Tag Archives: Movie

What To Watch? Black Panther

For Mothers’ Day, I wanted to see Black Panther. There was such a hype about it and it was a Marvel movie, so I had to see it on the big screen.

Black Panther

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To be honest, the first time I heard about Black Panther was in the Forrest Gump movie and since then thought it was a movement, not a superhero (yes, I dropped history from my high school package as soon as it hit the twentieth century. My bad, but I had a reason). As I’m a fan of any superhero, I was eager to see this Black Panther movie.

Plot and Characters

The movie starts with a flashback, when Wakanda king T’Chaka (played by John Kani) visits his brother N’Jobu (played by Sterling K. Brown) in the US, finds out he is planning to help the African-American people by using Wakanda’s secret resource of vibranium, a meteorite metal that affects a plant which gives superpowers to those that ingest it, and kills him, leaving his son behind.

Fast forward to the here and now. King T’Chaka is killed (which is seen in Captain America: Civil War) and his son T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) takes the throne. The arms dealer N’Jobu was dealing with, the South-African Ulysses Klaue (played by Andy Serkis), finally steals a piece of vibranium from a museum, and shit hits the fan. (I’m not going into further detail as I don’t want to spoil the plot). What I must say is that the plot was very predictable.

Michael K. Jordan as N'Jadaka in Black Panther
Michael K. Jordan as N’Jadaka

All characters, except for CIA agent Everett K. Ross (played by Martin Freeman) and arms dealer (played by Andy Serkis), are African-Americans. Well, I don’t actually know if they are all American, but they’re of African descent for sure. I loved watching Michael B. Jordan, who played N’Jadaka, T’Challa’s cousin, even with all the scars from his killings. That man is beautiful. I liked his acting as well, very convincing. To be honest, more so than Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa. I liked Letitia Wright as Shuri, T’Challa’s sister. Boseman and Wright played their roles well, although I found it hard to believe they were related, but this always happens in movies.

What I liked

I liked the colorfulness of the movie, the well-choreographed action, the use of cg-rhinoceroses, and the technology suggested. If only it could be true (the technology, of course).

Some parts of the dialogue were funny, but, to be honest, I had hoped for more one-liners.

The music was notable. When the first African sounds blasted through the speakers, I experienced a ‘Circle of Life’ moment, but it was short-lived. I liked how they adjusted the music to the change of location.

I was very impressed with the graphics. Especially the technology looked believable.

I liked there was a female ‘Q,’ and liked the session where the new Panther suit was shown, albeit a bit cliché.

I liked the way they added political hints that living in America is not good for all Americans and that things still need to change in a big way. Not sure it had a place in a Marvel movie, but it was a great way to convey the message to a large audience.

What I didn’t like

Now, I’m having some issues with this movie.

Yes, it is good to see more African(-American)s on the big screen. In the current US political climate, we can’t see enough of them to show the world is a multiracial place. But is it necessary to put them all in one movie? I mean, I’m opposed to segregation, and yet, this is how I see this movie. No integration whatsoever. Oh wait, there is a white fellow featuring the full length of the movie and, lo and behold, he saves the day. Honestly, wasn’t there one Wakandan pilot available who could have piloted the aircraft? I’m having a ‘The Great Wall‘ moment here. Last week, I watched ‘Last Knights‘ and that movie was so much more multi-racially appeasing. If they wanted the movie to be a complete African-American feature, they should’ve left Martin Freeman out. Sorry, Martin.

Another issue, something that I can’t leave out, is that I don’t understand that a country like Wakanda, surrounded by multiple third-world countries, focusses on helping African-Americans. Why don’t they help their African neighbors around them first? Those that don’t have running water in their homes, those that don’t have an infrastructure to rely on as a basis for thriving enterprise, and those that are suffering genocide. Basically, their fellow Africans need more help than African-Americans. Why don’t they show Wakanda helping those people? Why does it always revolve around America? Maybe it was implied, but I must have missed it.

Yet another issue is the fact that the ‘rebels,’ those that want to use the vibranium to help African-Americans, immediately revert to violence. They want to make weapons and ‘overthrow’ the white Americans. Why conquer? Isn’t that an eye for an eye, i.e. rather barbaric? Why lower yourself to the level you abhor? The ending of the movie suggests T’Challa is finally willing to share Wakandan technology, but the majority of the movie shows that change is only achieved after resorting to violence first.

