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January 2, 2019

Movie: Aquaman (2018)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 1:43 pm

imageI think movie studios have caught on to the trend that was demonstrated so successfully by Disney. Making movies about comic book characters with the current technology is a winner and is a gift that keeps on giving.

 

Since Marvel has disappeared into the giant empire of Disney, the other studios are left with characters from other comic book houses and we have DC Comics as the biggest of them – the house of Superman, Batman and others. Warner Brothers has tried its hand on Aquaman and has done a very creditable job of it overall.

 

The movie is fun, the storyline is simple enough to follow (I am surely not a fan of the overcomplicated storylines of the present day – some X Men and some Avenger movies come to mind – you cannot remember a coherent story at the end. That is where Aquaman and movies like Black Panther or Frozen stand out). As a bonus, the visuals are simply spectacular. They have imagined multiple worlds (one of sand, one underwater etc) which are brilliantly rendered, not to mention the animals underwater as well as the other inhabitants of it.

 

The story involves a girl Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) , being rescued by a lighthouse keeper called Thomas Curry. Little does he know at that time that she is a Princess of Atlantis and they fall in love (and he has an adorable dog that is a prop in the first few scenes but disappears later – again naturally because dogs do not live human lifespans). Well, they fall  in love and have a child, who is Arthur Curry. When Atlantans come into the house having found her, she destroys the few who came. But she  realizes that unless she goes back to Atlantis (and assume the throne after her father’s death as she is his only offspring), her family is in danger and that there is no way out. So, she bids farewell and disappears.

 

Much later, we learn that she sends her commander, Vulko, to train the boy and teach him the ways of Atlantis – the art of speaking to animals, the art of breathing under water and the martial arts. She also leaves him her own trident.

 

The boy Arthur grows up to be Aquaman and like all superheroes does voluntary duty of saving the world. In one of the adventures, he stops two pirates – the older and more experienced Jesse Kane is trapped under and his son David Kane pleads with Arthur to rescue his father. Aquaman rejects his appeal and lets the old man die. The son escapes and is now the mortal enemy of Aquaman.

 

Meanwhile, we learn that Atlanna marries another man and begets a son (Orm) who is Arthur’s half brother. However, Orm assumes kingship and has treacherously banished his own mother to die.

 

Orm decides to carry his war to the surface people and creates tidal waves and tsumanis – His reason would want many of you to side with the sea folks against our own selves! (Polluting the sea with effluents and garbage and killing off sea creatures indiscriminately) but let us face it, this is a superhero movie and so Orm is evil and humans are good. (It is the law of comic books – unless the battle is against good Americans and evil alien humans, in which case it is the Americans who are good). I digress – Orm is indeed evil in trying to subdue other ocean tribes by force, killing off their kings unless they surrender and also trying to become Ocean Master.

 

Even fellow ruler, King Nereus of Xebel is convinced and becomes an ally to Orm, while Mera, his daughter who is betrothed to Orm, does not agree. She seeks out Arthur in the surface and pleads with him to return to Atlantis to stake his legitimate claim to the throne. Orm does not even consider Arthur as legal as he is not a true Atlantian and is a Half Breed.

 

Mera gains Arthur’s confidence by saving his father Thomas from drowning. He reluctantly goes with her mother’s trident and his training by Vulko to challenge Orm but loses and is about to be killed when Mera, in total jeopardy of everything, saves him and whisks him away.

 

There are fabulous scenes in Italy where, meanwhile David Keane, in an alliance with Orm and with Atlantian super technology, rechristens himself as Black Manta and chases Arthur and Mera with an army of Atlantian helpers. Amazing scenes, great stunts, and totally edge of the seat action.

 

They (of course) survive that and go to get the original King Atlan’s (yes, father of Atlanna who disappeared with the special Trident forged in a special workshop in an underground world) Trident guarded by the great Karathen (I think Kraken was copyrighted away?) a mythical monster of awesome power and proportions. That would yield the Trident to the only True King.

 

You can guess the rest of the story with a few surprises. Let us review what strikes you about this.

