2013 In Review by WordPress

Just something to ponder on. Indeed, my favorite day was when a famous director tweeted a link to my blog. Good times, good times..

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,300 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Topyxyz’s Most Anticipated Movies of 2014 Part I: January to June

Topyxyz

Wow, it’s been a while since I made a list like this. I remember I had to scrap last year’s due to my lack of time and patience. So to prevent that from happening again I’ve decided to split it into two parts not only because it’s much easier to rank, but also since the trailers just aren’t there yet for most of the movies to be released in the second half. I have to warn the people looking for art-house entries though, because most of these films will be on wide release. It’s just my way of lobbying for the ones I think deserve to be seen in theaters and segregating them from the rest of the crowded marketplace.

So without further ado…let’s begin with

32. Stretch

Starring: Chris Pine, Jessica Alba, Patrick Wilson, Brooklyn Decker, Ed Helms

“Hard luck limo driver Stretch (Patrick Wilson) is struggling to go straight and pay off a debt to his bookie when he picks up a crazed passenger (Chris Pine) whose sought-after ledger implicates some seriously dangerous criminals. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: Patrick Wilson has gotten himself into a winning streak as of late with horror flicks such as Insidious and The Conjuring. And I’m interested in seeing how him and his cast mates will interact in this R-rated, suspense action comedy.

31. The Fault In Our Stars

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Willem Dafoe

“Hazel and Gus are two extraordinary teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them – and us – on an unforgettable journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous, given that they met and fell in love at a cancer support group.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: I haven’t read the book and there are no trailers around, but author John Green’s vlog caught my attention and he sounds pretty confident with how the project’s being handled. I can’t say my excitement is high for this, but it does show some promise.

30. The Purge 2

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: Yes, there will be a sequel and yes, some people said the trailer for the first one was better than the actual film. But having recently seen The Purge, I feel there’s still plenty of room for them to explore the premise. Hopefully, they’ll cover a wider area next time for maximum thrills and kills.

29. Vampire Academy

Starring: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry

“Rose Hathaway (Deutch) is a Dhampir: half human/vampire, guardians of the Moroi, peaceful, mortal vampires living discretely within our world. Her legacy is to protect the Moroi from bloodthirsty, immortal Vampires, the Strigoi. This is her story. (c) Weinstein”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: The first of two vampire-themed movies on my list is Vampire Academy from Mean Girls director Mark Waters. I’m a bit skeptical with its hybrid of drama, romance, sci-fi and fantasy elements as it may suffer some tonal issues; but hey it made my list anyway.

28. Only Lovers Left Alive

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin

“A story centered on two vampires who have been in love for centuries.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: This vampire drama is not your ordinary Twilight flick. There seems to be a deep exploration within the characters and having that talented cast around only benefits them. It’s at 89% at RottenTomatoes so far so that’s always a good sign. And my goodness, Loki’s here!

27. Robocop

Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish

“In 2028 Detroit, when Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) – a loving husband, father and good cop – is critically injured in the line of duty, the multinational conglomerate OmniCorp sees their chance for a part-man, part-robot police officer.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: I’ve never seen the 1987 Robocop, so any arguments against this 2014 version that’s related to the original will not change my outlook on this film. The trailer actually suggests it’s going to be good, but that’s coming from a guy who also enjoyed last year’s Total Recall, so beware.

26. Winter’s Tale

Starring: Colin Farrell, Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe

“Set in a mythic New York City and spanning more than a century, “Winter’s Tale” is a story of miracles, crossed destinies, and the age-old battle between good and evil.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: Nothing much to say here save the fact that I got hooked by this film’s mix of romance and fantasy. Colin Farrell got me in the trailer. Reminds me of Stardust and Cloud Atlas too. It opens on Valentine’s Day, against Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde’s (what a beauty) Endless Love.

25. Chef

Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Dustin Hoffman, Sofia Vergara

“A chef who loses his restaurant job starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: The last time Director Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr., teamed up was in Iron Man 1 and 2, which ultimately paved the way for The Avengers. Obviously they know how to please the audience, which is exactly what I’m looking for this next summer.

