Category Archives: Movie

[Movie Review] Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2 : A Superhero Movie Of Pure Comical Delight

Three years ago, we were all introduced to a new group of lesser-known Marvel superheroes. Well for someone like me who never got the chance to read the older Marvel comics, I never really heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy until they all hit the theaters last 2014 and instantly became a worldwide sensation. This intergalactic group of unlikely heroes has become a phenomena and is widely embraced by everyone. Their status as superheroes may not be as well established as the other Marvel characters from the Avengers but the Guardians of the Galaxy is special in their very own rights.

Despite of their differences in terms of their beliefs and behavior, there was this kind of chemistry that binds them all and make them a surprisingly ideal group of Superheroes. The first movie was absolutely a great blast which left us all wanting more and now, the long wait is over as the Guardians of the Galaxy will finally rock the cinemas today for its highly anticipated sequel.
nullPhoto Credit : Marvel Studios

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 follows the story of Peter Quill who is better known as the Starlord (Played by Chris Pratt)and his gang of eccentric characters including Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), Drax (Dave Bautista) , and of course the crowd’s favorite Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel).  The group find themselves in another great danger after stealing the batteries from the Sovereign race lead by certain highest priestess named Ayesha (played by Elizabeth Debicki).  Ironically, they actually accepted the job offered by her to protect the batteries from an intergalactic monsters to have Nebula in return but Raccoon is undeniably a trickster by nature so when the group was caught stealing, they need to escape the overwhelming computer generated army of the Sovereign.
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They had to crash land to a nearby planet where they met Ego(Kurt Russel) who surprisingly related to Peter Quill. It turns out, Ego was Quill’s genetic father and Starlord was introduced to a planet made by his own dad and also revealed his true abilities. Little did they know, Ego has another agenda that will put not just the guardians but the entire galaxy in danger. So yes, the team is up for another action packed mission to save the galaxy from the possible major catastrophe. Of course, I am not going to spoil the movie so you better watch it on your own risk!
nullPhoto Credit : Marvel Studios

As far as the action sequences are concerned, I think the sequel gave enough justice to the series and is equally impressive to its predecessor. It will still embark you to that visually stunning intergalactic atmosphere that we all enjoyed from the first movie. This is perfectly matched with those clever 80s music selection that will add fun and humor in the movie. What I really love the most in this film are the additional characters and allies. The film will introduced not just Ego but also a certain character named “Mantis” (played by Pom Klementieff) who has the ability to detect people’s inner emotion just by touching them. She also has the ability to alter them and she is also the only one capable of making Ego sleep. I can assure you that she will be one of the likeable characters in this film and her surprising chemistry with Drax will really amuse you.
nullPhoto Credit : Marvel Studios

It is also interesting to note that some of the characters we saw from the first film will also reprise their roles. This time, however, the foes will now show their softer side and will ally with the guardians. Nebula (played Karen Gillan) and Yondu (played by Merle Dixon Michael Rooker) will join the Guardians to fight Ego, the living planet.

What I really appreciate in the film is that fact that each character were given their own special moment to shine. They will briefly reveal their personal lives that we never saw from the first film. I love how the film provide an equally wonderful action and emotional sequences for each character which is really a great way to show how the film build them up for the succeeding installments in the future.
FGB0310_CMP_v016.1098Photo Credit : Marvel Studios

If you love Groot from the first movie, well you will adore him even more due to its overwhelming and irresistible cuteness but I personally think that Drax was a revelation in this movie. His lack of adroitness and sensitivity in this film has become a powerful tool that will put the audience in great laugh. Yondu will also share an equally remarkable moment with the main cast and I actually appreciate his skills here even more.

Aside from the action packed sequences and visually stunning graphics, I can perfectly describe this film as apure comical delight“. There was never a dull moment in this film and in fact, even when you thought that it’s going to be a serious one, there goes a surprising punch line that will make you laugh.

Oh by the way, make sure to observe very keenly and look for that Easter eggs! This film do not just have one but FIVE post credit sequences so make sure to stay in your seat until all of them were revealed. I’m telling you, these post credits will put you into so much excitement!

