Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Expendables 3

Barney augments his team with new blood for a personal battle: to take down Conrad Stonebanks, the Expendables co-founder and notorious arms trader who is hell bent on wiping out Barney and every single one of his associates. 


I'm not what you can call a HUGE fan of action movies, but I've watched many of them and I loved watching Sly and Schwarzenegger kicking asses. I miss those movies back to the old days when all The Expendables stars were in the 80's and were all self delusional ego maniac who took everything seriously which sometimes overcame their "crappy" acting. Their god complexes gave us some great performances because they believed in themselves so much. However now, The Expendables 3 movie is all cheesy, with a bunch of big jokes. They have become the Scary Movie of action movies, parodying on themselves. At the beginning there are some kick ass action scenes which establish what the movie is going to be and then wipe out this bunch of old guys who prepared themselves to fight together like in the 80's. All gone. This time Stallone welcome new guys on board, a bigger cast with a far better story, all of this displaying us a more complete picture than the former films. The film does take a little more time with characters in order to build them up a bit. They managed to combined what they haven't done yet and what we wanted to see i-e comedy is there, the action is there and the big faces are there. In fact as usual, there are a lot of guns, actions and explosions all in one movie. The good thing is that all stars are different as they bring a different flavor to the movie which ad some valour to the final product. It makes it be more appealing. This movie is not perfect. Nevertheless it has so much potential. Some good things could have been done if they were handled correctly. Unfortunately in The Expendables 3 not so much. In this film they're all aware of their silliness and making fun of themselves, they have to play a character, not a parody. Plus, they could have take the easy way, getting a real bad guy, an iconic villain that we've already hated in movies. Yet they chose Mel Gibson who is obviously a good guy in the movie universe. This is a real challenge for him as he has to made the bad guy believable and at the same time sympathetic somehow. Mel Gibson really is pretty damn good in the movie. If we're being honest it's easy to compare talents when you take an actor of his level and put him in the middle of wrestlers, bodybuilders and Stallone. THAT'S ACTING! He has a truly great scene in which he explains why he is the way he is. I wanted the rest of the film to be like that. 


This is a hint of what The Expendables franchise could be if they try to be serious and not only a parody of their forms. Harrison Ford is replacing Bruce Willis as a CIA agent in lazy cameo. Antonio Banderas' character is 50/50; whether you like him and think he is hilarious or annoying as hell. I think that those younger guys go against the entire concept of The Expendables. One younger mind is OK. Bring that computer guy in. He brings some fresh new digital element which is fine. Not everyone on the poster need to be on the film. Finally if you take those people, focus on character who worth focusing on and make it interesting, don't just make a bunch of jokes from you former career, The Expendables would be 300% more entertaining that it already is. It's good, I'm not going for realistic action and logic, I'm not even going to this movie for believable characters. I'm going for bullet action, old bad asses and cheeky references to their old movies (eventually). You have to leave logic out the door for this film: helicopters don't move like that, people don't live through that, and they can't physically do that. 


Overall The Expendables 3 is an entertaining film but also boring film at time, with a very good villain and few good action sequences for the most part.                 

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

Light years from Earth, 26 years after being abducted, Peter Quill finds himself the prime target of a manhunt after discovering an orb wanted by Ronan the Accuser. 



Guardians of the Galaxy was my second most anticipated movie of 2014 after X-Men: Days of Future Past . As a huge Marvel and Sci-Fi fan I've loved watching Star Trek, 2001, Firefly and of course Star Wars. I also always hoped Marvel Studios to run into their cosmic universe someday. There are been plenty of Sci-Fi movies to keep me entertained and to charge my imagination but I was waiting for Cosmic Marvel more than anything. The Asgardian Realms haven't really counted as they were cool but they use magic mainly as a super science. They were getting there with The Battle of New-York in The Avengers and this big hole in the sky above Manhattan spewing out Aliens. Now with Guardians of the Galaxy we're talking about all details of a stunningly beautiful spacecraft. That beautiful and ALIVE! This film is a celebration of the form and I never believed I'd ever get to see a movie quite like what James Gunn dished out with this one. GoG takes Marvel cinematic Universe and open it up to a galactic scale. It takes us to corners of space that only the truest Marvel fans knew even existed; which are very rich as extraordinary stories could be told there. This is probably why people could more easily identify with it as it's not 100% an American movie, it could be appreciated in a global scale as it even doesn't take place on Earth (for the most part it's all very Alien). James Gunn suitably created a world which hearken back to the past with bright colours of all Pop Sci-Fi movies like Forbidden Planet but then also being edgy, looking forward, being dirty and real in any way that other movies haven't been in that genre. It's also kind of a gamble for Marvel as those characters are not as well known as Captain America, Iron Man, Thor or Hulk. They are a bunch of losers who think they're bad and realize along the process that they're good. This Space Opera Odyssey is different from everything they've done before but in the same time it still feels like any other Marvel movie with a same humor, action, scope and sense of stakes. GoG is the holding truth to that tradition. This film is everything I wanted it to be! 

