Movie Review: Hercules

It is about time I released a video review. Recently I watched Hercules and I thought it would be opportune to do a video on it as I don’t have much to write about it.

 

 

Advertisements

Movie Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

 

Apes with machine guns, need I say more?

Today, I watched Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (I will call it Dawn from now on as the title is 3 syllables too long). It was really, really good. The film allows the viewers to explore this world where apes reigned supreme rather intelligently and did not spoonfeed us that much. I was thoroughly impressed.

The plot follows Caesar, the ape from the first film, as the leader of the apes that escaped to the forest (as shown by the first film). The film is set 10 years after the events of its predecessor. While walking through the forest, Caesar’s son Blue Eyes and Rocket’s son Ash encounter a human. The human, Carver, panics and shoots Ash, killing him. Carver calls for the rest of his small party of survivors, led by a man named Malcolm, while Blue Eyes calls for the other apes. Caesar orders the humans to leave. The remaining humans in San Francisco, genetically immune to the virus, are living in a guarded tower within the ruined city. Prompted by Koba (from the first film), Caesar brings the apes to the city where he orders the humans to never enter ape territory again. Malcolm convinces his fellow leader Dreyfus, played by Gary Oldman (a.k.a Commissioner Gordon) to give him three days to reconcile with the apes to gain access to a hydroelectric dam in their territory, which could provide long-term power to the city. Dreyfus, distrustful of the apes, arms survivors using an abandoned armory. Caesar allows Malcolm to work on the dam’s generator, provided they surrender their guns. As Malcolm, his partner Ellie, and son Alexander work, they bond with the apes. Mutual distrust of both sides gradually subsides but trust momentarily comes to a standstill when Carver threatens Caesar’s newborn with a concealed weapon. The sides reconcile as Ellie is allowed to treat Caesar’s ill wife Cornelia with antibiotics. Meanwhile, Koba discovers the armory and confronts Caesar, questioning his allegiance. In response, Caesar heavily beats Koba, but refuses to kill him and forgives him. Koba returns to the armory and, after murdering two human guards, steals an assault rifle. He then kills Carver, stealing his lighter. The dam is eventually repaired, restoring power to the city. During the celebration, Koba, unnoticed, has the apes’ home set ablaze. Unseen by anyone else, Koba and Caesar lock eyes as Koba shoots Caesar in the chest, causing him to presumably fall to his death. In the panic of the loss of the Alpha and the fire, Koba takes charge, placing the blame on Malcolm’s group and orders the apes to war against the humans. Malcolm’s group hides as Koba leads the apes into San Francisco. They plunder the armory and charge the tower’s gates. Despite heavy casualties, the apes overrun the tower and imprison all the humans as Dreyfus flees underground. When Ash refuses Koba’s orders to kill unarmed humans, citing Caesar’s teachings, Koba kills Ash and jails all apes loyal to Caesar. Malcolm’s group find Caesar barely alive and transport him to his former home in San Francisco. Caesar reveals to Malcolm that Koba shot him, realizing his notion that all apes were better than humans was naive. As he enters the city to find medical supplies so Ellie can operate on Caesar, Malcolm encounters Blue Eyes and reunites the two. Caesar grows nostalgic examining mementos from his childhood home as Malcolm learns of Caesar’s past. Blue Eyes then frees the caged humans and the apes loyal to Caesar. The freed apes join Caesar and confront Koba at the summit of the tower. After leading the apes to the tower unseen, Malcolm encounters Dreyfus, who informs him that his men have made radio contact with more survivors, located at a military base up north, on their way to help fight the apes. While Caesar and Koba battle, Malcolm fails to prevent Dreyfus from detonating C-4 explosives underneath the tower. The resulting explosion kills Dreyfus and collapses part of the tower. Caesar overpowers Koba and, while lifting Koba from a ledge, refuses to save him, claiming he is no longer a true ape, and lets him fall to his death. Malcolm informs Caesar of the impending arrival of human reinforcements. Both lament the lost opportunity for peace. Caesar tells Malcolm the humans will never forgive the apes for the war they started and tells him to leave with his family for safety. As Malcolm slips away into the shadows, Caesar stands before a kneeling mass of apes with his family.

