Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

They already made four of these movies… But 2004 Incredibles will have its first sequel next year!

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Directed by Pierre Coffin (the Despicable Me franchise) and Kyle Balda (Lorax), Despicable Me 3 is the third feature-length movie about former villain Gru (Steve Carell) and the fourth feature-length movie of the franchise (Minions is the third).

After a failed mission, Felonious Gru has been removed from the Anti-Villain League Agency. Despite the attempts of comforting him by his wife Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig), he still feels purposeless… Then, an invitation from his long-lost brother Dru Gru (also Carell) changes his perspective on things. Now, he knows he is from a long line of supervillains. Out of this new knowledge, he faces the choice to go back to being evil or remain a good guy.

I remember when the first movie took the world by storm with its quirky slapstick humor and its adorable characters. I am happy to say that the humor is still present. Especially with animation, there is a tendency for the humor to decrease…sometimes exponentially (eg. Shrek Forever After). The slapstick is still funny, and the kids will love it.

I also appreciate how the filmmakers learned from their mistake regarding the Minions. You see, certain minor characters may shine even more than the stars themselves, but it only worked because they were presented in short bursts. Giving them a spin-off with the same shtick often results to a very boring product. Such was the case with Minions (2015). I’m happy to see that the Minions were not trying to hog the spotlight.

And that is where it ends, folks…

SPOILER ALERT

The positive I gave for the Minions was quickly removed because the Minions serve no purpose at all in the story. Remove all of the Minions scenes, and the story will still be exactly the same. Some might argue that the moment the Minions left their leader was one of the turning points in Gru’s “slump plot”. That is not the case. After having his hundreds of Minions leaving him, Gru never truly grieved about it…which was actually a bummer because we have seen the relationship between them (Gru knows them all by name, for example). But the movie never gave Gru a chance to digest what happened.

Also, the characters of Gru’s adoptive daughters were downplayed at an exponential rate! They did not really deliver something substantial to the plot.

Also, the basic conflict that could have been (Should I be good or bad?) was not addressed at all because it was not challenged or presented at all! When Dru asked his brother to be evil again, Gru accepted…not because he wants to be bad…but because he wants to prove to The Agency that he is still capable of doing something right. There was not a moment for him to ponder the situation he is in…which for me is such a wasted potential.

Despicable Me 3 has a poster that is very truthful…because it sums up what I felt after seeing this movie (look at the featured image again)… Though entertaining (especially to kids), it will not grow old well because of its unnecessary characters and a wasted huge potential for conflict. Once the kids who enjoyably watched this grows up, they will soon realize this is not as good as they remember it to be. This movie is…

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Can We Still be Friends Movie Review

Can I still be friends with Star Cinema after watching this movie?

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Gerald Anderson and Arci Muñoz join forces for the second time in Can We Still Be Friends?

Directed by Prime Cruz and written by Jen Chuansu (the duo behind Sleepless), the movie shows the volatile relationship between Diego (Anderson) and Sam (Muñoz). After their break-up, the two former lovers seem to have a hard time coping with the loss. So they had an idea to remain friends (to be specific, roommates). Can they still be friends?

Let me first say what I like about this movie…

The chemistry between Anderson and Muñoz is undeniable. The kilig factor is real. It really feels like they have been partners for 8 years.

Arci Muñoz is the absolute star of this movie. Her acting is very impressive. One minute she is this very innocent, childlike, and charming woman; the next, she is a very mature and goal-oriented individual.

Also, I gotta give credit where credit is due. Gerald Anderson’s acting has improved…like a lot!

Juan Miguel Severo, the Spoken Word artist and the one who portrays Sam’s gay bestfriend JM, is effective, too. However, his character and the female bestfriend of Sam (sorry, forgot the name) could have easily been just one character.

I also like how the movie starts with Diego and Sam already in their 8th year. It is a welcome sight to watch a romance movie that is not set before the relationship.

