Sunday, 22 September 2013

Movie Review: Prisoners

Prisoners is a gritty, incredibly well-acted, suspenseful, thought-provoking crime drama thriller. The film mainly focus on the choices taken and the consequences faced by the characters when worst things happen to them.

It simply raises the question: When your kid's life is at stake, how far are you willing to do to protect your family? It explores the likelihood of human behaviour when such crime is happening to us, blurring the lines between good and bad people.
For a 153 minute movie, the story does unfolds at a slow and solemn pace (which hurts the film and might bore some audiences) but the dramatic scenes performed by the main cast members in the film will keep you engaged. Hugh Jackman and Jack Gyllenhaal both giving intense, Oscar-worthy performances here, defining and developing their characters with various layers of emotions: affection, anger, grief, empathy, guilt...throughout the film.

The film's atmosphere, heavy rains, stormy days and icy cold winter managed to create a dark, dreadful environment to make up the dreary and haunting mood in the film. Every violent action taken by the characters are acts of desperation given that they are running out of time.

However, the film is not perfect. Despite some plot problems from the various twists and turns shown in the film, the superb performances from the casts was sufficient enough to make the story succeed and believable.
Highly recommended for those who wanted to watch a serious drama thriller with powerful, engaging acting performances from its talented casts.

Rating: 8/10

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Movie Review: This is The End

This is The End is an out of an ordinary celebrity apocalypse comedy film. The story is quite simple: A bunch of Hollywood actors and actresses are having a party but suddenly the world comes to an end and the survivors fight to stay alive. We get to see a lot of cameos from actors playing themselves throughout the film: Cera, Segel, Tatum, Watson, Mintz-Plasse, Rudd, Rihanna,etc. 
While the whole concept of the film is new and interesting, but the execution is weak. None of the 'characters' are likable or memorable...Most of them are douchebags or pricks. While the film is not terrible and still watchable (I suppose), but it doesn't feel funny from beginning to end. The jokes presented in the film were crude and raunchy (a lot of dick, masturbation jokes) which may not be everyone's cup of tea. There's some gory death scenes (you get to see various Hollywood stars getting killed), a lengthy conversation about who is going to rape Watson, Rogen urinating into his own mouth, to name a few...

There's a lot of sudden, unexpected events that may come as a surprise to the audience. Many who assumed that this is a silly comedy that shouldn't be treated seriously could easily change their mind after watching it. The demons shown in the film are genuinely scary looking and a demon-possessed Jonah Hill look quite disturbing in the film as well.

Overall, this film is mixed bag...For those who enjoyed the stars' previous works might find it acceptable or entertaining to watch, but for the rest, I don't really think so. Personally, I expected more, considering the film is filled with talented comedy actors, but what to do?

Rating: 6/10

Movie Review: About Time

 From the director of 'Love Actually', who is also the writer of 'Four Weddings and a Funeral', 'Bean', 'Notting Hill' and the 'Bridget Jones' films, it sure raises some expectations for this particular fantasy romantic comedy drama film about time travel.

Although it shares some similarities with 'The Time Traveler's Wife' (the same female lead actress, Rachel McAdams) and 'Groundhog Day', but rest assured, 'About Time' is a witty, intelligent, charming, sweet film with surprising depth and heart. The script was well written, the direction was great and the casts made a decent performance in their respective roles.

The film done a fine job in balancing the comedic and dramatic elements of the story, providing enough laughter and allowing it to flow smoothly without feeling too overly long despite its 2 hours running time.

Despite the time-traveling plot device, the story focuses on the father-son relationship of Tim and his dad and the lovely romantic relationship between Tim and Mary, without being too sappy, too overly lovey-dovey or too sentimental. Who says love stories can't be simple?

The message or overall theme of the film about appreciating life as if it was your last was subtle and not too forceful or preachy.The selection of songs for the film was appropriate and not too overly done for the emotional scenes.The on-screen chemistry between Rachel and Domhnall are convincing enough for the audience to watch them going through life together. On the other hand, Domhnall and Bill, as father and son, their connection is felt throughout the film and certainly evoke some poignant memories when watching them together.
 It's one of the best romantic comedies this year had to offer, better than the disappointing 'Time Traveler's Wife'. It's rare to have a wonderful heartwarming feelgood rom-com these days. A highly recommended date movie that's not to be missed.

Rating: 8.5/10

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Movie Review: The Bling Ring

The Bling Ring is a film based on the real-life events of 2008-2009 Hollywood Hills burglaries, done by a group of seemingly fame-obsessed, celebrity-worshipping, materialistic teenagers who stole more than $3 million worth of luxury items (dresses, shoes, watches, sunglasses, underwear, you name it) from homes of famous Hollywood celebrities: Paris Hilton, Audrina Patridge, Rachel Bilson, Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr, Brian Austin Green and Megan Fox, Lindsay Lohan.

