Tag Archives: Charlize Theron

The Fate of the Furious (2017) Review

Time: 136 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Contains violence & offensive language
Cast:
Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto
Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs
Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw
Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz
Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce
Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges as Tej Parker
Scott Eastwood as Eric Reisner/Little Nobody
Nathalie Emmanuel as Ramsey
Kurt Russell as Frank Petty/Mr Nobody
Charlize Theron as Cipher
Director: F. Gary Gray

With Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) married, Brian and Mia retired and the rest of the crew exonerated, the globe-trotting team has found some semblance of a normal life. They soon face an unexpected challenge when a mysterious woman named Cipher (Charlize Theron) forces Dom to betray them all. Now, they must unite to bring home the man who made them a family and stop Cipher from unleashing chaos.

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I wasn’t sure about how I would feel about The Fate of the Furious. I liked all of the previous instalments of the Fast and the Furious franchise (haven’t seen the fourth though), especially the more entries in the series. However, the series has started to feel tired and forced, so I had no idea what I would think of the movie. Honestly, The Fate of the Furious surprised me, it’s one of the best movies in the series, with it being completely over the top, but also having a fitting story which tied everything together well.

What this movie did better than the past two Fast and Furious movies (which I still enjoy) is that it doesn’t focus unnecessary attention on other plot points. In Furious 7, while it’s a revenge story with Statham hunting down Diesel and his crew, it unnecessarily focussed on a pivotal device called ‘God’s Eye’, which it really didn’t need. Fate is a lot more straightforward and benefits a lot from that. I was never bored throughout the movie, the pacing of the movie was quite fast and at the same time it never felt rushed. As for the main plot point of the movie, the reason for Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto betraying his team (without spoiling anything), it is really well done and works for the movie. This movie does work on an emotional level surprisingly, it’s not just entertaining, there’s enough in this movie to actually care about what is going on. I was entertained from start to finish, Fate of the Furious was a very fun ride.

The acting is the same as it is in the other movies but some actual character development is here, meaning that these actors had more to work with than in other movies. Vin Diesel particularly is given quite a lot to work with emotionally and while he’s not that good as an actor, he did well enough in these certain scenes. The acting from the other cast works well enough (even though they aren’t great), there are some stand outs. Dwayne Johnson as usual brings his A-game and charisma, so entertaining to watch. I also really liked Jason Statham here, instead of serving as a villain like in the last movie, his character this time teams up with the main characters and it surprisingly works quite well. While I liked him in Furious 7, the film didn’t use him to his full potential. Here though he gets a lot to do. He is particularly fun in his scenes with Dwayne Johnson, those two verbally sparring were so entertaining to see. However the most stand out performance is Charlize Theron, who without a doubt plays the best villain in the franchise’s history. Not only is she smart, she is also very threatening and scary, making a real impression. Definitely an impressive character and performance for the franchise.

The action is even more over the top than the previous movies, and that’s saying a lot. All the action is completely entertaining. There were two stand out sequences to me, one of them was the Manhattan sequence, in which Theron’s character hacks cars. The other was pretty much the entire final act, which involves cars driving on ice as well as an submarine firing torpedoes at them, and its absolutely insane. It does go on for a little too long but I still enjoyed every moment of it. The laws of physics are defied completely, so of course do not go into this movie expecting any form of realism. If there’s any criticism I had, some of the fight scenes were filmed a little shakily but that is it.

If you don’t like any of the Fast of the Furious movies, you won’t like this movie. If you don’t like the recent movies in this series and prefer the street racer focussed movies, you won’t like this movie. However, if you enjoyed the movies 5-7, you will probably like this movie. It’s not a great movie but it knows what it is, and is endlessly entertaining. I do feel that it would be unnecessary to have more movies in this series, and Fate of the Furious would be a good way to end the main series, but I would like to see spin off movies, especially if its with Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson, it has a lot of potential.

Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) Review

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Kubo and the Two Strings

Time: 101 minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Contains violence & scary scenes
Cast:
Art Parkinson as Kubo
Charlize Theron as Monkey
Matthew McConaughey as Beetle
Ralph Fiennes as Raiden the Moon King
Rooney Mara as the Sisters
George Takei as Hosato
Director: Travis Knight

Young Kubo’s (Art Parkinson) peaceful existence comes crashing down when he accidentally summons a vengeful spirit from the past. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey) to unlock a secret legacy. Armed with a magical instrument, Kubo must battle the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) and other gods and monsters to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known.

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This is a movie that interested me ever since I heard about it, mostly because of the voice acting cast with Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara and Ralph Fiennes involved. Also this film is made by Laika Entertainment, a stopmotion animation studio who’s made quite a few animated movies. Admittedly before this movie the only other film by Laika that I’ve seen was The Box Trolls, which I liked quite a bit. But I know that they are generally well liked with films like Coraline. After seeing Kubo and The Two Strings, I have to say that this is not only my favourite animated movie of the year so far, it is also one of my favourite movies of the whole year. Everything from the story to the animation is so well done. I hope we get more animated films like these.