 

All studios have learnt that humour works best in storytelling. Here there are quite a few scenes. In one memorable scene, Mera and Arthur are going in a hired plane above the Sahara, when midflight Mera jumps off the plane. The pilot is horrified. “She jumped without a parachute!” he hollers to Arthur who grimaces and says “Redheads! What are we  gonna do?” and casually jumps out after her, also without a parachute. A goat nearby is as surprised as the pilot. Nice.

 

There are also good scenes where Mera pushes Arthur to believe in himself when he is overwhelmed by the odds against him, denies that he is a ‘natural king’ and does not even want the throne.

 

Sure, you can pick a ton of holes in the story. Why did it take several years for the Atlantans to find Atlanna? How did they find her finally? (We know about the tracking device Mera unknowingly carried but Atlanna?)  You can quibble about the fact that suddenly Orm says to Vulko  ‘Do you think I don’t know you have been training Arthur all these years?’  Really? Then why did Orm not do anything about it? Why did he wait all these years to get angry? And how did he finally find out?

Or these : Why does Black Manta, with all his technology, settle on a look that feels like a Scuba Diver and a Dragonfly had a baby? Why does he tamely die so soon? (Or does he, really? Is he being saved for a sequel?) Is he not the supervillain?

It is these kind of leaps of logic with no apparent explanation and tiny flaws that make you go ‘Could they not have given a more convincing explanation?’ but overall, these are minor flaws in what I consider a magnificent movie and a superb entertainer.

 

They do not stint on the visuals. It is absolutely wonderful.

 

James Wan proves that he can direct more than horror flicks. This one is well done.

 

8/10

– – Krishna

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December 29, 2018

Movie: Ralph Breaks The Internet (2018)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 9:56 pm

imageBy all accounts, I should not like this book, right? It is meant for small kids and follows up Wreck it  Ralph, so the concept is also old and staid right?

 

Wrong. The makers show that a sequel can be better than the original. Sure, there have been other instances of this – Terminator 2 is definitely better than Terminator and Aliens (arguably) is better than Alien. Despicable Me 2 was (again, arguably) better than Despicable Me (even though, all these series fell off after the second installment).

 

So is this. It takes the concept to another level and keeps it very fresh and interesting. Most of the concepts are also true to logic which is nice. For example, they go to internet only through Wifi (as their arcade machines are not connected to the internet). They find that the ‘internet’ is a blank uninspiring space until the computer has been switched on.

 

Great concepts like bothersome Ads, EBay (are they sponsors are is it all free publicity to them?), Twitter etc are beautifully done. So is the (fictional?) Buzztube (Not the buzztube that you know which is a driver for Youtube in ios but stand in for Youtube) all explained beautifully.

 

The search engine is also shown wonderfully well, including the fact that it gets no thanks from anyone for all the work it does.

 

Now for the story. Ralph tries to keep Vanellope engaged by creating new ‘diversions’ in her racing game but one diversion wrecks the machine’s steering wheel. Ralph is dismayed because unless the machine is repaired, Vanellope will have to while away the time doing nothing and it would kill her, as she is already bored even with how predictable her game is.

 

He learns that the spare wheel is ONLY available in EBay and when they realize that the arcade got Wifi, they decide to go to eBay and then get the wheel. They sneak into the internet – and what a site is that! – win the bet for eBay. Only when asked for ‘real’ money do they realize their folly. Within 24 hours when the bid expires, they have to find money or else all bets are off.

 

Their attempts to make money and what happens to Venellope in the Net and how the twists go form the rest of the story.

 

The only part that stood out like a sore thumb is how they convince an evil gigantic virus to ‘be good’ through preaching good sense to it. Other than that, I think the story did stand on its own (albeit convoluted) logic, if you bought into the basic premise.

 

And before I forget, don’t forget the tiny scene after the credits begin to role, involving a bunny and pancakes. It is absolutely hilarious! And the post credit bit related to Frozen 2 poster is cute too.

