261st Movie Review: The Avengers

Go see it…nuff said

(Note: Little or no spoilers involved)

The Avengers is the best superhero movie I’ve ever seen!

After all the hype, it’s only fair to doubt whether or not the film can actually live up to its expectations. But I’m telling you right now that you don’t have to worry. Just go to the theater and enjoy watching indestructible superheroes in action for 2 hours and 22 minutes!

I think the best reason why I enjoyed this film a lot was the fact that there was something interesting going on in each and every scene. Everyone knows that the avengers will eventually assemble, but what made it intriguing was finding out how they’ll end up teaming together. And this is what sets it apart from other films like Transformers or G.I. Joe. It never forgot about the story even if the action scenes were already enough to blow us away. And with this movie, you’ll never get tired. Be ready for lots of comic (no pun intended) relief along the way!

From left to right: Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg)

The whole cast was amazing! Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Cobie Smulders were my favorites, but the rest were just as good. And what surprised me was that everyone had an equal role and nobody was left out or had less screen time. Even the narcissistic Iron Man had to make room for his pals. Kudos to Director Joss Whedon (aka the coolest director ever) too for patching things up nicely. You could really feel that this whole project was a team effort.

I’ll be honest, it wouldn’t be as fun if Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor weren’t introduced to us before. And the film would’ve been a lot longer since it’ll have to show us a little bit of each character’s back stories. Though I don’t think that it’s necessary to catch all the prequels before seeing this one because along the way you’ll be subtly fed with information about the superheroes’ past lives.

The Avengers is the epitome of movies that make everyone – the producers and consumers – happy. It’s quite a rare feat nowadays and I hope more of these are made in the future. This really set the bar high for this year’s summer movies. So don’t wait for the others to come out, because I promise you when you leave the theater you’ll be telling your friends to go see it as well!

GRADE: A

(for the record, the last time I gave an “A” was when I watched “The Social Network” over a year ago. Yeah, it was THAT good)

260th Mini-Movie Review: La Vita e Bella (Life Is Beautiful) (1997)

Part 1- dreadful and boring; Part II – beautiful and interesting

Life Is Beautiful was charming, and the setting of the movie was indeed beautiful, but I wasn’t a fan of Roberto Benigni’s choice of direction and neither did he move me with his lead performance.

To be fair, I wasn’t aware of what the film was about (or at least I couldn’t recall it) when I saw it. The first hour wasn’t really that interesting and to be honest I found it quite boring. That’s why when the second act came along it caught me by surprise when all of a sudden they were at a concentration camp. I felt the strong bond between Guido, Dora and their son Giosue, whom I actually liked the best.

Overall, the movie is a tough one to rate. The cast didn’t really wow me, though there were definitely times when I worried about what will happen to them. Some of the tragic moments felt rushed or ineffective, but otherwise the film was technically decent. If the first part was cut to half, I would’ve probably liked the film a lot more.

GRADE: C+

259th Movie Review: Wrath of the Titans

A below-average popcorn flick bigger and more chaotic than the first film

A decade after his heroic defeat of the monstrous Kraken, Perseus-the demigod son of Zeus-is attempting to live a quieter life as a village fisherman and the sole parent to his 10-year old son, Helius. Meanwhile, a struggle for supremacy rages between the gods and the Titans. Dangerously weakened by humanity’s lack of devotion, the gods are losing control of the imprisoned Titans and their ferocious leader, Kronos, father of the long-ruling brothers Zeus, Hades and Poseidon. Perseus cannot ignore his true calling when Hades, along with Zeus’ godly son, Ares (Edgar Ramírez), switch loyalty and make a deal with Kronos to capture Zeus. The Titans’ strength grows stronger as Zeus’ remaining godly powers are siphoned… — (C) Warner Bros.

I wasn’t really eager to watch Wrath of the Titans when I was invited to catch it for free. Its predecessor was one of the most disappointing remakes in the past couple of years as it was totally different from the original which I have grown to appreciate during my high school days. Fast-forward to 2012 and we have the sequel, which I believe did nothing more than improve on its good qualities and do even worse on its bad ones.

First off all, this movie is nothing but a popcorn flick. It’s a kind of movie where you buy a ticket, grab your 3-D glasses (if necessary), sit on your chair, and turn off your brain. That last part is the most important, because it could spell the difference between your liking or hating it. The story progression was very Transformers-like where it tries to take you from point A to point B while blowing everything up in the process. The special effects here were intended to distract you from remembering how you got to the end in the first place. And while I could say that I was quite impressed with the visuals and the set pieces, it really wasn’t enough to praise the movie overall.

