Posts Tagged With: Review

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 – A Review

Here comes a brand-new movie review! Beware of spoilers (seriously)!

I had anticipated the new Hunger Games instalment for ages and yesterday it finally premiered in the UK. Mockingjay Part 1 has quite a different tonality than the previous two films – most significantly, it is no longer about the Hunger Games but about the revolution and rising civil war against the Capitol. The focus is on Katniss as a character (played by Jennifer Lawrence), illustrating how drastically the games and especially the loss of Peeta changed her. She struggles with nightmares and often questions her ability to keep fighting and to do what is necessary.

Her sister, Prim, gets some more attention in this movie, too. She has grown from being a helpless child to being a strong young woman training to become a doctor. I sometimes had the feeling that the relationship between the two sisters has become a lot more balanced. While in the first movie Katniss had to protect Prim from harm, they now protect each other – Prim is invaluable emotional support for Katniss in Mockingjay Part 1.

I loved the portrayal of Effie Trinket (mainly because Elizabeth Banks is just amazing). She sees herself as a prisoner of war and seems to have lost her spirit. But she gradually adapts to her new lifestyle, as can be seen through her increasingly more bold and fashionable outfits (though not colourful anymore, she wears a headband in various styles, using what she can to maintain her individuality). She becomes Katniss’s prep team, taking over Cinna’s job.

Finnick has also impressed me. He forms a bond with Katniss sharing the pain of losing a loved one to the Capitol and they help each other stay sane. I really enjoyed their friendship growing stronger and look forward to what comes next (I know of course, but I’m not gonna spoil this).

Peeta mostly appeared in television scenes, and although he didn’t have as much screen time, I felt he was always present and his deterioration was quite frightening. I personally felt that the connection he and Katniss have was stronger over the distance than the connection between Gale and Katniss, even though they are in the same place (I’m obviously on Team Peeta, but I heard there are some people out there on Team Gale 😉 ).

Some new characters have been introduced as well, President Coin for one and the camera team with Castor, Pollux, Messalla and Cressida (played by the lovely Natalie Dormer!) . I hope they will become even more important in the next movie.

The special effects and action scenes were well executed and thankfully not too pronounced in the movie. The focus was more on the propaganda and revolution and less on the action. While the overall tone was quite grim and emotionally draining, there were some sparks of humour, mostly coming from Effie Trinket.

In conclusion, this movie kept me perched on the edge of my seat, anticipating what would happen and being emotionally swept away – even though I already knew the story, it was still very exciting. I personally try to keep the novels and the movies apart from each other – since the movie version is completely different from my own imagined visions. My pictured version of the story is weirdly enough a lot lighter than the movies.

Anyways, I recommend the movie to everyone who has read the books because it gives a different view on things and of course also to people who enjoy dystopian, war, fantasy or sci-fi settings. The movie is rated as suitable for 12 years and older. I personally do not agree and would not let anybody younger than 14 see this. Not so much because of the action scenes but more because of the emotional trauma portrayed in most characters – Katniss, Finnick and Peeta especially. It takes a certain level of emotional maturity to understand everything that is going on in that story.

Also, as a side remark, I was very sad to hear that Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away during the filming. He played Plutarch Heavensbee – a relevant character whose story will have to change now. He was an amazing actor and will be remembered.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – A Review

Hi folks!

After a few month, here comes another movie review! Last Thursday I went (rather spontaneously) to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and here’s what I think of it. BEWARE of Spoilers, there are some in there. So if you haven’t seen the movie and care about finding stuff out for yourself, don’t read this.

It is a ridiculously hilarious (or hilariously ridiculous) movie if you keep in mind that it is aimed at children/teenagers. The story itself is not that imaginative – young journalist whose father died in a science lab experiementing on turtles finds mutated vigilante turtles and teams up with them to save the world from a chemical contamination plotted by the bad guys who want to gain world domination. And obviously, they succeed.