24. Million Dollar Arm

Starring: Jon Hamm

“Based on a true story, Disney’s “Million Dollar Arm” follows JB Bernstein, a once-successful sports agent who now finds himself edged out by bigger, slicker competitors.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: Disney has managed to generate some Oscar buzz with their latest family fare “Saving Mr. Banks”. They’re doing well with Frozen and the executives seem to value quality as well. Hopefully the critical darling Jon Hamm (Mad Men) can also buoy this film to success.

23. Need For Speed

Starring: Aaron Paul, Imogen Poots, Dominic Cooper

“Fresh from prison, a street racer who was framed by a wealthy business associate joins a cross country race with revenge in mind. His ex-partner, learning of the plan, places a massive bounty on his head as the race begins.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: I’ve played most of the entries in the franchise: Underground, Most Wanted, Carbon, you name it. I backed up Prince of Persia despite getting flak from critics, so regardless of other peoples’ opinions, I’ll watch it anyway.

22. Filth

Starring: James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Imogen Poots

“Scheming Bruce Robertson, a bigoted and corrupt policeman, is in line for a promotion and will stop at nothing to get what he wants.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: James McAvoy is a brilliant actor, and that’s it. I’m kidding of course. Watch the trailer and find out why 🙂

21. Transformers: Age Of Extinction

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Jack Reynor, Nicola Peltz

“A mechanic and his daughter make a discovery that brings down Autobots and Decepticons – and a paranoid government official – on them.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: Will this be Michael Bay’s first fresh film since 1996’s The Rock? Frankly I’m not sure, as critics often seem to react negatively towards his work all the time. I’m actually more interested now that Labeouf, Fox and Whiteley are gone, so let’s see where Wahlberg takes us.

20. Noah

Starring: Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly, Logan Lerman

“Academy Award (R) winner Russell Crowe stars as Noah, a man chosen by God for a great task before an apocalyptic flood destroys the world. (c) Paramount”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: The star-studded cast that director Darren Aronofsky has come up with. Aside from Crowe, Emma Watson and Logan Lerman are also around. Noah will battle Mark Burnett’s Son of God for the religious crowd this year. But I have no doubt in my mind this epic will emerge victorious.

19. Welcome To Yesterday

“A teenager prospers after using an Almanac when time traveling, but doesn’t understand the ramifications of what he’s done until it’s too late ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: This reminds me 2012’s surprise hit Chronicle minus the found footage element. I can already see where the story’s heading, but getting there should be fun.

18. Maleficent

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning

“The “Sleeping Beauty” tale is told from the perspective of the villainous Maleficent and looks at the events that hardened her heart and drove her to curse young Princess Aurora.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: The last time we saw Jolie in action was in Salt, and since then I’ve missed her presence and charisma. Suffice it to say, she really pulls off her look as a villainess.

17. Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac

Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman

“A self-diagnosed nymphomaniac recounts her erotic experiences to the man who saved her after a beating.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: Unsimulated copulation confined in a barbaric, highly-intense story. Supposed to be so long that Von Trier’s ended up splitting the film in two parts.

16. That Awkward Moment

Starring: Zac Efron, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan

“Three best friends find themselves where we’ve all been – at that confusing “moment” in every dating relationship when you have to decide “So…where is this going?” (c) FilmDistrict”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: The chemistry of the trio in the trailer is rock solid. And I’m banking on Michael B. Jordan to be the next Will Smith.

15. Neighbors

Starring: Zac Efron, Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne

“A comedy about a young couple suffering from arrested development who are forced to live next to a fraternity house after the birth of their newborn baby.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: This time, the tandem of Zac Efron and Seth Rogen. It all depends on who joins Efron. He’s a cool guy, but he’s no cash magnet when alone.

14. Veronica Mars

Starring: Kristen Bell

“A feature film adaptation of the TV series, ‘Veronica Mars’.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: Just to see how a Kickstarter campaign can lead to a successful movie. I’ve only seen the first season of the cancelled TV series, but so far it has been sweet entertainment.

13. Dom Hemingway

Starring: Jude Law, Emilia Clarke

“After spending 12 years in prison for keeping his mouth shut, notorious safe-cracker Dom Hemingway is back on the streets of London looking to collect what he’s owed.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: I enjoyed Jude Law’s performance in Soderbergh’s Side Effects, but when he’s crazy as hell, he becomes more exciting to watch. Emilia Clarke is also a big draw for me, although I’m a bit bothered with her being Law’s daughter in the movie.

12. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Starring: Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner, Kenneth Branagh

“When Jack Ryan believes he’s uncovered a Russian plot to collapse the United States economy, he goes from being an analyst to becoming a spy and must fight to save his own life and those of countless others, while also trying to protect the thing that’s more important to him than anything, his relationship with his fiancée Cathy (Keira Knightley). (c) Paramount”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: It’s an adaptation of the late Tom Clancy’s novel….and Chris Pine!

11. Godzilla

Starring: Aaron Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen

“The king of all monsters gets a reboot with this Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures production helmed by Gareth Edwards, who gained critical attention with his intimate twist on the giant-creature genre with his feature-film debut, Monsters. David Goyer (The Dark Knight) provides the script. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: You have to see the trailer because it piqued my interest twofold. I promise it doesn’t spoil. You’ll actually feel safe as they seem to have made a good reboot.

10. The Lego Movie

Starring: Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Farrell, Liam Neeson

“An ordinary LEGO minifigure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil LEGO tyrant from gluing the universe together.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: It’s different. We might not even see another movie of its kind (unless they go for a sequel). The voice over fits the characters as well.

9. 300: Rise of an Empire

Starring: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Rodrigo Santoro

“The Greek general Themistocles battles an invading army of Persians under the mortal-turned-god, Xerxes.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: I loved Eva Green in Casino Royale, and I’ll buy a ticket for a chance to witness a catfight between her and Lena Headey, whose character is most probably pissed off now that King Leonidas is dead.

8. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Starring: Saoirse Ronan. Ralph Fiennes, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, Jude Law, Owen Wilson, Johnny Depp

“The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: My first encounter with director Wes Anderson was in Moonrise Kingdom, and his weirdness is unlike any other. He also has a good eye for talent and a showcases some excellent cinematography with his work.

7. Transcendence

Starring: Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman

“A terminally ill scientist downloads his body into a computer. This grants him power beyond his wildest dreams, and soon he becomes unstoppable.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: The first two 1-minute teasers of Depp and Freeman narrating was superb, and this trailer is just as good. No more costumes for good ol’ Johnny here!

6. Edge of Tomorrow

Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt

“A soldier fighting in a war with aliens finds himself caught in a time loop of his last day in the battle, though he becomes better skilled along the way.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT:  Tom Cruise is still an action star and he’s killing it with his latest projects (Ghost Protocol, Oblivion). Emily Blunt has proven she can handle futuristic sci-fi (Looper). Make a movie, earn money. repeat.

5. X-Men: Days of Future Past

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Nicholas Hoult, Peter Dinklage, Fan Bingbing, Ellen Page, Lucas Till

“The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. The beloved characters from the original “X-Men” film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from the past, “X-Men: First Class,” in order to change a major historical event and fight in an epic battle that could save our future. (c) Fox”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: X-Men The Last Stand was a sour conclusion to the first three X-men movies. This hopes to erase that in our memories. This would’ve made it to the top 3 but the announcement of another sequel, X-Men Apocalypse, makes it look like the stakes in Future Past are not as high as I initially thought.

4. A Million Ways To Die In The West

Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Charlize Theron, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman

“A cowardly farmer seeks the help of a gunslinger’s wife to help him win back the woman who left him.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: Seth MacFarlane’s first role in a live-action movie is more than enough reason. At the same time it’s also a western and a comedy, and Amanda Seyfried’s interview above hints on it as being very dirty and very hilarious,

3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Haley Atwell

“Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: Because it’s the third to the last advertisement until Avengers 2 arrives. In addition, you have Black Widow, Nick Fury and Maria Hill supporting the cap.

2. The Monuments Men

Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin, Cate Blanchett

“An unlikely World War II platoon are tasked to rescue art masterpieces from Nazi thieves and return them to their owners.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: It’s directed by George Clooney, and it should’ve been in awards contention had they not delayed its release due to problems with completing the film. Clooney mentioned they were never gunning for the awards anyway (yeah right). Still, it’s always entertaining to explore and alter our history. That ensemble is quite loaded as well.