The film already misfired on the first scene when Perseus (Sam Worthington) and his 10-year old son Helius’ (John Bell) began talking and I couldn’t see any sign of love between the two. I could say the same for Perseus and Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), whose chemistry was non-existent. Most of them had forgettable performances, especially Worthington. Veterans Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes seemed like they were reading their lines out of a comic book. And while Toby Kebell’s character Agenor provided some comic relief, his role felt like it was merely inserted into the story and wasn’t very well thought of. In fact, even the soldiers felt unnecessary. They just wore their armor, feared the monsters, and died. Andromeda was their queen but even she gets flung around in battle!

Director Jonathan Liebesman made a decent effort to improve a film which was doomed from the start. It could have been worse, but that’s not exactly a compliment. If you’re up for a stupid actioner  that can kill some time, this film is perfect, but you’ll have to lower your expectations. Otherwise, don’t even bother seeing this film. If Warner Bros. fooled you once, shame on them. Don’t waste your money for a sequel which will end up disappointing you once again.

GRADE: C-

I Agreed With the MAJORITY

Rotten Tomatoes: 23% FRESH, 4.4/10 Rating

Internet Movie Database: 6.3/10 User Rating

Metacritic: 37/100

255th, 256th and 258th Movie Reviews (In a Nutshell): Catch Me If You Can, Hotel For Dogs, District 13 – Ultimatum

Hey everyone! As promised, here are the three other movie reviews I accrued in the past few months. Enjoy!

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Catch Me If You Can is an Intelligent, well-written film further intensified by its two leads, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. But while based on a true story, I found it to be too unrealistic. Nevertheless they did a good job in keeping me intrigued the whole way. DiCaprio and Hanks’ acting were so convincing that you don’t doubt their character’s ability to influence and persuade others with their charisma. The film a tad too long, but altogether it was wrapped up nicely.

GRADE: B+

Hotel For Dogs (2009)

I have to say, the dogs really did a good job! No seriously, they’re probably the only reason why I watched this all the way to the end. The story was ridiculous, the acting (the humans btw, save Emma Roberts and Jake T. Austin) was unbearable, and the movie altogether felt contrived. It had a predictable ending, which actually made the film even worse as everything ended up just looking stupid.

As much as I tried not judging the film because of what it is, I just thought it seemed too unreal. Even if you remove the dogs, there are a lot of things that shouldn’t even be possible, so no, I’m not giving the movie a pass. I can’t believe Lisa Kudrow and Don Cheadle signed up for this. I’m not a dog-person, so I really can’t recommend this to anyone except people who are. But if you’re interested, then my only tip for you is to lower your expectations.

GRADE: D+

District 13 – Ultimatum (2009)

Exhilarating action and fantastic set pieces propel this otherwise flawed film

I was really surprised with District 13: Ultimatum. I rarely watch foreign films but this one managed to break my stereotyping. With its exhilarating action, energized stunt moves and strategic location, I can’t help but be sucked into the story and the setting. The one thing that pulled this one down was the third act of the film where the movie couldn’t really find room to breathe and the story broke down. I was disappointed with the ending since the build-up was fantastic, but despite the film’s wrongdoings it still deserves a good grade for a good effort.

Grade: B-

252nd-254th Movie Reviews in a Nutshell: Cast Away, Green Lantern, A Little Thing Called Love (Valentine’s Special)

Hey everyone! As promised, here are my previous movie reviews pre-Hunger Games. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make full reviews for each of them because of time constraints. I have three more reviews in a nutshell coming up, but for now here are the first three.

First up, CAST AWAY (2000)

Tom Hanks delivers one of his best performances I’ve ever seen as a survivor of a FedEx plane crash and lone inhabitant of an island somewhere in the Pacific. It was a very convincing effort by him as he makes his pain, suffering and happiness felt all throughout the film. His actions are enticing and it makes you want to know what he does next. Hanks brought the film from start to finish and capped the movie off with a very fulfilling ending. Props to him and also director Robert Zemeckis!

GRADE: B+

GREEN LANTERN

Here’s a situation from the movie: Hal sees alien… no reaction. Everything that occurs around him seems nothing out of the ordinary. The whole movie was unemotional and unfunny. In addition to that, the way it was adapted was very cheesy and had a dull character progression. Overall it’s just an average, generic film which belongs to the bottom half of superhero tier.

GRADE: C

A LITTLE THING CALLED LOVE

Though the story is rather interesting, it’s a very flawed movie bombarded with some very unrealistic moments. It’s unintentionally funny; but unlike Segunda Mano, it was amusing rather than disgusting. Pimchanok Lerwisetpibol and Mario Maurer both are alluring, and are probably the only cast members who kept the movie from falling apart, because aside from them everyone else acted ridiculously. The ending also looked rushed. In general, A Little Thing Called Love is a unique, yet average romantic movie.

GRADE: C+