November 10, 2017
Transformers: The Last Knight beings with an over-the-top sequence where the Knights of the Round Table (what? did I click the wrong movie on the flight?) are in a historical and one-sided battle against barbarians (they are losing), only to be saved at the last minute by Merlin and his (Transformer) dragon. What? #2.
That’s followed quickly and abruptly by a ludicrous storyline about some tough pre-teens who sneak into a Transformers DMZ/refugee zone only to find that there are actual robots who will kill all trespassers. I guess they don’t read the internet (What? #3). But that’s ok! Another pre-teen, who has been living on her own in this bombed out city (lots of food supplies I guess. What? #4) saves them against a couple of highly engineered, precision killing machines. Almost. Because the main star has to makes his grand appearance – Marky Mark. Having picked this movie on a whim, this was off to a terrible start and it was only 10 minutes in.
It doesn’t get any better. This is a stupid movie. The plot is a madlib of events and dialogue. It feels like there are cuts to certain dialogue scenes just to appease certain demographics. Characters do stuff but there’s no logic or reason why they are taking certain actions – and I don’t think it’s because I didn’t see the previous movies.
This movie has allusions to the very first (cartoon) Transformers movie, but even with that, Anthony Hopkins playing with a British accent, robots, or you name it; it still sucks. I didn’t get to see the last act of this movie, and I don’t feel like I missed much. I bet the heroes will win, but I’m not invested or curious in the outcome at all. I can’t understate how badly put together this movie is and given that I have very low expectations of a summer blockbusters, it should be telling that I can resoundly say that this is a one out of five movie.
November 3, 2017
I don’t remember why I got this movie, but it was the only movie that my phone could play on my flight (note to self, download an app like VLC so I can watch encoded video). I flew a lot between September and October and saw everything I wanted to watch from Air Canada’s inflight entertainment system so had a chance to work on my personal backlog (it’s been so long that I don’t remember why they exist).
Julie & Julia is actually two stories in one. There is a story about the famous cook Julia Childs (who I knew nothing about), how she got into cooking and how she ended writing her pivotal book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Then there is the current day story (set in 2002) where a Millennial New Yorker cooks every recipe in said book.
Both stories are kind of interesting. The first story is a time piece that shows off Paris in the 50s. Originally, I thought I would find the movie really annoying because Childs has these mannerisms which are grating. However, I got used to it as the story progressed and realized that Meryl Streep was doing a great job portraying the character and personality. The current day story was also really interesting. It’s set almost 15 years ago but it’s about Millennials hitting their 30s (was the term Millennials even coined back then?), and features this new technology called blogging! It was nostalgic to take a look back at the basic HTML render of Blogger and Salon, and the issues that bloggers faced about being narcissistic. On the other hand, this movie is really dated (people were still using flip phones!). This movie might end up being a complete period piece soon!
This is more of a chick flick but surprisingly I enjoyed it. Three out of five stars.
October 27, 2017
The only reason I watched Incendies is because it was directed by Denis Villeneuve. I enjoyed Arrival and am anticipating Blade Runner 2049 (which is out, but I won’t get to watch until it appears on flights). In truth, this film is a test to see whether I think he is a cut above or just hyped and lucky on previous films.
The film is about a pair of French-speaking twins who live in Canada, who, upon their mother’s death, have to deliver letters to their (long lost) father and (previously unknown) brother. They go on a journey to the Middle East to complete their mission and to learn about their mother’s history. It turns out that her mother lived through and took part in a civil war before coming to Canada.
The story was compelling to me because I didn’t have a lot of background on middle east countries and the fighting that happened in the last half of the 20th century. The film is rated R so the events that occur are graphic and abrupt. The mystery of the father and brother is also interesting and the ending that wraps up the mother’s will is unexpected.
