Category Archives: Fantasy

A Cure for Wellness (2017) Review

Time: 146 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, sexual violence, offensive language & content that may disturb.
Cast
Dane DeHaan as Lockhart
Jason Isaacs as Dr. Heinreich Volmer
Mia Goth as Hannah
Director: Gore Verbinski

An ambitious young executive (Dane Dehaan) is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. He soon suspects that the spa’s miraculous treatments are not what they seem. When he begins to unravel its terrifying secrets, his sanity is tested, as he finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all the guests here longing for the cure. From Gore Verbinski, the visionary director of THE RING, comes the new psychological thriller, A CURE FOR WELLNESS.

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A Cure for Wellness was very polarising upon its release, some hated it, others loved it. It definitely had a lot of potential, I liked the actors involved with Dane Dehaan and Jason Isaacs, I really like Gore Verbanski as a director and the trailer and premise of the movie was very intriguing. So I was definitely interested in how the film would be despite the mixed reaction. Having finally seen it, I personally think that it’s one of the best films of the year.

A Cure for Wellness is a long movie, it’s nearly 2 hours and 30 minutes long but it kept my interest from the beginning to the end. Yes, the pacing is quite slow at times, perhaps unnecessarily at times, but I was nonetheless engaged despite this. This movie is not completely different from anything we’ve seen before, watching it you can recognise some similarities to other movies (such as Shutter Island). What is different is the way the film tells its story, the structure is a little different, all the details of the movie are important to understanding everything, some of these aspects are ambigious and you actually have to really think about to full grasp what’s going on. I know this because that’s what happened with me, there were parts of the movie that I only understood hours after watching the movie, when certain things clicked for me I could more fully grasp what was going on. However generally the movie is straightforward, with maybe the exception with the ending (specifically the last shot of the movie) which is a little ambiguous. However, with many of the details being ambiguous and with all the twists and turns throughout the film, I can see A Cure For Wellness getting better upon repeat viewings. In terms of flaws, there aren’t many to be honest. There was a possible continuity error and the first act is non-linear for no reason really, it didn’t bother me or hinder the film but it did feel unnecessary. However that’s it to be honest.

The acting all around is great. Dane Dehaan is really good in the lead role. There is an aspect to the film where its questioning whether Dehaan’s character is just imagining and hallucinating a lot of what’s happening and Dane pulls it off well. Mia Goth is quite good as a unique patient at the wellness centre, her performance really worked for the movie. This is the first performance I’ve seen from her and I can tell that she’s very talented, she definitely deserves some more work. The best performance of the film however is from Jason Isaacs, who is in the role of the director of the wellness centre, a very sinister character, definitely leaves an impression on you.

The direction by Gore Verbenski is perfect. The cinematography was excellent, everything from the framing, to the camera movement, the lighting and colour was perfect. It’s a beautiful looking movie overall. This movie is full of disturbing imagery, things that make you genuinely uneasy and uncomfortable, and I don’t usually feel like this during movies so that says a lot. The production design is excellent, the location chosen for the majority of the film is a castle and it gives the film a very unique enbironment. This movie also does well at making you feel uneasy, you can tell that something is off, but a lot of the time you can’t pin it down what it is. The sound design was very effective and it all worked to feel very real and unnerving, the creaking sounds of Dane Dehaan’s crutches as he moves from place to place (he is on crutches for the majority of the film) was an example of this. The music by Benjamin Wallfisch ranges from being haunting and eerie to loud and intense, definitely very effective and memorable. I’m confident in saying that A Cure for Wellness is really one of the best directed movies of 2017 so far.

A Cure of Wellness gets everything right, the acting is great, the story is very intriguing and its different structure and storytelling method makes this a unique and fascinating movie. However, it is Gore Verbenski’s direction that ties everything together and makes everything work so well and makes this movie even better than it already is. As shown by the reactions, it seems that A Cure for Wellness is not for everyone. It is a weird movie, along with the dark tone and grim and grotesque imagery, it is a very different movie in terms of its structure, this structure could potentially turn some people off. If you are curious enough however I recommend checking it. I personally think that it’s safe to say that A Cure for Wellness is going to be one of those films which receives a mixed response upon its release but gains a cult following and is later appreciated as an excellent film.

