Tuesday, 12 November 2019

The Mandalorian Chapter 1 review

Due to the streaming war that is headed our way, We are getting a surge of upcoming tv shows. One of them is the long-awaited Star Wars live action television series. Given the epic nature of the franchise, a live action series may have been deemed as "unfilmable", but after series such as Game Of Thrones, Stranger Things, Westworld, we now know what is possible to be put on our tv screens(likely cellphone screens as this show is only available on Disney+) The Mandalorian was an exciting prospect as this isn't a story the franchise has told in the mainstream. You would have to read the novels and other extending material for that. We follow the titular character as he hunts down a bounty in a galaxy set two years after Return Of The Jedi. While the premise may be deemed as simple, it is needed as the first episode sets up a lot of world building. We are introduced to new characters, and our titular hero has a backstory yet to be explored. I mostly consider Jon Favreau as a director, but he has some great screenwriting chops.

Pedro Pascal is captivating to watch as our masked hero. We never see his face, and I'm good if we never do. I got a Clint Eastwood western vibe off his performances, which fits the tone of the series. The other performances are great, but we don't get to spend much time with them. Nevertheless, Carl Weathers, Werner Herzog, and Taika Watiki make it up with their interesting characters.

It is visually beautiful, reminiscent of the original trilogy that The sequel trilogy abides by. The visual effects are of cinematic quality. The mix of practical and digital effects are seamless. I love that they are using puppets rather than CGI to create the different alien species.

Dave Filoni has a bright future behind the camera as a live action director if he so chooses. He is known for his work in Star Wars animated projects, but his passion for the franchise shines through here. The action is exciting and filmed with such energy that you won't want to take your eyes off the screen.

When it comes to epic music, Star Wars always brings it. As John Williams is done with the franchise, We have Ludwig Göransson giving up a score, reminiscent of a classic western feel, while still being Star Wars.

All in all, The Mandalorian is cinematic television packed in 30 minutes that will undoubtedly take the world by storm, making you wish you could binge it. 10/10

Wednesday, 3 April 2019


I was lucky enough to go to an early screening of SHAZAM!, the latest entry into the DCEU. Shazam isn't the most well-known superhero in general, but that will change when the film is released to the masses. If you are looking for pure popcorn entertainment and to go on an exciting journey with our hero, this film will be a treat for you. Basically, the film is about a troubled "orphan" named Billy Baston, who after getting in trouble with the law, is placed with the Vasquez group home. Before properly setting down with his new family and new school, the wizard known as Shazam grants Billy amazing powers if he says his name. Together, with his new foster brother and superhero fanatic Freddy, they test the extent of his powers and have fun along the way.

As of recent years, superhero films tend to lend more on the responsibility of wearing a suit, the sacrifices you make, or try to be super realistic to the real world. Those films have a variety of degrees of success, but Shazam is a reminder of why you loved superheroes as a kid. You dream of having the ability to fly, take on your bully, and just doing silly things with them, and that is exactly what Billy and Freddy do. They record Billy's exploits and post it on youtube. What kid wouldn't?

Of course, we follow our villain, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, as he thirsts for the magical abilities he has been dreaming of since he was a child, performed by the always amazing Mark Strong. I was surprised how much of a look why got at this character. He may seem like the typical bad guy, who feels like he has been wronged by everyone, but the parallels between him and Billy are a sight to see. Speaking of which, The way Billy was presented was perfect. In the early comics, he is presented as a sweet innocent kid who has been dealt a bad hand. In the recent new 52 comic line, he is presented as a massive dick to everyone. The film has a sweet balance of both, but we root for him to succeed anyway. Zachery Levi is the standout here. He is clearly having the time of his life playing a superhero, and I felt the joy. The theme of family was presented well, in looking at the family you are born into, and the one you choose. Billy's journey for his mother have dramatic weight and is given the time it deserves for a fulfilling character arc.

Director David F Sandberg was the perfect choice for them. He may be seen as an unconventional choice, as his previous films are in the horror genre, but the tone set is light and breezy for the most part. His horror roots show in a few scenes that may scare kids, yet delight adults. As he is signed on for a sequel, I'm excited for more. The film has a low budget(For a superhero film, 80-100 million), but the scope of it was brilliant, though some of the visuals are cheesy, with the tone of the film, I didn't feel out of place. I got some serious Sam Raimi's Spider-man/Richard Donner's Superman vibes, which was a treat. You'll understand when you see it. (Top marks to the marketing team for not sharing the best footage in their trailers) DC haters will be delighted to learn that the film has humor. Good God, this is definitely one of the funniest superhero films I've ever seen.

