Tag Archives: Charlize Theron

F9 (2021) Review

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F9

Time: 145 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] contains violence
Cast:
Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto
Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz
Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce
Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as Tej Parker
John Cena as Jakob Toretto
Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto
Nathalie Emmanuel as Ramsey
Sung Kang as Han Lue
Michael Rooker as Buddy
Helen Mirren as Magdalene “Queenie” Shaw
Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody
Charlize Theron as Cipher
Director: Justin Lin

Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) is living the quiet life off the grid with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and his son, but they know that danger always lurks just over the peaceful horizon. This time, that threat forces Dom to confront the sins of his past to save those he loves most. His crew soon comes together to stop a world-shattering plot by the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever encountered — Dom’s forsaken brother (John Cena).

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The long running Fast & Furious series just had its latest instalment (technically the 10th if you include Hobbs and Shaw) with F9. They keep getting more over the top with every movie while remaining kind of endearing, and I’m quite entertained by them. So while I wasn’t expecting anything special from F9, I knew that I would have fun, and certainly had that despite some issues.

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The overarching plot with the main goal does feel very familiar, even by the standards of the recent movies. The team have to get this particular world-ending weapon which that the antagonists are after, and the plot just so happens to be more larger scale than the last movie. It already turned into a spy series in Furious 7, becoming a more over the top Mission Impossible with further emphasis on the cars, and so they now have to raise the stakes with every future instalment. With that being the case, I do actually wonder how much they can really do for the last two movies of the series before the plot becomes literally about saving the world from being destroyed. Something that was very apparent when I was watching F9 is that it is absolutely packed with side quests, and that stood out even after having recently re-watched the movies in the series from 5 onwards. Sometimes the characters split off in groups to do different things and somehow it ends up being hard to follow everything that’s happening. At the same time there are some things that don’t make sense even by Fast & Furious standards, and is somehow complicated. That aside, the more recent Fast and Furious continues its interesting mix of not taking itself seriously while being genuine with the way it takes its characters and story somewhat seriously. There is a further emphasis on the story and characters in this movie to a degree, with the soap opera reveal that Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) has a brother that he never mentioned before in the prior films, and whom they are up against in this movie. Not only that, but there are a number of flashbacks which show Dom and his brother Jakob when they were much younger, and what caused their rift and put Jakob where he’s at presently. Not that I don’t appreciate that the filmmakers went through the effort to actually show what happened, but by the end it doesn’t really resonate as much as it was intended to. Overall, the story is very flawed, is sillier than before and even feels formulaic, however I was still interested in it throughout. For those interested, F9 does have a mid-credits scene, and if you’re a fan of these movies I think it’s worth sticking around for.

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F9 has the returning cast of Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, they don’t really have a huge amount to do by Fast and Furious standards but are still enjoyable as usual. It really is lacking Dwayne Johnson from the past few movies but it is nice to see Jordana Brewster back as one of the team in her role as Mia Toretto. After Fast Five she was only making brief appearances and now she’s back as one of the main players. Also as hinted in the trailers, there’s the return of Han played by Sung Kang, who was shown to be killed off in Tokyo Drift, the mid credits scene of Fast & Furious 6, and Furious 7. It’s nice to see him back in the team again, though he doesn’t do quite as much in this movie as you would think. As for the explanation for how he’s back from the dead, it’s a little unbelievable, convoluted and very far fetched, yet still rather underwhelming. However I think I’m fine with it, as long as the series doesn’t pull another one of these retcons again. Kurt Russell and Helen Mirren provide some good supporting work as they reprise their respective roles. John Cena was one of the most advertised actors in this movie, as he’s playing Dom’s long-lost brother. Cena can actually act well, although despite the critical role he has to play in the film, he doesn’t really have much to work with. He has a past with Vin Diesel and that’s it, he doesn’t have much personality really, which is strange considering that Cena is definitely a charismatic actor. Charlize Theron as the character of Cipher seems to be intended to be the overarching villain for the Fast and Furious series from Fate of the Furious onwards. However she doesn’t have as much involvement with the plot of F9 as you would initially think, unlike how the trailers showed it, she’s not teaming up with Jakob against Dom. For much of the movie she just spends her screen time in a plastic prison cell, Hannibal Lecter style. I get that they are trying to connect her to every movie in the series from this point but really, she could’ve been written out of this film, and not changed the plot that much. It’s hard to say Cena’s Jakob is the full on main villain of the film, and Theron’s Cipher certainly isn’t. So if there is a clear cut villain in this movie, then the only one left would be the character of Otto played by Thue Ersted Rasmussen, who’s usually in the background and is incredibly forgettable. If he really was intended to be the main antagonist of the film, than he would have to be the worst main villain in the entire series.

