time on certain scenes that contribute nothing to the story as a whole, scenes could have been allotted for character development. As a result, we have tons of characters asking for sympathy that they haven’t earned. Who knows, maybe with a more capable director, this movie could’ve been such a gem. Instead we got a Hercules movie that could best be described as forgettable. At least it’s better compared to the first Hercules movie released this year. But that’s not saying much now, does it?

my rating: 2.5/5

Rise of the Planet of the Apes was one of 2011’s biggest surprises. After the disastrous 2001 remake of the original, everyone was cynical about this franchise reboot. No one expected it to be any good, and to a lot of people’s surprise, it wasn’t just good. It was extremely good. The incredible special effects combined with a character driven storyline resulted into one memorable movie. With such a precedent, expectations are high for the sequel.
Rise was described as intelligent science fiction—- which is becoming such a rarity in the genre. I’m glad to say Dawn of the Planet of the Apes can be described the same way. Tonally, it’s very different. All the dark palettes create the somber mood in this post apocalyptic world, in contrast to the vibrant and colourful world audiences were initially introduced to in the first one. Still, characterisation takes precedence over anything else. Once again the special effects team at WETA have outdone themselves. It’s amazing how they made the apes look so real in the first one. In this movie, the realism is even more outstanding, you’re bound to forget those apes are merely CGI creations. And it’s even more astounding how these apes could convey more expressions when compared to their human counterparts. But no matter how great the special effects are, everything would be for naught if it didn’t have a compelling storyline to back it up. It’s an age old tale about war, something a lot of people would be familiar with. Yet it doesn’t look cliche. The events that are transpired resonates with the events we see and hear in the real world. How people just can’t seem to get along. How people choose to manipulate events for personal gain. How peace always seems to be within our grasps, yet continues to be out of reach. This is a profound tale about war and peace, and how everything doesn’t look so silly despite having a cast of mostly apes is a testament to the talent off screen. This is an art house flick disguised as a summer blockbuster. Things start slow, but the tension is continuously palpable before all hell breaks loose. Those looking for quality entertainment amidst all the noise created by summer tentpole films shouldn’t pass this one up.
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My rating: 4.5/5

Rise of the Planet of the Apes was one of 2011’s biggest surprises. After the disastrous 2001 remake of the original, everyone was cynical about this franchise reboot. No one expected it to be any good, and to a lot of people’s surprise, it wasn’t just good. It was extremely good. The incredible special effects combined with a character driven storyline resulted into one memorable movie. With such a precedent, expectations are high for the sequel.

Rise was described as intelligent science fiction—- which is becoming such a rarity in the genre. I’m glad to say Dawn of the Planet of the Apes can be described the same way. Tonally, it’s very different. All the dark palettes create the somber mood in this post apocalyptic world, in contrast to the vibrant and colourful world audiences were initially introduced to in the first one. Still, characterisation takes precedence over anything else. Once again the special effects team at WETA have outdone themselves. It’s amazing how they made the apes look so real in the first one. In this movie, the realism is even more outstanding, you’re bound to forget those apes are merely CGI creations. And it’s even more astounding how these apes could convey more expressions when compared to their human counterparts. But no matter how great the special effects are, everything would be for naught if it didn’t have a compelling storyline to back it up. It’s an age old tale about war, something a lot of people would be familiar with. Yet it doesn’t look cliche. The events that are transpired resonates with the events we see and hear in the real world. How people just can’t seem to get along. How people choose to manipulate events for personal gain. How peace always seems to be within our grasps, yet continues to be out of reach. This is a profound tale about war and peace, and how everything doesn’t look so silly despite having a cast of mostly apes is a testament to the talent off screen. This is an art house flick disguised as a summer blockbuster. Things start slow, but the tension is continuously palpable before all hell breaks loose. Those looking for quality entertainment amidst all the noise created by summer tentpole films shouldn’t pass this one up.

