Anchor link: https://anchor.fm/w/9DC5BF
I wanted very much to like this movie. I did. But I am sorry. On hindsight, you can tell how the movie will turn out just from the title alone.
Firstly the movie, like the title, is long. Too long. It just dragged on and on. It took forever for the two heroes to fight. And then that fight wasn't the end of it. We still had the big bad guy to fight. Then Wonder Woman showed up. Then there was the post-fight. "When will this movie end?" you will ask.
Secondly, the movie tried to do too much and ended up doing nothing. Like the title tells you, there is Batman. There is Superman. There is Dawn of something. There is a Justice League movie coming (actually two parts). So, like a Hong Kong Chinese New Year ensemble movie, cameos and Easter Eggs are all over the place. You end up with a rojak of a movie without a proper story being told. Just a bunch of string of setups for the coming universe.
Thirdly, as the title tells you, this is a very serious movie. Serious serious serious. Don't-bring-your-kid-to-watch-it serious. Many-people-die and Terrorism-is-referenced serious.
Seriously. Does anybody have any FUN at all in the movie? Ok, maybe Lex Luthor. But even his motivations are serious. And he is kind of annoying.
There were bright spots. I enjoyed seeing Wonder Woman. I yayed when she showed up. She was the only character the didn't have any major angst or brooded. She was just straight up badass and whoop-ass. Gal Gadot was so much better here than in Furious 7. All hail Wonder Woman.
Although my wife still thinks Lynda Carter is still the best.
I also enjoyed some of the fight scenes. Batman's vehicles and his Superman-Buster suit were very impressive to see in action.
Oh. If it bothered you that Superman kills in Man of Steel, you'll need to know that Batman kills too, in this movie. A lot. And uses guns. And shoots bad guys with said guns. For some, that's even more sacrilegious than seeing Supes kill Zod in the first movie.
Batman shooting people with guns. It's almost like watching Deadpool, except without the humour.
Yes, I know, I know, Batman has bent his No Guns and No Taking a Life rules in the comics before. But in this movie, it's almost as if he never had those rules. He's just straight up Rambo.
I think if you read many DC comics, you will enjoy this movie and be able to call out all the links and Easter Eggs. But for a general audience, you're just going to be lost. Like my wife, who needed me to explain more than half the movie to her.
Maybe we shouldn't let Zack Snyder direct any more superhero movies. If you didn't like Man of Steel, you won't like this one either.
We get it. Cavill's Superman is a modern-day Jesus (oh look we opened over Easter, so clever!). He is godlike and brooding. Affleck's Batman is also brooding, and angry, and seething. Two angry and brooding mama's boys in one movie.
You almost wish they would beat each other into a pulp and then we can reboot Batman and Superman yet again. Or just proceed with Woman Woman alone.
If you still want to watch this, I would recommend the IMAX version. The epic fight scenes do look grander on the IMAX screen.
Maybe I will rewatch Nolan's Batman series. Batman v Superman makes the Nolan trilogy feel lighthearted and fun now. And at least some of it takes place during the day.
I love seafaring stories and The Finest Hours, based on a true story of a daring rescue by the US Coast Guard in 1952, did it for me.
Four men went out in a little boat to rescue the oil tanker SS Pendleton that broke into two off Cape Cod, and the leader of the group, Bernie Webber, is played with much restraint by Chris "Captain Kirk" Pine.
I actually like this less cocky Chris Pine better.
The love story bit is a bit hokey but the drama at sea more than made up for it.
I watched this in 3D and boy, do you feel the waves crashing down on you.
Casey Affleck also put up a fine performance as the strong and silent Ray Sybert, who became the de facto leader of the men on board the still floating rear half of the stricken SS Pendleton.
I should visit Cape Cod and see the beautiful coast there one day.
I didn't know I could so much feels watching a movie about feelings. Who was chopping onions in the cinema? Manly tears, I tell you. Manly tears.
Visually it was a simple affair but the storytelling was ace. Pixar really knows how to tell a story.
Inside Out follows 11-year-old Riley Anderson (and her five Feelings). Riley loves ice hockey and goofiness, but when her family goes through a major change, her Feelings turn upside down.
The scene where the Feelings inside Riley and her parents react during dinner was one of my favorites. Also funny was the Dreams segment.