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I found myself invested in the story from start to finish. All things considered, this film is darker and more mature than most animated movies, both in regards to visuals and some of the things that happen during the story. The film is also willing to slow down for some great character and story moments. This is something that I wished more animated films did, be more willing to be a little more different and challenging for children. I do think that children will enjoy Kubo (even if the film might be a little too scary or slow for them) but adults will enjoy it much more.

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The characters for the most part were also written well and were quite memorable. Kubo was a likable and relatable protagonist. The show stealers for me though, were Monkey (Charlize Theron), Beetle (Matthew McConaughey). I guess if we are talking about weak links in regards to characters, it’s the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes), the main villain of the film. He’s not written badly but he doesn’t have enough screentime and felt a little weak. He’s fine overall though. I thought the other villain(s), The Sisters (Rooney Mara), Kubo’s aunts who are sent after Kubo were much more effective and memorable, they were also showstealers in the film and I loved watching them when they were on screen.

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If you know Laika, you know that they use a lot of stopmotion animation. I don’t know how it compares to most of their other films as I’ve only seen The Box Trolls but I thought the animation for this movie was absolutely fantastic. This movie is beautiful from start to finish, the environment and locations were great, they really blended CGI and practical work well. The costume designs and actually the designs for everything was fantastic. It’s a very well designed movie overall.

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Kubo and the Two Strings is absolutely fantastic and is one of the best films of the year. From the beautiful animation, to the well written and memorable characters (which is helped by the brilliant voice actors) to a great story, this movie was great at pretty much every level. It also goes further than most children’s animated films, both tonally and structurally. Go out and see this movie as soon as possible. You will not be disappointed.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Review

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Mad Max Fury Road

Time: 120 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence and content that may disturb
Cast:
Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa
Nicholas Hoult as Nux
Hugh Keays-Byrne as Immortan Joe
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as The Splendid Angharad
Riley Keough as Capable
Zoë Kravitz as Toast the Knowing
Abbey Lee as The Dag
Courtney Eaton as Cheedo the Fragile
Director: George Miller

In the stark desert wasteland populated by a broken humanity driven with survival and the unending ravage for gasoline, a loner named Max (Tom Hardy) finds himself unwantedly caught in the middle of a chase while aiding the heroine Furiosa (Charlize Theron), and her female companions, she struggles to return to her homeland and escape the clutches of a ruthless dessert gang leader, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). With the harsh desert sands in front of them and marauders behind, only the maddest will prevail the storm.

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The Mad Max franchise has started having a huge following ever since its debut in the late 70s. After the last instalment (Beyond Thunderdome), it’s been 3 decades since director George Miller has created an entry in the franchise. I think all of us knew at least in the back of our minds that it would be good but not to this level of perfection. This is one of the best action movies I’ve seen in years. There are some people who are saying this is the best action movie of the decade, now that I’ve seen it, I can understand why. George Miller has created an action movie for the ages, that action movies nowadays should take cues from.

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You don’t really need to see the other Mad Max movies before watching this one. It might bring some things from Max’s past (involving his family) but that’s it. Some people say that this film doesn’t have any story but that’s not true. There definitely is story, it’s just done more visually and doesn’t require too much dialogue to show it. Now the first thing you need to know going in is that this film is insane, in many ways. Everyone in this movie is mad, even Max (hence the title) but a lot of what happens in this movie is crazy, for example there is a truck which has people playing drums and a guy who plays a guitar and fire bursts out the neck. At that point, you’ll probably be able to decide if this is a movie that you’d like to watch. This is a pure action movie and a great one at that.

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Tom Hardy was pretty good as Max and he is believable in his role. He doesn’t try to imitate Mel Gibson’s portrayal and really does well to make this character his own. Despite this movie being a Mad Max movie, Furiosa is as much of a main character as Max is. Charlize Theron is great as a main character and I’m looking forward to seeing more of her in the movies to come. Other actors like Nicholas Hoult were also great and did add a lot to this film. The acting overall was pretty good and like most of the story, the actors don’t need much dialogue to carry out their great performances.

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These are some of the best action scenes I’ve seen in many years. The stunts are masterfully done, and it’s hard to imagine how George Miller and his team managed to make that happen. Most of the effects are practical and when there is CGI, it blends seamlessly into what was happening like Furiosa’s missing arm or a dust tornado. The soundtrack was also great and fitted the moments perfectly, as well as putting the film on an even bigger and grander scale.

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I was worried that this film would be 2015’s Edge of Tomorrow or Dredd, a movie that people would say is good but wouldn’t get enough attention. Fortunately it was announced recently that there will be a sequel, Mad Max: The Wasteland. If more action movies are like Fury Road, I think the future of action movies is looking a lot brighter. If you love action films, go as soon as possible to a theatre near you and see this movie, this is the action movie you’ve been waiting for. The rest of 2015 definitely has a tough act to follow and this is so far my favourite film of the year.