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August 6, 2016

Movie : Captain America – Civil War (2016)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 3:27 pm

imageAs you would expect in a superhero movie, this features a serum that turns people into super-soldiers. The evil man, the Winter Soldier, has possession of it and the world is, again, in serious danger of destruction and needs Captain America desperately – as in every episode of this series.

The difference about this movie is that even though it is titled Captain America, this is really an Avengers movie. Almost every Avenger shows up. Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, you name them, they are here. Even Ant Man and Spider Man show up (Thank God, the Spider Man is not played by Tobey McGuire!). Should it not be then called Avengers: Civil War? Especially when the Civil War is amongst them mainly?

The true villain is now Crossbones, an evil Hydra agent who managed to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D earlier but was exposed by Captain America and expelled.

When Crossbones goes to get a deadly virus he is attacked by the Avenger team and each one does his or her thing. There are very tightly choreographed, fascinating stunt scenes which have almost become de rigor in these action movies these days. For instance, Captain America being saved by Wanda (Scarlet Witch) by containing the explosion triggered almost in front of Captain America’s  face by Crossbones is one such action scene.

 

There is also some humour, which is also a usual feature – Spider Man being treated as the baby of the group, for instance. Cute. If anything, Iron Man is less dominating in this movie than he normally is. The General who arrives says that they should not fight anymore because they cause destruction wherever they go. They are now under government control. Half the Avengers (including, chiefly, Iron Man) agree and the other half (including Captain America) are disgusted. Typical of the bumbling government, in the Marvel view.

 

Then there is the King of the fictional African country Wakanda who gets assassinated by the evil men and his son becomes a kind of superhero himself! It is so easy to do so in this fictional world. The chase scenes of the superheroes and the brainwashed Winter Soldier who sides with the evil side are amazing. The chases, the jumps, the man commandeering a motorcycle, Black Panther (the prince mentioned above as a superhero with a superhero name to match) jumping on fast moving cars one from the other to catch him – nicely done. Difficult to describe but let me tell you that this is good action if you are into action movies.

 

Lots of typical Avenger moments that are so popular today. Nothing drastically new but still enjoyable as a movie.

 

Nice. 6 / 10

–  – Krishna

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May 28, 2015

Movie : Avengers – The Age of Ultron (2015)


imageThe first Avengers that came out in 2012 was very good. As a sequel, this thing is confusing and, frankly, a letdown. They have tried too hard and it kind of leaves you over saturated with the plot, dialogs, and even special effects.

The trailers are phenomenal and Ultron in the trailers comes out awesome. I could not wait to see the movie, especially when rating websites gave it really high rating. Well, I do not seem to see what they see, but I came away very disappointed.

The Ultron story is based on the comic book story that came out as a series long ago, They have made changes in this movie because in the comic book for example, Ultron takes over Iron Man’s suit with him still inside it and the movie is different.

The story is simple. Ultron is an experiment by a Central European scientist (a fictitious country called Sokovia) named Strucker. He also has other mutant creations like the brother and sister duo of Quicksilver (who can move faster than the eye can see) and Scarlet Witch who can manipulate minds, even those of superheroes.

The usual assortment of Avengers goes to stop him and discovers Ultron’s code and Iron Man (Stark) wants to see how to control it and use it for good. But Ultron, being sentient, defeats Stark’s  Artificial Intelligence program JARVIS and takes over Iron Man’s whole lab. And makes copies of itself using machine parts. Very cool visual.

They fight to conquer it but it seems to be out of control, spreading to the Internet and being able to replicate at will all over the place.

Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans and others are there, as are the additions Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch for instance. Samuel L Jackson also makes an appearance in his usual role of Nick Fury. But the magic is missing. Read on.

And then it gets weirder. First of all, even this story is weird. The gadgetry goes overboard first. All over the place they have halographic screens that they move across thin air like the previous movies. Second, to show that JARVIS is defeated, they show Ultron as a blue network in air, JARVIS as the orange network and the blue “eats” orange. I know the director has to do something so that the audience knows what is going on, but this comes across as kind of tacky.

The dialogs are insipid. Their fighting, running, and then, incredibly having a quarrel among themselves and figuring out how idyllic life in a small town (Hawkeye’s private life) can be.

