culture

Men In Black 3 Review

Men In Black 3
“It’s opposite day! Black guy flanked by white bodyguards.”

Snap: Third installment to the popular secret service vs. aliens franchise in the first decade of the twenty first century. Once again, it’s some rouge alien threatening the fate of the human race, this time with time travel! It’s all good fun, somewhat nostalgic, but ultimately I wouldn’t think it’d create much fanfare since most people would have seen the first two films, and inadvertently compare it to the previous films, and the excitement just doesn’t stack up, and it’s also just a tad too formulaic. [3/5]

Love: Josh Brolin. He does a splendid job as a younger ‘K’, and has the acting chops to pull off a great impersonation, while adding the added element of a more carefree version of the more stoic older version. Really enjoyable performance, and probably one of the only few elements that was holding my interest throughout the movie. The familiar elements of famous celebrities being aliens was of course funny and witty as well. That’s something you can’t mess with. And I’m also glad those damn roaches didn’t get the necessary screen time. I truly hated them.

Hate: Will Smith. I’m just tired. Same ‘ol same ‘ol. Shout in your face, shout at the screen, do goofy things, get into goofy situations. This guy should write a book on his own patented delivery of an action / comedian / pancake dramatic actor. There are some fun moments, but for a third installment, nothing new was really brought to the table, and I guess that made the show lack the heart of meeting an old friend. Rather, it felt more like you met this old friend, and they were a bit more haggard and the time you spent catching up felt more like a slow plod through a squishy garden. And you would feel the mud curl up around your toes, which could be a good or bad thing.

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culture

The Avengers (2012) Review

The Avengers 2012
“Guys.. I don’t think we’re in Comic Con anymore..”

Snap: It’s the ultimate marvel team-up! Bringing together Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow, these comic book superheroes come to life, fight through infinitesimal odds and use the power of FRIENDSHIP to defeat the evil designs that Loki has on the Planet Earth. The characters all come from stand-alone movies of Marvel’s comics book franchise, so if you don’t know what special abilities each person has, you could watch those other movies first. Ultimately (Hur, see what I did there.) this movie’s not about the finishing line, but the journey. [3/5]

Love: As expected from any summer blockbuster and superhero genre, there’s a tonne of action sequences, plenty of pyrotechnics and computer generated images. They’re great sequences, a full visual spectacle and treat, but you can’t exactly marry a person just based on their looks. (Well, you could, but it would be a short-lived relationship.) The true stand out would be Josh Whedon’s script and direction of the actors. The true super power in this movie is friendship, or teamwork. I won’t say there’s a careful exploration of what makes a team, a truly great team, but the banter between characters does a fantastic job of making you believe that somewhere deep down in each superhero, is a sense of belief that this bunch of misfits could work.

Hate: With such a huge cast, some fans of individual superheroes are bound to be disappointed. I was, because I’m a Captain America fan, but I felt that his role was rather side-lined, probably to make room for the higher paid Robert Downey Jr. aka Tony Stark aka Iron Man. It might be fool-hardy on my part to give every character equal stake in saving the world, but I think I’m within my capacity as an audience member to expect more intricate character development if Josh Whedon wanted to make this a character driven plot, but I appreciate that the studio got their hands on it first. So yes, it’s a well packaged movie, it just wasn’t that birthday present you were expecting. Like getting an apple for a present, when you wanted an Apple.

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culture

The Raid: Redemption Review

The Raid: Redemption
“The Raid: Dead Redemption Review – Bad puns and alliterations.”

Snap: Balls-out action movie that barely gives you time to survey the damage done by the protagonist. Exceptionally claustrophobic but with good effect due to innovative use of the environment in some rather complex fight scenes. Mindless, senseless fun if that’s your cup of tea. With biscuits. [3/5]

Love: The problem with hugely budgeted films, is that there’s a lot of fat to cater to a wide audience. The US$1.1 million dollar budget means that this film is slim with some very practical production decisions made to streamline the narrative but focus on the exhilarating action sequences that feature anything from fists to a door (plus a lot of stabbing). The fight choreography is incredibly stylised but works to great effect as half the time the audience is moaning and groaning at some particular gruesome scenes, yet highly entertaining all at once. The focus on silat (traditional Malay martial art) also presents more western and eastern audiences with a certain freshness when it comes to the martial arts genre. The atmosphere of the film should also be noted as there is a grim, heavy air of something sinister in the location where all the action takes place. You actually begin to wonder if anyone’s going to come out of this alive. The soundtrack was also pretty gritty with plenty of huge beats, courtesy of Mike Shinoda.

Hate: Some budget constraints were too hard to ignore. When the audio for gunfire doesn’t match the action sequences, something is wrong, and should not be considered an oversight. That was one point that the movie felt lackluster, almost as if the movie was gloating to the audience that such elements do not matter since we came to watch excessive violence. But that particular oversight made the film to lose any credibility in maintaining the fourth wall. It was too jarring a split between reality and fantasy. The film could be considered too entertaining, so much so that because nothing ever lets up, you hope that each scene is better than the last. Sometimes it isn’t, so you’re left with an average taste in your mouth.

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