Tag Archives: 2016

Hush (2016) Review

Time: 81 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Sadistic violence
Cast:
Kate Siegel as Maddie Young
John Gallagher Jr. as The Man
Michael Trucco as John Stanley
Samantha Sloyan as Sarah Greene
Emilia Graves as Max
Director: Mike Flanagan

A deaf writer (Kate Siegel) who retreated into the woods to live a solitary life must fight for her life in silence when a masked killer (John Gallagher Jr.) appears at her window.

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Mike Flanagan is one of the best horror directors working at the moment with Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil and would go on to direct Gerald’s Game (and is going to direct Doctor Sleep, the adaptation of the sequel to Steven King’s The Shining). Hush is no exception, its another solid and gripping horror flick from the director. Home invasion horror movies aren’t very uncommon but Hush still manages to be executed in a good way, being rather effective and tense, and it definitely deserves a lot more attention.

Hush is a straightforward horror movie, a masked killer is trying to kill the vulnerable but capable protagonist, conflict ensues. They don’t dwell too much on setting up the characters than it has to, but it’s not like things feel underdeveloped, its developed as much as it needs to be. The movie doesn’t do innovative things for the home invasion subgenre, but it still has its creative moments. It does have a unique aspect to it, with the protagonist being deaf, it could’ve just been a cheap gimmick to make it somewhat stand apart from all the other thrillers but the execution of the movie is done in a way that it doesn’t feel like that. There isn’t much dialogue in the movie, after the first scenes of the movie, it’s pretty much almost all visual from then on, and with that its done rather effectively. Hush is only 82 minutes long which was really the perfect length, it doesn’t drag on for an unnecessarily long time and the characters and story are simple enough that it doesn’t require a longer runtime.

Kate Siegel was great, likable and engaging as the lead, she has to do all the character work with pretty much just her body movements and you could really buy her as a deaf person. She was believably vulnerable and yet believably capable of surviving everything the antagonist throws at her. The unnamed masked killer, played by John Gallagher Jr. was good as well. He gives off an unnerving and creeping vibe, even when he has a mask on and is quite effective, despite not really having any reason or motivation behind his actions and goals in the movie. Those two are really the only notable actors, the other actors are fine enough in their roles but really their characters are just throwaways.

Mike Flanagan is no stranger to making horror movies, so it’s no surprise that he directed Hush well. As previously said, a lot of the movie relies just on visuals, and Flanagan was great at visual storytelling here. The tension is also done really well, you’re not quite certain which way things are going to go, there’s a real sense that our main character might not make it out. It also does not hold back at all with how brutal and violent the killer can be, really emphasising how dangerous he is.

Hush is quite an overlooked solid horror flick ever since it came out in 2016. It’s not like one of the greatest horror movies or anything (and I probably wouldn’t even say it’s one of Mike Flanagan’s best) but it is quite good and worth the watch if you like horror movies. It’s a decent and creative little thriller that deserves a little more attention than it’s being receiving.

Rampage: President Down (2016) Review

Time: 112 Minutes
Cast:
Brendan Fletcher as Bill Williamson
Steve Baran as FBI Agent James Molokai
Ryan McDonell as FBI Agent Vincent Jones
Scott Patey as FBI Agent Murray
Crystal Lowe as Crystal
Director: Uwe Boll

Bill Williamson (Brendan Fletcher) is back, alive and well and doing a recon mission around D.C. This time he wants to cause a major population disruption within the USA which result in devastating consequences reverberating throughout the world. His new mission this time to bring down The President of the United States and his Secret Service detail. Bill brings with him all the freak-in havoc and acidity of the previous 2 movies.

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I wasn’t particularly looking forward to Rampage 3 recently, however I knew I had to get it over and done with. While I praised the first movie, the second movie lacked any subtlety and seemed more like a self indulgent political exercise by director Uwe Boll. Uwe Boll’s concerningly blatant and ham fisted political commentary series continues into the 3rd movie, to deliver probably my least favourite movie in the trilogy. Outside of Brendan Fletcher’s performance, I really didn’t like any of this movie.

Despite summaries of the movie stating that Bill Williamson is trying to kill the president of the United States (note that the name of the president is omitted, despite other president names not being omitted in the this or the other movies), the president gets killed off very early in the movie. Among the movie focussing on Bill, it also focusses on some FBI agents who are trying to find who killed the president for some reason, and I don’t know why there is so much focus on them. Questionable moral aspects aside (which I’ll get into soon), this movie just feels lazy and boring despite being such a passion project for Uwe Boll. At least there were a lot more going on in the previous Rampage movies. In the first, Bill goes on a shooting rampage and in the second, he takes some people hostage, both had some form of intensity throughout. In this movie, Bill just waits and hides until the third act, there are some pretentious monologues that he does but that’s it. The messages and themes by Uwe Boll once again are incredibly ham fisted. It is just so obnoxiously pretentious and self indulgent, and even at times contradictive. It’s pretty much like the second movie so if you want to know what I mean, read my review of that movie. The one further thing about the message in this movie that’s worth mentioning is the ending. The way it ends the story is quite dark and this is going into spoilers (if you really care about spoilers, skip to the next paragraph) but ultimately, Bill’s long term goal is achieved, and I have to say that it’s a little troubling that I couldn’t tell at the end if Uwe Boll is showing this to be shocking and a cautionary tale or he’s actually all for it. By the end of the movie, I actually felt a little dirty, and that rarely happens with me in movies. I couldn’t wait for it to be over.

Brendan Fletcher is again the best part of the movie, really conveying the intensity and emotion that Uwe Boll is trying to get the character to have. This time around, Uwe Boll tries to make him sympathetic by giving him a wife and child and having scenes with him, and while Fletcher once again does a good job at selling it, it’s not enough to make us the audience care about him. Bill Williamson, for all his monologues is a pretty 2 dimensionally written character, and any attempt to develop him is rather sloppy and unconvincing. It’s really Fletcher who makes him somewhat work. Once again I really hope that Brendan Fletcher gets his big break, he deserves it. The aforementioned FBI agents are really bad, really obnoxious, annoying and unlikable. So there’s absolutely no one to root for, at least the second movie had some innocent hostages to try to root for even though they would be killed off inevitably.

The direction by Uwe Boll once again is actually so amateurish. It’s definitely a lot better than the way most of his other movies are directed but it still is incredibly faulty. Especially with some of the use of the cameras, the production design, the editing, everything. Really there aren’t much action scenes until the end, and they are full of slow motion and a rather self indulgent.

Rampage: President Down thankfully is the end of Uwe Boll’s bizarre Rampage trilogy. If you liked the previous Rampage movies, you are likely to get something out of the third movie. Outside of that though, Brendan Fletcher’s performance is really the only redeeming thing. Rampage 3 is self indulgent, boring, lazy and it makes really you feel terrible at the end for watching it. This is the last Rampage movie, and also the last Uwe Boll film and I couldn’t be more relieved.

