Tag Archives: movie review

Jason Bourne (2016) Review

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Jason Bourne

Time: 123 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Tommy Lee Jones as Robert Dewey
Alicia Vikander as Heather Lee
Vincent Cassel as The Asset
Julia Stiles as Nicolette “Nicky” Parsons
Riz Ahmed as Aaron Kalloor
Director: Paul Grengrass

It’s been 10 years since Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) walked away from the agency that trained him to become a deadly weapon. Hoping to draw him out of the shadows, CIA director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) assigns hacker and counterinsurgency expert Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) to find him. Lee suspects that former operative Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) is also looking for him. As she begins tracking the duo, Bourne finds himself back in action battling a sinister network that utilizes terror and technology to maintain unchecked power.

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The Bourne trilogy is one of the best action franchises ever created. For this reason, I was looking forward to the 5th instalment to the franchise, named Jason Bourne, with director Paul Greengrass and main star Matt Damon returning, with a talented cast filled with actors like Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones and Vincent Cassel. While some people are feeling mixed about the latest instalment, I think that Jason Bourne is yet another great addition to the franchise. It’s quite similar to the other films, it’s entertaining, interesting, it’s not perfect but it’s very enjoyable.

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Jason Bourne definitely has a similar formula to the other Bourne movies but there’s nothing wrong with that. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Bourne is on the run, trying to find out what’s going on, pretty much every Bourne film ever made. Plotwise don’t have many problems with the movie. One fault I will say though is that the film does at times focus on a subplot involving government oversight and security with Riz Ahmed’s character which really was unnecessary. It wasn’t bad but it felt a little out of place and there was already a good enough plot with Bourne hunting down the CIA. The film would’ve benefited a lot more without this subplot. In parts I’ll also say the film did drag a little, particularly the first act. Those are really my only problems though.

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Matt Damon is effortlessly great as Jason Bourne, this is his 5th time that he played the character and he’s just as believable and great in the role as he was decades ago in The Bourne Identity. The supporting cast was also great. Riz Ahmed was really good, even though I didn’t like his subplot in the story he did play his scenes very well. Alicia Vikander is a great actress and in this movie I thought she was decent, nothing spectacular but nothing bad either. The main opposing forces against Bourne were also great, that being Tommy Lee Jones who was really effective as the head of the CIA and Vincent Cassel, who was a standout for me as a ruthless assassin sent after Jason Bourne.

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If you don’t like the action in the previous Bourne films, you definitely won’t like the action here. It’s very similar to the previous films, handheld and shaky but once again like in the previous movies, it’s not used to hide bad stuntwork, you really believe what is going on. I liked all the action scenes in the film but a stand out scene for me was a car chase in Las Vegas in the third act, that was for me the best action scene in the film. I can’t really think of an action scene which didn’t work for me.

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I’m not exactly sure why this movie seemed to receive a mixed reception. I will admit that this movie isn’t really necessary, The Bourne Ultimatum tied up all the loose ends and so Jason Bourne didn’t need to exist. But with that said, it was a good film nonetheless. If you liked the other Bourne films, you will probably like this film as well at the very least. I actually do hope that they continue with more films, Paul Greengrass has given us 3 great Bourne films, I want to see more from him.

The Exorcist (1973) Review

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The Exorcist

Time: 122 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Horror, Violence, Sex Scenes and Offensive Language.
Cast:
Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil
Max von Sydow as Father Lankester Merrin
Jason Miller as Father/Dr. Damien Karras S.J.
Linda Blair as Regan MacNeil
Lee J. Cobb as Lieutenant William F. Kinderman
Jack MacGowran as Burke Dennings
Director: William Friedkin

An actress (Ellen Burstyn) calls upon Jesuit priests to try to end the demonic possession of her 12-year-old daughter (Linda Blair).

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I’ll just say this right now, there was never a moment during The Exorcist where I felt scared. To be fair though, there have been only two movies that have scared me (Sinister and The Babadook). I’m just mentioning this at the beginning of the review because despite Exorcist being crowned as the scariest movie of all time, I didn’t feel anything scary at all. With that said, The Exorcist is still worth the praise for the direction and acting. It took this possession story as seriously as possible and makes it seem somewhat possible (mostly), and it definitely has its place in cinematic history. It just seems like I’m one of the rare few people who don’t find The Exorcist to be that scary.

