Thursday, April 25, 2019

Rating: 4.6/5
Review: "Avengers: Endgame IMAX movie review" (181 minutes)

This is surely the most anticipated movie this year. This is a non-spoiler review so it won't be very long. The ultimate question is: Is the conclusion worth the wait? Those who have invested 10 over years on every Marvel movie should have no doubts watching this on big screen. I personally find Endgame a little disappointing as it felt safer compared to the brutal Infinity War.

The story: It is a direct sequel. And that's all a reader should know. There are some surprises along the way and it ends in a satisfying way. Audience should know that it is a 3 hours movie so they SHOULD NOT expect an action-packed thrill ride like what Infinity War is. It takes its time with characters and therefore it is reasonable to call it an action drama that delivers an emotional and nostalgic ride. Although it does feel a bit long, I found it consistently engaging. Music by Alan Silvestri is a bit lacking compared to Infinity War.

IMAX 3D: For a 3 hours movie, it is surprisingly not as tiring as it sounded to be. The 3D effects have a strong depth that brings the action closer to your eyes. The effects are not gimmicky as they feel natural. Aside from some amazing scenery shots, nothing particularly stands out.

Overall: This will definitely destroy the box office for a while. It is clear that Marvel is heading to a new and promising direction and it is something I can't wait. While the previous phases are great, I will like to see other superheroes being adapted. With the 20 over movies, it is clear that Marvel will be dominating the superheroes movie for a long time.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Rating: 4.3/5
Review: "Alita: Battle Angel IMAX movie review" (122 minutes)

This is Robert Rodriguez's biggest movie yet and costs a staggering US$200 million. It is easy to see why. The sets are massive loaded with CGI and even many characters are CGI. Alita: Battle Angel has everything a Blockbuster has; action, romance, drama, CGI, epic music. Robert's direction is confident despite him handling a large-scale movie for the first time. As this is based on the manga, it suffers the cram condensation of a few volumes.

The story: The start is surprising as it has no big opening action scene (we are used to seeing a big opening action in most Blockbuster). The sets may be big scaled but the opening feels intimate in terms of emotions. We see Dr. Dyson (Christoph Waltz) finding and rebuilding a female cyborg, Alita (Rosa Salazar). The first 20 minutes are engaging as we discover Iron City from the eyes of Alita. From then on, the pace quickens as we are introduced to more characters, villains and subplots. It is entertaining but the whole film feels it compromises of a few episodes. It doesn't help with the slow fade out transition. With the reasonable runtime of 2 hours 2 minutes, at times, it feels rushed as there are many things to be covered. Acting wise is alright. Many characters are in a form of CGI model so there is nothing outstanding. Rosa does a decent job in emoting as Alita. Music by Tom Holkenborg is epic but somehow generic. It is not as distinctive as his other scores. CGI and sets are great. The last half of the film is packed with well-shot and well-choreographed action.

IMAX 3D: It is not outstanding but it still creates an immersive experience with the extra dimension. It is effective during some of the slo mo scenes. Other than that, it is not particularly mind-blowing but it is worth the extra bucks.

Overall: Alita: Battle Angel is very enjoyable even if it feels rushed especially towards the ending. It could benefit with less subplots and more focus on one aspect (either the Motorball or bounty hunter). I hope it does well in box office to warrant a sequel.  It is worth watching on big screen and IMAX 3D.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Five Best and Worst of 2018


1. Bumblebee
This was a pleasant surprise for the live-action Transformers franchise. Michael Bay's first Transformers still has a place in my heart but his other movies became more tired. Bumblebee is a refreshing new start that the franchise needs. Action, emotions, great CGI, music and 3D. This is what a blockbuster needs.

2. A Quiet Place
It is a surprise hit in 2018. I never knew I would enjoy this so much. Apart from the intense trailers, I didn't know what I would be expecting. However it turned out to be intense horror thriller with uneasy sound design and surprisingly emotional. It is one of the best horror thrillers in years.

3. Ready Player One
The colorful movie is packed with action, cameos and nostalgia that it is hard not to be entertained by it. With so much things happening, it is a joy to watch Steven Spielberg work his magic on the big screen. This is a feel-good journey that you would want to watch.

4. Mandy
This is also another movie that I didn't expect to enjoy a lot. Mandy is an arthouse horror thriller that didn't catch my attention when the trailer was first released. It was only when I saw that it was Jóhann Jóhannsson's final movie and it got my attention. Overall, the movie was a slow-burner but his score was amazing and it made the whole movie an experience.

5. Mission: Impossible Fallout
Just when you thought Mission: Impossible can't be better. Director Christopher McQuarrie hits with an installment that has everything a Mission: Impossible movie needs. Great score, action and stunts, thrills, cast and a suspenseful plot. One downside that it feels a little long (this is the longest movie in the franchise).


1. Slender Man
This is probably one of the worst horror movies (in fact, one of the worst movies) I watched. There is not much thrills or suspense. The plot is messy. The worst crime of all that it is really dark. It is hard to see what is happening even during the scare scenes. So what's there to see. Nothing.