It is a nice change from the Pixar's less-wonderful Cars 2 and Monsters University. I really felt like a kid again. Emo sia.
I took Mom to watch the West End production of Singing in the Rain at MBS and boy, did we both enjoy it. Maybe I am an old soul but I love the old school musicals.
Sure, mom and I are familiar with and adore the Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds movie version but the stage version has its own charm.
We also enjoyed watching the front rows frantically putting on their supplied raincoats when the Singing in the Rain number happened. Every deliberate kick of the dancers sent water splashing into the audience, and there were squeals of delight.
Once I got back to the car, I added both the movie and stage versions of the music into my Apple Music collection. Why don't they make music like this any more?
The wife had to put up with with me singing "You are My Lucky Star" and "Good Morning" for the next few days.
Singing in the Rain is on from 9 Jul till 2 Aug 2015, at MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands.
(All photos here taken by me.)
YouTube link: http://mrbrwn.co/1L1adWh
Marvel's Ant-Man in cinemas 16 July.
Finally, I caught #JurassicWorld. Front part was draggy. Only fun when Chris Pratt and the Indominus Rex showed up. Then the action was awesome. Less talk, more teeth, I always say.
It was way better than Jurassic Park III but the first one still the best.
So is the Indominus a cross between a T-Rex and Indomie?
There were so many unnecessary moments. Like the guy in the control room. What does he contribute to the movie except his one key moment?
And why is the ruthless scientist and the cavalier millionaire CEO Asian? Are there no good guy Asians in this movie?
And really? Nobody thinks it's a bad idea to go to a theme park with real dinosaurs? I mean, you go to the Bird Park and that's one thing. But the flying creatures in THIS park EAT people!
I have to confess something. I was actually cheering for the dinosaurs. I know, it's twisted. Go dinos!
Terminator Genisys is truly the real third installment. I can now forget Rise of the Machines and Christian Bale's Salvation ever existed. The fifth movie reboots the franchise with a new timeline. Almost everything is new.
Sarah Connor is Emilia Clarke (*bows before Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Mother of Dragons*) and she makes a fine badass Mother of John Connor. Yes, she isn't some helpless chick anymore.
John Connor's The Hand of the King, Sgt Kyle Reese is now Jai Courtney a.k.a. John McClane's son from Die Hard.
John Connor himself is also new. Inside and out (see trailer for spoiler).
Even Arnold is new because there are three Arnold Schwarzeneggers: Young T-800 Arnold, Middle-Aged Guardian Arnold, and "old, not obsolete" Arnold.
It does get confusing at times, with so many Terminators and Arnolds running around, and as the plot twists and turns trying to explain alternate timelines and memories, and why the merry band of Sarah, Kyle and Good Guy Terminator is jumping between time periods to stop Skynet.
But time travel stories are confusing to begin with. At the heart of it, the movie goes back to the great action and the look of the first two movies. As a fan of the first two movies, I found the allusions to the first two classics satisfying. And also to hear the old lines again.
Some of the CG was suspect. You can tell sometimes that they cheated a little. I suspect liquid metal is easier to show than hybrid flesh-metal shape-shifting.
There were genuinely touching moments, especially between Old Arnold and Young Sarah Connor. The last time I felt this way was in T2, when he was lowered into the boiling metal.
My only gripe was the name Genisys. I kept thinking it was the launch of the Sega Genesis console that caused the evil Skynet to go live. Instead, Genisys in the movie refers to the pre-state of Skynet, an OS that unites the Internet of things.
Why not just call it Terminator Google or Terminator Facebook? That's closer to our reality of putting everything in the hands of a pervasive online system.
I don't know how long Arnold Schwarzenegger can do the sequels that will spawn from this reboot. The guy is kind of old, don't you think? Even body doubles, CG and make-up can only do so much.
But I sure wouldn't mind seeing more Emilia Clarke. Maybe give Khaleesi her dragons in the next sequel, Terminator: Rise of the Dragons.
This image sums up Mad Max: Fury Road for me. A car chase across the desert, monster cars and trucks, and the crazy-looking guy playing rock guitar with flames coming out of it.
From the moment the movie starts, you grab on to your seat and wish your cinema seat had seat belts because the chase hardly stops.
