Tag Archives: Demián Bichir

Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) Review

GODZILLA vs. KONG

Godzilla vs Kong

Time: 113 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Alexander Skarsgård as Dr. Nathan Lind
Millie Bobby Brown as Madison Russell
Rebecca Hall as Dr. Ilene Andrews
Brian Tyree Henry as Bernie Hayes
Shun Oguri as Ren Serizawa
Eiza González as Maia Simmons
Julian Dennison as Josh Valentine
Kyle Chandler as Dr. Mark Russell
Demián Bichir as Walter Simmons
Kaylee Hottle as Jia
Director: Adam Wingard

Fearsome monsters Godzilla and King Kong square off in an epic battle for the ages, while humanity looks to wipe out both of the creatures and take back the planet once and for all.

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I was looking forward to Godzilla vs. Kong quite a bit. I liked the previous movies in this recent MonsterVerse with Godzilla (2014), Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Even though this isn’t the first time these two iconic titans fought against each other on screen, it would be quite something to see these more recent incarnations of them fight. Godzilla vs. Kong definitely has a lot of issues on display but is nonetheless pretty entertaining and delivers on its promise.

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I won’t spoil much of the plot, it doesn’t do a lot of surprising things and the plot is pretty predictable, but I think there’s some moments best experienced for yourself. The tone of Godzilla (2014) was pretty dark, Godzilla: King of the Monsters was lighter and had more jokes, but still took itself somewhat seriously. Godzilla vs. Kong borders on self awareness, and doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s a very silly storyline, even more than previous movies. One storyline is even about a conspiracy theorist podcaster teaming with a pair of teenagers to look into a conspiracy. This isn’t the kind of movie that stops to reflect on the collateral damage either. Another thing to note is that there is less focus on the humans compared to past Godzilla movies. There is a connection between an orphan girl and Kong, and I thought that part was genuinely well done. On the whole though, you don’t have any emotional connection to the rest of the characters or plot. Depending on you, that can either find all of this a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand it does feel like there’s not a whole lot of substance and that it’s just only focusing on the fight scenes. On the other hand, it’s very easy to follow, the movie flies by with a quick pace and a small runtime of an hour and 50 minutes, and it gives the audience what they want. Not to mention that the human stuff isn’t generally well received from the past movies, so there’s no half baked family drama here. The first act is pretty rough, it felt pretty disjointed and a bit all over the place, with a lot of brief exposition dumps. After the first fight between Godzilla and Kong though, that’s when the movie really picked up for me. Also without getting to into it, the third act is very satisfying. The trailers have actually done a great job at showing you glimpses big moments, but keeping much of the true highlights away from the audience until they actually watch the movie. Past MonsterVerse movies aimed to empathise with both creatures, so naturally in this movie we would have to have one of them as the hero of the narrative, this movie chose Kong. I guess it’s a bit easier to emphasize with him over Godzilla. Last little note, some of the MonsterVerse movies had end credits scenes, but this one doesn’t, in fact there doesn’t seem to be any hint or indication of a follow up movie.

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The humans are always the weakest parts of these movies, and Godzilla vs Kong is no exception. However I do think that overall the characters are better than some of the past movies (though not by much), and the cast do well enough on their parts. Alexander Skarsgard, Rebecca Hall and Kaylee Hottle are the main characters in one storyline involving Kong, and Brian Tyree Henry, Millie Bobby Brown and Julian Dennison are the main characters looking into why Godzilla is suddenly attacking cities.

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Adam Wingard is the director, and overall I think he did a really good job with the movie. It’s solid on a technical level and the visual effects are astounding. The first fight between Godzilla and Kong is really good, but all the fights in the second half of the movie are on a whole other level. It’s all shot and choreographed incredibly well too, with some really solid action and its very creative. You really get the feeling that this movie knows that these moments are what people are really looking for, and they deliver on them. The score from Junkie XL (Tom Holkenborg) is also really good and fits with the movie well, especially during the large action scenes.

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Godzilla vs. Kong is absurd, over the top, has a predictable story, and has some thinly written characters. But it’s also incredibly entertaining, visually stunning, and has some very satisfying action. If you liked any of the MonsterVerse movies, I think you can enjoy this one. If you can, try to watch it on the big screen because it’s quite an experience. As a movie it’s not all that great, I think at least most of the other MonsterVerse movies are better than it, but Godzilla vs. Kong is still very entertaining for what it is.