The Tree of Life (2011) Review

Time: 139 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1]
Cast:
Brad Pitt as Mr. O’Brien
Sean Penn as Jack O’Brien
Hunter McCracken as young Jack
Jessica Chastain as Mrs. O’Brien
Tye Sheridan as Steve
Kari Matchett as Jack’s ex
Joanna Going as Jack’s wife
Director: Terrence Malick

In this highly philosophical film by acclaimed director Terrence Malick, young Jack (Hunter McCracken) is one of three brothers growing up as part of the O’Brien family in small-town Texas. Jack has a contentious relationship with his father (Brad Pitt), but gets along well with his beautiful mother (Jessica Chastain). As an adult, Jack (Sean Penn) struggles with his past and tries to make sense of his childhood, while also grappling with bigger existential issues.

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Tree of Life was a movie I was curious about. I wanted to see a couple of Terrence Malick movies before seeing his latest film (Song to Song), so that I could get used to his style beforehand, so I decided to start with one of his most well known movies, Tree of Life. I expected to see an unconventional, arty film which is visually beautiful, and I really wouldn’t know how to feel about it afterwards and indeed that’s the movie I ended up with. I was left polarised and confused by the end of the movie but yet I think I like the movie. It’s very difficult to describe my experience with the movie.

Tree of Life is not an easy movie to describe, I think the best way to describe all this is to tell how I felt during the movie. This movie is unconventional to say the least. The first 10 minutes focusses on Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and Sean Penn, during this I didn’t know what to think. I couldn’t really tell what was going on. 20 minutes in, there is a 10 minute segment which pretty much featured the universe being created (there’s no better way of describing it). It focusses on random aspects, stars, meteors, nature, animals, plants, even dinosaurs at one point. I was intrigued by what I saw but didn’t know what to really think. The rest of the movie for the most part focussed on the family (Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken, Tye Sheridan) as time goes by. At that point, I started to oddly enough like this movie and I was interested in seeing everything progress. After the family segment, I’m not really sure what to think of the movie, I don’t even know what the ending was supposed to mean and represent. I don’t really know what this movie is about (apart from life). The movie does have a lot of monologues throughout the movie, though I didn’t find myself picking up on what they were meaning. I can see how other people would be bored of the movie, it is very slow paced. I only really started being fully engaged after 30 minutes into the movie. But yet there is something about it that I liked, I haven’t yet figured out what it is.

This movie has a lot of talented actors with Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Sean Penn and Tye Sheridan. They are all pretty good, with Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain being the stand outs as the parents of the family. Even when they aren’t saying anything, it’s easy to see how they feel in certain situations just through their expressions and reactions. Sean Penn doesn’t really get to do much, most of his limited screentime is him just walking around while Terrence Malick follows him around with a camera. With that said, this happens with every actor, a lot of the movie at times just follows the actors/characters around with them having no dialogue and not doing anything that important. I’m guessing that this is what happens with every actor in Terrence Malick movies.

One thing that all people who see this movie will say is that Tree of Life looks absolutely beautiful. Every shot is framed well and looks magnificent. Even the 10 minute ‘creation segment’ was beautiful. I couldn’t tell always what the shots of certain aspects were supposed to represent, but they looked beautiful at the very least. And plus, a lot of the time Malick manages to make the audience feel emotions through his imagery. The only thing directionwise that’s off was a scene with dinosaurs, the CGI looked incredibly fake, embarrassingly bad, and it kinda takes you out of the movie. The soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat was great and really added to the movie.

Tree of Life is not an easily accessible movie. There are a lot of people who really don’t like this movie and find it to be pretentious and boring and I don’t really blame them for thinking this. Tree of Life is different, it’s slow, it’s unconventional. But if you are willing to give it a shot, I recommend watching it. Just know what you are going in for. I myself am not sure about what I had watched but I liked it at a point, it’s difficult to describe why. I get the feeling that Malick’s films are meant to make people feel emotions rather than it be technically good like most movies, not conventionally anyway. I know this review hasn’t been very descriptive of the movie, but honestly that goes to show how unusual of a movie this is.

