Logan — brutal and emotional

1485443577737

Coming off last year’s rather disappointing X-Men: Apocalypse, I really didn’t know what to expect from Logan. I was not too impressed by The Wolverine, so I was wary of being overly excited. After the initial buzz from the first press screenings however, my expectations skyrocketed. Fortunately, they were met and surpassed. Logan is a brutal and emotional film that encapsulates everything good about its genre.

From the very opening, the the tone is set and you immediately notice just how bloody and brutal it is. Thanks to the film’s age restriction, director James Mangold has the full freedom to go as far as the story calls for. There is excessive swearing, but it never comes off as forced; it’s natural because the situations that these characters are put in are dire. Another thing that fascinated me was that the gore was not gratuitous and was used effectively.

As far as the story goes, it takes place in 2029, some time after all X-men are dead but for Logan, Charles and Caliban. We don’t know why and how, but we are given pieces of the puzzle – throughout the film – that we need to put together in order to understand what has gone wrong. Logan is now old and tired of life, offering a service similar to Uber, until one day his car is wrecked. I’ll leave it at that, as the less you know when you go in to see it the better.

Logan never treats the audience as if we are dumb, and doesn’t spoon-feed us every single thing that is going on. Moreover, the story is told in such a masterful manner that upon leaving the auditorium, you will have seen a film with a beginning, a middle and an end—something rare these days, especially in the superhero genre. The end of the second act is by far one of the most suspenseful and shocking ones I have seen in a long while. The entire movie is intense and doesn’t let you get distracted even for a second, you’re glued to the screen.

logan-2017-850x353

Hugh Jackman as The Wolverine | 20th Century Fox

A big contributor to that, apart from the fantastic direction and cinematography, is the acting. Almost everyone gives an exceptional performance (save for Stephen Merchant, who is a hit or miss) but the standouts are, as you might have expected, Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. The former is harrowing as the guilt and tiredness from Logan’s long life is taking its toll on him, while Stewart gives an incredibly nuanced performance with exquisite subtlety. Dafne Keen is quite stellar as well, even if she doesn’t play the most likable of characters. What she does in her action scenes is commendable.

While the film’s explored themes have definitely been dealt with before, it has its own spin on them to make them thought-provoking: are corporations too unregulated? Where should a line be drawn? Does good always win or does evil overpower it sometimes? Is immigration a solution to some problems? Do you choose yourself or should you go out of your way to help the others? These and many other questions are asked but you don’t always get a straight answer. Rather, you need to make up your own mind about it.

logan-trailer-breakdown-8-1024x430

Dafne Keen as Laura | 20th Century Fox

It is deeply emotional as well. Even though it is based on a comic-book, it isn’t of the type ‘let’s save the world.’ Instead, it’s  much smaller and, therefore, a more personal film about dealing with loss and illnesses, moral dilemmas, and explores the line as to when your actions are justifiable and when you’ve turned into a monster.

Not burdened by the task to set up a plethora of sequels and prequels, the director has crafted an impeccable film about what it means to be human and how far we are willing to go for those we care about. Logan doesn’t cut away from the horror that one may inflict upon others, and effortlessly scrutinises the motivations behind its characters’ decisions. Combine that with the brutal, but exceptionally executed, action scenes and you end up with a film that elevates the superhero genre.

Rating:    8.5/10

Advertisements

Doctor Strange — the world is a hoax

qtlfumw

The sixth comic-book film this year just hit the screens worldwide, and it’s called ‘Doctor Strange’. After three major disappointments (‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’, ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’, ‘Suicide Squad’) that were a mesh of blandness, incoherence and a lot of generic CGI, I am glad to say that ‘Strange’, even with its shortcomings, is the third best superhero movie to come out in 2016.

The plot revolves around Stephen Strange, a doctor known for his flawless track record, but with a horrible attitude. We are quickly introduced to the way he interacts with others and his lavish lifestyle. It is all fun and games until one day Stephen crashes his car and cripples his hands. After Western medicine fails him, he is referred to a place in Nepal where it’s promised that he will be healed and accomplish great things.

It is an origin story, it seems familiar but has enough quirks and peculiarities to positively differentiate it from the rest. Strange is not unlike Tony Stark in the sense that he is a rich philanderer used to thinking that he is the centre of the universe. However, his sense of humour is much drier and more sophisticated than Stark’s. Benedict Cumberbatch is nothing short of remarkable in the role, as he imbues it with charisma and likability even if Stephen might come off as a blighter at times.

A person we are introduced in the beginning and set up to think is important is Christine (played by Rachel McAdams). She is a friend, and maybe something more, of Strange and is a doctor as well. McAdams is absolutely great at impersonating her character; it is a shame she so underutilised as later in the film, her reactions to certain events are priceless and relatable.

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tilda Swinton, who play Mordo and The Ancient One respectively, are also solid in their roles, even if Swinton is a bit one-note at times. Both their characters are especially well-developed throughout the film, especially Mordo. Mads Mikkelsen who plays the antagonist in the story does a good job and, as  with Cumberbatch, has great comedic timing.

‘Doctor Strange’ works best when it doesn’t try be different from other superhero films, but when it just “is”. The brief moments of the director’s greatness (the horror) are fantastic, but are too scattered to become memorable. Derrickson has a phenomenal way of incorporating the comedy into the story. There are no flat one-liners thrown right and left, but instead wry humour that showcases Dr. Strange’s personality. It never feels forced or out of place. In fact, the director relies on visual comedy more as opposed to hope that the script is funny. That being said, the film is surprisingly darker than your run-of-the-mill Marvel flick. It somehow strikes the perfect balance between wit and gravity.

There are no two ways about it, the most mesmerising part of the film are the visuals.. They are almost completely unprecedented, perhaps only ‘Inception’ and ‘The Matrix’ cominganywhere near the innovative ways the visual effects are used. You see cities folding and unfolding, multiple universes — all sorts of imaginative concepts. The 3D feature makes use of those by having a tremendous amount of depth and realism, even though in the context that’s a relative term. Moreover, the entire IMAX screen is filled for half of the film, which is a big positive as it immerses you into the action. Usually, I steer clear of the format and opt for places with 2.35:1 screens and Dolby Atmos, as most films are letterboxed in IMAX due to the aspect ratio and that irritates me. However, this is one of the cases where the extra height is used to enhance the experience: it shows the grandeur and scope of the film in the best way possible.

3148083-8729606186-docto

The most enjoyable moments are when you see how Strange interacts with the people surrounding him; his wittiness and character traits are the most riveting aspect of the movie –  not the otherwise awe-inspiring fights to save the world.  Ultimately, the film struggles to decide what it wants to be:one about Strange and the way he copes with his crippled hands; one about his process of honing the craft of magic; or  one about how he applies it in order to defeat the villain.