The problem is that I think the source material of the film is very good. The film is based off a theatre play, but on further research, Villeneuve rewrote all of the dialog. So it’s difficult for me to determine whether how much the film making makes the story better. I guess I’ll have to watch more films by Villeneuve to find out. The rating for this movie is also a bit borderline. The topic is new to me, which makes the film better, but I don’t think it’s something I would want to watch multiple times. However, I’ll be generous and give it a four out of five stars.
October 24, 2017
Oh great, yet another Spider-man movie. Even though this is based off his cameo in Captain America: Civil War, I am a bit weary of this. I never liked the character but he is just so popular that you can’t avoid his books and stories. And another reboot in his movie series, isn’t this the third time?
So this movie didn’t start off well for me. It got worse when the plot followed a teenager’s life. I’m just not interested in watching teen struggles anymore. And his wisecracking is too much. The story isn’t much better as we get to see some B-list Spider-Man villains (Vulture and Shocker). The best part are the cameos but it feels like a crutch for both Spider-Man and the movie.
I don’t think this movie advances the Marvel Universe storyline so it can easily be skipped. Two out of five stars.
October 18, 2017
On my flight back home, I was surprised to find new movies in the inflight entertainment system! The movie I was most excited about was Wonder Woman. Ever since her introduction in Batman vs Superman, I’ve been waiting for her feature movie to come out. I’m not even a big fan of the character, I had tried reading some of her comics in the past but always ended up dropping them because the stories were boring (Amazonian stuff), or the supporting characters were lame, or the issues she had to deal with (e.g., her weaknesses) were not compelling. So I only saw her in Justice League adventures, or when there is a universe-level crisis.
But her appearance in BvS was amazing. This is a career-defining role for Gal Gadot and I don’t think I can ever envision her as any other character. I’m not sure what it is, but she is both what I imagined Wonder Woman to look like, yet also not what she looks like. What I mean is that when she is in costume, there is no one else that I can imagine as being Wonder Woman but her face is not at all what Wonder Woman would look like in my mind (I guess due to her heritage). This is more apparent when she is in plain clothes, and she doesn’t look at all like how I imagine Diana Prince would be.
Anyways, so how was the movie? I didn’t think it was as good as people said it would be. It’s nowhere near Ghost In The Shell bad, but it’s still polarizing. The story is clunky and I hate the origin story where they kept stressing her naivete and social awkwardness. The romance is unbelievable, but not as bad as sailing to London in one night (even if they got a lift). Also the motley crew of supporting characters adds nothing to the story (I only recognize Etta, are the others even from the comic?)
But once the fighting starts, it is glorious. Wonder Woman is magnificent in battle, especially the close quarters fighting (on the beach and before Act 2). Some people hate Zach Snyder slowing down the camera for certain scenes, but I like it and think it was effective. Act 2 was expected and cliché but I still thought it was a great twist. Honestly this whole movie can just be Wonder Woman jumping and fighting and it would still be three out of five stars.
October 15, 2017
The best comparison to La La Land would be Moulin Rouge – both are oscar-calibre musicals. However, I much preferred La La Land over Moulin Rouge. My problem with Moulin Rouge is that the concept is too much of a fantasy and the music just isn’t that great, but La La Land deals with real life (Millennial) issues and has a better soundtrack (mostly original music).
It often felt like a showcase of theatre and the arts. It featured instrument playing, tap dancing, plays, singing, etc. I also noticed the extensive use of theatre stage lighting (thanks to the recent Apple keynote which highlighted this). The ensemble pieces were great and the two leads performed well too (even though they probably didn’t have those specific skills of piano, singing, tapping etc). I can see how this movie could easily transition to Broadway.
As the story progressed, I got a little disappointed that there were fewer ensemble dance numbers, but I guess those were expensive to produce (I saw that Mandy Moore choreographed it?). The story was decent and believable and the ending leaves you with a decision to consider. This is a solid four out of five stars from me!
October 10, 2017
This is a giant in HK cinema which I had never watched, even though I watched the referential 2046 many years ago. I’ve heard it mentioned over and over with regards to its cinematography and after watching it, I think it lives up to its billing.
