Summer movies have been promising and some below expectations. Currently Del Goh and I are in the hunt for bragging rights for the Summer Wager (Box office summer hits). So what we did was ranking our prediction on 10 summer movies. Good movies doesn’t really translate to dollars and cents especially in Hollywood. It’s always fun to play around with predictions on summer movies.
Last year, I won the wager and looks like I might edge him again this time round. Our wager was that my pick of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 will fare better than Wonder Woman in the US Box Office. GOTG Vol 2 opened at USD 146 million and currently standing at USD 355 million after 6 weeks. Del Goh’s prediction for Wonder Woman, it opened at USD 100 million last weekend and slightly behind GOTG Vol 2. Unless it has stronger legs this week and the following week, Wonder Woman can stand a fair chance in toppling GOTG’s numbers. Right now I’m optimistic with my wager and you owe me another Blu-ray title, Del (for now).
1) Guardians of the Galaxy. Vol. 2
2) Despicable Me 3
3) Spider-Man: Homecoming
4) War of the Planet of the Apes
5) Wonder Woman
6) Transformers: The Last Knight
7) Cars 3
8) The Mummy
9) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Del Goh’s Prediction
1) Wonder Woman
2) Spider-man: Homecoming
3) War of the Planet of the Apes
4) Guardians of the Galaxy. Vol. 2
5) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
6) Despicable Me 3
8) Alien: Convenant
9) Cars 3
10) The Mummy
Quick movie summary:
Gal Gadot shines as Wonder Woman
Our verdicts on Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman. Ah, the overhyped superhero movie. After many harsh reviews from Wonder Woman’s counterpart (Suicide Squad 25%, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 29%), it’s such a surprise that Woman Woman scored over 90% on rotten tomatoes. Even higher than Guardians of the Galaxy Volume.2 (81%) *Impressive* So does it really translate to my overall experience? Definitely a resounding YES.. It was a run ride and I didn’t know it was running at 2 hours 20 mins. Well, it was definitely a better pay off than the same duration by Batman V Superman (too much cheese).
Many reasons why to catch Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman – her complexion, her charm, her physique (ok, ok, it’s fasting time). You get the whole gist. She does have flaws in her acting but the chemistry between Gal Gadot and her partner in crime Chris Pine (as Steve Trevor) really made up for it. This is what missing in other Superhero movies and it was a nice touch to have in Wonder Woman. Good job by Patty Jenkins, a female director who only has two films under her belt, the other being Monsters. The film delivers great action sequences and well executed humour. Wonder Woman casts many charm to the audience. Am I panting for more? Maybe not to that extent.
Resident Evil: Vendetta. I didn’t catch Resident Evil: The Final Chapter as I rather wait for the blu-ray edition. However, I contemplated to catch this animated version as I grew up playing RE games while being entertained by their in-game movies. The animation is just superb and crisp in detail. Sometimes it’s just feel so real. Was I entertained like playing RE on Playstation? Yes, I was. From start till the end. The acting was a little putting but I didn’t care as much since it’s an animation. I would say this is more of a value to catch than Milla Jovich’s RE. Makes me want to play my old RE games. Speaking of RE games, which is your favourite RE game on Playstation?
One of the summer box office flops
Baywatch. Eeeer, I came out watching this hit remake, feeling meeehh. What’s there to love about this? Hot chicks aren’t enough to gain my interest. I was more into the comedic side of Dwayne Johnson and Zach Efron. Their chemistry is a hit and miss but more of the latter. The jokes are flat at times and the only character that can pull off the charm is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and maybe the Ronnie character. Sometimes I wished the producers just shelved this project. After the major flop in the US box office (and also my prediction), I doubt there will be a sequel for this mediocre remake. This is a no-brainer movie and I expected a lot. Even The Rock’s charm can’t save it. The score on Rotten Tomatoes is even harsher than my rating. Oh well. Let’s hope he redeems himself in Jumanji, his next movie. Well, he did superbly in Fate of the Furious.
We all enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 So did you too?