It is a spectacle. The set design. The cinematography. The characters. All blew my mind. It is everything I expected a post-apocalyptic action movie to be.
You don't need to have watched the first three Mad Max movies that starred Mel Gibson to appreciate this installment. But it will be fun if you know those movies too.
Charlize Theron is a goddess and an actress of the highest order. And I've never cheered for badass old ladies on badass motorbikes so much in my life.
Watch it. Then when you come out of the cinema, go to the toilet, pee, and go back into the cinema to watch it again.
YOU WILL RIDE ETERNAL, SHINY AND CHROME! YOU ARE AWAITED IN VALHALLA!
Caught the movie Blackhat on the plane. It was as entertaining as doing timesheets on Lotus Notes.
The bad guy hackers should have blown up all three protagonists in the car bomb scene so the movie can end earlier.
Even using the government's Gebiz website would be less painful than this plodder of a movie.
Even using the MOE's MC Online website to help your kids with their homework on their e-learning days would be less painful.
Even listening to Minister Yaacob Ibrahim talk about cyber stuff would be less painful.
Tang Wei, the beautiful Tang Wei, was cast as some expert network specialist and Chris Hemsworth's love interest. She performed as many convincing expert computer tasks as a flower vase.
The movie may have been saved if Wang Leehom sang a Chinese R&B song. It may have alleviated some of the long draggy stretches. And may even have helped distract from the nausea of Michael Mann's shaky cam obsession.
And if Chris Hemsworth can convince you he is a hacker, then I am Thor.
Now to uninstall the movie from my brain. It may take some time.
I can finally talk about Avengers 2. Watch it. Watch it in IMAX. Watch it twice if you can. Hulkbuster fight was WOW.
Hawkeye was a surprise. He was a pleasantly humanizing part of the story this time. In the quiet moments, Renner's character brings a much-needed non-superpowered-dude-just-doing-his-job perspective to the battle fatigue that a movie like that can be.
Also exciting was the introduction of the Avenger not seen in this poster. In gaming parlance, we'd say Paul Bettany was "godlike".
Black Widow really kicked ass in this installment. Which was awesome. I like how the non-superhumans got some meaty moments.
The main weakness of the movie though, was it tried to do too many things. And if you are not a comic book movie fan, you might get lost in the subplots and stuff going on.
My wife saw the roster of Avengers at the end of the movie and said she didn't think the team was as strong as the original team. Let's see how that pans out.
Fast & Furious 7, also known as Furious 7, also known as We Like To Stand In a Straight Line 7, was really quite enjoyable. Stupid silly fun. Don't think, just get in and put on your seat belt.
This time, Deckard Shaw, played by Jason Statham, goes after the Furious 7 team, to take revenge for what they did to the main bad guy in Fast & Furious 6, his brother, Owen Shaw.
Owen Shaw, as you all know, did this really bad thing in Fast & Furious 6, which is why Dominic Toronto, er Terazzo, er Cornetto, ok ok, Vin Diesel, had to whack him. Actually, I can't remember the plot for Part 6, and you too, right?
So it is with Furious 7. Who cares about plot? We just want to see cars flying through the air and The Rock wielding a Gatling gun as big as his body despite being injured. And Furious 7 delivers the over-the-top action in spades.
You will laugh at some of the stunts they pull.
You will find yourself saying, "Random siol!"
You will wonder how the bad guy got his hands on a Predator drone.
Easily one of the best Fast & Furious installments so far.
Question: What is up with the lack of hair in the Fast & Furious world?
Dwayne Johnson, no hair. Vin Diesel, no hair. Tyrese, no hair. Ludacris, Jason Statham and Djimon Hounsou, almost no hair.
No hair is more aerodynamic, issit?
The tribute to the late Paul Walker was also pretty well done and moving.
Chappie was lovely. I have now forgiven Blomkamp for Elysium after this. I've never felt this much for a robot.
It was closer to District 9's spirit and the movie impressed with its heart. The action and CG was great when it happened but you don't watch this for robots blowing stuff up alone.
Hugh Jackman was a tad two-dimensional as the villain in this piece, and Dev Patel was a little limp as Deon, Chappie's "Maker". But Sharlto Copley captured Chappie's movements so convincingly ,and Ninja and Yo-Landi Visser stole the show.
Brilliant and fun stuff.