 

The story works because you see the curator of a BuzzTube site and how she (an algorithm really) works in determining what is trending and she is named Yess! I love that the popup advisor is named Spamley, how they depict the Dark Web and how a virus generator is depicted. How the popup explosion happens is shown and visually, all of it is a treat.

 

The steps they take to steal a race car (belonging to Shank in an online game called Slaughter Race) is great. So are the fierce looking Avatars being operated in real life by kiddies. The adorable contrast is really great to watch. And since it is so close to everyday experience, this makes it relatable.

 

The comments section and how cruel it can be are all shown beautifully.

And since this is Disney, they have used all the Disney princesses beautifully and royalty free. Nice little scenes their where Disney mocks its own older pictures showing how uncomfortable the formal clothes that they were would have been. Comes across as well meaning, self deprecating good humour!

All in all, a great movie to watch. Will please adults and kids alike. Good job on this one!

 

8/10

— Krishna

 

Movie: Spiderman – Into the Spiderverse (2018)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 9:03 pm

imageThis is a very interesting movie. First of all, after all the ‘reality’ Spiderman movies, Sony animation studio chose to go back in time to an animated version of Spiderman. A very bold move, that, and was risky too. But it paid off in spades. This movie is great.

In addition, they decided to do the comic book thing on top of all the animation and that was another risky move on top of the original risky decision. That pays off too. Those of you who grew up on a diet of comic books would love the gigantic “POW!” or “AAAAAAAAH” in letters that run across the screen, not to mention the angled lines that denote the spider sense tingling! And those of you who have not grown up that way also ostensibly like this, as this movie is raking in the moolah. Nice move, Sony!

 

There is contemporary humour. When the pig Spiderman (yes, we will come to it) says ‘That’s all folks!’ somone asks him ‘Are you allowed to say that?’ referring no doubt to the trade marked Warner Brothers Animation slogan of Porky Pig. This makes the movie funny and cheeky at the same time and adds more polish to the story.

 

The story itself uses another of the old time favourites. The comic gurus, and particularly the ever versile and impressive (Late) Stan Lee used to mix science into this, talking about multiverses, alternate universes and stuff. This movie goes deep into multiple universes and also multiple realities in the multiple universes. The Spiderman in the ‘current’ universe (where we are presumably since we are watching the movie in this universe) Spiderman dies in the third scene. (Looks like real death but then comic book writers have killed off their heroes multiple times without worrying about how they will create a sequel even in their heydays (Fifties and Sixties) so why worry about it now and here?

 

The story Is about Miles Morales, son of a police officer. He loves his uncle Aaron and is close to him.  (All black people  – interesting and nice, but do you see a pattern here? Now black heroes are cool, there is a flood of them everywhere)

 

When Miles goes with Uncle Ben since he is freaked out about going to an ‘elite’ school chosen by his dad, he gets bitten by a radioactive spider. (Yeah, I know). He gets superpowers but does not know how to use them. There are hilarious scenes of his getting the glue caught up in a collegue’s (Gwen) hair and she having to shave it partly off. This was before he saw Spiderman die at the hands of Fisk’s cronies. Fisk is the supervillain in this movie. Fisk is trying to activate ‘the accelerator’ (as in particle accelerator, presumably) that opens doors to another dimension to get his dead family to come back – where, in another dimension, they are not dead, of course.

Spiderman was trying to stop him. Now, our Miles realizes that he has to do the job. He puts on a cheap costume Spiderman suit and goes for it. He now falls into line when in trouble, with several alternate universe versions of Spiderman: Spider Ham, a pig; Gwen herself in a while suit, Spiderman Noir, who wears a black suit. A manga-like Spidergirl; thre is MaryJane who has spider powers,  whose boyfriend, Peter Parker, was killed and she was unable to save him!

 

There is another replica of Peter Parker (who teaches our Miles the tricks of the trade reluctantly). This one is black haired. (You say huh? Peter Parker of the comic books is black haired right? Right, but in this universe the one who got killed was blond.

