Posts Tagged ‘movies’

Thor:Ragnarok Review

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in movies

 


Have you seen Thor:Ragnarok? What do you thin?
 

Synopsis.

In Marvel Studios’ “Thor: Ragnarok,” Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok–the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization–at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger–the Incredible Hulk!.

The Good.

I could go on and on and on. This could be one of my top 3 movies of 2017 for now. I simply had so much fun, watching as a movie goer and also as a Marvel fan. Frankly speaking, I am not fond of Thor’s character among the avengers but after watching Thor: Ragnarok, I might just have another perspective and have more compassion for Thor.

It was amazeballs from start to finish. Well, not entirely but 80% of the time, I was truly entertained. First thing is the humour. I know it’s not so typical of a Thor movie to head into this direction but the formula seemed to have paid off and I don’t mind seeing this brand of humour being injected for Thor. This was completely different from first two Thor movies and it was never too late to fix what went wrong especially in the second one.

The estranged relationship between Thor and Loki also gave depth to the plot and it was also the first time that I felt some compassion for Loki #nospoilers Loki was more subdued and still very relevant in the Marcel Cinematic Universe. Am I tired to see the family squabbles? Not just yet. The bromance was nicely executed.

The one that I was most impressed with was Cate Blanchett in her portrayal as Hela. She was so intimidating as a villain and totally convincing one too. She still has got what it takes to pull off as a hottie despite her age. To me, she’s like the female version of Loki and I would more of her on screen.

Thor’s final trilogy shared some interesting insight on one under-rated character of The Avengers, the Incredible Hulk. We finally have a deeper understanding of Hulk’s character through his words and actions and I couldn’t have done it any better for Hulk’s screen time. You will come to a point that he could be your favourite Marvel character. Just like how Spider-Man appeared in Captain America: Civil War.

I am also in love with the soundtrack and choice of music, upbeat and chill at the same time. I had the same vibe when watching The Guardians of the Galaxy. Not much emphasis is normally given to superhero movies apart from when Hans Zimmer is involved (Man of Steel, The Dark Knight). Of course, it is tricky to create a music score for a light hearted theme like Thor:Ragnarok and the overall music feel was just fitting to the theme.

A very impressive start for Taika Waititi’s first direction in the MCU. I have not seen his earlier works such as Hunt for the Wilderpeople, What We Do in the Shadows and Boy, movies that are non-action based or Hollywood types. I’m definitely looking forward to his other movies and I hope he will be involved in other MCU movies in the near future.

 

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Friends caught the sneaks at The Mall Cineplex
 

The Bad.

It’s hard to pick out flaws when you are so engrossed and entertained throughout the film. Every scene was purposeful and I didn’t feel any drag or whatsoever.

Perhaps one pointer if I want to highlight was the different direction taken by Waititi – too much comedy packed in one movie may lose the credibility of the seriousness or the urgency of Thor’s character. The humour could have paid handsomely if this was a Spider-man movie. Nonetheless, I wasn’t too concern if Ragnarok’s tone was lighter than the first two movies.

The Ugly.

None at all. Nothing to report about badly in this category.

Verdict.

Nothing short of brilliance and a superb direction by Taika Waititi in his attempt in the MCU. Ragnarok was purely entertaining from start to finish and I can’t wait for the upcoming, The Avengers: Infinity War Part I. Definitely giving this a second viewing. One of the best films of 2017. 9 out 10 stars.

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Friends caught the sneaks at The Mall Cineplex
 

Review: Blade Runner 2049

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in movies, Social News

 


What my friends thought of Blade Runner 2049
 

Blade Runner 2049. Did it succeed or did it fail? There were quite mixed reviews to begin with for the sequel of Blade Runner. This was also the first time that all my friends whom I watched with gave it a thumbs down. Do I agree with them? Only to an extent. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Here’s my breakdown.

The Good. I am with awe with the visuals. Even though it was set in the 2049, director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario) trusted Roger Deakins the cinematographer in creating a modern, dark, solemn world and yet every shot was breathtaking. Every shot taken in this movie had its purpose and that alone stole my attention. The way it portrayed LAPD Officer K’s (Ryan Gosling) movement on screen, they were all beautifully shot. This is one masterpiece from Roger Deakins and I won’t be surprised that he will be nominated for Best Cinematography in the upcoming Oscars.