Green Room (2016) Retrospective Review

Time: 95 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence, drug use and offensive language
Cast:
Anton Yelchin as Pat
Alia Shawkat as Sam
Joe Cole as Reece
Callum Turner as Tiger
Imogen Poots as Amber
Patrick Stewart as Darcy Banker
Macon Blair as Gabe
Director: Jeremy Saulnier

In the Pacific Northwest, teenager Pat (Anton Yelchin) takes part of punk rock band, The Ain’t Rights, at a night and drug club. Their tour to try and get famous fails badly with hatred. Unfortunately, for them, their tour eventually turns into something very nasty when they are witnesses at a crime scene. Since the notorious club owner, Darcy Banker (Patrick Strwart), is now on the case of the incident, The Ain’t Rights start to work together to try and escape the club alive and make it back to Washington, D.C., before Darcy finds them.

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Green Room was often wildly praised upon it’s release, called one of the best films of 2016. If you looked at my prior review of Green Room though, you know that I thought it was decent but wasn’t quite loving it. After watching Jeremy Saulnier’s previous movies, Murder Party and Blue Ruin, I decided to give it another shot, as there are some things I quite liked about the movie despite my disappointment with it. Maybe there was something I missed on the first viewing or something, but I loved the movie the second time around. It’s such an effective and brutal thriller, which although is rather straightforward is given such a grim and standout style and infused with so much energy and tension that it really works.

As this is a retrospective review, there are going to be spoilers for Green Room, so if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend checking out the movie first. Green Room isn’t a movie that requires multiple viewings to understand, it’s not Mulholland Drive or anything. At it’s core, it’s a straightforward thriller and what you see is what you get. However, watching the movie the second time around, I recognised a lot more about what was happening. For example, there’s a scene where one skinhead stabs another, and I only realised watching it a second time that it was to deal with the police when Yelchin’s character made a call about a stabbing. So I have a feeling that my rather mild reaction to the movie came from my mood at the time and so I didn’t get the full experience back then. Green Room is short at around 90 minutes, that already seems like the right length of the movie with the straightforward premise but they really utilise that time incredibly well. The film first quickly established the characters and their situation, not enough that you understand these characters know them that well, but we get to spend enough time with them that we get to know the general idea about what they’re all about. At the point around 17 minutes into the movie, the main characters discover the body, and from that point till the end of the film, Green Room maintains the tension very strongly. Until the third act, the movie is full of a bunch of failed attempts at getting out, with the tension piling on and the much more experienced people closing in. By the time it reaches the last 30 minutes, only 2 of them are left, and it was gratifying seeing the survivors finally adapting to their seemingly impossible situation, and turning the tables on the people after them. Jeremy Saulnier is familiar with having protagonists that aren’t really capable for their situation that they have to deal with. Murder Party has a mild mannered guy who willingly goes to a ‘murder party’ and gets caught by a bunch of deranged killers. Blue Ruin followed a main character who was trying to pull off a revenge despite having no experience at all at killing or violence. Green Room is following a punk band who is going up against highly trained skinheads after willingly performing in front of neo Nazis and coming across something they shouldn’t have seen. Unlike some horror movies, the mistakes that are made by the characters here feel genuine and realistic, not just forced and contrived ways for the protagonists to be held back. The decisions they make aren’t actually necessarily stupid, but really the best that they could come up with in their situation when they’re stressed out and can’t think rationally. Really the only downright stupid thing the characters do in the movie is outright perform “Nazi punks fuck off” in front of a bunch of Nazis (and performing at a Nazi bar in the first place was bad enough). There aren’t many problems with the movie that I can think of aside from the lack of depth from some characters. I guess the ending is a little abrupt, but that wasn’t a huge problem, it wasn’t like there was much else to show in the story. Macon Blair’s character is going to call the police, Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots’s characters made it out alive and the rest of the skinheads are dead. There wasn’t that much else to show.

The cast of Green Room all did great jobs in their roles. You don’t learn a ton of things about the characters outside of a little bit about Pat (Anton Yelchin) and Amber (Imogen Poots). The two actors who shine the most in the movie are Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots. The late great Anton Yelchin gave one of his best performances as the band member who gets the most screentime (and really the only survivor of the band), with his character going through a lot (including his arm pretty much being cut to ribbons). Poots also gives one of her best performances as a skinhead who is stuck in the middle of the situation when her friend Emily is killed, which the band comes across. Throughout the film, Amber is shown to be very capable and dangerous, yet still quite vulnerable in her situation, a really great balance overall. The rest of the band characters played by Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole and Callum Turner did great as well, they don’t have much to work with, but they really sold the fear that the characters had. I remember being rather underwhelmed by Patrick Stewart’s villain after all the hype that was building up to him. He never had a big moment where he stood out or did anything really significant. However I think I was getting the wrong impression of what he was going to be in this movie. When you hear the idea of Patrick Stewart playing a Nazi skinhead gang leader, you’re immediately thinking about something completely ruthless, intimidating and scene stealing. However like the rest of the characters and the story, he and the rest of the villains all feel grounded. Stewart’s character is seemingly forced to deal with a situation, his actions aren’t driven by hate or pleasure but they’re rather calculated, he’s just calm throughout and really just blows his top a bit for like 5 seconds in like the first act briefly. He’s in command of the whole situation until the third act when he loses control and tries to do something to survive which results in his death. Another standout on the Nazi side of the characters is frequent Saulnier collaborator Macon Blair, he’s a skinhead whom at the end decides to surrender and helps the 2 remaining survivors.

It was great watching Jeremy Saulnier’s direction evolve watching his past 2 films. While Blue Ruin started him off with his distinct style and direction, with Green Room he perfected his style and direction. It’s going to be interesting to see how it changes in Hold the Dark. Like in Blue Ruin, the cinematography is stunning, but that has also improved, he’s filmed so many scenes incredibly well, especially the more thrilling scenes. The whole set design feels great, the movie just has this very grimy and unpleasant vibe which really benefited the movie immensely, since that’s really what it was going for. This film starts with tension in the first act and unlike Blue Ruin which has the tenseness defused in the second act, from the point that Pat finds the body, the atmosphere and tension is maintained throughout right till the end. Even when the film has a scene or two focussing on our protagonists having a quiet moment, or focussing on Patrick Stewart and the neo Nazis, none of the tension is deflated. All of Saulnier’s films has some brutal violence, (again, haven’t seen Hold the Dark yet) but so far this is the most violent of all his movies. The violence that is on screen is brutal and unflinching, likely to provoke a reaction from the audience. The first 30-40 minutes alone had Pat’s arm being cut up to an incredible amount, as well as a Nazi’s belly being sliced open by Amber. And that’s only counting the first 40 minutes of the movie. This is probably one of the most graphic depictions of violence I’ve seen in a movie, though it doesn’t feel overdone or anything like that, it feels appropriate for the tone of the movie.