The Midnight Sky (2020) Review

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The Midnight Sky

Time: 118 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Content may disturb
Cast:
George Clooney as Augustine
Felicity Jones as Sully
Caoilinn Springall as Iris
David Oyelowo as Commander Adewole
Tiffany Boone as Maya
Demián Bichir as Sanchez
Kyle Chandler as Mitchell
Director:
George Clooney

A lone scientist (George Clooney) in the Arctic races to contact a crew of astronauts returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe.

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I heard about George Clooney directing and starring in a movie for Netflix, and that the movie would be in the sci-fi genre. I went in with a relatively open mind considering the mixed reviews, and checked it out for myself. I wouldn’t say The Midnight Sky is bad but I wouldn’t call it good either. It’s for sure got some good elements but on the whole is just okay.

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The Midnight Sky consists of two storylines playing at the same time. One is of George Clooney on a base in the arctic, the other is of a crew of astronauts in a ship in space. The Clooney storyline consists of him and a girl trying to make contact with the ship, enduring through harsh and cold conditions to do so. There are aspects of it that could’ve been handled better for sure, but I was relatively interested in it. I liked the simplicity, the dynamic that Clooney’s character has with the girl, and the steady and character driven approach. The whole movie probably would’ve been a lot more effective had it just been this. The other storyline is about a ship returning to earth and it just wasn’t interesting. It holds no emotional gravitas compared to the other, and so the emotional beats fall a bit flat. A big part of that is because we don’t really care about the characters all that much, the characterisation is very weak despite some attempts to define them. Unfortunately, I can’t even really call it a subplot because it has as much screentime as the Clooney storyline, there’s even a whole 20 minute period where Clooney doesn’t make an appearance, almost making you wonder whether he’s actually the main character in all of this. What’s not helping this storyline is that it feels very derivative of other sci-fi movies like Interstellar, Gravity and Ad Astra. Not that it’s inherently a bad thing, but it does highlight that The Midnight Sky just doesn’t succeed nearly as well as those other movies. It really says something that the only moment I really remember from this storyline was when the actors just start singing Sweet Caroline. The movie really is undercut not only by the second storyline, but the constant switching between the two. These two parts don’t really fit together well, and they end up making the tone uneven as they are essentially two separate sci-fi movies trying to co-exist and link together. The third act is where the two storylines come together and intersect, and it’s meant to be quite an emotional punch, but it really fumbles the bag with that and just has no impact at all. As you can probably tell already the biggest issue with the movie is the script, and there are plenty of other issues with it that I haven’t even gotten to yet. The dialogue a lot of the time is stiff and uninteresting, and you don’t really care about many of the plot twists. The use of flashbacks (mainly with George Clooney) weren’t handled the best and feel quite out of place. The longer runtime just makes the viewing experience that much more tedious, 2 hours may not sound long, but with the slow pacing combined with a less than riveting story makes it a bit of a slog. Another side note, the last scene with the credits was really awkward, it’s one of those credits where they play it right in the middle of the scene and so we are effectively watching them roll credits before the ending has actually ended.

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There is a good cast involved in the movie, but generally they aren’t utilised the best. George Clooney does well in essentially the lead role. His character doesn’t amount to much outside of a sombre and quiet person with a regretful past, but Clooney plays him well. The crew of the ship in space are played by Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Tiffany Boone, Demian Bichir, and Kyle Chandler. The actors played their parts relatively well but are definitely held back by their bland and underdeveloped characters, and so are quite forgetable.

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The visuals and direction from George Clooney are where The Midnight Sky works at its best. It’s quite a good looking movie, I like the visual effects, and the production quality is good for the most part. The setting that Clooney is at with the snowy wasteland looks great, and gives the film a uniquely chilly atmosphere. The scenes taking place in the ship in space look decent, but they look like every other sci-fi movie only a little worse. There’s also the score from Alexandre Desplat which is really good and does add something to the movie (even if it doesn’t really save it).

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The Midnight Sky is a very flawed movie that manages to have some bright spots. George Clooney acts well in the lead role, and the visuals and other technical elements are solid and impressive at times. However much of the writing is where it holds it back, from a significantly worse second storyline, to a plot that fails to be compelling, interesting or resonant. If it was like 30 minutes shorter, it would’ve been easier to recommend. I guess if you’re really curious about The Midnight Sky, check it out for yourself, but otherwise its probably not worth it.