Some grips I had though WAS the Shazam family. All the child actors were aces. In the moments we had with them, they felt like true characters with unique personalities, but I felt that was the work of the actors. The writing didn't serve them well. The focus should have been on Billy of course, though I wished for more scenes with them. Especially, Mary was given an arc that wasn't given a conclusion. Maybe the sequel will do so. As well, the action scenes were okay, but during the climax, while it went meta with the final battle, some moments felt repetitive.

All in all, Dc's superhero movies have a bright future in store, and Shazam is set to join the A list superhero ranks. Fingers crossed he is in Justice League 2.(If they ever do it)

In Short: Shazam! is one of the best Christmas films ever made, right up there with Die Hard and Iron Man 3. You will feel joy from beginning to end.


Saturday, 23 February 2019

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018)

I know in my update I said I wouldn't be giving out perfect scores to all the films I review, but this film deserves it. The best way to start this blog back up is to review a film based on my favourite comic book character, Spider-Man. The film is the first spidey flick that doesn't focus on Peter Parker. Instead, it focus on Miles Morales, the first black Spider-Man in the comics. (Recommended read) Miles is a normal kid from brooklyn struggling to fit in school, connect with his dad, and talk to a pretty girl. One night, he finds himself bitten by a spider, and granted abilites. Sound familar? The thing is, Peter Parker exists in his world, and he is already Spider-Man. When Peter is killed, Miles must rise to the occasion and protect the city from the Kingpin and his accomplices.

This is a dumbed down description because it is essential to see this movie for yourself. The film is much more complex and unique. For one, Miles and Peter aren't the only spider people in the film. There is another Peter Parker, a Gwen Stacy, A 1940s Peter, a Japenese school girl/robot, and a cartoon pig teaming up. This film is packed, and it easily could have sucked, but it balances all the heroes and the villains(There are a ton of villains. Shame on you The Amazing Spider-Man 2. You couldn't even handle 3) perfectly. Props go to Phil Lord for writing this script. For one, the filmmakers keep the focus of Miles. There is no doubt that this is Miles' story, even if each hero gets a cool moment to shine, either with an action scene or funny exchange of dialogue. Also, it is a refresing take on an origin story. The way Mile' special abilties work connect with his emotional journey that he goes on in the film, and by the end, each moment is earned. The relationships are fun to see, and has you praying that the film is as long as a Zack Sydner comic book film. Good thing its not tho. It is well paced.

The animation is breaktaking to way. It truly felt like a comic book came to life. It is a perfect blend of several types with each hero having their own distinct style. Behind the scenes, there were several 2D and 3D animators, and 3 directors alone for it. This film is clearly a collaboration between multiple visions. No way one person could do this. The vocal performances had to be great, and they are. The standouts to me are Shameik Moore, who had to carry this film with his character's emotional and casual beats, and John Mulaney as Spider-Ham, who deserves a tv spin off. This weird character is an abosulte joy to watch on screen. His looney tunes type voice is just perfect. Stan Lee's cameo is perfect. Made he rest in peace.

The music was a standout to me as well.(Biggie Smalls made it in a superhero film!) Hip-hop generally isn't used much for comic book movies. Even Black Panther(2018) was resistant to use songs from its hip hop centric album, but this film is proud to use the songs, as it should be. The songs were made with the notion that a kid like Miles would listen to them. The standout is of course, "What's Up Danger". The scene which it is used for is just so perfect, it'll probably be known as Miles theme, the same way "Vindicated" is used for Peter.

Finally, this film is obviously the start of a franchise, but it isn't made that way. It is for sure a standalone feature with its own story not worrying about setting up sequels, but it is the first film I've seen in a while that makes me go "I want to see more". Even the post-credits sequence doesn't tease a sequel, at least not per-se.

In Short: Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is one of the greatest comic book/ animated movies ever made, and its influence will last for generations. 10/10 (Yup, I do out of 10 now)

I'm Back!

Yes sir, I am back. To anyone who still reads this(Which is no one, last post was 4 years ago), I am back to reviewing movies, tv shows, and short films. At first, the blog was a silly little thing to practice writing, now I will act like a legit critic. Sure, people hate critics, but I'm not afraid to like movies that a majority of critics hate. Me, I like Venom. Not that much tho, it was a dumpster fire, but still, I dug it. For another, my earlier reviews had me handing out 5/5 like candy. I mean, younger me enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man(2012), callling it the best spidey film. Nope. I give that film an updated review of 3/5. Let's see how long this blog will last.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Supergirl (Pilot)

It is the age of superheroes on tv, the the Flash, Arrow, Gotham, and soon legends of tomorrow filling up the screens. One time they have in common: Male leads, and Supergirl is set to change that, a fact which I personally do not care about. Whoever is in the lead, male or female, must do some fine good acting to portray the characters I love and have good quality throughout, and luckily, Supergirl manages to do it: For the most part.