Pan (2015) Review

Time: 111 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Levi Miller as Peter Pan
Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard
Garrett Hedlund as James Hook
Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily
Adeel Akhtar as Sam “Smee” Smiegel
Nonso Anozie as Bishop
Amanda Seyfried as Mary
Kathy Burke as Mother Barnabas
Lewis MacDougall as Nibs
Jack Charles as Chief Great Little Panther
Cara Delevingne as the Mermaids
Director: Joe Wright

Living a bleak existance at a London orphanage, 12 year old Peter (Levi Miller) finds himself whisked away to the fantastical world of Neverland. Adventure awaits as he meets new friend James Hook (Garrett Hedlund) and the warrior Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara). They must band together to save Neverland from the ruthless pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman). Along the way the rebellious and mischievious boy discovers his true destiny, becoming the hero forever known as Peter Pan.

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Pan looked like it had a lot of potential, so I was a little disappointed when it was ‘panned’ by most people, because I was really curious to check it out. After seeing this much hated movie, I have to say that it is… okay. I’m not going to act like it’s a great movie, I’m not even sure I’d consider it good. It has many questionable aspects of it. But at the same time it has some things that I like with a couple of the actors, the action and the general feel, I didn’t really feel bored throughout. It’s a passable movie.

The story for Pan is not very good. This movie tries to force in a prophecy story for Peter Pan and it is completely unnecessary for it to do this (and its completely cliché). You’ve seen this story before and you’ve seen it done better. Also this film just has some random moments, such as the infamous moments when people start singing “Smells Like Teen’s Spirit” and “Blitzkreig Bop”. I’m guessing that director Joe Wright wanted to be unique by blending modern elements into this story but it just felt incredibly out of place. This movie is basically the first instalment of a trilogy for the origin story for Peter Pan. Unfortunately because this movie flopped and was panned, the sequels were cancelled, so looking at the ending of this movie now is like looking at the last scenes of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. But even in this movie, there are some elements that didn’t work that well. For example, at no point does Hook feel like he could become the villain Captain Hook in the future. There’s never a dark edge to him. Despite this and countless other issues with the movie, it was still watchable, if annoying at times with the constant amount of times they didn’t do things right. I was reasonably entertained throughout, I wasn’t really bored at any point. So at least if you are just wanting an above average family action fantasy film that’s entertaining enough, you’ve got that with Pan.

Levi Miller is playing Peter Pan and he is trying his best here but I have a feeling he wasn’t given enough direction, he was okay overall. The reason to see this movie is Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard, he absolutely steals the show, chewing up scenery in every single scene he’s in. Jackman is effortlessly entertaining in this movie and was used to his fullest potential (in that he was effective as a fun, over the top villain)/ A controversial casting decision was Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily (I didn’t have an opinion on it since this is the first time I’ve seen Tiger Lily in anything). All I will say is that Rooney Mara was good in this movie, probably one of the best performances in this movie alongside Jackman. Her choreography in her action scenes was also great. I will say that she did feel kind of out of place, she still acted well in her role. If there’s a negative acting wise I will say that it’s Garrett Hedlund as Hook. Hedlund is a fine actor but he’s not good here, he is kinda over the top in the annoying kind of way, and as I said earlier there were no hints of villanouy in him, so it’s hard to buy him becoming Peter Pan’s adversary in the future. Oh and Cara Delevingne shows up in a 1 minute cameo as twin mermaids, which was kind of pointless.

The direction of Pan was a bit of a mixed bag overall. A lot of the style and world of Neverland I liked, some of it was hit or miss though. The visual effects are very poor, it looks incredibly fake and embarrassing, especially when it comes to the green screen. It’s actually kind of embarrassing. Aside from that, the action itself was filmed well, with the fight scenes being quite entertaining. The score I will say is great, if only it was used in a much better movie.

Pan is not really that good as a movie but it’s not really bad either. The CGI was very bad, the story wasn’t particularly interesting or special. However I liked Hugh Jackman, Rooney Mara and the action scenes (minus the effects), I wasn’t that bored throughout, it was passable, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t entertained during it. I say check it out if you’re interested but don’t expect anything great.