Ryan Gosling was the highlight of the show apart from the visuals. Playing a cop in the future, he was placed in a situation where he slowly began to discover twists and plots to his disbelief. I was a bit worried if RG was fit for the role or being passed the baton to continue the Blade Runner legacy and plus it’s an action adventure movie where he is hardly in it. For me, it was his expression and emotions that made me invested in the almost-three-hour long movie. His character kinda bring back the memories of Driver where he acted in.

I love the twists and how the story unfolded from time to time. The music score and the deliberate pacing were enough to gain my attention (though I had a short snooze twice because I had lack of sleep). Yes, Denis captured the essence of the suspense with loud music though it can be too repetitive to some point.

The Bad. Yes, it did have its flaws and first thing’s first. Denis Villeneuve’s taste or direction of movie is not for everyone or even the mainstream movie goers. Those who appreciate Star Wars kinda sci-fi, you won’t get that feeling in Blade Runner 2049. It was mostly 80% drama and 20% or even less of action. The same went for Arrival and Sicario of which I both enjoyed. The only ones who seemed to enjoy as much as I did was Jinn, Del Goh and Nee Khern.

The sound factor or in this case, the music score did annoy a few of my friend’s movie experience. Even some of them were mocking the sound effects during our discussions of the film. Yes, to me, it did suit the theme of the movie but it was at times overkilled or overplayed in an overstretched movie.

The Ugly. The duration of the movie is a big minus for me for Blade Runner 2049. I could understand why all the pieces were necessary to explain the plot and twist along the way but it didn’t need to be almost 3 hours long. Harrison Ford could have more screen time as he was a focal point in the original Blade Runner and the chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford could have been stronger.

Verdict: This is a masterful film making and only Denis Villeneuve can pull off an amazing follow up and paying tribute to the original Blade Runner 2049. Not many will enjoy this but I surprisingly did. 7.5 out of 10.

 

Recap: Before September ends

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in Youth, music, bank, culture, movies, lifestyle, Social News

 


9 more days to go. Golden Jubilee Celebration of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s Accession to the Throne. Click image to enter the official website.
 


His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office in his capacity as Patron of the Golden Jubilee Celebration Advisory Committee; and His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, member of the Golden Jubilee Celebration Advisory Committee during the full dress rehearsal last Sunday. Image courtesy of Infofoto.
 


Congratulations to Aziz Haru on his latest single and music video, “Jangan” and it’s currently No.1 in Brunei’s iTunes chart. More on Aziz soon.
 


Applications for the 2018 Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leaders Program are now open! A2ELP is a three month leadership program for social entrepreneurs from ASEAN and Australia. The program includes a ten-day intensive program in Melbourne and Sydney with workshops, networking events, field visits and cultural activities. Applications close 13 October 2017. Click image to read more.
 


Awesome deals from SugarBun. I managed to get a free meal by using my Baiduri Platinum Debit Card on Paywave. Terms and conditions apply.
 

 


The children were the VIPs during the medal award ceremony held by @kumondilligent
 


Congratulations Rhyanna on receiving a medal from Kumon and hope you enjoyed your birthday celebration 😀
 

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The newly open T•K Restaurant and I love the food too. Serving seafood as well. Located at the same building as Thien-Thien Gadong.
 


The app for The Mall Cineplex is quite convenient now. I believe this is the first of its kind for Brunei to use barcode to enter the cinema. Kudos, Mall Cineplex on this feature.
 


Rafhanah Salleh’s thought of Kingsman: The Golden Circle. I believe even my peers felt the same way and so did I. Apparently one person loved it so much he watched it three times. My final verdict: 6.5/10
 

 


So the censorship board has enforced this ruling and cinema operators have been playing their best to not allow kids or children below 17 years to watch movies for matured audiences. This can be a bit tricky but it will be a culture that families will be accustomed to. I do agree with the ruling and it’s just a bit more of awareness and publicity for parents to be aware of the ruling of catching movies with children in the cinemas.
 


Epipeople Consultants had their first sneak at It’s A Grind at Citis Square. The responses have been great so far and more workshops to come in the near future.
 


Game On’s PS4 FIFA 17 Tournament will take place at The Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium from the 29th September to 1st October 2017. This tournament alone will be the BIGGEST prize pool in our eSports history, at over BND1,000 – all thanks to @battlepromms Will the current champion (Hanif Hamzah) successfully defend his title or will we be seeing a new champion for FIFA 17? We’ll find out together on 1st October 2017 during The Festival Hari Belia 2017. Image taken from ETA Games @ Cineplex.
 


Something I can’t wait – FIFA18 will be out this weekend while W2K18 will be sometime in October. Check out ETA Games for updates.
 