And that is just about it…

SPOILER ALERT

First of all, the character of Diego is just sooooooooooo insanely insensitive to Sam (his girlfriend of 8 years) to such a degree that it is just really unrealistic.

Also, the very reason the two broke up is because of Diego’s immaturity and unwillingness to accept responsibility. But for some reason, the movie decides that Sam should be the one to make the move. She desperately (beeeeeeegginggggg) asked for him to come back. The one who gave the most is still the one who lost the most.

At the end of the day, they got together in very predictable fashion. And suddenly…POOF…Diego is now responsible and reliable. How did he turn into such a man? We don’t know. The movie never bothered to show us the progression of his character arc. Sam, on the other hand, had better characterization. She became a better person, and we saw that journey.

Also, the movie had a wedding vow (between JM and his husband) at its climax. The message basically says accept your partner for who he is because you love him. This apparently became the catalyst for Sam’s aforementioned beeeeeeeeg. NO!! I mean, it is true that you have to accept your partner for who he/she is, but if there is something that is needed to be corrected (ie. immaturity and a no-no attitude to obligations) he/she has to change!

Lastly and a bit nitpicky, there was a scene in the movie that has an obvious continuity error.

Can We Still Be Friends? has an amazing cast with good performances, but its unrealistic and predictable plot, followed by its insane message about love, its heartbreak, and its possible return, makes this ultimately…

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The Mummy (2017) Movie Review

9 years since The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Universal Pictures aims to reestablish the OG of the Cinematic Universe, the Universal Monsters Universe, with a new name: the Dark Universe.

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Directed by Alex Kurtzman (co-wrote The Legend of Zorro and the reboot Star Trek franchise), The Mummy is the first of a series of remakes by Universal Pictures in hopes of establishing a cinematic universe revolving around monsters such as Dracula, the Frankenstein’s monster, the Invisible Man, and the Wolf Man. They already did this in the 1920s to 1950s  with great success.

This version, set in the present day, revolves around the character of Nick Morton (Tom Cruise), a former US military officer, who unearths the tomb of Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) and unknowingly placed a curse on himself. With the help of a shady organization called Prodigium, led by Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe), Nick attempts to stop Princess Ahmanet’s plan to summon Set,the Egyptian god of death.

First of all, I looooooove the dedication Tom Cruise has for his movies. Watching his scenes in this movie proves that he still gives it all. At the age of 54, he still does his stunts! Sure, this is not as cool as him hanging on a plane’s door in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, but it is still astounding to know he pushes himself beyond his age. Nick Morton, his character, reminds me a lot of Mortal Kombat‘s Johnny Cage because Nick is very charismatic. Without a doubt, Tom Cruise is the biggest positive in this movie.

The set designs look cool! I had my eyes peeled when the Prodigium HQ was shown. true enough I saw hints of the Gill-Man (The Creature from the Black Lagoon) and a vampire skull.

There were Easter eggs to the Sommers Mummy franchise (the one with Brendan Fraser), too.

And that is where the positives end…

The story of this movie is messy and all over the place. If taken piece by piece, it is enjoyable and fun. That is true, especially the first scene. But if we are to look at the big picture, which we should to all movies, the viewers will realize that this movie could have been an easy trilogy. A lot of things are happening. Often, it happened in random ways. This movie had SIX writers, and it is pretty evident they had a hard time narrowing the story down.

Also, the character of Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) is completely forgettable and unnecessary. Besides being the damsel in distress and the bridge between Nick and the Prodigium, there is absolutely nothing she had offered as a character. Try to remove her in the story. Will we have the same story? Yes! Then, why include her?

Also, much of the humor in the movie does not work for me. Some of it was provided by Jake Johnson, who portrays Nick’s close friend Chris Vail. It felt too forced, and it strays away much to the supposedly feel of the movie. However, I like how the movie incorporates elements of horror in it, somehow resonating the 1932 original.