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The Good. So many to love about Volume 2 and I love the fact that they used Volume 2 to indicate as a sequel instead of labelling it Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Neat indeed. I totally was immersed with the visuals. This was quite comparable to Dr. Strange when comparing visuals but GOTG2 was perhaps more spectacular. Maybe more refined especially when it comes to the battle scenes in space. Maybe even better than some of the Star Wars battle scenes in space.
The biggest draw for me is the humour they infested in the sequel. If you ask me, this is the funniest superhero movie after Deadpool. This is also one reason why Deadpool was so popular despite its R-rating – the humour was on point and well executed. The same can be said of GOTG2. Ironically enough, Draxx stole the limelight here and of course, who would not forget about Baby Groot.
Iron Man and a few Marvel sequels have been mediocre. However, this can’t be said for GOTG2. I won’t say it was better than the first but man, it surely know how to make it fun and engaging at the same time. A nice blend of classic music and action set pieces. The new characters were introduced effectively. Emotionally I was satisfied especially in the end (no spoilers). Definitely different from the other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies you have seen. Now I’m very geared up for the upcoming Thor.
The Bad. It doesn’t have the same intensity as the first. That sense of urgency was lacking. The storyline was just above average and I thought it was predictable as well. It also seemed that the audience were more entertained by certain characters such as Drax and Baby Groot. They were enough to distract us from a you-can-do-better plot.
With the light-hearted, happy-go-lucky feeling tone to the movie, it will tough for GOTG series to blend into a darker tone for the next installment. On the topic of humour and jokes, some didn’t land quite well and I knew they were expecting laughs from us. Then again, these are just minor flaws that can be easily excused. The one-liners were sharper and funnier in the first in my opinions.
The Ugly. I was hoping for a better and more ruthless villain. Well, there’s not much of the ugly side. I was entertained from start to finish. Perhaps, another second viewing?
Verdict: A sequel that won’t disappoint but I expected more. Rating: Rano 8/10 Sandy 9/10 Pranika 9/10 Jidun 8.5/10
Which was your favourite character for GOTG2?
The 8th instalment: The Fate of the Furious
The Good. There are many good points to enjoy about The Fate of the Furious, it’s 8th instalment of The Fast and The Furious. One thing for sure are the stars of the show and the trailer has hinted that John Statham will be combining forces with the FF gang. Why FF series are so popular because it resonates to the audience with one specific theme – “We are family”. Hence, you are bound to see family bonds between the non-biological related characters and their chemistry on screen seems to bring an emotional connection to the audience. I was already sold after Fast and the Furious 4 when the main characters united and the momentum never stopped since then.
The set pieces were pretty good and maybe to an extent, mind-blowing. Why I say to an extent? Because majority of the sequences are OTT (over-the-top). Then again, the producers of FF somehow brainwashed us along the series that FF movies are no-brainer entertainment and treat it as a popcorn (level) movie. Yes, most of the scenes defy logic and physics but we as the audience will still be glued to the screen despite these known factors. My favourite scene will be in the city where cars are being hacked and have minds of their own. Awesome!! I wonder what’s next? Space travel? Who knows…
The Bad. The big thing that ticked me is Dom’s character (Vin Diesel) when he turned rogue and turn his back on his “family”. This is no spoiler as it was clearly stated in the trailers. I was more upset on the motive of his decision to turn rogue. I just felt that it wasn’t that convincing to begin with. I just found it “bleeeh”. Then again, most of the plot of FF8 doesn’t really made sense but we still enjoyed it nonetheless. I would have given the movie extra points if the producers fixed some loop holes in this flawed movie.
The OTT sequences may be bearable but also to an extent. The final act of the movie raised my eyebrows and this reminds me of espionage movies such as James Bond series. It has come to that level that the protagonists are tough to die and give what the fans/audience want – a happier ending. I would say that FF8 was slightly below the rating of FF7 (which I would watch again and again). Will I watch FF8 the second time? Maybe yes, maybe no. Oh yea, the movie is more than 2 hours long and it’s a bit unnecessary.