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When you go into The Exorcist, don’t expect a jumpscare kind of movie, this is more of a tension filled horror movie, at least in terms of the direction it was going in. This movie is quite drawn out, so also be prepared to be waiting for a little while before the actual possession and ‘scares’ start to happen. As I said earlier, the movie just flat out didn’t scare me. I don’t know why, it’s more tension filled horror, which I usually like more (like the Babadook) but I just didn’t really care much about this plot. It’s also not a good sign when this movie does have some laughable moments, particularly with possessed Regan. The pictures of her were honestly scarier than the actual scenes of her. Even though I wasn’t scared during them, I still maintain the scenes with possessed Regan are the best and when it cuts away from them, the movie is still interesting, they just weren’t as interesting as those other scenes.

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Despite my issues with the movie, I will say the acting does hold up quite well. Actors like Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow and Jason Miller performed very well and took their roles very seriously. I think the show stealer however was Linda Blair, who did very well both when she was and wasn’t possessed, however it was obvisouly the latter aspect that impressed me the most. My issues with her character when she was possessed came mostly from the writing, and even in those ‘odd’ moments, Blair played her part magnificently.

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As I said earlier, this movie didn’t scare me but there’s no denying that the direction of this movie is excellent. The makeup, lighting and overall direction of the movie made the idea of a possessed girl seem somehow plausible. I think the look on possessed Regan was absolutely fantastic, it looked somehow realistic, much more so than most possession movies of today. All the scenes with her were beautifully directed, which is one of the reasons that I liked them more than the scenes without possessed Regan. After seeing this movie, I can at least appreciate and understand why this movie was such a hit, it was ahead of its time.

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If you are into horror movies and haven’t seen The Exorcist, you definitely should check it out as soon as possible. The fantastic direction and performances really make the viewing worth it, and the film had a tremendous effect on the horror genre in general. Even if this movie doesn’t hold up well as a horror movie today in my opinion, it should be seen for how well made it is. Just don’t go into it expecting the horror masterpiece that everyone claims it to be, or you might be a little disappointed like I was.

The Purge: Anarchy (2014) Review

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The Purge Anarchy

Time: 103 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, Offensive Language and Content that May Disturb.
Cast:
Frank Grillo as Sergeant
Carmen Ejogo as Eva Sanchez
Zach Gilford as Shane
Kiele Sanchez as Liz
Michael K. Williams as Carmelo Johns
Director: James DeMonaco

One night per year, the government sanctions a 12-hour period in which citizens can commit any crime they wish — including murder — without fear of punishment or imprisonment. Leo (Frank Grillo), a sergeant who lost his son, plans a vigilante mission of revenge during the mayhem. However, instead of a death-dealing avenger, he becomes the unexpected protector of four innocent strangers who desperately need his help if they are to survive the night.

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If you’ve ready my review of 2013’s The Purge, you know that I wasn’t a big fan of it. It took a potentially fun and unique (if a little far-fetched) concept and tried too hard to make it realistic and serious that it becomes somehow both boring and ridiculous. So naturally I wasn’t looking forward to the sequel. But to my surprise I enjoyed it quite a bit, The Purge Anarchy was everything I wanted the first movie to be. The entertaining action scenes and chaotic nature of the whole film was just fun for me. I’m not sure if I can call this a good movie, but it’s a decent and enjoyable one at the very least, and that’s already a big step forward when compared to the previous film.

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This movies does consist of the main characters going from one place to another and action happening during them. The pacing unlike the previous movie is pretty fast, making the movie much more entertaining. There are thankfully less moments of people telling the audience that The Purge works. The whole concept of The Purge still doesn’t entirely make sense but since the film doesn’t spend much time trying to justify it, I was fine with it. The characterisation of this movie aside from Frank Grillo’s character wasn’t good. It was about as poorly done as the original movie. However this movie is a lot more entertaining and fast paced, so I was able to forgive this movie for that, as the characters weren’t really the main focus. Besides, Grillo’s character was actually quite well written.

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Most of the actors are fine in this movie but as I said the characterisation is quite poor, and so they don’t have much to work with. Honestly they don’t really leave an impression on you, they are just random throwaway characters. The one actor who does shine though is Frank Grillo, who steals this entire movie. It helps that he has the best writing but Frank Grillo does bring something special to this movie and is so committed to his role, I’m so glad he’s returning for the sequel. Without him this movie would not be as enjoyable as it was.

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The action is very fast, bloody, violent and just overall entertaining. Although it does feature many masked killers, the film is much less horror themed than in the previous movie, which was a relief. I do notice that whenever people try to kill the main characters, random civilians come out of nowhere and are killed by said people, probably to make up for the lack of kills. I’m fine with that, but it would probably raise the stakes more if they occasionally killed off some of the main characters.

