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

Colony Review | Episodes 1-3

colony_poster_goldposter_com_2

Created by the mastermind behind Lost, Carlton Cuse, Colony is a TV show that is as emotional as it is exciting. Set in the near future Los Angeles, the series has a lot going for it, and has yet to disappoint.

Opening with a seemingly normal family breakfast in the beautiful, sunny morning. However, the tension in the room is anything but normal. Everyone knows everything is not okay, but they pretend it is; it’s easier. Once the son goes to pick oranges from the tree in the yard we feel something is off. Over the next few episodes we still don’t know what exactly has happened — yet it feels as something big. We are never told if it really were aliens that have come with ‘The Arrival’, though, that’s what most of us assume.

Resolving around the ex-Lost leads Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies, we jump right into the story with no pretext and backstory. During the first three episodes get hints and mentions of some, obviously, important events that are never shown. This is probably so in a future episode where we can expect huge reveals and plot twists surrounding the so-called ‘Arrival’. Everyone does a fine job with their characters.

The population is divided in two: The Occupation and those against it — The Resistance. We get to see both parties’ points of view and motivations behind their actions. Personally, the Occupation’s ideology and thoughtfulness appeals more to me but I could easily understand how someone would disagree with me. Exploring these so different worlds, we find ourselves in the middle of what might become a civil war. And this is where the show shines.

With such rich mythology, smart dialogue and realistic approach to the way the run-down Los Angeles is presented, Colony takes its time to introduce the characters and the world with them. It is no hurry to get anywhere, which might not be to everyone’s taste, and sets up and develops everything established. About certain thing we do know more than the characters, but just enough to pique interest in the audience.

Although the characters might seem a bit one-dimensional, as the season goes on, we learn more about them and they form themselves to these relatable humans we love to see on both the small, and big, screen. With credible antagonist with real motives and methods, played by the phenomenal Peter Jacobson, Alan Snyder might be the hidden gem of the series.

Consisting of masterful storytelling, wonderful actors and a rather slow pace, Colony is a show with a lot of potential and, if continues to evolve so brilliantly, might become one of the sleeper hits no one has expected to break out.

Tune in next Friday when I will recap episode 4 and would love to discuss it.

Most Anticipated Book To Movie Adaptations I am Waiting for in 2016

Here are my 5 book-to-movie adaptations I am eagerly waiting for this year.

The Fifth Wave

By and large, The Fifth Wave is my most awaited films of 2016. The books are so entertaining and gripping and gritty. I think that if the director and Sony Pictures do their job right they might just have a franchise as big as The Maze RunnerIn addition, Chloe Grace Moretz is always amazing as whatever she plays.

The Girl on The Train

A bit over a year ago, David Fincher came out with a film so thrilling, so menacing and so riveting, he set the bar high for the thriller genre with Gone Girl. Now, this November, we will see The Girl on The Train on the big screen too and the book was heavily compared to it. Fincher is not directing, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Plus, Emily blunt and Rebeca Ferguson are both hot names right now so the movie might end up a box office hit like Gone Girl was.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

With Tim Burton at the director’s helm, Miss Pedigrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, with its amazing source material, could be big considering it has quite big names attached like Samuel Jackson and Eva Green. Let’s wait for December and see how things turn out.

The Divergent Series: Allegiant

I have very, very mixed feelings about this franchise. I both like and dislike it. It has its draws but the setbacks became way too many for me to try to defend it. Now, with Robert Schwentke directing again, we might get another generic movie like Insurgent, or, if he’s listened to the fans, we might get a fantastic sci-fi film if the spoilers haven’t spoiled everything yet. It was said to be the next Hunger Games, but that didn’t and won’t happen.

The BFG

The Roald Dahl children’s story is now coming to the big screen, directed by mastermind Steven Spielberg. What’s more, Rebeca Hall might be great as Mary. We’ll find out soon enough… in June.

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.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange is Revealed

 

doctor_strange_logo

Doctor Strange will be the 14th film set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

After months and months of speculations of how Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange would look like, lots of fan artwork, and some set photos, we finally have an official first look at the character.

Doctor Strange is next year’s second Marvel movie. It is based on the comic of the same name and follows a self-centered neurosurgeon who, after losing the use of his hands in an auto-accident, is looking for a way to way to fix it and, thus, goes up in the Himalayas where he finds his future mentor — The Ancient One who later gives Steven Strange’s mystical powers.

In the comics, Strange looks, well, strange. He is usually wearing a cape and has a hairstyle very similar of Benedict Cumberbatch’s in the film. Also, the way the magic is presented, judging from the photo, looks reminiscent enough. Here is a comparison:

The photo of the movie version of the doctor resembles some of the fan art that has been flowing around lately so it seems that director Scott Derrickson and Marvel Studios are not straying from the comics in terms of looks that much. Nevertheless the Entertainment Weekly’s photoshoot was the actor’s first time he had put the costume on even though the film had been filming for several months. When asked about the occurrence, Cumberbatch said the following:

“I’m still in the infancy of learning all that. It was like, okay, I’ve got to keep throwing these poses, these spells, these rune-casting things, everything he does physically. I’m thinking, there’s going to be a huge amount of speculation and intrigue over the positioning of that finger as opposed to it being there, or there. And I’m still working on that. We haven’t played any of those scenes yet. I felt really self-conscious. But, then, by the end, it was great. It’s like anything, you just have to experiment.”

The film promises to be one of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s quite engaging movies as Derrickson has managed to assemble an interestingly impressive cast. Benedict Cumberbatch notwithstanding we also have Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton and Rachel McAdams.

As a fan of the comics, I am digging the way Doctor Strange looks. He has the strings of white hair, the gestures (hopefully) and the clothes. If Marvel manages to deliver with Doctor Strange, considering both Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man were sort of underwhelming, it might be their best film yet.

Here is are all the six photos:

benedict-cumberbatch-doctor-strange-ew-coverdoctor-is-in-ew-008Mystery-Strange-EW-001Mystical-hands-strange-009mystery-room-strange-008Mystical-Strange-005-EW

Doctor Strange hits theatres worldwide on November 4, 2016.

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.

First Trailer For ‘Star Trek: Beyond’ arrives

Wow, what a week. Just a few days ago we saw the X-Men: Apocalypse and now, two days before Star Wars:The Force Awakens, we have the first trailer for Star Trek: Beyond.

I personally enjoyed both the previous films in the franchise and am eager to see what Paramount has in store for us next summer. What’s more Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are both here and they are the core of the Star Trek movies.

Star Trek: Beyond is directed by Justin Lin this time, replacing J.J. Abrams and judging from the trailer, he seems to have done a good job after the Fast and Furious franchise. The film’s cast includes Idris Elba, Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, Zach Quinto, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin and Karl Urban.

Star Trek: Beyond arrives in theaters July 22nd.

13 Items That I Wish Were Be Part Of My Movie Prop Collection

harry-potter-character-wands

You know, each avid film-lover like myself has this imaginary list in his head with items he would want to have in his collection of film memorabilia to have on display at home. Once you get what you have yearned for years, you get this heart-warming feeling of satisfaction that you have an object you have seen in your favourite film or TV show.

Recently, Invaluable reached out to me and asked whether I had any items from a film or TV show that I would love to have. This got me thinking and it turns out there are more than a few.

  1. Harry Potter’s Wand
    fdf
     

    As a child of the end of 20th century, I have grown up watching Harry Potter. I, myself, am a big fan of fantasy and, consequentially, of the franchise. The amount of time I have devoted to watching and rewatching it is downright ridiculous and mind-bending but it is what it is. And I want, need, to own Harry’s wand. Sure, I have one I’ve bought but it is not the original one Daniel Radcliffe used when filming. So this is definitely my most desired item on the list.However, due to the number of people who want it, I am sure it is exuberantly priced so I will probably never get it.