Project Almanac was a decent enough time travel yarn as long as you can take:
A) super shaky cam
B) major Microsoft product placement.
I mean, really? Kids all use Microsoft Surface tablets, Lumia phones and build time machines out of an Xbox? A bit obvious, right?
I think The Butterfly Effect is still the better movie but Project Almanac is light and entertaining fluff.
You do have to suspend disbelief in many areas. I mean, this is a found footage movie, and by that I mean the whole movie is shot like it has been edited together from video from consumer cameras. Like the movie Cloverfield.
They try to make you think there is a reason the young people in this movie are video-recording. Every. Freaking. Moment of their lives.
Sure, ok. We can accept that. But wow, their camera can zoom in from super far away and you still hear the audio of the couple talking as if they are standing next to the other teenager shooting the scene.
And the low light performance of these consumer cameras are astounding. Next to no light and you can still shoot so much detail!
I want that kind of high tech camera too.
The characters are likable enough. And we enjoyed the movie. But we did feel a little nauseous after the end credits.
Taken 3 was… ok. I wish I can say it was as good as the first but it was serviceable. Not to be Taken too seriously.
The plot is like The Fugitive (Tommy Lee Jones, Harrison Ford) except with more killing and neck-snapping.
And really, by now, you'd think Bryan Mills should know how to keep his loved ones safe. But nooooo, the movie may as well be renamed Woefully Negligent Parenting.
I think the idea of having the police after him and at the same time having to deal with bad guys was interesting. But you never really saw it resolved in an artful way.
And without a clear villain, you aren't really rooting for Bryan Mills here. Who is the bad guy? Who?!
And as Liam Neeson huffed and puffed his way through some of the running scenes, you can't help but wonder if the franchise is getting somewhat tired.
Perhaps it is apt that the movie tagline is "It ends here."
My buddies and I watched Brotherhood of Blades (绣春刀) in Penang because we were bored (hey you can only have six meals a day before you run out of space for awesome hawker food).
Also, movie tickets in Malaysia are so much cheaper than Singapore.
Didn't know a single Chinese actor or actress there but the made-in-China movie was not bad. Great fight scenes and a conspiracy plot that was actually easy to follow.
The story is about three sworn brothers-in-arms in the Ming Dynasty, who are lowly Imperial Assassins (kind of like Black Ops grunts) in over their heads with political intrigue, conspiracies and evil plots.
The women in the movie were generally 花瓶, to look cute or helpless, which was annoying. And sometimes, the acting was over the top.
Once in a while, you see a lost-looking extra who is supposed to be an elite soldier looking like an clueless recruit just out of BMT.
Still, production values remained generally high. Sometimes the show gets a little too violent for my taste.
The Chinese language used in the dialogue was cheem, flowery and beautiful, even to someone like me, whose Chinese isn't that great. Still, I was thankful for English subtitles.
YouTube link: http://youtu.be/8lYRxA6RhjA
I was at the red carpet of the 27th Tokyo International Film Festival, and caught a glimpse of many stars, including Arashi, Festival Muse Miki Nakatani and the team from Disney's Big Hero 6.
Watch out for my interview with the Big Hero 6 team, coming soon!
Fury was a fierce WWII movie. Epic tank battles, killing Nazis, gritty underdogs what's not to like?
The middle was a bit draggy though. The movie is no Inglourious Basterds, even both movies have Brad Pitt in it. Fury takes itself very seriously and sometimes, that drags the pace down.
We get it. War is terrible. People die. Body parts have to be cleaned off the inside of tanks.
When Fury gets to the fighting parts, it is clobbering time. And even it's even more entertaining when you know that the Americans are using peashooter M4A3E8 Sherman tanks against vastly superior German Tiger tanks.
What the Shermans lacked in armor and firepower, it made up for in numbers and reliability. And the ability to travel in water. Shermans were the Zergs to the Tigers who were the over-engineered Protoss.
But the German tanks were truly fearsome beasts and a single Tiger could obliterate several Shermans by itself.
Sherman tanks couldn't penetrate their armor without hitting them from the sides or behind, and in one scene, the movie captures this fight brilliantly.
Watching this makes me want to build model tanks again. And maybe play a WWII game. Maybe Battlefield 1942.
[Photos courtesy of Shaw]