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With entertaining action scenes, a unique concept being taken advantage of well and a show stealing Frank Grillo, The Purge Anarchy is really fun. If you didn’t like the original Purge, give this one a chance. It’s not a great movie but it’s a lot more self-aware of what it’s supposed to be, and I think that’s the main difference between the two films. With last instalment of The Purge trilogy titled Election Day coming out this year, I just hope that it takes lessons from this movie and knows what direction to go in.

Star Trek Beyond (2016) Review

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Star Trek Beyond

Time: 122 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk
Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock
Karl Urban as Lieutenant Commander Leonard McCoy
Zoe Saldana as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura
Simon Pegg as Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott
John Cho as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu
Anton Yelchin as Ensign Pavel Chekov
Idris Elba as Krall
Director: Justin Lin

A surprise attack in outer space forces the Enterprise to crash-land on a mysterious world. The assault came from Krall (Idris Elba), a lizard-like dictator who derives his energy by sucking the life out of his victims. Krall needs an ancient and valuable artifact that’s aboard the badly damaged starship. Left stranded in a rugged wilderness, Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the crew must now battle a deadly alien race while trying to find a way off their hostile planet.

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I really liked the more recent Star Trek films but I had some doubts about Star Trek Beyond, director Justin Lin was known for the Fast and Furious movies which were enjoyable but not really what you would expect to direct a Star Trek movie. Also the first trailer really didn’t impress me. However, I can say now after seeing it, Star Trek Beyond was a ton of fun. The acting and story were just as good, and the action was quite entertaining. Definitely check it out when you get a chance.

Left to right: Simon Pegg plays Scotty, Sofia Boutella plays Jaylah and Chris Pine plays Kirk in Star Trek Beyond from Paramount Pictures, Skydance, Bad Robot, Sneaky Shark and Perfect Storm Entertainment

This film is quite different from the previous 2 films, at least in terms of their setting. This time they are stranded on a planet. The beginning of the film is a little slow, not bad but could’ve been paced better. After that though, the film is better paced. This movie really does get better and better as it goes along. You might think that as this is done by the person who did the Fast and Furious movies, that there wouldn’t be any character development or anything. Not true though. The characters are just as well written as in the previous movies, and they really do have great moments of interactions, all of them are done excellently.

Chris Pine plays Kirk in Star Trek Beyond from Paramount Pictures, Skydance, Bad Robot, Sneaky Shark and Perfect Storm Entertainment

The previous cast returns once again, they play off each other so well, especially Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban. The previous movie had a lot of Kirk interacting with Spock, here though it’s Spock and Bones, and they are absolutely fantastic. I really liked Sofia Boutella in this movie, she is great in the action scenes and definitely a memorable part of the movie. Idris Elba plays the villain in this movie. At first Krall wasn’t that interesting. He wasn’t bad, he worked for the film and Idris Elba is by no means wasted in this role. However he gets a lot better as you find out why he was doing what he was doing in the final act. I wished that he was given development much earlier in the movie however. Overall, he was on the same level as Nero in Star Trek 09, fine villain, nothing that spectacular, especially where you compare him to Khan in Into Darkness. However Krall is still a solid villain.

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The style definitely feels different from Abrams’s Star Trek and it definitely feels it. It works well but I will admit that personally, it felt like it was missing Abrams’s flare and style, which is sorely missed. The action is good but occasionally especially in the fight scenes, a lot of close up shaky cam is used. The CGI for the most part works, though there was a few parts where it looked a little off, that’s mostly in one scene involving one city, the rest of it looked great. The soundtrack is once again done by Michael Giacchino, and it’s also well suited for the movie and works quite well.

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If you liked the previous Star Trek films, you’ll probably like this film as well. Star Trek Beyond has great performances from its talented cast, the action is enjoyable, and the story was written quite well. I personally like the other Star Trek movies more, probably for the most part due to Abrams’s direction but I think that this is still quite a good movie, and definitely worth checking out some time.

Batman: The Killing Joke (2016) Review

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The Killing Joke

Time: 76 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Violence and Sexual References
Cast:
Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Mark Hamill as Joker
Tara Strong as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl
Ray Wise as Commissioner James Gordon
Director: Sam Liu

Batman (Kevin Conroy) must save Commissioner Gordon (Ray Wise) from the Joker’s (Mark Hamill) twisted quest to drive him insane.

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I like The Killing Joke graphic novel. I’m not crazy over the story like so many people are, but I do understand why it was so famous. I was actually quite interested to see the adaptation of this story, especially as they got Batman and Joker voice actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill to do voicework for the film. Having seen the movie, I have to say that I actually liked the film quite a bit. Aside from the first 30 minutes which do have some problems (and really the majority of the problems of the film), I think that this film adapted The Killing Joke quite well. Looking at the reception though, this film seemed to have divided people, shame really, as I think this is a very solid movie. I do think that it is worth checking out though.