  2. Kiera Kameron’s suit
    continuum-suit-repair
    Continuum is one of those shows that get stuck in your head for being so futuristic yet believable. As it is set in the future, sort of, we see some nice gadgets the producers think would be used 2077 and it simply gorgeous. Yes, I am a guy but the costume is unisex, which the show has showed, so I would wear it some Halloween if I have it. Also, I get to be invisible and ultimately indestructible… by bullets at least.
  3. Cobb’s spinning totem from Inception
    totem11-1024x364
    While I was looking for what to include, I came across Cara’s post and it turns out we share more than one idea so it might become a bit repetitive. So, Cobb’s totem was one of the things I needed to include. Like, it never stops spinning.
  4. Gale’s crossbow
    gale-crossbow-grown-up
    This post wouldn’t be the same if The Hunger Games was not included.  In the last two films, especially in Mockingjay – Part 2, we see some quite interesting, untraditional weapons. Gale’s crossbow is awesome. Sure, Katniss’s bow and arrows are impressive but I wouldn’t even make a half decent shot.
  5. Katniss’s bow and arrows
    56ec9bdeb2c3f754829df4f267760a63

    I know, again, that franchise. But just how cool are Katniss’s bow and arrows? In Part 1 and Part 2 they are such beautiful pieces of art I cannot even imagine how they made what I visualised in my head into reality. Though, in Catching Fire they are more fashionable. It’s incomprehensible.
  6. Anyone’s Stele from The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
    8db99842ed9513e8ea0f607c9d724267

    It’s true, the film wasn’t as good as the first book. However, the production design did their job fantastically as the everyone’s stele is incredible. It’s even better than what I’d envisioned.
  7. The Batsuit
    k6ysj
    Sadly, I won’t be able to afford this either. Any of the Batsuits since Batman: Begins would be my ultimate prop. Batman’s costume is always awesome with many, many tools and gadgets. However, if I became a millionaire, I am so buying it.
  8. The knife from the original Psycho
    knife-ax-chainsaw-composite-with-white-border
    This might sound weird, but as an avid horror fan, I would say that would me an amazing prop. At night, however, I wouldn’t want to see it… Or when I am going in the shower.
  9. The leaf brooches from The Lord Of The Rings
    t2ec16dhjgke9no8ipo3bq7r5wieg60_35
    There is something uniquely beautiful about those ornaments. They are exquisite yet simple at the same time. It would make a fantastic fashion accessory.
  10. One of Buffy’s stakes
    4d5ac7a4-1ba8-4693-b650-00ed721c9e85
    I know, it’s been years since Buffy was last seen on-screen but she is still in my mind. When I think of vampires, I think not of Twilight, The Vampire Diaries or True Blood, but the original, fantastic Buffy The Vampire Slayer that Joss Whedon created.
  11. The Dragonfly in amber from Outlander
    outlander
    As one of my favourite books, as well as TV shows, Outlander was a must to be on this list. That dragonfly is so pretty and I just need to have it as the second book is really good and carries the same name. Plus, it would look great in my collection of props.
  12. Tony Stark’s sunglasses
    ironman-tony-stark-robert-downeyjr-sunglasses-avengers-initium-allin
    We all know it, Stark a.k.a. Iron Man, has an amazing style. He can dress to impress and does it most of the time. His sunglasses are just phenomenal. Hey, maybe they are on of the reasons I am on his side in Civil War.
  13. Hazel’s An Imperial Affliction in The Fault in Our Stars
    635537765015860263-imperialaffliction
    Considering my obsession with TFIOS, I can proudly say I would love to read the book which has affected Hazel so much. Hey, maybe John Green can pull off a Rainbow Rowell and publish it!

So these were the items I would love to own in order to fulfil my inner need to have film memorabilia. Do you have any movie or TV props you would love to have?

Have Another Look at Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye from ‘Captain America: Civil War’

civil-war2

About two weeks ago, the trailer for Captain America: Civil War was finally released and it made a good impression on most fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What’s more, we saw glimpses of Black Panther as well as some other characters.

Now, actor Jeremy Renner took to his Instagram to release a shot from the film, in which he and Elizabeth Olsen are seen. Scarlet Witch is my favourite character from Age of Ultron and I hope we get to see more of her.

Here is Renner’s photo he posted earlier today:

Behind the scenes pic! @marvel @disney #cgiarrow #dontkillthecameraman #hawkeye #civilwar

A photo posted by Jeremy Renner (@renner4real) on Dec 7, 2015 at 11:11pm PST

 

You can see Wanda Maximoff in her suit we barely saw in Age of Ultron and I am loving it. It looks like she came right off the comicbook page with just a few, small changes.

Hawkeye is Hawkeye. I like him for who he is, but I don’t particularly love him. Yes, he’s witty but Stark’s wittiness is just funnier. That said, I really enjoyed learning more about him in the Joss Whedon directed Age Of Ultron.

What do you think of Wanda and Hawkeye? Do you love Scarlet Witch as much as I do?

‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ Trailer Is Out, And It’s Good


In 2014, Bryan Singer returned as the director of X-Men: Days of Future Past and everyone was surprised by the quality of the film; it was the best X-Men film to date but that might change next May judging from the X-Men: Apocalypse trailer.

Today, 20th Century Fox released the longly anticipated trailer for Singer’s next instalment in the franchise and it’s great.

For me, the trailer is fantastic. It keeps the same, serious tone of the previous ones and despite some unfinished CGI, Apocalypse looks impressive. After the strong dislike of the first look of the character Apocalypse, Fox decided to change it up. Now he looks good though reminds me a bit of the overlords in Falling Skies. Maybe that will change when you take into account the film has 6 more month until its release. It does look better in terms of visual effects when compared to the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer.

The cast all look stunning though I have some reservations about Jennifer Lawrence’s hair. It is somehow unnatural. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me but I decided to see if you agree. Oh, and where is Wolverine? It’s not an X-Man film if he’s not in it.

X-Men: Apocalypse follows the critically acclaimed global smash hit X-Men: Days of Future Past,with director Bryan Singer returning. Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshipped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel’s X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender), to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) with the help of Professor X (James McAvoy) must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction.

What do you think about the trailer? Is it good or is it bad?

Apocalypse hits theatres on May 27, 2016.

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Deserves A Nomination In Almost Every Major Category

mad-max-fury-road-lovely-day

It’s that time of the year again — Christmas is knocking on the door, the snow and cold start creeping in on the cities and towns all while we just accept the fact we will have to put up with the temperatures. But fear no more, folks, because Valhalla will be waiting for you (I spray my mouth chrome and go to kill and get killed)!

Okay, I may have gone a bit cray-cray but you should too. Mad Max: Fury Road was just snubbed, no exaggeration, at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. The post-apocalyptic film is one of my personal favourites and is not getting what it deserves. After being praised by critics for its originality in both storytelling as well as cinematography and stunts, Fury Road should be included for the following reasons:

  1. Best Director & Best Film
    fury20road2002Fury Road is a visual feast, no one can deny this. From that opening shot until the very last frame of the film, you see the absolute perfection when it comes to direction. The seamless blend of practical and CGI effects, the attention to detail in each shot, the scenery, and the over-saturation are all different ingredients that ultimately combined into a truly breathtaking spectacle that apart from being a piece of marvel also shows many truths about the current state in which the world is, and how it’s controlled.
    Yes, it is shown in a hyperbolic way but the problems it tackles and the ways it solves them are reminiscent even if you don’t delve deeper under the many layers this film has and just watch it for fun; you get the feeling of something similar that you may or may not have personally gone through.
  2. Best Production Design & Make-upkhan_mad_max_whiteness

    Mad Max is one of the two films this year that has truly impressed me aside from Mockingjay – Part 2. Director George Miller and the production design crew have done a spectacular job in every sense of the word. The world-building is so captivating to watch, especially when you take into account the costumes, vehicles, setting, make-up and hairstyles. If not else, everyone remembers the flame-throwing guitarist — he is worthy of his own scene-stealer award.mad-max-fury-road-guitar-player-doof-warrior

  3. Best (Supporting) Actress
    bfff6cda-25dc-43b3-8fd3-3eaed3c1562aTom Hardy is great as Mad Max, however, I do agree that Fury Road was a 60% Furiosa movie and a 40% Mad Max film. That is hardly a bad thing; watching the brilliant Charlize Theron as a bad-ass hero is refreshing and to see a bit more of such a rich character is no crime at all. In addition, she is one of my personal favourite actresses in the business today — her range goes from 0 to 100 and she can deliver on every level. Plus, her robotic hand is a nice addition to her appeal.
  4. Best Editing and Cinematography835b949d-f897-4851-b577-39c5b95b1e43
    Let’s face it, if it weren’t for the break-neck pacing and brilliant cuts, Mad Max: Fury Road would have not been as fascinating as it is. The editor has done a remarkable job at choosing how long and how many the cuts should be. Also, Miller’s choice to go 100% saturated shows the insanity of the world in yet another way.The hands-down, best thing about the film apart from it’s many layers and messages is the cinematography — it’s astounding, gorgeous, astonishing, spectacular. The multiple wide shots of the car-chases in the desert, the fanciful fights, the incredible stunts and the setting all result in a delightful sight for the eye.