As far as the villain and the third act are concerned, these are the two places most people could find fault. The film sticks with the old third act taking place on the equivalent of a Helicarrier over the city. It is anticlimactic and the multitude of events are somewhat disjointed. Some of what occurs after the second act doesn’t make sense, but as The Ancient One said, ‘it doesn’t have to’. After all, we are watching a film about a doctor who becomes a sorcerer, suspension of disbelief is expected.

‘Doctor Strange’ is flawed, but it might just be more enjoyable than every superhero movie that came out this year. To be such, it certainly needs to be special, and that it is.

Rating:8.5 out of 10

Suicide Squad — a disappointment

suicide-squad-movie-characters-calendar

As one of my most anticipated films of 2016, it’s safe to say Suicide Squad had a lot to live up to! It seemed like it would be the stepping stone for DCEU, after the abomination of a movie that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was. The teaser trailer was spectacular. The first trailer was very good as well. Then, for some reason, Warner Bros. went in a completely different direction with the second trailer. Even though I found it alright, it wasn’t as captivating as the other two; as it seemed like the generic blockbuster. Suicide Squad was supposed to be unusual, distinctive and crazy. Unfortunately, it was none of these.

The movie follows Amanda Waller as she assemblesa team of extremely dangerous prisoners, because she feels the world needs to have a contingency plan if the bad version of Superman comes down to Earth. Followed by a million intros for the characters, coupled with a most obvious choice of music for each of them.Subsequently, they are sent to fight the belly-dancing Enchantress trying to destroy humanity by building ‘a machine’. That is the entire plot: a bunch of crazy, self-absorbed individuals without superpowers (most of them anyways) have to fight this extremely powerful witch and her plain-obvious CGI brother. There’s no second act or plot development.

Harley Quinn, Diablo and Deadshot are the only characters with some barely perceptible character development. Everyone else was either pointless (Boomerang, Slipknot, Katana), or contradicting in their beliefs (Waller). With Harley Quinn we get some flashbacks about how she becamethe way she is; but even those are equivocal and scarce, as they are too short to figure out exactly what’s happening.

harley-quinn-will-either-make-or-break-suicide-squad

The main problem with this film is that we are supposed to believe these characters are the most dangerous people on the planet! However, throughout the film we never really get a sense of this – save for, possibly, Harley. On a number of occasions, we are told they are ominous – although we are never actually shown how.

It’s not all gloom and doom though! There are moments when the humour works, and these scenes are wonderful – if not far too negligible . The actors do their best with the lines they have. Most of the so-called villains throw one-liners, and just a few of them land. The music score (not the soundtrack) also has some curious cues, which work when put into practice. The soundtrack, on the other hand, is awful in its usage! Whenever on, it is overbearing, distracting and even unpleasant. It serves only to prevent one from becoming entirely acquainted with the characters, and tells you how to feel too insistently.

The action is as memorable as the editing is abhorrent! Half the time you are lost, due to the bad geography and constant cuts. In addition, the film doesn’t flow – the chronology is all over the place and there is no consistency.

The Joker was heavily featured in the ad campaign, however, we only see fleeting glimpses of him during the film itself. Turns out it wasn’t so that we are amazed by the end result, but because there isn’t much of him in the film. He pops up every once in a while for 30 seconds in either a flashback or as a deux ex machina. On that front alone, I was truly disappointed!

cmaghn2vyai09_e

Suicide Squad is non-refutably a box-office success, for now at least. Nevertheless, due to rushed decisions, it feels like two films have collided into one; just like Fantastic Four. It is not as bad but has more flaws than strengths.

In conclusion, it’s entertaining enough that you won’t fall asleep, but do not come with high expectations, otherwise you will be let down. I am sure Warner Brother will try to fix the film for the Blu-Ray release, by including a lot of the missing scenes shown in the trailer; however, as this is the second time this year they have done so, isn’t it becoming a pattern?

Rating: 4 out of 10 stars

 

Independence Day: Resurgence — a redundancy 


Twenty years ago, we saw a stupid but fun and energetic film called Independence Day. Now, two decades later we get a redundant, repetitive and incoherently bloated sequel that barely works.

Independence Day: Resurgence opens with something reminiscent of a prologue that shows what has changed since the aliens lost the battle with us. It is promising at first but it quickly degrades to a by-the-numbers popcorn flick that is as non-memorable as it can get. By the time you get to the parking lot you have forgotten about it.

The script is so poorly written there’s no clear direction in which the film is headed. Not only does it try to follow a gazillion characters but it also fails to make them relatable save for a few that have more or less something that resembles depth. The first film worked because you cared about what’s going on and whether or not the protagonists will make it, a sense of danger. Here, about thirty minutes into the film you know everyone will make it out alive and well.

Most of the actors do as well as they can considering what abhorrent lines they have to deliver; 80% of them are predictable, cringe-worthy and clichéd. Liam Hemsworth is as boring and unimpressive as ever. Apart from the occasional charisma, he’s not interesting. He plays the same character the same way in all of his movies. Jeff Goldblum is good but hardly has any screen time. Maika Monroe was a nice surprise as it was her that I was invested in the most. She also proves to have range. There are far too many actors to talk about but most of them are just there, with no purpose.

The plot is all over the place. There’s no clear structure and it tries to be so many things it fails to be any of them. It wants to be a film about the outcome of saving the Earth and how the human kind unites to get stronger. It also tries to be mysterious but ends up being ridiculous. In addition, it tries to follow the path of many blockbusters with global destruction and yet it’s not convincing as the CGI is not commendable despite the budget. Oh, it tries to be a comedy as well, and perhaps, that is where it almost worked. I did have a couple of laughs, especially in one scene where a few people on a boat are getting drunk as apocalypse ensues but an opportunity strikes them. Sadly, more often than not I laughed at the movie, which is not what the filmmakers would want.

The most disappointing part was the ending for two reasons, the first one being the convenient deux ex machina. It undermines the supposed danger that the aliens pose to our planet and makes everything a bit too convenient. The second reason is the very ending–it begs for a sequel as it ends on a cliffhanger which I don’t think will be green-lit.

Some good could be found from time to time. Its cinematography is beautiful for the better part of the film but at some point the framing gets bizarre, uncomfortable even. At first it has epic scale, however, that quickly gets monotonous. The action is well-handled as well though sometimes I lost track of who was who in a fight.

Independence Day: Resurgence is an unnecessary sequel with no heart, point of existing, or smart characters, that feels as hollow as an empty watering pot.

Captain America: Civil War — a visceral character study

8-questions-captain-america-civil-war-needs-to-answer-893088

Marvel films used to be plain fun. That was phase one. The goofiness started disappearing as time passed and then the Russo brothers made a close to a masterpiece movie with The Winter Soldier. They don’t disappoint. Nor did I expect them to.

