MOVIE REVIEW: EDGE OF TOMORROW (Doug Liman, 2014)

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A few notes on Edge of Tomorrow:

1. Tom Cruise, when in pain, will always be funny.

2. Emily Blunt, in full Squall mode, kicks ass.

3. Doug Liman continues to bring on excellently-staged, jaw-dropping action sequences reminiscent of The Bourne Identity.

4. The film is equal parts Groundhog Day, Source Code, War of the Worlds, and Michael Bay.

5. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your popcorn.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published June 9, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: THE VOICES (Marjane Satrapi, 2014)

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The Voices was definitely an acquired taste that some might dismiss as incredibly bizarre and crazy. It was like Dexter with talking animals.

Ryan Reynolds was really funny whenever he went Van Wilder kooky. And that knockout closing musical number.

Bizarre-o, I tell you.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published June 5, 2015.)

MOVIE REVIEW: MALEFICENT (Robert Stromberg, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Maleficent:

1. I’m done with these reimaginings of classic fairy tales because none of them were actually good. Red Riding Hood, Snow White and the Huntsman, Jack the Giant Slayer, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Stop ruining my childhood!

2. Let’s get this out of the way, Angelina Jolie was magnificent. My favorite scene had to be the one where she was staring at the beastie, er, baby from outside the window and she was vicious and gnarling and full of disdain. If only she were given an hour and a half to do that, I bet the movie would have been more interesting.

3. I’m all for female empowerment but did they really have to make the men here look evil and worthless? The king played by Sharlto Copley acted like a creature from District 9. Prince Charming on the other hand looked more like a messenger sent by the actual Prince Charming.

4. Who wants a villain slash hero? Who are we kidding here? We all paid to see a vicious Jolie and we ended up with a neutered version. (Besides, Rubi beat her to it.)

5. Bella Flores, Paquito Diaz, Cherie Gil. Just the thought of these people gives me the creeps. Sadly, this movie was like watching a really nice Gladys Reyes helping Judy Ann Santos do the laundry instead of throwing that damn labada at her and slamming her face in a big palanggana of soapy water. Now where’s the fun in that?

6. It had to be said: Frozen did it (first) better.

7. Those fairies were too corny and annoying. And what happened to their names of Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather? I love Imelda Staunton but she was way better as Dolores Umbridge. Ooh, and watch Vera Drake.

8. Maleficent could heal herself, make things float, summon wild creatures, transmogrify humans and animals, and yet couldn’t grow a new pair of wings?

9. Wait, so Maleficent killed Aurora’s father (whom she barely met) and everything was right in the world?

10. So in this feminist version, the movie still ended with Aurora in the arms of Prince Charming and Maleficent with her male aide?

Argh!!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published June 4, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (Bryan Singer, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on X-Men: Days of Future Past:

1. I am definitely not a comic book (or anything from the Marvel universe) fan so expect a lot of questions in a bit. But first, why did this feel like a 2-hour middle finger to Brett Ratner and the mess that he created?

2. I actually liked how the movie just didn’t care if you watched the previous films or knew the other characters. I had to create names for the ones that I didn’t know, though (Silver Surfer, Fireball, Sandara, etc.).

3. Wait, why was Patrick Stewart back? Wasn’t Professor Xavier killed in the last movie? Was he making a Gandalf comeback?

4. Ooh carnage! I would have cared more if I were a fanboy.

5. Ellen Page would always be Juno to me. If she were able to travel back in time, I wonder if she’d still give up her baby. And why did she have a lot of super powers here? She was able to pass through objects and make people time travel. Wow.

6. Gratuitous butt shot but who’s complaining?

7. As a huge American Horror Story fan, I squealed when Evan Peters showed up as a teen Flash (did anyone mention Quicksilver in the movie?). He surely had the best scenes and deserved a spin-off.

8. Halle Berry still had a thankless role. I hope she earned millions to roll her eyes. Who’s wishing for an X-Men Origins: Storm? Nobody.

9. Now that I thought about it, why did Professor Xavier have a British accent if he was living in the US ever since? Was there a back story I didn’t know of?

10. Product placement galore. I still prefer Coke products, though.

11. That Time in a Bottle scene was one of the best sequences I’ve seen all year. More reasons for a spin-off. Evan Peters is so ready for stardom.

12. You could never go wrong with Peter Dinklage. Or Michael Fassbender.

13. Did Mystique really have a substantial role in the comics or did they do this because Jennifer Lawrence is an Oscar-winning box-office draw now? (I have high hopes for Lupita Nyong’o as the young Storm. That’ll make me reconsider my Origins answer.)

14. So the movie in effect was basically one long dream sequence? So we wasted hours on the other movies that really didn’t happen as well?

15. Wait, why did the Sentinels have to reach the future before killing off the mutants when they were made back in the 70’s? Shouldn’t they have killed everyone before the other X-Men movies started happening?

16. When Quicksilver mentioned to Magneto that his mom also “knew a guy who could do that”, did that mean Magneto’s his (gasp!) father?!

17. JFK was a mutant. Coolness!

18. I’m all for redemption and second chances but I’m more into the time is immutable theory.

19. In the comics, who will remove the stadium and free up the White House again?

20. I know that J.Law and Nicholas Hoult are dating but why did Mystique flirt with Beast in the end? Or was I overanalyzing that scene as well?

