Archive for movie reviews

Ant-Man (2015)

Posted in Movie Reviews - 2010s, Movies with tags , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2015 by They call me "Mephy"

Blogger’s note: This is a rewrite of a review. I unfortunately lost my review due to not submitting it whilst writing…whoops.

It seems like Hollywood has been busy milking the cash cow franchises for the big screen(s) as of late, and Disney comes to mind, seeing as they’ve bought assets from Marvel Comics and holds rights to Star Wars, for better or for worse. Only time will tell if The Force Awakens will be as solid as we’re all expecting it to be. But at least we’ll be safe from the re-re-release/remastered CGI distractions…right? But I digress. Well long story short: the movie I had intended to see (I forgot which one it was) was apparently already off the theater listings, and we were already running late according to the screening schedules, so we settled for this one.

Superhero films seems to be having a good run this decade as well, and they’re definitely doing something right because the audiences keep coming back, unlike what would have done for the many superhero box office bombs of circa 1990’s and early 2000’s.

Ant-Man (2015)

Tagline: “Heroes don’t get any bigger.”

Ant-Man-Poster_1200_1777_81_s

Plot summary

The film is centered around Scott Lang (the second Ant-Man), a former electric engineer being paroled from prison, and struggling to be re-accepted into society due to a burglary incident he was imprisoned for. Barred from seeing his daughter by his ex-wife, he is coerced (by Luis) into doing one more housebreaking job in order to find valuables that could help him pay for child support, he unknowingly breaks into Dr. Hank Pym (the first Ant-Man)’s home and breaks into his vault to find a would-be “ordinary motorcycle suit”; this turns out to be a huge understatement. Little did he know that Pym had orchestrated this eventful meeting with Lang to carry the mantle for becoming the next Ant-Man.

Review:

The film’s strongest point appears to be its humorous quipping and adequate story development. The humor mainly comes from Lang’s discovery of his new found powers of size-alteration (and the mishaps of being ant-sized), as well as his learning to communicate with ants. The Luis character especially stands out as a supporting character, as the protagonist’s friend who manages to smile despite everything he’s been through, and is the one usually making cheeky remarks, or getting sidetracked in his own yarns (of stories). The film wastes less time on expositions and more time on fast-paced action scenes; the characters actually do something, instead of sitting around and talking about that something, which I felt was a good approach by the film, but can be dazzling to keep up with as well.

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Left: One of the promotion movie posters, with Paul Rudd. Right: A promotional art from the Ant-Man comics, featuring the same character.

However, with humor being its strongest points, one feels that there can also be a little too much humor within the film. At certain times, a heroic battle between hero and villain is normally played out, only to have its mood whip-lashed by sudden shots of the ant-sized battle taking place, which can be cleverly humorous, but it can also be irksome when it happens during a moment when two characters are having a moment. The film also treats the viewers as though they have already watched the other Marvel films of different franchises, and therefore does not elaborate on who The Avengers or Hydra (from Captain America) are. This can be problematic for newcomers of the Marvel franchise, as they would have to assume what’s what on their own. This could be easily remedied by watching the other films or even picking up the comic books, but the film should act as a standalone, while also avoiding too much run-time of characters talking (also could be remedied by flashback segments).

Verdict

Recommended – This film is a decent popcorn superhero flick, and provides the right amount of characterization for Ant-Man (the successor, that is) and what makes him one of the key members of The Avengers. The perky tone and fast-paced action makes for an entertaining group watch.

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Kung Fury (2015)

Posted in Movie Reviews - 2010s, Movies with tags , , , , , , , on June 9, 2015 by They call me "Mephy"

Blogger’s note: First of all, I’d like to apologize to my followers for the unannounced long hiatus from my review blog. Life can be quite a snag with ambitions and hobbies. Anyways, moving on…our first review of the summer of 2015.

Blogger’s note #2: This review is not a “preview review” as the previous ones I’ve (by the way, we are dropping that “blogger” moniker verbal tic) done. It is advisable to watch the film beforehand.

Special thanks to Jon from TastyTufts for proofreading!

 

To view the full movie (free of charge, and brought to you by Laser Unicorns), head to the following link here!

 

Kung Fury (2015)

Tagline: “It takes a cop from the future to defeat an enemy from the past.”

 

 

A cop from the future (well, Miami in 1985) must travel back in time to battle an evil from the past: Adolf Hitler. Written and directed by (as well as starring) David Sandberg, Kung Fury is best described as an explosive mash-up of kung-fu, dinosaurs, explosions and neon lights.