I still cannot understand how these guys make this film work. It has dozens of characters and storylines weaved into it and yet each character got enough screen time and developed. Moreover, this is a Captain America movie, not Avengers 2.5 as one would think when counting the amount of people in it. There was so much that could have gone wrong and yet nothing did.

Perhaps, it’s because the directors have history with sitcoms. There, you need work with an ensemble cast and need each character to have their subplot, not unlike here. You have Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Ant-man, Spiderman, Falcon, War Machine, Black Panther, and a plethora of others. They are all fleshed out.

captain-america-civil-war-trailer-1-avengers

The action is hands-down one of the best things about this movie. I had some gripes about it in The Winter Soldier, mainly because there were too many cuts. Anthony and Joe Russo have surely listened to some of the few criticisms people had with it. In fact, they even went out and got the directors of John Wick, David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, to help them as second unit directors. The end result is action with such phenomenal choreography and energy to it that following films, not just Infinity Wars, have to live up to. Everyone talks with great enthrallment about the 17-minute airport sequence, and for a good reason. This is the best one in a Marvel film to date. No, it’s on par with the best action scenes in the history of film.

The plot is really well thought-out and everything makes perfect sense. However, what’s refreshing is the fact that if you rip all the superhero elements away, you still have a very human and personal story that is emotionally investing and as a viewer you care about everyone.

Instead of destroying yet another city, causing damage for tens of billions of dollars, the film is built around the aftermath of such events. After Sokovia, there has been a lot of controversy as to whether superheroes should have the freedom to act whenever they like, or come under the umbrella of an international oversight panel which will decide what they do, where they’ll go, etc. Personally, I was—and still am—divided and didn’t know where I stand. Everyone has their own opinion on the matter and stands by it.

captain-america-civil-war-super-bowl

Throwing one-liners that rarely land isn’t what the Russo brothers do; neither is creating a drab film that no entertainment value to it. What they excel at is telling a great, enticing story commingled with smart dialogue and jokes that work while having a grounded and gritty tone. The witty comments thrown around are spot-on and sound like actual lines that people would say in real life.  The directors devote enough time to have every character do something prominent (although I can never have enough of Scarlet Witch) because there are always people who have gone to see the film because they want to see their favourite, even if he or she has little screen time. This appeals to the general audience as well as to the comic-book lovers.

Captain America: Civil War is a refreshing take on the superhero movie where emotions are more conspicuous than explosions and overused tropes of the genre. It is quintessentially about guilt, agony, revenge, betrayal and friendship.

Rating:

9 out of 10 stars

Here is my video review:

The Huntsman: Winter’s War — Annoyingly Inconsistent

the-huntsman-winters-warSnow White and The Huntsman was a passable film. The script was kind of bad but what made up for it were the wonderful cinematography, visual effects and, most notably, its production design. It was also consistent. Now, four years later, we have a new film in this franchise and one less Kristen Stewart.

To be perfectly honest, The Huntsman is not as bad of a film as most critics make it out to be. It is true that there are more flaws than strengths here but if you simply switch off your analytical part of the brain, which is quite difficult, you could enjoy the film. I know I certainly didn’t hate it. However, I didn’t love it either.

Winter’s War is not only a sequel to the 2012 film but also a prequel. Meshing the two in one sounds confusing because it is. The events take place sometime after Snow White but also before as it tells a different story. I said it was confusing, right? Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as Eric/ The Huntsman and does a good job. Actually, outside of his Marvel films, he has never really has a hit. Blackhat was flat out terrible and did accordingly at the box office and In The Heart of The Sea, albeit a good film, also failed to meet expectations.

maxresdefault

Here he, more or less, resembles Han Solo; he is just as witty and awesome. In fact, I am wondering why nobody’s considering him for the standalone Han Solo film. He has the chops, and looks, to do great. He was the comic relief of the surprisingly dark film and the only thing he didn’t nail was the accent. It was supposed to sound Scottish but every now and then will change. This is part of the inconsistency I mentioned earlier.

Jessica Chastain is also very good here but has the same problem Hemsworth has–her accent constantly changes and takes you out of the movie. Her character is a bit flat as her motivations are not particularly clear or logical. While I loved her in Interstellar and didn’t think she did a good job in Crimson Peakquite enjoyed her portrayal of Sara.

screen-shot-2015-11-18-at-11-21-33-am

Emily Blunt is an odd case in this film. While I swear this woman is capable of playing anything, I don’t really believe the role of Freya was the best choice for her. Frankly, I think it would have been much better had Blunt and Chastain’s role been reversed. While the latter managed to be believable, I reckon Emily would be a better fir for a warrior as she nailed her scenes in Edge of Tomorrow and Sicario.

maxresdefault1

Finally, the most interesting and drawing character, Charlize Theron is just made for this role. Indeed, she can also play all sorts of roles but Ravenna is where she’s really remarkable. She brings so much to the character and wearing these gorgeous gold and black dresses (gowns?) and is stealing every scene she’s in. What disappointed me was that she is not in the film nowhere near as much as the trailers suggest.

The trailers were partly the reason the film was predictable. What was supposed to be a shocking reveal in the end of the film was shown in all three trailers and barely, if at all, had any emotional impact. Also, they are a bit misleading. They led me to believe that this was more about the two sisters and less about the Huntsman, and in all fairness though, this would have made a much more enticing film.

10116

When it comes to the film as a whole it feels incomplete, rushed and a bit tedious. Even though there is plenty of action, and one fight scene in particular stands out as it has only sound effects and no music, The Huntsman is a bore for people who expect more story. As I said, it is spoiled far too much in the trailers. I didn’t have high expectations of this film, but it was underwhelming.

Winter’s War is directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan who was the visual effects supervisor of the previous instalment. This is his first feature film and for a first-time director he has done a respectable job. While the film fails on script level it is simply stunning to look at; the cinematography and production design are just as phenomenal as they were in Snow White and The Huntsman. Nonetheless, I feel that this film has a reduced budget as the visual effects at times are a bit spotty when it comes to exteriors. Other than that I don’t really have a problem with them. One memorable moment is when the two queens go face to face with each other and start fighting. There are quite a few interesting and imaginative ways in which the powers of Freya and Ravenna are used.

Although The Huntsman: Winter’s War might not be as good as the previous film it has a stellar cast and, mostly, opulent visuals that almost make up for the terrible script. Moreover, some inconsistencies make the film convoluted and it is as though the director and the writers couldn’t agree on which part of the story they should focus on so what we get is an overly complicated but not exactly appealing movie.

Rating:

5 out of 10 stars

SPOILER SHOT(THIS IS MY FAVOURITE PART OF THE FILM):

maxresdefault2

The Divergent Series: Allegiant — an intricate continuation

schermata-2015-12-25-alle-16-37-08-e1451384087827-768x299

Divergent was criticized for being formulaic. Insurgent was criticized for being too reliant on CGI and simulations while telling no intriguing story. Now it is Allegiant’s turn to be scrutinized. But is it a let down like Insurgent was or has it improved on it?