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Director Justin Lin makes a welcome return to the Fast and Furious series, after directing Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6. As expected he brings such an energy to the movie that gives it a lot of life, it’s shot and edited well, and there’s a lot of attention to detail. The action goes into further levels of absurdity, even more so than the past movies. To a degree, it does feel like its running out of steam in terms of what action can be done with cars. However they still manage to be fun, there’s particularly some fun action involving magnets. Then there’s a particular moment hinted in the trailers that may involve outer space, and while I won’t elaborate on that, it is quite the highlight.

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I do actually wonder how much there’s really left in this series, with the absurd twists and retcons, the physics breaking action and the like. There’s a fine line that the series has walking, and while they haven’t crossed it yet, with F9 it’s pretty clear that they are pretty close to doing that. Speaking of the movie by itself though, I did enjoy it. I think at the very least, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6 and Furious 7 are better than F9. However I can’t deny that I had a lot of fun watching it, and I’m looking forward to watching the next movies.

The Old Guard (2020) Review

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The Old Guard

Time: 125 Minutes
Cast:
Charlize Theron as Andy/Andromache of Scythia
KiKi Layne as Nile Freeman
Matthias Schoenaerts as Booker/Sebastian Le Livre
Marwan Kenzari as Joe/Yusuf Al-Kaysani
Luca Marinelli as Nicky/Nicolò di Genova
Chiwetel Ejiofor as James Copley
Harry Melling as Steven Merrick
Veronica Ngo as Quynh
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood

A group of mercenaries, all centuries-old immortals with the ability to heal themselves, discover someone is onto their secret, and they must fight to protect their freedom.

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I had heard about The Old Guard for some time. All I knew about it was that it was a Netflix action movie based on a comic book and starred Charlize Theron in the lead role. I wasn’t in any rush to get around to watching it, I wasn’t really expecting much going into it. It turned out to be better than I thought it would be, despite some of its issues, I thought it was quite entertaining and generally well made.

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There was a little more to the story of The Old Guard than I thought there would be. I just thought it would be an action movie about immortals. While there was that, there was an interesting mythology and lore that was given, especially with the characters. There is however a lot of exposition explaining the characters’ pasts, especially with the use of flashbacks. Some of the flashbacks were quite effective, others were a little cheesy. The plot itself is quite predictable and nothing special, which is disappointing given the potential the setup and premise has. I guess what made it feel somewhat fresh was how they handled the relationships between the main group. Nonetheless, some of the characters get more attention and depth than others, and it does feel like the plot could’ve been a lot better. There are for sure some cliches, from recycled plot points to familiar dialogue. The pacing was also slower, and that was good and bad at the same time. While I appreciate the movie not rushing into just being a typical action movie and focussing on some character moments, there were parts where it does slow down just a little too much. There wasn’t as much action as I thought there would be, and I do think that it worked towards the film’s benefit. The ending was setting up a sequel, and I’m on board with that and hope that it happens.

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The cast really do well on their parts. Charlize Theron is in the lead role and plays her part greatly, her performance alone makes the movie worth watching. Additionally, Theron is no stranger to action and performs very well in those scenes. KiKi Layne is also great in one of the lead roles as a newcomer to this world of immortals. The rest of the immortals played by Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari and Luca Marinelli are also quite good. Chiwetel Ejiofor isn’t given much to do, but he also played his part very well. Harry Melling also plays up his hammy cliché villain pretty well, even if he really didn’t have much to work with.

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I haven’t seen any work from Gina Prince-Bythewood, but she directed The Old Guard pretty well. The action is one of the highlights of the movie, it’s choreographed well, brutal, and very well shot. If there’s anything that takes away from them, it’s that the bad soundtrack was pretty bad. The movie is filled with pop songs which really didn’t fit the movie, and many of them play during the action scenes. The songs themselves weren’t necessarily bad, it’s just that they really didn’t work well with the action scenes they were placed in, and they were more than a little distracting.

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The Old Guard was a bit of a surprise, I don’t consider it to be great by any means and there were parts with the script which could’ve been much better, but it was entertaining for what it was. It was directed well, featured some solid action scenes, and the cast perform well. If you like action movies then I’d say that this is one to check out for sure. I’m definitely interested in follow up movies, hopefully they’d reach the potential that the first movie didn’t.

