Hi, I shall use this blog to broadcast my opinions on anything entertainment, be it games movies music. Haters welcome, always up for discusions

Friday, 24 August 2012

The Avengers (2012)

I'm sorry to say The Avengers isn't a good movie; it's a GREAT MOVIE!!!! It's not only the best team superhero movie ever made, but it may just be the best comic book adaption made period!

The Avengers is the culmination of what began in Iron Man; and continued through The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America. It was only a few years ago that my son and I had just finished watching Iron Man and as the credits were ending, Samuel L. Jackson appeared on screen as Nick Fury and spoke to Tony Stark about joining Avengers Initiative…in that short scene, the framework for potentially the greatest comic book movie of all-time had begun!

Director Joss Whedon, most known for the T.V. series Buffy The Vampire Slayer, takes the foundation that was built in the prior films and brings together the greatest team of superheroes in film history, The Avengers: Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) as "assembled" by Nick Fury. Whedon's scripts usually include clever banter, gripping action sequences and an air of mystery and The Avengers is no different. Whedon has an utter love for comic books, and it is proudly put on display in The Avengers.

The cast does a great job of bringing these iconic characters to life, beginning with Robert Downey Jr. Unlike Iron Man 2, in which Downey seemed to skate through scene after scene, Downey plays Stark almost effortlessly, delivering his lines with relative ease allowing his charisma, charm and smugness to shine through; Robert Downey Jr. IS Tony Stark! Chris Evans' solidifies himself in the role of Captain America. He was very good in his solo film, but truly owns the role standing alongside Iron Man and Thor. Chris Hemsworth's Asgardian god Thor has some incredible battle scenes and indirectly provides one of the film's most funny moments. After being seriously underutilized in Iron Man 2, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow is provided a back-story, which helps in developing the character and provides an opportunity to prove she is much more than just a pretty face; she's as dangerous psychologically as she is physically. I could envision myself enjoying a beat-down at the hands (and feet) of Black Widow. The character I was most concerned about being given little story and the least amount of screen time was Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye; happily, he's not left by the wayside and does a more than admirable job of developing the character. Hawkeye stands alongside Robin Hood and Katniss Everdene (The Hunger Games) as the best archers to grace the silver screen. I'd like to see more of him in a film of his own. Mark Ruffalo, the most recent choice to play Hulk, is far better suited to the role than Eric Bana (The Hulk) and Ed Norton Jr (The Incredible Hulk). Ruffalo looks more the part of the nerdy scientist Banner and plays the part without looking angry in every scene. In The Avengers, the Hulk is at his most impressive, both in his on-screen transformation and the violence he displays when the opportunity calls for him to "hulk out". If any character appeared to stand out a little bit more than the others, for me it was the Hulk. Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury is finally more than just the guy making surprise appearances. Fury is finally able to stretch his legs some, and Jackson slides quite easily into the role. Clark Gregg's Agent Caulson returns, and Cobie Smulders makes her Marvel films debut as Agent Maria Hill, and she is a welcome addition. The film's main villain is Thor's adopted-brother Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston. You would think the part would be a difficult one to play being opposite such powerful personalities and strong characters, but Hiddleston does a fantastic job; the performance should not go unnoticed, because it's one of the strong points of the film. Loki is not a villain without purpose and Hiddleston comes across as a devious mastermind without being cartoonish.

At a running-time of 2+ hours, The Avengers is well paced and time flies by. The effects are top-notch, the acting is very good, and the script drives the movie elevating its strengths. For viewers that may not have seen any of the other films (and if so, why not!?!?), we're provided just enough information to bring everyone up to speed without feeling overdone. Whedon provides more than just a standard comic book film, but a story with reason that's backed up with incredible action and humor.

Although the film is filled with larger than life characters, none are short changed; each character is given at least one great scene to work with, and the opportunities don't go to waste. The film's finale provides a deafening crescendo of action that is breathtaking. As usual with Marvel films, be sure to stay around for the post credit sequence, which provides a surprising reveal.