GoG is Marvel funniest movie to date, in fact this movie is just as much of a comedy as it is an action/adventure movie; jokes are very clever and unexpected. It's also two movies in one with a live action movie and a cgi movie within it displaying character such as Rocket, Groot or Thanos.



There's something that anybody can relate to, it has to be something about every character in this movie that somebody can relate to or will relate to. Their humanity and vulnerability make that easier. Chris Pratt is fantastic, not only witty and super funny but we actually care about his character and I'm not writing this because I like Marvel movies and superhero things, he's really good in this movie. Peter Quill is a mix of Luke Skywalker, a Sci-Fi Indiana Jones and a hint of Gable. We get to see his origins which is different than other characters. He is a kind of jerk at first sight and becomes the sort of guy that has a lot to learn about the world around him and about himself. He embodies every kid that once dreamt of wistful Fantasy adventure in Space; it's what G.Lucas' films spell on us as children. All I know is that I want to see 10-20 future movies with him as Star-Lord. He definitely exhibit charisma. Working along side with an other strong female character: Gamora starring Zoe Saldana. She ads a sort of depth to the story as she has a mysterious back story that I'd like to discover in the near future. Dave Bautista as Drax is the best wrestler-turned-actor since Dwayne Johnson. Plus, he is also very funny. Moreover, we instantly get to see Groot and Rocket interaction and their old-school male friendship in which no ones feeling are talked about. It reminds me of Han Solo and Chewbacca relationship. Rocket is the coolest character I've seen in a long time, cgi is very well done, add to this Bradley Cooper voice and it's flawless. The only drawback I can see in this movie is the villain. He has to represent some universal concept but he is actually just evil, it's just a bad guy; like the Dark Elf from Thor: The Dark World, he's not quite the next Loki or Darth Vader, this next crazy awesome villain that you're going to remember for ever. He was functional though. However we know Thanos is out there, we want to power through Ronan to get to him who is the real bad bad guy of all. Thanos is the biggest bad guy, he's never gained the pop-culture recognizability of despicable comics baddies like Lex Luthor (DC) or Magneto in X-Men. With GoG he's ready to take up a lot of cinematic real estate. Thanos is probably the most waited villain in Marvel universe and to finally see him head on his throne and watch him speak sent shivers through me. 


Usually, I'm not that into 3D films but I have to say that in GoG, Imax is such a great experience. We become a part of the screen and it gives us a chance to be involve in an other dimension of the movie than we would in a regular 2D movie. Imax allows big film to be the best they possibly be. It's one of the great things about modern cinema. One of my favourite moment is when Groot shows the gang he has this power to shoot these spore up into the air and it kind of creates some lights for them. It's a really peaceful and beautiful moment. It takes me back to the wonder I felt when I was younger and watched movies. That's wonder is what I'm seeking for every time I'm walking into a theater. This movie affected the child part in me, who goes into a theater and experience a little bit of magic and hope. This movie knows how to mix different tones, humorous and darken places. It's the best eclectic assemble for a first movie that I've ever seen. The emotional core of the movie makes you experienced each second of it; the action scenes are handled as good as Joss Whedon's in The Avengers. It's taking turns at time of the movie when people don't expect them whether it's through the music happening or through sequences like the 12% scene which happens at the beginning of the 3rd act when you don't expect a five minute dialogue between our action/adventure heroes or the things that happen at the end of the movie which are (very) unexpected. GoG is all about those twists and turns that people don't quite expect within the overall structure of a very traditional action/adventure movie. 
Besides the soundtrack is so much fun! The use of music is probably the greatest super power ever used in a movie. Think of it. Those tapes, those songs. 


Everything about this film is cool. Like how the guardians come together: it's fate, destiny, circumstances and NATURAL. This first movie settled up these characters and universe which is fine as it will allow them to go straight up to the story in the sequel, more freedom, action and emotion. Answering some questions asked about Peter Quill that we found out at the end of the movie and which worth more explanation. Nevertheless, I feel like Marvel Studios are still only about 40% of the potential awesome, and I as a fan, feel that they'll one day hit; taking into account what's possible in cinema these days and that they keep upping the level. Well... I'm ready for a 100%. I love GoG at a ridiculous level right now. I was such in a happy place. It was all so much love. I walked away feeling this overwhelming sense of excitement about this whole new team of heroes. I saw the film with a fairly normal crowd. There were some geeks spread throughout, make no doubt, but most of people were people that just enjoy Marvel movies. It didn't matter, they laughed, cheered and went amazed. Me? I was smiling like a crazy person, loving every frame. I can't recommend this movie enough and I hope it will do a butt loads of business, using lesser known characters it ends up stronger than a lot of Marvel's movies. This is a must see film for anyone who has enjoyed comics and a great summer blockbuster for an even wider audience. This is the next great Marvel film, I am confident of that. Go see this film, it's worth the price of a movie ticket ten times over. 