The Ugly. I’m surprised that this franchise is able to stretch to this level of success, releasing its 8th movie. No other movie franchise has reached this milestone apart from the Harry Potter series. FF franchise is a cash cow business model. The FF7 made around USD 1.5 billion in ticket sales. That’s a ridiculous amount of money. Now, why do I put this in the “ugly” side? Because producers of FF franchise will begin to produce more FF movies (FF9 in 2019 and FF10 in 2021) and I can tell you that there are running low on ideas. I just hope it doesn’t go down to the level of Michael Bay’s Transformers (Just beyond ridiculous and yet we still watch them *lol*).
Verdict: We have come to an era where over-the-top action can be accepted (when comes to Fast & Furious franchise). Slightly underwhelming than FF7 while FF5 is still the best among the lot. I still enjoyed FF8 honestly but they are running out of ideas.The Fate of the Furious also scored the lowest since FF5 with 64% on Rottentomatoes.
Ghost in the shell. I’ve never seen the anime or even read the graphic novel to be honest. So my expectations were never that high to begin with. However, when I listened to those who are familiar with the anime (Ghost in the Shell), most of them were underwhelmed with the movie adaptation.
The obvious hoo-ha about the anime is the casting of Scarlett Johansson as the lead, Major. as many labelled the movie as being whitewashed. Social media were getting on the studio’s faces as they rallied against the idea of Scarlett playing the cyborg Major. For me, it’s an okay move and it didn’t affect my judgment. Furthermore, Scarlett is one of my favourite actor since Lost in Translation.
Now what do I think about the overall movie experience? I have to say this is one tricky anime to adapt to the big screen. I was impressed with some of the action sequences but I wasn’t overwhelmed. Let’s just say that the producers were playing it safe to begin with and there was nothing new or spectacular that I will remember about Ghost in the Shell. Yea, there wasn’t any ground breaking scenes that will make you go “awwwww…” I was only impressed to an extent and more drawn to the visuals than anything else.
There were definitely some plot holes and the exposition could have been tighter and well explained. There were some unnecessary scenes which didn’t really add anything to the movie. Scarlett was suited for the role if you ask me but she wasn’t good enough to save the show to my expectations.
If I were to say entertaining, yes. If I were to say, wasteful, yes and no. This is a good popcorn movie with plentiful of potential. The audience are getting smarter and more demanding. So I hope future producers will think twice if they were to do a sci-fi movie and such. Even more demanding if it’s based on the popular anime or graphic novel.
I doubt Ghost in the Shell will get a sequel after the flop in the opening weekend. The movie costs more than USD 200 million dollars due to high production cost and delays. The opening only made less than USD 20 million in the US which is off their expected target and so far only USD 60 million was earned worldwide and I believe it won’t even make USD 200 million worldwide.
Having said all the woes they are facing especially by Paramount, I still enjoyed Ghost in the Shell.
Beauty and The Beast stealing the show as thousands flocked in the catch the over-hyped film. Yes, it came to that stage for a certain reason
It has been a while since I actually do a review on my blog on my movie updates and reviews. I’m still over the moon with La La Land, a movie I caught four times (3 in the cinema, 1 in Royal Brunei in-flight entertainment). This would be technically my first movie review of the year in my blog and god knows why it has to Beauty and The Beast.
Perhaps, the reason being that Beauty and The Beast has been gaining many tractions in Brunei and our neighbouring country Malaysia. Now we know how it felt when Deadpool was banned and not in Malaysia. Speaking of Deadpool, I still don’t get it why it was banned in the first place when John Wick movie (shown in February) had more extreme violent content as compared to the R-rated superhero movie.
Anyway, back to Beauty and The Beast, I quite enjoy the live-action remake to an extent. I had my expectations slightly lower because it’s never easy to pull off an already impressive animation of Beauty and The Beast.
Here are the pluses: Emma Watson shines in patches of the 2 hour film. She can pull off the looks of Belle and she’s already an icon in the Hollywood scene. The musical were impressive from start to finish. It does relive the moments of when I was a teenager. This is the perhaps the strength of the latest Disney movie.