    What’s also a gulp of fresh air is the fact you can see what actually happens during the action sequences. Furious 7, Terminator: Genisys, Taken 3, The Gunman and countless other films just this year have decided to opt for the high frame-rate, shaky-cam action that literally gets you headache form the constant cuts. Being actually able to mull over what you see is important, so take a note.

  5. The Stunts
    hekhd7g1ddmnboxclncmAs of right now, I cannot think of a film with more realistic, yet over-the-top, stunts that make your jaw hit the floor and make you dig you nails into the seat (sorry, Furious 7, the car flying though the skyscrapers is physically impossible and outright ridiculous).It’s refreshing to see something new when it comes to fights on screen. We got to gaze at some really innovative techniques used in the film as they were developed specifically for it.
  6. Best Score, Sound Editing & Mixing
    Choosing Junkie XL to score the film was a smart move on George Miller’s side. His heart-thumping score gives you goosebumps any time it is on, which is what you want when you see a film of the calibre of Fury Road. Nowadays, most action films have generic soundtrack with music so uninspired that can hardly make you feel anything save for a need to turn down the volume.And last but definitely not least, the sound editing and mixing are phenomenal. The way certain scenes are approached is unique as we clearly hear the dialogue but the surroundings are still there. There is no Fantastic Four effect where during the final battle where you can easily hear they are on a soundstage just talking with no environment around them. Hence, going practical about the location is almost always the right choice.

I could go on and on about all the magnificent aspects of the film but that would make a really, really long read and I doubt any of you would like that.

Do you agree with me? Do you think Mad Max: Fury Road deserves more recognition by the awards shows? Do you have anything to add? Make sure to let me know in the comment section.

Why The ‘Hunger Games’ Prequels Could Work And Who Should Take Over

the-hunger-games-mockingjay-part-2-645x369

Brace yourselves, Tributes. It is now official that there will be more films in The Hunger Games in the franchise. The studio, Lionsgate, announced it today.

As with most film series nowadays, the marvellous Hunger Games will receive prequels. Now, I do know that it might sound like a bad idea considering that most prequels — save for X-Men and a few others — are plainly abhorrent. From Star Wars Episodes I – III to The Hobbit movies, we have seen about enough prequels to now have solid evidence that they are redundant. Nevertheless, it might just work for Hunger Games.

Now, call me biased or prejudiced but I believe that prequels for the series could possibly work if it’s done the right way. In order to achieve even a resemblance of the success the original films have enjoyed (original… sounds odd considering we think of Star Wars when we refer to originals).

Sure, Lionsgate are doing it for the money. However, that is the purpose of each film: to bring money, otherwise the studios have no interest in investing hundreds of millions of dollars into them. I know you know this and refer to this as a ‘cash grab,’ though you shouldn’t. I think the producers are not only looking out for their own good, but also for that of the hardcore fans of the series. Nina Jacobson and crew have been so true and faithful to the books and everything around the production that they have grown to love the fans. It might sound naive and immature but it’s true. In each interview you see the enthusiasm they have and the attention to detail and efforts they put into all of the Hunger Games films.

lawrence_640x320jpg

Recently, when asked whether he would return to do a prequel, director Francis Lawrence said he would if Suzanne Collins is the one behind the script.

‘The interesting part of the story for me is to go back 75 years earlier and see how everything became the way it is.’ he said to Entertainment Weekly.

‘I’m sure if Suzanne were to get inspired and decide there’s another story that’s important for her to tell that exists within the world of Panem and whether about the Dark Days, another character, or another set of Games, whatever that could be, I’m sure it would be great. And I’d loved to be involved, absolutely.’

In my opinion, the world Suzanne created on the page and what he put on screen is so rich and captivating that should they do a 73 prequels about The Hunger Games, they all have a chance to be spectacular. When you all these winners of previous years, you can imagine how compelling it would be to see how Finnick, or Haymitch, or Beetee, have each won their games.

‘I just think with the end of this story, we’ve reached the end of Katniss’ story.’ he continued.

‘I think that Suzanne created such an iconic character, and I think she’s the main reason why everyone comes back to these stories. Now, that’s come to an end.’

hunger-games-690x262

What’s more, I have some ideas of what could make for a gripping prequel and how to achieve it:

  1. Have Francis return to direct at least one of the prequelsIt may seem an obvious requirement, but I can hardly imagine someone else making this franchise without resulting in some decline in quality. Moreover, Lawrence has such a breathtaking vision that he can actually present to us without making it seem pretentious. His style and continuity are all top-notch and make for a fantastic film as were the last three installments of the series.However, I wouldn’t mind if someone like Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan, the Wachowski siblings or the Chad Stahelski and David Leitch duo took over.

    All of the above have one common feature — have an amazing visual style and have proved to be excellent in what they do. Scott was in a state of flux for a while but after The Martian, I am happy to say he is back. Christopher Nolan, on the other hand, has continuously proven himself as one of today’s greatest directors with films like Inception and The Dark Knight. It’s true Interstellar wasn’t as stellar as expected but it was ambitious enough to make me overlook the flaws. If not else, he would try to build a practical arena if possible in order to reduce the amount of CGI needed.

     

    The two duos though could make a fantastic Hunger Games prequel as well. With Sense8the Wachowskis proved they are just as good as they were in the past and with Jupiter Ascending, for the millionth time showed they have a jaw-dropping gift for combining CGI with the reality. Think about what they could achieve with a script as good as those of The Hunger Games.  The other set of directors, the other duo — Chad Stahelski and David Leitch have also proven they can direct the action and drama in a perfect balance while telling a simple story in a gripping way.

  2. Make the first prequel about either Haymitch or Finnick
    In the book Catching Fire, we see parts of Haymitch’s  and Finnick’s backstory of how they have won their games. Unfortunately, there is only so much you can fit into a two-and-a-half-hour film so these aspects of the book did not make the cut. They are the perfect opportunity to make a film about a character that is actually intertwined with The Hunger Games.

  3. Let Suzanne write the screenplay
    Did any of you see Gone Girl? If yes, you know it is a terrifying thriller about the human nature and it is adapted for the screen by the author herself.To my mind, letting Collins do what she does best — write — is the best way to continue the Hunger Games films without the sense of loss of heart and sentimentality. In addition, she has experience with writing screenplays so what better chance to develop the characters even more than a prequel?In addition, she would be able to invent a storyline that would last for a trilogy (not a trilogy with a two-part finale) as there should be some connection between the films.
  4. Ask the fans for approval
    And last but not least, let’s be honest. If it weren’t for us, the fans of both the films and books, there wouldn’t have been a second, third or fourth movie. It seems only fair to ask fans what they would want to see most in the prequels. The fans are such a devoted community that they can actually give ideas to explore in the films. Don’t dismiss their opinion.

In short, this is what I think about the prequels: they could work if done in the right way — have the right director, characters to follow, the right screenwriter, and fans approval.

Even if the prequels defy what the movies are trying to say about the media and how we enjoy seeing people kill each other and how materialism shouldn’t be one’s goal in life, it’s what the harsh reality is like. So why not expose all that again with an even stronger message and also give what the moviegoers want to see?

 

 

 

‘Captain America: Civil War’ From Here to Infinity Featurette

Times goes by two ways: it’s either excruciatingly slow or it’s  blink-and-you-miss-it type fast. When it comes to a highly anticipated movie, a mix of the two forms a third way — you want the day to come and time slowly drags but also goes by so fast you want it to slow down because once the movie is out and you see it, you can’t ‘unsee’ it. It’s done.

The complete Phase Two collection of Marvel films drops on Tuesday, and included in the Blu-ray set is a new video full of concept art that previews the upcoming Phase Three.

At least this is what how feel about Captain America: Civil War. As the comics about this story have a special place in my heart, I want to see how the films tackle the problems. The superhero registration act is something many people, including Steve Rogers, believe is limiting and unnecessary, I take Iron Man’s side — it’s absolutely necessary.

Now, Marvel has released another video about Civil War where the directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, talk about the film and how it studies the repercussions of what other films have done to the characters and the way it affects them. They briefly talk about Black Panther as well as Scarlet Witch, Wanda Maximoff.

The Phase Two set includes Iron Man 3Thor: The Dark WorldCaptain America: The Winter SoldierGuardians of the GalaxyAvengers: Age of Ultron, and Ant-Man. The discs are put together into a display container shaped like the Morag Orb, the object that contains the fabled Power Stone, which Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord stole in Guardians of the Galaxy.