The Mummy (2017) Review

Time: 110 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Contains supernatural themes & violence
Cast:
Tom Cruise as Nick Morton
Annabelle Wallis as Jennifer Halsey
Sofia Boutella as Princess Ahmanet/The Mummy
Jake Johnson as Sergeant Chris Vail
Courtney B. Vance as Colonel Greenway
Marwan Kenzari as Malik
Javier Botet as Set
Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll
Director: Alex Kurtzman

Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) is a soldier of fortune who plunders ancient sites for timeless artefacts and sells them to the highest bidder. When Nick and his partner (Jake Johnson) come under attack in the Middle East, the ensuing battle accidentally unearths Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), a betrayed Egyptian princess who was entombed under the desert for thousands of years. With her powers constantly evolving, Morton must now stop the resurrected monster as she embarks on a furious rampage through the streets of London.

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I had no idea what to expect from The Mummy. It looked entertaining and I was curious about this ‘Dark Universe’ that they are creating, where all of Universal’s monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, Dr Jeykll and Mr Hyde, etc) exist in the same universe. However the movie didn’t look spectacular. Even though a lot of people really didn’t like The Mummy, I saw it out of morbid curiosity, something I’ve been doing a lot recently and once again I was pleasantly surprised. This is by no means a great movie, the writing isn’t the strongest, you’ve seen this type of movie before. But the film is entertaining, and not in a guilty pleasure way, I found the movie very enjoyable and it’s starting to get me on board with this unique universe that they are creating.

This movie is at a good runningtime, 1 hours and 50 minutes. It’s difficult to be bored, it is paced well, it doesn’t linger too long on scenes unnecesarily. This movie does 2 things, the story with The Mummy and also the development of the Dark Universe with this group called Prodigium, led by Russell Crowe’s Dr Henry Jeykll (yes, as in Jeykll and Hyde). I thought both were done well and worked together well. The Mummy storyline did enough to keep me interested, while the Dark Universe universe building got me on board with… whatever Universal are trying to do. Some of the writing does feel rather familiar, and a little cliché but I could get past it. Also, the third act does take a different direction which I really liked, it was a decision that I didn’t expect them to do and I’m even more intrigued to see where this will play in part with the Dark Universe. Tonally this movie isn’t always consistent. I’m not referring to the action and horror aspects, that was surprisingly balanced well. I’m talking about the comedic moments, during a big action scene or an intense horror scene, a joke might suddenly pop up and it often feels out of place. Then again it didn’t help that a lot of the humour wasn’t that good in the first place. Now as for the changes that the movie has made from the original Mummy (the horror movie, not the Brendan Frasier movies), I have no idea what it’s like as I haven’t seen it. It’s probably not very true to the original though, this movie is going on its own direction, and I was actually fine with that.

Tom Cruise is pretty good in this movie. However I do feel like he might’ve been slightly miscast, maybe that’s the writing though. I have the feeling that the character was meant to be a bit darker but either Cruise couldn’t express that (which he could, he’s shown in other films he can) or the writing wasn’t great enough. Russell Crowe is in this movie as Dr Henry Jekyl, he’s a big tie to the other movies in this Dark Universe. While I would’ve like to have seen more of him he was great. And yes, Dr Jeykll does have a Mr Hyde side, and that was so great to see. The supporting actors are fine, Jake Johnson is okay but his character really didn’t need to be in the movie. Annabelle Wallis is good in the movie, however the chemistry between her and Cruise didn’t always work as well as I think the filmmakers wanted it to. Sofia Boutella was great as the Mummy/Ahmanet. Most of the acting is physical and doesn’t have her deliver a lot of lines but she pulls it off excellently. She also does have great chemistry with Cruise.

I’ve not seen anything from director Alex Kurtzman until now, he did a pretty good job with this movie. The CGI isn’t spectacular, you’ve seen it before but it’s solid enough. The action sequences are very entertaining. There wasn’t really anything directionwise that I found particularly wrong with the movie. It’s just that it’s nothing that you haven’t seen before.

The Mummy was a lot better than I expected it to be. I was consistently entertained throughout with the solid direction, Cruise, Boutella and Crowe. The idea of the Dark Universe is still odd to me, it’s still not clear how the movies will tie in together and how much of a role the characters in this movie will play a part in the other movies. Still, The Mummy does enough to get me interested in these future movies, while being pretty decent itself as a movie.