The producer also gave much respect to the original story with some additional plot which are unnecessary. Having said that, they did, however, include elements that fill in the gaps which explained certain scenes in the original Beauty and The Beast animation. That was a nice touch and gives more closure to the audience.
The visuals were stunning, a forte expected from Disney. I love how the other supporting casts made it more memorable and not relying too much on the main characters. I was touched by the final act and it was more of a saviour than anything else. A great effort by Bill Condon the director.
We all had fun catching Beauty and The Beast yesterday. An average verdict of 7.5 from all of us. Angela loved it that she danced after the show.
What I thought was lacking: Don’t get me wrong. I’m still impressed with the Beast character but I couldn’t feel the chemistry between Belle and her boyfriend *eseeh* I just feel that something’s amiss but I don’t know what it is. Maybe Emma didn’t use to her great potential or maybe she’s not right for the role. Either one but man, she’s still a hottie (biased).
They were some pacing issues but not a big deal. I did nap for a bit in the middle. Yes, I was tired and didn’t have enough sleep. Then again, it was an after lunch movie.
Luke Evans as Gaston was good but not as great as the one in the animation. Again, I can’t help it but compare because I really love the classic animation. Oh yeah, Emma Watson is an okay singer and I wish Bill Condon would have casted a more eloquent singer with commendable acting skills. There are a few from the defunct Glee TV series that you can refer to. Okay, I wasn’t being serious but yea, Emma may have the looks but lacks in the vocal department.
Overall, I still adore the live action remake. It’s entertaining from start to finish. The casts could have done more justice but the musical scenes were the saviour to my liking. Yes, the original had a more emotional impact and I believe a few of my friends shared the same sentiments.
The scores on Rotten Tomatoes weren’t that high as compared to Cinderella (83%). The original animation of Beauty and The Beast scored a high 93%.
Amazing opening weekend for Beauty and the Beast. It even beat Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opening weekend. This movie is bound to make a few hundred millions and even break the billion mark worldwide.
Emma Stone’s interview after the Oscars
Too bad I wasn’t able to catch the Oscars completely. I only managed to catch the first hour. Hence, I missed all the commotion where the presenters for Best Picture made a boo-boo and everyone thought it was a done deal with producers of La La Land grabbing the biggest honour, Best Picture. Oh well, this reminded me of the Miss Universe incident last year.
La La Land had 14 Oscars nomination and left with 6 awards. Moonlight grabbed three Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor in a Supporting Role. So it wasn’t a dominant win for La La Land and well balanced for both movies.
For me, I’m happy that La La Land won both for Music Score and Original Song. Well deserved, indeed 😀
I was impressed with Jimmy Kimmel as the host for the Oscars. He didn’t make the audience feel awkward and his jokes and humourous puns were politically driven and the audience didn’t mind that at all. He was definitely better than Ellen DeGeneres as a host.
Below are the lists of winners from today’s Oscars.
“Hell or High Water”
“La La Land”
“Manchester by the Sea”
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Casey Affleck in “Manchester by the Sea” (WINNER)
Andrew Garfield in “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling in “La La Land”
Viggo Mortensen in “Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington in “Fences”
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Jeff Bridges in “Hell or High Water”
Mahershala Ali in “Moonlight” (WINNER)
Lucas Hedges in “Manchester by the Sea”
Dev Patel in “Lion”
Michael Shannon in “Nocturnal Animals”
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Isabelle Huppert in “Elle”
Ruth Negga in “Loving”
Natalie Portman in “Jackie”
Emma Stone in “La La Land” (WINNER)
Meryl Streep in “Florence Foster Jenkins”
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Nicole Kidman in “Lion”
Viola Davis in “Fences”
Naomie Harris in “Moonlight”
Octavia Spencer in “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams in “Manchester by the Sea”
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“My Life as a Zucchini”
“The Red Turtle”
“La La Land” (WINNER)
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (WINNER)
“Florence Foster Jenkins”