The human angle, right? But does not come across as natural. Is it me or does even Scarlet Johansson (Black Widow) comes across as tired or jaded?

Also you know how the Iron Man in the original movie kicked ass and just dominated the superhero club? How he had the best lines to himself? Here he comes and goes, as listlessly as the others have become.

And when Ultron, with all that invincible power decides that he “want to get into a human body” you wonder ‘Why? What is in it for you?’. No proper explanation. How can you conquer him? Give a human body to JARVIS of course!

Oh brother! All in all a confusing jumble and you come out of it with your head spinning, slightly bored at times, and with a great feeling of let down.

The visuals are good, as always. The humour is there in places, and they all try to wisecrack in the midst of disaster, but the spark that we found in the first movie seems to be surely missing in this one.

I will say a  4/10

– – Krishna

June 12, 2013

Movie : Iron Man 3 (2013)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 8:16 pm

imagesThis is the third installment of the franchise. It appears as if, like M Night Shyamalan’s movies, this series is also on a downward trajectory, each succeeding movie worse than its predecessor. The first iron man was brilliant, the second was very watchable but paled in comparison to the first, and this one has a lot of clichés that bring it down another level.

Now, first, there is this disappointed disciple turned super villain. How many times has it been done? (From Incredibles onwards, where it was brilliantly portrayed) to (do I remember right?) one of the Spiderman movies in the series right? So when you see the avid fan Aldrich Killian bitterly disappointed after Tony Stark (the industrialist who is Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr) stands him up, you know something is going to happen out of this. When it does, you are underwhelmed. The villain is played by Guy Pearce, known for his role as the King in King’s Speech.

You need to take it to the next level, right? In a franchise, every new movie has to have a new gimmick that was not there in previous movies. This time, it is the new model 42 of the iron suit. Its unique feature is that it can fly over to wrap around him from a remote location. The initial failed trial of this is a very funny scene in the movie.

The other interesting scene is when Iron Man crash lands after escaping the complete destruction of his home (unseen where everyone believes him dead – another cliché of superhero movies) he hooks up with a boy who is eager to learn and is patient with him, throwing off his usual arrogance and also as a penance for his being arrogant to Aldrich before, I guess. These are touching and funny scenes in the movie, even though, with another hat on, you can see tons of clichés riding on these ones too.

The other interesting thing is the Super Super villain, above even Aldrich, called Mandarin – the international terrorist. (Played in a very unusual role by Ben Kingsley; if I tell you more, it will be giving away one of the twists in the movie). The twist about Mandarin is a cute one, and definitely catches you unawares.

Purists may crib – and I do too, with them – that in this movie Iron Man really doesn’t do anything except call his techie prowess to his help whenever needed. In the climax scenes, it is his technological wizardry that conquers the day – not him personally. Is it really Superhero stuff?

And, Oh, there is Don Cheadle too, as an able assistant to Iron Man. Robin to his Batman, so to speak.

Well due to the so many repeats, clichés and let downs, I will give it a 6/10.

— Krishna

May 16, 2012

Movie: The Avengers (2012)

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 11:47 pm

The comic book genre comes alive in Hollywood and has proved a safe bet for success for Hollywood. With the improvement in digital technology, the world of superheroes can be brought alive like never before. This has caused renewed interest in the superhero stories all over again, this time in life like animations.

In the meanwhile the retelling has gotten significantly cleverer too. After recasting Batman with a number of actors a number of times, Christopher Nolan set out to retell the story from a different and unique angle in his recent series. Batman begins and the incredible Dark Knight.

Here, they bring all the superheroes of the Hollywood movies together to form the group called Avengers,  to take on the villain together. The villain, to get them to come together, had to be a super super villain and who else can fit the bill than the son of Odin  himself, the mischievous Loki?

The movie is very entertaining and the story is intelligently told. It is interesting that the actors who played the superheroes in the hit series before also play the same superheroes in this movie as well, with one exception.

We have Robert Downey Jr.  playing Iron Man again. Chris Evans reprises his role as Captain America (“with a small change to the suit” as the movie explains it). We have Scarlet Johansen playing the Black Widow (yes, as in the spider). Chris Hemsworth comes again as Thor. And the super villain Loki is also played by the same actor, Tom Hiddleston, as in Thor.