The Divergent Series: Allegiant picks up right where the previous film left off with everyone headed towards the wall. However, it quickly turns out no one is allowed to leave Chicago until Evelyn (Naomi Watts) says so. She has become the new leader and she sets new rules.  Meanwhile, Tris is reluctant to stand by her as she does not approve of her methods and she Four, Cristina, Peter and Caleb decide to explore what’s beyond the wall.

see-what-s-beyond-the-wall-in-the-first-divergent-series-allegiant-trailer-617205

 

The director, Robert Schwentke, has listened to the criticism about Insurgent to some extent. He ameliorates upon the previous instalment and the end result is a surprisingly entertaining film—as long as you don’t dig deep into it. The visual effects and action sequences are well-realized and some are quite innovative and refreshing.

When it comes to character arcs, we have more or less the same people in beginning, and in the end, of the film. Some change and some don’t but overall, there is not much development. Tris is still the only girl who can save the world and Tobias/Four is still the person she’s in love with. Both Shailene Woodley and Theo James do a commendable job portraying their characters. Naomi Watts and Octavia Spencer are both spectacular in their roles. Jeff Daniels comes in as David and is terrific as he is in everything. Miles Teller as Peter is the same hypocrite he was before, and remains that way by the end of the film, but he is good. What was really disappointing was Ansel Elgort’s horrible acting. I regret telling you this but all his talent somehow evaporated and he is expressionless here.

allegiant2b252892529

 Allegiant leaves the viewer satisfied once he gets out of the theatre but also despondent to an extent. Having seriously diverged from the source material, the film leaves you wondering what will happen in the next one considering there is nothing left from the book for Ascendant. The announcement that Schwentke will be stepping down the director’s chair for, allegedly, being too tired of filming so much in a year is quite alarming.

All in all, The Divergent Series: Allegiant is an improvement over Insurgent. Nonetheless it falls into its own trap by trying too hard to be complex and ends up being an enjoyable but forgettable flick.

Rating:

3.5 out of 5 stars

 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombie — an entertaining mess

pride-prejudice-zombies-poster-2016

Before you skim until the end, hold on for a while. It’s not nearly as horrible as it sounds. In fact, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is quite an interesting film that tries to present the essence of Pride and Prejudice and sprinkles zombies in top. Now, the film is not without its flaws but it’s still very enjoyable and entertaining.

It opens with a voiceover citing the words of Jane Austin’s novel, albeit being changed for the genre of the film. It sets up the mythology well and the following 20 minutes are promising and pull you into the world. And it’s not a very feminist world in contrast to the film. Women are forced into arranged marriages and are scolded when they voice their opinions.

Our main characters have trained martial arts in China to fight against the zombies who have been taking over the world and are not really subordinate to the rules. In the film, however, there is a big difference between being taught in China vs being taught in Japan. Japan is the high-profile place to train and China is for those with limited financial abilities.

pride-and-prejudice-and-zombies-2016-stills

Of course, the fighting styles picked up across the world are allegedly wildly different in terms of demeanor. Sadly, this is one of the main flaws. It so overly stated how much distinction there is between the two techniques that when we do see fighting of both sides, it’s straight out disappointing. That was a big miss as the film relies on quick-cut action and iffy visual effects. Some great, actually Eastern fighting and shooting techniques would have made the film much more pleasing to the eye and mind. That said, what’s seen is not bad but simply generic.

As far as the story goes, we have all these bits and pieces from Pride and Prejudice with some zombie information added in that feel somehow disconnected from each other, as if there is something missing which leaves a feeling of confusion. But it’s not the mild incoherence that faults the film as much as its lack of personality. In the beginning it seems like it will be different from what we’re used to but that feeling quickly fades as the plot starts getting convoluted and some side stories end up going nowhere. Nevertheless, all the relevant character arcs are quite developed.

Lily James and Sam Riley play Elizabeth and Darcy close to what they are in the classic. They almost fit the descriptions perfectly even if Darcy is more unlikable and repulsive than necessary at first. The real star is James; her performance makes this film better than it is. She brings gravitas and charisma, which combined with her witty and sarcastic portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet, that elevate the film and saves it. What’s more her and Sam’s characters are well-developed. As for the other actors and characters—they get the job done but it’s no good trying to tie up their loose ends as they are far too many for this type of film.

53090_ppl

The music fits the scene of total absurdity, making it feel authentic for the feminist movie it tries to be. Yet, the feminism in their world is equal to none. This is what I also appreciated, they didn’t change the world just to add feministic ideas but rather changed the way the characters act. It was unthought-of for a woman to make snarky comments and stand up for herself. Yet this is what Lizzie does and some admire her for this, but she’s mostly glared at with unbelieving eyes whenever she does something irrational for that time period. It is more feministic than the book, the parody of which, this was based on.

In short, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a film that requires no thinking as everything is spoon-fed to the viewer, expects you to suspend disbelief, shut off and have fun. Ultimately, this is what happens and achieves its purpose to entertain at the expense of full coherence and uniqueness.

Rating: 6.5/10 stars

Steve Jobs — a film without a heart

 

steve-jobs-cartel-oficial-640x336

Directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 127 hours) and written by award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs is an energetic, logically-split film that tries so hard to be great, it ends up being mediocre.

Starting from the acting and characters, not only is Michael Fassbender fantastic as he portrays a non-sugarcoated version of Jobs, one of whose faults is denying paternity until the very last minute, but he also manages to grasp the essence of what—according to the film—Steve was like: an unlikable perfectionist. You are never sure whether you should like him. Of all the characters in the film, he is the most developed, but as with the others, has no real character arc. Just as incredible is Kate Winslet as Joanna who is the only person Jobs actually listens to and can come to terms with; not Scully, not Hertzfeld, not Wozniak (who all deserve a pad on the back for the good work), just her. An honourable mention is Katherine Waterston who effectively plays world’s most annoying character in the role of Steve’s first “love”.

As a film, Steve Jobs is so simply structured it lacks any sophistication. Sure, it has some interesting visual cues: it’s shot with a 16 mm camera for the first act, 35 mm for the second and then goes digital in order to show Steve’s changes throughout. However, due to its structure—divided in three acts for the launches of different products, the film has no arc. An arc is a line whereas Jobs shows just three points. This also goes for the character arcs and is the reason why you cannot get emotionally invested and why it lacks a heart.

When it comes to the music score, it is very reminiscent of that in The Social Network and Steve Jobs in general feels like a David Fincher film. Sadly, it’s not.

With witty, typical Aaron Sorkin dialogue, great acting and captivating visuals, the film falls short of expectations due to its structure and lack of arcs.