 

Ok enough of the background. There are cool scenes where Miles realizes with surprise who the super villain’s super assistant Prowler is; where he meets his father (who does not like ‘the original’ spiderman because his methods were not right) and hugs him, taking his father by complete surprise – because he does not reveal who he is.

 

Miles realizes that he has two extra powers that are not (at least shown to be) with other Spider folks. He can turn invisible, and also he has a ‘venom blast’ which can knock out people and things.

 

It all ends well after a lot of great action, which is difficult to narrate here. The total effect is one of fun ride with a lot of humour, some really touching twists, and some comebacks where the pupil exceeds the teacher.

 

Nice romp, worth your while to see it. ‘

 

8/10

 

–   – Krishna

 

 

October 7, 2018

Movie : Crazy Rich Asians (2008)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 1:07 am

imageI admit I have not read the book and so do not know how faithful to the book the movie is.  Also, I suppose I have an ordinary man’s tastes because usually I completely agree with the popular opinion (let us say the Rotten Tomatoes rating for instance) of whether the movie is good or not.

 

But occasionally, I am at odds with the popular opinion and fail to see what the adulation is all about. It happened to me for Slumdog Millionaire as I hated the movie which everyone else seemed to love. It happened to me when I read the book version of The Life of Pi.

 

Now this movie has the same sense of puzzlement. I am scratching my head and seeing ‘Why all the hype?. Because, this movie simply does not make sense.

It is supposed to be a romantic comedy but all of it looks crazy. What it is trying to tell me is that  Asians in Singapore of Chinese origin can be as ostentatious and money crazy as any westerner. They can be snobbish, they can be ‘protective of their culture’ while dancing to western songs and wearing western clothes, to all intents and purposes fully westernized while flaunting their culture.

As for actors, it is amazing how many of the stars are Malaysian – the hero Henry Golding and the mother in law, Michelle Yeoh  (Yes, she of the Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon fame(

And please do not underestimate their power on the basis of what you think of them in the 1950s because some of them may end up owning the hotel from which you, as a senior manager, are trying to evict them.

 

The biggest stuff here is how a poor Asian from America confronts the snobbish Asians, ‘fearlessly’ explaining that her mother was a single parent and brought her up doing menial jobs.

 

There come scene after scene of unseemly opulence, she being first surprised and then totally taking them for granted. She then ‘graciously’ turns down a proposal from her boyfriend so that ‘he will not separate him from his parents’ even though these self same parents treated her like dirt.

Even the comic relief is very western and fairly stupid with a gaudy palace like an old imperial palace with comic book characters as the comic friend’s relatives.

The story is simple. Rachel Yu, the clueless daughter of a single parent (and who on the other hand is highly accomplished professor of psychology) agrees to go to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family, not knowing that he is one of the richest families (“old money”) and is a highly sought after bachelor in Singapore with every unmarried girl dreaming of marrying him.

He plunges her into his world with absolutely no preparation and not even a background about anyone saying just ‘You will do fine’. Great. They find her strange. ‘You are not like us. You are an American’.

Even the happy forever, mild mannered matriarch of the family (though apparently with no powers) goes berserk when they find out that she was a bastard child.

The girl Rachel shows them up and finally gets her man. Enough said.

The movie showcases Singapore (mainly the streets and the street style food) and is a continuous depiction a la ‘Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous’ series that was so popular in the seventies(?).

 

Even the comedy is fully snobbish.

 

Really don’t see what the hype is all about. Sorry

 

2/10

–  – Krishna

October 1, 2018

Movie: Searching (2018)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 9:44 pm

imageWhat an interesting movie! There are multiple things to tell you about this movie before we even get into the story. First, the hero : There seems to be a trend of all sitcom and comedy movie stars to move to serious roles.

First it was Bryan Cranston who made the switch memorably in Breaking Bad. Yes, before that Jim Carey tried to do the same switch with miserable results – maybe he was ahead of his time? No, because, in British Television, Patricia Routledge made the switch from the hilarious Hyacinth in Keeping Up Appearances to the equally appreciated serious detective role in Hetty Wainthrop Investigates. Not to mention  Ed O’Neill who successfully made the move to Law & Order, and later, to the West Wing. And yes, Bryan himself he made the transformation  through a small role in X files that showcased his serious side. Then recently, we mentioned John Krasinski making the move in a prominent fashion in A Quiet Place.

