Friday, May 18, 2018

Review Rampage (2018) 9/10 - Action packed, big, loud, and a lot of fun.

Video game adaptations into films have been ongoing with a curse from missing a specific target audience. Resident Evil's are not great films but have been entertaining with its action. The new Tomb Raider reboot was surprisingly good but could have been more. And there are other lacklusters like Prince of Persia, Doom, Silent Hill, ect. A movie about three giant monsters of a crocodile, gorilla, and a grey wolf causing a mass destruction in a city. Yes, that is what the arcade games are about and that is exactly what you can expect in this Rampage film. At least, it is one hell of a wild ride of fun. So don't expect any award winning script with great dialogue, a long developing story, or logic with characters choices in the movie. If you leave all the critical thinking out before watching the film, you will find the film to be what it is. And it does its job, which is entertaining and being a lot of fun.

The plot follows after a science experiment gone wrong in space leaving three canisters to fall on Earth. A primatologist Davis (Dwayne Johnson) notices one of his gorilla friend George is infected with and a lot bigger. After his agitation and escape from the Zoo. The government agent Harvey (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) captures George and tries to take him into a more secured location. Meanwhile, a corporation that was in charge of the space station experiment of genetic editing led by Claire (Malin Akerman) and her brother Brett (Jake Lacy) tries to send a signal to bring in the giant gorilla and the other two infected beasts of a giant grey wolf and a mutated crocodile.

The film is a lot of fun. It has a lot of action and big set pieces. It is loud, big, and dumb. But it is definitely a film of escapism of watching three giant beasts destroying a city. While the military are giving everything they got to stop them. And Davis and Dr. Kate (Naomie Harris) are trying to find a solution to get George back and to have the giant gorilla stop the other two beasts. The visual effects are awesome. There may be some cheesy cgi with the military jets or watching Dwayne Johnson running through falling buildings and avoiding a lot of heavy debris while the monsters are battling it out.

Dwayne Johnson is becoming one of the actors you enjoy watching on screen. If you either like his big tough attitude responses or enjoy him facing the impossible with the action sequences. Naomie Harris was okay playing a sidekick character with Davis. Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy play cheesy villains of a cliché corporation on wanting to create deadly experiments for there own personal gain. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was a lot of fun playing a cowboy attitude government agent. (Almost feels like he was playing the same character as Negan from The Walking Dead series).

Director Brad Peyton created a wild ride with San Andreas film. He does the same with Rampage. It is big and loud and action packed. From an exciting sequence with mercenaries fighting with a giant wolf in the forest to George's escape on the plane. And the final half hour climax of three monsters causing mass destruction. Also, there is some fun humor. And George and Davis friendship does try to build an emotional connection with the gorilla that tries to have you rooting for the beast.

Overall, Rampage is a really good film. It is action packed throughout. The visual effects are awesome. The characters are fun and cheesy. The plot and concept is everything you can expect for a blockbuster fun of monsters causing destructions.

I recommend seeing this film on the big screen in theatres. If you are looking for a blockbuster escapism of big action and mass destruction. And seeing Dwayne Johnson battle through this destruction. This would be the film to check out. It is a lot of fun.
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Review Avengers: Infinity War (2018) 10/10

This movie will blow your mind and break your heart - and make you desperate to go back for more. Brave, brilliant and better than it has any right to be.

Over the past decade, Marvel has earned itself the benefit of the doubt. The studio has consistently delivered smart, funny, brave films that both embrace and transcend their comic-book origins. The 18 blockbuster movies produced since Iron Man first blasted off into the stratosphere in 2008 have not only reinvented superhero films as a genre - they've helped to legitimise it. Indeed, Marvel's two most recent films - Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther - have received the kind of accolades usually reserved for edgy arthouse flicks.

And yet, it's perfectly reasonable to be apprehensive about Avengers: Infinity War. This is a blockbuster film that's been ten years in the making, its plot hinted at and scattered throughout 18 other movies. It features 30 or so characters, each with their own complex backstories and motivations. And all of them are coming together in a bid to stop a giant purple alien dude from destroying the universe. It sounds ridiculous, and feels impossible.

But that's precisely what makes the final product such a monumental achievement. Masterfully directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, Infinity War is bold, brainy filmmaking at its very best: the kind that will lift your spirits, blow your mind and shatter your soul - occasionally in the same scene. It demonstrates on an epic scale what Marvel has known all along: that special effects and tightly choreographed action are there to serve the story. For all its blockbuster spectacle (and there's almost too much of that), the film works because it's anchored by the heart, humour and humanity of its characters.

The film's basic plot is simple: Thanos (played via motion-capture by Josh Brolin), intergalactic purveyor of death and destruction, has long been on the hunt for the six Infinity Stones that will give him complete control over the elemental building blocks of the universe. He dispatches his acolytes to Earth to retrieve the Time Stone, currently in the possession of Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), and carve the Mind Stone out of the forehead of Vision (Paul Bettany). It's a literal existential threat so terrifying that all the heroes we've come to know and love - from the Avengers to the Guardians of the Galaxy - must put aside their differences and unite against a common foe.

From the outset, it's immediately clear that neither the film's directors nor screenwriters (Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) are interested in playing it safe. Most other superhero films are bled of high stakes - the hero in the title might suffer untold trauma, but it's a super-safe bet that he or she will make it to the end alive. There's no such guarantee here. Within the first ten minutes, we are confronted with the dark, twisted depths to which Thanos and his acolytes in the Black Order will sink in order to achieve their goals. Death, as well as genuine loss and sacrifice, is intrinsic to the narrative drumbeat that drives Infinity War ever forward, and the film is all the better for it.