Overall, GoG is one of the most entertaining film I've seen all year, endlessly enjoyable to watch. It's a film with absolutely physical visual effects mixed with fantastic characters who will own you. Plus the sense of humour is effortless. I do feel movie nerd are going to lose their minds over this one - you've never seen anything quite like it before.


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Robin Williams Tribute

Not a very good day for Cinema today. 
At first, I thought I wouldn't ever do posts like this one; writing about the past of a celebrity. Unfortunately today Robin Williams passed away aged 63 from an apparent suicide. The thing is I really wanted to write about him, though, in order to express and share my thoughts and mostly because I feel like he will be missed.  

Robin Williams was part of my childhood and with him, I sense like a part of it died today.
He was in so many movies I loved growing up. Those movies affected me so positively. First as the genie voice in Aladdin, obviously I wanted him as a friend, not only because he could give wishes but he was truly an amazing and lovable character. Incredible. 

                

I could not tell you how many times I've watched Hook, which is pretty underrated if we're being honest. This movie affects me as a kid as it strengthens my imagination, made me want to go other places and made me want to experience new things. I can't feel the same for Disney movies characters that I loved as well. The difference is that they are fictional and I knew that someone has been drawing them on a piece of paper before they were on a big screen or on my TV. But in my little childish mind, Robin Williams was Peter, he was the genie in Aladdin, he was Allan Parrish in Jumanji. In fact, Jumanji was on replay as a kid, I remember the special effects being amazing at the time. Even if you were not a huge fan of those movies you can't help but smile back when you see Robin Williams' face. He had the warmest and affectionate smile.  


It was just till recently that I saw films like Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets SocietyAwakenings with Robert De Niro or Good Will Hunting. For the first time it leads me looking at acting very differently as I saw someone who was primarily viewed as a "funny guy"; being able to deliver such an incredibly heartfelt and real performance. Robin Williams was perfect in Good Will Hunting. Perfectly flawless. 

  

Of all Robin Williams' career the one film everyone will remember him for is Mrs. Doubtfire. Him being able to embody a character so risky is ambitious. But he made it work and he made it seems so effortless. This morning when the news came out, I instantly felt the need to take out all my old VHS of his movies. I'm not usually too affected over celebrity deaths, but I am truly hurt over Robin Williams death. I just wanted to share that feeling as may be some of you are experiencing the same thing.
Now I don't want to dwell too much on the sadness of this event; I want to bring out just how much he really mean to a lot of people and inspired a whole generation.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Neighbors

A couple with a newborn baby face unexpected difficulties after their new neighbors, who happen to be a fraternity house, moved in. Therefore they are forced to live next to each other.  


This movie could have gone both ways. In one hand you could leave and think it was the worst movie you ever seen. In the other hand you could think it was extremely entertaining and funny. There are some very funny jokes and likable absurdities during the competition between the two houses, they are pranking each other back and forth, which is fun to watch. I feel like there are a great chemistry between the stars; not only between Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen who are fantastic together, but also between Efron and Rogen. They are really good. Indeed, both of them are in the same path but in different ways. They are experiencing the same things. There is a gap between them as one is going from teenage hood to adulthood as he experiments the fact of being a dad and the other has to face the harsh reality leaving college and working world. Plus, Rose Byrne is absolutely amazingly hilarious in this movie, she totally gets that!


Overall, Neighbors is an enjoyable movie thanks to fun characters and cast chemistry. It's the perfect summertime comedy that we all want to see every summer.     

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Lucy

A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic. 



Lucy is directed by Luc Besson and is starring Scarlett Johanson and Morgan Freeman. At first sight this film could appear to look like Limitless, which is quite similar.  This time again Luc Besson works his magic on a beautiful woman with her gun (Nikita, The Fifth Element, etc.). Scarjo is pretty good at that in the movie, as she quickly turns into a bad ass killer in the first act. Morgan Freeman's character is not that interesting, he has pretty much the same part as in Transcendence except that the film itself is better than Transcendence. Mr Jang starring Min-sik Choi is nothing more than an evil guy, killing people in cold blood, we don't really know more about him. However the movie is looking good, it is very well edited. There's a cool car chasing action scene, several very natural and fluid action scenes as well. I have a divided opinion on this film as on the one hand Lucy has some conventional action movie themes and on the other hand some too unconventional parts; it's dealing with smart things in a dumb way. It's like Luc Besson wanted to make cool things happen in a movie and he did it, but I don't really care about the plot and characters and where the story is going. We can't really like Lucy or relate to her as she doesn't encounter threatening situations, as she can access 100% of her brain capacity she becomes nearly invincible and as a protagonist nothing properly challenges her. It's entertaining but there's no tension as in an actual action movie.


Overall Lucy looks good, there are great action sequences despite the fact that tension really isn't there it's entertaining if you're just seeking that. Prepare yourself; it's different and a little bit more ambitious that you may have thought it to be just by watching the trailer.