I think a comparable to this movie is The Godfather. The pacing is slow but not boring, and there are so many music and scenery shots. I can’t imagine them making a movie that can convey mood in the same way nowadays. Not only that, the dialogue is smart and complements the camera. Not everything is mentioned but the careful watcher can see the subtle hints in the story.
I also enjoyed the look at 60s Hong Kong which is near my parents’ era. Watching the film now, it doesn’t feel dated but more like a period piece.
I came with high expectations, and have probably seen Wong Kar-Wai’s influence in countless movies but was still impressed by In The Mood For Love. This deserves four out of five stars.
October 5, 2017
Ghost in the Shell was all around me when I was in my teens. I was never interested in anime, but this was one of the names I recognized. I might have even watched an anime movie version of it. And I definitely read an entire comic book series about it. Yet I don’t remember any details, the back story, or the potential psychological conflict of being part human-part machine.
This recognition is part of the reason why I watched the movie. Another is because I read some complaints when it was released about being white-washed (specifically Scarlett Jo instead of a Japanese lead). I don’t think the lead was the issue, but rather than a lot of it just wasn’t Japanese. The robotics company was completely staffed by Caucasians, the local police was a conglomerate of mixed cultures, and the entire thing was filmed in Hong Kong! I recognized Mong Kok in the beginning and it just became more and more obvious as I watched. I guess filming in HK made sense since a lot of the production companies at the beginning of the movie were Chinese.
The other issue with this movie is that it sucked. The decisions characters made made no sense and the dialogue was horrible. I hope Scarlett Johansson made a lot of money on this one because it is an embarrassment to have on your resume. It’s like Black Widow had a feature film and dyed her hair black.
A lot of the times the movie is just there to show off action sequences or body shots or the futuristic environment. I guess that is slightly cool and elevates this movie to 2 out of 5 stars.
September 24, 2017
Marvel seems to have their movies spread out over the year and this one ended up as the one that was on my flight to Korea. I think I saw the original Guardians of the Galaxy on a plane too (as it was released after we had kids). Not a must watch, but I was curious because I thought I read that they were gearing up for Infinity Gems and a showdown with Thanos.
But this movie wasn’t it, it was just another adventure featuring these guys, a couple of old friends from the original movie, and the early 80s music, fashion and styles.
There have been so many movies in the Marvel universe that you can just pick a random one up and watch it to pass the time. They don’t feel like tent pole releases or must-watch titles anymore. I guess that makes it perfect for flights.
GG2 has a specific conversational style, lots of wisecracks and insults (but not to an extent as say Deadpool). I don’t find that particularly entertaining though. They also have Drax playing the straight man, until they find a new character who is even straighter! I find the former funny because Drax seems to know that he is being funny. The latter feels like they’re making fun of Autistic people.
Lots of explosions, some laughs, and a megalomaniac to defeat. Also, another movie about father issues (see Star Wars & etc). Three out of five stars from me.
July 12, 2017
I actually saw Cars 3 in June (and in theatres) but forgot to blog about it till now. It’s way down in my priority list because it wasn’t something I wanted to see, but something I took the kids too (I’m not sure they really wanted to see it either).
I was looking for a kids movie to watch in theatres and this was the best option. The boys like Lightning McQueen, and even though this was the third installment, it didn’t seem to get the Finding Dory treatment and get older and scarier. It was still rated G and from other reviews it seemed fairly safe. Of course, shortly into the movie, McQueen has a huge crash and freaked out the kids for the rest of the time.
Overall, the movie gets a 3 out of 5 stars from me. Being a Pixar movie, it is expected that adults will find it interesting, and the movie didn’t feel dumbed down; although it wasn’t particularly exciting or a strong story (I may have missed a lot of context as I didn’t watch the first two movies). There was another strong female heroine which, while positive, is getting a little overplayed. In turn, the male protagonists are now goofballs.
May 25, 2017
I never heard about the movie Passengers until I saw people watching it over a few flights. It turns out that I enjoyed this movie a lot.
