Thursday, May 26, 2016

'The Brothers Grimsby' Is a Cringe-Worthy Sasha Baron Cohen Misfire

The Brothers Grimsby, or just Grimsby for short, follows the story of a boneheaded English football yobbo named Nobby (Sacha Baron Cohen) who lives in the poor fishing town of Grimsby.  His long-life dream is to reunite with his brother Sebastian (Mark Strong), whom he hasn’t seen in 28 years.  But when the opportunity comes, Nobby dimwittingly compromises his brother’s mission, as Sebastian happens to be a secret agent for MI-6.  What ensues is the brothers going on a crazy spy adventure to stop a major terrorist attack while a psychotic assassin is set loose on them.    

First and foremost, the story is incredibly lazy and stupid.  But way worse is the quality of its humor.  I’m not going to say that none of the jokes are hilarious – there are definitely some laughs to be had.  However, the majority of which are just disgusting, diminishing the comedic gratification that can be taken from them.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

'X-Men: Apocalypse' Is Another Immensely Entertaining Installment to the 'X-Men' Franchise

First of all, I think X-Men: Apocalypse is just as good as 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.  Thus, I’m a bit baffled that Apocalypse received mixed reviews (currently sits 51% at Rotten Tomatoes) while its predecessor – which I consider good but overrated – received wide acclaim (91% rating).  I believe the two basically has the same degrees of coherence (or incoherence), emotion, and spectacle.

Anyway, Apocalypse is the ninth installment (sixth if the two Wolverine movies and Deadpool are removed) to Fox’s X-Men franchise.  It’s set in 1983, ten years after the events of Days of Future Past.  Raven Darkhölme a.k.a. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) has become a folk hero to the younger generation of mutants.  Charles Xavier a.k.a. Professor X (James McAvoy), with the assistance of Hank McCoy a.k.a. Beast (Nicholas Hoult), has a thriving educational institute for mutants, the Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.  And Erik Lehnsherr a.k.a. Magneto (Michael Fassbender) is attempting to live a quiet family life in Poland.  But when a powerful ancient mutant named En Sabah Nur a.k.a. Apocalypse (Oscar Isaacs) wakes up from millennia of slumber, desiring to destroy the world and to rebuild it under his rule, the former X-Men teammates are led to cross paths once again – but on different sides of the conflict.  As the fate of the world hangs in a balance, the reunited original X-Men teams up with a new batch of younger X-Men to stop Apocalypse.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

'Legends of Tomorrow' Has Immense Potential, but Barely Justifies Its Necessity for Existing

When the trailer for Legends of Tomorrow came out, I was extremely pumped for it.  However, its first season – which has just finished – turned out being not as awesome as I was hoping it would be. It’s a mix of disappointments and delights.  There’s a small part of me that even wish this show didn’t happen, that these characters I like – namely Sara Lance, Atom, Captain Cold, Heatwave, and Martin Stein – would have thrived more in their parent shows, i.e. Arrow and The Flash.  Still, this show has terrific production value (for a TV show) and tons of promise, which keeps me remaining interested.

The first thing I didn’t like about this show is how the pilot didn’t reflect the footages of its promo trailer.  Now, I understand that those have been likely taken from its “unaired pilot” – the initial pilot episode shown to producers – and it’s not unusual for unaired pilots to be different from the official pilots shown on TV.  However, I love the implications of that promo trailer/unaired pilot more.  It featured Green Arrow and the Flash having an active part in assembling the Legends team.  It even showed the Flash taking part in a mission with some team members.  I was slightly crushed to discover that the pilot isn’t anything like that.  I was hoping Legends would help enrich the world building of Arrowverse along the way, and express synergy with its parent shows.  I saw little of this realized.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Hey, I Actually Like the Panned ‘Gods of Egypt’

Gods of Egypt takes place in an alternate world where the Earth is flat and mythological Egyptian gods live among mortals.  The gods are like humans in appearance, but they are of greater height, their blood is gold, and they can take animal-deity forms.  The movie starts with the desert god Set (Gerald Butler) seizing the throne of Egypt from the rightful heir, Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), god of the air.  Set beats Horus in a duel and takes off his powerful eyes.  But before Set can deliver the killing blow, Hathor (Elodie Yung) – the goddess of love, and Horus’ lover – begs Set to spare Horus’ life in exchange for her serving as his mistress.  A year later, a young human thief named Bek (Brenton Thwaites) steals one of Horus’ eyes from Set’s treasure vault, and brings it to the blind Horus.  Driven by different motivations, the mortal and the god form an unlikely alliance to free Egypt from Set’s tyrannical rule.