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By far the biggest flaw of this movie is the first 30 minutes, and I think that’s something that most people will agree on. It’s a prologue largely focussing on Barbara Gordon and her as Batgirl. It dragged quite a bit, felt quite weak, didn’t connect in any way to the Killing Joke segment and felt quite out of place, especially when you’re going into an adaptation of the Killing Joke. I can understand why she would have this focused on her, considering that a criticism of the graphic novel was that Barbara wasn’t given great treatment, and they wanted to give her more development and characterisation. The thing is if you cut that out of the movie, you’d just get the Killing Joke story and you wouldn’t notice that anything had been taken out. And yes, for some who know, there’s a controversial scene between Batgirl and Batman during these 30 minutes. All I’ll say is, it felt really out of place and didn’t work at all, and felt forced in and awkward. I think the 30 minutes was also added in just to make the movie longer, without it the movie is about 46 minutes long but I think that’s preferable to having a forced in prologue. I really liked the rest of the film. It’s very similar to the graphic novel, the story and dialogue are all there and if you liked the graphic novel, you will most likely love this section. And in that it’s worth noting that if you don’t like certain things in the graphic novel (like Joker having a tragic backstory, what happened to Barbara during it) you will feel the same way about that in the movie. There is an end credit scene, while not bad, it felt unnecessary.

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The voicework by Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Tara Strong and others are great, and do suit the characters (unsurprisingly since they have been voicing the Batman characters for a long time). I personally like the animation of the movie, a lot of people have complained that it looked quite cartoonish, but I think it’s trying to imitate the comic books. Then again this is the first animated Comic Book Movie/Cartoon/TV show I’ve seen, so I can’t measure the Killing Joke up against any other animations.

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This film seemed to have divided some people. If you didn’t like the Killing Joke story, it’s highly likely that you won’t like this movie. It doesn’t go any more or less extreme than what was done in the graphic Novel. However I think it’s at least worth a look for those interested. It’s not perfect, once again the first 30 minutes really doesn’t work the best in the story (and had the majority of the flaws of the movie), but I still think it’s a solid DC animated movie with the voice talent and the telling of the Killing Joke.

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) Review

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Independence Day Resurgence

Time: 120 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Liam Hemsworth as Jake Morrison
Jeff Goldblum as David Levinson
Jessie Usher as Dylan Dubrow-Hiller
Bill Pullman as Thomas J. Whitmore
Maika Monroe as Patricia Whitmore
Sela Ward as Elizabeth Lanford
William Fichtner as Joshua Adams
Judd Hirsch as Julius Levinson
Brent Spiner as Dr. Brakish Okun
Patrick St. Esprit as Reese Tanner
Vivica A. Fox as Jasmine Dubrow-Hiller
Angelababy as Rain Lao
Director: Roland Emmerich

As the Fourth of July nears, satellite engineer David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) investigates a 3,000-mile-wide mother ship that’s approaching Earth. 20 years earlier, nations across the world started to use recovered extra-terrestrial technology to develop an immense defence program. When the alien invaders attack with unprecedented force, the U.S. president, teams of scientists and brave fighter pilots spring into action to save the planet from a seemingly invincible enemy.

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I liked Independence Day, I don’t love it as much as others do but it was an enjoyable film nonetheless. I wasn’t really excited when the sequel was announced, it felt too late, if this film was to be created, it should have been done 10 years ago. None of the trailers particularly hyped me. After seeing it, I can say now that Independence Day Resurgence is not really good. The story is messy with subplots and bad humour as well as questionable visual effects. It’s not horrendous, but I still don’t think this movie is worth watching.

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The most surprising thing about this movie is how long it felt. It was actually only two hours long but it felt so much longer. The pacing is to blame for the most part, the first act jumps all over the place to introduce all the characters (and I’ll get to them later) and it moves at a very slow pace. Even in the last act, I felt completely bored. This is probably because unlike the first film, the sequel doesn’t have any charisma, it’s not exciting and just feels oddly generic. There are also so many pointless subplots that go absolutely nowhere. I think I should bring up the humour, there’s so many jokes thrown into this movie, and it’s quite obvious when they try to be funny. None of the jokes except one actually lands in the movie, the rest are cringe. Oh and I should mention that this movie has an obvious set up to a sequel that will never happen.