The main reason is because it is a classic sci-fi movie. It happens in the near future, where humans have reliable space travel and colonization. A ship with over 5000 colonists and crew are travelling 120 years in a sub-light ship to a new world. The trip is mostly on auto-pilot and everyone is in hibernation. Except, an asteroid field causes one hibernation unit to fail and awaken its inhabitant. This happens about a quarter of the way into the trip so he’s destined to not just live out his life and die of old age on the ship, but to do so alone.
The movie portrays him as he goes through a variety of stages – from denial to despair, to making the most of it, to finally trying to decide whether he should forcibly wake up another traveler (spoiler: he does!). Then the cycle happens again with the newly awaken.
I think the idea is fascinating – to have an entire self-functioning and renewable spaceship at your disposal, at the cost of being alone. I’m glad that the movie spends ample time exploring this idea and developing the characters through that. It is a thought starter and the main reason why I enjoyed this movie.
There are also some external challenges that move the movie along. I wasn’t a big fan but it’s necessary for the movie – it doesn’t detract from it at least. However, I think this movie does what scifi does best – creates an interesting and plausible situation in the future and examine how it would be handled. Because of this, I give it a 4 out of 5.
May 19, 2017
Although I always knew of it, I never watched Ghostbusters when I was a child. I recognize a couple of the memorable images (the station wagon, suit, green ghost guy) but don’t know the story. I guess I might have watched some Ghostbusters cartoons on TV at some point. But essentially watching the new Ghostbusters was a new franchise to me.
There was a couple of things to like about it; it had style and was unique with the gender reversed roles. The comedy had some hits and some misses but for some reason, the fact that it didn’t take itself seriously and be an action movie bothered me. Also, even though this movie calls for a high level of suspension of disbelief, I just can’t get past the how they “fought” an army of ghosts. Bring non-corporeal, the ghosts have a huge advantage. Instead, they were done in by some positive-ion lassos. Seriously??
The movie had a lot of fun and funny parts, but it just didn’t gel together into a good movie for me. Two out of five stars.
April 28, 2017
I would’ve passed on this movie as just another Hollywood sci-fi flick, except that a couple of months ago I saw the trailer to Blade Runner 2049. I’m looking forward to that sequel and when I was reading about it online, the fan reception was positive because Denis Villeneuve was directing.
The Arrival was also directed by Villeneuve and it was supposed to be moody and atmospheric. I think it was quite successful at that. Even though I saw it on the plane, the sound was spectacular, especially during the scenes with the aliens. The audio made the aliens seem scary, even though I knew this was not a scary movie (and the aliens themselves weren’t scary). I guess it might have been a bit of the audio, and a bit of the “unknown” factor.
This film navigated the fine balance between disbelief and realism. The idea of learning the alien’s language and time travel (paradox) is actually a bit farfetched; but it was believable enough in the context of the story. Overall the film was interesting and a four out of five stars from me.
April 23, 2017
After I watched the latest Star Wars movie, I watched the latest Star Trek one! I’m much more of a Trekkie than a Star Wars fan so I was excited to see this.
My first thought was that this was the first time I watched a JJ Abrams Trek movie, and that the casting & dialogue of the bridge crew were pretty close to my expectation (especially McCoy, although he is a lot fatter). But then I realized that I must have watched the reboot at some point (I remember Kirk fighting in a bar) – turns out that I did almost 6 years ago! Wow, that was a long time ago (looks like I totally missed never heard about Star Trek Into Darkness).
The second thought I had was – wow, they destroyed the Enterprise in a movie again. It seems like they do that every movie! Up to that point, the movie was pretty interesting. I liked seeing how the Star Trek world was imagined vs the Star Wars world, particularly how the Starbase Yorktown was laid out. But after the crew ended up on the planet, the plot started going into lucky 777 mode just to push the story along. There was not a lot of rhyme or reason why things happened the way they did that killed the movie for me. I like my Star Trek stories to have a logical arc, and this is one movie that didn’t.