Green Room I consider now to be a great thriller. Jeremy Saulnier’s previous movies were test runs, but with Green Room he got it all right, with some solid performances, a simple yet effective script, and Saulnier’s unflinching direction. Some of the characterisation could’ve been a little stronger and some depth could’ve been given to the characters, but on the whole, Green Room succeeds at being a brutal and effective thriller, and probably one of the standout films of 2016.

Assassin’s Creed (2016) Review

Time: 115 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Michael Fassbender as Callum “Cal” Lynch and Aguilar de Nerha
Marion Cotillard as Dr. Sofia Rikkin
Jeremy Irons as Alan Rikkin
Brendan Gleeson as Joseph Lynch
Charlotte Rampling as Ellen Kaye
Michael K. Williams as Moussa
Denis Ménochet as McGowen
Ariane Labed as Maria
Director: Justin Kurzel

Cal Lynch (Michael Fassbender) travels back in time to 15th-century Spain through a revolutionary technology that unlocks the genetic memories contained in his DNA. There, he lives out the experiences of Aguilar de Nerha, a distant relative who’s also a member of the Assassins, a secret society that fights to protect free will from the power-hungry Templar Order. Transformed by the past, Cal begins to gain the knowledge and physical skills necessary to battle the oppressive organization in the present.

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Assassin’s Creed was one of my most anticipated films of 2016, which was unusual because that (along with Warcraft) was a video game movie. I wasn’t just curious because I liked the video games. It had some great talent involved, with Macbeth 2015 director Justin Kurzel and actors like Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard involved. It could’ve been something special, but watching this movie reminded me to never get excited for video game movies, because 95% of them won’t be good. Assassins Creed is not terrible and is just okay but it’s a barely an above average flick and is ultimately wasted potential.

I liked the Assassins Creed games but that didn’t improve my enjoyment of the movie. I am glad that they tried a different story within the Assassins Creed universe instead of trying to replicate use the story and characters from a game but it didn’t really change much. It is surprising how little I cared about the plot, its really boring during most of it. One of the biggest worries about the movie is that most of the time the movie would take place in modern day in this prison of sorts, and only some of the time is spent with Michael Fassbender as his ancestor as an assassin. Unfortunately that’s the case for the movie. As for how much time we actually spend in the flashbacks, from what I can remember there were only 3 to 4 sequences, and they were for action scenes. The prison sequences aren’t interesting at all and really drag. The characters also aren’t interesting, the only reason you’re giving them a chance is because many of the actors you recognise as being great in other roles. I personally couldn’t recall anything about the characters. The movie seems to have ended on a point for it to be open to sequels that are never going to be made. Despite it being under a couple of hours long, the movie really drags from start to finish, it almost takes real effort to make all the ideas of the Assassins boring in a movie.

This movie does have a lot of great actors, Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, Michael Kenneth Williams. You can see them doing well in their roles but their roles are incredibly limited because of how underdeveloped their characters and there’s not much really that they do. Aside from a random scene of Michael Fassbender going nuts and singing about how he’s crazy, there’s nothing particularly memorable about the performances. Even if Jeremy Irons went to Dungeon and Dragons levels of crazy that would’ve added some level of entertainment to the movie.

The direction by Justin Kurzel a lot of the time was really good, the action sequences were nice to watch and the cinematography was pretty good. The problem is that I was just not interested in the story and so felt bored a lot of the time, even during the well done action scenes. I don’t really get why the violence was bloodless, the Assassins Creed games weren’t bloodfests but they had blood, adding blood would’ve spiced the scenes up a bit. It was no doubt done in order to increase the box office and given the state and reception of the movie, it really needed all the money it could get, so maybe it was a wise decision. The score by Jed Kurzel was also really good.

Assassin’s Creed is still better than most video game movies but that isn’t really saying a lot as most of them are terrible. It is nice seeing these great actors give okay performance and watching a lot of the action scenes. But it is so difficult to care about what’s going on that it diffuses a lot of the decent aspects of the film. I don’t know if you would be interested in the movie, even if you liked the Assassins Creed games. I guess if you’re somewhat curious about this movie, check it out if you’ve got nothing better to watch, otherwise you’re not missing much.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) Retrospective Review

Time: 133 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander
Katherine Waterston as Tina Goldstein
Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski
Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein
Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone
Samantha Morton as Mary Lou Barebone
Jon Voight as Henry Shaw Sr.
Carmen Ejogo as Seraphina Picquery
Colin Farrell as Percival Graves
Director: David Yates

The year is 1926, and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident, were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.

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After re-watching the Harry Potter movies, I was originally just going to watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, not re-review it. It’s not like my Batman v Superman or Man of Steel retrospective reviews where I had as massive amount of things still left to say about it, or my Suicide Squad or Spectre retrospective reviews where my opinion had changed drastically from when I wrote the initial reviews. I still like Fantastic Beasts quite a bit, however I think I was a little too favourable towards the movie at the time of its release. Looking back at it now, there are some problems with it, mainly with the story trying to mix two different plotlines together (not entirely successfully). But it still has some good things to it.

J.K. Rowling this time round writes the script herself, and she did a good job. With that said, it could’ve been better. The story isn’t the most interesting but it has some good parts to it. I really liked the decision to be set in the 1920s and in America this time, it’s one of the best things in the movie as we get to see a different side to the wizarding world that we haven’t seen before. It adds some new concepts, creatures, different governments and rules and other related things to the universe, so it’s not just a re-tread of what we already know. On top of that, we get to see adult wizards using magic to their fullest potential, as for as spectacular some of the magic scenes were in the Harry Potter movies, for the most part we only got to see a certain level of magic, especially with our protagonists. Now for the biggest problem that Fantastic Beasts has: it feels like it’s trying to be a different kind of Harry Potter movie focussing on a different character in the wizarding world (Newt Scamander) and while trying to be its own thing while at the same time focussing on a mysterious destructive force (the Obscurial) while world building for sequels involving Grindelwald. The two don’t mix well, especially when one has a whimsical and light hearted tone and the other is a dark political thriller, it’s really jarring. Not only that, but you also have this really dark subplot involving Ezra Miller and child abuse, which doesn’t work at all with the Newt Scamander plot. As for the plots themselves, the Newt Scamander plot wasn’t the most interesting and is quite drawn out but it was fun at times. The other plot involving Grindelwald and the Obscurial is more interesting but it’s the secondary plot and so feels rather limited. I was more of a fan of the Grindelwald plotline anyway, but its clear that one of these plotlines should’ve taken the lead. I will say that although I liked watching it, the first Fantastic Beasts isn’t very memorable.