I went into The Avengers with unfairly high expectations, due to all of those that were involved, as well as the films that came before it. After viewing the initial trailers and not being blown away, I had set myself up for disappointment. It was only a matter of minutes after the film started that I was put at ease, and just minutes later when my expectations were blown away. I never imagined that it was possible to put onto the screen, what I was watching. I'm happy that Marvel had the sense to keep these properties to themselves and to move forward with these characters in the manner in which they did. Marvel Studios and Disney are going to make a boatload of money off this film, and deservedly so; because there's never been another movie made of its caliber.


Sunday, 19 August 2012

Sherlock Series 10/10

As a die-hard fan of the source material, I have tracked down and went through nearly every radio, television, film, and comic book interpretation of Sherlock Holmes - which run a mean gamut regarding quality, as you probably already know - and so I approached this incarnation skeptical but sanguine. Doubtful it would match the eminent Jeremy Brett series in quality, but hopeful it might preserve Conan's tone - something I think that series did well and the Downey Jr. movie did not.

To my surprise, and delight, this show just so happens to be the bomb-diggity. Let me explain.

Ever notice how lots of Agatha Christie fans complain when screenwriters change Poirot and Marple stories? I'm not one of them. I like new and different interpretations of those stories because otherwise, in the case of literary characters brought on screen, what's the point? What's the point if we film and re-film the same story, the same story which we've already read once, twice, maybe three times? Especially in many cases, what's the point when it's been done so perfectly before? In the case of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles has been filmed at least 24 times according to Wikipedia. So another iteration won't thrill me. However, one that takes liberties with the source material, i.e. bringing the characters into the 21st century, I'm all for it. Surprise me. That's what I say.

And there are two things I really love about this series. 1) For longtime fans there are many, many "Easter eggs" to discover in each episode. And, best of all, 2) My boyfriend loves this series. And I can't pay him to watch a Jeremy Brett episode. He did enjoy the Downey Jr. movie (as did I, I just prefer a less swashbuckling Holmes - one reason among many that I didn't love the film), but he's never excited to watch Sherlock anything. This series is different. He loves it. For any Sherlock fan that would like to get their significant others on the band wagon, this is a great gateway. (And my boyfriend's actually a very good barometer for high-quality mainstream television shows. Usually, if something's firing on all cylinders, he knows it. More risky fare - he's off-put.)

And, you may rightly ask, why should I give a crap what my boyfriend likes? Good question. I happen to be of the mind that TV and film can accomplish what my favorite art form - literature - cannot. The TV and film experience can be enjoyed by a group. Sure, book clubs discuss books, but with TV and film you and whomever you want to hang out with, experience story at the exact same time, in real time, and you can easily observe each other's initial, unguarded reactions. Plain and simple, it's fun to enjoy the mediums with others - to laugh together, to be scared, sad, thrilled, etc. It enhances the experience. I think literature's strength is the opposite. For me, the best thing about settling into a good book is that I'm alone. Just me and the test, together making up a story.

Well, if anybody has read this far, I apologize for the rant. But if you're on the fence about buying the DVD or renting it or whatever, take a chance. Take a tip from me. You'll be pleasantly surprised. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Friday, 17 August 2012

The butterfly effect


10 out of 10 for me!!! I am very glad I read the reviews posted by reviewers (thanks a bunch people!). I didn't see this movie in the theater, though I was intrigued too. After reading many reviews saying to watch the directors cut, I rented it and watched that version first. Wow was I blown away… I'm glad that I never saw it in the theater and instead saw the directors cut first. I actually was very teary eyed at the end as it made such an impact (and that never happens to me). Every now and then a movie comes along that makes such a profound impact that it takes a part of you with it, or changes you in some way. This was one of those movies for me. And I can count on one hand the movies that have done that to me… I can't give an unbiased opinion on this, but had I seen the theatrical version first, I probably would have given it an 8 out of 10 instead.

As with many movies, once they hit DVD, there is often additional scenes or a directors edition, and many times they are subtle additions or changes, not with this movie, mark my words. That is why it's important to watch the directors cut first. All this being said, I can see why they released the theatrical version instead as the directors cuts wasn't very Hollywood like. It would have been a risk to release the directors cut as the original theatrical version, but I think it would have done better (again my opinion). So just know the directors edition is more or less a different ending with one or two additional scenes in the middle to support it. But wow how 5-10 minutes of change can make a difference.