Wonder Woman (2017) Review

Time: 141 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Contains violence
Cast
Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
Chris Pine as Steve Trevor
Danny Huston as General Erich Ludendorff
David Thewlis as Sir Patrick Morgan
Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta
Elena Anaya as Doctor Isabel Maru/Doctor Poison
Lucy Davis as Etta Candy
Saïd Taghmaoui as Sameer
Ewen Bremner as Charlie
Eugene Brave Rock as Chief
Director: Patty Jenkins

Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, Diana meets an American pilot (Chris Pine) who tells her about the massive conflict that’s raging in the outside world. Convinced that she can stop the threat, Diana leaves her home for the first time. Fighting alongside men in a war to end all wars, she finally discovers her full powers and true destiny.

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Wonder Woman was one of my most anticipated movies of 2017. Despite the divisive and mixed reaction that its been receiving, I have so far loved most of the DCEU (I loved Man of Steel and Batman v Superman and… enjoyed Suicide Squad despite it’s countless flaws). No matter their thoughts on the previous movies, everyone was at the very least interested in the Wonder Woman movie. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman (who everyone loved in BvS) returns to star in the female led superhero prequel, and its directed by Patty Jenkins, who directed the great and often underappreciated Monster. Not to mention that this is the first live action Wonder Woman movie. So there was a lot to look forward to. I expected a great superhero movie and I got more than that. All the elements you’d expect are here, great action, characters and story. However this movie does more than just that, the way it explores humanity with its (quite frankly perfect) protagonist, results in an incredibly inspiring movie, and also one of the best comic book movies in recent memory.

For those who haven’t seen any of the prior DCEU movies don’t worry, you don’t necessarily need to catch up on any of them beforehand in order to watch Wonder Woman. There is definitely a connection between this film and Batman v Superman but it’s for the most part a standalone movie. This movie is around 2 hours 20 minutes long but all things considering, the pacing was pretty good. Yes, I agree with some other people that the pacing in the first act is a little slow but I wasn’t really bored, and I was completely invested throughout the entire runtime. This movie is entertaining, there is a surprising amount of humour and the best part is that it doesn’t ever take away from what’s going on. You will never see an out of place joke in an emotional action sequence. And also, this movie still does have a very emotional centre to it all (more on that in a bit). The film is still dark, it also tackles the impact of war incredibly well, it doesn’t shy away from taking some dark turns. The third act, is yet another explosive action set piece as per typical of DCEU climaxes (as typical of most comic book movies really), but to say that’s all that this segment had to offer would be under-serving it, there is still an emotional core to be found here, it’s not just a brainless action climax.

Now, onto the parts of the movie that truly makes it one of the best comic book movies. This movie is actually pretty straightforward and simple when it comes to the plot, but it’s what’s beneath the movie that makes it so great. First of all is how this movie explores humanity, with Diana as the protagonist, the film explores that aspect excellently. Diana as a character starts off quite innocent, believing that its all one person behind all of humanity’s wars and destruction and without spoiling anything, and lets just say that not everything is how she thought it would be. It feels incredibly raw and unique compared to most comic book movies and was an important and very compelling part of the movie. The other aspect that makes it so great? Wonder Woman is inspiring, in fact I’d say its really the most inspiring comic book movie I’ve ever seen. A lot of people have already called it inspiring so I just want to clarify something: when I say inspiring I don’t mean it’s a light hearted movie with an likable protagonist with good morals. By inspiring I’m meaning how despite all the darkness and odds that the film shows, Diana rises above all odds to be a hero in the best sense of the word. I know I’m being a little vague and not describing it the best way, but trust me, once you see the movie, you’ll immediately know what I’m talking about. The best example of how inspiring this movie is shown in the No Man’s Land sequence, that scene alone demonstrates how great this movie is. Wonder Woman falls in lines with the rest of the DCEU, which is why they are some of my favourite comic book movies of all time (excluding Suicide Squad of course), the heroes despite all odds end up being compelling and inspiring, and it is so incredible to watch.