Eddie Redmayne is perfectly cast as Newt Scamander, his awkwardness and quirks really fits the character well. The rest of the main cast, Katherine Waterson and Alison Sudol as Tina and Queenie Goldstein as well as Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski, the muggle, are also quite good (though Sudol gets the least to do as we learn the least about her characters out of the 4). I’m glad that we’ll be getting more of this cast in the sequels. Ezra Miller is good as his character but he’s not given enough to really do, Miller really does elevate his character through his performance though. I’m just glad that he’s in the sequel so he can do more. Jon Voight was fine in the movie but he does feel out of place and unneeded. I really like Colin Farrell and I liked his performance here as Percival Graves, being quite an effective villain. While some didn’t like it, I personally liked the twist with Graves secretly being Gellert Grindelwald. What I don’t like is the fact that Grindelwald would end up being played by Johnny Depp instead. Farrell had the right feel for Grindelwald, the way he carried himself, delivered his lines, all of it was perfect. And we go from a very solid and well tuned performance to one that was much sillier in comparison. In his 30 seconds of screentime, Depp either seemed like one of his characters or a generic cartoonish villain, neither is idea for the role. It doesn’t help that he looks like a Johnny Depp character, with the white hair, the moustache, he just looked really goofy. Even his line deliveries (all 2 of them) were that of a clichéd villain. So a lot of the shock of the twist is undercut by such a poor first impression by Johnny Depp, and ends up being one of the biggest downgrades in movie history. Only time will tell if Depp ends up surprising us all in the role.

David Yates’s direction of the movie is solid once again. The production design is solid, setting things right in the 1920s. The visual effects are great at times, however some of the CGI on the beasts weren’t always the best, even the CGI in some of the older Harry Potter movies looked better. Not only that, the Obscurial as a dark cloudy creature is a little too much of an over the top CGI creature and can look really messy, especially in the third act. The score by James Newton Howard is really effective.

I know that some people really don’t like Fantastic Beasts and I’m aware of its issues. I still like it (granted I’m a tad biased because I’m a pretty big Harry Potter fan) but I don’t think it’s great. I think the biggest problem is that it doesn’t know what it wants to be, a different story following Newt Scamander trying to retrieve some lost creatures or being a political thriller involving an Obscurial and Grindelwald, and world building as well. Fantastic Beasts tries to integrate both of these plotlines and it doesn’t really work, especially when it comes to tone. While I am nervous about the next film, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, it seems like the biggest issue in the first movie won’t be present here. From the trailers at least, it seems like it’s focussed up on what it really wants to do, with it leaning much more into the Grindelwald and Dumbledore stuff. I’m still worried about how they’ll get Newt Scamander involved with this plotline, and I’m still very sceptical about Johnny Depp as Grindelwald, but outside of that, I’m excited for the sequel.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) Retrospective Review

Time: 183 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman
Amy Adams as Lois Lane
Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
Diane Lane as Martha Kent
Laurence Fishburne as Perry White
Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth
Holly Hunter as June Finch
Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
Scoot McNairy as Wallace Keefe
Callan Mulvey as Anatoli Knyazev
Tao Okamoto as Mercy Graves
Robin Atkin Downes as Doomsday
Director: Zack Snyder

It’s been nearly two years since Superman’s (Henry Cavill) colossal battle with Zod devastated the city of Metropolis. The loss of life and collateral damage left many feeling angry and helpless, including crime-fighting billionaire Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). Convinced that Superman is now a threat to humanity, Batman embarks on a personal vendetta to end his reign on Earth, while the conniving Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) launches his own crusade against the Man of Steel.

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This is a spoiler filled review, here is my original Batman v Superman review, and here is my review of the Ultimate Edition.

I had already done a couple of reviews on Batman v Superman, one on the Theatrical Edition, and another on the Ultimate Edition. It’s been over a couple years since Batman v Superman has been released and I’ve seen it over 7 times (3 of them being of the Theatrical Cut and the rest being of the Ultimate Edition. I had felt compelled to yet again write about this movie, especially after my more recent Man of Steel retrospective review. Batman v Superman did have a large impact and impression on audience members, some loved it, others hated it and others felt very mixed and didn’t know what to think of it. Everyone had a strong opinion on this movie and it was very divisive, probably one of the most polarising comic book movies (if not the most polarising comic book movie of all time, even more than Man of Steel). It was such a surprising movie for me personally, I mean it was in the top of my fave movies of 2016. This review will go in a little more depth than my Man of Steel review with certain aspects. There were so many aspects about this movie that I was worried about, Ben Affleck was going to be Batman, Gal Gadot of Fast and Furious fame was going to play Wonder Woman, and Mark Zuckerberg himself Jesse Eisenberg was going to play the villainous Lex Luthor. Also, I didn’t know how this film would handle the introduction of the Justice League. I was very worried at what this movie was going to be like, even when I liked the trailers and footage I had many doubts. However, this movie blew me away, this movie as a whole was a lot more than I expected it to be. I expected a simple Batman versus Superman movie. Instead I got one of the few films that I would call a ‘superhero drama’ (other films in this category I would also place Watchmen, The Dark Knight and Logan), and it just gets better and better the more I watch it.

This film took massive risks, not only when it came to what Zack Snyder and Chris Terrio did with the characters but also the way it tells its story (with it being a movie about Superman and Batman, arguably in the top 3 comic book superheroes of all time). This story is a lot more dense than expected, you really have to pay attention to what was going on, it’s no Memento but there are lots of plotlines going on for a comic book movie. I and many other people just expected a straight up Batman vs Superman movie but it was a lot more than that. Oscar winning writer Chris Terrio did a great job with the script, he rewrote David S. Goyer’s script and you can feel the occasional odd Goyer line of dialogue that feels out of place, but otherwise most of it all really works. Batman v Superman also gets better and better the more I watch it, and certain aspects work better upon repeat viewings. Some scenes that didn’t seem necessary on of the first viewing, actually worked upon repeat viewings. The Clark and Jonathan Kent dream/vision mountain scene seemed unnecessary when I watched it for the first time. Upon many viewings though, I would consider it one of Clark’s most important scenes in the whole movie, especially for his arc. Despite the long runtime of the Ultimate Edition, for some reason I can always watch this movie and be fully invested from start to finish. There is some atmosphere in it which draws me to it but I can’t tell what it is, it’s something about this world that Terrio and Snyder had set these characters in.