My rating: 4.5/5

This is the 4th Transformers movie in a span of 7 years. Anyone buying a ticket for this movie should know what they are getting into by now. Before entering the movie theater, it is mandatory to check your brain at the door. Therefore any review of this movie that tries to sound intellectual should be ignored. This is a Michael Bay film. And as proven by every single movie in this series, why the heck would you look for substance in a Transformers movie?
So yeah. There’s not much of a plot. And for such a simple plot, it’s amazing how the story can still seem convoluted. I can even ignore how the setting suddenly shifts to China for no apparent reason other than to attract Chinese audiences once the movie is released, which is becoming commonplace with Hollywood movies these days.  But I didn’t watch this movie for the plot. I came to see action scenes, explosions, robots fighting, car chases, kick ass special effects. I wanted to be blown away by the things i see onscreen, And this movie definitely delivered… Especially on IMAX. Wow. But it didn’t just deliver—- it kept delivering all those things… relentlessly. On and on and on until everything became a blur, until everything became tiresome, no matter how elaborate the spectacle onscreen. And that is this film’s major problem. It runs for 165 freaking minutes for Christ’s sake. Even if you’d check your brain at the door, you can only take so much mindless entertainment before your mind gets numb. Eventually you’d yearn for a little substance, and this movie has none to offer. I really had fun watching during the first hour or two, but after that i just couldn’t wait for it to end. The novelty of seeing giant robots onscreen is starting to wear off. If they plan to continue making a lot more of these movies, they better start doing something to keep things fresh. And no, a new batch of human characters won’t suffice when they basically play interchangeable stereotypes. Maybe a plot that makes sense to start with. Or injecting a semblance of substance amidst all that dumb fun. And as exemplified by this movie, a bit of brevity would help…. A LOT. Even the least discerning of us would eventually get tired if you keep showing the same damn things. You could get away with those things the first time. But for the fourth outing? I would say they still did. But just barely.
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My rating: 3.5/5

This is the 4th Transformers movie in a span of 7 years. Anyone buying a ticket for this movie should know what they are getting into by now. Before entering the movie theater, it is mandatory to check your brain at the door. Therefore any review of this movie that tries to sound intellectual should be ignored. This is a Michael Bay film. And as proven by every single movie in this series, why the heck would you look for substance in a Transformers movie?

So yeah. There’s not much of a plot. And for such a simple plot, it’s amazing how the story can still seem convoluted. I can even ignore how the setting suddenly shifts to China for no apparent reason other than to attract Chinese audiences once the movie is released, which is becoming commonplace with Hollywood movies these days.  But I didn’t watch this movie for the plot. I came to see action scenes, explosions, robots fighting, car chases, kick ass special effects. I wanted to be blown away by the things i see onscreen, And this movie definitely delivered… Especially on IMAX. Wow. But it didn’t just deliver—- it kept delivering all those things… relentlessly. On and on and on until everything became a blur, until everything became tiresome, no matter how elaborate the spectacle onscreen. And that is this film’s major problem. It runs for 165 freaking minutes for Christ’s sake. Even if you’d check your brain at the door, you can only take so much mindless entertainment before your mind gets numb. Eventually you’d yearn for a little substance, and this movie has none to offer. I really had fun watching during the first hour or two, but after that i just couldn’t wait for it to end. The novelty of seeing giant robots onscreen is starting to wear off. If they plan to continue making a lot more of these movies, they better start doing something to keep things fresh. And no, a new batch of human characters won’t suffice when they basically play interchangeable stereotypes. Maybe a plot that makes sense to start with. Or injecting a semblance of substance amidst all that dumb fun. And as exemplified by this movie, a bit of brevity would help…. A LOT. Even the least discerning of us would eventually get tired if you keep showing the same damn things. You could get away with those things the first time. But for the fourth outing? I would say they still did. But just barely.

My rating: 3.5/5

21 Jump Street was a pleasant surprise. I never expected to like it as much as I did. For the sequel, like most sequels—- we get more of the same. That’s not really a bad thing. Since it’s a comedy, it can freely move into the realm of a parody. Together with the high degree of self awareness, this movie was so much fun to watch. Whether that self awareness aims to make a statement about unnecessary sequels, or just a clever gimmick to shield this movie from complaints that it offers nothing new is still up for debate. What’s certain is this movie offers so much laughs, anyone who loved the first movie will surely love this one as well. Some jokes fall flat, but the chemistry between the two leads hardly makes them noticeable. When a movie is this funny, it doesn’t really matter that much if we get more of the same.
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My rating: 4/5

21 Jump Street was a pleasant surprise. I never expected to like it as much as I did. For the sequel, like most sequels—- we get more of the same. That’s not really a bad thing. Since it’s a comedy, it can freely move into the realm of a parody. Together with the high degree of self awareness, this movie was so much fun to watch. Whether that self awareness aims to make a statement about unnecessary sequels, or just a clever gimmick to shield this movie from complaints that it offers nothing new is still up for debate. What’s certain is this movie offers so much laughs, anyone who loved the first movie will surely love this one as well. Some jokes fall flat, but the chemistry between the two leads hardly makes them noticeable. When a movie is this funny, it doesn’t really matter that much if we get more of the same.