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The actors are fine for the most part but are only good as the material that are provided to them, which is to say, not great. It’s enjoyable seeing some of the original cast, particularly, Jeff Goldblum, who’s hands down the best part of the movie. However there are just way too many characters in this movie, at one point the focus shifts to some random kids who have no relevance, it’s very jarring and confusing. The film didn’t need so many characters, the first film certainly didn’t need it. Also some of the characters are given way too much screen time certain characters like Brent Spiner’s returning character and a guy named Floyd… the latter being particularly annoying.

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Oddly enough the special effects in the first film work better than in here. While the effects here aren’t the absolute worst, they do look very fake looking at times, sometimes Star Wars prequel levels of visual quality, especially when it came to the ships. But even some of the non-action scenes, the visuals looked weird, there was just way too much CGI on screen, sometimes it looked like a video game cut scene. In terms of the camera work, its fine, you can actually see what’s going on.

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Independence Day: Resurgence isn’t one of the worst films I’ve seen but is definitely flawed. The film felt too long, the dialogue was bad, the pointless subplots are endless, the effects were too fake looking, it’s not a good movie at all, borderline bad. Overall I think that it’s just a mediocre movie, I didn’t hate it. If you didn’t like the original, you probably won’t like this movie, and if you do like the original, it could go either way, however I have a feeling you won’t like it either. I didn’t expect much from this movie and yet I got less than I thought I would get.

Now You See Me (2013) Review

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Now You See Me

Time: 115 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Jesse Eisenberg as J. Daniel “Danny” Atlas
Mark Ruffalo as Dylan Rhodes
Woody Harrelson as Merritt McKinney
Isla Fisher as Henley Reeves
Dave Franco as Jack Wilder
Mélanie Laurent as Alma Dray
Morgan Freeman as Thaddeus Bradley
Michael Caine as Arthur Tressler
Director: Louis Leterrier

Charismatic magician Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) leads a team of talented illusionists called the Four Horsemen. Atlas and his comrades mesmerize audiences with a pair of amazing magic shows that drain the bank accounts of the corrupt and funnel the money to audience members. A federal agent (Mark Ruffalo) and an Interpol detective (Mélanie Laurent) intend to rein in the Horsemen before their next caper, and they turn to Thaddeus (Morgan Freeman), a famous debunker, for help.

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Now You See Me does have a pretty neat concept, that being illusionists use magic tricks to pull off heists, and it was successful enough that it spawned a sequel which should be releasing anytime soon. Was the first film good enough to warrant a sequel? I will say that Now You See Me isn’t a great film but it is at the very least an entertaining one. The acting by its huge and talented cast and the entertaining visuals and direction are a big contributing factor in this happening. The majority of the flaws lies in the writing, although not bad, are still quite notable and does distract from time to time. However this movie is just so entertaining that it’s quite easy to forget that.

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One thing I’ll emphasise about this movie is that this movie is very entertaining. The pacing is reasonably fast, and you are entertained enough to pay attention to what’s going on. It’s not even close to perfect though. For one, the plot isn’t very interesting. The only reason that I was paying attention was that I was entertained by what I was seeing, I didn’t really care about what was going on. One of the bigger problems is that this movie doesn’t have very good characterisation, especially when it comes to the main characters (played by Eisenberg, Franco, Fisher and Harrelson). We see much more from Ruffalo’s and Laurent’s point of view. While I understand that they were going for a more outsider sort of perspective, it doesn’t make us invested in our main charactrers. While they aren’t unlikable I didn’t particularly care about any of the main characters, they’re just entertaining.

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This film has a huge cast with Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Melanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and many other very talented actors. Now as I said previously, the characters don’t really have much characterisation but the actors do play them quite well. The couple of actors who stole the show for me were Jesse Eisenberg, who usually has a reputation of playing the same character (except for Lex Luthor) and while this role is similar to his performances, he manages to pull off a variation on this performance. And Woody Harrelson is playing… well Woody Harrelson again, but it surprisingly worked for the movie and he was really entertaining.

Jesse Eisenberg plays J. Daniel Atlas, part of a team of thieving illusionists, in Now You See Me. </em

This movie is very entertaining visually, it is a very well-directed movie. The film looks visually beautiful, and it’s easy to see why, since Larry Fong (Watchmen, 300) is involved with the cinematography. With this stylish direction by Louis Leterrier it’s hard not to get pulled into the movie, especially when it shows the main characters pulling off their heists.

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Despite some problems with the script, as well as some characterisation issues, I actually think that this movie is worth watching. If you’re going to see this movie, don’t expect it to be high art or anything of the sort. Go into it expecting a very enjoyable and entertaining ride with good performances, great visuals and just an overall very fun movie. I don’t think it needs a sequel but I do think that it’s good enough to have a watch.