Cast:

David Sandberg, Jorma Taccone, Steve Chew, Leopold Nilsson, Andreas Cahling, Per-Henrik Arvidius, Erik Hörnqvist, Frank Sanderson, Eleni Young, Helene Ahlson, Yasmina Suhonen, Magnus Betnér, Björn Gustafsson, Eos Karlsson, David Hasselhoff

 

Plot Summary – SPOILER WARNING (Highlight to read)

Miami 1985: Kung Fury (David Sandberg), a cop who gained knowledge to the secrets of martial-arts after a freak accident, becomes a vigilante cop who fights crime with the power of kung-fu. After Chief McNickles (Per-Henrik Arvidius) enforces Triceracops, as a new partner for Kung Fury, the now-renegade cop refuses to take his partner under his wing and turns over his badge. Shortly after, a time-traveling Adolf Hitler (Jorma Taccone, of Lonely Island fame) attacks the police precinct, killing the Chief in the process. With the help of Hackerman (Leopold Nilsson), Kung Fury goes on his biggest mission to uphold the low against Kung Führer, the most dangerous criminal he’s ever faced yet.

 

Plot summary – without spoilers

Kung Fury (played by David Sandberg), a cop who gained knowledge to the secrets of martial-arts after a freak accident, must now face his greatest challenge yet. Joined by a band of new acquaintances, he must stop the Kung Führer (Jorma Taccone, of Lonely Island fame) from his evil plans and uphold the law.

 

Review:

Now, how do I express this…? Kung Fury is the type of homage movie that is intentionally overloaded from top to bottom with shout-outs, and goes lengths to make itself as authentic as it source materials; it is an overly-affectionate parody of the 80’s action flick and martial arts film genre which has took on a life of its own. Watching this movie, there was no shortage of references to video games (Mortal Kombat and Wolfenstein 3D, among others) and overused movie plot devices of the time (played for laughs, of course). Throughout the film, mullets, Ray-Bans, sports cars – notably the DeLorean DMC-12 – make an appearance, as well as the ZX Spectrum and the infamous Nintendo Power Glove (it’s so bad). Kudos to the details that matter, from props, scenery and beyond: the establishing shots of Miami probably even stock footages (or as the crew has stated, replicated in CGI onto green screens). Moreso, the film itself uses filters that transform its cinematography into an old VHS: think fuzzy pictures quality, and bad video tracking. You could even say it’s parodying its B-movie status.

Kung Fury came about with the help of a Kickstarter campaign, which nowadays is relied on by plenty of independent filmmakers for funds. Whilst not all of these are successful, to call Kung Fury a success is an understatement – the hype surrounding it since the trailer came out paid off, much to the delight of the Internet. Now for you folks out there who are confused as to why this is a big deal: Kickstarters are often an ‘iffy’ deal for backers, the folks who ‘back’ projects, as it’s never a guarantee that the final work will live up to the previews or that it would be abandoned mid-way or worse, a scam. This film, however, has proven to be quite the contrary. It’s even spawned it’s own Streets of Rage-esque video game, although one could say it’s also reminiscent of Bad Dudes and other titles of the SNES/NES era of beat ’em up game genre.

 

 

Before its official Ustream premiere on the 28th of May, the timeline of Kung Fury first appeared on the radar back in 2013, when a trailer and Kickstarter was started. The project successfully raised $630,020 USD with 17,713 backers on January 25, 2014, and from the looks of the Kickstarter descriptions, it does not seem like the Laser Unicorns crew has plans to stop at a 31-minutes film either.

At the time of this writing, the number of views on the Kung Fury trailer had soared up to 11 million; the Hasselhoff music video at 13 million; and the movie itself at 12 million. These views are climbing rapidly as the Internet spreads it by word-of-mouth.

 

Verdict:

The awkward antics combined with the bad one-liners in the right (or rather, rightly wrong) places is really what makes the film so good at what it does. And even if you don’t get the visual references, the over-the-top action scenes and outrageous plot makes up for it in many ways.

I particularly like this film for personal reasons as I am avid retro culture enthusiast. Inclinations aside, I still highly recommend this film for (a short) movie night – so gather some buddies and grab the popcorn!

 

And now I sign y’all off, with The Hoff!

 

Guys and Dolls (1955)

Posted in Movie reviews - 1950s, Movies with tags , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Guys and Dolls (1955)

Promotional movie poster

Sorry if I haven’t been updating as frequently during my SUMMER BREAK (hey, we all need a vacation…), as well as some romance, real-life, sleep pattern issues. I hope to break the habit eventually when college approaches. Aside from being a fan of stop-motion creativity, I do not shy away from the usually extravagant display of Broadway musicals, which of course always leaves me in a happier mood than I should be.