Now the characters’ treatment in this film was one of the most criticised aspects of the film, especially with Bruce Wayne/Batman and Clark Kent/Superman. However, I personally think that their interpretations were not only great, they were very compelling and some of the best versions of the characters on the big screen. Let’s start with Batman. Batman is not just darker here than in any previous live action incarnation of Batman (which he is), he’s damaged, he doesn’t care anymore, he’s completely off the rails and is unstable. Many people complained that Batman here wasn’t really Batman, he wasn’t really a hero, between the Metropolis flashback and the third act, the one time when he actually saves people (aside from Martha Kent), he really wasn’t looking to save them. In his introduction scene as Batman, he was looking for the human trafficker criminal for information, not necessarily to save the people. To that criticism I say… that’s kinda the point. He’s not what he once was, like how Alfred brings up how everything’s changed “That’s how it starts, the fever, the rage, the feeling of powerlessness that turns good men cruel” That Metropolis event changed Bruce significantly for the worse, which built upon his feeling of helplessness even when he was Batman (especially the implication that he failed to save Robin from The Joker). “20 years in Gotham Alfred, we’ve seen what promises are worth. How many good guys are left? How many stayed that way?” To take a character as beloved and iconic as Batman and to take the risk of making him incredibly flawed, I have to give Snyder huge props for that. I noticed that Batman is one of these iconic characters that are so beloved that a lot of audiences don’t like when they are shown to be flawed, whether it be Superman, Luke Skywalker or whoever else. As for the complaints of him killing…. Batman has always killed in his past live action movies (with Batman and Robin being an exception). The difference here is that it is more blatant. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not necessarily into having Batman kill everyone he comes across (because then they would have to make up some contrived reason why he doesn’t end up killing particularly people like The Joker). The reason that the killing works here for me is that there is actually a character arc around the killing. At the end of the film, Batman visits Lex at the prison but chooses not to brand him (like he did with many other criminals), basically meaning that he’s done with killing (or no doubt just done with killing in this blatant way, he’s going to somehow end up killing again in his next appearance like with the other versions of Batman). It was because of Superman’s sacrifice that he decided to make a change. Now for the controversial ‘Martha’ scene. I was not expecting the conflict between Batman and Superman being resolved through the revelation that their mothers had the same name (and on paper it doesn’t really sound good). At first I really didn’t know what to think of it. But after thinking about it for a while I think it is great, after all the reason that Batman doesn’t kill Superman isn’t because their mothers share have the same name, it’s because he realises that Superman is not just an all powerful dangerous single minded being. Throughout the majority of the movie, Batman believes that Superman is a complete threat to the world and not ‘human’ at all. In the moment where Lois tells Bruce that Martha is the name of Clark’s mother, he realises that he has a mother, he is a person. I do think it could’ve been handled slightly better but most of it works.

Snyder really made Batman a force to be reckoned with, his action scenes are nothing like we’ve seen in other Batman live action movies before. The widely praised warehouse sequence, praised by even people who heavily disliked the film, is a good example of this, with Batman taking on multiple criminals at the same time, mostly relying on his own fighting style which is a lot more brutal. It’s not just action scenes that conveys his strong presence, his first appearance was straight out of a horror film. Other decisions like with the voice modulator and his worn down simplistic costume really added to this portrayal. Also, Ben Affleck was excellent in the role of Batman, he blew me away with how great he was here. I’ve always liked Ben Affleck as an actor, but I had no idea what to expect from his Batman and he really surprised me here. He pulled off the charismatic side of Bruce Wayne, the broken and damaged side of Bruce, as well as Batman himself. In fact I think his best acting is during the Batman and Superman fight, when his metal helmet is damaged and his face is exposed, seeing Batman’s expressions while he was Batman was something we don’t usually get to see. Definitely an unexpectedly great casting decision, and an interesting take on the character. As for Ben Affleck, I think he’s the best Batman in a single live action film (however Christian Bale’s 3 Batman appearances combined is better than all of Ben’s Batman appearances, I personally blame Justice League). Hopefully Ben will get to reach BvS greatness once again in the Matt Reeves Batman movie (should he choose to return to the role).

Clark Kent’s story in Man of Steel’s was about him being ready for people to see him for what he is. In Batman v Superman, Superman is out there in the public eye, and his story is about him living in a world where people know about him and are reacting to him. Some of the reaction is positive, others are negative (Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne being examples of people who don’t take too kindly to him). In retrospect I can partially understand why his character did get some criticism, because a lot of his arc in this movie is cut in the Theatrical Cut. The Ultimate Edition fleshes out his story more, giving him a lot more screentime. It also included important scenes like Clark talking to his mother, Clark talking to the deceased branded criminal’s wife, Superman saving some people in the Capitol and the aftermath, all these are very important for his story arc and more clearly lays it out. However, I also think that part of the criticism is how Superman sort isn’t a huge hero, a criticism that was brought up in Man of Steel. Well he does save many people in Batman v Superman, he saves Lois a few times in the movie, he stops Doomsday, and there’s even a montage of him saving people like in the first act. I suspect it’s more the criticism that Superman isn’t constantly doing a lot of heroic things. For me that personal didn’t bother me, this movie was taking Clark on a particular arc and I liked it. In the real world, a powerful being like Superman would not be universally loved, there would be lots of concerns as to what he can do, should do and will do. BvS really tries to capture how we would react to someone like Superman, there are those who love him, and there are those who hate him and fear him. And before some people comment, no, DCEU’s Superman isn’t dark. He lives in a world which is dark but despite everything, he still rises up to be the hero. All things considered, Superman is the true hero in Batman v Superman, not Batman. Despite all that humanity does to him (especially Lex), Superman is willing enough to sacrifice himself for them. Henry Cavill is even better here than he was in Man of Steel. Cavill expertly brings out Clark’s inner emotions without requiring a lot of dialogue, you can just see what he feels. With two deep and conflicting stories that Superman has gone through in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, I have to say that Henry Cavill’s Superman, as directed by Zack Snyder, is my favourite interpretation of the character. Now I’m just wondering how he’s going to be handled in future Superman movies.

