Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Genres

Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Director

James Gunn

Country

USA

Cast

Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, Glenn Close, Michael Rosenbaum, Ving Rhames, Stan Lee

Storyline

This time around, the Guardians must fight to keep their family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill's (Chris Pratt) true parentage.

Opinion

In October 2014, after spending months avoiding spoilers, "Guardians of the Galaxy" was released in my country. The hype was huge, but the film not only managed to live up to my expectations, it was even better that I could have even expected.

Well, although it wasn't as great as its predecessor, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" sure wasn't a disappointment. It indeed was a funny, charming and exciting superhero flick. Although the movie obviously lacks the originality and surprise element of the first entry, Gunn managed to craft a film that is equally jaw-dropping.

By any mean though this film is perfect. The first problem is story-related. While it's rather simple and very easy to follow - it's really impossible to get lost - there are way too many plots to be dealt with in one single film. Without giving away too much I'll just say that there's a lot going on.

On the other hand, there are the characters. This film is entirely driven by them. Although some characters have become too sentimental (for my tastes) and have developed over-the-top personalities, the Guardians are the soul of the film. Each of them has their special, memorable moment and they all bring humour to the film with baby Groot arguably seeing the most adorable and Drax surprisingly the funniest. Who would have seen that coming? I also liked that they decided to make some of the Guardians more vulnerable.

The same cannot be said for the new characters, from Sylvester Stallone's Stakar Ogord who is barely in the film and whose only purpose is to be a teasing for "Avengers: Infinity War" to Pom Klementieff's Mantis who is basically Drax's love interest to the disappointing villain(s). Nope, they still haven't learnt how to deliver a strong villain at Marvel.

The rest is as good as it was in the first film. The beautiful cinematography is filled with bright colours, the special effects are at the top of their game - that's Marvel's speciality after all -, the action is great, and The Awesome Mix Vol. 2 aka the soundtrack is simply awesome. And I dare you not to cry while Cat Stevens's "Father and Son" plays. It is quite corny, but I loved it.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Bad Moms (2016)

Genre

Comedy

Directors

Jon Lucas, Scott Moore

Country

USA

Cast

Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christina Applegate, Jada Pinkett Smith, Annie Mumolo, Jay Hernandez, Oona Laurence, Emjay Anthony, David Walton, Clark Duke, Wanda Sykes, Wendell Pierce, J.J. Watt, Megen Ferguson, Lilly Singh, Billy Slaughter, Martha Stewart

Storyline

Amy (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn), three overworked moms, ditch their conventional responsibilities for a jolt of long overdue freedom, fun and self-indulgence.

Opinion

Since Jon Lucas and Scott Moore are the guys who wrote "The Hungover", one of my favourite comedies ever, I decided to give "Bad Moms" a shot. How bad can it be, right? Very bad, apparently. And it's not even enough to describe how bad the film is.

I hate having to admit it, but the storyline sounded interesting to me. There was potential to make a good or decent comedy out of it. The problem is that the writers had no idea how to develop the story, and the result is ridiculous, predictable and corny "plot points" stretched to fit 90 minutes.

But the story isn't even the real problem, that being the comedy. Just like "The Hangover", "Bad Moms" is filled with vulgar, raunchy humour with one difference, it's not even a bit funny here. Practically all the jokes fell flat, and some scenes that are supposed to be funny were so bad they actually made me want to cry, like the dreadfully mounted scene with the drunk moms in the grocery store. I'm not sure whether I felt sorrier for the actresses that had to pretend that stuff was hilarious or the writers who actually came up with the idea.

As if that wasn't enough, the characters are terrible as well - especially Kristen Bell's weird stay-at-home mom - and I wasn't able to care for none of them. The acting is equally terrible, but I have to say Kathryn Hahn was able to make me chuckle a couple of times in spite of her utterly annoying and quite offensive character.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)

Genres

Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Director

Gore Verbinski

Country

USA

Cast

Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush, Bill Nighy, Stellan Skarsgard, Chow Yun-fat, Tom Hollander, Jack Davenport, Kevin McNally, Naomie Harris, Jonathan Pryce, Keith Richards, Lee Arenberg, Greg Ellis, David Bailie, Martin Klebba

Storyline

Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) and Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) make an alliance to rescue Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from the land of the dead and face Davy Jones (Bill Nighy).

Opinion

Less than a year after the second instalment of the trilogy - yes, a trilogy, that's what this series was supposed to be - Gore Verbinski as well proves that third entries are usually the worst entries. Although it still is a slightly enjoyable adventure film, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" is a flawed disappointment.