My rating: 4/5

How To Train Your Dragon was a special film. Unlike most films made by Dreamworks Animation, it did not rely on slapstick and childish humor, nor did it rely on a bazillion pop culture references. That alone made it real special. It may not be as good as Pixar's best efforts, but it was an animated movie with a lot of heart. That again made it different from majority of Dreamwork's animated movies which can be best described as amusing but ultimately forgettable.
Even though the trailers did not interest me, i was looking forward to the sequel. The story in the first film wasn’t quite open ended though. It was hard to see which direction the sequel was headed. It was a story that seemed to have a definite ending, so there was a risk of ruining the whole story if they expanded it. I wouldn’t say the sequel ruined the world created in the first movie, but it surely didn’t make it better. What we get is some sort of a mixed bag.
It seems that in the process of expanding the world these characters lived in, the film makers seemed to have spread everything thinly. There’s a lot of stuff going on, and the film seemed to lack some focus. That sense of intimacy from the simple story we got from the first film was set aside for something bigger and bolder. And we all know bigger does not necessarily mean better. The visuals are spectacular especially during those flying scenes—- and there are loads of them. No doubt kids everywhere would get a kick out of watching, whether or not they understand the story. Although most adults would find this movie entertaining, a lot of em would be left wanting. Sad to say this isn’t that rare sequel that manages to be better than the first. It also doesn’t quite feel like a natural expansion, in fact sometimes it still seems like a cash grab. I guess it is, just one that isn’t so blatant. But at least this isn’t like a lot of sequels that only manage to ruin all the good will from the first movie. It may not be a better movie, but we can see in every frame that the film makers did at least try to make it one….
my rating: 3.5/5

How To Train Your Dragon was a special film. Unlike most films made by Dreamworks Animation, it did not rely on slapstick and childish humor, nor did it rely on a bazillion pop culture references. That alone made it real special. It may not be as good as Pixar's best efforts, but it was an animated movie with a lot of heart. That again made it different from majority of Dreamwork's animated movies which can be best described as amusing but ultimately forgettable.

Even though the trailers did not interest me, i was looking forward to the sequel. The story in the first film wasn’t quite open ended though. It was hard to see which direction the sequel was headed. It was a story that seemed to have a definite ending, so there was a risk of ruining the whole story if they expanded it. I wouldn’t say the sequel ruined the world created in the first movie, but it surely didn’t make it better. What we get is some sort of a mixed bag.

It seems that in the process of expanding the world these characters lived in, the film makers seemed to have spread everything thinly. There’s a lot of stuff going on, and the film seemed to lack some focus. That sense of intimacy from the simple story we got from the first film was set aside for something bigger and bolder. And we all know bigger does not necessarily mean better. The visuals are spectacular especially during those flying scenes—- and there are loads of them. No doubt kids everywhere would get a kick out of watching, whether or not they understand the story. Although most adults would find this movie entertaining, a lot of em would be left wanting. Sad to say this isn’t that rare sequel that manages to be better than the first. It also doesn’t quite feel like a natural expansion, in fact sometimes it still seems like a cash grab. I guess it is, just one that isn’t so blatant. But at least this isn’t like a lot of sequels that only manage to ruin all the good will from the first movie. It may not be a better movie, but we can see in every frame that the film makers did at least try to make it one….

my rating: 3.5/5

twentysplenty:

Pawel Kuczynski’s satirical art. Take a moment to look at these properly.

It’s amazing how great a movie can be when you come in with the lowest of expectations. For one thing, those movie trailers weren’t very interesting. They made it seem like a mish mash of a lot of things we’ve all seen before. Also, the groundhog day plot made the movie seem very tedious to sit through. Who would want to sit through a redundant and derivative movie during the summer? And for me, the worst part is the lead actor. I really can’t stand Tom Cruise these days. I was really prepared to hate this movie.
But with clever direction and editing, the groundhog day scenario wasn’t tedious at all. It has a plot that actually had some depth for a sci-fi movie. There are loads of action and awesome special effects that put it toe to toe with some if this summer’s more high profile blockbusters. There are lots of funny moments too that serve to break the monotony of all those explosions. Those comedic touches do not look misplaced at all. The fact that the transition from comedy to action to drama flows so smoothly is a testament to the great talent behind the cameras. It’s a pity that this movie is destined to get lost in all the summer noise. With better promotion and a less polarizing lead actor, this movie could’ve reached a larger audience. Fans of sci-fi and action movies shouldn’t let this one pass.
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my rating: 4.5/5

It’s amazing how great a movie can be when you come in with the lowest of expectations. For one thing, those movie trailers weren’t very interesting. They made it seem like a mish mash of a lot of things we’ve all seen before. Also, the groundhog day plot made the movie seem very tedious to sit through. Who would want to sit through a redundant and derivative movie during the summer? And for me, the worst part is the lead actor. I really can’t stand Tom Cruise these days. I was really prepared to hate this movie.