I had some expectations for this movie and since the plot was so outlandish in the second half, I’ll have to give Star Trek Beyond a two out of five.
April 17, 2017
It took me a long, long time to watch this movie. I forget why I originally picked it, but I think it was on a flight from New York. The movie is 97 mins long so I only saw 2/3rd of it, but the next flight I took (I think it was in the same month) didn’t have it playing anymore! So I haven’t been able to finish watching it until this month. Fortunately, I had to ffwd to the spot were I stopped, and was able to get a refresher.
Whenever I watch cartoons now, I evaluate whether my kids can watch the movie. Finding Dory is definitely too scary for my young boys – Dory and baby Dory are put into too many situations which would be frightening. However, if you were young and watched Finding Nemo when it came out, I think you’d be the right age for this movie now (if not too old)! Otherwise I think you need to be over 7 to really watch it.
The story deals with Dory’s issue…namely her lack of short term memory. She goes on a mission to find her parents and discover her childhood. Along the way, she encounters a bunch of other marine animals who each have sort of significant mental or physical problem. Working together, the group overcomes their individual challenges and are stronger as a whole. That’s a decent moral message.
The other moral message in this movie seems to be to “take risks!”, even against the behest of your parents. I’m not sure this should be a blanket moral message though, and I thought Finding Nemo taught it better (sometimes you need to go out of your comfort zone).
I felt Finding Nemo was more enjoyable and fun, and Finding Dory had a lot more scary or challenging situations. That might leave your child in a unhappy state. But it’s no problem for an adult – this is a 3 out of 5 star movie.
April 11, 2017
There was a great selection of movies this month on Air Canada flights. I didn’t have enough flight time to see them all so I had to prioritize, and Rogue One was top on my list. I actually thought about seeing this in theatres because Apollo is interested in Star Wars; however, we decided it was probably too violent and scary for him. I’m glad we didn’t because it is definitely too scary for him.
Rogue One is like a prequel to A New Hope, and you can actually watch them back-to-back:
"Rogue One" Spliced with "A New Hope" from Barre Fong on Vimeo.
The story follows a rag tag team of characters who have to steal the plans for the death star and deliver it to Princess Leia & R2D2. As a story, it’s quite predictable and uses common themes (including the RPG trope of the reluctant hero). However, it is fun and enjoyable to watch, and I didn’t notice the over-two-hours run time.
The cast of characters were interesting, without a traditional white male lead character. It’s refreshing to see the diversity in this and The Force Awakens, although it’s almost like the traditional white male is underrepresented (or maybe they are being subliminally portrayed as bad guys). Also K-2SO is the characer that Jar Jar should have been!
I’m curious how Rogue One will be thought of within the entire volume of Star Wars movies (now that Disney has the franchise, I can see it being more like James Bond than Indiana Jones). It was a fun and polished movie, but it’s just too cookie cutter for it to be more than 3 stars.
February 20, 2017
We became members of the Ontario Science Centre almost two years ago, but it is coming to a time where the membership is about to run out (the kids are sick of this place and they changed the plans to our detriment). One of the benefits of our current plan is that we can get free OMNIMAX tickets each visit – something which we’ve only used once! We decided to use this feature once more before it goes away and chose to watch Rocky Mountain Express.
I picked this one because the kids love trains and hopefully it would keep their interest – but that really only worked for about 20 minutes. The film is about connecting the Trans Canadian Railway from BC to the interior and like most IMAX films, it is a documentary. This documentary is quite poor as there is no storytelling that keeps the viewer engaged – the narration simply relays a bunch of facts about the history of what was done. It is like listening to Wikipedia. In fact, I was curious about many things during the film, but the documentary stayed far away from the interesting topics, like what convinced the GM to go through Roger’s Pass, or how the trains worked or how railroad building happened.