The plot is very well done as it moves rather smoothly allowing for some intimate scenes and some action sequences. On one hand, some action sequences were a bit forced. On the other, there was a need for some action to liven up the emotional bits. 

In relation to its predecessor, this film allows the audience to learn what happened to both the apes and the humans and how they view each other. It was extremely clever in its cinematography to show how contrasting the varying environment appear to the differing view points. When Malcolm goes into ape territory, he sees skulls and dead wood, making the apes seem savage or scary and when the apes enter into human territory, they see chaos. Whereas when both factions are in their own territory, the audience can see the comfort they experience. 

Most of the times when a sequel does not make much reference to the previous movie, I would find it hard to consider it a sequel. However, this film has been able to work well as a standalone movie and it did not have to rely on it being a sequel. Hence, they never really shown much about the past. Heck, they even killed off the main human cast of the previous film. 

Speaking of human cast, I believe that the humans were rather meh except for Dreyfus. There was this one scene which I felt was a bit out of character but was still clever nevertheless. When Dreyfus finds photo’s of his children, he starts tearing up as they most probably have died from the Simian flu. This establishes that he is not just the human antagonist but he is doing what he thinks is right, not just what is correct. This justifies him attempting to destroy all the apes with C4 even at the cost of his life. However, Dreyfus killing himself was a bit dumb by my opinion as he could have just listened as he seemed to be smarter than that.

Malcolm’s character was a bit too bland for my tastes. There was little to no development for him, he was just established as a character and we were supposed to assume it to be so. His son, however, had some development albeit forced. 

I hated Carver. I am beginning to feel that anyone with the name Carver is an arse (I watched some playthroughs of the Walking Dead video game). He was not just an unlikable character but a really stupid one. I should be proud with the film for making a character I despise but with him, I just hate him so much. Normally, when a film creates an unlikable character, they would put at least have some redeeming factors in the film. He was an asshole from the start to the finish.

Onto the apes. The cast of apes are pretty much most of the apes from the first film. I loved the apes. Their characters were simple and nice, until they started talking. I know it is just a sign of evolution due to the Simian Flu but I just felt that by allowing some of them to talk, it detracted from the raw emotion that they were portraying through acting and emoting. 

Koba’s character was rather well done as he was an established character from the first film. He is supposed to be loyal but his hatred for mankind for what they did to him overran his loyalty for Caesar. They didn’t make him unlikable as he had his reasons and I liked that.

In the end, the film was amazing and it is a must watch. The plot was good, the emotions were there. The characters could have been a bit better but the ape characters were great. Watch it now! 

Plot: 9/10

Characters: 9/10

General enjoyability: 9.5/10

 

Movie Review: Noah

Ah.. a bible movie.. sounds like a plan

I just watched Noah, a recent film that stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins and Hermione Granger, I mean Emma Watson. It is very hard to see Emma Watson out of her role as Hermione from the Harry Potter Series. 

The movie follows the plot of story from the Bible. Being a Buddhist, I never read the source material so I will only judge this movie based on its own merits.

This movie is boring. There is so much padding throughout this film, I think I could use some of that padding to shield the bomb that this movie was. 

However, this movie does have a redeeming factor, it is very beautiful. There was one sequence that I especially liked as it merged creationism and evolution together. Many people choose to believe in one and not the other but this film chooses to go the extra mile and merge both concepts into one sequence. I must applaud them for doing so. 

The film also shows how blind faith can distort your views. Crowe’s character nearly kills his granddaughters as he believed that God deemed it to be so. He was hellbent on making his family commit a cult-like suicide. This shows the audience how blind faith can lead to one’s downfall. Noah realises that his love was too strong to kill his own kin. What happened next was also interesting as he felt that he had failed everyone by saving his kin and became a drunk, only to be saved by Emma Watson’s character, his daughter-in-law. 

The acting in the movie was rather good, except for Russell Crowe as I have the constant notion that he doesn’t give a damn when he acts. However, it may actually work here as Russell Crowe does give the vibe to me that he has a lot of internal conflict. 

In conclusion, this movie was rather enjoyable but it was still boring due it just dragging on and on. 