Bombshell (2019) Review

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Bombshell

Time: 109 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language & sexual references
Cast:
Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly
Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson
Margot Robbie as Kayla Pospisil
John Lithgow as Roger Ailes
Connie Britton as Beth Ailes
Rob Delaney as Gil Norman
Mark Duplass as Douglas Brunt
Liv Hewson as Lily Balin
Allison Janney as Susan Estrich
Director: Jay Roach

When Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) slaps Fox News founder Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) with a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment, not a soul could predict what would happen next. Her decision leads to Fox News correspondent Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) coming forward with her own story, as well as multiple other women, inciting a movement that reverberates around the world.

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I remember hearing about Bombshell for a while, it was about the sexual harassment in Fox News (specifically about Roger Ailes) and starred Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie in the lead roles. As trailers started being released however, I was starting to be a little concerned about it, especially how the movie looked like a comedy (the use of Billie Eilish’s ‘Bad Guy’ certainly didn’t give off the right vibe. Now a movie about this subject could work, taking on sexual harassment in a work environment such as Fox News. It’s hard to pull off, but if executed well, could result in a truly great and insightful movie. Bombshell is not that movie.

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One of my worries was that Bombshell was going to be a comedy on the whole. Now there wasn’t as much comedy as I thought there would be, but I do wonder if that’s because what they intended as comedy didn’t exactly produce much laughs and I just didn’t pick up that they were jokes in the first place. The thing that immediately comes to mind to this movie is the fact that this is Fox News, and of course people aren’t so into the idea of a movie following people who work at Fox, which is understandable. The movie isn’t necessarily pro Fox News, but it doesn’t full on take on them either. All the shots that they take at Fox are used in jokes, so they felt rather toothless and weak. There’s plenty of deserved criticisms about some of the prominent people at the centre of this story, but they were still victims, and their story still needed to be told. When it comes to the sexual harassment scenes, it’s fittingly uncomfortable, but that’s not exactly an achievement considering that it should feel uncomfortable. To address the elephant in the room, Bombshell is written by the writer of The Big Short (Charles Randolph), and you really feel that. Now I liked The Big Short, but with this movie it really does feel like someone did a half baked attempt at that form of storytelling. There is a lot of explaining to the audience, and that didn’t turn out so well for this movie. This style could potentially work for a movie taking on Fox News on the whole, however for one with sexual harassment as the focus, it doesn’t fit at all. People have talked about how this movie should’ve been written and directed by a woman, given the results here, women behind both roles definitely would’ve resulted in a much better movie. On the whole, Bombshell a real drag to watch, and unfortunately it’s not just because of the difficult subject matter. Lack of entertainment aside, it moves a such a slow pace and not a lot happens in the movie, with the movie not even grabbing your attention all that much. After thinking about Bombshell for a while, I just came to a realisation. This movie is just a whole lot of talking about what happened, sprinkled occasionally with deliberate shocking and disturbing moments about sexual harassment. Most annoying of all, there’s no deeper dive or complexity to it all (not with the people or at Fox), it’s all very surface level and basically a recap of what we mostly already knew happened. Even as someone who didn’t a ton about the story, I didn’t come out of Bombshell knowing much more than before I watched it.

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If there’s one reason to watch this movie, it is the performances. Charlize Theron is great here, managing to embody Megyn Kelly so believably, really great performance. A lot of the other acting is overplayed to some degree, but Theron feels grounded throughout. Nicole Kidman is not getting the awards attention that her co-leads are receiving, but she was quite good as Gretchen Carlson, who made the lawsuit on Roger Ailes. It actually made me wonder why Carlson wasn’t the lead character of the movie instead of Kelly. Margot Robbie plays a composite character, and I didn’t know what to think of that. Part of me got the impression that Robbie’s character might’ve been created because they wanted to have a main character who they could show directly harassed in a scene by Roger Ailes, but maybe I’m just reading too deep into it. Robbie generally acts well in her role, and she gets a couple great moments in the last act or so. John Lithgow plays Roger Ailes, and he played him uncomfortably well, really unpleasant and unsettling to watch when he’s on screen. At the same time, he scarily enough seems like a real human being, Lithgow did a great job on his part. There’s not much to say about the rest of the cast, they can be quite over the top and deliberately performed like a parody at times, but they’re fine enough.

