MOVIE REVIEW: AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (Joss Whedon, 2015)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Avengers: Age of Ultron:

1. The biggest problem with an ensemble cast of big stars (both the actors and the characters they play) is that it’s hard to give everyone equal screen time. In an attempt to pacify fans (and any bloated actor’s ego), Josh Whedon decided to pepper the screenplay with supposedly witty/funny one-liners for each character as highlights, most of them flopping with a resounding thud.

2. Sure, superhero movies should have the right dose of humor (worked for Iron Man, right?) but with or without, this one was still one big bore. We got the occasional big fight scenes to wake up the senses but there were still too many lull moments in between.

3. Obviously I’m not a huge Marvel fan (strike huge) but I’m wondering if the fanboys still liked this sequel.

4. Was Aaron Taylor-Johnson playing the same Quicksilver that was played by Evan Peters in X-Men: Days of Future Past? Why was Johnson’s version zapped of all personality?

5. When Thor hit the ground with his mighty hammer, why was everyone affected except for Captain America? Was this the reason why he felt uneasy when it was the latter’s turn to test if he could lift the said weapon?

6. Hulk had shades of Shrek in this sequel. And why don’t his pants fall off when he turns into a human again? (I know I keep asking this question but it’s not an excuse to see Ruffalo’s butt. I swear.)

7. I wished they utilized the Predator creature more. Actually, I wished that there would be a crossover movie with the Avengers vs Predator.

8. I was happy to see Hulk listening to some opera to soothe his emotions. I’ll probably try that at work next time.

9. The whole Ultron travelling in cyberspace thing gave me that Lucy/Transcendence nausea.

10. Does Stan Lee play a different character in every movie? Will we ever see all of his characters in another sequel?

11. Wait, how did Quicksilver die if he was faster than the bullets?

12. Apparently, merong forever. It’s trouble, according to Nick Fury.

13. Is this the last Avengers movie with Iron Man? Why would the most interesting character leave? The new batch doesn’t even seem likable.

14. Why do people leave as soon as the credits roll knowing that there’s always a within/post-credit sequence in every Marvel movie? And then they start blocking the view of everyone else that patiently waited for the said scene.

15. I’m so happy I watched this movie for free. Get your SM ePlus cards now!!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published May 4, 2015.)

MOVIE REVIEW: VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS (Luc Besson, 2017)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets:

1. I remember watching the execrable Jupiter Ascending and wishing that it was a ride in Enchanted Kingdom’s Rialto instead. I had the exact same feeling with this newest flick by Luc Besson, something that I should probably have seen in 3D/4DX.

The lack of a solid story would have been forgivable with a more immersive viewing experience (moving seats to match all the chase sequences, blasts of wind from giant ceiling fans, a spray of mist here and there). I was also curious to know the aroma of all those pearls being pooped by the alien armadillos.

2. Kainggit si Ate Avatar. Her prep before an “I woke up like this” Instagram selfie consisted only of a simple facial wash of gold pearls (water-free!) and a few pisil-pisil on her already glowing cheeks. She actually resembled a bald version of Wilma Doesnt, if Wilma ingested a ton of silver and jars of glitter.

3. I know a lot of people that hated Cara Delevingne because 1) she’s part of the Bad Blood squad, 2) they immediately judged her after her snarky (er, frank) comments at a group of elderly morning show hosts while promoting Paper Towns, and 3) they would never ever ever be her. Wait, why do I sound like Tay-Tay? (Answer: I’m a Swiftie and I adore her posse.)

Cara was more of her same sassy self here, trying desperately to create sparks with Dane DeHaan who really looked like her twin brother that hadn’t slept since 2015. I could imagine her rolling her eyes upon reading the part of the script where she was supposed to be hit by the alien king’s crown and had to act funny while fainting cross-eyed. Oh, the things them British had to do to win over the American market!

4. To be fair, this was a visual treat as expected from the same director of The Fifth Element and Lucy. I particularly liked the concept of that CGI market where patrons had to walk around a vast desert while wearing high-tech helmets to see the actual funkadelic stalls.

5. The biggest surprise here was a shape-shifting, pole-dancing, cabaret-performing Rihanna. Sure, the role basically required her to just dance while transforming into a naughty nurse, a naughty school girl, a naughty Roller girl from Boogie Nights, and a naughty French maid among others (if she was a shape-shifter though, why did she choose to always look like Rihanna?), but she brought the necessary sizzle even as a mere voice for her blobby character (best line: “Life’s a drag when you don’t have an identity to call your own”).

I actually stopped caring about the Wonder Twins as soon as she showed up. Her character’s demise signalled the start of another nap in time for the third act.

6. I was a bit distracted by the silver patilya of Clive Owen. Also, Kris Wu. WUW!!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: SNOOPY AND CHARLIE BROWN: THE PEANUTS MOVIE (Steve Martino, 2015)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie:

1. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Peanuts comic strip only because I was more of a Baltic & Co. person (age alert!!). I did enjoy their holiday specials and I learned a lot about the human body because of them. When I was around seven, my mom got me this book where the Peanuts gang discussed the difference between the femur and the tibia and the anvil and the stirrup. My favorite part was Snoopy cracking a joke about the funny bone. Good times!

2. Sometimes I still wonder if the phrase “go fly a kite” was because of Benjamin Franklin or actually from Charlie Brown (or neither?).

3. The thing that I really liked about the movie was that it easily captured the charm and sweetness of the cartoon. Although it had a cast of kids, there were so many funny insights (“A comic book? I thought classics need to have hardcovers?”) and grown-up stuff mixed in with the silly gags. Where else can you hear a kid ruminate on self-esteem (and basically life in general) with the line “I came down with a serious case of inadequacies”?

4. I immediately loved the new girl because she nibbled on her pencil. I chewed on mine a lot back in grade school and I could still remember the taste of wood up to now. I always capped it off with a bite on the rubber eraser as well.

5. Who could ever forget the feeling of having a first crush? Although I had always been Lucy (which I’ll explain in a bit), I was still rooting for Charlie Brown all the way. I had my first crush back in third (?) grade and she was a Sophomore that I sat next to in our school bus (more like a van, really). Since we were not in a European film, you know that our love story was doomed from the start.

6. Although the animation in the fantasy scenes with Snoopy and Fifi was really good, I saw it more as a distraction (and part filler) to the main story. I wasn’t surprised that the two Korean girls next to me were sleeping soundly during those bits.

7. As I stated earlier, I was definitely Lucy (not short for Lucifer, I hope). She was mean, crabby, and opinionated, but when needed the most, had a pure heart. Story of my life, the universe rather, right there.

8. Don’t we all have that one dugyot friend in a barkada? The inner OC in me wanted to give Pigpen a bath. And speaking of friends, we all need a Snoopy in our life. I really liked the scene where Charlie Brown accidentally triggered the sprinkler system and Snoopy opened an umbrella for him to which he sadly replied, “Thanks buddy!”. *sniff*

9. I still couldn’t believe that Charlie Brown was able to finish War and Peace (or Leo’s Toy Store by Warren Peace) in a day. I always fall asleep after a few pages. I really need to read that one again.

10. That wah wah wah garbled words when the adults talked was genius. Older people will always sound different to us.

11. Haters can hate but I loved all of Meghan Trainor’s songs in this movie.

12. “Do they like me for who I am or who they think I am?” Was this really a kids’ movie? Good grief!

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published January 14, 2016.)