Friday, July 21, 2017

'Sleight' Doesn't Misdirect, but Captivates

Sleight is the best coming-of-age genre indie film I’ve seen since Chronicle.  Now, by that, I don’t intend to imply that it’s as terrific and original as Chronicle.  Rather, like Chronicle, it is smart and opts to subvert recognizable tropes, successfully becoming a fresh and compelling take of a familiar plotline or concept, while the “low budget” factor noticeably works more as an advantage than a disadvantage, as it obliges the storytelling and performances to be more “focused”, finer.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

'The Lost City of Z' Is a Well-Crafted "Old-Fashioned" Adventure Film

The Lost City of Z is a biographical adventure drama film about Major Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), a British explorer sent on a survey mission to uncharted Amazon rainforest, and from which he gained the lifelong obsession of finding the “lost city of Z.”  Despite the ridicule he received from the Royal Geographical Society, he managed to find backing for two separate expeditions, in which he was accompanied by, first, Corporal Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson) and then, second, by his son, Jack Fawcett (Tom Holland).
(Yep, that’s King Arthur, Edward Cullen, and Spider-Man together in the same movie.)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

In the Hands of a Different Director, 'Free Fire' Could Have Been Amazing

Free Fire is an action comedy about an arms deal that went sideways, prompting everyone to start shooting at each other…  Aaaaand that’s about it.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Initial Thoughts on Five Summer 2017 Anime Series


Listed below are the five new anime series that I’ve decided to follow this summer season (as far as the TV season is concerned; technically, it’s no longer summer where I am) on top of My Hero Academia season 2 and Re:Creators – spring anime that are still ongoing.   Of course, this doesn’t mean that these will be the only anime series that I will be watching for the rest of the year.  Dropping any of them from my viewing list is always a possibility, as well as picking up another anime down the line.  Anyway, I want to give some of my initial thoughts on these five after watching each one’s first two episodes.  Arranged in descending order of how much I enjoy them…

WELCOME TO THE BALLROOM

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Amid Its Mediocrity, Lego Charm Keeps 'Lego Scooby-Doo! Blowout Beach Bash' Endearing and Vivacious Somewhat

As what was proven in last year’s Lego Scooby-Doo! Haunted Hollywood, Lego-izing Scooby-Doo! yields delightful results.  I’m glad that they did it again this year with Lego Scooby-Doo! Blowout Beach Bash.

'The Mummy' Is a Monstrous, Bankrupt Cash-Grab

The latest reboot of The Mummy franchise is meant as the first installment of the “Dark Universe”, a.k.a. Universal’s attempt to replicate the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by creating its own shared universe for its classic monster film properties.

The movie stars Tom Cruise as Nick Morton, a soldier-of-fortune who accidentally unearths the tomb of Ahmanet, a vengeful Egyptian princess who had sold her soul to the god of evil Set and who was mummified and buried alive by the Pharaoh’s priests as punishment for her crimes.  Free after thousands of years of being entombed, Ahmanet intends to unleash evil into the world.  But standing on her way are Nick and Prodigium, a secret society dedicated to contain, study, and destroy monsters and which is led by Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe), who himself is harboring an evil inside.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

'Spider-Man: Homecoming' Is Amazing and Spectacular

There’s probably no other fictional character that I got to care for more than Spider-Man.  In fact, there was a time where I thought that a great disservice was being done to the character that I was compelled to write at lengths about it.  I’m deeply fond of Spider-Man.  Not only do I adore his terrific characterization and mythology, but I actually consider him as a role model; he genuinely inspires.

That’s why, I admit, I’m biased of my assessment here.  I’ve always been when it comes to Spider-Man media.  Heck, I even consider Spider-Man 3, The Amazing Spider-Man, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as good movies, an opinion that many will disagree with.  Nevertheless, I truly have had tremendous fun with Spider-Man: Homecoming.  So far, it’s the best movie I’ve seen this year.  And I doubt that it will fall from the top 5 in my year-end list for best 2017 movies – guaranteed top 3 even!

Spider-Man: Homecoming is not the best Spider-Man film ever made.  That remains to be – and might likely forever be – Spider-Man 2.  But it’s a pretty good one, and deserving to be described with the same adjectives that Spider-Man is most identified with: “amazing” and “spectacular.”