Review: The Revenant

gallery3-gallery-image

Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass

For The Revenant, director Alejandro G. Inarritu has once again coupled with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, delivering a film so spectacular and awe-inspiring it ultimately forgets it is, above all, a film and ends up being not as satisfying as there is a severe lack for one thing — storytelling.

Taking place in 1823, The Revenant is based on Michael Punke’s book inspired by the real events in the life of Hugh Glass. He’s part of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company and on one trek, he is left for dead as his meet with a grizzly has left him with mortal wounds caused by the bear’s mauling (the scene is gut-wrenching and brutal).

watch-leonardo-dicaprio-get-mauled-by-a-bear-in-the-revenant-trailer-515173

A glimpse into the bear mauling and the superb acting by DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of Glass is phenomenal. Not having seen all of the Oscar contenders, I can’t really say if he has the highest chances of winning, but it is one of his best performances to date. Moreover, he makes you relate to his character, creating a protagonist you genuinely care about and can root for.

On the other hand, Tom Hardy’s Fitzgerald is the complete opposite of Grant in what he represents. If Hugh is strong, courageous and big-hearted, Fitzgerald is a weak coward and with no heart. Now, it might be poor character development but you never get to really understand why he does and acts the way he does. You do have some implications but nothing explicit. Some of his actions are logical, however, that’s a rare occurrence and most of his decisions make zero sense and have no real motivation behind them that we know of. Still, Hardy makes do with what he’s given even if he still mumbles a bit.

gallery2-gallery-image

Tom Hardy as Fitzgerald

One character specifically is mostly paper-thin. He is side-tracked from the action, only appearing when it’s convenient and are so stereotypical you can guess what each of them is going to say. We have the young, ignorant Jim who, by the end of the lengthy film, turns out to be useless to the story as he is underdeveloped and not utilised. He’s used as a filler; if you take him out of The Revenant, you won’t have removed anything integral from the plot.

For me, the main character of the film is the cinematography. Shot by Lubezki, it is a truly memorable film with scenes so delightful you can freeze almost each frame and get a gorgeous photograph on your wall. The long takes, the use of only natural light, the setting and framing — they are all topnotch. Nevertheless, one thing I could make do without are the low-angle shots. They are a bit odd and not as impactful as the pans and dutch angles.

ic3b1arritu_revenant-700x415

Alejandro G. Inarritu is the director of The Revenant but also of Birdman.

Another important thing to note is the sound mixing — it’s exceptional. The way this film’s sound is mixed is just a thing my ears admire. Even in the opening credits, with the water running in the stream, you notice how much thought has been put into place with the sound. I am not particularly sure if anything else has grabbed my attention this year when it comes to sound editing.

The Revenant has it’s great qualities. But when it comes to the actual story, there is not enough of it to fill the runtime of two hours and thirty-six minutes. It feels overly long with many filler, although pretty, scenes as it protracts the main focus of the film, the revenge, for so long that when you get to the final, actual face-off, it is anticlimactic and you are left chapfallen and perplexed by the end product. Had Inarritu omitted those scenes, and thus made the film more condensed, the third act would be more stirring and riveting.

With astonishing cinematography and exceptional acting by the two main characters, Alejandro G. Inarritu’s The Revenant is like a puzzle that you can almost put together. But, even with that, the film would be missing the most important piece in the process — a good script that would give the movie a meaning. All the components for a great film are there, but the viewer is forced to look for them and add things themselves in order to make it a great film.

REVIEW: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

katniss-snows-mansion-capitol

Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) in front of Snow’s mansion.

After two fantastic additions to The Hunger Games franchise, director Francis Lawrence is back to direct the fourth and final instalment in the series. It’s an understatement to say I am glad he did.

Last year, he left us hanging, yearning, for Mockingjay – Part 2 and now that the film is finally out, it’s bittersweet. Fans like myself spent years following the journey of Katniss from a volunteer to an opponent of Snow, to a rebel — radical as the president calls her — to the symbol of the rebellion: the Mockingjay.

Throughout, Jennifer Lawrence has failed to disappoint as she embodies Katniss fully; she has been able to capture the essence of the character and has brought it to life by portraying her insecurities and internal struggles with excellence. Part 2 is no exception to this. If anything, this is her best acting to date. Here, Katniss is more broken, in pain, perplexed, and proactive than any of the previous films. This is still her show.

Another standout is Josh Hutcherson. In the original Hunger Games he was okay. Nothing to brag about. Now, however, four years later — he is fantastic. Playing the ‘hijacked’ Peeta he proves he has the acting chops necessary for the role. The subtle, and not so subtle, nuances of his performance bring his character to life, they make you form a stronger emotional connection with him. Not everyone makes it until the end.

hunger-games-pics-628

The squad on their way to fulfill  the mission.

Donald Sutherland is yet again fantastic as President Snow. The complexity of the antagonist is so multilayered and manipulative that if he is locked in a room with me, tied to a chair, with a gun to his head and he says “I am going to kill you.” I will fall for it, I will believe him. Though Snow never really lies to Katniss. He simply shows her how everything looks from his perspective, which the ‘bad’ one according to Katniss. But is it really?

The supporting cast also does a phenomenal job. Moore, Dormer, Harrelson, Banks and everyone else are really good, including Liam Hemsworth who is now actually acting.

Call it a “cash grab” all you want but it’s undeniable that both parts have room to breathe. Had it all been one movie, it would have felt rushed. In my opinion, watching both films back-to-back is the best way to enjoy them. If you can — all four. Regardless, the split is a good thing.

hunger-games-mockingjay-part-2-star-squad-1

Squad 451 looking at a 3D holograph of the Capitol.

There is no need to try and summarise the final instalment as you are better off seeing it without having read the plot. Basically, it takes place a little while after Katniss’s strangling, you know, Peeta was brainwashed.

As a continuation it’s a great and satisfying ending. To those reviewers who said you are lost without having seen the previous entries: It’s the same with every franchise! Of course you will be lost. The film manages to tie all the loose ends and conclude the story.

The pacing is great, Part 2 feels neither rushed nor slow. Most scenes take their time and have a purpose; there are no time-fillers. The action scenes could have been a bit longer but I am by no means complaining. Every action scene makes you grip your seat, your heart race as you don’t know what to expect… if you have not read the books. Even then there are surprises. The dark and grim tone of the film fit it like Cinderella’s glass shoe as it makes the stakes feel even higher and hits you emotionally when it needs to.

There are some moments when you aren’t sure if there is a scene missing but when you think about it later on, it’s only logical some things to not make sense. As Katniss develops and changes, she discovers some big revelations and when you see the big picture, everything adds up.

7323908_orig

The capitol.