Lastly… and a bit nitpicky, I had issues looking at Sofia Boutella’s pre-final form (the one where she is Sofia Boutella but with a cracked nose and a cheek hole). The VFX on her face looks so plastic to me. I end up looking at the background everytime her pre-final form face shows up.

If it is what is about to come from Universal’s Dark Universe, The Mummy should be a warning to viewers to be cautious on the next installments (The Bride of Frankenstein will premiere on 2019). Despite the charismatic Tom Cruise in the lead, its disorganized plot has led me to conclude that this film is…

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Wonder Woman Film Review

The last time a female superhero starred in a movie was 2005, and that was Elektra… Am I nervous? Yes… Am I excited to see Gal Gadot though? Hell yeah!

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Female superhero movies have not been kind to us. The last one, Jennifer Garner’s Elektra, was in 2005 and has been one of the worst Marvel movies ever. A year before that, we had Halle Berry’s Catwoman, which was one of the worst DC movies ever. So despite the announcement of a film about THE ultimate superheroine, I was hesitant.

Directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot, the film centers around Diana (Gadot), princess of Themiscyra, a hidden island populated by Amazons and led by Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen). After saving American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) from crash landing, she gets exposed to the bloody reality of World War I. Thinking that Ares, the God of War, is behind all of this, Diana leads Trevor back to London and hunts Ares, whose death would stop all the hate and fear of the Great War…she believes.

Gal Gadot delivers as Princess Diana. Just one look at her and you’ll agree that she is truly a princess. Her portrayal in this film is much more naive and innocent compared to her previous portrayal. This is totally different from her firm and worn-out character in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Once the action starts, she reminds us how we liked every second of her in BvS. It is very obvious, however, that she still needs to train her acting skills. There were key emotional moments in the film which did not hit its mark because she can’t deliver the emotions.

The film is so different in style compared to the other three DCEU films. The humor is much more natural. It does not feel forced (Suicide Squad) or too out of place (BvS). Much of the humor is provided by Chris Pine and Lucy Davis, who portrays Trevor’s secretary Etta Candy. The shots are definitely more colorful than the other films. One look at Themiscyra and you will agree that it is indeed a Paradise Island.

I also love how they revealed Wonder Woman’s costume. They teased the costume multiple times, but when it was time to show it…BOOM! I was actually trying to reach out to Gal Gadot… It feels like the time I watched 2014 Godzilla.

The action pieces were also amazing to watch. There were three big action sequences and a few smaller ones scattered around the film. It felt raw, powerful, yet graceful at the same time. However, it has too much slow-mo. It came to the point that I was reminded of 2014 The Legend of Hercules, a movie with horrible and lazy use of slow-mo.

I also like the easter eggs and shoutout to past DC films/properties. My personal favorite was the 1978 Superman reference.

Though a lot of people I know (and reviews I read) does not like the last part where it centered on love (as a theme), I personally like it. In fact, I cried when Wonder Woman had a short speech on how love is the only cure for the problems of mankind. It is a heartwarming callback to creator William Moulton Marston’s original idea for the character. After playing a lot of Injustice and Injustice 2, it is such a pleasure to see a loving Diana again.

However, much like the three DCEU films that preceded it, this film still has a problem regarding pacing. If the MCU has a problem with its villains and, as of late, overuse of its humor, DCEU seems to have a problem with its pacing. I understand it is an origin story, but some scenes could have been cut short (not removed, to be clear). The film could have been 20 minutes shorter.

Also, though I said it was an MCU problem, the antagonists of the film is too underdeveloped. Screen time is at a low for the bad guys. Thus, it gave us little to nothing to understand their motivation. We simply know that they are…evil.

SPOILER ALERT

Lastly, I do now know if it was a coincidence or purposefully done, but a blonde soldier named Steve riding a dangerous plane that could destroy a city/country and sacrificing himself in the process sounds too Captain America: The First Avenger to me.

