Showing posts from April, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War [3D/Atmos]

Well, that was...over. Avengers: Infinity War was a fun film but it was not necessarily the best film in the MCU. However, kudos to the Russo brothers for carrying it off and delivering a superhero / Marvel film that serviced the fans and was also a good summer/popcorn tentpole blockbuster. With such a large cast, they did actually manage to give the fan/crowd favourites the most screen time but yet not neglect the others.

Sure, they were a couple of scenes where logic fails (which was to be expected) and some moments that dragged on longer than necessary (inevitable with a 149 minutes runtime), however, one important aspect that A:IW had was an emotional weight that held the narrative together. The story had consequences. There was a cost and heroes do die, although the Russo brothers - and Kevin Feige - could have been more cruel and brutal, and also creatively braver. Maybe in the sequel.

Speaking of which, for once - and possibly due to the pending sequel - the MCU has developed …


What a pity non-Americans do not get to watch Alex Garland’s follow-up to “Ex-Machina” on the big screen. But thankfully we have Netflix saving the day. Other than perhaps losing the sense of scope and sound design, “Annihilation” did translate rather well to the small screen. And, boy, fans of smart, intelligent sci-fi should watch this! 
This was definitely not “The Cloverfield Paradox”. “Annihilation” was definitely not dumbed down and was led by a quintet of smart, strong women/actress with nary a male in sight other than to play supporting, almost sexualised, roles. But at least, they cast Oscar Isaac, and his crazy-expressive eyes, who was great in his minimal scenes. 
If this film had the visual panache and style of Dennis Villeneuve’s “Arrival” (read: budget), coupled with a more emotional-centric (read: Hollywood-esque) script, than it might have been more acceptable in the mainstream and not been relegated to Netflix. 
Natalie Portman definitely had the depth and range to handl…

The Square

Swedish director Ruben Östlund followed up his tour de force film “Force Majeure” with this biting - and Palme d’Or winning - social satire about classism, elitism, ageism, narcissism, prejudices, legacy, pretensions, disenfranchisement and bystander apathy. 
The biggest problem with the film is that Östlund tried to include too much into one, singular - albeit 150 mins long - film, such that at times the film felt like a string of vignettes or short films intermittently strung together by a thin thread of narrative. 
However, at least the film was anchored by Claes Bang’s strong and charismatic performance as a flawed protagonist, and many impactful visuals and moments. 
The dining room scene - where the image of the poster was taken from - was one of the most powerful scene to be seen on screen in a long time. Just those few minutes beautifully, and hauntingly, captured so many of the themes the film and problems with our society now. 
And then we also had scenes where Östlund basically…

A Quiet Place

John Krasinski’s directorial debut had so much potential with its concept and Emily Blunt as the lead, but unfortunately the outcome was a moderately tensed monster-thriller/horror wannabe that was riddled with plot holes, contrivances and questions. Krasinski’s direction was amateurishly competent, the screenplay lacked intelligence and logic, and even the score failed to heighten the tension. 
The core concept was exciting, albeit not the most original, but if only more thought had gone into the plot. There were glimpses of what the film could have been. For one the opening prologue was effective in setting the story and it was a smart choice by Krasinski to begin in media res. Also, the middle of the second act could have taken a left turn but instead it was just a brief detour and then back into the expected and typical. What a pity. And annoyingly so.
Blunt was absolutely wasted and although the promotional materials put her front and centre, she was not and director/husband Krasin…

A Wrinkle in Time

Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” was one of the earliest books I read, and together with Douglas Adams’ “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” formed my childhood - and continual adult - fascination with sci-fi, quantum physics, time travel, mysticism vs religion and ignited my obsession with sci-fi/fantasy series. With that in mind, and the fact that the last time I read the source material was at least 20 years ago, Ava DuVarney’s version of it had the broad themes of love, acceptance and family in its heart but unfortunately her execution lacked the wonder and vision (and even horror) of L’Engle’s richly-imagined world, and also lacking was the emotional bond between its younger (main) characters and the familial bond of the Murrays. 
DuVarney excelled in the smaller and more intimate moments, especially in the first act, but once the story moved on, she was clearly overwhelmed by the fantastical aspects of the story, and consequently the CGI challenge in building a world (for …

Love, Simon

Objectively, the cultural and historical impact of this film is significant. However, cinematically this was a slightly above average teenage rom-com. Under Greg Berlanti’s direction this felt like a higher production value Berlanti/The CW TV-movie than his usual DCEU TV shows. 
There was no large difference between this and a standard rom-com other than the main character is gay and the central romance is a same sex one. But where it failed was its lack of connection between the protagonist and the supporting characters. No relationships were properly established to deepen the “twists and turns” of the narrative and when things happen, we the audience do not really care. Similarly, in a teenager-centric flick, the relationship with the parental units are crucial - no matter how brief their appearance are (see: Call Me By Your Name) - and unfortunately Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel were mainly present as cookie-cutter, liberal accessories. 
Nick Robinson did his best as Simon and did…

The Death of Stalin

A black, political satire with a razor sharp intellect and wit that managed to straddle the line between all out absurdist farce and serious politico-social commentary. If you enjoy Armando Iannucci’s “Veep” and “The Thick of It” then you would definitely have a great time watching this which was pure Iannucci comedy led by an all star cast that delivered so many wicked laugh out loud moments. From sight gags to word plays, intentionally unintentional asides to broad comedy, and acerbically dry wit to bleakest of black humour, this film just delivered.  It truly was almost a laugh a minute...and it went on for 107 minutes, which was no mean feat for Iannucci and the writers. Every actor was spot on. It was also very smart of Iannucci to have the cast all speak in their native tongue for an all Russian narrative because it simultaneously separate the tragic truth of the reality and yet also highlight it; both making a commentary of the past and also the indifference of the present. I a…