Plot: 6/10

Characters: 7/10

General Enjoyability: 6.5/10

 

 

Music Review: Rude by MAGIC!

I know I am not someone who is good with music but I have the belief that you needn’t be a chef to know food is a piece of shit. So, if anyone wishes to hate me over my thoughts, please understand that my views about this song is critical and is my personal preference. I only need to write this as I know that many people who enjoy music get offended very easily when someone decides to talk badly about their idol.

Another thing I would like to stress on is that I will be focusing partly on the tune but mostly on the lyrics as songs are supposed to be used to convey a particular message to the audience. Hence, I feel that if a song has a really silly message that would only be detrimental to the mental health of the audience should they decide to actually take the advice of the song, I need to share my views. I would also draw some of my opinions from the music video. 

Without further ado, or another way of saying, “Let’s stop stalling”. Rude by MAGIC!

 Lets analyse the first stanza. “Put on my best suit” implies that the guy is wearing what he deems best. If you look at the music video, he clearly had no effort in his suit or he should probably go shopping. When I first saw “Cause I know that you’re an old fashioned man”, I was thinking to myself, “Wow! They finally have a song about gay relationships and  to a really catchy reggae beat too!”

However, my dreams of listen to a song about homosexuals were dashed when it continued as it is revealed that the song was pointed at the character’s love interest’s father. Then, he goes on to calling his lover’s father rude for not giving his blessing.

If a parent says no and won’t give you their blessing, it is clear that they either don’t know you very well or think that you are a prick not worthy of their child. Calling the guy rude for not allowing you to marry his daughter with his consent is not really his choice, he just wants the best for his daughter. Instead, you could maybe create a relationship with the father and create a bond that would earn you his respect and blessing. 

Then, the character says, “I’m gonna marry her anyways!” This is pretty idiotic. Why is he calling the father rude for not giving the blessing when he in actuality is the person who is more rude? The guy in the song is actively and fully aware that he is going against the father’s wishes and the father is the rude one? 

This provides a rather sad idea to children of the modern age. This song teaches students to disrespect their elders and when they do have a lover, to disregard the wishes of the parents of their loved one. 

However, even though the social message for this song is twisted. The song is unnaturally catchy with its reggae-esque beats. I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed it before tearing into it and realising how bad the message was for kids. 

 

 

Movie Review: Dr. Horrible’s Sing along Blog

A friend of mine recently introduced me to this movie and I have to say, it was rather interesting. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was a film from 2008, released as a mini-series on TV and online. It follows the story of Dr. Horrible, an aspiring villain, Captain Hammer, a superhero/douchebag and Penny, their shared love interest.

The plot is centered around Dr. Horrible as he wants to rule the world through autocratic authority. He feels that the world is a mess and he needs to rule it. As he tries to do so, he is constantly stopped by his arch nemesis, Captain Hammer. Dr. Horrible falls in love with a character named Penny who ends up with Captain Hammer. The Doctor slowly recedes into madness and his evil personality as his relationship with Penny weakens as she falls in love with Captain Hammer, who rubs his “victory” in the doctor’s face.

The plot is very likable as they choose to deviate from the cliched superhero perspective but decides to go at it from the villain’s point of view.

I know. Not a first

Also, the fact that they made the ending seem like a greek tragedy made it very interesting. Spoiler alert but there are no “Happily-ever-afters” in this flick. Penny is killed by shrapnel from Dr. Horrible’s “death” ray (just a stun gun with the words “DEATH” taped on top of “STUN”). The supposed hero, Captain Hammer, runs away in fear after feeling pain for the first time. The Doctor gets everything he ever wanted but it all cost a Penny. (Did you see what I did there?)

Let’s move on to the characters. The titular character, Dr. Horrible, is a very likable character, played by Neil Patrick Harris (who has the cutest of faces). His costume is a white lab coat with a red mark on his left breast-area. He wears goggles on his head. The white apparel is reflecting how he is not truly evil but is just confused and strayed from the path (The lingering evil that resided with him is the red mark). It contrasts towards the ending of the film where he changes into a red costume with black gloves, he shifts to goggles over his eyes to emphasise that he had truly turned evil and began to hide behind his evilness.