The narration served to show videos of a restored train in action, as it took the Trans Canadian Railway; and that is basically the point of watching an IMAX film. You can see and hear the train in high definition. Some of the shots were way to close, showing you the guts of the machine, but without the context of what it does. There were also many old photos which helped to relay history, but was otherwise a waste of IMAX.
I’m actually disappointed in the visuals, because there was severe distortion. I left wondering whether the film was shot for a normal screen but then shown on an omnimax curved screen. I wasn’t sitting in the absolute centre of the theatre, but it was still very bad.
I wouldn’t recommend this film, at least on the OMNIMAX screen. The film left me wanting my money back, but since I didn’t have to pay for it, then I was just disappointed. One out of five stars.
February 18, 2017
Familyhood is a Korean film about an aging, (approaching middle age), but still relevant, actress who fakes a pregnancy in order to find meaning in life. Naturally, being pregnant increases her stature but also, she is found out and her bubble burst. The tragic, fallen hero must then deal with the consequences and redeem herself.
It’s kind of a cliche, and actually given the hype of K-Dramas, a pretty disappointing movie. Perhaps I’m not the target audience for this film. The parts I enjoyed about this movie are the ones that show or satirize the management/agency nature of being a Korean celebrity. Aside from that, there isn’t much redeeming about the movie, and it is a sorry state of the film releases on my flights in January that I had to watch this movie instead of a better one.
Familyhood gets a 2 out of 5 stars from me.
February 9, 2017
I watched this oldie (from 1982) because I’ve been playing a Star Trek game and one of my Legendary characters is “Wrathful Khan”. I actually had also read the synopsis a few months ago too, and I think at some point I saw this movie on TV. Yet somehow I was still surprised at the plot and it wasn’t the movie I was expecting – for some reason I expected the Augments to take over a Klingon Bird of Prey.
In any case, I enjoy Star Trek but didn’t enjoy Wrath of Khan that much. The plot was fine but I think the pacing is too old fashioned – too many grandiose shots of the ship and people walking around the hallways. I don’t have an affinity to the Original Series so perhaps the nostalgia of finally seeing the ship again after the series was off the air for many years is lost on me. I also think that the villain Khan just wasn’t that imposing, scary or believable. He was actually a bit cartoon-y because he was so vengeful.
Overall, I would rate this movie 2 out of 5 stars. I would have preferred to watch an episode or two of The Next Generation or one of their movies instead.
February 3, 2017
Morgan is the story of a bioengineered being which has had an “incident” which causes the parent company to send out a risk management consultant to assess the situation and the program. However, it turns out that the team, which has worked in seclusion for many years to birth and develop the being as their own child, has grown emotional attached to it.
You can see where this is heading as the team fights to show how Morgan is special; but this is a rated R thriller so the story ends up having a lot of unexpected action following the initial drama-esque start. I wasn’t expecting it and it turned out to be much better than I thought it would be (given that I originally picked it because it had a short, 90 minute, running time).
After watching the movie, the themes remind me a lot of Bladerunner (and that’s always a good thing). It turned out to be the most enjoyable movie of the last several I’ve seen. I give Morgan a 4 out of 5.
January 26, 2017
This is a completely fantasy Chinese movie that is half CG. That might sound a lot like Monster Hunt but I actually enjoyed this a significantly more. The reason is because League of Gods doesn’t treat itself as anything other than a vehicle for superhuman Kung Fu/Chinese movie fights.
The premise is that there is an evil & bad King who uses an oracle’s eyes to see how he will rule the world, except he sees his own ruin. A renegade faction/city also sees this and sends a young apprentice to seek out the Sword of Light that can defeat the Black Dragon King. The protagonist has some special powers, but he finds a couple of additional warrior buddies to help him complete his quest.
All sorts of battles break out, but its mostly magical and martial arts against straw men and paper swords. Once that is over with, the heroes even have to fight an enchanted troll that is similar to the one in Lord of the Rings. After all of that fighting, the heroes get the sword and some guy who looks like Jet Li (but isn’t, as he plays someone else) turns into the Golden Dragon in order to battle the Black Dragon King.