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I’m not too familiar with Jay Roach, I know he made the Austin Powers movies and I’ve seen his last movie Trumbo. Many people have been saying that Bombshell has been heavily inspired by the directing of Adam McKay’s movies, and I can sadly confirm this. From voiceovers, breaking the fourth wall, cameos of people you may know of, you get the drill. Bombshell solidified that no one should be making Adam McKay-like movies other than Adam McKay himself. Now I personally liked The Big Short and Vice quite a bit, if you didn’t like them though, I think that you’d really dislike Bombshell. The camerawork was also documentary-like, and with the office taking up most of the prominent locations in the movie, it made you feel like you’re in an episode of The Office. It really didn’t serve to make the movie better, it just made it distracting and obnoxious to watch. Every time it zoomed in on someone, it gets just a little more annoying, and there are a lot of zoom ins. The visual style is so bland and uninteresting, and the movie relies so much on its visual style, unfortunately there’s not many appealing aspects here. What’s worse is that the style is not even that consistent, for example you only get the fourth wall breaks a few times, making you wonder why they did it at all. With so much of the directing and storytelling choices, it makes you wonder why they didn’t just make a documentary. The only aspect on a technical level that I can really give praise to is the great makeup, from making Theron look like Megyn Kelly and Lithgow like Ailes.

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Bombshell is a very mixed bag to say that least, and it’s a very hard movie to recommend. This topic is not pleasant to sit through (and it shouldn’t be), but it’s also more of a drag, and on top of that you don’t really learn that much from the movie (unless you’ve never heard of the story before) and doesn’t go deeper as it could’ve, also with some questionable writing and direction choices throughout. At the same time, the performances from Theron, Kidman, Robbie, and Lithgow are great, so maybe watch the movie if you really want to see their work here.

 

Tully (2018) Review

Time: 96 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Mature themes, coarse language and sex
Cast:
Charlize Theron as Marlo Moreau
Mackenzie Davis as Tully
Mark Duplass as Craig
Ron Livingston as Drew Moreau
Director: Jason Reitman

Marlo (Charlize Theron) is a New York suburbanite who’s about to give birth to her third child. Her husband, Ron (Ron Livingston), is loving and works hard, but remains clueless about the demands that motherhood puts on his wife. When the baby is born, Marlo’s wealthy brother (Mark Duplass) hires a nighttime nanny named Tully (Mackenzie Davis) to help his sister handle the workload. Hesitant at first, Marlo soon learns to appreciate all that Tully does — forming a special bond with her new, lifesaving friend.

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I had been hearing about Tully for a little while. All I knew really going in was that it has Charlize Theron and Mackenzie Davis and involved parenting. Otherwise I went in blind, and I think that overall improved my viewing experience. Tully is a pleasant surprise, with some great performances and was a real and honest portrayal on parenting.

I’ll try not to say too much about this movie, as I do think that it is better watching it not knowing too much about it going in. Just know that it’s about parenting and has Charlize Theron and Mackenzie Davis and that’s all you need to know. At around an hour and 30 minutes long, Tully is really good and I was entertained and invested all the way through to the end. Now I’m not familiar with parenting but Tully really seemed to capture the feeling of it at the very least. There’s something about the portrayal of that and life that just feels so genuine and real. You get that feeling immediately in the film’s opening scenes (by that I mean that it’s incredibly stressful). It’s also genuinely entertaining, funny and even heartwarming at points, so it’s not just ‘raising kids is absolute hell’ for the entire runtime. It’s rather a fresh look at parenting overall. There is a reveal towards the end, and while I suspected it as the film was progressing, it worked well for the movie. However there are aspects about how said reveal was handled (especially by other characters) which seemed a little far fetched and unrealistic, it didn’t bother me too much though. In terms of flaws I guess that there were brief moments where my interest dropped a little but they didn’t last for very long.

Charlize Theron as usual is fantastic, giving her best performance since Mad Max Fury Road. You really feel what she’s feeling as this mother having to deal with so many things at once and seeming overwhelmed. Mackenzie Davis plays the titular character of Tully the night time nanny and she’s great, truly a delight whenever she’s on screen. The dynamic between both Theron and Davis is really good and entertaining to watch. The supporting cast was good as well, whether that be Ron Livingston as Theron’s husband or Mark Duplass as Theron’s brother one who hires Tully in the first place for Theron.

Director Jason Reitman has made a number of movies but the only one I’ve seen is Juno, which is probably his most well known film to date. His work on Tully is really good as well. Probably some of the stand out directing parts that stood out was some of the brief things he decides to show on screen. There might be like a 5 second shot of something happening that doesn’t necessarily tie into the plot, it’s quite simple and subtle but they really added a lot to the movie.