“La La Land”
“Arrival” – Denis Villeneuve
“Hacksaw Ridge” – Mel Gibson
“La La Land” – Damien Chazelle (WINNER)
“Manchester by the Sea” – Kenneth Lonergan
“Moonlight” – Barry Jenkins
“Fire at Sea”
“I Am Not Your Negro”
“O.J.: Made in America” (WINNER)
DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)
“Watani: My Homeland”
“The White Helmets” (WINNER)
“Hacksaw Ridge” (WINNER)
“Hell or High Water”
“La La Land”
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Land of Mine”
“A Man Called Ove”
“The Salesman” (WINNER)
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
“A Man Called Ove”
“Star Trek Beyond”
“Suicide Squad” (WINNER)
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
“La La Land” (WINNER)
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from “La La Land”
“Can’t Stop The Feeling” from “Trolls”
“City Of Stars” from “La La Land” (WINNER)
“The Empty Chair” from “Jim: The James Foley Story”
“How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana”
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
“La La Land” (WINNER)
ANIMATED SHORT FILM
“Pear Cider and Cigarettes”
LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
“La Femme et le TGV”
“La La Land”
“Hacksaw Ridge” (WINNER)
“La La Land”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi”
“The Jungle Book” (WINNER)
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
“Hell or High Water”
“La La Land”
“Manchester by the Sea” (WINNER)
“20th Century Women”
What a mess with the presenters when Faye Dunaway announced the wrong winner for Best Picture, calling it out producers of La La Land instead of Moonlight’s. Congratulations to the Moonlight and though I wanted La La Land to win the big award, you can’t have them all.
Emma Stone was a clear winner for her role as Mia in La La Land. She also grabbed awards in the same category in Golden Globe and SAG awards
A well deserved win for Damien Chazelle for Directing in “La La Land”. He was also nominated for his Directing role in Whiplash. He is also the youngest director to win an Oscar. Awesome!!
Mahershala Ali won Actor in a Supporting Role for “Moonlight”
Justin Timberlake opened the show with belting a number “Can’t Stop The Feeling” from Trolls
So how did the movies I watched in 2016 fared? Frankly speaking there was no clear cut winner for my No.1 like previous years. The Top two movies could have been my favourite movies of the year but as usual, there must be one winner. Overall, the movies I’ve watched were above average and of course, there were many disappointments (where I have high expectations) and also movies that really stank. 2015 movies had better feel in my opinion.
There are some movies that I’ve planned to watch in 2016 but didn’t have the chance. Below are some movies that missed my radar last year :-
1) Arrival (so many praises)
2) La La Land
3) The Edge of Seventeen
4) The Witch
5) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (Ok, I was kidding)
6) Hacksaw Ridge
7) Hell or High Water
So there are my lists that I’ve yet to catch in 2016 and well, there are more but these are the ones that I am more anticipating.
Amy Adams in her role in Arrival. It should be coming out in local cinemas next week. Can’t wait
Honourable mentions. Ok, before I head off and list my Top 10 movies of 2016, let me share with you my honourable mentions. These are the list that missed out my top 10 of 2016 and I still want to highlight them. Here goes.
1) Deepwater Horizon
2) Me Before You
3) The Handmaiden (Korean)
4) 10 Cloverfield Lane
5) Your Name (Japanese)
6) Rogue One: A Star Wars story
7) Kubo & the Two Strings
9) Central Intelligence
I highly recommend you catch The Handmaiden, the same director who did Old Boy. Twisted and sensual and I love the story and the cinematography. A fine piece of film making.
Disappointments. These movies that I have so much expectations based on the hype and the trailers but didn’t translate well on the big screen. Why oh why? Here are the list.
1) Suicide Squad
2) The Secret Life of Pets
3) Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
4) Jason Bourne
6) Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
7) Independence Day: Resurgence
8) X-Men: Apocalypse
I love the trailers and the hype but the movie was a let down though I watched it twice. There are some good part but the negatives were heavier.
The Bombs. Movies that I had to suffer in front of the big screen. Sometimes I have no choice but to catch some stinkers. Mind you I won’t watch movies that are predictably bad such as Jackie Chan movies (Skip trace and Railroad Tigers), Assassin’s Creed and Zoolander 2 to name a few. But here are the list that I regretted watching.