Now John Cho has made a similar transformation from the comedy film series of Harold and Kumar.  He too made the change via the role of Sulu in Star Trek but still the performance in this is impressive.

 

The second surprise is that this movie takes place completely on either a laptop, or a tablet or a cell phone. There is not a single scene that is shown outside of the frame. Which is a phenomenal feature. And everything is shown in detail. You know how they use all the social media, including how they recover a lost password, how to send money through Venmo etc. Nice. Except that the computers and other gadgets perform flawlessly and instantly, unlike mine which often buffers and behaves unpredictably.

Also in this movie is Debra Messing, of the Will and Grace fame. But the story is all about John Cho’s character, David Kim. He finds his daughter has gone missing and when he digs deep he finds that he did not know his daughter. A sympathetic investigator who comes to help him suggests that youngsters sometimes run away and he is devastated, saying ‘I don’t know my daughter’. Ever since his wife died of lymphoma, his daughter has withdrawn into a shell and he is surprised to find that she had no friends and struggled to fit in.

 

The anguish of the father comes through very well and there are touching and kind of funny moments where her friends shun her until she becomes a news item when they turn to be ‘her best friends’. There are also lots of twists and turns and how he slowly unravels the mystery is phenomenal. It is also real where he initially writes a flame email to his daughter when he ‘learns’ that she had gone camping without telling him and then reconsiders and rewrites it.

The fact that he never gives up and also the fact about his week smoking brother all come together in a nice way.

What happened to his daughter? It is an amazing twist and I do not want to reveal it. How he recognizes small clues about his brothers shirt, about the detective herself and how he gets to the bottom of it all are fantastic.

 

I know I am not saying much but the story is interesting and very well presented in a fashion that keeps the tension alive all the way through.

Worth seeing, for sure.

 

8/10

–  –  Krishna

July 28, 2018

Movie : Ant Man and the Wasp (2018)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 9:22 pm

imageThey have found their style! The Ant Man series pokes fun constantly while trying to tell a story and Paul Rudd in the leading role fits right in. And the whole package somehow works, and works well.

 

There is a ton of impossible blather still there – a man shrinking down to the quantum level (Yeah? How? Humans – forget about the dress that they are still wearing – are made up of atoms. If they shrink to anything less than atomic size, their brains and anything else will cease to exist. But you learn not to ask these kind of questions during a Marvel movie because you want to enjoy the show. You know it is pure entertainment and is not there for your education)

 

). Plenty of cool effects like shrinking of a whole building (with an inexplicable handle and wheels to safely wheel it away) or expanding Pez Dispenser and other stuff. Also a whole pile of “Ant’s eye view” experiences (like knives thrown at people etc). There is a new villain (with whom you can indeed sympathize) in the form of (again unbelievable)

 

 

I liked (moderately it would seem) the first Ant Man. However, I have no hesitation in ranking this much higher in my scale of liking. The movie starts with the scientist Hank Pym (played again by Michael Douglas) telling his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lily) that there may be a way to bring his wife back from the quantum realm where she was lost in the first movie.

 

But Scott Lang (aka Ant Man) is under house arrest (a follow on and reference to Captain America) and is no longer free to help. He is indeed playing with his daughter with an enormous sliding tube etc constructed with the help of his now idle firm and assistants (Luis primarily, played with elan by Michael Pena).  Humour is sprinkled right through, with Loo, the detective in charge in FBI investigation, becoming impossibly obsessed and impressed with the sleight of hand card tricks of Scott Lang during the investigation.