But do they defeat the Black Dragon King? Nope! Because that’s the end of the movie. I guess League of Gods is a series of movies – and its really frustrating when they only put one episode on the inflight entertainment system. Overall, this is a fun romp so it is a 3 out of 5 rating from me.
January 19, 2017
I think I missed a few Bourne movies in the middle because this is the fourth one. In this one, Bourne takes a nod from Spectre and revisits his past – although now that I think about it, I think all of his movies have something to do with his past, and finding out who he is, and why he is an agent. Well, this one is no different and looks at the role his father played.
I get the plot and there are a lot of action scenes that push the Jason Bourne ahead, but nothing is new or overly different between this movie and any other action blockbuster. The exception might be an up and coming CIA analyst (well she is already pretty senior, unless you compare her to the director) who plays a political game for her own gain. She is the Julia Stiles 2.0 in the Bourne movies so I guess we will see more of her (although unlike Bond movies, these happen in sequential time order so at some point Bourne might just die of old age).
The comparisons to Bond are many, but I just don’t feel the excitement, style or mystique in the Bourne series as I do the Bond ones. This is just your average summer blockbuster, so a 3 out of 5 star rating.
January 13, 2017
I don’t know the backstory of Suicide Squad but I think this is required watching as DC continues to build up its movie universe to the Justice League movie. But after watching it, there doesn’t to be a big need for this movie.
It’s basically a self-contained movie similar to Guardians of the Galaxy where a rag tag band of shadowy figures save the world. There are some cameos from Batman and The Joker but its just to fill in the backstory. There are some character introductions and the after credits scene is important (for the universe) but I think those can be shared without tagging an entire movie along with it.
The plot is formulaic. Bad guys get together to help (read: are forced) the good guys, but the good guys suffer a setback and then bad guys develop a conscience and volunteer to beat the big bad guy. Its not boring but it is forgettable. I remember reading some press saying the atmosphere or music was great, but neither impressed me. This is a quite average three out of five stars.
January 9, 2017
I have never watched any Godzilla movie and everything I know about Godzilla comes from Rampage. In fact, I would have ignored this film, because I was on an Air Canada Rouge flight (with no seat back screen), if not for just coming across a thread on this movie on Reddit as I was waiting for my flight to Vegas. It was actually interesting and not what I thought a Godzilla movie would be about.
Sure, you saw the beast and it laid waste to Tokyo, but that is really a side-bar and raison d’être for the underlying commentary – namely a satire about how politics and government operates. The film begins with Godzilla causing mass (but minimal, only flying cars and boats) destruction while the government paralyzes and sends orders up and down the chain of command. I enjoyed that various politicians would inject with comments on how decisions would affect their own political career or the economy.
Eventually the film settles down into more familiar territory where they actually have to get rid of Godzilla, and work with foreign governments to do so. That made the film weaker as the plot just kept being driven forward without a lot of rationale. The first half of the film gets a 4 out of 5 but the latter half only a 3. I’ll be generous and give it 4 out of 5 overall.
January 4, 2017
Sing! is an animated musical by the makers of Despicable Me that is similar to American Idol – a bunch of rag tag normal folk who turn out to be great singers compete for a grand prize. The only difference is that this is a cartoon and it takes place in an animal city.
Sing! almost seems inspired by Zootopia because you again have the cultural hotpot of different animals living together in a single city. However, the execution is much poorer as there really isn’t a lot of interaction between the traits.
In fact, it’s a pretty poor imitation with a subpar, formulaic plot. Every character struggles through some challenges, which they eventually overcome (mostly because they are in a cartoon world). Then they sing and the entire world is happy!
We actually saw this in a movie theatre and picked this movie because Apollo was with us (it was the most appropriate one over Rogue One or Moana or Trolls). I enjoyed it because I liked music, but otherwise I think it would be pretty boring. I’ll give this a (barely) three out of five stars.