Maybe I’m taking this too far. Maybe I shouldn’t think this movie exists to help multiracialism forward and just watch it as a Marvel superhero movie.

Summary

An excellent addition to the Marvel movies, with colorful images, spectacular action, great acting, and a moral-of-the-story that is debatable.

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Just in case people get me wrong 🙂 :

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What To Watch? Last Knights

Last week we watched only one movie. And it was a good one.

Last Knights

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This is a 2015 movie and, as I just discovered on Wikipedia, based on the forty-seven Ronin historical event. It may explain the Japanese influences you see throughout the movie although the overall feel of it is more a medieval European style. I actually thought the Asian influences were put in by the director, Kazuaki Kiriya. However, the fact that Morgan Freeman plays the honorable nobleman puts the story solidly in the fantasy genre as African-American noblemen weren’t the norm in European nor Japanese history.

Plot and Characters

As mentioned, Morgan Freeman plays Bartok, the nobleman who stands up against a rising tyrant minister, Geza Mott (played by Aksel Hennie), who has won the trust of the emperor (played by Peyman Moaadi). Raiden (played by Clive Owen) is Bartok’s loyal commander and is commanded by Geza Mott, with the approval of the Emperor, to take the life of Bartok as punishment for his treason. From that moment on, Raiden’s spirit spirals downward, forsaking his duty as commander and husband, as closely observed by Geza Mott’s right-hand man Ito (played by Tsuyoshi Ihara).

What I liked

I liked watching Clive Owen. He reminds me of Nicholas Cage, but kinder. He has the face that can be cold and cruel, but also one that can be heartwarming, strong, and passionate. I miss that in Nicholas Cage, who always seems to smirk. Aksel Hennie was well chosen as the paranoid tyrant. He reminds me of Robert Carlyle’s role Durza in Eragon, but this didn’t happen during the movie; he made the role his own. I liked the way the story developed. The desperation, sadness, and despair portrayed by Owen were touchable and heartfelt. There were plot twists I didn’t see coming, which was also a nice surprise. I liked the multi-cultural cast, including Shohrey Aghdashloo, Ayelet Zurer, Ahn Sung-ki, and Cliff Curtis.

What I didn’t like

There wasn’t much I didn’t like. Obviously, there were the WTF moments, like when an archer shoots an arrow through a ring of 10cm diameter at about half a kilometer distance. But otherwise, I have no complaints. The acting was impeccable, the music appropriate and not distracting, and all effects believable. A movie you can get totally absorbed in.

Summary

This is an American movie (i.e. with a happy ending) full of action, suspense, and drama. Not one for the very young as topics of alcoholism, prostitution, and marital problems are touched upon, but worldly teenagers could watch this without a problem. I recommend watching it and promise you some good entertainment.

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What To Watch? The End of the Fxxxing World

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to watch less TV. This doesn’t mean I won’t watch any of it over the weekend. Every Monday I’m going to recommend to you (or not) a movie or TV series. This week, it’s a British comedy series.

The End of the Fxxxing World

End-of-fucking-world-Header.jpgYes, it really is spelled this way. This is a new series on Netflix and has only eight episodes of about twenty minutes long. We binge-watched it in one evening. It is a dark comedy and not everybody will like it.

The story is told by two persons; James, a 17-year-old who thinks he’s a psychopath, and Alyssa, a rebellious classmate of James. James has been killing animals and thinks he’s now ready to kill a human. Alyssa, in the dark of James’s dark thoughts, offers to be his friend, to which James agrees. As both have a less than desirable home-situation, Alyssa convinces James to run away. They steal the car from James’s father, and things go from bad to worse.

What is likable about it? You hear the thoughts of one character at one moment, then switch to the thoughts of the other, how they see the situation. It makes for very comical dialogue. There isn’t a lot of spoken dialogue from James though, as he’s a terrible introvert. Not to worry, Alyssa tries to make up for it with her constant chatter. Her view of the world is so relatable. I liked her character a lot. I’m not sure if it’s typically British, but it isn’t the laugh-out-loud type of humor. It’s more the miscommunication between the two and the escalation of the situations they find themselves in that makes you smile.