 

When Scott gets a dream that can only be surely sent by Hank’s wife, he gives a call to Hank and Hank is stunned. Now he needs Scott and he gets him by tranquilizing him and kidnapping him. He shows the new Quantum Tunnel he is building and he needs one final part that only is there with a shady dealer Sonny Burch. Hope goes incognito to get it from him as he has sold her previously other parts, thinking that her name is Susan and these are innocuous purchases by an ordinary woman. When he refuses to sell it to her (since he now knows who she is and why she wants it) she tries to pry it by fighting as a Wasp. Cool scenes of her running across knives thrown at her follow. Really good to watch, says the child in you.  As she is about to succeed a ghost knocks her down and disappears with the part. This is Eva who is disintegrating without protection and needs to go back to quantum realm to regain her solidity. (See what I mean about impossibility?)

 

She also steals the lab which means Hank has lost everything. He seeks the help of his old partner Bill Foster (Laurence Fishbourne) and it turns out that this man is helping Ava anyway. They are tied up by Ava when they try to sneak into her house where she has kept the lab.

Using Ants in an Altoids box (don’t ask) they manage to get the lab back and also escape.

 

There are many more scenes where the car shrinks and grows and Ant Man grows to a giant size to get the lab back and also fights off Ava. Finally all ends well and Hank’s wife returns and also helps Ava.

 

Great fun to watch and a brilliant mix of comedy and action.

 

8/ 10

 

–  – Krishna

 

 

 

 

 

July 14, 2018

Movie: Hereditary (2018)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 11:22 am

imageHereditary is a weird movie. First of all, I rely, like most of you probably, on the Wikipedia of movies, Rotten Tomatoes to review ratings as I find that my tastes and generic audience tastes largely coincide. Sometimes it does not. This is one of those times. When I saw the rating at the time of going to the movie it was 98% (and has now slid to a still very respectable 89%). I think it is overrated. The other movie where I was similarly fooled was the Bridge to Terabithia, so long ago.

 

To be fair though, Rotten Tomatoes shows the critic’s score as 89% but the audience score is only 58% and so perhaps it has not gotten it so wrong after all.

 

This movie is supposed to be a creepy horror but just comes out weird. The central character Peter, played by Alex Wolff is wooden and lifeless and even the animations (God, the scene where the girl serenely floats up to the treehouse) could have been done in any off the shelf image editor by a twelve year old boy. Add a lot of silver paint and naked people in it, standing mute and watching the others (supposedly menacingly) and you get the ‘creepy atmosphere’ that they were going for.

 

The central theme is also totally stupid and seems to have been stitched together in a hurry.

 

What is the story, such as it is? Disjointed scenes, strung together. An old woman (Peter’s grandmother) dying and Peter seeing her keeping her eyes open; a bird crashing into a window and similar stuff. No link to anything else in the story after.

 

The only place where there seems to be a story is where the sister of Peter is forced on him to go to a party because the parents (correctly) suspect that it is an underage drinking party with teenage sex and drugs involved and then this kid, who is severely allergic to nuts eats a cake with nuts and goes into deep anaphylactic shock.

 

Instead of dialling 911 the brother packs her into the back seat of the car and tries to drive home. Right. And also has an accident. OK. And she dies. Great. Then the story goes into weird directions again, its brief coherence lost forever.

 

The father, mother try to cope with the shock while Peter seems to be curiously unconcerned. Not intentionally by the writers but it seems like that to the viewers.

 

The mother creates a panorama (which is what she does for a living) and a private one depicting the accident and the sister’s death. Hmm.

 

While she reluctantly attends a group therapy for her shock, Peter’s mom Annie meets joan, who also lost a loved one and forces her to go to a weird séance. And then the movie takes a cult turn where the dead are looking for a new heir to the throne and… need I go on?

 

The cast looks humdrum and the sister especially does not look or act the part.

 

Full of meaningless jumble, in my opinion.

 

2/10

July 8, 2018

Movie: Avengers – Infinity War (2018)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 11:50 am

imageWe have reviewed some Avengers movies earlier – Avengers : The Age of Ultron and The Avengers – but this one is different from them all.