1) Gods of Egypt
3) The 5th Wave
4) Mechanic: Resurrection
5) Nine Lives
7) Underworld: Blood Wars
Why oh why…. Totally bad from start to finish.
10. Dr. Strange. It was no strange surprise that I have a few superhero movies in my top list. Consistency is the word when it comes to Marvel Cinematic Universe. The trailer already blew me away and I already have high expectations on Dr. Strange and the full movie delivered more than that. With the emergence of DC movies, it was a gamble for Dr. Strange to be released in November and people will tend to lose interest in a never ending superhero movie in 2016. Strangely enough, this wasn’t the case for Dr. Strange and it turned out to be very entertaining and many would even compared this flick with Inception. Scott Derrickson the director found a way to simplify the sophisticated premise and entertained the audience at the same time. I watched this movie twice and I thought this would have easily been my Top 5 of 2016. It does really live up to its title. I can’t wait to add to my Blu-ray collection.
9. Bad Moms. 2016 has been very mediocre when it comes to comedy. The closest to Bad Moms that I enjoyed were Central Intelligence and The Nice Guys, both in my honourable mentions. I watched this in Ipoh of all places and I had a blast. A real blast. Even my friend Sophia loved it. The title itself was funny enough and I never really took notice of the trailer. It also became a sleeper hit in the States as it raked it more than USD 100 million. Many would also agree how hilarious this movie was. It was also a stand out performance (comedy sense) by Kathryn Hahn who kept cracking me up every time she makes a fool of herself. The trio chemistry of Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn truly made this comedy an enjoyable one and also leaving us with a good message in the end. A sequel, perhaps? And yes, I caught this twice in the cinema.
8. Moana. Holy Molly. Was I amazed by Disney’s latest offering Moana.. A few years ago Frozen stole the show among kids and even adults. Now we have Moana and frankly speaking, this is more rewarding and enjoyable than Frozen. There are so many things to love about Moana. The two main characters – Moana voiced by Auli’i Cravalho and Maui by Dwayne Johnson – were perhaps the most engaging duo I’ve come across this year on the big screen. The original songs were even catchy and suited the theme of Moana. This animation has charm and beauty. I have hardly heard any bad comments about Moana and that itself is a good testament on how awesome Moana is. The final act was one of the best, if not the best, to cap off a stunning masterpiece from Disney. I almost caught it for the third time and it’s still showing in our local cinemas. Catch it if you haven’t. No regrets 😀
7. Zootopia. This was a close call between Moana and Zootopia. Imagine an animation released back in January and some how many would have forgotten about it. Well, not me. This was the surprise package among all the animation. Not much publicity or marketing like other animations (Dory, Moana) given for Zootopia but that didn’t matter at all. I love every single thing about Zootopia and the only letdown is the lack of variety in original songs. Nonetheless, this shows that an animation can still be pull off to be a magnificent movie even without music scores or songs. What I really love about Zootopia is the richness of the characters and thoughtful message that still lingers in my head. Not to forget how entertaining and humourous Zootopia was. A very subversive storytelling delivery that you would appreciate.
6. Captain America: Civil War. Surprise, surprise. This is not even in my Top 5 list and I thought it would be. Captain America’s final trilogy was perhaps the best among the lot, even among The Avengers. The Russo brothers have risen the bar for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and this is one reason why DC Universe is trailing so behind despite their presence this year which failed to live up to the audiences’ and my expectations. The introduction of the new Spider-man and Black Panther were spot on and effective on screen. Even with multiple characters, the Russo brothers have this gift to create such a compelling story line and this is a superhero movie mind you. One thing that I didn’t expect from this genre where it tests your conscience who is right and who is wrong. This was more than just a superhero movie as it touched on friendships and conflicts. I loved the feud and the rivalry within the Avengers which showed the imperfections that superheroes experienced from time to time. Sadly it just missed my Top 5 of 2016.