Last year, Part 1 was snubbed, not exaggerating, snubbed at the Oscars in terms of technical achievements. This year, the film needs to be put in not only on the tech side of things but also in some major categories such as Best Director, Actress, Cinematography. It has incredible, breathtaking production design and visual effects. Bringing the Capitol to life is times harder than putting explosions here and there or flying cars. In addition, the sets are gorgeous and the make-up artists have done their job ideally.

Some of you may wonder if the film is worth seeing in 3D. Sure, it wasn’t filmed in that format, however, some films’ conversion is better than others’ shoot with 3D cameras. There are no pop-out moments but the third dimension does add another dimension to the film, more depth, more realism. So yes, it’s worth seeing in 3D.

Mockingjay: Part 2 is an exceptional conclusion to the franchise as it provides closure and satisfies every fan of the series. It fantastically blends the action and scope of Catching Fire with the political intrigue and PTSD aspects of Part 1 into a memorable and thrilling ride that only goes up in order to bring the best YA franchise to a high-note ending with hardly making any mistakes.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is my favourite of the franchise, real or not real? Real.

Rating:

9.0/10 stars

Runtime:

2:17

Review: The Indian by Jon Gnarr

Written by the ex-mayor of Reykjavik, Jon Gnarr, The Indian follows his early life, studies the way he has lived and shows how hard it is to be different. He has never known what most people define as normal, and that’s good.

The book opens with a little introduction to the Icelandic alphabet, so one does not wonder how to pronounce some names and words. This is good to have as the book includes quite a few, at first, tricky names that are initially hard to read but as the book progresses, it gets just as if you read names like Stefan, Sam, Sarah etc.

When you first look into Gnarr’s history, it’s beguiling to think he does not care about people’s opinion and his career seems as an example of this. However, in The Indian Jon shows a vivid, and unsettling, portrayal of a person who is like a fish out of water, diverging from what others perceive as ‘normal’. His childhood is not what would usually be considered as troubled, not really, but it is hard to feel this as it is grim and yet relentlessly fun and relatable. The inability to fit amongst the others, both his classmates and his family, is easy to read about but hard to get through if you have ever been a misfit. The situations that occur are somewhat similar though distinctive in its own way.

“What they thought ‘normal’ was a mystery to me; I don’t see it until someone else tells me.”

The novel is not fiction, but it is not completely non-fiction either. The author himself states it in the beginning. What the book is a recollection of what he remembers and what others have told him. Reading it, I could say I thought everything happening in the book is credible and not far-fetched. Exactly what may seem as an exaggeration, I feel, is the complete, unbeautified and utter truth. The decision to include notes from psychotherapists is clever and enhances the realistic feel of The Indian. Many of these notes say what you feel and think explicitly as you read the novel.

The Indian by Jon Gnarr is a novel about self-discovery in a world where being different is of no good. It is an ingenious and bleak book, cleverly exploring the life of a ginger misfit, with writing that seamlessly blends Jon Gnarr’s comedic abilities with an emotional connection that results in a need to learn everything there is to know about the boy who didn’t fit in his surroundings and wanted to become an Indian.

Sicario

After his brooding hit, Prisoners, and then his controversial one–Enemy, Denis Villeneuve is back with an even darker, bleaker story.

Sicario follows Kate Macer, an idealistic FBI agent, who does everything by the book and once she’s exposed to a house full of bodies her system cannot take it, neither can her colleagues. She is later recruited by an elite government task force official: Matt (Josh Brolin) to fight against the never-ending war on drugs. Led by an enigmatic consultant with a questionable past Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), the team sets out on a clandestine journey forcing Kate to question everything that she believes in order to survive.

The opening sequence is a brilliant piece of modern filmmaking where shots are not short so you can hardly see what is going on, but are not lingering for too long either. This mixed with perfect editing keeps you in suspense. There is a sequence where they are crossing the border and it is one of the most intense, white-knuckled, palm-sweaty moments in the history of film–you never know what to expect, the claustrophobia of being stuck in the endless chain of cars stuck in traffic is creeping into you. In addition, we are treated in the same way Emily Blunt’s character is: we are left in the dark for the most part and can’t really figure out who to trust.

Speaking of Blunt, she is a wild beast when it comes to acting–she can do it all. This films just proves she would be a great fit for Captain Marvel. She expresses Kate’s need to do the right thing, her determination, her confusion, her anger and ignorance in a tough shell. You immediately connect with her character and get her.

However, regardless of how great Emily Blunt is, the real star is Benicio Del Toro. He has magnetising presence without even doing anything but being in the frame. He portrays this obviously broken character fighting his own demons, pursuing his own agenda; there is no hope in his eyes anymore.

When it comes to Josh Brolin, he is as charming and charismatic as always, even in a suit, wearing flip-flops. He is the slight, almost unnoticeable comedic relief of the film. There is a hint he may not be who he seems to be but is nevertheless righteous in his own way.

“The DOD flies with private planes?” Kate asks.

“Yeah, don’t you have one?” Brolin’s Matt answers.

Jóhann Jóhannsson yet again proves he is a great composer. After last year’s Theory of Everything, he is now back with his electronic, heart-pumping score. It’s unsettling, fits perfectly into the gritty, stark world of Sicario and adds to the already great tension build-up.

Sicario doesn’t fall apart in its second half completely, but indeed it does bed down on less than expected. Macer is supposed to remain inactive and passive, turning into more of an observer more than a doer, and this almost leaves her a touch away from a fully layered, three-dimensional protagonist. By the third act, we have already been set up for the grandiose finale, which, although unexpected, is underwhelming as the movie straightens and becomes somewhat predictable.

Villeneuve spent most of the runtime, filling the viewers with dread, though in the end you are unsure of what to dread. The realistic feel to it, the ambiguity and the exploration of gray matters are what make the film entrancing and beguiling. The biggest distinctive feature of the film is the bitter ambivalence toward what Kate witnesses. There is nothing exceptionally new that Sicario explores in terms of story and themes or tries to convey. However, with Roger Deakins’s breath-taking cinematography, Jóhann Jóhannsson’s powerful score, Denis Villeneuve’s great direction and solid performances, the film is one of the diamond jewels in the crown.

star-rating-8-out-of-10

Movie Review: Crimson Peak

This is what the dilemma was tonight: finish up writing about days 3-5 blog or share my opinion on Crimson Peak as I am so frustrated with it. By now, we know the outcome — the latter.

There was a lot of drama around the production and development of Guillermo del Toro’s new gothic romance/”horror” film Crimson Peak. Between the quarrels with Legendary and Universal, R-rating vs a PG-13 one, and a lot of other back-stage problems, it sure comes as no surprise that the movie has suffered immensely.

Crimson Peak follows an aspiring writer, Edith Cushing, who is running away from a family tragedy. She marries Thomas Sharpe, a mysterious stranger. She goes to live with him and his sister, Lady Lucille Sharpe but then she starts to find out that the Sharpe’s home is filled with ghosts.