Jessica Chastain’s Fake Accent Is the Embodiment of ‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’ – Incredibly Bad but Entertainingly Hilarious

The Huntsman: Winter’s War serves as prequel, sequel, and spin-off of 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman, a movie I’ve had no interest of watching.  Fortunately, I’ve been led to the impression that watching it isn’t essential in watching The Huntsman: Winter’s War at all.  So I went to watch the movie without watching its predecessor first.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War reveals the origin of Eric (Chris Hemsworth), the titular Hunstman, and then follows him after the events of Snow White and the Huntsman, as he reunites with his lost lover, Sara (Jessica Chastain), to end the reign of terror of the evil ice queen Elsa Freya (Emily Blunt) and her sister, Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), who is brought back to life after her demise at the hands of Snow White.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

‘Zootopia’ Is a Wonderful, Thought-Provoking Fable

Zootopia is a fable set in a world where mammals have evolved into an anthropomorphic society in which predators and prey live harmoniously together.  The city where this state is fully realized is Zootopia – a play on the words “zoo” and “utopia” (as if it wasn’t obvious already).

The plot centers on idealistic rookie bunny cop Judy Hopps (Ginnefer Goodwin) as she takes on a missing person case to prove her worth in the force.  Given only 48 hours to solve the case, Judy recruits a sly, hustling fox named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) to help her.  But as they go deeper into their investigation, the unlikely partners would learn that the case is more complicated than they’ve thought, as they discover harbored secrets that can tear Zootopia apart.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

‘Castle’ Unfortunately Ends With a “Meh”

For the past four years (I started in 2012, binging season one to four before the start of season five), Castle has been one of my most favorite TV series.  I’ve been an avid follower of this series (I think I’ve actually seen all episodes) even when I begin to feel in its latter seasons that it was not as good as it was before.  But, as a whole, I’ve known this show to be a delight.  There are a lot of crime procedurals on TV nowadays, but Castle’s unique premise, balanced dose of fun and tension, clever writing, nerd culture-friendly themes, and extremely lovable cast made it stood out.

Lead actors Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic have perfect chemistry, making their respective characters, Richard Castle and Kate Beckett, one of the most outstanding duos as well as couples I’ve ever seen on screen.  I read a rumor that these two hated each other in real life.  I don’t believe it, but if it’s ever true, then it’s just an additional testament to their talents for making “Caskett” work impeccably.

Monday, May 16, 2016

‘Zoolander 2’ and ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’ are Needless, Unimaginative Comedy Sequels

Zoolander 2 and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 are sequels to two of the best comedy films I watched in the early 2000’s.  Coincidentally, it took until 2016, more than a decade later, for both of them to follow up on their respective predecessors.  Now, the unwritten axiom about sequels is that the longer the span between the original movie and the sequel, the more required it is for the latter to have something fresh and better to offer (that’s why there’s a lot of expectations for Avatar 2).  Hence, I was curious if it’s necessary to get these two movies made after all these years.  And after watching these movies back to back (thus, I’m reviewing these in one post), I came to the unfortunate conclusion that neither of these sequels is good enough to justify its existence.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Top 20 Pokémon


2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the Pokémon franchise.  Actually, there isn’t much hype about it.  There was a Super Bowl commercial about it, introducing a website (Pokémon20.com).  But I’m not aware of any special movie, game, or mega-event (except the Beta release of Pokémon Go, but that isn’t a tie-up to the anniversary) planned.  Anyway, this post is to commemorate this milestone.  Though I’m not really a die-hard fan (I even consider the Digimon anime superior to the Pokémon anime), I’m still a fan to an extent, since Pokémon is a huge part of my generation’s pop culture.  I’ve watched the anime – TV series and films – and played the early games.

So for Pokémon’s 20th anniversary, it’s fitting to list down my twenty most favorite Pokémon.  They are ranked depending on the stylishness of their character designs and strengths; depiction in anime/manga; and/or the impact, service, and value they had on me when I was playing the games.

20.) RAICHU
Pikachu might be the face of the franchise, but I prefer Raichu over it.  Not only because it’s an evolution higher than Pikachu, but also because I think Raichu has a cuter appearance.

Monday, May 09, 2016

'10 Cloverfield Lane' Is Not the Sequel to 'Cloverfield'; Good Thing It's Great Nonetheless

10 Cloverfield Lane is the pseudo-sequel to the 2008 hit found footage monster film Cloverfield.  I say “pseudo-sequel” because it isn’t the direct sequel this movie was initially thought to be when it unexpectedly revealed its existence for the first time.  In fact, I find no real connections between the two films.  Of if there are any, they are too subtle and I didn’t find them.

By this, the Cloverfield franchise is seemingly functioning as an anthology film series rather than a shared universe serial – with each installment independent from other films.  On the other hand, future films might actually present details that will reveal a relationship between these films.  J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot Productions are being enigmatic about it, and it’s actually great.  The franchise maintains the element of surprise.