The actor's performance were acceptable but the script is poorly written as there's no character background, depth or development for any of the characters. None of the characters were likable as the portrayal of them in the film are shallow and superficial.Most of film's running time is spent on which house the group is interested to break into, there's no after thoughts or proper closure by the end of the film. We know nothing about the characters, except of what they did.

Throughout the film, these kids stupidly (or naively) believed that it's perfectly fine to steal from the rich, wear stolen goods in front of others (even in facebook) and boast about their break-ins so openly to their peers. Particularly, Nicki's (who portrays Alexis) statement, who blames her family background and other members of the Bling Ring for her involvement in the burglaries, is so pretentious that it's nearly unbearable to watch.

There's nothing glorifying about the crimes done by group, it's truly upsetting due to the fact that this frightening culture exists in our world right now.

Rating: 4.5/10

Details of the Bling Ring group are shown below:
(Taken from the site:

Rachel Jungeon Lee (portrayed as Rebecca Ahn by Katie Lee)
The believed ringleader of the gang, served the longest sentence. Pleading no contest for robbing and receiving a sentence of 4 years in state prison. Lee served 2 out of 4 years, released on good behavior. When news outlets tried to interview her, she declined to comment.

Nick Prugo (portrayed as Marc Hall by Israel Broussard)
Pleaded no contest to two counts of residential break-ins of Lindsay Lohan and Audrina Patridge, sentenced to 365 days in jail this past April. However, he was released a few days later from his sentencing due to good behavior and work credit. He has declined numerous interviews, keeping quiet from the press.
Alexis Neiers (portrayed as Nicki Moore by Emma Watson)
Served 30 days out of a 180-day sentence after pleading no contest in 2010. Neiers is the most public, with her blog and Twitter account. She states that drugs, sexual abuse, and her parent’s divorce influenced her life choices. She is now married to Evan Haines and has a baby, Harper. She claims that the movie portrayal is inaccurate.
Courtney Ames (portrayed as Chloe Tayner by Claire Julien)
Received a sentence of 3 years probation and received 60 days of community service after pleading no contest for stealing. She received a light sentence due to Brett Goodkins, investigator in the case, not receiving clearance from his superiors. She attends Pierce College, trying to avoid the spotlight. She is receiving high marks in her classes.
Tess Taylor (portrayed as Sam Moore by Taissa Farmiga)
A suspected member of the Bling Ring, but never sentenced for being part of the group, as she was not found in any of the camera footage.

Movie Review: The World's End

 As the final installment of the so-called The Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and now the World's End - Each film in the trilogy is connected to a Cornetto ice cream, with a Cornetto of the appropriate flavour to the theme of the film appears), it's not the typical Hollywood American sci-fi action drama comedy film (It's a British film). The comedic elements presented in the film is quite different, which highlights the English-American divide in comedic sensibilities. It lingers more on the characters' conversations and interactions to provide the comedy or jokes.

Although it's not advisable to watch the trailer as it spoiled the unexpected twist in this film, but I guess most people would have done it anyway by now.

The story is about a group of childhood friends in their 40s: a hopeless, jobless drinker/drug addict(Gary), a real estate agent (Oliver), an architect (Steven), a lawyer (Andrew) and a car-seller(Peter) - who decided to reunite together and return to their hometown, Newton Haven, to complete the unfinished Golden Mile of 12 pubs to drink 60 pints of beer (for 5 guys) when they're young.What ensues is an unexpected plot twist that re-examines each character's past, rekindle severed friendships/relationships and possibly, save the world.

It's quite refreshing and admirable to see that there's considerable effort being put by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright to not follow the normal successful formula that normally comes with this genre.There's also an interesting theme to think about in The World's End - to have the choice of being free as a human, to be able to do what you want, despite the human imperfection in the world.

But, the running gag involving garden fences, the pub brawl action and chasing scenes are quite similar to the past films.The finale presented near the end of the film feels unsatisfying as it ends abruptly without a good resolution to some of the characters.

Nevertheless, it's still a decent, enjoyable character story that's worth a watch.