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 rocks the cinema starting today April 26, 2017

[Movie Review] : Going In Style : A Refreshingly Good Comedy Movie

If you are going to put three multi awarded actors in one film, then you must be expecting a heavy drama that will surely showcase the best of their acting skills. In Going In Style, three of our favorite and highly respected actors (Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin) will join force in one epic movie but it is not going to be a serious one!
GIS-15Photo Credit : Warner Bros Pictures
Honestly, upon seeing the trailer, I was expecting to see some serious drama. I initially thought that there will be some sort of “catch” during the film that will just put us all in tears but the film took us the other way around. Maybe I was just used to see these actors in serious roles so I never imagine them in comedy films. But then like they said, comedy is the hardest form of acting. You can make everyone cry with serious and convincing portrayal in a drama but you cannot make everyone laugh if jokes or the punch lines are thrown badly.
GIS-01Photo Credit : Warner Bros Pictures
Freeman, Caine and Arkin, however, surprisingly has such perfect chemistry together. It was just refreshingly good to see these veteran actors in one film. I have learned that Going In Style is just a remake of a 1979 film of the same name. I haven’t watched the original version  (i hope I could get a copy of it) so I have no rights to compare but I personally think that they managed to pull it off. The punchlines are timely thrown and the movie in general brought us all in great laugh. 
GIS-02Photo Credit : Warner Bros Pictures
Just to give you the idea, Going in Style is a movie about three elderly men named Joe (Michael Caine), Willie (Morgan Freeman), and Al (Alan Arkin). They were all senior citizens and life-long buddies who unfortunately caught up in a very unlikely situation. Their pensions were cut off and the bank placed them all in a critical financial situation. Joe, for an instance, was tricked by his bank and they had to take his house from him within 30 days. This is where their desperate action comes in. After witnessing an actual robbery, Joe got the idea of robbing the bank with his buddies. Well, they were old and yes, they got nothing to lose after all.
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Now who would have thought that these three elderly can execute a perfect crime. Who would have thought that they can rob a bank, make perfect alibis, get the money they deserve and never get jailed? How? Well, that’s something you should find out but one thing I can tell you is how amazing and clever their plans are! It is quite unpredictable and surprising at the same time!
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One thing I love about the movie are the punchlines. They are old school yet surprisingly funny. It was a light movie but generally entertaining. It might be a light story but if we are going to look deeper, it is actually a reflection of reality and how the elderly were being mistreated and how they cope up in a challenging society that never gave much attention and effort to give them what they truly deserve.  If these people are getting enough financial support from the government, they will never came up with the robbery plan on the first place.

Going in Style is a very refreshing movie and it was really nice to see the funny sides of these three veteran actors who are also accompanied by great cast including the funny Anne-Margret, witty Joey King, Doc Brown (I mean Christopher Lloyd haha), SNL’s Kenan Thompson and more! With so many serious action and fantasy movies currently showing today (Beauty and the Beast, Kong : Skull Island, Ghost in The Shell to name a few), Going In Style is just the right film to balance it all!
going-in-style-posterPhoto Credit : Warner Bros Pictures

My Rating for this film is 3.5 out of 5

Going In Style is Now showing on theaters since April 6, 2017

[Movie Review] Ghost In The Shell : A Satisfying Justice To An Iconic Anime Movie

When it was announced that Ghost in The Shell will have its Live Action treatment with Scarlett Johansson playing the main character, the film received a lot of negative responses particularly about the whitewashing issue. They said that the character should be played by a Japanese actress and they even filed petitions to change the cast but none of them pushed through. These issues actually put the anticipation over the 2017 Live Action film into a higher level. Everyone was so intrigued on how this film will give justice to a classic 1995 Anime movie (both based on a successful Manga series of the same name).

The anticipation is over as Ghost In The Shell finally hits the cinema since yesterday (March 29, 2017) but the question is how this film weighs in? You know, it is very rare opportunity to see an anime being adapted into a Live Action which is also catered for American audiences. As an anime fan, I was honestly thrilled to watch this movie despite of the negative responses prior to its release. I actually thought that this film will be disappointing but hey, guess what, Ghost in the Shell is surprisingly good and probably one of the best live action anime I have seen so far.ghostinshell0002Photo Credit : Paramount Pictures

The movie remained faithful to its origin but they notably added some changes with the plot as they decided to explore deeper on the backstory of Major (Matoko Kusanagi – played by Scarlett Johansson). The film follows a story of Major, the first successful cyber-enhanced human and leader of the crime-fighting force Section 9. Despite being a machine, Major is still a human by soul. Shell is a term used for her mechanic body but the Ghost is the human spirit lying underneath.  She was merely used as a weapon but she still has old memories in her mind that constantly haunts her from time to time.