2. Godzilla: Planet of the Monster
It is not an entirely bad movie but it is dull and boring. I could hardly stay awake. There is nothing much going on as it centers more on the humans. Aside from the action-packed climax, there is hardly a reason why I should watch it. The animation is decent but not impressive.

3. Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle
You would think they will improve in the sequel but no, nothing is improved. It has the same monotonous pace that it is hard to stay awake. As usual, nothing much happen in the first hour. The animated trilogy will probably go down as the worst trilogy I have seen. It doesn't even entice me to finish the last installment.

4. Spinning Man
It is competently made but it is dull. It is no excuse for a Direct-to-DVD movie to be that boring. There are some twists but they do not warrant a watch. With a boring pace, it could have been shorter.

5.  Malevolent
A competently-made horror movie brings nothing new to the horror genre. It is completely forgettable and I can't remember much about it. There is nothing much happening until the last 20 minutes. It is definitely better than Slender Man but it is still a forgettable horror movie. It is a pity because its execution and concept are decent enough.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Rating: 4.6/5
Review: "Aquaman 3D movie review" (143 minutes)

As the latest movie to the DC movie franchise, Aquaman has upped the scale in visuals and non-stop action. Director James Wan, famous for his horror movies, shows that he has the action mindset and he delivers. Although the 2 hours and 23 minutes movie may become exhausting, it is still massively entertaining.

The story: As an origin story, it has nothing new to offer the audience. James Wan smartly integrates the flashbacks with the present day so it will hold the audience's attention without becoming draggy. He throws in whatever a big-budget movie should have; non-stop action, romance, loads of CGI, grand set pieces, loads of characters, battle and fight scenes and more. As time passed by, it is clear that he is ticking off everything in the checklist. There are even chase scenes. After a while, it becomes exhausting to watch but I still can't take my eyes off the beautiful visuals. The chemistry between Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Amber Heard as Mera is believable. Their acting is decent enough. The rest of the cast are decent too. Music by Rupert Gregson-Williams is suitably epic but disappointing. The music is not distinguishable and there is hardly any theme music for Aquaman. CGI is great.

3D: It adds to the overall immersion of the movie. The 3D depth is there and as Bumblebee, the characters feel 3D. The underwater scenes look good with the additional depth however at times, it may become too much for the eyes to register. It adds extra oomph during the slo-mo scenes. Overall, a great usage of 3D.

Overall: Aquaman delivers what a blockbuster should. Pure fun. Although the story takes the backseat, it can't be denied that the highly energized action scenes and breath-taking CGI made the whole movie enjoyable. The bright colours are a complete contrast to Zack Synder's style. Although I like Zack's style, it is certainly refreshing to see some colours in a DC movie.  

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Rating: 4.8/5
Review: "Bumblebee 3D movie review" (114 minutes)

First of all, I enjoyed all of Michael Bay's Transformers movies especially the first one. The first one still has a special place in my heart. When The Last Knight was released last year, it was met with negative reviews and even I felt it was increasingly becoming a tired franchise. But I didn't mind seeing a conclusion to the Bayformers franchise. The hopes were dashed when it didn't do very well in box office and instead, a prequel was announced. Bumblebee was announced as a soft reboot and once Travis Knight was brought in as the director, I thought the franchise could become fresh again. And I wasn't wrong. Although Bumblebee brings nothing new to the table, its characters and heartfelt drama have made this movie a rousing and emotional journey.

The story: Bumblebee is small-scaled compared to the others in the franchise and director Travis is smart to use this to his advantage. This meant that the focus is used to develop the main character Charlie, played by a great Hailee Steinfeld. The story is nothing special and focuses on the relationship between Charlie and Bumblebee. The pacing is brisk so nothing felt long or draggy. What surprised me the most was how Travis handled the action scenes. As this is his first live-action movie, he handled the action skillfully. From the action-packed opening to the explosive climax, the action is well-choreographed, thrilling and fast-paced. Travis prefers to keep his cameras more steady during the action scenes and it is gleeful to watch the robots battling without feeling dizzy. Acting is alright. Hailee gives a stellar performance. Music by Dario Marianelli is excellent and brings a lighter feel as compared to the more electronic droning music by Steve Jablonsky.

3D: It has an excellent depth between characters and background. The characters feel 3D and not like a cardboard cut-out. The effects work the most when the camera is more steady. It became a little messy to watch during the action scenes when there are so many things happening in the shot with a moving camera. But on the whole, it is a great movie to watch in 3D.

Overall: I can't call it the best live-action Transformers movie. But it comes pretty damn close to topping the first Bayformers movie. Bumblebee is what a Transformers fan would want to see and it has pretty much everything a blockbuster should have. Bumblebee has heart, emotions, explosive action, CGI, great score and immersive 3D. This may not be the best live-action Transformers movie but it is certainly one of the best movies this year.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Rating: 4.7/5
Review: "Avengers: Infinity War 3D movie review" (150 minutes)

It is understandable that almost the whole world was anticipating for this and it shows in the box office results. The real question is whether this is worth the wait for 10 years. In my own opinion, my feelings were rather mixed after leaving the cinema.