What do you think about the new video? Are you as excited as I am about the sequel to The Winter Soldier?

Captain Amrica: Civil War opens May 5 in the US, April 26 in selected markets.

‘Star Trek Beyond’ Trailer Will Debut with ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

star-trek-beyond

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is going to have a dazzling set of previews. I feel like all the big movies will have a trailer debuting with the continuation of the classic films.

With more than $50 million in advanced online ticket sales, it’s easy to understand why so many studios want their trailer to play before The Force Awakens. It is already expected the film to have the highest opening weekend of all time, surpassing this year’s Jurassic World, which would take anything more than $209 million. It is expected to become the 5th film to hit the millennium mark a.k.a. taking in $1 billion worldwide.

It is not at all surprising that Start Trek Beyond will have a trailer attached considering the director of Star Wars, J. J. Abrams is a producer of Star Trek through his own Bar Robot Productions. Actually, he was supposed to direct the third instalment of the Star Trek franchise but decided to hand it over to Justin Lin (Fast and Furious 3-6) in order to direct The Force Awakens. 

Next summer, Star Trek Beyond will also have a release in IMAX. The film stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho, Simon Pegg and Anton Yelchin who all return for this sequel. Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella, Lydia Wilson and Joe Taslim are joining as part of the cast. Based on Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry, Justin Lin directs the script written by Roberto Orci & John D. Payne & Patrick Mckay; and Doug Jung & Simon Pegg.

In the last months, we have gathered some of the trailers that are supposed to play during the previews. In October, Captain America: Civil War, was set to have a trailer attached and though we have already seen it online, it’s going to be playing with Star Wars. X-Men: Apocalypse‘s producer Simon Kinberg confirmed we will see footage during the expected juggernaut as well.

Other movies said to make their way to the previews are, naturally, Warner Bros’ Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Universal‘s The Huntsman: Winter War, 20th Century Fox‘s sequel to Independence Day — Resurgence, as well as Disney’s Jungle Book. Finding Dory is also rumoured to appear.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I will be exhausted from excitement by the time Star Wars: The Force Awakens starts. Are you excited or you don’t watch previews?

 

 

Daredevil and Jessica Jones might not appear in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

daredevil-and-jessica-jones

We might have to wait a few more months for Captain America: Civil War, directed by the Russo brothers, but the power-duo of directors is about to start work on Avengers: Infinity Wars – Part I and Part II.

Ever since Iron Man debuted in 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has headed to the ultimate showdown — Infinity Wars — where out favourite, and not so favourite, superheroes will have to face the big bad Titan called Thanos. In 2012, Joss Whedon teased us with Thanos in The Avengers during the credits scene and then again, this year, 2015, teased us again with another glimpse pf the supervillain. Sure, we saw him in Guardians of The Galaxy, but that was nothing compared to what kind of havoc he is supposed to wreck.

With the expansion of the MCU to television, fans want to see even more characters in the two-part finale including ones from: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daredevil and Jessica Jones… for now. When asked about whether we’ll see these heroes/antiheroes in Infinity Wars, he said the following:

“It’s complicated,” Russo said. “The films are controlled by a group led by Kevin Feige, so they function as a unit. Other products, even if they are from Marvel, are controlled by others. Then there is the possibility of a crossover, but it’s more complicated.”

Judging by his words, he doesn’t say it’s impossible to see them all come together, but it’s more likely than not for them to stay in the TV universe and not get involved with the films.

On the one hand, I can see why they might want these characters to stay back. While I would have loved to see Jessica and Matt and the other Defenders team up, it would be hard to balance so many story-arcs in the limited time of two and a half hours. Avengers: Infinity Wars is crowded enough as it is so adding more characters into the mix might result in a decline in the quality of the films.

In addition, these TV shows are rated MA, which means Mature Audience only and that is another border that they should consider if they decide to use them. Maybe, just maybe, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would make an appearance, but will be mainly a cameo as it’s both family-friendly and more intertwined with the films.

Do you think the TV characters should appear in the movies or should they stay on the small screen?

‘House of Cards’ Season 4 Is Looking for Photographers

As the new year approaches faster and faster, we are also getting closer to the premiere of the fourth season of House of Cards which is expected to be somewhere between late-February and mid-March.

However confidential and secret the new season may be, now the streaming service which produces the Kevin Spacey-led show, Netflix, is on the hunt for extras that are also photographers for the finale of the season.

“Marinella Hume Casting is looking for extras to work on the final episodes of House of Cards season 4 now filming in Baltimore, Maryland. Casting directors are looking for reporters, photographers, videographers, and boom operators to work on the upcoming scene.”

As House of Cards tends to end seasons with a bang, leaving viewers yearn for more episodes, my guess is that the final episode will include a lot of press conferences, as well as some dramatic reveal that demands to be captured by journalists. What’s more, there are rumours a main character might be killed off in season 4.

In the show, Kevin Spacey plays a Democrat, Frank Underwood, from South Carolina who creates an elaborate plan to get himself into the highest position of power in the country with the help of hi wife — Ms Underwood played by Robin Wright. Season 3 ended with the separation between the seemingly happy couple and Underwood is seeking re-election that he may have won in the upcoming season.

‘Captain America: Civil War’ actor Chris Evans would love to be in ‘Iron Man 4’

captain-america-civil-war-banner

Spider-Man will also be in Captain America: Civil War.

In just a few months we are going to see Captain America: Civil War hit theatres and it has quite the line-up of actors including Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth Olsen, Sebastian Stan, Emily VanCamp, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Rudd, Anthony Mackie, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany and others.

As Civil War trailer just dropped a week ago, it has already set records in terms of views, seeing a 60+ million views in the first 24 hours of the release.

Captain America’s role has always been prominent in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is everything has been building up to his showoff with Tony Stark. Now, with the signed multi-year contracts, it is hard to feel worried either of them won’t survive Captain America: Civil War, but there are some good news about that.

Recently, Entertainment Weekly visited the set and had a chat with actor Chris Evans and as it turns out, he is eager to make an appearance in Iron Man 4 should it happen.

“It just hit me yesterday, now that we’re six weeks in, that they were actually over his shoulder coming out of the elevator, not over my shoulder watching him come out of the elevator,” Downey says during EW’s set visit.

“I was like, oh, that’s right, it’s his point of view.” Evans says he’ll happily return the favor if there’s ever an Iron Man 4: “I’d be happy to be in an Iron Man movie. We’ve been in so many movies together, the titles are almost, at this point, inconsequential. We all win!”

For me, personally, it would be great to see Chris Evans opposite of Downey Jr in Iron Man 4 because I tend to like the dynamic relationship between the two. What’s more, I would be 100% for Iron Man 4 to actually happen as the third instalment was enjoyable for me.

What do you think? Would you like to see another run between Cap and Iron Man?

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

Why Did The Attacks In Paris Happen?

People gather outside the La Pitie Salpetriere hospital following a series of deadly attacks in  Paris

People gather outside the La Pitie Salpetriere following a series of deadly attacks in Paris , November 13, 2015.

It’s 13th November, Friday, and I had just settled in bed at around midnight. Suddenly, my phone rang and a friend told me to open any news site or social network, mumbling something about Paris. After catching up with what I had missed I was perturbed, shocked. Paris had been under attack. Again.

The immediate question that popped up into my head was: How did we end up here? So after a lot of digging, I finally found an answer.

Four years ago, in the city of Deraa, Syria, locals started roaming the streets as the government had arrested 15 schoolchildren for writing graffiti that were against the government. While in containment, the kids are said to have been tortured.

2d7a2e9219d12f0d1a3adc914f70adfc

Syrians headed to the border in order to seek refuge.

At first, the protests were mild: people simply gathered in once place and asked for the release of the children as well as a more sizeable freedom and democracy in the country.

The ones higher in hierarchy didn’t perceive the what the protesters wanted as insignificant as them, got angry, and, on 18 March, 2011, the army opened fire, taking the lives of four innocent people. In addition, during the funerals of the victims,  the army shot at mourners.

After these events, tension went up, spreading across the country and eventually, the population of the country had had enough.

The people of Syria went out on demonstrations, demanding the resignation of the president, Bashar al-Assad. After refusing to do so, though making false promises about how he will change the way the country was ran, the situation started to escalate.

bb575f52fa68ee914c258d8e806912c2b0448e8a

The consequences of the war in Syria.