Tully is one of the most overlooked movies of 2018 and it’s a shame because it’s really good. The performances especially from Charlize Theron and Mackenzie Davis were great and it just a really genuine movie all round. Definitely worth a watch, preferably not knowing too much beforehand.

Atomic Blonde (2017) Review

Time: 115 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Contains graphic violence, sex scenes, offensive language & nudity
Cast
Charlize Theron as Lorraine Broughton
James McAvoy as David Percival
John Goodman as Emmett Kurzfeld
Til Schweiger as The Watchmaker
Eddie Marsan as Spyglass
Sofia Boutella as Delphine Lasalle
Toby Jones as Eric Gray
Bill Skarsgård as Merkel
Director: David Leitch

Sensual and savage, Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is the most elite spy in MI6, an agent who’s willing to use all of her lethal skills to stay alive during an impossible mission. With the Berlin Wall about to fall, she travels into the heart of the city to retrieve a priceless dossier and take down a ruthless espionage ring. Once there, she teams up with an embedded station chief to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies.

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While one half of the directors of John Wick continued with the sequel, the other half (David Leitch) worked on an adaptation of a graphic novel titled The Coldest City which resulted in Atomic Blonde. With the talent of the director, as well as the talent of actors involved such as Charlize Theron and James McAvoy, how could I not be excited? And it lived up to expectations. The actors were great in their roles (particularly Theron and McAvoy), the story was interesting enough and David Leitch’s direction were all great.

Atomic Blonde’s plot isn’t anything special but it works for the movie. There is enough twists to keep you invested in what’s going on from start to finish. Whether all the twists will hold up on a second viewing remains to be seen. The plot kept me pretty interested throughout and I was consistently entertained. One last thing I want to address, I know a lot of people will go into Atomic Blonde expecting Jane Wick but don’t, Theron’s Lorraine Broughton is not like John Wick, and the world that this film is isn’t the criminal underworld from the John Wick universe. The only thing similar in both the John Wick films and Atomic Blonde is the excellent direction. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just different. No, Atomic Blonde doesn’t have the fascinating world that John Wick has, but it doesn’t need to. For what the movie that it was aiming to be, Atomic Blonde succeeded very well.

Charlize Theron absolutely owns her role as Lorraine Broughton, she’s fantastic in her action sequences and actingwise she is fantastic as well, she really does have a screen presence. She steals every scene she’s in. However another showstealer is James McAvoy, who is also great in his role as a very wild, shady and morally ambiguous character. There were times when both McAvoy and Theron were on screen and I couldn’t tell who stole the show more. McAvoy was definitely one of the highlights of the film. Other actors like Sofia Boutella, Toby Jones, John Goodman and Eddie Marsan were really good in their roles.

David Leitch’s direction naturally is great. This movie like John Wick is very stylised and was one of the highlights of the film. Unsurprising the action is great with the cinematography capturing all the action clearly, the stunts and choreography looked genuine especially from Charlize Theron and they were very entertaining overall. Probably the most standout action sequence is inside a apartment and at a stairwell later in the movie, it is brutal and unrelenting. It is also a long 7 minute unbroken take (or at least appears to be). That was the best action sequence in the film, so incredibly done. I guess maybe the only negative I can say that its not consistent as to whether the action scenes are stylistic or realistic and brutal and they feel distinctly different from each other but that’s a minor issue. The soundtrack is also really great, along with Tyler Bates’s score, there is a bunch of classic songs that play very well in the film.

Atomic Blonde is a really good action movie, the actors was good, Theron and McAvoy stole the show and it had some truly great action sequences. For those wondering, no, I wouldn’t quite consider it at the level of quality of the John Wick movies but honestly it doesn’t need to be. I actually wouldn’t mind a sequel to Atomic Blonde if it actually happens, I would love to see more of Lorrain Broughton in action. To repeat a point I said before, don’t go in expecting Female John Wick, maybe expect the similar action but that’s it, Atomic Blonde is its own thing, and I’m glad it is.

Prometheus (2012) Review

Time: 124 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, offensive language and horror
Cast:
Noomi Rapace as Elizabeth Shaw
Michael Fassbender as David
Charlize Theron as Meredith Vickers
Idris Elba as Janek
Guy Pearce as Peter Weyland
Logan Marshall-Green as Charlie Holloway
Sean Harris as Fifield
Rafe Spall as Millburn
Director: Ridley Scott

The discovery of a clue to mankind’s origins on Earth leads a team of explorers to the darkest parts of the universe. Two brilliant young scientists lead the expedition. Shaw (Noomi Rapace) hopes that they will meet a race of benevolent, godlike beings who will in some way verify her religious beliefs, while Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) is out to debunk any spiritual notions. However, neither the scientists nor their shipmates are prepared for the unimaginable terrors that await them.