All the other characters I thought was great as well. Amy Adams was great as Lois (she gets a lot more to do in the Ultimate Edition with her investigating the desert incident and more, on top of saving Superman twice). Gal Gadot was solid as Wonder Woman, Holly Hunter as Senator Finch made an impression despite not playing a comic book character and Jeremy Irons stood out as Alfred Pennyworth (I hope we get to see a lot more of him in the solo Batman movies). Even Callan Mulvey made an impression as Lex Luthor’s henchman, overall everyone was great. But I really want to focus on Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Definitely a very divisive aspect of the film, with some finding him to be annoying and just a copy of Heath Ledger’s Joker (I guess any comic book villain who’s crazy is just trying too hard to be The Joker). Now I’m just going to avoid all the comic book accuracies arguments for a bit, and am going to focus on him in the movie itself. I for one loved his Lex, and I was one of the people who hated Jesse’s casting from day 1. He was somehow even more quirky and over the top than I expected but he still manages to come across as menacing and dangerous, especially on the rooftop with Superman. His plan is darker than most interpretations of Lex, and his motivations were more complex. Also on a side note, Jesse Eisenberg completely threw himself into this role and didn’t hold back, you can clearly see that he is having the time of his life as Lex, and I think it’s worth at least respecting how committed Eisenberg was to the role. Not that I care about comic accuracy but despite all the claims about this Lex not being comic accurate, he’s pretty much young Lex Luthor from a comic book called Superman Birthright. Snyder and Eisenberg have made a modernised Lex Luthor that works in today’s world. Now we will just have to see what is done with Lex in the Man of Steel sequels.

The direction by Snyder unsurprisingly is great. The cinematography by Larry Fong was so great, this is a beautiful and sleek looking movie. In contrast to Man of Steel, there isn’t a lot of shaky cam or zoom ins/outs, which was almost in a documentary style. The action, as expected from Zack Snyder is great. The CGI for the most part looks really great, with the exception of certain small bits which didn’t look fully polished. One thing I’d like to mention is how Snyder held back with the action for the most part. Before the third act with the BvS fight, warehouse sequence and the Doomsday fight, the only action scenes in the movie prior was the Metropolis flashback (if it counts as an action scene), the Knightmare sequence and the Batmobile sequence. Those sequences are big when they happen but for the first two acts this movie relies mostly on story, especially in the Ultimate Edition. The film is much more than just an action movie, it is also drama set in a superhero world. So, Snyder did hold back… until the last act which I’ll get to later. The music by Hans Zimmer was absolutely masterful and ranks among some of the best music work he’s done. From the opening “A Beautiful Lie”, to Lex Luthor’s theme ‘Red Capes are Coming” and Wonder Woman’s theme “Is She with You?”, all of it works so excellently. I guess maybe I would’ve liked to have had a slightly more distinct theme for Batman like Zimmer had done for Superman and Wonder Woman, but it’s still pretty good and has the right tone.

I need to touch on the Ultimate Edition for a bit. Now I have done a full review of the Ultimate Edition so I won’t linger on it too much. But I feel like I need to mention how much it improved the movie. It fixes plot holes (there is now an explanation for Superman not being able to stop the Capital Bombing), fleshes out Clark/Superman’s story, gives Lois a lot more to do and shows more of how large Lex’s plan was. Not to mention the scenes didn’t feel jarring especially in the first act, like it did in the Theatrical Cut. Even if the extended scenes have the same outcome from the theatrical version of the scenes, there’s much more time given, so it flows a lot smoother instead of just jumping from scene to scene every 2 minutes. The scenes are even ordered in a much better way. For example in the Ultimate Edition Bruce has his nightmare (with a Man-Bat-like creature), wakes up at the penthouse and then meets with Alfred before preparing to go to Lex’s party to steal some information. However in the Theatrical Edition, they put in Lois’s meeting with General Swanwick in the middle of that segment, which just feels jarring. I’m not exactly sure why they made some of the ordering decisions that they did. There are only a couple of reasons I can think of why WB cut 30 whole minutes form the film and that’s the runtime and the age rating. Blockbusters are rarely 3 hours long, but then again it’s worth considering that The Dark Knight Rises was 2 hours and 45 minutes long and that was still a hit. As for the age rating, the Ultimate Edition in America shouldn’t have been rated R (both version of the film have the same rating in New Zealand), it’s once again a case of bizarre MPAA ratings. For whatever reason that they did it, cutting out 30 whole significant minutes of footage was a major mistake, you should never try to change a Zack Snyder film, otherwise it will not work. I want to say that WB might’ve now learned not to repeat this mistake in future DCEU films like they did with BvS and Suicide Squad (the latter movie having even worse editing issues) but Justice League clearly proved me wrong.

Now that’s not to say that there’s no problems with this film. There are some plot points which weren’t handled as well as they could’ve. For example, in the Batman vs Superman sequence, I get that Bruce wouldn’t listen to what Clark had to say, but it could’ve been presented more clearly, because otherwise it seems like Clark could easily explain what was going on at the beginning of the scene. As for noting one of the lesser scenes of the movie, I’d have to say that it’s the scene when Bruce sends Diana videos of the other Justice League members. I did like that scene but there is not that much to gather from that scene, Cyborg’s cameo did hint at his role and his actual origin in Justice League, but the rest doesn’t have much. They could’ve implemented the scene better, or they shouldn’t have had that scene. However it didn’t bother me too much. A complaint that does get thrown around a lot was around the third act and how it changed tone and became a big action fest, which was different from the slower paced almost political thriller in the first two acts. While I still love the third act, I do partially agree with this. We’ve seen end fights with monsters plenty of times, but even though it surprisingly worked fine enough for BvS, it did feel slightly out of place here. And yes, Snyder does go big with his action here, the action (as expected) is incredible and entertaining to watch. It would’ve been nice to have the final act something a little more compelling than just another monster fight at the end but this final battle sequence was good enough for me (even though Batman really couldn’t do anything throughout it). Speaking of the third act, Doomsday is a heavily criticised part of the movie, and while I don’t think he was great, he did his part well enough. Maybe if it was a character deliberately created for the movie I would take more issue, but as he’s a comic book character and as Doomsday is pretty much just a mindless dangerous monster, I could look past that. The only part of it that I wished was better was the design, I think the CGI on him is for the most part good but he just looks so generic (hence all the comparisons to the cave troll in Lord of the Rings or Abomination from The Incredible Hulk). Outside of his basic design, I didn’t have too many problems with Doomsday. One aspect which is a little sad to look at now is all the aspects that set up for Justice League, because the Justice League movie completely ignored them, whether that be the Knightmare sequence or The Flash’s warning (but that’s for another awaited retrospective review).

No matter your thoughts on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there’s no denying that it had made a huge impact and impression when it was released. Batman v Superman was a breath of fresh air in the comic book genre for me, a film which decided to slow down with its story and take risks with its characters (not that no comic book movies do this, but it was a standout nonetheless). For most of the movie it’s like that, and on top of that there are some great action scenes, impressive performances and portrayals of iconic characters and a very unique story for these characters. Watchmen is still Zack Snyder’s masterpiece to me (as well as my favourite Comic Book Movie), but Batman v Superman is up there. As I said it still has some issues and if I looked at the Theatrical Cut I’d have a lot more unfavourable opinion of that version than the 3 times I saw them in cinemas (especially after seeing the Ultimate Edition and how these extra scenes added to the movie). But BvS nonetheless is an great comic book film in my eyes, and I do believe that this film (like Watchmen) will become loved much more as the years go on.