Soon there were battles being waged between the supporters and the oppositionists of al-Assad. In the meantime, the proclaimed Islamic State (IS) got involved, taking control over areas of the country, later taking advantage of the chaos of the war, moved east and gained power there too.

Naturally, most people from Syria wanted to go abroad, to seek refuge elsewhere, to save themselves from the unsparing war. At first, everyone was understanding. However, after months and months of crossing though borders, looking for shelter all over different countries, the situation got more than out of hand.

The flow of refugees coming to Europe just kept getting bigger and bigger. So much so that it was no longer only Syrian citizens that ran from their countries; it was a lot of the neighbouring peoples form Iraq, Iran etc. They impersonated themselves as Syrians, throwing away their passports and belongings, with no way of anyone to actually figure out where they are from.

This is when European countries decided pulled the plug. Some closed off their borders whilst others limited the amount of people who could cross. I can’t blame them, some of those countries had just recovered from the financial crisis — some restrictions were definitely needed to be put in place.

With the tremendous wave of people it was only logical to conclude that individuals — or maybe groups — with less than amicable intentions would come in. It was made evident with the recent attacks on Paris which brings me to my next point.

16-nov-2015-paris-attacks-google-map

Map of where all the attacks occurred.

The atrocious bombings that occurred in Paris were terrifying. More than 120 innocent people lost their lives on Friday 13th, simply because the IS, who took responsibility for the terrorist act, wanted to make a statement. Moreover, they claim that this was just the beginning of something bigger. And considering how successful their act was, I unfortunately do believe their words are true. Now, the attacks may not happen this week, next month or even this year, but they will eventually — and this fills me with dread.

Regardless of how unfortunate and disturbing the bombing was, the IS not solely to blame for this: the French Intelligence is also responsible.

There are numerous films and TV shows portraying the Intelligence unit of some country. As close as they might seem to reality, and could probably be the reality itself for the CIA specifically, many countries do not have the same resources or power to conduct these investigations. And that’s to be expected — not all are equal.

However, France is not one of the small, hardly known to the world country. It is one of the biggest, and most powerful, countries in Europe. Once, it used to control most of the continent; now it is a country drawing millions of tourists each year. The government cannot claim they do not have the resources to have a good intelligence unit. They do, but the problem is that they choose to spent most of the budget on other departments.

1086099_1280x720

Policeman in Paris the morning after the attacks.

Had the Intelligence done its job, the attacks — or at least a part of them — could have been prevented. Yet six, not two or three but six attacks were done on the same night. The coordination of the attack was way too perfect to be done in the spur of the moment. No, the plan has obviously been well-crafted as all of them were accomplished successfully and thus wrecked havoc. That is exactly what the terrorist want — to shake the tree so they can see who will hold on for the longest time.

“How can we avoid this?” you might ask. There is not one single solution. It is a chain of actions that need to be taken. Firstly, the government and the Intelligence need to step up their game. They need to find a way to tear the terrorists apart from the inside, to give them some of their medicine. Secondly, we need to be compassionate but not naive — some will undoubtedly try and take advantage of that, mix in with the crowd and then blow themselves during rush hour, killing more people.

AR-151119688.jpg&ExactW=620

The Eiffel Tower after the attacks, represents France’s flag.

To avoid it, we need to eschew sharing too much information, not to look the other way when we see something that is not right. Even if it’s just someone buying pot, which compared to the aforementioned tragedies seems insignificant.

A virus is spread through bacterias. We need to start small, eradicate the bacteria so you can avoid the virus. So don’t overlook the minor details, instead, look for them first and then look for the bigger picture.

 

VR EXPERIENCE REVIEW: The Hunger Games

Folks, it’s almost here. November 19th is almost here, it’s next week, and I am freaking excited. Everyone who knows me has had enough Mockingjay talk from me, more then enough. And now I get the closest experience I can to being in The Hunger Games. Not that I want to be in there, but considering I can’t wait for the movie, I will take all I can get.

It’s 3 p.m. and I am back from school. I throw my backpack in my room, grab my laptop from there and head to the living room downstairs. I settle down to write an essay and then my phone made a sound, interrupting the music blasting out of my headphones,notifying me that The Hunger Games channel has uploaded a new video.

Immediately, I minimised Evernote, opened a new tab in Safari and went to YouTube. I quickly find the newly uploaded video called Virtual Reality Experience. Now, I realise it has been up for days but I hadn’t noticed! Turns out I can’t see it on my Mac so I unlocked my phone and loaded the video there.

I don’t own the Google cardboard thing, but I do own a Galaxy Note 4 with a 2K screen so I decided to try out the VR experience. I put my headphones in my ears and the magic happens.

We don’t get much new footage. A glimpse here and there, but the surroundings are insanely immersive. You relive key moments as well as quotes from previous films — Rue, The Girl on Fire and some other things. It’s great. But it is also pointless to an extent. We don’t see many new things, we put ourselves in the camera’s shoes and go on a journey finding Katniss in the middle of the Capitol. We see the cool transitions and relive some moments from the previous instalments. However, I guess it does its purpose for existing: it made me even more excited and eager to see the final film in the series. And it does it flawlesssly.

Bradley Cooper didn’t spoil Marvel’s Sequel to Guardians Of The Galaxy

Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-2-Movie-Logo-Official

Over the last day or so, titles floated around the social networks and emails, saying he has spoiled Guardians of The Galaxy 2. And, if you choose believe these rumours, than yeah, you are.

In case you missed it, Bradley Cooper spilled the beans about how “The huge guy sitting in the chair hovering in space” is Star-Lord’s father and that he is Guardians of The Galaxy 2’s main villain. In addition, he mentioned that Thanos is the father of Chris Pratt’s character. However, few hours later, director James Gunn took to twitter to disprove this spreading-like-a-wildfire hearsay:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

In the interview, the actor who starred in American Sniper looked rather confused as to who is who in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I truly believe that Star-Lord is not Thanos’s son. In contrast, Nebula and Gamora, played by Karen Gillian and Zoe Saldana respectively, are his adopted daughters.

So, no, Cooper did not spoil anything about 2014’s smash hit’s sequel. He is simply confused by the countless, complex relationships and connections in the MCU. Your guess is just as credible as his.

Do you agree? Do you think he did not reveal anything?

You catch Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller in the new movie Burnt, which is out now.

Sense8: Rajan might become a villain

The cast of Sense8

After the gathering somewhat of a cult following, Sense8 got a second season, which is set to premiere in the summer of 2016, some rumours started floating around as production has started. The main two of which are that Rajan might become a villain and that there will be another cluster.

Sense8 is my favourite TV show, I have clearly stated it in my review, as well as on both Facebook and Twitter. I watched all episodes about 5 times each, forced my friends and family to watch it (most of them loved it), I consumed all the information there is about how it was made. This news, that Rajan might become a villain, is a bit worrisome for me. This might come back to bite me, but I don’t see how such a spoiled person can be a villain — I just can’t picture it. Sure, in his shoes I would also be angry if the girl I am supposed to be in love with fell for a guy only in her mind (not completely… you get what I mean), but I won’t have much do to. If she loves him — good for her, it’s her loss. Now, the Wachowski and Michael might surprise me and create a great villain, however, as of now, I can’t see how.

The creators of Sense8 — Lara Wachowski, Andy Wachowski, Michael Straczynski

“Not all Sense8s will be naturally good people. Some people with that ability might not be the best people. So there’s a whole range of them. Some of them will be more attuned to the commonality of being in a cluster, some will say, ‘I’m hiding out, don’t reveal me’ – the value of not being seen.”

The other news that has been verified by the creators themselves is that there will be a new cluster. This I am all for. More than once did I ask myself whether people born on dates other than August 8th could have a connection, it’s only logical they are, and my suspicions are proven correct. I am also interested in exploring people who are not “naturally good” as writer/producer Michael Straczynski said. It will be riveting to explore people with not-so-genuine mindsets that are not all that excited about world peace or saving innocents.

I have some predictions about the release date. With most shows, Netflix stays true to the original release date. It’s done so with House of Cards, Orange is The New Black and many others. My guess is June 10th. With the former, each season started a week after the previous one, so this pattern seems all but fitting.

What do you think about Rajan as a villain? Do you think the new cluster is a good thing? Do you agree with my guess on the release date? Make sure to let me know in the comments.

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.