But with clever direction and editing, the groundhog day scenario wasn’t tedious at all. It has a plot that actually had some depth for a sci-fi movie. There are loads of action and awesome special effects that put it toe to toe with some if this summer’s more high profile blockbusters. There are lots of funny moments too that serve to break the monotony of all those explosions. Those comedic touches do not look misplaced at all. The fact that the transition from comedy to action to drama flows so smoothly is a testament to the great talent behind the cameras. It’s a pity that this movie is destined to get lost in all the summer noise. With better promotion and a less polarizing lead actor, this movie could’ve reached a larger audience. Fans of sci-fi and action movies shouldn’t let this one pass.

my rating: 4.5/5

There’s nothing wrong with this trend of re-imagining old stories and movies. If done properly, they give a refreshing take to an old story. The difference in perspective can even result in interesting scenarios. But when they only serve to muddle the original story and add nothing to enrich it, those people in  charge of these new movies should have just left the original stories alone. Take Maleficent for instance. It can be best described as a patchwork of unrelated scenes, a movie so disjointed that the story fails to move smoothly. A lot of those scenes were even unnecessary, you’d often wonder what was the point of all that. The special effects were great, sure, and Angelina Jolie seemed to be born to play this role, but other than those things? It’s a great idea on paper, but with such a horrible script and confused direction, take out all the eye candy and this movie can only be described as mediocre. Kids might get a kick out of all those special effects, but discerning adults would be wise to just skip this one.
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my rating: 2.5/5

There’s nothing wrong with this trend of re-imagining old stories and movies. If done properly, they give a refreshing take to an old story. The difference in perspective can even result in interesting scenarios. But when they only serve to muddle the original story and add nothing to enrich it, those people in  charge of these new movies should have just left the original stories alone. Take Maleficent for instance. It can be best described as a patchwork of unrelated scenes, a movie so disjointed that the story fails to move smoothly. A lot of those scenes were even unnecessary, you’d often wonder what was the point of all that. The special effects were great, sure, and Angelina Jolie seemed to be born to play this role, but other than those things? It’s a great idea on paper, but with such a horrible script and confused direction, take out all the eye candy and this movie can only be described as mediocre. Kids might get a kick out of all those special effects, but discerning adults would be wise to just skip this one.

my rating: 2.5/5

This shouldn’t be anyone’s first X-men movie. People who haven’t seen any of the previous movies should at least watch the first three—- that’s right, including the atrocious third one. There’s so much going on and there are so many references to the previous films that the uninitiated among us are bound to get confused. Not only would they think this movie is unnecessarily convoluted, they might hate it outright. But for the fans, and for anyone who has been following this series from the very beginning—- Oh boy, you guys are in for a treat. From the opening sequence to the last few minutes of the movie, a lot of scenes are gonna make you smile.
The time traveling scenario was indeed clever. Not only does is open up multiple possibilities going forward, it also erases the sins of the past, particularly the head scratching events that transpired in The Last Stand. Lots of continuity errors still exist, but none of em are big enough to be considered major distractions. With such a huge cast, one would expect a film as massive as this to implode, but with brilliant and fast paced direction, such a scenario was mostly avoided. This isn’t your typical mindless summer blockbuster. Like most of the other Xmen movies, this has an underlying message that resonates. I still think First Class is the best X-men movie, but this new installment comes pretty close. With a stellar cast, great acting, jaw dropping special effects and set pieces, this movie delivers in so many levels. If you only have time to see one movie among this summer’s tent pole films, this is arguably the one to watch.
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My rating: 4.5/5

This shouldn’t be anyone’s first X-men movie. People who haven’t seen any of the previous movies should at least watch the first three—- that’s right, including the atrocious third one. There’s so much going on and there are so many references to the previous films that the uninitiated among us are bound to get confused. Not only would they think this movie is unnecessarily convoluted, they might hate it outright. But for the fans, and for anyone who has been following this series from the very beginning—- Oh boy, you guys are in for a treat. From the opening sequence to the last few minutes of the movie, a lot of scenes are gonna make you smile.

The time traveling scenario was indeed clever. Not only does is open up multiple possibilities going forward, it also erases the sins of the past, particularly the head scratching events that transpired in The Last Stand. Lots of continuity errors still exist, but none of em are big enough to be considered major distractions. With such a huge cast, one would expect a film as massive as this to implode, but with brilliant and fast paced direction, such a scenario was mostly avoided. This isn’t your typical mindless summer blockbuster. Like most of the other Xmen movies, this has an underlying message that resonates. I still think First Class is the best X-men movie, but this new installment comes pretty close. With a stellar cast, great acting, jaw dropping special effects and set pieces, this movie delivers in so many levels. If you only have time to see one movie among this summer’s tent pole films, this is arguably the one to watch.

My rating: 4.5/5