Tag Archives: Zoë Kravitz

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Review

Time: 117 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1]
Cast:
Shameik Moore as Miles Morales/Spider-Man
Jake Johnson as Peter B. Parker/Spider-Man
Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman
Mahershala Ali as Aaron Davis
Brian Tyree Henry as Jefferson Davis
Lily Tomlin as May Parker
Luna Lauren Velez as Rio Morales
Zoë Kravitz as Mary Jane Watson
John Mulaney as Peter Porker/Spider-Ham
Kimiko Glenn as Peni Parker/SP//dr
Nicolas Cage as Peter Parker/Spider-Man Noir
Kathryn Hahn as Olivia “Liv” Octavius/Doctor Octopus
Liev Schreiber as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin
Director: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Bitten by a radioactive spider in the subway, Brooklyn teenager Mile Morales (Shameik Moore) suddenly develops mysterious powers that transform him into the one and only Spider-Man. When he meets Peter Parker (Jake Johnson), he soon realizes that there are many others who shar his special, high-flying talents. Miles must now use his newfound skills to battle the evil Kingpin (Live Schrieber), a hulking madman who can open portals to other universes and pull different versions of Spider-Man into our world.

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There had been an incredible amount of hype for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I personally didn’t know what to expect, all I knew that it was an animated Spider-Man written by Phil Lord and Chris Miller and was being regarded as the best Spider-Man movie ever made. I wasn’t hugely hyped for the movie but hearing all the overwhelming acclaim from critics and fans alike made me really interested and seeing it, I can say that it absolutely delivered on every aspect.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s script was fantastic, the whole movie is entertaining from start to finish. The movie is hilarious, with great comedy throughout. At the same time, the movie also really works on an emotional level, its very heartfelt. If you’re a Spider-Man fan you are going to have a euphoric experience with this, there are so many references and Easter eggs here that you’ll recognise and love. That’s not to say that you need to be a big Spider-Man fan to love the movie, it still works reasonably well for a general movie goer, you just might love it a little more if you’re familiar with the comic books. Although the concepts of different worlds of Spider-Man colliding might sound ridiculous and convoluted on paper, it really isn’t. There are two credits scenes, both of them are worth sitting through the credits to see.

I’m not that familiar with Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) as a character, this was my real introduction to him and I think they did a great job at essentially giving him an origin story for him here. He’s also much lacking in experience compared to the other Spider-people and this movie is very much an origin story for him. The whole movie is about him coming into his own as Spider-Man, in a world where Spider-Man once existed and Spider-people in other universes exist. Jake Johnson was also a great Peter B. Parker/Spider-Man from a different universe compared to the one in Miles’s universe. Along with Miles Morales Spider-Man and Peter B. Parker Spider-Man, we also have Spiderwoman/Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn) and Spider-Man Noire (Nicolas Cage), all of them are great. We get to know about their general backstories but don’t get to spend as much times as we do with Miles, aside from him, Peter B. Parker is the one we get to know most. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, with a movie with so many characters, there’s only so much that you could delve into these characters (not to mention we’ll probably get to see them in future Spider-Man animated movies, given that they are all Spider-people). Other supporting characters like Miles’s father (Brian Tyree Henry) and his uncle (Mahershala Ali) were also handled quite well in the story. I guess the weakest link in terms of major characters is Kingpin/Wilson Fisk (Liev Schreiber), who wasn’t bad by any means. On top of being powerful and menacing, he does have clear motivations but just didn’t feel as strong as a character compared to the others, although it doesn’t detract from the rest of the movie.

Into the Spider-Verse is not like any other animated movie I’ve seen before, even just for the animation style. This is just a stunning looking movie, and the action scenes and really everything that happens on screen is just so fluid and smooth. Another thing they did is that they do play with the fact that this is a comic book movie, whether it be split screens or speech bubbles, sometimes its for style, sometimes is for comedy. For this type of style of comic book movie, live action is not able to achieve what an animated movie can, and they definitely take advantage of the fact that this is an animated movie. I will admit that after watching the movie I had a bit of headache, though I can’t tell whether it was because of how I was feeling at the time or whether this type of animation caused it. I do think it is worth mentioning that for some, it will take some time to get used to the animation style.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was an incredibly surprising movie, with a fantastic story and script, great characters and is just entertaining all round. It’s one of the best movies of 2018, the best comic book movie of 2018, one of the best comic book movies ever, and might actually be the best Spider-Man movie yet. Apparently there are more animated Spider-Man movies in the works and I am incredibly hyped for them. Even if you’re not super interested in this movie, check it out. If you’re a Spider-Man fan in the slightest, this is essential viewing.

