Tag Archives: Movie

[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.
untitled-12887.dngPhoto Credit : Warner Bros Pictures
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!
GIS-19Photo Credit : Warner Bros Pictures
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.
SmurfsTLV-02Photo Credits : Columbia Pictures
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?
Smurfs_FirstLook_meg260.1079_lm_v14-Large_1000x540p_thumbnailPhoto Credits : Columbia Pictures
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!
Smurfette+DemiLovato1-Large_1000x541p_thumbnailPhoto Credits : Columbia Pictures
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!

[Movie Review] Kong : Skull Island – The Rise of New Cinematic Universe (This Time With Monsters)

From the producers behind Godzilla comes another epic monster movie that will take us to a new cinematic universe. However this time, not with superheroes but with gigantic monsters!
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Photo Credit to Warner Bros Picture
I remember when I was a kid, I used to be a big fan of Ultraman series and I enjoyed watching those epic battle sequences between two gigantic monsters. From a kid who grew up in 90s, I was introduced with film monsters like Godzilla in 1998 and its animated counterpart in early 2000 and of course, Peter Jackson’s King Kong of 2005. Now after 12 years,  I think it is about time that millenials should be introduced to this so-called “MonsterVerse” and Kong : Skull Island is just a perfect way to start it. Don’t get me wrong,  2014’s Godzilla is equally amazing and is technically the first film to start the MonsterVerse franchise but Kong : Skull Island created a perfect sense on why these insane giant creatures existed and why King Kong Vs Godzilla would become the most anticipated battle in 2020 (just think of it as a counterpart of the Avenger’s Infinity War).
konggallery0004Photo Credit to Warner Bros Picture
The Story
Kong : Skull Island tells the story of a diverse team of scientists, soldiers and adventurers uniting to explore a mythical, uncharted island in the South Pacific. It took place in 1973 where the project was initiated by a secretive group known as the Monarch. William “Bill” Randa (played by John Goodman) was in charge of the expedition but in order to make it possible, he needs military escorts to secure his team’s safety. This is where James Conrad (Tom Hiddleton) came into the picture as he was hired for the mission  as a hunter-tracker due to his amazing combat skills. They are also accompanied by a squadron lead by Preston Packard (Samuel Jackson). The expedition unexpectedly ended up in a chaos after discovering that the island is inhabited by new species including the monstrous ape named Kong.kongskullisland0004Photo Credit to Warner Bros Picture

The Verdict
Kong: Skull Island interestingly remained faithful on how King Kong is originally depicted. We still got that huge ape that despite of its monstrous appearance still has a good heart that will do anything to protect his territory and every part of it (well, unless he is provoked). We still got that leading lady (through a character of Mason Weiver played by Brie Larson) who has a special attachment with Kong and how Kong is being misinterpreted as a Villain rather than the hero.
kongskullisland0013Photo Credit to Warner Bros Picture
It was such a great way to retell the classic story of this epic monster but what I love the most about Kong: Skull Island is how they inputted their modern approach and created an interesting twist to the story which makes plot a lot more convincing. It is not just about intense monster battles but it surprisingly offer a compelling story. It feels like a book with so many great chapters to explore. The cinematography is amazing and it feels like you are taken into a place that could possibly exist (who knows right?). The movie is best viewed in IMAX 3D to appreciate the breathtaking visuals.
kongskullisland0014Photo Credit to Warner Bros Picture
A monster movie will not be completed without those epic battle sequences. This film may not recreate that iconic empire state building scene but the bloody fight between King Kong and the Skull Crawlers will definitely not disappoint you at all. I also love the fact how the film embraces humor and use it in its full extent.  Jack Reilly who played Hank Marlow provided most of the movie’s comic relief while Samuel Jackson’s character is someone you will either hate or love in the process.

Overall, I am giving this film a rating of 4 out of 5. I personally think that it is way better than the King Kong movie of 2005 with deeper and sensible plot and well advanced and highly realistic CGI effects.

Wait.. there’s more…..

Be sure not to leave yet after the movie! Stay until the credit ends and you will witness a scene that will tease you to the upcoming sequels as part of this growing MonsterVerse! Honestly, it gives me chills after they revealed what is possibly in store for us in the next monster film movie!

Predictions….

The only question I have in mind right now is how they are going to merge the two films into one cinematic universe. The timeline presented in Godzilla is set on a present day while Kong : Skull Island is set on 1970s. I have a feeling that there will be a huge time skip for Godzilla Vs Kong and Tom Hiddlestona and the rest may not reprise their roles anymore…. or Godzilla : King of the Monsters could be another period film that is set after the events of Kong : Skull Island.

Kong : Skull Island will hit theaters on March 9! Get ready to enter a new Cinematic universe that will bring Kong back to its former glory!

For the mean time, feel free to watch the trailer below