In the bustling city of New York, we follow two stories of conflict between two greatest rival: love and money. Nathan Detroit (Frank Sinatra) is the operator of “New York’s Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game in New York” (well, they all claim that.) but is also in need of a new spot for his business; this involves the payment of $1000 to rent out the Biltmore Garage, which he doesn’t have at the moment. He decides to make a bet on a high-rolling gambler, Sky Masterson (Marlon Brando), whom has a reputation for betting on anything, is around and offers him a proposition: Take a certain Salvation Army doll named Sarah Brown (Jean Simmons) to Havana, Cuba for a date; if he fails, he pays the 1 grand. Meanwhile, Nathan’s sweetheart, Miss Adelaide (Vivian Blaine, reprising her Broadway role), is frustrated by his involvement with the craps game and her 14-years engagement with him because she wishes he would quit and get married with her already.

Apparently, this is sadly the only musical from Joseph L. Mankiewicz (as well as Brando) and to be honest, this was pretty enjoyable. I’ve never watched a film with a young Marlon Brando in it before, so I was not only surprised by his charming appearance but also his singing voice! Sinatra obviously filled his role, being the crooner he is and the chemistry (yeah, chemistry!) between the two pair felt mutual as a good cast would. As for the “interlude” scenes, the opening scene of “dancing” city folks in rush hour was an amusing but somehow natural feeling of what the real thing could be. Even to scenes like a craps game in a sewer ,with gamblers in interpret-dancing in the essence of the gang fights in West Side Stories (1961, which will be reviewed possibly in the later reviews not too far in the future!). It’s definitely a recommendation to anyone with enough tolerance for singing and dancing (a lot of this blogger’s friends aren’t that fond of musicals…) and probably has been performed numerously in school plays. It’s a classic to watch, truth be, and you would surely want to stop by to watch this at least once in your life!

Airplane! (1980)

Posted in Movie reviews - 1980s, Movies with tags , , , , , , on May 4, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Airplane! (1980)

 

Promotional movie poster

 

Folks, this marks the last entry for Journalism class of my high school senior year. However, this is not the last entry of the blog! More will come as promised: weekly updates. If something gets in the way, an entry will be made up for later on (most likely the week after).

One of the first parody films of the time, it parodies at disaster movies, mainly the film Zero Hour (1957)’s plot. It’s no wonder this is still a classic for parody films!

The plot is about an ex-fighter pilot and taxi driver named Ted Striker (Robert Hays) who pursues his lover, Elaine Dickinson (Julie Hagerty) in hopes of convincing her to stay with him; she plans to move to Chicago and start anew because he lives in the past and can’t move on from his traumatic experience on a mission in some war (not even the stock footage of avian dogfights helped identify it). He follows her onto the trans-American flight she works as an air hostess on, headed for Chicago. The passengers on the plane include: A girl whose on her way to have heart transplant, Dr. Barry Rumack (played by the late Leslie Nielsen, known for his lead role in the Naked Gun series), two jive-talkers, and others. Things go smooth until after the in-flight meal of choice between steak and fish; the people who ate fish succumb to becoming very ill due to food poisoning, which included the navigator, co-pilot Roger Murdock (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Captain Clarence Oveur (Peter Graves). Flying without a pilot on board (besides an inflatable pilot named Otto “piloting” the plane) and with the aid of tower supervisor, Steve McCroskey (Lloyd Bridges, father of Jeff Bridges) and Rex Kramer (Robert Stack), who has a bad history with Ted during the war; Ted must battle his post-traumatic disorder and save the people on board.

Well-timed humor, irrelevant or not to the story, makes this a laugh-a-minute film. Some of the humor is understandably dated (jive talk with captions…see if anyone even does jive talk anymore…) and others are borderline dodgy (mild topless nudity and drug usage). This would later be followed by a less-successful sequel and have its format copied by numerous people which spawned the Scary Movies series, Not Another [genre] Movie series, and other parodies poking fun at cliches in each genre. Taste may vary between people but for this blogger, this film is not bad and likable for its pacing between scenes (doesn’t milk it dry until it becomes unfunny) and for putting together the wrong cliches in the wrong situation, which ensues hilarity and chaos. Why not give this a watch?

The Fifth Element (1997) Review

Posted in Movie reviews - 1990s, Movies with tags , , , , , , , on April 27, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

The Fifth Element (1997)

 

Promotional movie poster

 

It is Egypt 1914, an archarologist is about to discover the truth behind some hieroglyphics: A fifth element of a man; this might be the key to defeating evil. Suddenly, an spaceship lands in front of the site. An alien species by the name of Mondoshawans have come to take away the five element stones, saying when evil returns they too will return in 300 years. It is now the year 2314, a ship has discovered an unknown giant mass of black fire in deep space. It suddenly expands itself and destroys the scouting Earth battleship. The Mondoshawans return but something goes wrong and they are ambushed by shape-shifting Mangalores (how do they even come up with these names?); the priest who currently holds the Mondoshawan key from that day in 1914 in Egypt briefs President Lindberg (Tom Lister Jr.) of the history of the Great Evil and that only 48 hours is left to defeat it. Meanwhile, the scientists have recovered the hand of the fifth element from the crash site and has began to reconstruct it into a humanoid. She escapes and accidentally doves off into the taxicab of a former-Special Forces major, Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis, best known for role in Die Hard). After escaping from the authorities, the two talk and her name is apparently (wait for it…) Leeloo Minai Lekarariba-Laminai-Tchai Ekbat De Sebat…but becomes known as “Leeloo”. She tells them the stones are stolen (in ancient language) and while they are talking, an industrialist with bad hair named Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman) (another mouthful for a name…) are looking for the stones too and that they have to get to take it first in order to save not just humanity, but all lifeforms.