What I didn’t like? There wasn’t much not to like. You may not like the muted colors it was filmed in. You may not like the depressive tone of the two teenagers. You may not appreciate the darkness of the whole series, showing what some teenagers have to deal with in real life. In my opinion, these all brought together set the tone of the series beautifully.

When you’ve seen it, let me know what you thought of it.

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Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Movie Review: Logan

– Spoiler Alert!!! –

Score: 9/10

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20th Century Fox promised to bring you a more character based movie with ‘Logan’ and boy did they deliver!

The movie starts showing you an old, scarred, limping, grey Logan and immediately you are thinking wtf? Logan (played by Hugh Jackman) is supposedly the ultimate everlasting, self-healing superhero. That was his power. Nothing could kill him. So why do we see this image of a deteriorating, old man? Only towards the end of the movie is it made clear why.

Logan is taking care of Professor Charles Xavier (played by Patrick Stewart), together with Caliban, also known as The Albino/The Seeker (played by Stephen Merchant). Recognising Merchant in the role immediately brought back the line “Good luck finding your cars” (those of you who have watched ‘The Tooth Fairy’ know what I’m talking about) as well as his shaking butt in the epic lip sync battle with Jimmy Fallon and Joseph Gordon Levitt.

Xavier is an even older man, suffering for a neurodegenerative disease which causes him to loose control of his telepathic powers if he doesn’t take his medication. And this is where the humanity of the movie lays. Logan has to take care of Xavier in all ways imaginable. Where ‘normal’ superhero movies never mention that one of them has to pee (I always wonder how they do this in their full-body suits), in ‘Logan’ it is even shown how Logan puts the wheelchair bound Xavier on a public toilet. It depicts the shame of it all for Xavier and the reluctance of Logan to have to do it. Yet he still does it. A true hero.

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Logan is saddled up with Laura (played by Dafne Keen). Keen is a young actress who was obviously chosen for her agility and she shows it off beautifully. Logan has to take care of Laura, even though he only just met her, when her carer gets killed. Again, the movie shows the reality of being saddled with a burden like that and the lack of experience for Logan to deal with it (although I think they could have improved on this bit). Laura is being chased by cyborg Donald Pierce (played by Boyd Holbrook) and his robotically enhanced goons, which gives the movie the action it needed.

Of course there are the wtf-moments during the movie, but I’m willing to oversee them. This movie was so different from the standard superhero movie that it’s sort of a class on its own and I don’t want to degrade it with standard comments. It has a few GoT elements in it, but I’m not going to spoil those for you.

The flow was good and the music well chosen. CG was great, I didn’t even notice it!

It wouldn’t be an American movie if it didn’t have a ‘good’ ending, which it sort of has, although not all of you may agree (I for one don’t). There are still questions lingering of what happened in between the other X-men movies and ‘Logan.’ I hope that Hugh Jackman will agree to one more movie to explain it.

A different kind of cut

We’re desperately trying to hand in one of our movies into a film festival before next week, but Dave’s computer  is not available at the moment (Dave is our camera man/editor). Hence the task fell to me to edit the movie.

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I only acquired the Adobe suite, including Premiere Pro, a few months ago and I haven’t had a lot of time to get into it yet. Last Wednesday Dave gave me a speed course on how to tweek the light levels (I need to match two different camera takes) and how to do an overlay. It appears that my computer has trouble keeping up with such an advanced system and I need to take it easy, give it time to adjust. Time is of the essence!

But it’s quite different to calling “Cut!” as a director. I’m cutting and pasting like a maniac. Doing this, I realise it’s better to have too many takes than too little. Slight angle differences make a scene while compiling it, etc. A whole different learning curve! But I enjoy the learning experience, so I’ll keep going 🙂 .