Wonder Woman is a film that exceeded expectations. It brought the DCEU back to its knees. Though it still has the ever-present pacing issues, this film is truly the best DCEU film so far. Justice League has a lot to live up to…because Wonder Woman is indeed…

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

“The worst pirate we’ve heard of” returns in the fifth installment of the franchise.

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If The Fast and the Furious can get 8 movies, then Pirates of the Caribbean can do so as well. In its latest addition to the franchise, Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush welcome new characters portrayed by Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, and Kaya Scodelario.

Five years after On Stranger Tides, Captain Jack Sparrow is down on his luck; he lost his crew, his ship, and a sense of purpose. Imprisoned, he meets Henry Turner (Thwaites), the son of William Turner (Orlando Bloom), who asks for his assistance in retrieving the Trident of Poseidon and informs him that Captain Salazar (Bardem) and his cursed Spanish crew are coming their way to kill him. With the help of the intelligent Carina Smyth (Scodelario) and Jack’s old pirate crew, they sail away in search of the infamous artifact.

Though this is the first movie in the franchise not to feature Hans Zimmer’s music, the soundtrack is still beautiful to listen to. The main theme still has remnants of the past theme, yet it is still fresh.

Both Thwaites and Scodelario are effective as solo characters. Their own character arcs are well-motivated and relatable. Their romance sub-plot, however, feels forced and is just a bootleg version of Will Turner-Elizabeth Swann.

Captain Salazar has the motivation of almost all Pirates bad guys, but Bardem manages to make it feel personal. His Captain Ahab-level obsession to kill Sparrow has lead to his demises (yeah, plural). There were time when I had a hard time understanding him though.

Johnny Depp has portrayed the character for over 14 years (sometimes in Disneyland). Evident in the latter movies, Jack Sparrow walks in a very thin line of being a parody or caricature of himself. The Curse of the Black Pearl portrayal has always been my favorite.

The story in itself is nothing new. Change a few character names and artifact names here and there, and you soon realize you’re basically watching the same thing.

SPOILER ALERT

However, the scene between Barbossa (Rush) and Carina, who was revealed to be her long lost daughter, is completely surprising and emotional…or maybe I have a soft spot for father scenes/stories.

Also, despite appearing to be the last movie in the franchise, the post-credits scene at the end tells us otherwise.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales features the same story with minute differences. Let us all hope that the next movie ends this franchise with a satisfying bang because Dead Men Tell No Tales is…

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Bliss Movie Review

Jerrold Tarog delves into the bad side of dreams in his latest psycho-thriller…

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Along with the likes of Ian Veneracion and TJ Trinidad, Iza Calsado stars in Bliss, a psycho-thriller movie where everything seems uncertain.

Actress Jane Ciego (Calsado) stars as Abigail in her latest movie, Bliss. Due to a freak accident on set, she is left bedridden in a faraway house. Despite the attempts of her husband Carlo (TJ Trinidad) to calm her down, Jane becomes suspicious of her true condition in the house. Her creepy nurse Lilibeth (Adrienne Vergara) only increases her anxiety even more. As the movie progresses, twists, turns, and reveals only questioned the predicament she is in. Is everything real? Is it all a bad dream? Or is it something far worse?

The number one positive of the movie is its music. Thanks to director Tarog’s musical background, the music of the movie achieves in inserting suspense to the viewers’ minds. Once the music hits, you expect nasty things to come up.

Iza Calsado’s portrayal of Jane/Abigail is amazing. It is entertaining to watch her slow descent to madness.

But here we go…

The biggest issues I had with the movie are its slow pacing and poor storytelling.

This is a slowburn movie. And with slowburn movies, you got to have a big payoff. Examples of good slowburn movies are UnbreakableSplit, and Predestination. The pacing of these films are slow, but the rewards at the end make it all worth it…just like courting the love of your life. In Bliss, the so-called “payoff’ at the end weighs almost nothing due to the poor storytelling of the movie.