If you are expecting a ghost story, which would be only logical considering it’s advertised as one, you need to look the other way. The most annoying thing for me is when films’ trailers make you expect one thing, only to find out it is completely different. Such was the case with Avengers: Age of Ultron, it was presented as a darker, bleaker and serious Marvel film, only to be disappointed when you found is was the usual trying to be funny comicbook film. Ghost stories I find extremely interesting and captivating and for the first act I thought there might be one, but as the plot continued to unravel you get a conventional, straightforward, style over substance movie, which wants to be more, but fails to hit the mark as something truly original.

It was not a horror, I could have gotten over that if the gothic romance actually worked, I wouldn’t have been nearly as underwhelmed with del Toro’s latest movie. Mia Wasikowska, Edith Cushing in the movie, has borderline no sexual or romantic chemistry with Tom Hiddleston. The screenwriters tried too hard to make his Thomas Sharpe sympathetic, but also multilayered so we end up with a great performance and a weak, plainly boring character. Combine that with the annoying and stereotypical portrayal of the damsel in distress, who is naïve, yet feministic and you get an unexciting cliché that makes you check the clock every five minutes. Edith has no real arc–she starts in one place, as one person, and in the end she is still the same, not much had changed in her by the end of the film. Jessica Chastain’s acting I did not fall for in this film. She has proven she can be stellar, but her comedic performance, which was not meant to be comedic, looks like a pay-check thing she did.

The repetitiveness of some scenes is just excruciatingly tedious and simply dreary. After getting to know Thomas in the first part of the movie, the rest of the movie takes place in a creepy house where Edith wanders around slowly as she waves around the candles at the dark. At a certain point, I felt this is what the rest of the movie will be like and I wasn’t that far from the truth. As the audience is alluded, no, basically told, what is going to happen next, Crimson Peak turns into a race against time as starts to get irksome to just wait for the main character to put the pieces together. The director, or the writers, have made a major mistake by including a certain conversation early on, as our patience as viewers quickly evaporates.

Now, visually, Guillermo is a mastermind… to some extent. The production design, though breathtaking and gorgeous, makes no sense at times. Yes, the inside of the house is so beautiful and astonishing, you wonder where this was shot, but then things like giant holes in the roof start to lack any reasoning but the director’s need for falling snow inside the house to juxtapose to the dark and broody setting. The cinematography, however, is old-fashioned, which is not a bad thing per se, but when it makes the film look like a TV movie which lacks the needed scope, it is unsatisfactory.

The rating, I think, could have been PG-13 when it comes to the sexual content, because that’s how the scene is shot. The gore was at R-rated level, but it would have had the same effect if it hadn’t been as bloody. Del Toro could have saved himself some trouble by cutting down a scene or two so there won’t be any fights between the two studios.

Drawing the line, Crimson Peak is a movie with great performances and stylish setting, which try to make up for the lack of gripping story, but generally fails to impress as the director has gone over his head by focusing too much on the production design.

Rating:

6.5 out of 10 stars

Review: The Martian

Have you ever wondered if there was life on Mars? If so, don’t look for an answer to that in this Ridley Scott movie; instead, enjoy the fantastic portrayal of one’s survival and solitude on Mars.

The Martian picks up speed very quickly. Not a second is wasted by redundant and expository setup. You meet the characters and then a storm hits. Everyone but Mark Watney manages to escape the storm and then the team is forced to leave him on Mars because otherwise the entire crew would die. From there we go on a journey of exploring how the previously-botanist Mark Watney finds new ways to survive on a planet where nothing goes.

Matt Damon is the glamorous, brilliant and scorchingly shining star of the show. When he’s on screen you forget who he is and simply grip your seat as hard as you can while waiting to see what ideas will come to his head, in order to “science the shit out of this”. What’s more, Damon is way, way better than anyone has expected at comedy. Nearly all of his one-liners land and you’ll find out the entire theatre is laughing at his jokes.

All the supporting characters, played by an immeasurably long list of great actors like Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, and many others, are in more than two dimensions even if some of them are a bit cliché. Here is another giant plus point of the film — it’s as diverse as a blockbuster gets and not once does it push it down your throat, making sure you know it has diversity. It has people from all walks of life and races. In addition, the director does a great job at making you care about each and every one of them.

The message the film wants to get across and convey is such a great one, but is to some extent, wishful thinking — it actually shows the world at what it could be, a utopia, in which the world easily comes together to save a person’s life. It tells, and shows, that we need to get over ourselves and join forces for the better good.

Speaking of messages and direction, I cannot not mention the amazement and internal happiness I felt as I went out of the theatre.  Ridley Scott is back, plot-wise — visually,  his movies have always been stunning and breathtakingly beautiful.  Even with Exodus: Gods and Kings, that lackluster of a film, Scott had managed to make me admire his incorporation of practical and visual effects, and his fantastic use of 3D. His films are not gimmicky by just making stuff pop off the screen, he adds layers of depth and realism.

The Martian is an astonishingly great film with great cinematography, superb acting, and a fascinating plot and storytelling which in no way resembles the bad one of Gravity,  the film it is compared to. It delivers on every level, leaving you with an enormous grin your face as you walk out of the theatre.

Rating:

9/10 stars

Everest — a cinematic feat

Everyone has thought about what it would be like to climb the highest point of the planet Earth. Everyone. However, not everybody has the ability to do so. Instead of risking your life, catch a glimpse of the experience on the biggest screen possible, preferably in IMAX.

Everest follows the story of a small group of people who go on an expedition to climb the highest mount, but as an unexpected storm hits, the crew has to face the worst of conditions.

Baltasar Kormákur, an Icelander who is doing a film of such scale for the first time, is the person behind the camera. He has done a tremendous job at directing Everest—the cinematography, pacing and character development are fantastic.

Where the movie is at its best—that being the realistic touch that Kormákur has added, you are digging your nails into your palms, literally (at least that’s what I did). I strongly disagree with other reviewers who say the first act is slow. For me it was perfect as we get to know the characters, where and how they take up on this endeavour, who is who.

The realism is unprecedented; never did I think the film would be nearly as close to reality as it actually is. The fact that we see the bodies of the dead climbers being passed by, the ambiguity of it—it’s both selfish and yet understandable.

In a way, the spine-chilling storms, the roaming thunders shattering the ground, the unearthing of the mountaineers who may have survived, and the frozen faces and limbs—they all contribute to truly immersing the viewer to the horrible reality some hikers go through when climbing up the peaks. The strongest theme in Everest is the idea that human nature will be responsible for any occurring death, not due to severe conditions.

As far as acting goes, it’s stellar across the board–Jason Clarke, Thomas Wright, Ang Phula Sherpa, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tom Goodman-Hill, Josh Brolin and everyone else do a fine job at portraying the struggles of the characters.