That's not to say the movie is a morbid and depressing experience. What's so impressive about Infinity Wars is how it expertly juggles its constantly shifting tones and moods. When it's funny (and it very often is), it's deeply, truly funny. The film finds maximum joy in flinging characters together with merry abandon, mixing and matching ones you'd never have expected to share scenes or trade banter. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is floored by Thor's (Chris Hemsworth) godly muscles. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) is charmed by the wit and intelligence of Shuri (Letitia Wright). And it'd be impossible to not be utterly delighted by Peter Dinklage's inspired cameo. It's a blithely tongue-in-cheek sensibility shared by Marvel's best comic books, which understand that humour can make you care when it really counts.

And, boy, does Infinity War make it count. There are many heartbreakingly human moments threaded throughout the film: from the charming surrogate father-son dynamic shared by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) and Peter Parker (Tom Holland), to the undeniable love that ties Vision and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) together. In many ways, the film stands as a testament to the human capacity not just to love, but to love fiercely and beyond all logic. It's right there when the unfailingly noble Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) declares, "We don't trade lives", even when giving up one could save billions.

There's even a chilling echo of it in Thanos himself. A lesser film would have turned Thanos into a one-dimensional villain, much the way he's all monster and maniac in the comic books. In Infinity War, however, Thanos' end goal is surprisingly relevant when it comes to thinking and talking about the staggeringly overpopulated world in which we live today. There is, as it turns out, method to Thanos' madness. It makes the tragic twists and turns in his relationships with his estranged adopted daughters, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan), all the more unsettling.

For the most part, Infinity War does justice, too, to the many heroes who have been assembled for the film. The Russo brothers displayed great skill at interweaving multiple perspectives and character trajectories in Captain America: Civil War, and they do so again here, with twice as many characters. Even the most minor of supporting players, like Don Cheadle's James Rhodes/War Machine, are given story beats that land. It helps that Marvel has always taken care to cast genuinely good actors in roles that might otherwise come off as silly and slight.

Even so, there are a few standouts amongst this enormous and enormously talented cast. Emotionally speaking, this is Downey's film. He plays every note of Tony's reluctant courage and bone-deep trauma, as he embarks on what he's convinced is a suicide mission. He's ably matched by Cumberbatch, who finds vulnerability even in his character's most cunning and calculative move. Hemsworth, meanwhile, is given free rein to import the big-hearted comedic swagger of Thor: Ragnarok into this film - while also layering it with a deeply-felt, jagged grief for the losses he has suffered at the hands of Thanos and the universe.

In a film with so many moving parts, some elements don't work quite as well. A couple of characters that you might have expected to be right at the forefront - including an original Avenger or two - fade into the background. The film tumbles from dizzying fight scene to dizzying fight scene, and while most of them are fantastically choreographed, there are some purely dumb moments that literally revolve around attempts to prevent Thanos from clenching his fist. In effect, this is a superhero mêlée that's part over-the-top and part overkill, and might prove too much for those who don't already care for this franchise and the characters in it.

Minor quibbles aside, though, Infinity War is yet another step in the right direction for Marvel. It continues the studio's tradition of placing a premium on rich, complex storytelling that respects both its characters and its audiences. But it also refuses to make things easy for itself. The film ends even more bravely than it began, with a final ten minutes that will haunt and horrify you in equal measure. It's a stroke of bold, brilliant genius - a narrative risk so audacious that you'll want to follow Marvel wherever it goes next.
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Review Book Club (2018) 7/10

Oddly enough I was pretty hyped for Book Club. Seeing some of the great actresses of decades ago working together for a romantic comedy? I was in. Especially since I think Mary Steenburgen is super HOT. She is aging so gracefully, and I'm ready to argue with anyone who disagrees. Anyways I thought the film was as expected. its sweet has characters to like, and can be enjoyed by younger and older crowds alike.

The film is about for women in a book club and how their romantic lives become influenced by the books they read. They decide to read Fifty Shades of Grey and they try to incorporate what they read in the book to their romantic lives. Of course, there are bumps in the road for each of the four ladies' relationships and they need to collaborate and explore how they can make things work. Apart from Super hot Mary, the film also stars Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, and Candice Bergen.

The reading of the Fifty Shades series or even having the book club isn't completely necessary. The film is about the ladies' relationships and it could survive without the club or the books. Not all of the romance arcs are as interesting as the others but the actresses make it work. The humor is timely and comes at good times. There a few sexual references but overall the film is safe and sweet.

This is overall a very simple film that does not have a whole lot going on. The plot is supplemented by a good cast who make the film a charming experience. I was just happy to see the likes of Keaton, Fonda, and Steenburgen working together even if it came decades after they were ever present in Hollywood. Perfect film to just sit and enjoy with a glass of wine.
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Review Deadpool 2 (2018)

Deadpool 2 delivers the Hilarity, Vulgarity and Action-Packed Fun That I Wanted

I was able to see Deadpool 2 at an advance screening. Deadpool shook things up and delivered offbeat fun when diehard fans were looking for something new from the genre. I thought it was a surprisingly well-rounded movie that perfectly encapsulated its hero and lovingly poked fun at both itself and other genre tropes. It was among my favourite movies of 2016. When it comes to bringing the laughs, I think Deadpool 2 is just as funny as the original entry. There's even more meta jokes, the same gleefully dirty spirit carries over and some unexpected payoffs left me cackling. They build upon some of the previous memorable bits (I admire Ryan for being so willing to relentlessly skewer his filmography) without it going stale. Luckily, they didn't ruin the movie by putting all the funny bits in the trailer and there's plenty to enjoy. They weren't afraid to push the envelope with the humour and stick around past the finale for a truly epic bit that rolls during the credits.
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