Allegiant (2016) Review

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Allegiant

Time: 120 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Shailene Woodley as Beatrice “Tris” Prior
Theo James as Tobias “Four” Eaton
Ansel Elgort as Caleb Prior
Zoë Kravitz as Christina
Miles Teller as Peter Hayes
Jeff Daniels as David
Naomi Watts as Evelyn Johnson-Eaton
Octavia Spencer as Johanna Reyes
Maggie Q as Tori Wu
Bill Skarsgård as Matthew
Ray Stevenson as Marcus Eaton
Director: Robert Schwentke

Tris (Shailene Woodley) escapes with Four (Theo James) to journey beyond the wall that encloses Chicago. For the first time, they leave the only city and family they have ever known to find a peaceful solution. Once outside, they learn shocking new truths that render old discoveries meaningless. As the ruthless battle threatens humanity, Tris and Four quickly decide who to trust to survive. Tris must ultimately make difficult choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.

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I’m not a huge fan of the Divergent series. It’s not bad, it’s harmless but I’m not excited to see every instalment that’s coming. So naturally, I wasn’t looking forward to Allegiant, it didn’t help that this is another young adult third book series split into two parts (they obviously tried to cover that up with the title), and I expected Mockingjay Part 1 all over again. After seeing it, I can say that Allegiant isn’t bad, it’s above average but I can’t in good conscience call it a good movie. The acting is fine, the action is fine and the story is full of plot holes and problems, it’s a Divergent movie, it’s exactly what you expect.

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Although I read the two previous books, I haven’t read the final book, so I can’t comment on the accuracy and/or what was left in, I can only comment on Allegiant as a movie. I have to say, this movie does have some pretty boring moments at times. Like with the previous movies there are still plenty of plot holes, inconsistencies and some of the characters aren’t very well written, which would make it hard for the actors do perform well (which I’ll get into later). The way the movie ends feels like it’s the end of a series, but of course that’s not the case, this is only part 1.

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Acting effort is stronger here than in Insurgent. However a lot of the characters are badly written so they don’t really have much to work with. Tris not well written and isn’t as smart as in the previous movies, Shailene Woodley really doesn’t have much to work with. The film constantly tries putting her and Four (Theo James) together for romantic scenes and it seems completely forced. The other supporting actors are fine. Jeff Daniels is a great actor, but his character is so uninteresting and as a result, the movie just doesn’t give him a chance to shine. The one actor who I think did quite well was Miles Teller, his character was written finely enough and Teller did put quite a bit of effort into it.

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The action like in the previous movies is fine and mildly entertaining. Some of the CGI is fine, other times it is so obvious and quite fake. Also a lot of the designs are so generically futuristic and uninteresting, so it doesn’t really help matters. There are many times when it’s quite clear when characters are in front of a green screen, it was almost like I was watching the Star Wars prequels in that aspect.

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If you are a Divergent fan, you might like this movie. However if you don’t really like the previous movies and are hoping for an improved movie in the series, you won’t get that. It’s quite similar to the previous two movies in terms of the level of quality, when it came to the story, acting and direction. However due to the fact that I felt bored during certain sections of the movie, I’d say it’s slightly more flawed than the others. Now with the final instalment titled Ascendant coming out next year, I’m not looking forward to it. But if all the previous instalments have proven anything, it’s that these movies will always end up as being ‘okay’, so I don’t expect this last movie to be bad.

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.

Insurgent (2015) Review

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Insurgent

Time: 119 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Shailene Woodley as Beatrice “Tris” Prior
Theo James as Tobias “Four” Eaton
Octavia Spencer as Johanna Reyes
Jai Courtney as Eric Coulter
Ray Stevenson as Marcus Eaton
Zoë Kravitz as Christina
Miles Teller as Peter Hayes
Ansel Elgort as Caleb Prior
Maggie Q as Tori Wu
Naomi Watts as Evelyn Johnson-Eaton
Kate Winslet as Jeanine Matthews
Director: Robert Schwentke

Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), and her remaining allies are on the run from ruthless Jean Matthews (Kate Winslet), and her Erudite faction, where they take refuge at the Amity stronghold. While there, Tris learns that the Erudite are gaining power and decides that she must fight with her inner fears and decide what to do to protect her home.

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Divergent for me was a decent enough movie, it wasn’t great and I haven’t watched it again since the first time I watched it in cinemas, however I found it better than most young adult book adaptations. Overall I found its sequel, like the first film, to be good but not great. Although the action scenes are good and Shailene Woodley continues to be great in this series, the acting by most people isn’t up to par with even the previous movie and the plot can at time be needlessly convoluted. Nonetheless it is still an enjoyable movie and will probably be liked by fans of the book.