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Prometheus is one of the most unfairly disliked movies of the 2010s. The highly anticipated Alien prequel (with director Ridley Scott returning) was met with some very mixed opinions. Some loved it, others were immensely disappointed with what they got. While there are some writing issues and it would’ve benefited from being longer, most of the film is actually great. It’s has a very intriguing and suspenseful story, and does tie into Alien quite well, despite leaving some unanswered questions. Prometheus is very underrated, and it will hopefully be better looked upon in the future.

False expectations likely played a large part in this movie being unfairly judged. This is not a direct prequel to Alien, you won’t see the Xenomorphs attacking people or anything like in the classic Alien movies, you really need to know all this going in, or you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment (like plenty of people already had). It has a lot more depth and is also its own thing, with religious themes that it explores and more. You also need to know that it doesn’t answer all the questions that this film asks. It’s possible that Scott wanted to expand his prequel story over multiple movies, which is why many things aren’t addressed. But I did find this movie very engaging and suspenseful. I was interested throughout, I wasn’t ever bored. It added new levels of history to the Alienverse and learning more and more about it was absolutely investing. That’s not to say that this movie doesn’t have any issues. Prometheus infamously have many cases of characters just making some really dumb decisions, two in particular (one involves people running away from a large falling object and the other involving a newly discovered alien life). The characters aren’t really that interesting (they really weren’t the high point of the movie), the best characters were Noomi Rapace’s Shaw and Michael Fassbender’s David. The biggest problem however is the length of the movie, 2 hours and 4 minutes. It really feels like this movie should’ve been longer than it actually ended up being. I did see some deleted scenes of the movie and some of them did really work for the movie. I’m not suggesting that this movie was unfairly cut down or had editing issues, I just feel like it should’ve been longer, so that this movie would be able to go even deeper.

There are two highlight performances. One is Noomi Rapace, she’s the lead of the movie, a lot more history and depth have been given to her character compared to many of the other characters, and on top of that Rapace did a great job in her role. The other highlight performance is Michael Fassbender as an android named David, who basically steals the show. He is just so convincing and unsettling, you can’t tell what his intentions are. Definitely one of Fassbender’s more underrated performances. As I said earlier, most of the characters aren’t that interesting, everyone else other than Rapace and Fassbender didn’t leave much of an impression. I guess the only other performance which is really memorable is Idris Elba, but that’s because of his effortless charisma, which elevated his role in the movie. Other actors like Charlize Theron and Logan Marshall-Green were fine but they really didn’t stand out much, mostly due to their boring and uninteresting characterisation.

The direction by Ridley Scott is absolutely fantastic here (unsurprisingly). The visuals are beautiful, the CGI is great and is implemented well in the movie. The designs of all the locations, ships and creatures are so well put together. Also when Ridley Scott directs horror and suspense here, he does it so well. There are many cases of this but the biggest example involves a surgery, if you’ve seen the movie you know exactly what I’m talking about. Directionwise this movie is pretty much perfect.

Prometheus is not a perfect movie. There are some issues in the writing and characterisation, and it would’ve much benefited with a longer running time. But it is definitely worth a watch, and doesn’t deserve all the hate its been receiving. It has a story which is interesting, suspenseful, creepy, and very engaging. And it was nice seeing some of the connections with the first Alien (even if it doesn’t address everything, yet at least) With Alien Covenant coming out very soon, I’m expecting a Prometheus sequel, just with slightly more Xenomorph content than we get here. And I’m completely fine with that.

The Fate of the Furious (2017) Review

Time: 136 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Contains violence & offensive language
Cast:
Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto
Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs
Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw
Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz
Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce
Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges as Tej Parker
Scott Eastwood as Eric Reisner/Little Nobody
Nathalie Emmanuel as Ramsey
Kurt Russell as Frank Petty/Mr Nobody
Charlize Theron as Cipher
Director: F. Gary Gray

With Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) married, Brian and Mia retired and the rest of the crew exonerated, the globe-trotting team has found some semblance of a normal life. They soon face an unexpected challenge when a mysterious woman named Cipher (Charlize Theron) forces Dom to betray them all. Now, they must unite to bring home the man who made them a family and stop Cipher from unleashing chaos.