 

For one thing, this seems to include practically every superhero in the comic character universe owned by Disney. In addition to almost all of the Marvel Avenger stable including the recent additions like Spiderman, Black Panther and Dr Strange, it brings in also Antman and the entire cast of the other series The Guardians of the Galaxy as well. Before even seeing the movie, I wondered how on earth they are even going to give screen space to each one and still weave a credible story. After seeing the movie and with some inputs from my friends which helped me understand, I realize now that the real story in this movie is not at all about the superheroes. The movie is all about the villain Thanos, superbly portrayed by Josh Brolin.

 

This is supposed to be the first part of a two part series and it shows. More of it later.

 

Second, the villain is not really a villain in the usual superhero comic sense of the word (I know, I know. The original comics portray Thanos the same way but when I mean ‘the usual’ sense, I mean generic comic villains).  He is not conspiring to take over the world. He is simply interested in protecting the earth, ridding it of the overpopulation. Also he wants to be completely fair, just taking half the population of the world in a completely random, and therefore the most justified, fashion.

 

The entire galaxy of superheroes want to stop him since destruction of humankind is still destruction, however justified it maybe. In that sense, you don’t know which side is ‘good’ and which side is ‘evil’ if you stop to ponder about it. Interesting.

 

The other thing that would surprise and even shock you is the ending, which blew my mind away until (again thanks to friends who reminded me) I stopped to ponder those old comic books where this kind of thing happens all too often. As to the question ‘How are they going to get out of it?’ the answers could be twofold : ‘Think of the next comic books in the series’ or ‘Do you remember how damaged the Gauntlet was in the last scene? Therein may lie the clue’. Take your pick.

 

The movie has some surprises a la ‘The Game of Thrones’. When Loki gets killed (yes, actually killed) at near the start of the movie, you gasp. But more surprises abound, especially near the end.

 

The story is very simple. Thanos wants to save the world by, as we already said, killing half the population of humans at random – but needs to fill his Infinity Gauntlet with the five super stones that are in various places in the world. He collects them one by one, overcoming superhero resistance, and collecting the stones. At the start of the movie, he already has acquired Power Stone from the planet Xandar. He acquires the Space Stone from Asgaard. His lieutenants go for the Time Stone in New York, drawing Dr Stange, Iron Man and Spider Man into opposition.

 

The Mind Stone is buried on the forehead of Vision, and Thanos and crew even go after that, no matter that Wanda Maximoff is protecting him. He goes after the Reality Stone, drawing the Guardians of the Galaxy into his formidable group of enemies. (Thor keeps calling Rocket ‘rabbit’). Thanos gets Soul Stone sacrificing his own daughter to get at it.

 

Strange surrenders Time Stone to protect Iron Man, who is seriously wounded by Thanos, even after Iron Man begs him not to do so and let him die.

 

The final vision stone requires overpowering the Wakandans and the superheroes. Thanos is wounded but still manages to get the Vision Stone.

 

The ending is spectacular, including the small bit at the end of the subtitles. The second part should definitely be interesting, whenever it comes.

 

Another nice work by Disney. They really know how to make great films (yes, commercial, purely entertaining and rarely informative; I know all that, but for pure entertainment, they get full marks. Rarely do they fall flat, like for instance the latest Star Wars episode Solo.)

 

Good work.   8/10

–  – Krishna

May 27, 2018

Movie: Pacific Rim – Uprising (2018)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 12:23 pm

imageThis is the sequel (and second in what is probably going to be a series) in the Pacific Rim theme.

 

Interesting to see that John Boyega, of the Star Wars fame establish himself as an actor to consider for Hollywood Sci Fi genre. In this movie too he has a meaty role. Nice.

 

He is a crook – the son of the Commander in the first move Stacker Pentacost but is disillusioned with the Jaegar troops and turns to unscrupulous trading and cheating to survive. When he goes hunting for the core that he can trade with a few of his accomplices, he realizes that it is he who is in a trap because the accomplices confront him with past cheating and he realizes also that they plan to dispose of him once the core is given to them. He finds the core missing but manages to evade his co-cheaters turned enemies and goes after the core stealer, who just happened (Oh, year, right, you say?) to be running away with the prize. He catches up with her – Amara Namani.