I certainly don't want to give much away in this review and for your sake don't read too many reviews or your bound to find one that will spoil it for you, and this is one of those movies that you don't want spoiled if you haven't seen it. So that being said I won't give any spoilers away. I thought the acting was well done by all the actors. The story line is intriguing and kind of Sci-Fi, but is one that you kind of have to accept the time travel thing up front, otherwise you simply can't get into the story. The effects were good, though they weren't a big aspect in my opinion, meaning I don't think the movie depended on them like so many others to succeed. Often times with time travel movies, you always have guys going ape over things and pointing out loopholes. Admittedly they bug me too when they are obvious. With this movie, it was either so carefully thought out or too much for my brain to handle, but in essence I didn't see any major plot holes. I thought the flow of the movie was excellent as it reels you in the more you go along, so much so that you don't even want to pause it to hit the bathroom.

If you like suspense, Sci-Fi's, drama's, `What if' kind of movies then see this movie (Directors cut first) and make up your own opinion. Then watch the theatrical version after. As said in another review, this movie is very involved and interwoven in that if you miss anything, get up to do something or tune out for a bit, you will loose your place and will get confused. So no getting up for pop corn, no bathroom breaks and no other outside interruptions without pausing it first, very important. In fact I would wait until you know you will have 2 hours to yourself before watching. Good nighttime movie. It also has good replay value too as you will understand things from a different perspective the next time around. I wouldn't recommended this movie to those who have been abused in there early childhood, or at least if you have, be ware. It can be a bit much at points as there are some sensitive scenes and I don't recommend to children at all. But the best movies IMO are the ones that chew you up and spit you out, and this one certainly does that.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Breaking Bad Review


First season took off a little slow. It settled up premise, characters, the mood of the show, its world, if you will. It has some great moments though, like body disposal scene from the second episode which made me choke on my own laughing tears.

Second season blew me away. Completely. Right from the very beginning. Second episode Grilled along with sixth episode Peekaboo,being so damn hilarious, bizarre and gripping, I'm sure, will fill find their places in the TV's Hall of Fame, trust me.

What third season will bring, has yet to be determined.

The show has quality to surprise. At first I was a bit skeptical toward it: A school teacher turns to be a drug dealer? Yea' I've heard something similar is already on TV, and I wasn't excited. So if creator of the show appeared to be someone else than Vince Gilligan (who made earlier in his career significant contribution to development of another great show "The X-Files") and if the show was on channel different than AMC or HBO, I even doubt I'd give it a chance. By the way, the pilot was shot with intention to be sold directly to HBO, that's why it later was edited for nudity and explicit language by AMC, which still is a cable channel, but apparently trying to remain more "family friendly."

"Breaking Bad" could be ridiculously funny and hellishly creepy, it contains some rough images and topics, not to mention that it's filmed astoundingly, unbelievably beautiful. Juxtaposition of plots, characters, places, even colors and sounds provides unique installments which had me on the edge of my seat, shaking with laughters and shivering with excitement and aesthetic delight.


Show's overdramatization brings us to the part which I praise the most: Style. It's kind of style that first puts before our eyes some quite clichéd soap-like picture: Common middle-America family consisting of middle-aged Chemistry high school teacher, his pregnant wife, and their cerebral-palsy-inflicted teenaged son. Then chain of circumstances invokes some highly absurd and eerie, often impossibly funny, unbearably scary and hopelessly sad situations. It's the kind of style you may find in 50's noir films, in pictures of French nouvelle vague, in characters of movies by Quentin Tarantino, the Cohen brothers and Robert Rodriguez.

In spite of the vortex of intense and dangerous situations the show manages to carry throughout all its episodes some unexplainable vibe of incredible, Buddhism-like calmness. As if we were told some sort of ancient myth or fable. Of course it has a lot to do with sophisticated work of cinematographers and subtle inputs of art designers. Although I usually prefer dark, foggy, shadowy – could be said depressing – cinematographic atmosphere ("Twin Peaks," "the X-Files," Millennium," "the Sopranos"), I found myself amazed by crystal clear images of "Breaking Bad." Insignificant and empty on the surface, yet filled with dimness and despair; New Mexican sun that doesn't burn you, it gives chills and almost numbs you in the end.