SPOILER ALERT

Even the best horror, psychological, or thriller films use the first minutes of its duration to set up the world of the story. Sometimes, the first act will take up a third of the story. This lets the viewers have a sense of the average life of the characters. So…when the suspense hits the fan (or in this case, the question of whether everything’s real or not), the viewers would be as scared/anxious/confused as the characters. But the viewers will never be scared/anxious/confused in this movie, because the movie constantly reminds you that it is all in Jane’s head! From Carlo’s scenes in the hospital to director Lexter Palao’s (Audie Gemora) interview with the Reporter (Michael de Mesa), nothing is a secret; nothing is a mystery… That Lexter interview alone is enough to spoon-feed the audience to obesity.

Also, some unnecessary scenes should have been deleted! Obiously, the Lexter interview has got to go! Also, the sub-plot between Carlo and Jane’s assistant (Stephanie Sol) only wasted my time. A lot of scenes/minutes were invested in this sub-plot, but no payoff at all!

Lastly (and a bit nitpicky) is how TJ Trinidad suddenly shifts to English in his dialogue. Good scenes/line deliveries ended anticlimactically due to the sudden shift in language. Maybe it is his way of saying it?

Watching the trailer of Bliss gave me a lot of hope and expectations, but it was all taken away. Even with good actors, the movie extremely suffered from its poor storytelling. Without a doubt, this is…

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Luck at First Sight Movie Review

Luck and Fate play tag in director Dan Villegas’ latest rom-com flick.

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Directed by Dan Villegas (Walang Forever and English Only, Please), this movie shows the first pairing of Jericho Rosales and Bela Padilla in a rom-com.

Joma (Rosales), a struggling gambler, is down on his luck. His neighbors demand him to pay his debts; he has no money; and bad luck seems to follow him. Desperate, he bought a green marble that will help him find his life charm. This leads him to meet Diane (Padilla), a woman who manages his sick father’s drugstore. Due to possibly luck, everytime Joma and Diane touch each other, good luck (particularly money) comes knocking. They used their good luck to win gambles and make money. There is only one rule though… If they want the good luck to continuously prosper, they should not fall in love with each other.

First, let me tell you about what I like about this movie. There is obvious chemistry between Jericho Rosales and Bela Padilla. Their interactions and “falling in love” scenes are cliche, true…But it still manages to be organic because of the movie’s two stars. Jericho Rosales has proved that even at his age (even joked at the film), he is still a heartthrob and a good partner to any star. Also, I love it when he acts like a desperate gambler. It is pitiful and pathetic at the same time.

The scene stealers of the show have to be Kate (Kim Molina) and Boggs (Cholo Baretto), who portrayed Diane’s cousin and Joma’s cousin, respectively. They provided most of the comic relief.

However, the movie suffers a lot of problems.

First, it is plagued with rom-com cliches. Even with a relatively new concept (life charm), the story depends heavily with methods used a hundred times in rom-coms. In fact, an equation such as “gambler with lots of debts+woman with sick father+life charm+rule about not falling in love=this movie” left little to the imagination. The story unraveled the way I expect it to be. Scenes went by the way I expect it to be. There was a formula, and the filmmakers followed it religiously.

BUT, the last scene of the movie may have went to a better ending (once you get to know the main characters), but sadly it decided to go to the comfortable ending. It was pretty much a downer for me.

SPOILER ALERT

Second, an established characteristic of Joma was thrown out the window in the last 30 minutes of the movie: his bad luck in gambling… It would not make sense for him to suddenly be that good in gambling. If he was that good in gambling, then he does not need Diane in the first place, and that would only contradict the very set-up of this movie. Though it lazily explains why (THE POWER OF LOVE), that only raises new questions! Why hasn’t Joma’s “love” for his family/abandoned home not enough to give him this amazing gambling skills? Does it have to be sexual love for it to work? It’s like that Frozen plothole again…

Lastly (though it is a bit nitpicky), Jeric Raval was underutilized in this movie. Instead of Thou Reyes, he could have been the film’s antagonist. I have to be clear though…Thou Reyes is actually an entertaining antagonist in this movie.