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I wasn’t sure about how I would feel about The Fate of the Furious. I liked all of the previous instalments of the Fast and the Furious franchise (haven’t seen the fourth though), especially the more entries in the series. However, the series has started to feel tired and forced, so I had no idea what I would think of the movie. Honestly, The Fate of the Furious surprised me, it’s one of the best movies in the series, with it being completely over the top, but also having a fitting story which tied everything together well.

What this movie did better than the past two Fast and Furious movies (which I still enjoy) is that it doesn’t focus unnecessary attention on other plot points. In Furious 7, while it’s a revenge story with Statham hunting down Diesel and his crew, it unnecessarily focussed on a pivotal device called ‘God’s Eye’, which it really didn’t need. Fate is a lot more straightforward and benefits a lot from that. I was never bored throughout the movie, the pacing of the movie was quite fast and at the same time it never felt rushed. As for the main plot point of the movie, the reason for Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto betraying his team (without spoiling anything), it is really well done and works for the movie. This movie does work on an emotional level surprisingly, it’s not just entertaining, there’s enough in this movie to actually care about what is going on. I was entertained from start to finish, Fate of the Furious was a very fun ride.

The acting is the same as it is in the other movies but some actual character development is here, meaning that these actors had more to work with than in other movies. Vin Diesel particularly is given quite a lot to work with emotionally and while he’s not that good as an actor, he did well enough in these certain scenes. The acting from the other cast works well enough (even though they aren’t great), there are some stand outs. Dwayne Johnson as usual brings his A-game and charisma, so entertaining to watch. I also really liked Jason Statham here, instead of serving as a villain like in the last movie, his character this time teams up with the main characters and it surprisingly works quite well. While I liked him in Furious 7, the film didn’t use him to his full potential. Here though he gets a lot to do. He is particularly fun in his scenes with Dwayne Johnson, those two verbally sparring were so entertaining to see. However the most stand out performance is Charlize Theron, who without a doubt plays the best villain in the franchise’s history. Not only is she smart, she is also very threatening and scary, making a real impression. Definitely an impressive character and performance for the franchise.

The action is even more over the top than the previous movies, and that’s saying a lot. All the action is completely entertaining. There were two stand out sequences to me, one of them was the Manhattan sequence, in which Theron’s character hacks cars. The other was pretty much the entire final act, which involves cars driving on ice as well as an submarine firing torpedoes at them, and its absolutely insane. It does go on for a little too long but I still enjoyed every moment of it. The laws of physics are defied completely, so of course do not go into this movie expecting any form of realism. If there’s any criticism I had, some of the fight scenes were filmed a little shakily but that is it.

If you don’t like any of the Fast of the Furious movies, you won’t like this movie. If you don’t like the recent movies in this series and prefer the street racer focussed movies, you won’t like this movie. However, if you enjoyed the movies 5-7, you will probably like this movie. It’s not a great movie but it knows what it is, and is endlessly entertaining. I do feel that it would be unnecessary to have more movies in this series, and Fate of the Furious would be a good way to end the main series, but I would like to see spin off movies, especially if its with Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson, it has a lot of potential.

Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) Review

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Kubo and the Two Strings

Time: 101 minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Contains violence & scary scenes
Cast:
Art Parkinson as Kubo
Charlize Theron as Monkey
Matthew McConaughey as Beetle
Ralph Fiennes as Raiden the Moon King
Rooney Mara as the Sisters
George Takei as Hosato
Director: Travis Knight

Young Kubo’s (Art Parkinson) peaceful existence comes crashing down when he accidentally summons a vengeful spirit from the past. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey) to unlock a secret legacy. Armed with a magical instrument, Kubo must battle the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) and other gods and monsters to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known.

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This is a movie that interested me ever since I heard about it, mostly because of the voice acting cast with Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara and Ralph Fiennes involved. Also this film is made by Laika Entertainment, a stopmotion animation studio who’s made quite a few animated movies. Admittedly before this movie the only other film by Laika that I’ve seen was The Box Trolls, which I liked quite a bit. But I know that they are generally well liked with films like Coraline. After seeing Kubo and The Two Strings, I have to say that this is not only my favourite animated movie of the year so far, it is also one of my favourite movies of the whole year. Everything from the story to the animation is so well done. I hope we get more animated films like these.

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I found myself invested in the story from start to finish. All things considered, this film is darker and more mature than most animated movies, both in regards to visuals and some of the things that happen during the story. The film is also willing to slow down for some great character and story moments. This is something that I wished more animated films did, be more willing to be a little more different and challenging for children. I do think that children will enjoy Kubo (even if the film might be a little too scary or slow for them) but adults will enjoy it much more.