 

Ruby Rhod (played by Chris Tucker)

# All night long, all night long~! #

 

Directed by Luc Besson, this one’s a French (it’s still in English) sci-fi gem for you moviegoers looking for a snappy dialogue and some actions. Chris Tucker (known best for his role in the Rush Hour series) also provides timely comic relief as an effeminate talk-show host. The settings are futuristic hover cars and sky-high buildings (we don’t see the ground, that’s the future!), which quite frankly is an amazingly made for the film. The characters are all interesting in their own ways, each with different personalities and attitudes. Put this one in your collection; you simply can’t sit through this film without having a bit of fun from it!

=CHECK BACK LATER FOR UPDATE; BEING REVIEWED TONIGHT=

In the meantime…look what I found.

http://www.glogster.com/papoj1/papoj1-s-citizen-kane-brochure/g-6m86rm2uph71u5nr2d9l0a0?old_view=True

 

Vertigo (1958) Review

Posted in Movie reviews - 1950s, Movies with tags , , , , , , , on April 23, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Vertigo (1958)

Promotional movie poster

Director Alfred Hitchcock, known best for classic thrillers such as Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963), delivers his usual plot twist and psychological thriller that leaves the audience in a dazed emotion. (Blogger here felt a sudden eerie uneasiness in the room after credits rolled…probably the haunting scream)

Detective John Ferguson (Scottie to his acquaintances) retires, after his acrophobia causes the death of a fellow police officer during a rooftop chase. All is well until an old friend, Gavin Elster, invites him over and asks him to spies on his wife, whom has been acting strangely (staring at a portrait for hours, wanders to places like the cemetary and San Francisco Bay on a daily occasion); Gavin believes his wife is possessed by someone.

An interesting film combining acrophobia with mystery thriller.

Rebel Without a Cause (1955) Review

Posted in Movie reviews - 1950s, Movies with tags , , , , , , on April 22, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

Warner Bros'. challenging drama of today's juvenile violence!

Promotional movie poster

There are things to be said about this particular movie. It helped James Dean achieve the status of a cultural icon, but also commentary to the supposed “rebel” teenager angst and a troubled, dysfunctional relationship between them and their folks. As Bob Dylan would say, “The times they are a-changin’ “ and this was a time when the generation gap between Baby-Boomers and the Older Generation was differing in music, in fashion, as well as lifestyle.

Summary

Jim Stark (James Dean) is a rebellious teenager who had just moved from another town; this was not the first time he had moved and thus he had trouble fitting in. He is troubled by the fact his father is unable to stand up for himself and be strong for his own son over his mother’s words. Meanwhile, Judy (Natalie Wood) is frustrated by her father’s unwillingness to show affection towards his own daughter; she runs away and ends up in the police station beside Jim. Also, John (‘Plato’ to his friends) (Sal Mineo) ends up there after shooting puppies; his father abandoned the family and his mother was never around.

The next day after a planetarium field trip, Jim is taunted by Buzz Gunderson (Corey Allen), a local bully who threatens him with a switchblade. The two engage in a knife fight, before being separated by the adults. Throughout the film, the trio goes through teenager angst because the adults don’t seem to understand them and never seems to listens to their reasons, feeling neglect and betrayal.

Jim Stark… a kid from a ‘good’ family – what makes him tick… like a bomb?

Review

The film was released (October 27, 1995) after Dean’s fatal car crash (September 30, 1955) with the ‘Little Bastard’ (1955 Porsche 550 Spyder), directed by Nicholas Ray, is one of his most well known film by him with expressionistic color usage (a trademark of his films). The film became one of James Dean’s role of Jim Stark became most associated with James Dean, the other being his role in East of Eden (1955, before Rebel Without a Cause) and Giant (1956). Teenagers at the time identified themselves with the film, pointing out how accurate the conflicts between the characters were true to life, as the rock-and-roll scene was a spreading influence for the young generation who were progressively drifting from traditional family values and lifestyle. This generation of “hippies” (blogger prefers ‘flower children’) too, would later deal with the newer generation of “yuppies”. Rebel Without a Cause is no doubt, his most celebrated film that has grown in popularity over the years. It is a good film for introducing someone to James Dean!

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