The Hateful Eight (2015) Review

Time: 168 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence, sexual violence & offensive language
Cast:
Samuel L. Jackson as Major Marquis Warren
Kurt Russell as John Ruth
Jennifer Jason Leigh as Daisy Domergue
Walton Goggins as Chris Mannix
Demián Bichir as Señor Bob
Tim Roth as Oswaldo Mobray
Michael Madsen as Joe Gage
Bruce Dern as General Sandford “Sandy” Smithers
James Parks as O.B. Jackson
Director: Quentin Tarantino

While racing toward the town of Red Rock in post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunter John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his fugitive prisoner (Jennifer Jason Leigh) encounter another bounty hunter (Samuel L. Jackson) and a man who claims to be a sheriff. Hoping to find shelter from a blizzard, the group travels to a stagecoach stopover located on a mountain pass. Greeted there by four strangers, the eight travelers soon learn that they may not make it to their destination after all.

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I had been meaning to rewatch The Hateful Eight for a while. I remember looking forward to The Hateful Eight ever since its announcement, mostly because of Quentin Tarantino’s involvement. We nearly didn’t get this movie when the script leaked and Tarantino initially wanted to not do it, but I’m glad he changed his mind because The Hateful Eight ended up being really great. Having rewatched it (the recently released extended version), I now consider it to be one of his all time best movies. The acting from its large and talented cast is fantastic and Tarantino’s script is great, it had me riveted from start to finish.

Quentin Tarantino is generally great when it comes to writing, and his script here is among his best work. This movie like his many of his others are dialogue driven, and unsurprisingly the dialogue is fantastic, no one writes dialogue like him. The theatrical cut is very long at 168 minutes and people need to know that going in. Also it’s not like an explosive action movie, it’s a suspenseful mystery film and moves at quite a slower pace. Once all the main characters are in the same place in the same house, it builds up the suspense as we spend time with the characters and have to try to figure out if they are trustworthy or not. It definitely improves on a repeat viewing, because you know exactly what is going on. People only really start dying around the halfway point, from then on it becomes very tense. So if you are a little bored during it, the second half should pick up for you. None of these characters are particularly good people, in fact in terms of lineups of Tarantino characters in each of his movies they are easily the most despicable group, but they are entertaining and interesting enough that you’re still willing to watch them for just under 3 hours. This movie was surprisingly darkly hilarious as well, it really had me entertained throughout. As for people who have seen the movie already and are wondering about the extended cut, Netflix broke it up into 4 50 minute segments, making the movie about 3 and a half hours long. I looked up at some parts of it, and the parts that did add in were written pretty good. Otherwise for the most part I didn’t notice too many differences, and you’re not necessarily missing out anything major. So if you’re watching the movie for the first time, it might be better to go with the theatrical cut.

This cast is large and talented with Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Demian Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern and James Parks and they were all fantastic, there were a few highlights though. This is one of Samuel L. Jackson’s all time best performances, he just absolutely nails this role. This was actually the first movie I have seen Walton Goggins in, and if I was forced to pick a highlight performance among plenty of other great performances in this movie, it would be his. Another showstealer was Jennifer Jason Leigh, who is amazing here as the prisoner being taken by Kurt Russell’s bounty hunter. I do feel like the writing didn’t give the character quite as much to do in the movie as she could’ve, but JJL really brought it to the performance. Channing Tatum also makes an appearance that’s a little more than a cameo, and I will say that he is great in his screentime, very different role for him.

Tarantino once again directs this film really well. One of the first things you’ll notice about this movie is Robert Richardson’s cinematography, it’s a stunning looking movie. It really felt like we were back in the 19th Century and it really places you in this snowy environment, we don’t really get that with Westerns. The Hateful Eight is a much smaller movie compared to Django Unchained, there are very little action or scenes with violence. It’s very much a suspense and mystery film, almost like a longer and Western version of Reservoir Dogs. There aren’t a whole lot of people being killed like in Kill Bill or Django Unchained but when people die, it is unsurprisingly violent in pure Tarantino style. However this time it’s much more brutal than you’d expect it to be, which fits the tone of the movie. The soundtrack from Ennio Morricone was masterful, he actually used some unused music from The Thing as part of it. It fits absolutely perfectly for this movie.