Luck at First Sight suffers from cliche, cliche, and most importantly cliche, and only the incredible chemistry of its actors managed to save this from being a bore and a cringe fest. This is…

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Kong: Skull Island Film Review

King Kong is sick and tired of these stupid @$$ humans in his stupid @$$ island!

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Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, Kong: Skull Island is the second installment in Legendary and Warner Bros’ MonsterVerse, a cinematic universe where Godzilla, King Kong, and other kaijus exist. With an ensemble cast featuring Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, and John C. Reilly, this film features the second monster in the upcoming 2020 showdown.

Monarch senior official Bill Rana (Goodman) hires tracker James Conrad (Hiddleston), photographer Mason Weaver (Larson), and a helicopter squadron led by Preston Packard (Jackson) to journey to the mysterious Skull Island, a place where gargantuan monsters live. One big problem though… Only Rana knows about the monsters part…

The biggest (get it?) positive I can give to this movie is the action sequences whenever King Kong is on screen. You can truly feel the aggression and the ferocity of each blow and stomp. King Kong is menacing!

Do you know who else is menacing in this film? Samuel L. Jackson! The moment he locked eyes with Kong is one of the best scenes in the film. His character slowly loses his rational thinking and, much like Moby Dick‘s Captain Ahab, falls to a state of insanity and obsession.

The way the human characters get picked on one by one is also a pretty sight. A new set of monsters means a new way to die. However, it was predictable when it will happen. After the first two deaths, the film gave us a pattern that tells us it is about to happen.

The monster designs do not seem original. Of course, I’m not talking about Kong. The big bad monster looks like the creatures chasing you in Temple Run.

I can’t help but compare Kong to 2014 Godzilla. One of my biggest issue with Kong is that he does not feel that big. Perhaps, it is due to the way his scenes were shot. True, most of Kong’s shots were beside a mountain, but there’s something different in Godzilla‘s cinematography which makes it feel like you’re really looking at the King of Monsters.

Also, it is quite a waste not to use Toby Kebbell as the mo-cap actor for Kong. To use him as Packard’s second in command could have been okay, but the film decided he’s just a random cannon fodder to the Skullcrawlers.

The main cast, for most of the film’s run, stayed the same. There was no big character changing moment for them. Conrad and Weaver may have decided to protect Kong at the end, but they already had doubts and questions since the mission briefing.

Kong: Skull Island is an enjoyable film with awesome King Kong scenes and good action. Also, that post-credit scene had me sold on the MonsterVerse franchise. However, it suffers from predictability and lack of character development. Therefore, this is…

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Saban’s Power Rangers Movie Review

The colorful gang of teenage superheroes returns after 22 years since the first movie.

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After almost two decades since its conception, the Power Rangers franchise aims to relive its glory days in the form of a reboot.However, since its announcement, its biggest opponent is ironically the extremely heavy nostalgia fans of the original have.

The story follows the typical Power Rangers plot. A group of five teenagers (with real attitude) are recruited to be trained as the next generation of Power Rangers, an intergalactic force assigned to protect the Zeo Crystals. However, Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks), the rogue Green Ranger of the previous generation, aims to steal the Zeo Crystals for her own nefarious reasons.

A movie about a group of teenagers, whether or not it is a CGI fest or an indie, relies heavily on the chemistry among the characters. I had doubts at the start of the movie because the reason why they all met is such a fortunate coincidence. But as the story progresses, the group starts to be organic, which is one of the main reasons why the original MMPR worked so well.

Bryan Cranston as Zordon is a big gift for Power Rangers fans. Cranston used to do voice work as some of the monsters in MMPR. Apha 5 (Bill Hader) is not as annoying as I remember (haha); however, I still need to adjust to his new design. Rita Repulsa is more vicious as ever! Off-screen murder and a jaw attached to her staff made me realize this will not be that cheesy Rita.