Gal Gadot truly impresses here as Wonder Woman. While she was really good in Batman v Superman, she gets a lot more to do here as a character. She does of course sell the action sequences excellently but it’s her acting that is most impressive. She perfectly captures Diana’s innocence and optimism, it’s incredibly easy to love and care about her. She goes through a lot of changes as the events of the film go on, as she sees the horrors of war that mankind had to offer. I won’t give away too much, but if you remember what I said earlier about this film being inspiring, Diana is a major part of that and Gal Gadot delivered on that part perfectly, so believable and powerful. Wonder Woman is an incredibly empowering character, and is beautifully and fully realised by both Gadot and Jenkins. Chris Pine was also great, he was really entertaining and he had a perfect blend of comedy and drama. He is very funny but there’s also an emotional core to him. The chemistry between Gadot and Pine was excellent, this is the best chemistry between two actors in a superhero movie since Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in the Amazing Spider-Man movies. Although Pine is the bigger star in comparison to Gadot, he doesn’t feel forced into the movie, he was used appropriately.

A lot of the supporting characters aren’t that complex but they are effective and served the movie well. The Amazonians played by Connie Nelson and Robin Wright and many others were particularly good, I loved the way that the film presented the Amazonians, very memorable and badass despite only really being in the first act. I can’t wait to see more of them in future DCEU films. Other supporting actors like Lucy Davis, Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner and Eugene Brave Rock were really good in their roles as well. The villains were pretty good. With Danny Huston as General Ludendorff and Elena Anaya as Dr Poison, they do act well in their roles (even if Huston does go a little hammy sometimes, especially with his thick German accent). Even though I would say that they are pretty good, they weren’t really great. They really needed a lot more scenes and to develop the characters more, they weren’t that interesting. They were okay overall though, and they served their purpose. Now some will already know of a certain other villainous presence in the movie, I won’t spoil it for anyone who doesn’t know of this character yet. But this villain is by far the best villain in the film. It’s worth mentioning that the handling of the villain on paper looks terrible but in execution surprisingly works well (I’m deliberately keeping this vague). Everything from the performance, to the motivations and writing was so great (bar one unintentionally hammy and hilarious line) and I was overall satisfied with its treatment.

This movie is absolutely beautiful, from the gorgeous island of Themyscira, to the worn torn battlefields on the front line, Wonder Woman looks amazing. The action sequences are fantastic, from the fight choreography to the visuals, absolutely intense and entertaining. A stand out action set piece is of course the aforementioned “No Man’s Land” sequence. I won’t go into much depth about it but I’ll just say that it’s incredible, both visually entertaining and beautiful on a deeper level. It’s probably her stand out moment so far out of all the DCEU, Superman had the World Engine sequence in Man of Steel, Batman had the Warehouse sequence in Batman v Superman, and in Wonder Woman, she has the No Man’s Land sequence. The CGI in the movie was great overall, and was used quite well. While some have complained about the CGI in the third act, it’s not bad by any means, some of it just isn’t fully finished and that’s a little distracting. It wasn’t enough to take me out of the movie though. And plus, even though there is a lot of CGI due to the large scale of the action, the film has established early on the immense scale that the movie is. The soundtrack by Rupert Gregson-Williams was absolutely fantastic. It made the scenes even better, the emotional, and at times beautiful scenes, as well as the large action sequences. Beautiful and epic are the words I’d use to describe the score of Wonder Woman. And for those wondering, yes, Wonder Woman’s electric cello theme from Batman v Superman does make a return, and it is incredibly satisfying whenever it shows up.

Wonder Woman exceeded my expectations. With it’s great lead character, great performances, a compelling and inspiring story and entertaining action, it’s everything that a great comic book movie should be, and more. That’s not to say that there are some issues, but none of it is enough to detract from the greatness of this film. I loved the movie. I wouldn’t say it ‘saved’ the DCEU (as I thought the prior movies except for Suicide Squad were at the very least great), but I will say that is one of the best films in the DCEU, and it’s one of the best comic book movies in recent years. However I do think there is far more to take away from Wonder Woman than how it holds up against other comic book movies. It shows that movies with even simple stories can have so much impact, with Diana’s story being truly compelling and inspiring, despite it being straightforward. This film will also certainly lead to even more excellent female led blockbusters and more female directors getting large projects, which is going to be great to see, a huge step forward for the film industry. Even if you don’t like comic book movies, I do recommend checking Wonder Woman out, I’m pretty sure that you’ll find something to love about it at the very least. Wonder Woman surpassed my expectations and is one of my favourite movies of the year.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) Review