Just like in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead's Man Chest", the main problem is the writing. While this story could have been a bit more interesting than the previous one, it still is quite contrived, there are too many subplots going on - actually, it feels like there's a change of plot every ten minutes or something - and it's almost impossible to follow.

The characters once again received the treatment of the previous entry. With no character development left, and the abandonment of the love triangle between Sparrow, Turner and Swan, not even the main characters manage to entertain. As for the supporting ones, villains mostly, there are just too many of them. Also, Elizabeth Swan's character is given too much importance in the story. I'm a woman, I should like that, but I would have appreciated if she gradually went from blue-blooded, spoiled girl to pirate. She has never held a sword and now she is like the best fighter ever. Come on!

What makes it worse than its predecessor is the humour. We are once again blessed with those same old jokes and gags. Only this time, the third time, they aren't that funny anymore. They are just plain annoying.

That said, the film still manages to be a little exciting, and that's only because of the special effects which are still very impressive and the action/fighting sequences which still are very exciting and a lot of fun. Take this away, and the film is left with nothing.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Arthur and the Invisibles (2006)

Original Title

Arthur et les Minimoys

Genres

Adventure, Animation, Fantasy

Director

Luc Besson

Country

France

Voice Cast

Freddie Highmore Madonna, Jimmy Fallon, Mia Farrow, Ron Crawford, David Bowie, Jason Bateman, Robert De Niro, Adam LeFevre, Snoop Dogg, Penny Balfour, Doug Rand, Chazz Palminteri, Harvey Keitel, Erik Per Sullivan, Anthony Anderson, Emilio Estevez

Storyline

To save his grandfather's house from being demolished, ten-year-old Arthur (Freddie Highmore) goes looking for a hidden treasure in the land of the Minimoys, a tiny people living in harmony with nature.

Opinion

At this point, after having seen so many disappointing films from Luc Besson, I should have known better. I should have had any expectation for this, yet, maybe because of its cast, I had some. Well, "Arthur and the Invisibles" turned out just fine.

The story is quite simple, it isn't very original, it isn't very well developed and it isn't very cohesive either, but it is a quite entertaining adventure story that kids will definitely enjoy mainly because of Luc Besson's storytelling.

Still, development isn't this film strongest suit, and the characters also suffer from that. Although at first there's some good character development, after Arthur descends in the land of the Minimoys, the development shrinks like Arthur. In spite of this lack, the characters still manage to be very likeable and fun, especially the tiny Minimoys with a special mention for Madonna's Princess Selenia and Jimmy Fallon's Prince Betameche.

The sloppy script is thankfully paired with some beautiful animation and CGI. The filmmakers were able to create harmony between the real world with real people and the Minimoys world, the animated one, and make the transition very smooth. Also, the details in the animation, from scenery to characters, is rather good. Overall though the animation could have been a little bit better; in 2017 it is very aged. 

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Personal Shopper (2016)

Genres

Drama, Thriller

Director

Olivier Assayas

Country

France

Cast

Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger, Nora von Waldestätten, Anders Danielsen, Sigrid Bouaziz, Ty Olwin, Audrey Bonnet, Pascal Rambert, Hammou Graia, Benjamin Biolay

Storyline

Maureen (Kristen Stewart) is a personal shopper who refuses to leave Paris until she makes contact with her death twin brother and whose life becomes more complicated when a mysterious person contacts her via text message.

Opinion

I've never been a huge fan of Kristen Stewart but I have to admit that since she left the whole Twilight thing behind her, she has really been working in some pretty good (indie) films and giving pretty good performances too. That's why I wanted to see "Personal Shopper" so badly, but unfortunately, the film isn't as good as I was hoped. Sadly, it is a rather boring and pretentious ghost film that could have been very interesting.

I don't believe in ghosts, afterlife and stuff like that, but in spite of that, the storyline to this film sounded very promising. The problem is that the Olivier Assayas wasn't able to develop the medium part as good as he should have. There's too many subplots or side-plots that are quite irrelevant, not really developed and that only distracts from the main story. Because of that, although it is nicely paced and the plot takes turns I wasn't expecting, "Personal Shopper" didn't manage to fully engage me.

But I'll have to give Mr Assayas the credits for the horror scenes. On the technical aspect, they are flawless and that how Assayas manages to deliver plenty of suspense and some thriller as well.

However, what really got me through the film was Kristen Stewat. She seems the perfect fit for the role - she is indeed able to carry the whole film - and she fully manages to capture all the layers of her character, Maureen, a tormented, fearful woman who is desperately in search of an identity.