Everest is a film centred around the ambience, harshness, physical impact, and sound of the extreme weather and magnificence of the Himalaya. With powerful character moments, fantastic scenery and visual effects, the film shows how small and insignificant we, the humans are, in comparison to the Mother Nature. To be fully immersed, Everest must be seen in 3D on the largest screen possible.

Score:

star-rating-8-out-of-10

See it!

Review: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

Last year, The Maze Runner came out and was refreshing and therefore received great by both critics and audiences. The movie grossed almost $350 million, paying back its production budget more than 10 times. Now, a year later, its sequel — The Scorch Trials is out and is every ounce as good as its predecessor, even better.

The Scorch Trials picks up moments after The Maze Runner ended with our characters out of the maze. They are now far and away from WCKD, safe. They are brought to a base where there find out there has been more than one maze. We are quickly introduced to Aris, the kid who has been in the base for the longest(read: one week). From there many twists and turns, fighting, running, betrayal and many more shocking revelations follow.

Wes Ball, the director, has done a fantastic job with this film. Even better than what he did with the previous one. The horror elements are here, even scarier than before. At first, I thought the handheld approach was not well-used, however, later I realised it was brilliant — you get to feel the same discomfort, disorientation and general feel of the scene, as if you are one of the characters. In addition, Ball manages to build tension in such a way that leaves you even more satisfied with the end result, which is an expanded world and richer characters. He also gives us seconds of black screen a couple of times in order for us to mull over what’s happened.

Another thing The Scorch Trials is exceptional at is incorporating the visual effects with the real world in a seamless manner. The budget of the film is yet to be released, but I doubt that Fox would spend much more when the director can make do such great visuals with low budget swimmingly. I really can’t understand how movies with budgets north of the century mark have such flimsy CGI. Sure, the effects are not always perfect, but most of the time — they are.

Acting was top-notch all around, from the main characters we already know to the new ones we see for the first time. Everyone does a great job. There a couple of slow moments, to balance the action, some of which include deaths and the reactions and emotions could certainly be felt by the viewers.

One of the things worth noticing is that the film does not end where you think it would At one point I was sure it will end, but the movie went on for a solid 20 minutes longer. And that was my only little problem with the film — the ending. What I mean is that it kind of feels done before, but I can’t put my finger on what exactly.

In The Maze Runner a world was created and now, in The Scorch Trials, it is expanded and built upon. With intelligent storytelling, beautiful cinematography and great acting, the film is not to be missed under any circumstances.

The Scorch Trials hits theatres on September 18 in the US and is already playing in many overseas markets.

 

 

REVIEW: Another Day by David Levithan — the bad, redundant companion

Thee years ago, David Levithan, author of numerous contemporary novels, put out  a book called Every Day. It was met with criticism; some loved it, others hated it, I didn’t care. The book was not enjoyable, but not worthy of being loathed — it had shortcomings, but they were not that many.

Today the sequel/companion that was never supposed to materialise in flesh is out. And it’s bad. Desultory and tedious, Another Day tells the pretty much same story of Every Day, however, this time through another character’s eyes — Rhiannon’s.

Never have I been a fan of alternate point-of-view stories, but as the publisher sent this to me I decided to give it a try. Pushed myself to like it, but it was hard to get through this one. The writing is good, but it, alone, cannot save the book. The emotional pull that Every Day conveyed is gone and, maybe because I know how the story unravels, Rhiannon is not a riveting center of attention.The book ends on a cliffhanger, which makes me dread the worst — that an actual sequel may come out in the future.

On the whole, Another Day is a book with great writing, but barely has any other redeeming qualities, which can make me recommend this one. Nevertheless, if you have yet to read Every Day, you might enjoy this one. It will probably have some gravitas if you do not already know the story.

Rating:
2.5/5 stars

REVIEW: CONTINUUM SEASON 4 PREMIERE

It’s here. After months of uncertainty around Continuum‘s faith, in December it was revealed that the show would come back for a final, shortened, fourth season. Now it has returned and what it offers is the great, complicated and sophisticated look at what the future holds.

The show is not really back until September 4th, but there is a pre-release for the first episode for all three of Showcase’s shows coming out in September — Continuum, Lost Girl, and Mr. Robot. Once I found out about this I jumped the ceiling with my heart beating in my chest harder than it does when I work out.

The Simon Barry show picks up where we left off last summer with Kiera and Brad cutting off Vancouver’s electricity and bringing Iron Man reminiscent robocops to this timeline. To add more fuel to the fire of intensity, Kellog has taken over Piron by tricking the other Alec into signing the documents which makes Kellog the CEO of Piron.

Throughout the episode, there is one moment where you might think is a cheap way for the writers to do something, which they are not actually doing. Sounds convoluted, but once you see the episode, you will know what this is all about. It is a smart move in order to speed up Kiera’s personal need — to get back home, to her family, to Sam.

“The show returns with a bang, bringing back the great acting and masterful storytelling we have come to expect from it.”

However, do not take it that this episode is mostly drama; it’s not. It is one of the few shows, whose action scenes are indeed nail-bitingly intense. In addition, we learn more about the robocops, who they are and why they are here. The episode is well-paced and filled with a lot of action and drama. The show returns with a bang, bringing back the great acting and masterful storytelling we have come to expect from it.

I have always been the person who supported the theory of time travel that you cannot  change the past, regardless of what you do, because it is bound to happen. For example, you kill someone who is crossing the street with your car unintentionally; you want to fix this. You find a way to get back in time and you stop yourself from doing this (if the other you believes it) and you turn left. However, then you take left, instead of right, and that same person is there, because he has also decided to take a left turn. You kill him. Or you might kill him some other day, it has to happen. That’s how it works — you can’t change the past… or at least that’s how I thought things worked before I watched this show.

“Continuum has changed my perspective on time travel with its multi-timeline concept, which actually makes sense.”

Continuum has changed my perspective on time travel with its multi-timeline concept, which actually makes sense. Every action in the past creates another timeline in which you don’t kill the person crossing the street (you are a really bad driver). In the other one — you do. This is thoroughly explained in the premiere of the third season.

You can watch the premiere early on one of the many platforms it has been released: Shaw Media digital properties: Action-tv.ca, ETCanada.com, MyLifetimeTV.ca, Slice.ca, Showcase.ca, GlobalTV.com, and the Global Go App; on iTunes, YouTube, set-top box with most major television providers through Global On Demand and Showcase On Demand, the accompanying online portal for Showcase On Demand, and with Canadian streaming service, Shomi (available August 25).

What did you think of the premiere? Is it good? Did you love it as much as me? Also, what’s your take on the time travel concept?

Also, for all of you fans out there, I am giving away this poster of the show:

continuum01

a Rafflecopter giveaway
//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js