The Conjuring 2 (2016) Review

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The Conjuring 2

Time: 134 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Violence and Horror Scenes
Cast:
Vera Farmiga as Lorraine Warren
Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren
Frances O’Connor as Peggy Hodgson
Madison Wolfe as Janet Hodgson
Simon McBurney as Maurice Grosse
Franka Potente as Anita Gregory
Director: James Wan

HolIn 1977, paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) come out of a self-imposed sabbatical to travel to Enfield, a borough in north London. There, they meet Peggy Hodgson (Frances O’Connor), an overwhelmed single mother of four who tells the couple that something evil is in her home. Ed and Lorraine believe her story when the youngest daughter (Madison Wolfe) starts to show signs of demonic possession. As the Warrens try to help the besieged girl, they become the next target of the malicious spirits.

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Horror sequels are most of the time failures, which was why I initially wasn’t pleased when I heard that they announced a sequel to The Conjuring, one of the best horror films in recent memory. The only reason that I gave this film a chance to begin with is the fact that James Wan was returning. After seeing this movie however, I can say that this movie is fantastic. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the original but I do think that this sequel is superior. Wan’s direction, as well as all the other elements really does come together to make it one of the best horror movies I’ve seen in a while.

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What separates this movie from many other horror movies is that it doesn’t just feel like just another horror movie. This film is long for a horror movie, about 2 hours and 15 minutes and gives enough time for characters to be developed, and builds up the suspense. This film also feels a lot more grounded, the characters feel like real people, the way that they interact with one another feels genuine, it doesn’t 100% focus on only delivering scares, characters are established and developed very well. It’s worth noting that unlike a lot of horror movie characters, we actually care about them here. Even though many of the things that happen in the movie has happened many times in other horror films, it’s the executions of them that makes this movie so great.

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The performances are excellent from everyone, all of them played their roles spectacularly. One thing that surprised me was the amount of focus on the family, the actors who play them are great, even the child actors are absolutely fantastic and work very well. One of the standouts was Madison Wolfe, who had a lot to handle as she plays a girl who is in more direct contact with this evil spirit, if she failed in her role, this movie would probably fail but she was excellent. Once again, these characters aren’t just generic movie characters, they actually felt real, so these actors had a huge advantage because of that.

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James Wan directed horror movies fantastically and he does the same with Conjuring 2. The cinematography was breathtaking (especially when long takes were used) and the sound design was so effective. The lighting was also absolutely on point. All of these elements helped the scenes feel more immersive, especially during the suspense scenes. And yes, there are jumpscares but they are done correctly, you do see what the characters see and it is real when the scare actually happens, it’s not fake or just a loud noise to give a cheap scare.

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The Conjuring 2 is one of the best horror movies in recent years. Everything from the acting from its talented cast as well as its well written story is done greatly but James Wan’s direction absolutely deserves a lot of credit, this movie proves that he’s one of the best horror directors out of there. I’m actually on board on a Conjuring 3 happening, just as long as Wan is returning. If we get more horror movies like this, I think we’ll see a resurgence in horror. One can only dream though.

The Nice Guys (2016) Review

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The Nice Guys

Time: 116 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Contains Violence, Nudity, Sex Scenes & Offensive Language
Cast:
Russell Crowe as Jackson Healy
Ryan Gosling as Holland March
Angourie Rice as Holly March
Matt Bomer as John Boy
Margaret Qualley as Amelia Kutner
Murielle Telio as Misty Mountains
Keith David as Older Guy
Kim Basinger as Judith Kutner
Director: Shane Black

Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is a down-on-his-luck private eye in 1977 Los Angeles. Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is a hired enforcer who hurts people for a living. Fate turns them into unlikely partners after a young woman named Amelia (Margaret Qualley) mysteriously disappears. Healy and March soon learn the hard way that some dangerous people are also looking for Amelia. Their investigation takes them to dark places as anyone else who gets involved in the case seems to wind up dead.

Score after first viewing:
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Score after second viewing:
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The main reason that I was interested in this movie was the people involved, that being Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe and director Shane Black. Shane Black is a very talented director, who created the underrated Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and of course, Gosling and Crowe are very great actors. Having seen it now, I am so happy to say that The Nice Guys is one of my favourite films of the year so far. The great direction, entertaining and committed acting (particularly from Crowe and Gosling) is topped off by a fantastic screenplay, making this a must see film.