Time: 129 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Contains supernatural themes & violence
Cast:
Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow
Javier Bardem as Captain Armando Salazar
Brenton Thwaites as Henry Turner
Kaya Scodelario as Carina Smyth
Kevin McNally as Joshamee Gibbs
Golshifteh Farahani as Shansa
David Wenham as Scarfield
Stephen Graham as Scrum
Geoffrey Rush as Captain Hector Barbossa
Director: Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg

Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) feels the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost sailors led by his old nemesis, the evil Capt. Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it, he must forge an uneasy alliance with a brilliant and beautiful astronomer (Kaya Scodelario) and a headstrong young man in the British navy (Brenton Thwaites).

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I really didn’t know what to expect going into this movie. I don’t have strong memories of the previous Pirates of the Caribbean movies but I do remember liking the first three and finding the fourth to be mediocre. I wasn’t really looking forward to the fifth instalment, it’s been 6 years since the last film and it seemed tired, forced and it felt like an unnecessary cash grab. Also the marketing wasn’t that spectacular. The only thing that looked somewhat interesting was Javier Bardem as a villain. But out of morbid curiosity I decided to check out the fifth instalment, and to my surprise this movie ended up being better than I expected. I was for the most part entertained throughout, with all the elements of an above average action movie. It’s still got its fair share of flaws however.

movie felt long, which is odd considering that this movie is around 2 hours 10 minutes long, making it the shortest Pirates of the Caribbean movie to date. After a couple of great opening scenes, the first act is quite slow. The segment where the main three characters (played by Depp, Thwaites and Scodelario) are stuck on land early in the movie really drags. It was also at the first action scene with Jack Sparrow that I noticed an immediate problem (and not just Jack Sparrow/Johnny Depp himself), the comedy was rather weak. In fact all things considering, this might actually be the least funniest Pirates movie, it tries so hard to be funny but it just ends up feeling kind of awkward. However the underlining and the main problem with the movie is that it is a little hard to care about what is going on. The only character I had sort of any interest in was Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), he was the best character in the entire movie. Salazar (Javier Bardem) was an effective, entertaining and creepy villain but has simplistic and typical motivations, Henry and Carina (Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario) are okay but their motivations and characteristics are rather bland and uninteresting. And Jack Sparrow is handled the worst out of the main characters, he’s only involved with the story because Salazar is after him and he’s sort of forced into pairing up with Henry and Carina but aside from that, it feels like he doesn’t belong in the movie. Jack doesn’t have any sort of arc or story in this movie, it feels like he was written as a supporting character but put in the role as the main character. So why do I like this movie despite all it’s problems? Maybe its because its been many years since I’ve seen the previous Pirates movies so I just saw this instalment as an simple action adventure movie, the story is minimal and simplistic, same with the character motivations, but it’s enough to keep the movie rolling and it was enough for me to be reasonably entertained by it. This movie does seem to tie up everything with many of the characters in the franchise (no spoilers), almost as if it’s the last film in the series, and while it should’ve been a better conclusion, I’d be fine if this really is the last Pirates movie. With that said, it does have an questionable end credits scene…

I have mixed feelings on Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in this movie, this is the worst I’ve ever seen Jack Sparrow in a Pirates movie. In the first act he was just completely drunk, completely unfunny and unlikable and that’s it. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnny Depp was just being drunk during these scenes. Over time he did get better, occasionally displaying hints of the Jack Sparrow we all know and love. But he still feels like a caricature of what Jack Sparrow really is, though I’m not even sure that it’s Depp’s fault. Brenton Thwaites plays Will Turner’s son and Kaya Scodelario plays a character named Carina, those two are the Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann replacements in this movie. The problem with them wasn’t their acting, they certainly tried as hard as they could to be great and they definitely have a lot of talent, but their characters weren’t that interesting. They do have motivations which are passable but that’s sort of it, these characters are written quite blandly. Javier Bardem was one of my favourite parts of the movie. He’s creepy, entertaining and completely chewing the scenery and he does really go over the top especially with his character being dead but I felt that it worked for the movie. However there’s not much to his character, just another villain wanting revenge against the main character, I like his backstory but aside from that there’s not much to him. Another one of my favourite parts was Geoffrey Rush who reprises his role as Barbossa. Unlike all the other characters, Barbossa had some sort of a story arc and it’s done quite well. I didn’t really have any problems with him. David Wenham is here as a British Royal Naval officer who comes into conflict with the main characters but is ultimately wasted, it’s almost laughable how useless and pointless his character is. There were also cameos from Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, which were nice to see. Oh, and Paul McCartney shows up in this movie for a brief moment, for some reason. It was a rather random cameo.