I give up.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published May 26, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: GODZILLA (Gareth Edwards, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Godzilla:

1. “The Philippines, 1999.” My heart skipped a beat.

2. I bet it would have been a much better movie if they kept Juliette Binoche and Bryan Cranston until the end credits. The first 20 minutes had some really good performances from these veterans.

3. Aaron Taylor-Johnson may have kicked ass in Kick-ass but he was so bland in this movie. I’ve never seen a worse lead in a disaster popcorn flick since Taylor Kitsch in (choose any of his 2012 movies).

4. So Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen play husband and wife here and then twins in Avengers: Age of Ultron. What is up with these weird casting choices (see Divergent/The Fault in Our Stars)?

5. I’ve always liked Olsen ever since Martha Marcy May Marlene. Also because she’s the only Olsen sister that probably enjoys a plate of bacon.

6. Why did I feel like I just watched a lame Jurassic Park sequel? Oh, if you liked Pacific Rim I’m 99% sure you’ll like this one, too.

7. Godzilla didn’t come out until an hour into the movie. Pfft! They could have removed all the scenes involving Taylor-Johnson and it wouldn’t have made any difference. That train scene? Cut! That skydiving scene? Cut! That stadium reunion? Cut! Who wanted all of this human drama anyway? To recap: humans boring, monsters awesome.

8. Was Cloverfield a rip-off (or homage) of Godzilla? Now that one I really liked.

9. I just realized that I’m no different from Godzilla. I’m chunky, I’m cranky, I create chaos, I take long naps, and I wake up with atomic breath.

10. Did the dog die?! I was too woozy to remember. But did it really die? Isn’t it a rule in movies that dogs should never die?

11. Am I overthinking this or is Godzilla really a bitter and cynical beast? Why is he so against two creatures falling in love and creating babies? Is he simply jealous? Is this the monster version of The Legal Wife?

12. Hero?! Ok. Now I don’t regret sleeping through most of it.

13. The sequel should be set in the Philippines. I bet Godzilla’s enjoying his sweet ol’ time under the Payatas dumpsite.

14. Stay until the end credits. You’ll see a preview of…darkness.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published May 20, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (Marc Webb, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (and some trailers before the movie):

1. When they played Hooked on a Feeling in the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer, I suddenly remembered Ally McBeal’s Oogachaka Baby. It’s time for a re-watch.

2. Will Annie be the feel-good movie of the year? Hearing Tomorrow gave me goosies. It was great to see a more grown-up Quvenzhane Wallis.

3. How many more versions of origin stories are we going to see? Am I the only one getting confused with all of these flashbacks?

4. It was funny that Apple didn’t seem to exist in the Marvel universe. Every single gadget from laptops to phones were made by Sony. How many shots of Vaio did you see?

5. I loved all of those aerial swooping scenes. This would be the perfect ride in Enchanted Kingdom’s Rialto complete with the cool wind effects blowing on your face. I was just concerned that all of those swinging would cause a lot of road accidents. Wouldn’t you scream your head off if Spidey suddenly appeared on your windshield?

6. When I initially heard Spidey’s ringtone, my brain went “Spider-Pig”! The Simpsons Movie clearly messed with my head.

7. And yet another Stan Lee cameo. Wait, if he’s required to show up in each and every Marvel movie, is it still considered a cameo role?

8. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone will forever remain my favorite Hollywood couple. Such excellent actors and their chemistry onscreen is just undeniable. I would love to see them in a Marc Webb rom-com.

9. Was I the only one having a Starting Over Again flashback in that fountain scene?

10. Webb directed (500) Days of Summer, one of my favorite movies of all time. He really knows how to handle these relationship dramas (Peter-Gwen, Peter-May, Peter-Harry, Peter-Richard, etc.). And yet two and a half hours was still not enough to tell all of these stories. The movie just ended like a setup for future installments. Couldn’t they have split this into two movies instead and focused on specific storylines?

11. Fame always comes with a cost. Scary.

12. The special effects in that Times Square scene was really good. I could have done without that slow-mo stairs scene, though.

13. I’ve always thought that water conducted electricity so I was surprised when it was used to weaken Electro (who resembled that nude Watchman character). Can someone explain this further? (Yes, I was bad in all of my Science classes.)

14. What’s with all of those endless quips? Why were there too many scenes that strain for laughs? And what is up with that relentless musical score?

15. Dane DeHaan looked like a lanky Leonardo DiCaprio meets Chito Miranda.

16. Spidey’s voice didn’t sound all that different from Peter’s. How could Harry not have known? Was this a classic case of the Darna-Narda syndrome?

17. That falling scene. That ending. THAT ENDING! Argh!!

18. “The heavier the box gets, the lighter I feel.” Bravo Sally Field! You just broke my heart.

19. I don’t think I’ve ever cried this much (or even at all) in a Marvel movie. I’ll probably be depressed until tomorrow.

20. There’s no need to wait for the end of the end credits. There’s no additional scene after the X-Men preview. You’re welcome.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published May 5, 2014.)