5. Our Times. It has been years since I enjoyed a flick from Taiwan, the last being You’re the Apple of My Eye. (2010). It wasn’t until my friend Sandy recommended me to catch Our Times, apparently a bigger hit than You’re the Apple of My Eye. Oh yes, this was very enjoyable indeed. It has a similar theme but a slightly different angle. It did remind me of my childhood and school days but I felt more resonated with the previous movie. Then again, I’m a sucker for this type of movies and I was hooked from the beginning to the end. Frankie Chen Yu-shan, the director of Our Times, created one of the best romantic teenage movies in a long time. I loved the main casts and their chemistry from start to finish. The only missing were my tears *lol* and this was the difference between Our Times and You’re The Apple of My Eye (which I cried). It’s hard to have romance higher up in my list and it made my Top 5 for 2016.
4. Don’t Breathe. The trailer looked amazing and I knew that this is destined to be an awesome thriller. It delivered beyond my expectations and boy, was I on the edge of my seat on certain occasions. It reminded me on my childhood days watching Jurassic Park for the first time – the intensity and the suspense, all in one. This is one clever piece of storytelling and it all happens within the premise of a house. The synopsis looked simple indeed but the direction by Fede Alvarez made the cinematic experience so fulfilling and rewarding. How I wished I watched this in the best equipped cinema to bring the most out of Don’t Breathe. Another example how silence can deliver an impact on a horror/thriller movie. This movie alone has high replay value. I can’t ask for more but I hope there is no sequel. Let’s end of a high note.
3 (A Tie). Deadpool. My Oh My. This movie was literally banned in Brunei and only showing in Miri, the closest any Brunei could watch. I caught this in Ho Chi Minh City and boy, I loved everything about Deadpool. Sometimes I wonder if Marvel Cinematic Universe bought the rights from Fox for Deadpool, can they deliver the same feel? I doubt so. Deadpool surprised me on many different levels. It was able to breach the R-rated level for a comic icon and still make it entertaining for the audiences. By right, this is the real character of Deadpool in comics – violent and mouthful. If Civil War is the best film in MCU, then Deadpool is the best Marvel movie to date. It’s packed with action, comedy with tons of puns and this is one movie where you can simply just have FUN!!! A good comeback for Ryan Reynolds after his flop stunt as the Green Lantern, ironically a DC character. Please catch this if you haven’t.
3 (A Tie). Mermaid. Ahaaa!! You might be wondering why I have two movies on my third spot. Well, I was reminded by my friend Pranika of the Mermaid movie as I was browsing through my list and she remembered how I responded to Stephen Chow’s blockbuster hit. I would say that this is one of the best comedy movies (slapstick) that I’ve enjoyed in a long, long time. I was disappointed with Journey to the West and CJ7 but Mermaid was a good comeback from Stephen Chow. Of course, the hilarious scene was still the human octopus at the restaurant scene. For those wondering, this is the only senseless movie that I can give an excuse for its implausible plot and getting a kick out of it and leaving the theatre feeling satisfied and rewarded. A movie I could watch countless time without being bored. Stephen Chow, you have won back my faith in you (in making lame ass movies).
2. The Revenant. Technically this is a 2015 movie. However, this was release in February 2016. I was hooked from the beginning to the end and this movie is 2 and a half hours long mind you. I love Alejandro González Ińárritu’s work and I was so looking forward to The Revenant. This is a masterpiece in film making and every shot and scene was executed to almost perfection. I was glad that Leonardo Di Caprio got his dues when he bagged the Oscars for his role in The Revenant. He was the star of the show (and bits from the bear too). This movie is definitely not for everyone as some of my peers didn’t enjoyed it as much as I did. If you are into film making, there are so many things to learn from here. Great acting from all the cast and superb cinematography. I also enjoyed the music score. This is a slow burn flick that almost made it to summit of my favourite movies of 2016. Almost.