The action scenes were nice to watch, with them being quite over the top and were very entertaining. However there really wasn’t much tension in these sequences because we don’t care about the characters or their motivations. The climax itself is fine but was oddly enough brief and a little underwhelming. The CGI for the most part worked well, even the CGI on the dead people were done well. However at times it did have some occasional moments when there was CGI overload and some aspects looked a little fake. The soundtrack by Geoff Zanelli was really good, it really added to the film, especially with Salazar’s theme.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was better than I thought it would be. Maybe it’s because I just saw the movie as a simple dumb action flick, so I could look past many of the issues: it has simple characters, a revenge driven, scene chewing villain, over the top action, it was just an over the top action movie. On top of that, there are no other blockbusters about Pirates, so it is rather refreshing to see one in cinemas. There are many flaws, obviously, but this movie has just enough good parts about it to be entertaining.

Beauty and the Beast (2017) Review

Time: 129 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Emma Watson as Belle
Dan Stevens as The Prince/Beast
Luke Evans as Gaston
Kevin Kline as Maurice
Josh Gad as LeFou
Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza
Ian McKellen as Cogsworth
Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts
Audra McDonald as Madame de Garderobe
Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette
Director: Bill Condon

Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) in its castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the beast’s hideous exterior, allowing her to recognize the kind heart and soul of the true prince that hides on the inside.

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Although Beauty and the Beast was on my most anticipated films of 2017 list, it was a movie I was feeling mixed about. It had a lot of potential with it having a good cast. At the same time though, it’s yet another live action adaptation of a Disney movie, which feels like just another cash grab. Overall that’s pretty much what this movie is, it’s not necessarily a bad movie though. On the contrary actually, it’s a pretty decent movie. The acting and most of the execution worked really well. However some of the directional decisions made were rather questionable and took me out of the movie.

The story was good overall, I had no real problems with it. With that said, from what I can tell, this story follows the original story quite closely. So, I don’t take much issue with the story itself, it was some of the decisions made in delivering that story that I felt a little mixed about. I personally liked the second act the most (though again that’s most likely due to the directional decisions being the best).

The acting was generally good all around. Emma Watson did a pretty good job as Belle, I still saw her as Hermoine Granger as Belle, but she did well in her role. Dan Stevens was also really good. Most of the time he is under a lot of makeup and costume but yet is able to convey emotion underneath all that. Luke Evans was great as Gaston, it was a larger than life performance, it was very over the top, which it did take me out of the movie. But from what I can tell it is still less over the top than other versions of Gaston. I will say that Evans fully embraced the role. The standouts to me were Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellan, they were voicing Lumiere and Cogsworth respectively and were quite entertaining.

I like most of the directional decisions made. The effects involving the Beast were very effective, I’m not sure how they did it, but they managed to make it so that Stevens could be able to express his emotions through it. The costume design was great overall. The CGI was effective for the most part, although some of the CGI in the last act was a little fake. I liked most of the musical number. Despite many of the directional decisions I liked, there were some very over the top elements that took me out of the movie, such as the opening Belle song and the last act. Now I haven’t seen the original film, so I can’t tell if some of the decisions were to pay homage to the original film. But either way with some I just couldn’t get into it.

Beauty and the Beast was a pretty good movie overall, with the acting and most of the directional decisions made being decent. I did however have a lot of issues with some of the directional ideas chosen, these ideas really took me out of the movie. As I said, it was not necessary for this movie to exist, it’s yet another okay enough live action Disney adaptation. But despite it being unnecessary, I still think that overall I think it’s a decent movie and if you are a fan of the original film and are interested in seeing this version, see it. You’ll most likely like it a lot.