The Hateful Eight is yet another fantastic film from Quentin Tarantino that has gotten a bit of a mixed response from some people, but it really worked for me. From the fantastic writing, the great performances and direction, everything about this movie I really loced. This Hateful Eight definitely does hold up on repeat viewings, in fact it gets better upon rewatches. Both this and Inglourious Basterds are now my favourite movies from Tarantino, and I’m looking forward to seeing if Once Upon a Time in Hollywood manages to be at that level.

The Nun (2018) Review

Time: 96 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Horror & deals with suicide
Cast:
Taissa Farmiga as Sister Irene
Demián Bichir as Father Burke
Jonas Bloquet as Maurice “Frenchie” Theriault
Director: Corin Hardy

When a young nun at a cloistered abbey in Romania takes her own life, a priest with a haunted past (Demián Bichir) and a novitiate on the threshold of her final vows (Taissa Farmiga) are sent by the Vatican to investigate. Together, they uncover the order’s unholy secret. Risking not only their lives but their faith and their very souls, they confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun.

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The Nun was a movie I’m curious about. I loved The Conjuring movies and I quite liked Annabelle: Creation, and as bizarre as the concept of it is, I’m interested in this Conjuring Cinematic Universe that they are creating. The Nun isn’t bad and is okay overall but it is very flawed with its lack of effective scares, as well as a rather average story. It does however have some bright spots, like with the acting and the direction.

The story for The Nun is nothing wholly original or interesting, you’ve seen parts of this story in other movies before. This movie is just over 90 minutes long but it feels quite drawn out. This movie actually does pretty well with its atmosphere (which is what keeps you somewhat paying attention to what’s going on) but it fails to deliver on most of its scares that it tries to build up. The third act actually has some pretty unintentional funny moments, especially when it tries to be scary. The scares are too over the top, visual effects heavy and physical for what they were going for with the scare before. There’s particularly a moment with a nun and a shotgun which was absolutely hilarious, I’m not sure what they were thinking with that. One of The Nun’s best parts however is that it ties up the connections to the Conjuring movies well (even if it’s right at the end). I should also mention since The Conjuring 2 had a post credits scene, The Nun doesn’t have a credits scene.

The actors do a good job, it’s mostly just 3 characters that are focussed on. Demián Bichir plays a priest with a dark past that is sent to investigate the suicide of a nun, he’s good in his role. Taissa Farmiga is in this movie playing a nun who’s assisting Bichir’s character, she’s also good in her role. Just don’t expect her to be somehow connected to Vera Farmiga’s character of Lorraine Broughton in The Conjuring movies despite the two actresses being sisters. The problem with these two characters is that there’s not enough to them, and they are quite uninteresting. Sure, Bichir and Farmiga’s backstories are briefly touched upon but outside of that we don’t learn enough about them. Granted the lack of depth in their characters is the least of the movie’s problems but it does bring down the movie even more because the characters are rather boring. Someone who doesn’t have this problem is Jonas Bloquet, he plays more of a comic relief side character but he fits in well with the movie oddly enough and adds a bit of entertainment factor to the movie at least.

This is the first movie I’ve seen from director Corin Hardy (who also did The Harrow, a movie I haven’t seen yet) and his direction of The Nun is mostly good. One thing this movie does well is the setting, it’s a very gothic location and it takes advantage of it. As I mentioned earlier, the big parts that don’t work are all the scares. You can predict most of the scares, it follows an invisible formula that you can pick up on if you watched a lot of modern horror movies, with the way the camera is positioned, who or what it’s focused on, and what the characters are doing. And yes, unfortunately most of the scares are jumpscares. When I watch a horror movie in the cinema and I get the feeling that there’s going to be a random jumpscare, I tend to look to the side of the screen, let’s just say that I was looking to the side a lot, and most of the time I was right. Yes, I jumped sometime but most people would when a large noise happens. The third act is particularly over the top and not scary. Any worries you have about The Nun in the third act kind of dies away in the third act, in the large ‘scary’ scenes, I didn’t even find myself turning away. You’re just watching things happen on screen. It doesn’t help that goes over the top and heavy on the CGI that you can’t take a lot of it seriously. The Nun as the entity especially becomes less scary in the third act, when you are getting constant close up looks of the character, you just get used to how it looks and you don’t feel particularly scared of it. It does have more blood than any of the Conjuring-verse movies but it doesn’t make the movie any scarier.

The Nun is okay enough and isn’t one of the worst horror movies in recent memory, but it does feel like wasted potential. It doesn’t have an interesting story and it fails to deliver any memorable or effective scares. However it does have some good acting (despite the weak characters), solid direction and even some story aspects that work reasonably well. It’s not a misfire but it’s not a hit like The Conjuring movies or even Annabelle Creation.