While the main character April (played by Megan Fox) was not really impressive – and badly phone addicted yet incapable of taking good pictures of anything* – the turtles were awesome. Great animations, each character was well defined and distinctive. There’s the geek with all the technical know-how (Donnie), the two brooding warriors who both want to be the leader (Leo and Raphael), and the funny guy who always falls flat on his face and makes bad jokes (Michelangelo). Most of the humourous stuff came from “MC Mikey” which is probably why I liked him best.

* She tried to take a picture of a symbol on a wall, but you could clearly see the front camera turned on. So she basically took a selfie, yet the next day she has the symbol printed out. They must have tired of filming her taking pictures until she got it right…

The turtles have been trained by a mutated rat with rather dubious methods (and yes, that’s a slice of pizza!):

Anyhow. In this movie, they face the ultimate evil adversary – the Shredder. *drumroll*

The Shredder has a rather unfortunate ancestry. Imagine an ancient japanese warrior, like so. Then add the handy hands of Edward Scissorhands and put the whole thing into an Iron Man suit. What will you get?

THIS:

Yes, it’s a completely overpowered super evil robot that wants to destroy the Ninja turtles and is controlled by the bad guys. In terms of weapons, this is possibly the most efficient and bad-ass one. Emphasis on the bad. A bit less could have worked just as well…

And then there’s Mr. Sacks. He’s the bad guy (which will be found out later in the movie. At the beginning, April believes he is a friend and tells him all about the mutated turtles). I don’t have anything against the character (played by William Fichtner) – it’s just the name! Couldn’t they have picked something like Smith, Brown or ANYthing but the one name that sounds like sex? There’s this part in the movie where he talks about his company and its success – saying something along the lines of “sex chemicals, sex industry, sex robotics and sex construction”. My friend and I were dying of laughter at that point. Unfortunately, there was a young boy sitting in front of us and his mom turned around and asked us to shut up. I’m sure she wasn’t that amused, either.

So really, this name is just wrong. My friend and I thought about changing the vocal, but neither sicks nor secks, let alone socks and sucks would have been more appropriate. Oh Well.

In summary, I think the movie is a nice one to watch if there’s nothing else on – especially if you’re under 18. Or drunk. Or with friends. Or if you’re a die-hard fan of the ninja turtles. It is not a movie to go to if you expect a great film with amazing actors and a deep story and character development. I did enjoy watching it, especially since it has some pretty badass action scenes and the special effects aren’t bad, either. Bonus for the snow chase! Minus for the geeky bike helmet.

I apologize if this review sounds a bit insincere and sarcastic. Although, on second thought – nope, not apologizing for that.

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Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier – A Review

Hello, hello! I know, I haven’t been very active lately, but now I’m back with a brand new movie review on Marvel’s latest hero story! I’ll try very hard not to spoiler anything. But please read with caution!

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Marvel is pretty good when it comes to marketing. Want to know why? Well. They do so much more than just releasing a movie every few months – they are creating a universe where everything is affected by another. So each movie is part of a bigger picture.

Last fall, they started a whole series around agent Coulson and a team of S.H.I.E.L.D agents. (No superheroes there, just incredibly talented and clever humans). This show has connected both the Thor 2 movie and now the Winter Soldier. So basically, when a new movie comes out, the series stops for a few weeks and then incorporates  the events of the movies into the next episodes. How grand is that? It’s perfect marketing.

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Of course you can still watch the series without knowing what happens in the movies or rather you can decide to get the spoilers in the series. But really. Who wants that? I certainly don’t, so basically that’s why I ended up going to the cinema yesterday. Because I am completely hooked and want to know everything that happens in Marvel’s universe. And I hate spoilers.

Let see then, what I thought of Winter Soldier.

I watched the 3D Version – and it was bombastic. I loved the visual effects, not only during the explosions and action scenes, but also the general depth added by 3D. I can’t really remember the last movie I saw with 3D technology, but I think Winter Soldier so far was the best experience I ever had with 3D. It felt just real, not too overwhelming, not too forced. Thumbs up for that!