I'm not going to say anything about lead actor Bryan Cranston. His character doesn't speak that much either, it's all written on his face. Aaron Paul's character, on the other hand, has some mouth on him, but don't let him disencourage yourself, yo biach. Their intentions are good, in different ways. But you know the road to hell is paved with what, aren't you?

All of the above combines in highly unorthodox, exceedingly entertaining and fa

Monday, 13 August 2012

21 Jump Street

When I first came to know that (yet) another old TV show is dusted off for a big-screen adaptation, I wasn't that excited at all. After all, that show happens to be the once-popular 21 Jump Street which starred then-young Johnny Depp who became a star here before he gradually earned his distinctive reputation in the Hollywood cinema. Back then, the story about an undercover police unit composed of young-looking officers specializing in youth crime is refreshingly new. But now, it's seriously a worn-out cliché. Then there's the casting of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum -- oh, wait -- Channing Tatum does a comedy? I smell an immediate recipe for disaster here, but directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord's (2009's CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS) live-action debut here seriously caught me by surprise . For all those naysayers out there, this big-screen version of 21 JUMP STREET is surprisingly funny and very entertaining as well.

Like the TV show, the movie revolves around Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum), two young-looking cops who both transferred to the 21 Jump Street division where they will be going undercover posing as students to infiltrate the drugs-dealing business that has been going on at a local high school. Both of them go by their names of Doug and Brad, and once there, they must find way to investigate the rampant use of a dangerous hallucinogenic called H.F.S. Their first lead is a dealer and classmate Eric (Dave Franco), whom they are trying to get close with, in hope that one day he will lead them to the mysterious supplier.

Story-wise, Michael Bacall and Jonah Hill's screenplay is actually nothing new at all. But what makes it refreshingly different than most like-minded script out there is the way how the execution is played out in such a hilarious manner. While there are times the script is trying too hard to be funny, rest assured most of the scenes never fail to elicit some genuine laughs. Thanks to the hard R-rating, Bacall and Jonah Hill let the story rip with all those colorful profanities like nobody's business. Added to that, is some of the worthwhile self-parody gags throughout the movie, especially the highway car chase scene involving the theory of exploding vehicles.

Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller knows well how to keep the pace as entertaining as possible, while the cast here are no doubt the main star attraction here. Jonah Hill proves once again he's one of the genuine comic talents working today, but it was Channing Tatum who totally hits the ballpark with his surprisingly hilarious performance. Personally, I always thought Tatum's acting skill is always wooden at any given genre he's been involving so far (action, drama, romance) but he's finally proved himself as an excellent performer. In fact, both he and Jonah Hill are terrific together. And that's not all -- the rest of the supporting cast are equally playful and memorable as well, including Brie Larson as love interest Molly and Ice Cube at his profane best as Captain Dickson.

Apart from a flair of comedy, Phil Lord and Chris Miller does show some genuine talents in term of delivering well-crafted action sequence. Case in point is the aforementioned highway car chase scene and the violent shootout finale. Overall, 21 JUMP STREET is one of the best action comedy movies really need to be checked out for. And while you're at it, there's a surprise cameo appearance (priceless, indeed) throughout the movie.

Thursday, 2 August 2012


I went with very few expectations, despite being a fan of Neeson and Besson. I came out pleasantly surprised. The film is very much in the Bourne trilogy mold - Neeson's character is a been-there-seen-it-all former CIA agent who knows all the tricks and is also a dab hand at dispatching henchmen quickly and effectively.

Another reviewer (while giving the movie 1/10) noted all the clichés in the movie. That is true, pretty much everyone is a composite of previous action movie stock characters. The acting is pretty wooden at times, and Neeson's American accent (as usual) doesn't overly impress.

I say above "could've been even better" and sadly it does seem like this was an opportunity missed to make a movie that would challenge Bourne. Sadly it falls short there. The action is excellent, Neeson is a very believable tough guy, though the audience I watched it with laughed towards the end when his character takes on almost-superhuman powers.

The film offers a very brief glimpse into the world of sex traffickers but you get the sense that Neeson's character doesn't care about any of these women except his daughter. I think in the end that saves the movie - Neeson doesn't try to save the world, he only wants to save one person and will do pretty much anything to achieve that.

Highly recommended, but don't expect any daring social commentary, just sit back and enjoy, while wondering why Liam Neeson has never tried his hand at any role of this sort before.