Sunday, July 09, 2017

'Castlevania' Is Gratifying with Its Quality, Dissatisfying with Its Quantity

I’m not a big fan of the game, but I’m familiar with its mythology and I found its protagonist, Simon Belmont, a unique vampire hunter.  So I got curious about this new Castlevania animated series from Netflix and checked it out.  And, by Hellsing, it’s fantastic!

Saturday, July 08, 2017

'Anonymous Noise' Is Slightly Out of Tune

Anonymous Noise (also known as Fukumenkei Noizu or Fukumenkei Noise) centers on Nino Arisugawa, a girl with a captivating voice.  As a child, she experienced a heartbreaking parting with her first love, Momo Sakaki.  Soon, she became friends with Kanade “Yuzu” Yuzuriha, but he, too, had to depart.  Both boys promised that they would someday find her again through her voice; hence, she has always been singing ever since.

Years later, all three of them meet again in the same high school.  Momo is now secretly a successful professional composer, while Yuzu is a member of the masked band in NO hurry to shout.  Both of their musical careers are driven by their love for Nino and her voice as inspiration, but both also keep their true feelings to themselves.  Meanwhile, Nino is recruited to become the vocalist of in NO hurry.  She accepts in the hope that her voice will reach Momo.

Angst.  High school drama.  Professional musical acts with secret identities.  Music industry rivalries.  A knotty love triangle.  That’s what Anonymous Noise is all about.

The "Showtime" LA Lakers Were the Golden State Warriors of Their Era

The Golden State Warriors are objectively one of the best NBA teams of all-time.  But there are salty hoops fans who hate them for being a “super team” – for being ridiculously stacked.  Indeed, their “death lineup” is invincible.  Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson are basketball superstars at their primes, while Andre Iguodola is still a first-rate basketball stud, only two years removed from being Finals MVP.  Then they are surrounded by solid players like David West, who had been an All-Star in his prime, and Shaun Livingston, who could be a starting point guard in other NBA teams.

Friday, July 07, 2017

'47 Meters Down' Doesn't Have Much Depth

47 Meters Down tells the story of two sisters (Mandy Moore and Claire Holt) on vacation in Mexico who decide to go cage diving in shark-infested waters.  But their thrill-seeking venture suddenly turns into absolute horror when their cage breaks off the boat, sending them plummeting down to the seafloor, 47 meters down (hence, the title).  As their oxygen supply dwindles and great white sharks circle them, the sisters must figure out how to get to the surface alive.

'Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' Is an Insane, Unappealing, Gratuitous Mash-Up

In recent years, Tom and Jerry have had some unlikely crossover films.  They’ve met Sherlock Holmes and Robin Hood, joined Dorothy in her adventure in Oz (twice), and even got to be involved in a Johnny Quest chase.  But their latest one, Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, is their most insane yet.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

'Alien: Covenant' Underwhelms

I think it would have been better if this movie was just titled Covenant.  It would’ve had followed the style of its predecessor, which was just titled Prometheus.  Then, when another film is made, its title would reflect another eponymous spaceship – completing an Alien prequel trilogy that follows a pattern of titles based on the names of the respective spaceships featured in them.  Just a random, minor musing.

Anyway, Alien: Covenant is set a couple of years after Prometheus.  The focus is now on the crew of the colonization ship Covenant, which is bound to a faraway planet called Origae-6.  However, they take a detour to a nearby planet because of a rogue radio transmission that they have picked up.  On the ground, they soon find the pleasant, desirable world turn into a terrifying, deadly one when murderous alien creatures start to emerge.  Later, they encounter the android David (Michael Fassbender), the last survivor of the Prometheus expedition, who is mysteriously on the planet somehow.  But is he friend or foe?

Monday, July 03, 2017

'Okja' Attempts to Convert Its Audience to Veganism - or, at Least, Make Them Condemn Factory Farming

There are two movies which director Bong Joon-ho is most known for:  The Host and SnowpiercerThe Host is one of my most favorite Korean films of all time.  And I would have considered Snowpiercer a science fiction masterpiece if it didn’t have an underwhelming ending (the premise and first two acts were brilliant though); it’s a good movie overall nonetheless.  But now, I think – I have to re-watch The Host to be sure though – Okja could be his magnum opus.