 

The cast was mostly known, Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson and Cobie Smulders starred in previous productions such as The Avengers. But there were some fresh faces as well, such as Anthony Mackie as Falcon and Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier. In my opinion, the cast was good, not great. They act well together, but I was missing a certain brilliance, some sort of deeper connection that makes me forget the names of the actor and completely believe in the characters. If I had to pick one, I’d say Scarlett Johansson had the best performance. I love the character Black Widow and she got the whole package: action scenes, a lot of funny remarks and some thoughtful inside moments. I still have no clue who she really is or what happened to her, but I felt that her character was portrayed very nicely and believable. I also liked the bantering between her and Steve Rogers. (Apologies to all Cap fans out there, I never really liked that character. It’s not Chris Evans fault. Or maybe it is.)

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What I like about the Marvel movies is that in the end, there is always some sort of positive resolution, but the development to that moment is the most important part. The plot was interesting, not too complex but also not too shallow. There were some nice twists in there, I had a couple of “No that did NOT just happen!” moments – then again, some major surprises weren’t too surprising for me because of what happens in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D series. There were tons of references to previous movies, especially the previous Captain America movie. But for those who are not familiar with Steve Roger’s story, Marvel found a nice way of explaining the most important things: there are a few flashbacks and they also have a Captain America museum which plays a minor role.

The fighting sequences are breathtaking, there are some major badass moves (I love the  Black Widow’s fighting style and Steve’s round shield!). I was not the only person in the cinema who was stunned and thought “Wooooow what was that just know”. There were a few scenes – let’s call them “touching” – which were, to me at least, disappointing. For example the after-showdown scene between Cap and Bucky. Or what happens to Nick Fury. But that is just a personal feeling. I didn’t cry. I usually cry at those moments.

Let’s wrap it up: I liked the movie. It was good entertainment, fantastic visuals and a solid performance by a mostly known cast. The storyline was ok, some surprises but mostly building up to a reasonably good ending. There were moments where I was literally sitting in my seat rubbing my hands in excitement because I knew what was about to happen. Loved that. It feels so much better if you know more about the whole universe; I think I got a lot more references than the people next to me (who didn’t know much about the whole Marvel thing).

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If you liked the previous Marvel productions, go and see this one. It’s really worth it. Maybe not the best movie of the year, but definitely a good one. They left me and all the others with a huge cliff hanger, foreshadowing exciting events for the future, both the series and other movies. (I get the feeling Loki will be part of that future, yup, yup. But that’s just me.) You have to stay until the end though, to see it!

Also, if you haven’t already done that, go and watch the series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It helps to understand. And it’s fun to watch!(And if you haven’t seen any of the Marvel movies – start with Iron Man and then go up chronologically. It makes more sense that way 😉 )

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Star Trek: Into Darkness – A Review

Today I spontaneously went and watched the brand new Star Trek movie featuring the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch. I can’t even remember the last time I watched a Star Trek movie but I know it was part of my childhood and I enjoyed the Enterprise Crew’s adventures. I haven’t watched many SciFi movies in the last years, but I am in a mood for action and superhero movies recently, so this fitted in perfectly.

I loved the movie! There was a lot of shooting, fighting and blowing up, possibly a bit too much, but that was expected. As usual, the Enterprise nearly crashes on some planet or is otherwise destroyed and I know that in most movies, there is a good ending. I was still on the edge of my seat and anticipating what would happen next.

There were also quite a bit of hilarious moments where you just had to burst out laughing – many of them involved Mr. Spock. It took me back a few years – because I remember it was like that in the previous movies as well.

The story is interesting, though I cannot say whether it is original or not. I certainly enjoyed it and couldn’t foresee some of the twists. (But I usually never can because I’m not trying. Where’s the fun in knowing everything?) The actors were good, especially Benedict Cumberbatch and the guy who played Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto, apparently). I am not too fond of the Kirk actor, but I cannot put my finger on it. Maybe he’s just not THE Captain Kirk but an younger, more reckless version.

In any case, I am very glad I got to see that movie and I feel like I want to re-watch some of the older movies now for good times sake. I just finished watching the Batman Series and might be tackling Superman or Captain America next, might as well throw in a bit SciFi along the way.

If you’re not a fan of SciFi and can’t relate to the whole starship theme, this is not the movie for you. But in any other case, especially if you’re a fan of Cumberbatch, go and see it!

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