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The characters for the most part were also written well and were quite memorable. Kubo was a likable and relatable protagonist. The show stealers for me though, were Monkey (Charlize Theron), Beetle (Matthew McConaughey). I guess if we are talking about weak links in regards to characters, it’s the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes), the main villain of the film. He’s not written badly but he doesn’t have enough screentime and felt a little weak. He’s fine overall though. I thought the other villain(s), The Sisters (Rooney Mara), Kubo’s aunts who are sent after Kubo were much more effective and memorable, they were also showstealers in the film and I loved watching them when they were on screen.

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If you know Laika, you know that they use a lot of stopmotion animation. I don’t know how it compares to most of their other films as I’ve only seen The Box Trolls but I thought the animation for this movie was absolutely fantastic. This movie is beautiful from start to finish, the environment and locations were great, they really blended CGI and practical work well. The costume designs and actually the designs for everything was fantastic. It’s a very well designed movie overall.

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Kubo and the Two Strings is absolutely fantastic and is one of the best films of the year. From the beautiful animation, to the well written and memorable characters (which is helped by the brilliant voice actors) to a great story, this movie was great at pretty much every level. It also goes further than most children’s animated films, both tonally and structurally. Go out and see this movie as soon as possible. You will not be disappointed.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Review

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Mad Max Fury Road

Time: 120 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence and content that may disturb
Cast:
Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa
Nicholas Hoult as Nux
Hugh Keays-Byrne as Immortan Joe
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as The Splendid Angharad
Riley Keough as Capable
Zoë Kravitz as Toast the Knowing
Abbey Lee as The Dag
Courtney Eaton as Cheedo the Fragile
Director: George Miller

In the stark desert wasteland populated by a broken humanity driven with survival and the unending ravage for gasoline, a loner named Max (Tom Hardy) finds himself unwantedly caught in the middle of a chase while aiding the heroine Furiosa (Charlize Theron), and her female companions, she struggles to return to her homeland and escape the clutches of a ruthless dessert gang leader, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). With the harsh desert sands in front of them and marauders behind, only the maddest will prevail the storm.

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The Mad Max franchise has started having a huge following ever since its debut in the late 70s. After the last instalment (Beyond Thunderdome), it’s been 3 decades since director George Miller has created an entry in the franchise. I think all of us knew at least in the back of our minds that it would be good but not to this level of perfection. This is one of the best action movies I’ve seen in years. There are some people who are saying this is the best action movie of the decade, now that I’ve seen it, I can understand why. George Miller has created an action movie for the ages, that action movies nowadays should take cues from.

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You don’t really need to see the other Mad Max movies before watching this one. It might bring some things from Max’s past (involving his family) but that’s it. Some people say that this film doesn’t have any story but that’s not true. There definitely is story, it’s just done more visually and doesn’t require too much dialogue to show it. Now the first thing you need to know going in is that this film is insane, in many ways. Everyone in this movie is mad, even Max (hence the title) but a lot of what happens in this movie is crazy, for example there is a truck which has people playing drums and a guy who plays a guitar and fire bursts out the neck. At that point, you’ll probably be able to decide if this is a movie that you’d like to watch. This is a pure action movie and a great one at that.

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Tom Hardy was pretty good as Max and he is believable in his role. He doesn’t try to imitate Mel Gibson’s portrayal and really does well to make this character his own. Despite this movie being a Mad Max movie, Furiosa is as much of a main character as Max is. Charlize Theron is great as a main character and I’m looking forward to seeing more of her in the movies to come. Other actors like Nicholas Hoult were also great and did add a lot to this film. The acting overall was pretty good and like most of the story, the actors don’t need much dialogue to carry out their great performances.

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These are some of the best action scenes I’ve seen in many years. The stunts are masterfully done, and it’s hard to imagine how George Miller and his team managed to make that happen. Most of the effects are practical and when there is CGI, it blends seamlessly into what was happening like Furiosa’s missing arm or a dust tornado. The soundtrack was also great and fitted the moments perfectly, as well as putting the film on an even bigger and grander scale.

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I was worried that this film would be 2015’s Edge of Tomorrow or Dredd, a movie that people would say is good but wouldn’t get enough attention. Fortunately it was announced recently that there will be a sequel, Mad Max: The Wasteland. If more action movies are like Fury Road, I think the future of action movies is looking a lot brighter. If you love action films, go as soon as possible to a theatre near you and see this movie, this is the action movie you’ve been waiting for. The rest of 2015 definitely has a tough act to follow and this is so far my favourite film of the year.