The colour palette present on Dr. Horrible contrasts well to his nemesis, Captain Hammer, who wears a black shirt and pants with black gloves. It creates the simple implication that he is the true antagonist in the film. The Captain is a very good to dislike character, I hate him so much as he is the embodiment of all high school douchebags that are stereotypically always getting the girl just because he is strong and good looking.

Penny is a pretty boring character as she is bland and as white as white bread. I think that it was intentional that she was made this way, at least I hope so.

As a musical, the music has got to be the most important part of this movie and I have to say, the music was really good and well put together. “Brand New Day” is my personal favourite. It has some sort of rap (I like it when people jam a lot of words in a song) and then it has this really epic rock part.

Another of my favourites is “Slipping”. It stars off as very sinister, then goes to a very aggressive emotion then it reverts to an innocent and scared feeling. The contrasts in this song are done very well.

In conclusion, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along blog is a must watch. It is readily available for everyone on the internet to see on Youtube. It also won an Emmy!

Plot: 8/10

Characters: 9/10

Music: 10/10

General Enjoyability: 9/10

Movie Review: Calendar Girls

 

Calendar Girls is a film from 2003 that was directed by Nigel Cole, produced by Buena Vista and Touchstone Pictures. It is based on the true story of a bunch of Yorkshire ladies who decide to do a nude photoshoot for a calendar to raise funds for Leukemia. It stars Helen Mirren. Although it was based on a true story, I will be reviewing this movie as a film on its own merits, only drawing on reality in one particular scene.

The plot is very simple but humorous. The story centers around the fact that Chris (Helen Mirren’s character) decides to do a nude photoshoot with some old ladies after one of their friends dies from Leukemia. If I were to play the devil’s advocate here, I would say that many of the plot points are actually pointless. One such plot thread is that Chris becomes a bit overzealous with the fame that she was receiving, neglecting her son, husband and friends while she celebrates the glory that is her, leading to Chris to have a mild argument with Annie, another main character.

It creates unnecessary tension between the characters and is an age-old cliche. I was able to predict this event  exactly when Chris managed to get many sales of the calendar. Even the real person the story is based on, Tricia Stewart, has said that there were no such tensions in their real-life counterpart.

There is also an unresolved plot line which was the relationship between Mirren’s character and her son. They seemed to establish a subplot involving him as he smokes oregano (thinking it was weed), drinks and is unhappy with his mother. They did not really seem to patch it up between them which is either to create an ambiguous relationship with the two characters allowing people to figure it out on their own or it is just lazy writing.

However, I cannot complain about the amount of subplots as it would make the movie extremely short should they be removed.

Cliches are also ever present in this film. The unnecessary tension as stated above, the head of  WI not approving (Yes, the crummy white piece of authority not supporting an unorthodox cause. How original!) and the speech that follows. It Reminded me of Patch Adams, I may review that sinful movie in the future.

However, I liked the movie. Helen Mirren’s character, before the unnecessary fame high, was a very likable character. Helen Mirren is very well capable of pulling such a role in such a casual fashion. You do not see her as Helen Mirren, you see her as Chris, a British lady looking for some fun. Unlike certain other actors (Nicholas Cage, I am looking at you).

The head of the Local WI was a very fun to dislike character. My dislike for her character shows that she succeeded in her role as the pseudo-antagonist. She decides to pass off the idea as her own when it was successful while trying to stop it when it was considered unorthodox, making her a really bitchy character.

I really liked the concept of the film as it was a bit unorthodox in its premise and I was rather impressed by the female cast. It also teaches people very important morals. Even in the withering of age, one can find beauty. It teaches, through a redundant plot thread, to not let fame get ahead of your friends and family. The movie also teaches people to follow through with things that you want to do even if people do not approve of it first (Good things, okay? Do not have a YOLO attitude, be smart).

When I initially watched this movie, I expected a run-of-the-mill film about some elderly British women doing something silly and hilarity ensues. I was definitely proven wrong. The characters are extremely likable, the plot is funny and interesting despite its minor flaws (I tend to nitpick) and the message of the movie is quite interesting.

It is a must watch.
Plot: 7/10

Characters: 9/10

General enjoyability: 8/10