Rating: 7.5/10

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Movie Review: Grown Ups 2

Grown Ups 2 is a hugely disappointing, distasteful, stupid comedy film made just to 'milk' more money from the audience due to the huge success of the first film. (I gave the first film a satisfactory 7.5/10, due to the sheer fun, cheery moments of 'getting together for all time's sake' theme in it)

Unlike the first film, this jumbled-up pile of crap is basically plotless, heartless and all the jokes presented in the film are poorly performed, feels cheap and not funny at all, seemingly insulting the audience's intelligence. It looked like Adam Sandler is so desperate for money that he produce, co-wrote, acted in this rubbish just rip us off. Seriously, is simulated defecation from an ice cream machine, 'burpsnart' (a combo of burp, sneeze and fart), out-of-the-blue deer urination sounds funny to you?

Moreover, it supposed to be 5 best pals instead of 4, where's Rob and his grandma wife? Not explained at all. None of the subplots (are they even considered as subplots??) are worth watching. The entirety of the film is made with no sense of meaning, no character development (for the new ones), no depth, no personality, no heart. While watching this film, I couldn't help but to ask, given the immense amount of talent in this film, is this what the once famous comedian Adam Sandler can provide to us?

Stay off from this piece of crap.Not worth your time and money.


Movie Review: We're the Millers

We're the Millers is one of the entertaining, enjoyable, not-so-serious, formulaic but better comedy films out this year. (better than the abysmal Hangover 3)

The story is simple: a drug dealer, a stripper, a troubled runaway and a virgin disguise as a fake happy family (on the assumption they will not get caught) on a road trip to Mexico to smuggle few tons of marijuana to the states. The film features a lot of amusing episodic misadventures during the journey (a ridiculous series of plot contrivances moves the film along), with consistent bickering (due to different backgrounds for each of the characters) and the eventual sentimental bonding between them.

Despite the simplicity the plot, the film is well-acted and uplifted by a group of talented actors who tried their best to make it an entertaining film.It managed to offer some occasional laughs and smiles to the audience while feeling relaxed throughout the film.If you don't take it too seriously, lighten up and don't pick on the details of the film, you will find this family comedy enjoyable and worth the ride.

The outtakes at the end of the film were quite good and fun to watch, especially a family sing-along scene in the van where they played "I'll Be There For You" (from F.R.I.E.N.D.S.), teasing Jennifer Aniston, from which she responds after smiling embarrassingly, 'That was very good. Very funny.' Jennifer acted in the famous sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S., which is one of my favorite sitcom shows ever.

Rating: 7/10

                                        ~Jennifer Aniston is still so hot despite her age of 44~

Movie Review: Kick Ass 2

 Kick-Ass 2 remains an entertaining sequel but the plot is just not compelling enough to fully recapture the magic of the original. The sequel also lacks the nice blend of gory violence and ironic, witty humor that made the first one so enjoyable to watch. (I gave the first film a rating of 9/10)

There are too many characters in the film...the members of the Justice Forever are not given enough screen time or character development. Most of them ended up being forgettable, even for Night Bitch, who had a fling with Kick Ass, doesn't have much of a role in the film. Colonel Stars and Stripes was great as the leader, it's such a shame we didn't get to see more of him in the film. The plot point where Ass Kicker betrayed Kick Ass, which lead to a character's death, was not resolved or touched upon by the end of the film.

The film explores more on how Mindy (Hit Girl) struggles to lead a normal high school life and being recognized as a normal teenage girl, so we get to see a somehow awkwardly paced American high school drama subplot of her instead of the Hit Girl & Kick Ass team-up crime fighting we eager to see. Some of the jokes associated with the subplot doesn't seem to be funny at all.The relationship between Katie (longtime crush in school) and Dave (Kick Ass) quickly ended just like that, without any subsequent follow-ups.However, the subtle chemistry between Mindy and Dave was nicely done in the film.

Rather than adding build-up which leads to the finale, the film quickly sets up Chris as the new supervillain, The Motherfucker and assembles his own team of forgettable supervillain characters, with the exception of Mother Russia.Moreover, Chris is shown as an immature, spoiled, rich mafia kid who tries to avenge his dad than a strong compelling, memorable villain.

Contrary to the belief of many people, the seemingly gory, ultra-violent fighting scenes in this sequel is actually less stylized, shocking and (dare I say?) violent compared to its predecessor. The moving van action scene with Mindy fighting Chris' gang is poorly made..bodies are seen flying out of van, no one gets surprised by it and police cars or SWAT teams are nowhere to be found. The police are shown to be incompetent fools who can't even track and arrest the correct villains.

Overall, it's still an entertaining watch despite its shortcomings. For those who really enjoyed the first film might feel a slight disappointment, but for casual movie-goers who doesn't mind the gory violence and foul language presented in the film, you might find it more enjoyable than many of the films out there at the moment.


Note: There's an after-credit scene, hinting that there might be a third and final installment.