Her skills and knowledge were put on a test when a series of terrorist attacks occurred. In this modern world where human beings can be implanted with cybernetic enhancements allowing them to do things beyond limitations, hacking has become a serious threat and their enemies are using such advantage to terrorize and control people’s mind. The Major, however , faced her ultimate challenge ~herself! Her corrupted memory consumes her and she started to doubt her own existence. She was make to believe that she was saved but things ave changed when she discovers the cruel reality behind her past.
GITS-KuzePhoto Credit : Paramount Pictures
Interesting plot with deeper Backstory and New Characters
The story is surprisingly compelling. I love the fact that they remained faithful to the original plot while taking us to a new realm at the same time. If you watched the 1995 Anime movie, you will be taken to a very confusing universe and there’s just too many things to catch up especially for those who haven’t read the manga. For a franchise that expanded for two decades, putting them all in a movie would be a challenge but the 2017 Ghost in the Shell version managed to capture all the important details while adding interesting elements in between. I personally like when they added a story on how “Batou” (played by Pilou Asbæk) obtained his robotic implant eyes.  Hideo Kuze (played by Michael Pitt) is also an interesting addition to the movie. The character was actually not part of the 1995 Anime movie but the animated series (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex) with a story that is not really different on how he was depicted in this movie. Togusa‘s role (played by Chin Han) , however, has become less prominent in this movie.
GHOST IN THE SHELLPhoto Credit : Paramount Pictures
Scarlett and The Major Are Truly Meant For Each Other
Did you know that the role of Major (Matoko Kusanagi) was also offered to Margot Robbie? Yes but she was casted as Harley Quinn. The role fell to Scarlett Johansson which is actually a perfect choice to portray the role. Major is known for being one badass cyborg and is notable for her very strong personality and somehow lifeless persona. Scarlett managed to bring the character into life and gave justice to this iconic role.  Although I cannot help but to see Natasha Romanoff in some of her action scenes especially those part where she is riding a motorcycle. I actually don’t think that this kind of role is a challenge for Johansson because she already portrayed heroine in some of her movies including the 2014 film Lucy. It is a perfect role indeed and same thing goes with other casts especially Batou (Pilou Asbæk) who is actually known for being kind hearted and has huge sense of humor despite of his masuclar physique.
ghostinshell0003Photo Credit : Paramount Pictures
Holograms Everywhere
The movie is set on a futuristic environment. If you have watched the anime, you’ll know that even the garbage trucks are equipped with modern technology. In this film, we were taken to a colorful yet highly innovative atmosphere. Although I appreciate their visions on how the future looks like but I think they used the holograms exaggeratedly. The holograms were almost everywhere and some are as big as the skycrappers (even the sponsors haha). Holograms are truly fascinating but if the future will be like this, I don’t think I can bear such haha (some are even scary). Ghost in The Shell 1995 Movie is considered as one of the best anime films of all time and was praised due to its impressive visuals so it is understandable that this film will exert effort to reach the viewers’ expectations. The CGI animation for the 2017 live action version of Ghost In The Shell is fairly decent. There are best and worst parts but it is generally impressive.
ghostinshell0005Photo Credit : Paramount Pictures
Amazing Recreated Scenes From Anime
It’s not everyday to see a Live Action movie that is merely inspired from an Anime and if it happens, one thing that anime fans will look forward to is how the scenes from anime will be recreated in a live action. I’m telling you now that some of the film’s best moments are those scenes that are recreated from the original anime movie. This is the reason why i highly suggest that you must rewatch the anime movie before watching this film so you can set a comparison and you can tell how they give justice to some of the film’s iconic moments. The opening scene, the yacht and diving scene, the battle sequences between the spider robot and The Major, and how Major uses her Thermoptic suit that allows her to become invisible.GHOST IN THE SHELL - Layout 5Photo Credit : Paramount Pictures

Overall, it was a decent adaptation of the Anime (or the manga). People who are not aware of the Anime source material may still find this film enjoying without the need of looking back to its previous animated movies but it could be more enjoying if they do so.  Scarelett Johansson is a perfect actress to play such role. Much like the Anime movie, it concludes with many hanging questions and mysteries waiting to be explored so this film could possibly expand to another sequel but I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon. (I’m actually more excited to see another anime to be adapted in another live action film…. Cowboy Bebop anyone?

My rating for this movie is 4 out of 5

Ghost in the Shell is now showing in 2D, 3D and IMAX starting March 29, 2017!

[ Movie Review ] Smurfs : The Lost Village ~ They’re Like Trolls BUT Blue!

The fate of Smurfs franchise may not be as successful like those cash cow animated series like Despicable Me or Alvin and the Chipmunks and after that underwhelming response to their recent sequel, I thought there will be no other way this movie can lift itself up back to where it should be. Good thing, Sony Pictures decided give these blue lovely creatures another shot and bring our little Smurfs back to the big screen not in a Live Action though but in a Fully Animated version.