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Shane Black is an incredible writer and director, so it’s no surprise that the script for The Nice Guys is absolutely fantastic. And as you probably could tell by now, this movie is hilarious, all the jokes hit, and they hit hard. In retrospect it’s a dark comedy and the tone need to be balanced out well and it really was. The dialogue is on point, well suited for every character. The mystery is actually intriguing as well, so it’s not just a fun and entertaining watch, it’s interesting to watch these characters unravel the mystery.

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Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe are the main stars of the movie and are absolutely fantastic. It would be so easy for the dynamic between them to be similar to other buddy cop movies, where two guys who are vastly different, who don’t like each other are for whatever reason paired together. These characters aren’t complete opposites of each other (they are just a little different from each other), they work together well, both are clearly capable at what they do, and so the characters aren’t clichéd and the movie doesn’t follow some of the clichés that a lot of similar movies do. Somehow most the other characters are also memorable. The biggest showstealer for me however was Angourie Rice, who plays Ryan Gosling’s daughter, she was absolutely fantastic. Her character is the smart kid who’s often trying to help the main leads and even though this character is done hundreds of times before, it’s not written in a clichéd way and she sells this character as being quite capable.

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The action was surprisingly great, very appropriately filmed as if it was in the 70s. The cinematography was quite great and beautiful. The production design was ripped straight out of the 70s, the time period is very easy to buy. This film really feels like it could’ve been filmed in the 70s, just with better film stock. I have no idea if that was Black’s intention, but if it was, major props to him.

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The Nice Guys is one of the best movies I’ve seen in 2016. Everything from the script, to the direction and the acting (especially from Crowe and Gosling) is done perfectly. I definitely recommend that you see this movie, especially if you have a love of film, it’s entertaining, it’s smartly written, it’s absolutely fantastic.

Captain America: Civil War (2016) Review

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Captain America Civil War

Time: 147 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier
Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon
Don Cheadle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes/War Machine
Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye
Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther
Paul Bettany as Vision
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch
Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man
Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter
Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow/Crossbones
William Hurt as Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross
Daniel Brühl as Helmut Zemo
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The new status quo divides members of the team. Captain America (Chris Evans) believes superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without government interference. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) disagrees and supports oversight. As the debate escalates into an all-out feud, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) must pick a side.

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Captain America: Civil War was one of my most anticipated movies of 2016. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is my favourite movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the directors of that movie, the Russo Brothers, are returning for this film. Not only that but it featured most of the Avengers. Ever since its’ release, Civil War has been met with critical acclaim. After seeing this movie, I can say that it is good, it does have a lot of great aspects from the excellent acting, entertaining action scenes and many moments of the story making a big impact. Overall I think that if you liked the other films in the series, you should definitely check Civil War out. But there are a lot of aspects that could’ve been improved that would’ve made the film significantly better.

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In terms of the pacing, the first act was quite slow as it set up the story, by the second act though it picks up, however I will say the film definitely does feel its length of 2 hours and 30 minutes. Even though I would’ve preferred the overall story go in a different direction (which I’ll talk about later), I thought that the final act was done quite well, it actually goes quite dark, much darker than I’d expect it to be. One thing that was quite unfortunate was that most of the story was quite predictable. For example, there is a revelation in the final act that was supposed to be significant, however I could see it coming within the first few scenes of the movie. However the story was still decent enough and kept me interested throughout the movie. Another thing I should mention is the humour. Some of the humour worked quite well and was entertaining, other times it didn’t, sometimes the jokes didn’t hit, sometimes there were too many jokes and sometimes the jokes even interrupted actually emotional scenes. This was quite unfortunate as these moments could’ve been much better without the poorly placed humour.

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There is an issue I have to mention. One of the main selling points of this movie is that it will have the Avengers fight against each other. I should warn you, don’t go into this movie expecting the Civil War storyline just slightly changed. In the first act the Sovakia Accords (the agreement for government oversight over the Avengers) does play a part and the film does well at illustrating both sides. Even though coming into this movie I was on Steve’s side, there were some points made by Tony which were quite valid. However by the 2nd act the film almost ditches that plotline and the mains source of conflict between Steve and Tony are no longer related to the Accords, it’s related to Bucky. So it almost feels pointless calling the movie Civil War other than the fact that it gives an excuse for most of the characters to return and to draw attention to it because it’s the name of a significant Marvel storyline. It would’ve been a lot more ambitious to stick with this setup and have them fight each other because of their ideological differences. Another result of the need to make the Avengers fight each other is that some of the characters don’t really play a significant part of the story. Some of the characters like Hawkeye and Ant Man are in this movie simply for the airport scene and they seem to feel quite out of place, but they are still good in the couple scenes they’re in. As I said earlier though, the plot is done reasonably well, it’s just that I think that it would’ve been better in taking it in a different direction.