The story: There is almost no plot in this. The heroes are literally moving from one place to another with a quest to defeat the most powerful villain ever seen on big screen in the Marvel franchise. With all the individual movies leading up to this, it makes sense for the directors to drive straight into the action and witty interactions between the different characters. The end product is an immersive action-packed adventure that rarely stops to breathe. That is the strongest aspect the directors have brought to this movie. Though the runtime seems long, it felt like a breeze because the heroes are racing against time to find a solution. Many of the action scenes are top notch and the best in the Marvel movie franchise. The directors make full use of the massive budget to deliver all-out action movie. The interactions between the different characters are fun to watch too. Music are suitably epic yet sombre and touching.

Here come the so-called bad points. First is although the interactions are fun to watch, they could be developed better. The interactions zip past the tight pacing and therefore there are some characters who I do not feel for. Secondly is the humor. Marvel, as usual, likes to inject humor. I had the same problems with Thor Ragnarok. It made the threat feel less threatening when there is too much humor. Although the first scene sets the mood, the humor later on made the threat less threatening. I didn't feel as tense as how others felt during the movie. Some humor with the Guardians of the Galaxy is funny. But there are some which I felt ruined the mood. Set aside some negativity, it is a lot of fun to watch it and it is worth the wait.

3D: The effect made the movie so much more enjoyable and immersive. It looks impressive even on normal 3D so I am sure IMAX will be stunning. There is a good sense of depth without much ghosting. There are not many gimmick shots. Thankfully, this time, the directors aimed for less shaky cam movements. I didn't feel tired throughout the movie. Disney have raised the bar for post-converted 3D.

Overall: It is a very enjoyable action-packed blockbuster that is touching. My expectations were not very high and were pleasantly surpassed. My initial worry of many characters fighting for screen time was put at ease. The characters are given enough time to shine whether in an action or quiet scene. Ending with a massive cliffhanger have increased my expectations and anticipation for the next part.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Rating: 4.6/5
Review: "Black Panther IMAX 3D movie review" (135 minutes)

"Marvel and director Ryan Coogler has jump-start the year with a great adaptation of Black Panther. The plot may not be very fresh but its political and culture views, bolstered by great acting, makes this a mighty watch." 

Black Panther is not only the first big-budget movie released so far but it is also the first Marvel blockbuster for the year. And it has definitely amp up the expectations of the blockbusters coming soon in this year. Black Panther may be marketed as an action adventure movie but it delivers more than a generic superhero fare. Aside from some thrilling action scenes and a fast paced plot, Black Panther is intelligent and political. I am not saying Marvel does not create intelligent movies (Captain America: Civil War is one of the smarter movies), it is just that the engaging politics stands out in this. Director Ryan Coogler also did not shy away from creating an interesting and vibrant culture of Wakanda that is based on the African cultures. What he created was a smart, action adventure that is one of the best solo superhero movies.

The story: Black Panther does not waste time introducing its titular hero. Everything in this has a purpose even the unseemly beginning scene. Director Ryan mentioned that he likens this to a James Bond movie and he is not wrong. The first two acts are similar to a spy plot. There is espionage, cool technology and gadgets and action. It takes a turn for its final third act with a battle for the throne. Aside from the familiar themes, Black Panther has time to reflect emotionally. Powered up by some great acting by Chadwick Boseman as the new king of Wakanda, T'Challa and Michael B.Jordan as the villain Killmonger, the movie is a hoot to watch. It would be best to go in without any spoilers. Killmonger is one of the better Marvel's villain because his motives are more humanely understandable. However, he still can be improved. Shuri (played by Letitia Wright) shines as a witty sister of T'Challa. On the whole, the humor could be toned down a little too. It is more serious than Thor Ragnarok but its burst of humor at times ruined the mood of the scene. Music by Swedish Ludwig Göransson is a great mixture with African Tribal and modern music. However, there is no main theme for Black Panther which is a must-have for a superhero movie.

3D: It looks great on a huge screen. Details are sharp on IMAX. Though the 3D is immersive, it pales in comparison with Thor Ragnarok. My guess that 3D works the best with a fantasy action flick. When comes to a movie that is grounded in realism, the effect is not as enjoyable. There is still a strong sense of depth between characters and background. The 3D does not really work during its action scenes. Ryan likes his action frenetic and grounded so most of the action is shot with a shaky cam style and edited with fast cuts. It works best with quieter moments such as sweeping shots of the city and landscape. My take is that if you have the extra cash, IMAX 3D would be fine. If not, 2D would be great enough.

Overall: Black Panther kicks off a great start of the year in full gear. Marvel is going full on by ramping up the action and interesting perspectives of different superheroes. Black Panther is a great stand alone superhero movie that will interest and engage almost any target group.