Both of them get caught and Jake’s past reputation as a superb pilot makes Mako Mori, the General Secretary (and Jake’s adopted sister – another Oh yeah, right, moment) offer them the way out of prison – by training new cadets in the new generaton Jaegars. (Oh, if you have seen neither of these movies, a Jaegar is a large exoskeleton you run (with two people in the first movie but a short little one invented by Amara needs only one person – rather like the exoskeleton in the Aliens movie but with more technological details).

 

There is a biker gang like girl called Vik among the cadets who hates Amara on site and there are the usual Hollywood training and rivalry scenes to keep the drama going.

 

The company in charge (Shao Corporation) sends two executives, including a research head, Newt Geizler. He is a brash, all-knowing type who keeps getting in the way until a twist makes him worth paying close attention to.

 

There is a lot of drama where the breach that sealed in the Kaijus are released, the new exoskeletons are now operated by Kaiju brains and therefore their own weapons are turned against them, a lot of heroics by the good band.

Mako dies (not a huge suspense, so I can reveal it) and despite being kicked out of the Jaeger pilot force Amana manages to save the day (would you believe it) using her tiny one person Jaegar that she herself built.

 

Interesting stuff, worth watching. But spectacular? No!

6/10

 

–  –  Krishna

May 6, 2018

Movie: Black Panther (2018)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 3:05 pm

imageThe buzz on this movie is incredible. They say that this smashes the stereotypical beliefs or myths of the Hollywood movie making – which is that a movie mainly centred on black people cannot succeed in the worldwide box office. This did and also has an African American director to boot.

 

It is interesting to note that another myth – that if the woman is the central character of a movie, it will not succeed – was also supposed to have been recently blown apart by the super success of Wonder Woman.

 

I have these ‘supposed to’ etc only because I was not aware of these myths before they came into prominence after the two movies were released.

 

But what is not a myth is that Disney rules the box office world today. All top grossers, including the above two, were made by Disney. And add to it the fact that Disney owns Pixar, Lucas Studios in addition to Marvel and also makes its own movies like Frozen, and they are the King of Hollywood today.

 

This movie is good. Very good. And like a friend of mine said (which I agree with) ‘For the first time we actually identify with the reason the super villain turned bitter and wants revenge’. Really. Usually the villains are simply for World Domination of World Destruction  (beautifully parodied as Dr Evil and Mini Me in Austin Powers series) but here is a young man who was left with broken dreams. (OK, the Incredibles also had a villain with a genuine grouse but most do not).

 

The story is one of a supermetal called Vibranium, which fell in Africa and kept in Wakanda by the warrior who becomes the original “Black Panther”.

 

King T’chaka is now the descendent ruling Wakanda and he learns of Prince N’Jobu, living in the US (where else?) and thinks that Vibranium should be shared with all citizens of African descent to ‘overcome their suppression’. He plans to even steal one with the help of a half crazed smuggler Ulyssis Klaue (brilliantly played by Andy Serkis) he confronts the prince and when that turns violent and threatens to cost the life of his loyal aide Zuri (Forrest Whittaker) he reluctantly kills him. Shamed about the violence, he decides to abandon N’Jobu’s son Erik to his fate so that the rest of Wakanda will not hear what he had to do.

 

When T’chaka dies, his son T’Challa becomes the Black Panther and King, and is the central protagonist in the movie.

 

Killmonger, a person who tries to steal Vibranium defeats the king and nearly kills him. Restored, he comes back with the help of other tribes to battle and win back the throne as the official Black Panther.

 

Originally I thought Ulyssis is the classic supervillain and was surprised when he was killed off early in the movie. We then realize that Killmonger is the super villain and we understand the twist that makes him oppose the Black Panther (and nearly triumph) we understand.

 

There are a lot of delightful twists on the way including amazing car chases and heroics on American roads, and also a lot of duels (Before Killmonger, there is a rival M’Baku, whom he bests in an armed combat.

 

Keeps you on the edge of the seat. Nicely made.

 

8/10

–  – Krishna

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