Marvel's Captain America: Civil War L to R: Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal © Marvel 2016

Almost all the Avengers return and they are great, it’s surprising that most of them have their own mini arcs in the movie. There are a few notable stand outs. The first is Tom Holland as Spiderman. It is way too early to tell whether he’s the best Spiderman as we haven’t seen him in his own movie, but I can at least say that he is a good Spiderman (CHECK BOTTOM OF REVIEW FOR UPDATED THOUGHTS). Another standout was Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther. One of the best parts of the movie is that it set up his character quite well, he was one of the most interesting characters in the story. He’s actually one of my favourite Avengers now and I can’t wait to see him in his own movie in 2018. Now there is one performance which I think isn’t getting enough attention and that is Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, who steals this entire movie. The few moments in Civil War where I felt emotionally impacted by a scene featured Downey Jr, and it was him who made the scene significantly better. I know that he has a reputation of just playing himself in this role, but here he proves how great of an actor he is and how well cast he was. This is the best performance I’ve seen from him since Iron Man. Now there’s one character that’s going to divide people and that is Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) who is the main villain. On one hand he’s not the most memorable villain and he’s absolutely nothing like the character in the comics, but on the other he is written quite well, with actual reasons behind his actions. He could’ve been made better by not having him in the movie (since there doesn’t really need to be a villain for Civil War) or by having him in more scenes and making him more memorable. But either way, he’s still one of the better Marvel villains, though that’s not saying a lot.

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The action for the most part is good. The first scene has a lot of unnecessary shaky cam which made the action hard to comprehend but the rest of the action is pretty steady and easy to be entertained by. The airport scene, which has been hyped up quite a bit is decent enough and showcased all the Avengers’ abilities and skills greatly, Ant Man for me stole that entire scene. I’d be lying though if I didn’t say I wasn’t underwhelmed after all the hype. There were a couple of problems I had however, first is that there were far too many jokes that felt like an overload, especially when it came to Spiderman. It did feel really odd for the Avengers to be cracking jokes while beating up their former friends, in fact they didn’t seem that concerned that they are now divided and fighting each other. Another complaint is some of the CGI, it works quite well in most of the film but there are a couple moments of bad CGI, both of which were in the airport scene. One is Spiderman, although his action was good the CGI on him looks incredibly fake. The other is, where I swear the filmmakers photoshopped Downey’s face onto an Iron Man suit, but those are really the only times that the CGI was fake. The best action scene however for me is the final fight in the last act. As I said the final act goes quite dark, but the fight scene is a lot more dirty and rough than you’d expect, the direction of that scene is the direction I wanted the airport scene to go in.

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Despite many of my problems with it, Captain America: Civil War is still one of the better Marvel movies. It has great action scenes, very good performances and some ambitious ideas, some of which I never expected at all to come from this movie. It’s just some of the aspects of the plot that weigh down the film. It felt like it could’ve gone further than it did, some of the humour didn’t land and the direction of the plot could’ve been handled a lot better. I have a feeling that a lot of that is due to the fact that the Russos’ had so much that they had to handle, that not everything integrated perfectly. I do think however that this movie is worth watching, I just don’t think it’s as flawless as some are making it out to be.

UPDATED THOUGHTS ON SPIDERMAN

My thoughts on Civil War are pretty much the same as in this review. However something that had changed was my thoughts on Spiderman.

After watching Civil War I didn’t really know what to think of Holland’s Spiderman, I had mixed feelings. I ended up just saying that I liked him in the review (as I wanted to get the review up as soon as possible), which was a bad idea. I felt like I should’ve waited to collect my thoughts before posting the review. So months later, here are my current thoughts on him:

I loved Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, I have only seen one scene of him but out of all the Peter Parkers, he’s my favourite. That’s absolutely impressive. I did not expect that.

As for his Spiderman… I have mixed feelings. He was honestly quite annoying to me, and not in a good way. There wasn’t really any moment in the Airport scene (the only scene in Civil War where you see Spiderman) which made me like him, not one joke that worked. However I don’t think it was the way that Holland played him, Spiderman just wasn’t used well in the scene or the movie for that matter. He feels completely forced in and wasn’t given much depth. He didn’t even work on an entertaining level.

Now I will say that Holland will have a lot more to work with when his solo movie comes around. I felt like if Spiderman was integrated throughout Civil War and had his own arc like Black Panther, I might’ve liked him. The best thing I can say about him in Civil War is that Holland shows potential. He definitely has the potential to be the best live action Spiderman. But we’ll just have to see.