 

Movie Review: Hunt For The Wilderpeople

Score: 8/10

– Warning: Spoiler Alert! –

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Yesterday evening we saw ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople,’ a lovely feel-good movie for the whole family. We were supposed to see it on Saturday evening, but I got the timing wrong and we showed up at the theatre an hour after the movie started. The ticket lady was so kind to give us tickets for the next day session, but I forgot it was a school day afterwards, so no sleep-in for the kids. Sorry, kids…

Anyway, the movie was great! It was so funny 🙂 . First of all because is was lovely to hear the New Zealand dialect again. They pronounce the ‘i’ as ‘e’ and the word six gets a whole different meaning… (not that it featured in this movie, LOL!). Secondly, because the people in the movie call a spade a spade. No tippy toe-ing to keep everybody happy, just calling what it is. And it is such a relief! Our society is so ‘you can’t say this’ and ‘you can’t do that,’ it’s not funny anymore. To go back to ‘real life’ is like a breath of fresh air, or like eating a peppermint chewie (which I did during the movie and hadn’t since a long time).

The story is about a boy, Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison), who has been dragged through ‘the system’ since he can remember. The movie starts when he is dropped off at a last foster address. If this doesn’t work the next stop will be ‘juvie,’ the juvenile detention centre. Fortunately he finally finds his place, but when disaster strikes (his foster mum, played by Rima Te Wiata, suddenly dies) he has to pair up with his unwilling foster father (Sam Neil). They disappear into the bush and a large scale manhunt ensues.

The acting is real to over-the-top. Sam Neil is of course gorgeous as the grumpy foster dad, you immediately want to hug Rima Te Wiata, and Julian Dennison doesn’t do a bad job either. The role of Rachel House as Paula, the Child welfare worker, is the one that’s over-the-top, giving her character a bit of a slapstick feel, but this makes the gloomy subject of ‘the system’ watchable for young children. The New Zealand landscape features heavily in this movie and is just gorgeous to look at, with prehistoric ferns and all. If you can’t afford to go there to enjoy it in real life, this movie will give you a good look at it from the comfort of your seat.

There is obviously a moral to the story, one that everybody should head; kids nowadays are playing up because they are just plain bored. Hopefully some good will come from people watching it. If you have kids, do take them to see it. It’s a fun movie, full of excitement and weird characters. A fun time for all!

 

Email list for my re-vamped book

For those of you who are interested in romance, suspense, vampires, action, drama, and/or a bit of horror; you can now sign up for a FREE copy of my re-vamped novel when it’s ready. I’m already half-way re-writing it, so I’m hoping to have it ready in October (before Halloween!). You can find the form on my home page.

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It’s mainly a romance, but with a lot of suspense for those thrill seekers amongst you! As it’s about a virus turning people into vampires (well, sort of) there’s the paranormal/supernatural theme running through it (fangs piercing necks; check!), there’s the bit of horror (vampires do kill for a living, pun intended 🙂 ), guns are involved in multiple scenes (so lots of action), and as there are four love interest (technically speaking) there is enough drama to make a movie out of it (I think so at least 😀 ). Humour is a tricky one, not everybody’s humour is the same. But I’ve made people chuckle, so I’m confident to say there is some humour in it too :).

Anyway, it’s FREE, so why not sign up! I promise it won’t disappoint you 🙂 .

Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond

Score: 7/10

– Spoiler Alert! –

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Star Trek Beyond, the latest movie for trekkies. What is my verdict? I thought it was a nice movie, definitely to be seen on the big screen, but (and there is always a but) a bit weird.

This movie was written by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung. I don’t know Doug Jung, but it doesn’t matter as the movie had Simon Pegg written all over it. It started with Captain James T. Kirk recording his ship’s log. Normally this is a formal statement, not this time. The captain mentions the crew’s relationships. As far as I know this far more personal than any log entries I have heard before (although I must admit I don’t know them by heart). There were far more (obvious) jokes placed all over the script, another of Pegg’s comic streak. And, most noticeable of all, Scottie (played by Pegg) had far more screen time than in any of the other movies.

Another weird thing was that Hikaru Sulu all of a sudden appears to have a male partner (and daughter). It was on Twitter big time. Apparently this was never written in the script by Gene Roddenberry, the original creator. Even thought George Takei, who played Sulu in the original series and who became a LGBT activist after the original series ended, didn’t like this idea, Pegg went ahead with it. I don’t think it’s a big deal, just weird as it was never mentioned before and might upset some girls who had a crush on him.