1. How To Train Your Dragon 2

Starring: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, Kit Harrington, Cate Blanchett, Djimon Hounsou, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

“It’s been five years since Hiccup and Toothless successfully united dragons and vikings on the island of Berk. While Astrid, Snoutlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island’s new favorite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace. Now, Hiccup and Toothless must unite to stand up for what they believe while recognizing that only together do they have the power to change the future of both men and dragons.”

WHY I’M ANTICIPATING IT: The original was my top film of 2010. It’s funny, beautiful and sweet, but most importantly, it has heart. I already saw it about 7 times in theaters, so imagine how excited I am to find out what happens next in Hiccup and Toothless’ adventures. The characters have grown up a lot, so I hope the sequel could also add some extra maturity in its story.

So that’s it, the first half of the year covered in one article. I’ll be back 6 months later for Part II of my most anticipated list, where you’ll most likely find Guardians of The Galaxy, Mockingjay, and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar at the top. Among those, which movie will be my #1? Stay tuned :). Thanks for reading!

Movie Review #438: Before Midnight

I have a new number one this 2013

Life is imperfect, and so is love. In Before Midnight we’re introduced to a point in Jesse (Hawke) and Celine’s (Delpy) relationship where it’s most imperfect, most difficult and most challenged. It’s one hell of a culmination of the past three films and while it’s hard to separate the previous from the third, in terms of the maturity and realism of the story I think this is the best one they’ve made.

There are still scenes that refer back to the past such as the long, one-take shot of the two leads just walking while talking to get to where they’re going. A lot are even embedded in the two’s conversations where they talk about their first meet-up in the summer of ’95 and how things could’ve been different since then. However there are other digressions, most notably the inclusion of minor characters that spend some extra minutes on screen than usual. The first one shows up at the start in the form of Jesse’s son Hank (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick), while the others arrive in the middle of the film where a discussion about love from different perspectives is taking place at a dining table. It’s a wonderful commentary on life, romance, and technology and is something I would want to keep in mind.

There are important elements and turning points I would love to mention, but in doing so I would be ruining the experience of people who have yet to explore the trilogy. Just remember that we are imperfect human beings and the things we do are often spontaneous and unpredictable. So whatever conflicts or arguments to be found in here, it’s only a reflection of a realistic and imperfect love story that the movie tries so very hard to capture.

Impeccably well-written and filled with thought-provoking dialogue, Before Midnight is a fantastic piece of cinema that I would gladly revisit again. And that’s quite a rare thing for me to do. It’s the best film I’ve seen so far this year, and it would be a shame if it is left unnoticed.

GRADE: A

Movie Reviews: Before Sunrise, Before Sunset

A romantic trilogy that astonishingly gets better and better

Watching all three films straight in the Before trilogy was an amazing experience. Here’s what I thought on the first two:

Before Sunrise (#436)

Before Sunrise is very intimate, very romantic story of two strangers meeting at the most improbable place and time. I couldn’t imagine how such a simple thing could sustain my interest for almost 90-minutes, but with a screenplay that includes amazing dialogue between two outstanding actors they won me over. I liked how natural everything felt from Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy’s conversations to their actions in each setting they’re in. Some of the incidental happenings might have felt orchestrated but you have the perception that such occurrences were there to forward the story. There is no fake tension, just small arguments that’s more likely to occur and that sense of realism makes the otherwise unreal meet-up between the two leads more believable. It’s well-shot and smoothly directed and it complements the story a whole lot that it felt very intimate and personal while I was watching it.

GRADE: B+

Before Sunset (#437)

I can imagine Before Sunset as a dream come true for people who saw the original back in 1995. This is a beautiful film from start to finish, and is a fine example of intelligent storytelling propelled by the two leads Hawke and Delpy who also co-wrote the screenplay with director Richard Linklater. This time, you discover what has occurred in between the two films directly from the dialogue, flashbacks notwithstanding. There are nostalgic references everywhere and it’s hard not to notice even if you haven’t seen the original for a while. It’s brilliant filmmaking and once again I love it’s unforced and natural progression. There were instances where I was thinking ahead wondering where their conversations will lead to, but by the end I realized all I had to do was simply follow what was going on. True enough, I enjoyed the experience and the ending was as sweet and happy as I wanted it to be.

GRADE: A-

Movie Review #435: After Earth

Take a knee…both of you!