1.Train to Busan. Woohoo!!! Yes, I’m a sucker for zombie movies and my expectations are always high on this. What an awesome movie to begin with!! I heard about this Korean flick online, I was hoping that it will make it Brunei screens. Two months later, it was screened and it was the most talked about movie during that time. Even my instagram post had many engagements and comments on Train to Busan. The premise itself looked simple – zombies in a train but I love the creativity by the director Sang-ho Yeon. Some would say he stole materials from World War Z. I would say the director improvised it to a different level which I appreciated. The chemistry between the son and the daughter was enough to create tear jerky moments. Expect a lot of actions, suspense, drama and frustration along the ride. The direction itself was ambitious and the formula paid off handsomely. Kudos also to the supporting cast for making us care about them too and who will not forget the antagonist who stole the show half way through the movie. I’m ready for another train ride but this time on blu-ray. It was between the Revenant and Train to Busan for the No.1 spot. It boiled down to emotions and the final scene of TTB stole my heart and hence, TTB is my number one pick for 2016.
Anna Kendrick as Princess Poppy and Justin Timberlake as Branch in Trolls
Trolls. I was simply amazed by the story itself. We have seen many animation this year alone and I’ve come to a point where my eyes can get tired watching more animated movies. Trolls stars Anna Kendrick as Princess Poppy and she’s my favourite eye candy actress and other is Justin Timberlake as Branch. The unlikely pair of Trolls faced a huge challenge in saving their community of trolls. I won’t spoil much.
The Good. Totally colourful from start to finish and it’s a feel good movie especially when you are going through a bad day. Well, I wasn’t then :p I love the theme and the trolls themselves are cute enough to draw many of the children’s attention. I only find them cute in the beginning. The choices of music were spot on and we are all familiar with the hit songs too. Perhaps the best part of the movie is the take back message for the audience. I was moved by it and it still lingers in my head.
The Bad. Hmmmmm this is somewhat a tiresome plot. It’s pretty easy to say that this is an overdone storyline but good thing that Trolls managed to sway my attention with its delivery and humour. Otherwise it would have been a mediocre animation. Some will like it, some will find it “meeeh”..
The Verdict: Kids will love this. I actually love this too. I still prefer Zootopia. Nonetheless, a movie that brings joy and meaning to our lives. I had a lot of fun with Trolls. So did my movie partner in crime, Pranika. Score: 8/10
Dr. Strange was strangely entertaining
Dr. Strange. There are so many things I wanna talk about the latest Marvel flick. Something different from the typical superhero movies be Marvel or DC. At the beginning, I was skeptical how Dr. Strange will turn out after watching the first trailer. Can the audience accept this? Or will it be too “mystical” for some? I found it to be very entertaining and hell yeah, I was engaged from beginning to the end.
The audience have become so accustomed to super heroes with super powers. Now you bring magic powers in the equation and this is something refreshing to our eyes. Call it weird but I still came out satisfied and fulfilled. Even my peers had similar comments that Dr. Strange was well crafted Marvel movie.
The Good. I can relate this to Inception, the first movie that caught many eyes when it came to the special effects. It explored further and it may be confusing in the beginning but the visuals made sense after a set piece or so. It was a “trippy” ride and I still could follow the logic and especially the plot.
Cumberbatch was well suited for this role and I can’t wait for the sequel. This movie is such a great teaser for future Dr. Strange movies. The movie also failed not to cast some humour (spells) to make this mystical movie light hearted. For the visuals alone, this latest Marvel movie is worth the trip and I love the final confrontation scene. Ingenious.
The Bad. Sometimes I wonder how it will fit to the Marvel Universe when Dr. Strange meets up with The Avengers and other Marvel Super Heroes. I can become philosophical when there’s a mismatch of super powers or super natural stuff. For instance, Suicide Squad vs a Supernatural villain which was a total mismatch.
It can be confusing for some when it comes to the twisting digital kaleidoscope. Young adults will appreciate the artistry but children might get lost in translation. I also wished they could have a better score to suit the theme of the movie.
Verdict: Totally love this movie. I had so much fun and I caught it twice already. Just imagine a mash up of Matrix and Inception but I rather you experience it for yourself on a trippy ride. Score: 8.5/10
Pranika gave it a thumbs up even before watching the movie. Magical indeed.
Both Jerry and Laurence loved it and to top it off, they caught me snoring for 3 seconds :p