NaNoWrimo and NaBloPoMo Day 3 Update

Today has been a disaster. A complete and total disaster. I couldn’t write a single word for NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo(this post doesn’t really count) but it was expected as I was at school, got home at around 4 p.m. I ate some lunch and started making subtitles for Supergirl in Bulgarian. This is what is, and will be, time-consuming on Tuesdays as I need to finish them by Wednesday night.

How was your day? I hope it wasn’t as disastrous as mine but if was, how do you cope with it. I feel the need to punch myself. Would love to know. 🙂

NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo: Day 2 Update

November 2nd has been a strangely successful day for me. I woke up early at about nine, watched some TV shows I had to catch up on, then I watched the vloggers I had missed and ate some breakfast.

It was late afternoon before I knew it; sun was slowly going to sleep, the cool air of November started creeping thought the window so I closed it and turned the AC on. After I ate what was left from the cookies I baked yesterday, I got back upstairs and decided I will write a review of Sicario. It took me about an hour to write and read through it quickly before I had to clean up my room as it had become a mess. After I was done with the chores, i had another brilliant thought–I should also write the review in Bulgarian.

So I did that and started surfing Facebook and Twitter by the time I was sick of it so I went back to writing. I discovered this app called ilys. It’s a great writing tool, especially for people like me who can’t just burst the words out but rather need to edit them a thousand times before leaving them again. So I decided to find out how much faster I could pour my thoughts on the black page where I can only see the last letter and it turned out to be really helpful. In about an hour and a half I managed to complete my daily goal of 1,669 words, and actually went over it by 121 words so I was happy. Sure, the text is full of typos, wrong words and bad sentences but the idea is out on paper and the results aren’t as horrendous as I expected them to be.

So now, it’s 10:50 p.m. and I should be going to bed as I have school tomorrow but precisely for that reason, I will be up until I finish my essay on Macbeth... Wish me luck with that.

So, how was your day? Did you manage to complete your goals from NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo? If you did, please let me know in the comments and share some tips and tricks if you have any. I am going to write that essay now so…

Рецензия: Сикарио — Поредният Tриумф на Дени Вилньов

След мрачния си, неочакван хит „Затворници“ и спорният му друг филм — „Враг“, Дени Вилньов се завръща с още по-тъмна и мрачна история.

„Сикарио“ следва Кейт Мейсър (Емили Блънт), идеалистичен агент на ФБР, правещ всичко по учебник. Един ден докато търсят пленници-имигранти, пред нея и екипът й се разкрива къща пълна с трупове, прикрити в стените. По-късно, представител на правителството, Мат (Джош Бролин), я вербува да се бори срещу непрекъсната война с наркотиците и картелите. Водени от енигматичния консултант със съмнително минало, Алехандро (Бенисио Дел Торо), екипът поема по път, по който Кейт е принудена да се изправи срещу всичко, в което вярва, за да оцелее.

Началото на филма е изумителен пример за модерно кино, където кадрите нито са кратки дотолкова, че да не може зрителя да разбере какво гледа, но и не се застояват твърде дълго, за да досадят. Това, примесено със страхотен монтаж държат в напрежение. Подобна е и сцената, когато екипът преминава границата между Хуарес и Ел Пасо. Това е една от най-напрегнатите, побелващи кокалчетата и запотяващи дланите сцени в историята на киното. Не знаеш какво да очакваш, а клаустрофобията, породена от това да си заклещен в безкрайната верига от коли в трафика, се усеща сякаш наистина си там, Хуарес. На всичкото отгоре виждаме всичко през призмата на героя на Емили Блънт: през по-голяма част от времето ни държат в тъмното и не можем да разберем точно какво се случва и на кого да се доверим.

Говорейки за Емили Блънт, тя е невероятна. Щом стане дума за актьорска игра — от героиня в романтична комедия до екшън звезда, тя може да изиграе всичко. Това само показва, че е добър претендент за  „Капитан Марвел“. Изразява убедително всичките чувства на Кейт — нуждата да свърши правилното нещо, както и отдадеността, объркването, гнева и невежеството й. Връзката с Кейт е моментална.

Но ако Емили Блънт е страхотна, то Бенисио Дел Торо е изключителен. Магнетичното му присъствие е самата противоположност на това на Джош Бролин. Моментът, в който Дел Торо е на екрана, другите бледнеят пред него; той не само очевидно е повреден като чвоек, но е и такъв, който се бори с демоните си и преследваистинската си цел. В неговите очи вече няма надежда за щастлив край. От друга страна, Джош Бролин е очарователен и харизматичен както винаги, особено облечен в костюм с джапанки. Той е малкото, почти незабележимо, комедийно избавление на филма. Мат е интелигентен, с правилно мислене, но не и твърде праведно такова.

– От правителството летите с частни самолети? – пита Кейт Мейсър.

– Вие нямате ли си? – отговаря Мат.

Йохан Йохансон за пореден път се доказва като чуден композитор. След миналогодишния, нежен и донякъде игрив саундтрак на „Теорията на всичко“, сега се завръща с електричен и помпащ кръвта такъв. Музиката е обезпокоителна и се вписва идеално със суровия, неукрасен свят създаден в „Сикарио“. Намества се като последно парче от пъзела в досега повдигнато от знаменитата кинематография напрежение.

Филмът е хубав и не се разпада след второто действие, поне не дотолкова, дотколкото много хора твърдят, но наистина се задоволява с по-малко от нужното. След няколко дни в света на войната между картелите и правителството, Мейсър все още е толкова невежа и пасивна. В случая много от твърденията, че ако главната роля беше мъж, той нямаше да е толкова бездеен, но тези твърдения грешат. Независимо от пола, възрастта или расата, всеки поставен на мястото на Кейт би бил просто пионка, ако се гледа по-голямата картина. До моментът, когато развръзката настъпи, вече сме подготвени за грандиозния финал, който въпреки че е малко неочакван, е и леко разочароващ тъй като филмът става по-праволинеен и донякъде предсказуем.

Вилньов прекарва по-голяма част от продължителността на филма, всяващ чувство на ужас у зрителите, макар и да не знаем какво точно ни ужасява. Реалистичността на филма, двусмислията и изследването на сива територия са това, което го прави толкова поглъщащ и изкусителен. Най-отличителната черта на „Сикарио“ е амбивалентността към видяното и преживяното от Кейт.

Във филма няма нищо съвършено ново от страна на история, теми и послание. Въпреки това, спиращата дъха кинематография на Роджър Дийкенс, саундтракът на Йохансон, невероятната режисура на Дени Вилньов и солидната актюрска игра правят филма това, което е — черешката на тортата в жанра трилър.

Movie Review: 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

#NaNoWriMo 2015

It’s November and it’s finally time to let my inner author out in wild, writing at least 50k words that may be utter bullshit. However, if I have luck, and motivation, and inspiration, these 50k may be mediocre. And if I have Even more of those things plus time, plus more inspiration, these words may be brilliant. Only time will tell.

One thing I am sure is going to happen is: distractions. Today, the first day of NaNoWriMo and I have already been more than distracted. At around 4 p.m., 2 + GMT, I felt the sudden urge to bake cookies. I have not baked anything in more than 18 months but now, on the day I shouldn’t do anything but write, I decided I will bake. some apple cookies (I might be sharing the recipe). So I almost completed my goal for the day with 1.3k words, from 1700, and went downstairs to bake. There, after baking the cookies, I felt an even stronger earnest to actually cook something.

So far for Day 1, until 8 p.m., I have written 1.4k words and will try to get to 2k by midnight. How was your first day of NanoWriMo? Were you as easily distracted as me? Do you wonder what else might happen during this magical month? I found this article that may answer your questions.

Or, if you are late to the game, take a look at this other article. Can’t wait to hear from you soon with your goals.

Have A Glimpse Of What War For The Planet Of The Apes Has To Offer

A little over a year ago, 20th Century Fox released Dawn of The Planet Of The Apes, which was quite impressive, and it was a success, both critically and financially, grossing 710 million dollars at the box office, almost quadrupling its total budget (production + marketing). In the era of prequels, sequels, prequels to sequels et cetera, it was hardly a surprise when the studio announced it was moving ahead with  the third movie in the, planned, trilogy.

As production started a while back, we now have an official first look at the film — a set photo posted by the director, Matt Reeves.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

At first, the third movie in the franchise was called War Of The Planet Of The Apes, but it was later retitled to War For The Planet Of The Apes. In addition, we have new cast members joining the club: Steve Zahn and Woody Harrelson, the former’s performance will be realized using motion capture technology.