Plot wise; yes, it was entertaining. There was some ‘growing’ of characters. Flow wise, not so good. Given that they only had three and a half months to write the script I let them get away with it. There were a bit too many ‘yeah, right!’ and ‘what the…’ moments in it for my liking though. Watching the movie made me think of Inception, Elysium, and Ender’s Game (2013). The first two because of the scenery, the latter because of the insect-likeness of the enemy. If you’ve never seen that movie, watch it as it is one of the best movies I have seen lately. It features Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley and a great performance of Asa Butterfield.

What I didn’t like was that in the old series Kirk always gets the girl. Not so in this movie, Kirk doesn’t get Jayla, nor any other girl. Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) have quarrels, but at the end sort of patch up again. I still think it is also weird for Spock to have a relationship, that was never in the original series either. Another ‘twist,’ although this time not of Pegg’s making.

The make-up for Sofia Boutella (formerly known as ‘Gazelle,’ the bladed prosthetic legged lady in Kingsman) was absolutely spectacular. The poor girl had to sit in the make-up chair for four hours everyday, not a simple feat. But it was worth it. Idris Alba’s make-up felt more like a mask, turning him into the villain Krall. It probably was, as he was hardly recognisable and only visible as his gorgeous self at the end of the movie.

The music was okay. Strangely enough, the enemy vessels all get obliterated by listening to some heavy metal music. The idea was to distract the hive formations, but apparently the music had more effect that this. It was one of the ‘what the…’ moments.

I’d like to mention that I always liked Anton Yelchin in the role of Chekov. His passing away (after the movie was made) is a great loss and I find it appropriate that they have decided not to recast him for the fourth Star Trek film.

Did I enjoy it? I sure did. It is definitely a movie to watch on the big screen, if only for the amazing space footage shown after the movie has ended. I give it a 7/10.

Movie Review: Ghostbusters

Score: 7/10

– Spoiler Alert! –

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I was weary about seeing Ghostbusters. I had heard very mixed reviews. I did stay awake this time ( 🙂 ), but it wasn’t the movie I had hoped it would be.

There is a strong ‘you go girl’ message in this movie, which I have mixed feelings about. Yes, it is unfortunately still necessary in this day and age and I am all for it, but, like I said for Ice Age 5, the message was put on too thick. They put Chris Hemsworth in as the ‘typical dumb blond,’ which was a funny twist, but very over the top and extremely unbelievable.

The cast of girls was a nice mix, of all sorts of colours and sizes. I thought the role of Kate McKinnon was a bit strange as she hardly speaks in the first half of the movie and then words pour out of her that most people won’t understand. Melissa McCarthy was funny, but I have seen her in funnier roles. I think this was a missed opportunity for the screenwriters.

The flow of the movie was not as smooth as it could have been. There were a few points where I caught myself thinking ‘how is this possible?’, ‘where are we now?’ and ‘where did those come from?’ I think flow issues are the biggest culprits of lowering the overall believability of a movie. Everything could be fine, but if the flow isn’t there it takes you out of the scene and back to reality. Not good. At the end of the movie there is a gag reel with Chris Hemsworth doing some dance moves that are copied by a crowd. Something must have gone wrong as the set up was there in the movie, but then nothing was done with it.

 Cg was okay, but nothing special. A lot of the same ghosts flying around, nothing new really. And the fact that a ghost got defeated by pricking it with a knife… Sorry, that just didn’t make sense.

Music was good I must admit. The old ‘Who you gonna call’ theme was incorporated here and there and suspense was built up with music (sometimes to no effect at all though, but that’s normal). No new catchy theme, which is a shame.

I was hoping there was going to be some reference to the old (male) ghostbusters in the movie, but nothing as such. Yes, there was a reference towards the location of the old ghostbusters team, but it wasn’t mentioned that there had been ghostbusters before. I suppose that for the new generation this doesn’t matter as they don’t know the old ghostbusters. But for us ‘oldies’ this is a bit of blasphemy. That said, there were some fun cameo roles that were worth seeing.

Overall nice entertainment, nothing new, not as funny as expected. I give it a 7/10.

Scatterbrain…

Aargh, I totally forgot to get a dust mask before going to the cinema yesterday! What a shame… Now I will have to combine the trip to the DIY store with another cinema visit. Ghostbusters, here we come…