The moment when the Zords are charging to Rita’s location just gave me such an energetic fanboy moment. The original Power Rangers theme will always have a place in my heart.

I’m having a on-again/off-again relationship with the movie’s soundtrack. There are some moments were the music does not fit the scene; there are some moments where it’s just perfect (Bootstraps’ Stand By Me).

The fight scenes were shot too close and in shaky cam. It’s too hard to focus on the action if the movie itself won’t focus on it. The scene where they fight Rita’s putty monsters lost the grand scale it should have because the cameras focused on the Rangers rather than the situation they are in.

Also, the fight between the MegaZord and Goldar felt nearly nothing. Sure, the “Zords Combine to make Megazord” shot is awesome, but the fight itself feels extremely slow. I believe the filmmakers took their cue on Pacific Rim, but the way it was delivered was painful. (SPOILER) add the fact that Goldar was mainly defeated because of a German Suplex….

Lastly, it pains me to see that what should have been a normal Krispy Kreme product placement turned into a pivotal part of the plot. During the climax, when one of the Rangers commanded to never let Goldar reach Krispy Kreme, I absolutely cringed.

Power Rangers is a film built on nostalgia but has managed to present something new. Despite its stars’ chemistry and amazing costume designs, the film is loaded with problems in its action sequences and a blatant product placement. This is …

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Beauty and the Beast Film Review

Disney continues to pull the “Let’s Make It Live-Action” lever…

This time, it’s one of the films of the Disney Renaissance in the 90s.

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After Alice in WonderlandCinderella, Maleficent, and The Jungle Book, Disney hires director Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Dreamgirls, and …strangely… the last two Twilight movies) to helm the live-action remake of the 1991 classic Beauty and the Beast. With an ensemble featuring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in starring roles and Luke Evans, Ewan McGregor, Josh Gad, Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson, and Ian McKellen in supporting roles, the 2017 version has a lot to live up to from its 1991 older brother.

The film follows 90% of the 1991 film. Honestly, I won’t tell it anymore because the story is such a classic.

One of the things I like about the film is that it added/fixed some plot questions/blunders/scenes from the original 1991 version. How come the villagers have no idea of their former rulers? Why are the pieces of furniture still friendly to Beast? LeFou’s character development is a welcome addition. Whether or not his sexuality affected his character arc/film itself is not important (at least for me). Also, the addition of his line in The Mob Song just made both LeFou and the song better.

Of course, Emma Watson and Dan Stevens gave their all. Emma Watson is truly a beauty in this film (you know… Belle), and Dan Stevens managed to give us a voice that is almost similar to the 1991 version (credits to the post-production team too). The chemistry between the two is very evident. The tandem of Lumiere and Cogsworth (Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen, respectively) feels so natural.

The songs were phenomenal as well. As I said, this remake will be heavily compared to its 1991 version, which won multiple awards (ie. songs and score). New lines were added; new songs were introduced. All of it went seamlessly, and we are lucky to listen.

I have three issues with the film though. First, there are some scenes which the green screen is VERY obvious. It takes away the magic of the moment. Second, the character of Agathe the Enchantress (Hattioe Morahan) is really unnecessary. I mean, obviously the first scene is important, but the rest of her scenes can be removed and it would not affect the plot at all. Lastly, the fight between Gaston (Luke Evans) and Beast was better in the 1991 version. The 2017 fight was too short and did not feel personal at all. In the 1991 version, you feel Gaston digesting every moment he bludgeons Beast. 2017 Gaston using a gun doesn’t work for me. When you saw 1991 Gaston stab Beast deeply, you truly feel his obsession.

Beauty and the Beast captured the essence of the 1991 original. It has great performances from all of the cast, but it is simply a live-adaptation remake of a 1991 animated film that is debatably better. So… this film is…

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