Now You See Me 2 (2016) Review

Time: 129 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Cast: 860940[1] Violence
Mark Ruffalo as Agent Dylan Rhodes
Jesse Eisenberg as J. Daniel Atlas
Woody Harrelson as Merritt McKinney and Chase McKinney
Dave Franco as Jack Wilder
Lizzy Caplan as Lula May
Daniel Radcliffe as Walter Mabry
Morgan Freeman as Thaddeus Bradley
Jay Chou as Li
Sanaa Lathan as Agent Natalie Austin
Michael Caine as Arthur Tressler
Director: Jon M. Chu

After fleeing from a stage show, the illusionists (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson) known as the Four Horsemen find themselves in more trouble in Macau, China. Devious tech wizard Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe) forces the infamous magicians to steal a powerful chip that can control all of the world’s computers. Meanwhile, vengeful FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) hatches his own plot against Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), the man he blames for the death of his father.

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I liked the first Now You See Me, its not great by any means but I had a fun time with it. So I had mild expectations when it comes to a sequel, it would probably be entertaining but at the same time it wasn’t really necessary, no one was begging for it to exist. Now You See Me 2 was pretty much what I expected it to be, it is around the same level of quality as the first. It’s pretty entertaining and decent but nothing much more than that.

The first movie didn’t really focus too much on The Four Horsemen, with Mark Ruffalo and Melaine Laurent being the main perspective. This time with the 2nd movie, it is from The Four Horsemen’s and Mark Ruffalo’s perspective. Like with the first movie, the plot isn’t great but it does keep your attention and for the most part it keeps you entertained from start to finish. I wasn’t really ever bored but it’s not a completely riveting plot, I was partially curious as to which direction the story was going in. It does feel like it’s just throwing twists at you, and I’m not sure how well those twists would actually hold up upon repeat viewings but I didn’t have too much issues on my first viewing. Though I have a feeling that I’d probably be able to pick some holes on a second viewing.

The previous cast returns with Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Dave Franco and others and they are still pretty entertaining. Isla Fisher wasn’t able to return for the sequel, so Lizzy Caplan ultimately took her place as the fourth horseman and she did a good job. On a slight note, it was a little rushed how they explained why Fisher wasn’t here, it’s a small aspect but its not movie breaking. One slightly annoying aspect was that in this movie, Woody Harrelson has a twin brother, which is an annoying cliché seen in many movies. He’s not as annoying as he you’d think he would end up being but he is still very distracting and pointless. It was great to see Daniel Radcliffe in a more villainous role and he actually does pull it off quite well, I’d like to see him more in this kind of role. Other actors like Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine are nice to see return.

The direction was decent enough. Whereas the original was directed by Louis Leterrier, the sequel was directed by Jon M. Chu and it was about at the same level. Honestly had I not known this prior to watching the movie I probably wouldn’t be able to tell that the two movies were directed by different people, I wouldn’t have noticed it myself. It is quite entertaining to watch the characters perform magic, and that’s an area that the movie really shines in.

As someone who thoroughly enjoyed the first Now You See Me for what it was, I really enjoyed the sequel. I liked seeing these actors here, I was entertained by what was going on, I overall had a good time. This is an entertaining movie but I don’t think I would call it a good movie. If you don’t like the original Now You See Me, you won’t like the sequel, there’s nothing really here that’s going to change your mind. I heard there is going to be a third movie in the franchise, again, its unnecessary but I wouldn’t mind watching it if it actually ends up happening.

Hacksaw Ridge (2016) Review

Time: 139 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Depicts graphic & realistic war scenes.
Cast
Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss
Vince Vaughn as Sergeant Howell
Sam Worthington as Captain Jack Glover
Luke Bracey as Smitty Ryker
Hugo Weaving as Tom Doss
Ryan Corr as Lieutenant Manville
Teresa Palmer as Dorothy Schutte
Director: Mel Gibson

The true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), the conscientious objector who, at the Battle of Okinawa, won the Medal of Honor for his incredible bravery and regard for his fellow soldiers. We see his upbringing and how this shaped his views, especially his religious view and anti-killing stance. We see Doss’s trials and tribulations after enlisting in the US Army and trying to become a medic. Finally, we see the hell on Earth that was Hacksaw Ridge.

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Hacksaw Ridge had sparked my curiosity and I first heard of it when it was gaining Oscar buzz and fortunately I managed to watch it before the 2017 Oscars. Overall it was a pretty good movie with its story, the performances (particularly from Andrew Garfield) and Mel Gibson’s direction. There are some cliché elements and it does get a little too over the top at times in certain aspects, but overall I think it’s a pretty solid movie.

The first act focussed on the protagonist Desmond Doss and him when he’s training to be a soldier and refuses to use a gun. The second half is the event at Hacksaw Ridge. Now at times this film does seem cliché in the way they decided to portray events and characters. For example, Vince Vaughn’s character is pretty much like R. Lee Ermey from Full Metal Jacket, without a whole lot of development (I know a lot of drill sergeants are like this but here it just comes across as being cartoony). Also the Japanese in this movie are represented as just generic enemy soldiers, nothing much more than that, it doesn’t necessarily make the movie worse but it’s just worth noting. I guess this movie was more about Desmond and his part in the war rather than about both sides on the war so it doesn’t bother me too much. It’s just a little noticeable. I myself am not sure how accurate this movie is to real events, so I can’t comment on that aspect. However aside from my issues with that I’d say that Hacksaw Ridge is pretty good overall. It is a long movie at 139 minutes but consistently it had my attention.

Andrew Garfield is great in his role here, this is one of his best performances. It’s easy to like and care about him, but it’s most importantly easy to understand why he makes the decisions that he does, and Garfield’s acting definitely helped with that. Teresa Palmer plays a nurse who Doss starts a relationship with, they were great together. The supporting cast is also good. Vince Vaughn is good, as I said earlier, his character is pretty one note but Vaughn does act his role well. Sam Worthington, also great in this movie, I think with this and Everest, I can say that Sam Worthington really works best in supporting roles. The supporting performance that steals the show however is Hugo Weaving, as Desmond’s father, it’s a really powerful performance and a stand out performance in a bunch of great performances.

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Mel Gibson is directing this movie and as you can probably guess, Hacksaw Ridge is very violent, I mean of course its because it’s a war movie but also because Mel Gibson is directing. All the battle scenes are viscious and brutal, it does ocassionally feel like it’s a little too violent, like a little too over the top. But overall the direction is great. It does really feel like it’s absolute chaos and really places you in the war. The soundtrack by Rupert Gregson-Williams was great.