Unfortunately, the plot is still being kept a secret, so we are yet to find out what is in store with the third instalment.

War For The Planet Of The Apes hits theaters on July 14, 2017.

TV Review: The Vampire Diaries Season 7 Episodes 1 & 2

After 7 seasons, many deaths, even more comebacks, and predictable, filler episodes, the new season of The Vampire Diaries is a gulp of fresh air.

I will admit, I was an avid fan of the show few years ago; there is no way to explain how obsessed I was with it. I would constantly talk about it, re-watch episodes, quarrel with my family and friends… it was crazy. However, with time, my enthusiasm for the show started to recede and a years ago, when season 6 was starting, I hardly cared about it. The constant Delena vs Stelena dilemmas, I love you but I don’t, dying and getting back to life over and over again were just part of the problems I had with it. Though it was tiresome, I stuck with it because I can’t stop when the end is so close (or is it?).

As season 7 premiered last week, I decided to put off watching just the first episode, so I could watch the first two episodes back-to-back. I am honestly happy that I did. Being one of the people who thought The Vampire Diaries will suffer from the lack of Nina Dobrev’s Elena, I had set the bar really low. Much to my surprise, the show is back to being watchable with the roll-your-eyes-moments were brought to a minimum.

The premiere episode opens with–take a breath–writing a diary. Hardly did I remember the last time we had seen diaries in the show carrying the word in its name. Caroline is beautifully writing down what has happened as a way to inform Elena, and us, the audience, of what has happened since Elena fell asleep. It was kind of cliché, but was also clever. Just an opinion–I love Caroline; she is such a control freak and yet has a heart of gold and so relatable that I can’t resist smiling. For me, she is the character that the writers have not yet managed to ruin.

Stefan and Damon’s mother is a real bitch, alongside with her “family”. They are all so annoying at times because of their humans-are-not-on-out-level, but that is also part of the fun. The way they tortured a certain character was as funny as it was actually painful to watch, in a good way. With the explosions and magic and deaths in these two episodes, though I thought vampires couldn’t be witches, I can say the show is almost back to its roots. It is fantastic to see some plot over romance for a change. Sure, there are some quiet moments, and a few ones that make you shout at the screen, but they are nowhere near the excessive amount that they were in the last couple of seasons.

Damon pretending to be drink, wishing to be, actually, is one of the most awesome things to see here. Also his conversations with Bonnie about how she is his best friend are just heartwarming. Nevertheless, the episodes have one big problem — it’s hard to follow what is happening and when. The whole three years from now is a bit convoluted, but by the end of episode two, you almost figure out what is going on.

In short, the premiere, and the following episode, show that The Vampire Diaries still has strengths and can use them when it is not caught up with the drama. It’s a strong start of the season and hopes are it will continue to be good for the rest of the season.

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

The Frankfurt Journal – Day 2, Tuesday

Going to a book convention for the first time is one excruciating, unnerving and yet so vivid and colourful. Just the thought that you are going to a place where more than 10 thousand people will be at the same time is just dreadful, let alone if you are sixteen. Nevertheless, the people you meet, the feeling of being on a social place is an immeasurably exciting and exhilarating feeling.

I didn’t take this photo, but it kinda catches how big the halls are.

It was 8:00 a.m. and I went to the train station, alone this time. I felt so adventurous travelling alone around the big city (Well, Sofia is a big city, but its subway system is not nearly as complex). Only then did I feel so independent, ready to live on my own.

After I transferred from the S-Bahn to the U-Bahn, which was quite hard because there are too many trains on one stop and later turned out to be unnecessary, I got the Frankfurt Messe stop. Strolling down the station, making my way through the never ending crowd, I got to the escalators. There, I situated myself on the right and slowly moved up, watching how the train station disappeared behind the old walls. Getting of the moving staircase, I looked around, perplexed, trying to decide which way to go; there were too many options. I took a leap of faith and followed the crowd.

Suddenly, my phone vibrates and notifies me, at 8:45 sharp, that I had to go the opening ceremony at 11 a.m. Do you know what that meant? I had to wait two freaking hours, wandering around the area in order to get to the ceremony. I was two hours early! What did I do? I went into the mall, in which only the food shops were opened so I got my butter croissant with chocolate and sat amongst the few other people.

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

Time went by and I got to the roof, took some photos, talked with friends back home via Facebook Messenger, which I started to like recently, and eventually, got to the bookstore, Osiander, and watched how the girls working there opened the store. Being their first client that day — don’t I feel proud, I gave them the receipt from the previous day and a few minutes later in my arms stood Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined and Red Queen. Afterwards, I got the book fair, entered without any hassle and started walking around the Messe, in search of the opening press conference. This place is gigantic in every sense of the word. You cannot get from one end to the other in less than an 45 minutes of walking. And if you don’t know where you need to go, like me, and try to follow signs, you are bound to get lost, and exhausted. After half an hour of seeking the needed place, it turned out I had walked pass it way more times than expected. I went through security check and got into the Congress Centre and queued. There I was politely told I wasn’t on the guest list, which had to be a mistake as I had been explicitly told in an email that was. Whatever, their loss; I stood outside the hall and watched the conference on the TV.

Don’t I fell big now, going on convections and all. #travel #fbm15 A photo posted by Denis Barbov (@denkata99) on Oct 13, 2015 at 1:22am PDT

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

I quickly moved toward the Indonesian Pavilion as Indonesia was, and still is, the guest of honour. There was a tour around the 17 000 islands of imagination and there was a folklore music playing, which was the most exciting part. It turns out Indonesia is quite advanced and the publishing industry is yet to flourish the highs, but is expected to do is in the foreseeable future.

Afterwards, I walked around and figured there was nothing to see, or do, because there were no halls open yet. Like almost none were opened on Tuesday, so I went “home”.

After some lunch and chit-chat with my cousin, we went out and wandered around the city until after night fell. Down are some photos we took.

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

20151013_184905

Just me, the river and the skyline.

Part of the Indonesia 17 000 islands of imgaination

Part of the Indonesia 17 000 islands of imgaination

Did i mention I love the skyline?

Did i mention I love the skyline?

Frankfurt Journal — Day 1, Monday

Hello fellow readers, I have not really been posting lately as I was travelling and lost track of time. So, here is my first daily post.

On Monday, I woke up at 6:10 a.m. so I can get to the airport by 8 o’clock. I stared at the beige styrofoam ceiling for the last time in two weeks. I then got out of bed, took a shower, closed my suitcase and got in the car with my father, who drove me to the airport. This was at 7:00 a.m.

This is literally how disoriented I was.

This is literally how disoriented I was.

I figured an hour would be more than enough to get to the airport, it’s like 20 kilometres from my place and my father is an excellent driver. So the first 11 kilometres went by fast as I stared out through the window covered with droplets from the not-so-forgiving rain. As we neared the airport, time was going by fast, ridiculously fast. Unexpectedly, we got stuck in a traffic jam, a really long and endless traffic jam. Minute after minute, metres after metres, we were racing against the clock. It was already after 8 a.m. and I was getting faintly skittish about whether I will get in time for the flight. The rain started pouring harder and stronger, but my father didn’t care as he went by the other cars, doing the best in his powers, which was quite a lot, to get me to the airport.

Exactly ten minutes later, we were at Terminal 2 of the Sofia Airport; I was relieved… no, I was really comforted I hadn’t gotten much later than expect — a mere 20 minutes. Everything afterwards went by quickly; I did not queue for a check-in and whatnot so I was at my gate before I new it. My flight was scheduled for 9:35 and I was happy I was there at 8:50. However, as time flew by, minutes passed and I got onto the bus, which had to drive me to the plane. Yes, had being a keyword. The people who escorted the flight attendants to the bus came by to sadly tell us the flight has been delayed. From there, I hopped off the bus, like everyone else, and got to the second floor of the airport to grab a bite.

The view from the place I was seating. Isn't it depressing?

The view from the place I was seating. Isn’t it depressing?

So I was there, eating my ludicrously overpriced sandwich and water on the bar, reading The Verge on my phone when the muffled voice started talking from the speakers. It was something similar to this:

“Attention, final call to all passengers on flight 467 to Frankfurt, please, go to your gate.”

The request, more like demand, was wrong to say final, as, first — we were told that the flight is delayed with an hour, which meant 10:35, and at that point, it was 10:05, second — there wasn’t a non-final call, and third: I hadn’t finished eating my sandwich

Scowling at the ‘final call”, I ate up what I had left and quickly got out of my seat, leaving the article I was reading — unfinished. I ran through the halls, trying to get to the gate and get on the bus. The escalator slowed me down, but nevertheless I got to the gate and hopped back on the bus.