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Whereas the first movie was much easier to follow, the story here is quite convoluted. I was able to just go along with it and I had a general idea of what direction it was going in but a lot of times while watching it I was wondering about what was going on. Now I myself have read this book and I do have to say that the film has made some changes from the book. I’m personally fine with the changes but if you have read the books you should know before going in that this movie does change some things from the original source material. I do wonder however how they are going to make the next movies because they do change some significant plot points.

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The acting is good by its main lead, Shailene Woodley and her character is the most complex and developed character in the entire series. Despite this, a lot of the other cast honestly didn’t seem that bothered or interested in this movie or their performances. It’s been a year since I watched Divergent but I remember these actors giving more emotions in that film. It honestly feels like some of these people are just phoning it in and don’t really care much. For example, Kate Winslet was okay in the previous film (however she was quite a weak villain), however this film really highlights how non-threatening her character is. She really doesn’t do anything in this film, she just runs some tests on people and Winslet gives a less interested performance. The only other actors who seem to give some emotions is Naomi Watts and Jai Courtney, even though Courtney’s character isn’t developed he still manages to emote more than most of the actors in this movie.

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The action scenes are well filmed like in the previous film and are entertaining, which is the most consistently good aspect in Insurgent. The special effects are also quite effective whenever they are used and are on a bigger scale than Divergent. The soundtrack was also really well done and added much more to the scenes.

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Honestly if you like the books and liked the way they did Divergent, go see Insurgent, you probably won’t be disappointed. Just know going in that there are some pretty big changes from the book that have been made. As for the rest of us, it all depends whether you liked the first film to begin with. Its lead performance and the action scenes are great and entertaining but the uninteresting performances from most of the cast and the complicated plot does hold it back from being greater. Hopefully the sequels will be better (and also hopefully the next film won’t be as drawn out as Mockingjay Part 1)

After Earth (2013) Review

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After Earth

Time: 100 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Jaden Smith as Kitai Raige
Will Smith as Cypher Raige
Sophie Okonedo as Faia Raige
Zoë Kravitz as Senshi Raige
Director: M. Night Shyamalan

One thousand years after disastrous events forced humanity to leave Earth, Nova Prime has become mankind’s new home. Legendary General Cypher Raige (Will Smith) returns from a tour of duty to his estranged family, ready to be a father to his son, Kitai (Jaden Smith). When an asteroids damage Cypher and Kitai’s craft, they crash-land on a now dangerous Earth. As his father lies dying in the cockpit, Kitai must trek across the hostile terrain to recover their rescue beacon and save their lives.

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M. Night Shyamalan hasn’t made many good movies in recent years, with films like The Happening and The Last Airbender. There was a chance that After Earth could’ve brought him back to at least some greatness. It isn’t in my opinion on the same level as The Last Airbender but this is still not the movie to bring back M. Night Shyamalan back to form. It still has boring dialogue, bored performances, and makes for an overall boring movie.

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The story is very uninteresting and boring throughout, I didn’t care about what was going on. We are supposed to care about this father and son bond between these characters, however the writing is just not strong enough, not helping this is the dialogue which was very clichéd. The Happening’s story was not good but it at least had some enjoyable bad ideas, After Earth has nothing entertaining going on and was very predictable. We never learn anything about the aliens, we don’t even get to learn what they are called. There are also some conveniences, and plot holes, the weapon mainly used in the movie is a staff which is used up close, even though in the beginning there are guns being used. The movie is never interesting or intreging, it’s just following the same lines as many other better sci-fi movies.

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Shyamalan often has his actors saying normal lines in a serious way and very dramatic way; the actors also usually seem very emotionless and this is the case particularly with the two main leads. Will Smith is completely emotionless throughout the entire movie. Usually he can at least have an entertaining performance, not here. Every line he delivers is monotone, and just sounded like a GPS, even when his son is in major danger in some parts. I understand the type of character he is but it would’ve been better if another person was cast because he wasn’t the best person for the role, not that anyone would’ve made a significant difference. Jaden Smith isn’t that good in this movie either. He was good in Pursuit of Happyness and The Karate Kid but he hasn’t got anything good to work with here. None of his delivery of his lines were convincing in the slightest.

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The special effects in the movie are okay. They aren’t horrible or amazing, they are just simply acceptable. There were at times some questionable cinematography choices, such as having characters awkwardly talking directly to the camera (a typical Shyamalan trope) or having some bit of plastic brush back and forth in front of a camera after the crash scene. James Newton Howard’s score was decent but I don’t really remember any of it after watching this movie.

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The worst part about the movie is that I barely remember it. Even with The Happening I could remember some scenes, I don’t remember much here. The story is very boring, clichéd and every sci-fi movie you’ve seen, accompanied by the fact that the actors don’t do a good job. The movie at times looked great but they weren’t enough to hide massive flaws. Even if you are a diehard Shyamalan fan don’t see this movie, there isn’t much to see here.