Overall, I think Hacksaw Ridge is pretty good. The acting was great, the direction by Gibson was solid and I was invested in this story from start to finish. Not everything is perfect, there is definitely some issues I had in the way Gibson decided to tell the story. But for the most part, this movie does get a lot of things right.

Inferno (2016) Review

Time: 121 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Tom Hanks as Dr. Robert Langdon
Felicity Jones as Dr. Sienna Brooks
Omar Sy as Christoph Bouchard
Ben Foster as Bertrand Zobrist
Sidse Babett Knudsen as Elizabeth Sinskey
Irrfan Khan as Harry “The Provost” Sims
Ana Ularu as Vayentha
Director: Ron Howard

Famous symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) follows a trail of clues tied to Dante, the great medieval poet. When Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), a doctor he hopes will help him recover his memories. Together, they race across Europe and against the clock to stop a madman (Ben Foster) from unleashing a virus that could wipe out half of the world’s population.

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The Da Vinci Code/Robert Langdon movie series were pretty good, they weren’t by any means great, but they were enjoyable mystery stories. 7 years after the last movie, Angels and Demons, there is another instalment that I’m not sure even the die hard Da Vinci Code fans were asking for with Inferno. Inferno is such a massive step down from the previous films. Despite Ron Howard returning to direct along with talent like Felicity Jones and Irrfan Khan involved, this film just isn’t good. It’s not one of the worst movies ever but it is incredibly mediocre.

The story is incredibly forgettable. I’ll admit, I can’t even remember what this movie is completely about. I found it so difficult to care about what was going on. I didn’t care about the story, I didn’t care about the characters, I wasn’t really that interested in what was going on. Honestly I don’t think I can comment about the actual story as I wasn’t paying that close attention but it really says something when I’m so not invested in this movie, and I was trying really hard to focus on it. I haven’t read any of the Robert Langdon books and I haven’t read Inferno so I don’t know if there had been any changes or not but either way, I didn’t care much for the story. From start to finish its on a constant unwavering line of meh.

Tom Hanks returns as Robert Langdon and you can definitely tell that he is trying his best here. The problem is that his character operates heavily using his brain as shown in the previous movies. Robert in this movie has amnesia and we don’t get to see what he’s like before the amnesia, so it feels like a completely different character. And no, we don’t get to see much characterisation for Langdon in this movie. Credit to Hanks for trying his best. Other actors like Felicity Jones, Ben Foster and Omar Sy do a decent job with what they have but aren’t used to their fullest potential and aren’t enough to elevate the quality of this movie. The one actor who seemed to effortlessly steal the show was Irrfan Khan but unfortunately he didn’t play that big of a role. He definitely elevates this movie however.

I cannot believe that Ron Howard directed this, he’s done so much better than this. At times the direction is basic and serviceable enough and at other points it feels like an amateur filmmaker tried to make a movie but failing miserably. The dream sequences are done terribly, during these scenes it looks like a made for tv movie with awful CGI. So not even Ron Howard’s direction can improve this movie.

Although it had some potential, Inferno is just not a good movie. Despite some talented people involved, for some reason it just didn’t come together to actually work. The best part of this movie is the performances, and even then its only really Irrfan Khan who shines. I guess if you’re curious enough you can check it out but don’t expect something that great. It’s not terrible, just quite underwhelming and mediocre, there’s not much to really say about it to be honest.

Morgan (2016) Review

Time: 92 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence and offensive language
Cast:
Kate Mara as Lee Weathers
Anya Taylor-Joy as Morgan
Toby Jones as Dr. Simon Ziegler
Rose Leslie as Dr. Amy Menser
Boyd Holbrook as Skip Vronsky
Michelle Yeoh as Dr. Lui Cheng
Jennifer Jason Leigh as Dr. Kathy Grieff
Paul Giamatti as Dr. Alan Shapiro
Director: Luke Scott

Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) is a bioengineered child who began walking and talking after one month of existence, exceeding the wildest expectations of her creators. When Morgan attacks one of her handlers, a corporate troubleshooter (Kate Mara) visits the remote, top-secret facility where she’s kept to assess the risks of keeping her alive. When the girl breaks free and starts running amok, the staff members find themselves in a dangerous lockdown with an unpredictable and violent synthetic human.

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Morgan was a movie that I was curious about, mostly with the cast involved with Kate Mara, Rose Leslie, Toby Jones and many others, it looked like it had a lot of potential. However, as well know, potential doesn’t always guarantee greatness and that was certainly the case here. Morgan really wasn’t all that great, but I don’t think its as bad as some people have made it out to be. It is rather underwhelming however.

This movie didn’t really capture my interest, it moves at a slow pace. It’s also predictable for at least the very least the first two acts, anything you’d expect to happen does happen. We’ve seen so many movies about humanity creating life and that life becoming dangerous, and Morgan doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. This movie had so much opportunities to do something different. It would’ve been nice to see something unique, at least the very least for the third act. Changing up the direction of the climax or going in depth with the questions that the film raises would’ve been better. However the third act here is a typical sci-fi thriller ‘outbreak’ sequence that we’ve seen so many times before. I also found it difficult to care about what was going on, its hard to really care about any of the characters because they weren’t really that fully fleshed out or developed. There is a twist that happens, even though I wasn’t really expecting it, the overall effect was deflated because I wasn’t invested in the characters or story at all.

As I said, the cast involved is great, but most of the actors really don’t get used to their fullest potential. Kate Mara is the lead character and she does a commendable job here, the problem is that her character is just so uninteresting and poorly characterised. Her character really needed to be something more interesting and layered, its unfortunate that the lead character seems to have the least characterisation out of all the main characters. Most of the cast with Toby Jones, Boyd Holbrook and others are good but aren’t utilized to their fullest potential. Paul Giamatti’s inclusion in the film was pretty much pointless, he was fine in his scenes but he was used so little it’s a wonder why they even bothered. There was really two actresses who stood out to me, one was Rose Leslie, who managed to add something to her performance that most of the cast wasn’t able to. And the other was Anya Taylor-Joy as the titular character of Morgan. She manages to convey both a childlike innocence as well as dangerous instability. Those two had a believable relationship because of Taylor-Joy’s and Leslie’s chemistry.

I liked most of the direction from Luke Scott. This film generally has a good look, it is very well shot and it really makes you feel enclosed in this environment and facility. With that said, there are a couple of fight scenes and they are cut and edited so poorly, I mean this is borderline Taken 3 editing.

Morgan is a disappointment considering all the things it had going for it. The movie doesn’t really do anything that you haven’t seen before with this type of plot, its hard to care about anything that’s going on and it really doesn’t live up to any of its potential. The performances (especially from Anya Taylor-Joy and Rose Leslie) and some of the direction is good enough for me to consider this to be a somewhat okay movie. But this movie could’ve and should’ve been so much better than it actually turned out to be.