On the plane I ate what they served me, I had neither had dinner, nor breakfast, so I was dying out of hunger. With my stomach now stuffed with food and water, I was ready to nap. I didn’t nap because it turned out I wasn’t as tired, so I unlocked my phone and tried to watch the premiere of The Walking Dead, but it failed to grab my interest, so I watched the new episode of Lost Girl. Then, with about 40 minutes left of my flight, the middle-aged woman sitting next to me started a small talk because she was bored. So was I and we started chatting.

Doesn't the city down there look like a bird's head?

Doesn’t the city down there look like a bird’s head?

Soon thereafter, we landed in Frankfurt, but were asked to remain in our seats as the medical team had to get on-board to check in on some passenger. We sat there for 10 minutes as the waitress notified us it was 3 degrees outside. My jaw dropped, my pupil widened and I mumbled something. In a minute or two I got off the plane and it wasn’t that cold, I still think it was not 3 degrees, it couldn’t have been. Then, the thermometer supported the hostess’s claim that it was 3 degrees. Well, if not else, I didn’t feel it was that cold.

Again, I couldn’t believe how fast things went by that day. Not once did I queue. Taking a glimpse of my orange suitcase, I ran after it and then caught it. I was so happy they hadn’t lost my luggage this time.

From there, I went out and quickly found my cousin, who was desperately waiting for me to arrive because she had been waiting for an additional hour. We avoided the crowds and got to the train station and I attempted to get a weekly card for the public transport from the machine, but obviously 50 Euro are too big of a banknote. History repeated itself after Paris three years ago. Tired from walking around, my cousin and I wandered around the airport, looking for a shop to buy something in order to break up the 50 Euro. There were enormous lines on each shop, huge, giant, choose an adjective. We got up and down until we finally found a place without a million people waiting to buy something — Relay kiosk. I didn’t know what to buy so after some internal struggle, I bought an International New York Times issue, which costed me about 3 Euros(didn’t expect that), and a Kitkat.

Afterwards, I got a weekly card for the public transport and was as happy as a clam at high tide. We got to my cousin’s place, I left my suitcase and, without wasting time, Lilly and I directly went out. We went to a local phone shop and I got a sim card with 3 GB of internet data for 20 Euro as on my other card I have roaming for EU conversations so I didn’t really need phone calls on this one(though I could have added some to my primary one).

Going around in Frankfurt with public transport if very, very convenient. If it weren’t for the ten-minute walk to the train station(Germans have S-Bahn, not subway, which is kind of a train), I would be downtown in about 10 minutes, and Rodelheim is not that close. That I will miss when I get back in Sofia; commuting is nowhere near as fast.

Alex is the cafe on the top of the building.

Alex is the cafe on the top of the building.

We went to the Frankfurt Messe, the place where the book fair is held, and took a few pictures of the surrounding architecture. After checking out the Messe, we went to Skyline Plaza where is my second favourite bookstore — Osiander — and I bought a few things, including The Power of The Dog, which sounds fantastic, and I ordered two other books for the following day.

I like the Dutch angle of this shot.

I like the Dutch angle of this shot.

After that, we climbed onto the roof of the shopping centre and gazed at the marvellous, gorgeous view of the city scape. And took a lot of photos until our batteries died.

Have you ever been to Frankfurt? If not, would you want to go? If you have any questions about the city, make sure to drop them in the comment section so I can answer.

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.

 

 

‘The Divergent Series: Allegiant — Part 1 and 2’ have new names

        

We are just few months away from the second to last film in the Divergent series and now the studio has decided to axe the good old Part 1 and Part 2 in the titles.

After an okay run at the box office, Insurgent’s sequels will be called The Divergent Series: Allegiant and the fourth and final one — Ascendant. As expected, both films will follow Veronica Roth’s bestseller novel Allegiant. What’s more, the films have new taglines:

The Divergent Series: Allegiant — Break the boundaries of your world

The Divergent Series: Ascendant — The end is never what you expect

Out of nowhere, MTV News was the website which broke the news about the young adult series. Strategically, dropping the Part 1 and Part 2 from the title is a great move. If what the creators of the adaptations do their job right, which is debatable after Insurgent, we might get to see a better version the book with the expanded world.

The Divergent Series: Allegiant hits theatres on March 18, 2016.

What do you think about this title change? Was it a good idea? Are you excited about Allegiant?

Jessica Jones will air on November 20

Jessica_Jones_Official_LogoAfter this spring’s Netflix and Marvel co-created, successful show — Daredevil, the two studios will release another one based on another comic book. This one is Jessica Jones.

After months of speculation and rumors, it was finally announced that the psychological thriller show will premiere all its 13 one-hour episode on November 20th.

If you haven’t yet heard about Jessica Jones, here is a description:

Jessica Jones (Ritter) is a former super-heroine who decides to start her life anew as a private investigator. This is the second of Marvel’s Netflix series and is a part of the Defenders line-up set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The show is written by Brian Michael Bendis and Melissa Rosenberg. It stars Carrie-Anne Moss, David Tennant, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Rachael Taylor and others.

Jessica Jones will be out on November 20th, 2015.

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

Looking for a co-blogger

Have you ever wanted to write a blog, but then you realise you can’t pull it off alone? Now you have that chance without having to worry your blog will be inactive most of the time.

What I want from the applicant is to be someone who loves to write and review books, tv, comics, games etc. It’s a plus if he or she has some experience, but it’s not that prominent. The other requirement is to have the ability to update the blog with some news, reviews or whatever at least three times a week.

There are two spots open. Fill the form.

I can’t wait to meet you.

SENSE8 SEASON 2 MIGHT BE ANNOUNCED THIS WEEKEND

That’s how all the fans of Sense8 feel like right now, awaiting news.

Last two months have been, and still are, a torture for the fans of NETFLIX’s new show, Sense8. Ninety-nine percent of the people who have seen the show say it is one ofbest, small-screen productions on the planet, ever.

With each day which that goes by, fans are eager to hear news about the show and they don’e, going to bed at night disappointed. Many are worrying the streaming service might cancel the show, breaking millions of hearts. Now, however, there is new evidence… assumption which should excite these people.

Actor Brian J. Smith posted this few days ago:

For everyone who’s watched the show this date is no mystery: it’s all the sensates’ birthdays. It will be logical for Netflix to be waiting for that special day to make a special announcement. Though, this tweet is not the only indication for optimism.

What’s more, the show’s co-creator J. Michael Straczynski, who actually retweeted and read my review for what I am so happy about, says he is “cautiously optimistic” about the show’s chances at renewal.

“We’re looking at expanding that as far as logic goes,” he said. “What’s kind of fun about the characters is that what they’re sharing are not necessarily [powered] – like, in other concepts, which might be superpowers, flight. They have ordinary abilities, and we’re trying to say that there is value and merit and power in [that] – whether you’re an actor or you are a martial arts person or a bus driver, you have something to contribute.”

Nevertheless, fans shouldn’t jump the gun if they don’t get news this weekend, Netflix will announce something this month, they have to.

Now, fans, focus on the #Sense8Day

TEAM SIDES IN CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR MAY HAVE JUST BEEN REVEALED

Marvel’s comics about Civil War basically boils down to this: Whose side are you on? Captain America’s or Iron Man’s?

The 13th instalment of the MCU picks up where Avengers: Age of Ultron left off–with Steve leading the recently assembled New Avengers team in order to keep the humanity safe. However, after another international incident, involving the Avengers, results in collateral damage, there is political pressure, caused by the turned public sentiment against superheroes, to enforce a new system in which the governing body should decide when and how to enlist the team’s services. This fractures the Avengers as they need to try and protect the world from the newest and most menacing villain. Cap isn’t in favor of this as the government could do more harm than good as it has the power to determine who is a hero and who is a villain.

Rumoured to join Captain America are Scarlet Witch, The Winter Soldier, Falcon, Ant-Man and Hawkeye.

On the other side of the coin are Tony Spark, a.k.a. Iron Man, and Black Widow, The Vision, Spider-Man, and War Machine.

In addition, El Mayimbe teased the fans with the following:

“Can you guess which Avenger might be a double agent?”

Can you guess who the supposed double agent is? On which side are you on? Make sure to let me know in the comments.

Captain America: Civil War comes out on May 6, 2016