The only exception seems to be the Incredible Hulk, as Ed Norton has been replaced by Mark Ruffalo. (The rumor mill is abuzz with insinuations that Ed wanted more money than they were prepared to give).

The movie has its lovely moments. Loki outwits people with his multiple images and mischief. He is outwitted by a dying Agent Phil Coulson  who lures him into an argument and in mid sentence, blows him off – does not kill him.  Think particularly of the scene where Loki imperiously tells the Hulk that he will not be manhandled by a monster, only to be whacked around like a rag doll before he can finish the sentence.  Another interesting piece is the ego of superheroes, where they fight another first before banding together to fight with the “real” enemy. It appears that the Hulk with Black Widow seem to do more damage to the ship than Loki’s evil band can.

The Iron Man is given all the great lines and steals the whole show almost, right to the end.

The story is not much, and Loki has to open a portal and gets a whole alien race into the world so that all of the Avengers have to band together to fight them.

One problem is the mixing of the multiple genres. For God’s sake, Thor is a demi god not a superhero. And what kind of superhero is the Black Widow? And how does Hawkeye a superhero?

And in mythology, Loki is mischievous and maybe a bit irresponsible but never blatantly evil. He is after world domination? That is a bit unbelievable.

As a pure entertainer, this movie is definitely good. But don’t look for any great logic or form.

I would say a 5/10

 

== Krishna

February 15, 2012

Movie: The Wonder Boys

Filed under: Hollywood Movies — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 3:43 pm

The movie has a purpose somewhere, but it would take a lot of work to find out what it is. It has some  talented actors : You have Michael Douglas and Robert Downey Jr and others too : Toby McGuire and Katie Holmes, for instance. Yet, the story has no sense or purpose.

Michael Douglas plays Grady Tripp, a professor of Creative Writing  in one university in US (Pittsburg) and who is very much admired for his last novel published, which is a masterpiece, but who has not written in many years and faces writer’s block whenever he attempts to add / edit the thick manuscript he already has produced. He tries to inspire his students to become good authors. Robert Downy Jr plays Terry Crabtree, his agent who is impatient for Tripp to finish his second book and hand it to him because his own (Crabtree’s) career is on a downward spiral and he needs this book under his belt to get it going again.

Katie Holmes is Hannah Green, who is in love not only with the subject of the class but also the professor, and throws herself at him constantly. Grady, on the other hand, is having an affair with the wife of his boss, who is the Head Of the English Department in the same university.

Toby McGuire is the weirdest of them all, I mean in the movie, where he plays James Leer, a troubled genius, weird, violent (no, I am not kidding, Toby McGuire really tries to play a violent man! Brings to mind his evil transformation in Spider Man 3) but a creative genius, who is mocked by the class but understood only by Grady, the professor, and Hannah.

The story goes all over the place from there, with Grady prowling around the professor’s house with a key given by his wife, trying to show a coat worn by Marilyn Monroe and he takes James with him. James manages to shoot dead the professor’s dog with his gun and also steals the coat since “it should not be hanging there”. What?

Is that not enough of a confusion for you? How about this? The car loaned to Grady for transport is claimed to be stolen by a thug, who harasses him constantly.  Terry is gay, brings a transvestite with him but falls for James and drives him away… (What?)

James reciprocates, even though there is no hint that he is gay anywhere before – he is the mild, geeky (violent!) man. What?

Don’t even get me started on their plot to hide the dog, retrace the car when it is stolen with the half finished manuscript in it, or even the fact that James has a manuscript and what happens to it.

Is it a comedy? Does not feel so. Is it a serious drama? Definitely has no such feel. The story just goes from one subplot to another, with no aim or purpose and at the end, you have a jumbled set of impressions, with no clear idea of what it is that you just finished seeing.

The casting, as I said, is all wrong, not just because of my repeated rants of Toby as a violent killer; even Michael Douglas and Robert Downey Jr look uncomfortable in their roles.  Katie Holmes just goes in and out of scenes, accomplishing nothing much.

I would say, a 2/10

— Krishna

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