Alien Covenant (2017) Review

Time: 122 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, offensive language and horror
Cast:
Michael Fassbender as Walter/David
Katherine Waterston as Daniels
Billy Crudup as Christopher Oram
Danny McBride as Tennessee
Demián Bichir as Sergeant Lope
Carmen Ejogo as Karine Oram
Amy Seimetz as Faris
Jussie Smollett as Ricks
Callie Hernandez as Upworth
Nathaniel Dean as Sergeant Hallett
Alexander England as Ankor
Benjamin Rigby as Ledward
Director: Ridley Scott

Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, members (Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup) of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think to be an uncharted paradise. While there, they meet David (Michael Fassbender), the synthetic survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition. The mysterious world soon turns dark and dangerous when a hostile alien life-form forces the crew into a deadly fight for survival.

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Alien Covenant was one of my most anticipated movies of 2017. I am in the minority of people who loved Prometheus and the story it was going for. With Ridley Scott returning to direct the sequel, I had high hopes for Alien Covenant, and it didn’t disappoint. The story as usual was great, the acting was really good, and Ridley Scott as usual delivers at making an intriguing, intense sci fi thriller. What makes it work even better than Prometheus though is that it makes the story even more interesting and engaging, while adding some of the horror elements, which didn’t detract from the interesting story.

This film is a mix of Prometheus and Alien. Don’t go in expecting a full on Alien movie, go into it expecting a Prometheus sequel. With that said, there are many ties to the Xenomorphs, and you get to see more of them here than we did with Prometheus. The film does take its time to explore thematic elements (exploring ideas such as creation and A.I.), but it also has the suspense and horror element from Alien. This movie’s story is better than Prometheus’s, it delivers an interesting story but it’s a lot more engaging and fascinating, the movie on a whole is a lot more entertaining too. The characters themselves aren’t spectacular (aside from Fassbender’s David) but they are better than Prometheus’s characters. Part of that is due to the fact that they felt more believable and more like real people and while they do make some dumb decisions (like the characters from the first movie), here it is believable that they would make them, because of the situations that they are placed in. As for the ending… I’m intrigued to see where the franchise goes from here. If there’s any problem I can possibly find, I guess while I like the third act, the tones did clash just a little bit, especially with the action scenes. But even then it’s not a huge flaw.

The acting was all around really great from a large cast which includes Katherine Waterson and Billy Crudup. A stand out amongst these actors is Danny McBride who was surprisingly great in his role. The stand out performance from this movie however is Michael Fassbender, in dual roles as Walter (the Covenant’s android) and David (from Prometheus). He does well particularly acting across from himself, in fact these interactions and conversations are some of the best scenes in the entire film. He is especially great as David, that character is so well written and performed, at this point he’s one of the best characters in the entire Alien/Prometheus universe. That’s all I’ll say about him, I don’t want to give away any spoilers. Fassbender might be one of the best parts of this whole movie, and that’s saying a lot, because there’s a lot of great things here.

This film a lot of the time felt like Alien, the opening titles for Covenant was very much like the opening titles for Alien, even the score by Jed Kurzel is literally Jerry Goldsmith’s Alien soundtrack at times. While it’s not necessarily essential for the film to have it (and I’m not really sure why they had it), I really liked it. This movie is beautiful, with the cinematography, production design, the CGI, everything about this movie is gorgeous. The Xenomorphs themselves, I won’t go into detail about them, but I’ll say that they are handled so great. Yes, they are computer generated but they don’t feel fake at any point. This movie is very intense, Ridley Scott really nailed the horror aspect excellently here, and when this movie is violent, it is really violent.

Alien Covenant is a great film overall, it continues on the story from Prometheus and improves upon it in almost every way. I won’t give away a lot about this movie, just know what you are getting into, it’s a Prometheus sequel with Alien elements, which is better than the original. I’m pretty sure that no matter your thoughts on Prometheus, you’ll like Covenant a lot more. I am curious about where Ridley Scott is going to be taking this series. I am a little concerned that it could get repetitive (Alien, Prometheus and Alien Covenant have all had the scenario of people visiting a planet and aliens attacking and killing them), I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I trust Scott. Prometheus was great, and Covenant was even better. I can’t wait to see what Ridley Scott has planned.