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Nuriskandar was a bit sakai when he saw the new facelift of KFC at Giant, Rimba.
 

 


I saw this yesterday in the papers and I thought it was quite unnecessary since he was not involved in any business transaction as his role was purely a photographer. I know of some people who even have higher positions or even dealing with clients from that company and had left but never been published in this manner. What gives? I do support the paper but this one thing that I don’t support.
 

 


My favourite dish at Sate House – Chicken satay. Very tender and juicy 😀
 


For your information at Bang & Olufsen (Brunei).
 


Something I learnt as a speaker and an evaluator on stage. If I take things seriously, I can see my growth. Thankful for the people around me who have helped and supported me all these years.
 


Taken during our recording greetings for the #HMjubliemas few weeks ago. Catch us on RTB on our greetings to His Majesty the Sultan.
 

The Mummy – the review

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in movies, Social News

 


The Mummy, one of the test bed for the Dark Universe
 

The Mummy. Days of Brendan Fraser are gone. I grew tired of The Mummy series especially the third instalment. Now with fresher take, coming from Alex Kurtzman’s direction and A-list actor Tom Cruise and even promising trailers, the audience expects a better outing from this blockbuster. I shared the same sentiment and hoped to be entertained at least. So here goes.

The Good. I would be lying if I said there are many good points. There isn’t much to boast about or something of interest on Tom Cruise’s latest outing. The first quarter was perhaps the best part or the most interesting part of the film. Everything else nosedived from there. Oh except when Russell Crowe’s character came on. I was more interested in him than the actual Mummy.

The only redeeming factor is that there might be a sequel considering, judging from the ending of the movie. It was also a brave move for Universal to create another entity Dark Universe and the first being The Mummy. Who knows they might be other spin-offs. Does it look promising? So far it has covered its cost especially from overseas revenue while it performed under expectations in the US box office.

The Bad and The Ugly. Now where do I start? The acting were forgettable and it was a waste of talent especially for Tom Cruise. The chemistry with his co-stars didnt’ bring much to the plate either. I can’t feel the connection and their affections (or the lack of it) were poorly projected. These are just some of the problems.

Shall I continue? What is more interesting is the trailer. It reminds me of how I was duped by Transformers trailers and ended up too disappointed watching them movies. I know I will still watch the upcoming Transformers: The Last Knight and ending up with the same feeling. Same goes to The Mummy. The Rottentomatoes rating of 17% is one of the worst rating for a summer release of 2017.

The action scenes were subpar and it was nothing so wow about it. It was best suited for am HBO viewing back at home. I wonder why the high costs and the result of the movie doesn’t really reflect on the producer’s spending. Hmmmm… The Mummy even tried harder in the fun factor department. The jokes were flat at times.

The worst part for me is the direction of The Mummy or maybe the loss of direction. The movie has no identity as it has no idea what it wants to be. I don’t even know what Tom Cruise wants to be or what he wanted to be portrayed as. It’s very hard to recommend this movie if you haven’t caught this.

Verdict: 5.5/10

 


The interesting character I wished had more screen time in The Mummy
 


Pranika gave a solid 5 stars…. out of 10 :p
 


What others have to say about The Mummy
 


Makes me appreciate how good Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy was then
 

Summer movies, how have they fared?

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in movies, Social News

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).

Rano’s Prediction 

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
10) Baywatch

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
7) Dunkirk
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.

Verdict: 8/10

 

 

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?

Verdict: 7.5/10

 


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.

Verdict: 6/10

Summer movie wager

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in movies

 

The Popcorn Panel
 

After a year of hiatus, I’m back again. Hopefully to work closely with Progresif for my movie reviews. This should be exciting 😀 For now, enjoy my episode on the summer wager between Del Goh and I on who will win the box office summer movies of 2017. 

Beauty and the Beast – Review

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in movies, Social News

 


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.

Verdict: 7.5/10

 

 


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.
 

RA’s Top 10 films of 2016

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in movies, lifestyle

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
8) Sully
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
5) Passengers
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
2) Ben-Hur
3) The 5th Wave
4) Mechanic: Resurrection
5) Nine Lives
6) Warcraft
7) Underworld: Blood Wars

 

 


Why oh why…. Totally bad from start to finish.
 

 

RA’s Top 10 movies 
 

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.

 

 

 

Trolls

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in movies, Social News

 


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

 

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About RA

A blogger since 2002, using platforms from blogspot, joomla and now currently wordpress. A readership that stands on average of 20,000 visits per month. Also on active on social media platform on IG, Facebook and Snapchat (@ranoadidas)

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