I can’t seem to write anything about After Earth. It’s either I was mentally absent or I simply didn’t care enough to pay attention to what was going on. Bottom line is that it’s a bad film, but it’s not worth hating on as I’d rather just get on with my life.

In the latest example of Hollywood nepotism, a charismatic Will Smith portrays a dull and emotionless father and he was so good in that role. Jaden on the other hand plays the puppet ranger whose facial expressions suggest he was in excruciating pain most of the time. Both actors are not totally at fault – they actually try hard to bring out as much to their one-sided roles as they can. The film’s real problems can be traced back to the poor script and uninspired direction of the waning M. Night Shyamalan. He just can’t seem to get up on his feet as I have not liked a single film of his in the last 6 years. There are many ways to improve on the presentation and he had to choose the least interesting way to do so. This is not his worst project though, I mean, even though he failed at least the premise was inventive and promising. That title still belongs to The Happening which I unfortunately had to see during my birthday.

Going back to After Earth, there actually isn’t much to explore left as most of the things introduced aren’t actually needed. It’s a sci-fi that has some interesting ideas, yet its execution was subpar to the point that you lose interest in the movie altogether.

GRADE: C-

(so there you have it guys, Percy Jackson is still the worst film I’ve seen this 2013)

Mini-Movie Review: Percy Jackson – Sea of Monsters

Underwhelming, unentertaining, unfunny

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters might be passable for the fans, but from a non-reader’s perspective it’s really terrible. Amateurish direction, underwhelming effects, and wooden acting translate into a film whose characters you’ll have absolutely no connection with unless you’ve read the books. It all seemed to be just Logan Lerman and friends heading from Point A to Point B while reading their lines without any motivation whatsoever. So yes, it’s a bad film. And unfortunately, it’s currently the worst film I’ve seen this year….at least until I see After Earth. But that’s not even guaranteed.

GRADE: D 

Movie Review #433: The Hobbit Part II – The Desolation of Smaug

As entertaining as it is irritating

(spoilers ahead)

Just like its title, The Hobbit Part II: The Desolation of Smaug is way too long. While it boasts of impressive visuals and well-choreographed action, the film is crippled by the decisions of greedy executives who decided to split a short novel into three 150-minute movies. As a result, you have a sequel devoid of a beginning and an end, leaving nothing but nostalgia and goodwill to fool us into thinking there ever was one.

I enjoyed the film just as much as I hated it. But we would have gotten an amazing adaptation had they stuck with just one or two. I can imagine Smaug as a representation of consumers who possess all the riches Bilbo and the dwarves (in this case, the studios and producers) seek to claim. And right after failing to put down the dragon, they can do nothing but stare at it and mutter “what have we done?”

Indeed, what they’ve done so far has tarnished the good name of Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings trilogy. It’s a blatant attempt to squeeze more money out of the audience without high regard for quality like before. Director Peter Jackson might still be around but he has so far only salvaged what could’ve been a disaster. Had the director not been passionate about the source material I can already imagine The Hobbit as a nightmare of a franchise. If studios continue this trend of putting cliff-hangers in anticipation for the next chapter, people might not be willing to come back. So at least they should’ve made changes on that. Then again, it’s almost impossible to pull off when the source novel is shorter than any LOTR book and they decide to expand the plot to almost 500 minutes.

For every good thing there is a setback. Martin Freeman’s portrayal of Bilbo is still exceptional. The return of Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Thranduil (Lee Pace) and the inclusion of Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and Bard (Luke Evans) certainly helped the film. Yet after being with them for 10 minutes there’s a sudden realization that you’ve connected with them more than any of the dwarves in their 300 minutes of appearance. And the talkative Smaug (voiced by Ben Cumberbatch), well he’s just as entertaining as he is ridiculous.

It frustrates me that because of the greed of a few higher-ups, the people are forced to put up with tons of extended minutes that were very unnecessary. If you cut Part II by an hour, you would’ve gotten a B+ film, because there are still a lot of great moments in it. The river sequence at the middle was exceptional, but they always lose momentum in every good scene because of so much walking and talking.

I’m not saying it’s a bad film, because it isn’t really a film. It’s an advertisement for Part III, but way different from how Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 served as an ad for The Avengers 2. People who haven’t seen it can go ahead, just come in with lowered expectations and a higher level of patience.

GRADE: C+