Smurfs: The Lost Village is not a sequel  but more of a reboot of the series and is also not related to the first two films. Interestingly, the film was entirely computer-animated which is actually a good thing as they managed to visualize the enchanting colorful world of Smurfs and take us all in a place that is beyond our imagination.
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Back To The Origins
Smurfs is already considered as classics. The legacy they left ever since they were created is simply incomparable and I really appreciate the attempts of this new film to recreate the iconic characters based on their original Peyo’s creation (Peyo is the masterful mind behind the Smurfs comics). I personally think that Sony made the right decision to reboot the film and transform their Live Action series to a fully animated one. The atmosphere here is actually more convincing, more magical and it seems like there’s just too many things waiting to be explored. The animation actually reminds me of Trolls (and oh they share some similarities with the story too).
1271033 - THE WALKPhoto Credits : Columbia Pictures
A Refreshing Take On Smurfs’ Story
Smurfs Village as we all know is a magical place of blue little creatures but the odd thing about them is that they were all dudes.  Smurfette on the other hand is a special addition to them not just because she is the only female character but is interestingly a creation of Gargamel. She was made from a lump of clay and initially made to destroy the Smurfs but Papa Smurf’s magic transformed her to a lovely yellow-haired Smurf.  Little is know about the Smurf’s origins and how they exist remains a mystery. The story of Smurfs : The Lost Village is far more convincing than its predecessors.  It will take us to some unexplored chapters of Smurfs which finally makes a perfect sense. Where are the female smurfs? Do they really ever exist? What’s there beyond the Smurf’s Village?
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Smurfette And The Lost Village
The story of this new Smurfs movie will focus on Smurfette and how to struggle to find her real purpose in the village. Knowing that she is technically not a real Smurf, she finds it so hard to fit in. She eventually discovered that there are other Smurfs living within the so-called Forbidden Forest but she unintentionally put them all in danger after Gargamel discovered their location. Story wise, although it is an interesting take to the kind of Smurfs story we are very familiar with, the plot is seemingly identical to Trolls, well, except that they are blue and they are not musically inclined creatures haha. Kidding aside, it actually reminds me of Princess Poppy’s adventure to Bergen’s Town in order to save her abducted friends. However, the concept of adding female Smurfs is truly a clever approach. It is a very refreshing story that could open so much possibilities.
SmurfsTLV-01Photo Credits : Columbia Pictures
The Message of the Story is On Point
Smurfs: The Lost Village is not just about the visually stunning animation or the overwhelming cuteness of these blue little creatures. It is not just about Gargamel’s evilness and how the Smurfs try to stop him in his treacherous plans.  The movie, although merely catered for younger audiences, will leave us a set of wonderful lessons. It teaches us that it is not really a bad thing to be different and that you should not force yourself just to fit in. Embrace your weirdness, your flaws and your strength and let people around you accept who you are.  It also teaches us the value of friendship and how one can sacrifice for the sake of another. I am not going to spoil much about this movie but I can tell you that there is quite a “Bing-Bong Moment” (in reference to Inside Out)  in this film that you should not miss!
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A-List Actors Behind The Smurfs Voices
Well, I don’t know if it really matters but it is very interesting to note that some of the actors behind the voices of our beloved smarts are A-listers. Smurfette is no longer voiced by Katy Perry but Demi Lovato; Gargamel is voiced by Rainn Wilson, Hefty Smurf is Joe Manganiello; Clumsy Smurf is voiced by Jack McBrayer (also the one behind Fix It Felix voice of Wreck it Ralph); Julia Roberts is Smurfwillow; Michelle Rodriguez is Smurfstorm; and even Meghan Trainor is here as one of the Female Smurfs.
1271033 - THE WALKPhoto Credits : Columbia Pictures
Possible Sequel?
I think the movie concluded pretty well and acceptable yet since we are introduced to a new place and a bunch of new characters (female smurfs to be specific), I can sense that we should expect to see more from this possible film series. I can smell the “smurflings” to arrive pretty soon!
1271033 - THE WALKPhoto Credits : Columbia Pictures
Overall, Smurfs: The Lost Village is an ideal family movie that you should not miss. It offers a very convincing plot that could open to so much possibilities with a moral lesson we could all embrace! PS: You’ll be surprised how the Smurf Village embraced the modern technology! They got their own tools for Selfie, Recording and printing photos haha!

My rating for this movie is 3.5 out of 5

Smurfs : The Lost Village will hit the cinemas this coming March 31, 2017.

For the mean time, checkout the Smurfs : The Lost Village trailer below!