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Transformers: The Last Knight

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A typical, mindless, over-bloated, all-out sensory assault by Michael Bay that although was just slightly more coherent than the previous "Age of Extinction", it was also less exciting and adrenaline pumping than an usual Bay fare which was very unfortunate since that was the least of all expectations. 
Like the past entries, the story here was a distant third place to CGI and action, with acting a pithy consideration. Even if all that was expected, the film would have benefited a lot more from being shorter. Maybe trim off about 20 minutes and skip the whole unnecessary prologue which served no narrative purpose other than for Bay to do an Arthurian ripoff. And maybe because dragons are wicked. 
Also we could have easily skipped the ridiculous "Stranger Things" homage too and the unnecessary child actor inclusion. 
This go round the main action sequences were more human centric and less Transformers-bases action. And even less Transformers vs Transformers one which i…

The Mummy [IMAX/3D]

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Generously speaking, The Mummy would have made for a good TV-movie and be better appreciated as a standalone film in itself rather than as a reboot of the Branden Fraser's 1999 hit.  Even Tom Cruise's innate charisma could not save it from its poor writing, mundane blandness and generally bad acting. However, having said that, there were four really, really great action sequences that were a lot better than anything in Wonder Woman, so there's that. But still, Penny Dreadful this ain't.

The potential of this Dark Universe, monster vs monster franchise is surely there, but director Alex Kurtzman and the whole team of writers basically just gave us a tone-deaf version of what could have been great (again, see John Logan's Penny Dreadful). And it all starts from the miscasting of Cruise. Or better put, the mischaracterisation of what a typical Cruise-character should be. To his credit, Cruise has an insane amount of charisma, but it plays much better when he portrays…

Wonder Woman

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As a DCEU film, Wonder Woman was definitely less dour and more lighthearted than the other Zack Synder entries, but Patty Jenkins still managed to make it take itself a bit too seriously and all amidst DCEU's usual gloomy palette; as a superhero-origins film, it delivered the heroics, the awe of self-discovery and also the extravagantly megalomaniac villain; but as a film in itself, it lacked a strong thematic cohesion, was saddled with a rambling narrative that could be at least 20-30 minutes shorter, multiple poor script choices with plot holes and contrivances, and beats telegraphed miles away, lackluster and often uninteresting - to the point of bland/boring - action sequences that relied on too much (bad) CGI, and bad banter. However, through it all, Gal Gadot was the absolute star and saving grace of the film and proved that her appearance in Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice was no fluke.

With Jenkins at the helm, Wonder Woman definitely felt unlike any other previous DCE…

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

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This was a surprisingly fun and entertaining film only because there was little to no expectations of it going in. And that really is the key to enjoying Johnny Depp re-inhabiting, albeit still rather successfully, the tired trope that is Jack Sparrow. Otherwise, the best part of the film was hearing Hans Zimmer's familiar score throughout the film (now interpreted by his protege Geoff Zanellli). The rest of the film was a tired mashed-up of incoherent, paper-thin, un-inspired storytelling with lame humour, bland characters and an plot twists telegraphed a mile away. Although the end-credits scene does hold potential to a possibly meatier storyline. Though that could just be wishful thinking.

New franchise directors, Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, the Norwegian duo that gave us the excellent Kon-Tiki, did try their best to reinvigorate the story and this was encouragingly apparent in the first act - after the prologues (two of them!). It was the most adrenaline-filled and th…

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

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A largely entertaining film by Guy Ritchie with all his signature directorial flair and screenwriting panache that unfortunately was frequently out of sync with its source material and the story he was trying to do. Everything about the film seemed familiar and there really were not any moments that stood out to make the film fresh and exciting.

However, credit where it is due, Ritchie has an excellent eye and hand for action choreography and it was really the action sequences (and the musical montages) that really helped to lift the film from up the doldrums of its oft-ridiculous and schizophrenic narrative (a product of too many writers/storytellers meddling). It shows a lot when a director has the guts to film a whole sequence in daylight and still manages to capture the kinetic energy and thrill of a chase. The street chase/fight was almost as exhilarating as Steven Spielberg's brilliant one-take in Tintin.

But Ritchie also seemed overwhelmed by both the budget afforded to hi…

Alien: Covenant [IMAX]

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A consistently gorgeous, often exciting and occasionally philosophical - and theological - entry into the Alien franchise that reflected a back-to-form for good storytelling by Sir Ridley Scott. There were enough scares and excitements despite the predictability of the plot, but at least significantly less ridiculousness than "Prometheus". And this time there were double the Michael Fassbenders who really carried the film on his god damn perfectly composed shoulders. 
From the opening shot and scene, Scott, his frequent cinematographer Dariusz Wolski and co-writer John Logan (he of the beautiful "Penny Dreadful" musings) established the aesthetics and theme of the film. Together with the ending, the short prologue beautifully bookend this film and heightens the expectations for the next instalment of the franchise. 
One of the biggest challenges of this franchise really how to keep it fresh. By now, even the most casual fans will know how the Xenomorph (or its varian…

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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A fun - and funny - film that lacked the urgency or the narrative drive of the first film, and despite the humour it was still, unfortunately, predictable and shallow. James Gunn may have great vision, especially in the cosmo-building of the MCU franchise, and an eye for imageries and great but as a director, and writer, he lacked depth, subtlety and the nuances. And therefore, this sequel will surely be a hit. 
The other thing that Gunn got right was the unabashed embracing of the utter cuteness that is Baby Groot. There cannot be too much of BG, and Gunn got that right. He even had a character voice that sentiment right out (see above re: lack of subtlety). Lucky BG is the definition of cute, although there were brief moments when it was dragged on a wee bit too much. But nonetheless, did I mention how cute BG is? 
And on the other spectrum, Gunn got the music so wrong this time wrong. Unlike the first film where the awesome music was organic to the story, this time round, almost ever…