Which Glee cast member will don tights next? After Grant Gustin, Melissa Benoist is the second member of the Glee cast to play a superhero. As Marley Rose, I saw a sensitive gentle person, not a kick-ass superhero, but she gets the job done in a convincing way. The gentle side to Kara and her search for identity and desire to help people makes you root for her to win, so top grades to Melissa.

Despite the acting and visual effects in the episode, the pilot has nothing special about it. It is a pretty typical origin story that we have seen before. Not to say it's boring, just nothing special. As well, characters focus way too much on the fact that Supergirl is a girl, as if it is significant in a way. She is a person. Doesn't matter what her gender is.

In short, I hope this show does something different from what we have seen before on only shows. Only time will tell.


Thursday, 11 December 2014

Selfie (Imperfect Harmony)

Many of my readers will be shocked to see this. I mostly review only superhero stuff, but I have a soft spot of romantic comedies if they are done right, and selfie is done right. The pilot threw me off, but it got better over time. I am disappointed in abc for cancelling it. I hope another network picks it up and saves it.

In the last episode, Eliza realizes that she has feeling for Henry, and wants to be with him, breaking things off with her boyfriend Freddie, making him a hot mess, as he claims he can't live without her. Henry is conflicted, as he is with Julia, but knows he feels something for Eliza. The scene where he compared the two to the shows “Uptown girl” and “hollaback girl” was great comedic writing.

Of course, things get heated up as Henry believes Eliza doesn't really love him. He thinks because she was getting too serious with Freddie, she was scared, and just wants to win, which isn't a bad judgement, but Eliza truly feels this way. She loses it, claiming that Henry loves her, and is too chicken to admit it, or the fact that he doesn't really like his girlfriend. As she storms away from Henry, Julia heard the whole thing.

Eliza's rendition of Sia's “Chandelier” was great, but the scene itself was better. This woman just had her heart broken by the one guy that isn't superficial. You can clearly see that her attempts to make the pain go away make her who she was to begin with. Her drunk montage with a shaky camera was a good directing choice, as you see her party away, and then spends the night with Freddie.

Julia give Henry a chance, but when he failed to take it, she ends it. Henry sings a song while the credits play. I don”t know the title, but he kills it, with it really expressing how he feels. How Henry and Eliza interact in the next episode, if they do at all, will be interesting. This episode proved that change is really hard, and comes at a price. Karen Gillian and John Cho are knockouts in this episode. Not really shocked they can sing well too.

I recommend this show. The show may still have a chance for a second season though. Here's the petition.



Thursday, 9 October 2014

Arrow Season 3(The Clam)

Season 3. I proud to say I've been watching the show from the beginning. I praised the dark tone, far away from the campiness of Smallville, which aired on the same network. The first two seasons were intense for sure, but the premiere takes things to a whole other level. More on that later. What the audience first sees is Team Arrow as a well oiled machine. We got to see Roy as Arsenal with some sweet archery skills. Not too sure about the costume though. I'm glad that he wasn't involved too much with the other storyline going on here.

The whole relationship issues with Oliver and Felicity are interesting, as she is different from the other women Oliver has been invoked with. She's been part of the team almost from the start, and he knows that he needs her. Detective Lance/Captain has an interesting story too. As what happened to him in the finale, he can't go into the field anymore. His struggles with that is real, as he was very good at it. I'm excited to see where that goes. Ray Palmer, superman's twin, strikes me as a rich goofy nerd who is also going to be a tough threat in Oliver's personal life.

I like where Diggle's story is headed. The man is a father now, so he is going to have to be less involved on the team to take care of his family. It will be interesting to see a softer side of this guy. The flashbacks deserve praise as well. I like how the settings are not on the island. If Oliver just stayed on the island facing a different threat each time, the show would have gotten stale very quickly. I am curious to see more of the tough Amanda Waller. I really don't like her.

Of course, the stand out moment of the episode is the final cliffhanger scene that reintroduces the league of assassins. Sara Lance is back in town, which made me happy we would see more of her. Then, holy crap, she is murdered. Three arrows are shot into her chest. Then she falls off the roof, and the body lands on a garbage can, and hits the ground, right in front of Laurel. I didn't see that coming. Kill off a character in the finale, fine. Mid season, why not. But, in the season premiere, that was a risky and bold move made by the show runners as Sara is a fan favourite.

I like that little cameo of Barry Allen, from the episode of The Flash the night before. The huge crossover is going to be epic. I'm excited to watch next week's episode to see how the characters react to Sara's death, especially Laurel, who may finally become the canary. I guess Diggle isn't leaving the team just yet. This episode starts a new chapter for the show, and it does not fail. Filled with action, drama, and suspense, I am happy with the way things are going. And I have a feeling the best is yet to come.