Review: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

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“We have to stop her here and now, and prevent Ragnarok, the end of everything! So I’m putting together a team.”
– Thor

SYNOPSIS: Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok, the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization, at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. – via IMDB

Well, it’s no real secret that I haven’t enjoyed a single Thor movie so far. They aren’t terrible (who am I kidding, what was that Dark World kak?!), they are just… wasted potential. Seriously, all that lore and everything to work with and we got the two movies we did? Oh well. However, then Taika Waitit directed Team Thor, and I had a renewed interest. The man’s brand of humour appeals to me, and the short made me laugh. We all know I love his other work, so how would it go when he took over the reigns of a massive Marvel production?

In a word? Great. Really. Waititi breathed life into an Avenger that really needed it. Two, actually, because one cannot forget the Hulk in this one. Hemsworth is way more comfortable than ever before in his return as the Son of Odin, and he works so well with Mark Ruffalo, so easy and comfortable. Jeff Goldblum has an absolute ball as  Grandmaster, and Tom Hiddleston is, as always, supremely entertaining as Loki. Hemsworth and Hiddleston play together well, too, and continue to impress us with their hilariously dysfunctional relationship.

The humour is, as I was hoping, top notch. It’s hilarious, and there were a few scenes my husband and I laughed so hard at we went back to rewatch them a few times (Thor’s explanation of the dirty snake trick Loki played on him when they were eight and Loki and Thor with their “get help” skit are prime examples). It truly had me laughing. I have to admit, Korg (Waititi) had me in stitches a few times, what a character!

Thor: Ragnarok is more than just silly entertainment and solid humour though, and it must be noted that the movie looks great and has some solid effects, which I enjoyed a lot. The colours I truly loved, as it just fit the whole vibe of the movie. The soundtrack, too, works all the way through. This is not to say that the movie is without flaws. I, for once, could have done without the whole Doctor Strange bit, as I seriously felt it did not advance the narrative in any way, and was just there to fill time. I was also not a particular fan of Tessa Thompson in this, though eventually you warm up to her a little more.

All in all, I found Thor: Ragnarok to be a highly entertaining, funny film that just goes ahead and does what it wants, and it works so well. It doesn’t matter what you do/do not know about the MCU, you can still enjoy this regardless of.

Rapid Review: In The Heart Of The Sea (2015)

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in the heart of the sea poster

“We were headed for the edge of sanity… like we were aberrations, phantoms. Trust gave way to doubt. Hope to superstition.”
– Old Thomas Nickerson

SYNOPSIS: A recounting of a New England whaling ship’s sinking by a giant whale in 1820, an experience that later inspired the great novel Moby-Dick. – via IMDB

in the heart of the sea

GRADE 7Right off the bat, I must admit that I never read Moby Dick. Yes. There, I said it. I finally got around to seeing this, though. I was expecting a wasted, pointless film ultimately, because reviews came back less than favourable, although not scathing. Personally, I found the movie to be entertaining and engrossing, even though there were flaws. I think the biggest drawback to the film is that the cast is not utilised as well as it could be, so many of the cast members and their characters are grossly underused. I was, however, a fan of Melville getting the story from Nickerson, and creating Moby Dick from there. The film explores some of the darker, nastier things about surviving while shipwrecked that far out, and this is done really well. Just thinking about the lengths that these men had to go to to survive is just something else. Hemsworth delivers a solid performance, and Cillian Murphy is, as always, well worth watching. I’d watch him anywhere though. The cast works well together to spin the story of a whaling ship, desperate to get enough oil to return home, crazy enough to take on a monstrous whale and pay the cost. Not only that, the interpersonal relationships between them were also well done, fraught with politics, friendship, competition, and status. Visually, In The Heart of the Sea is stunning to look at, though this is something I did expect, if we are being honest. The costumes, the settings, everything looked good. I do feel, however, that the movie did play things very safe, but I was engrossed from the off, and my husband thoroughly enjoyed it, too, which I actually didn’t expect. It gets to emotional places that are sad, don’t get me wrong, but never pack the raw punch you are holding out for. Overall, In The Heart of the Sea is worth the watch, a film that I enjoyed watching and can recommend.

March Blind Spot Review: Rush (2013)

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rush poster

“The closer you are to death, the more alive you feel. It’s a wonderful way to live. It’s the only way to drive.”
– James Hunt

SYNOPSIS: The merciless 1970s rivalry between Formula One rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda. – via IMDB

rush 2013

GRADE 8So I finally got to Rush, which is strange seeing as I was such a huge F1 junkie in my teens. Anyway, finally getting to it I can see why it is considered to be a solid film for the genre, and I didn’t even watch this one for science because nobody appeals to me on that level. I watched this for the story and for those cars and those racetracks. YES. Rush was incredibly well executed. When it opened with roaring F1 engines and rain and stoplights and all I knew I was sold – goosebumps! Simple as that. The performances from both Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl were fantastic. Brühl dominated in how he presented Lauda to us. He was difficult, cheeky, dedicated and intelligent. In fact, he was damn near a genius. He knew what he wanted and he went out for it. I loved how he reasoned about things (the twenty percent risk thing) and how he didn’t care too much if he was liked or not, as long as he was respected. I liked him from the off because he was upfront and blunt and honest about who he was, he hid behind nothing. I was impressed with what he brought to the table. I have never disliked him, I have always found him a decent actor, but this showcases that he can carry a lead role without any issues and was captivating every second he was on screen. I am hoping to see much more of him. Hemsworth, on the other hand, portrayed the party boy exceptionally well. He went from fun and games to a total twat within an hour (which could be seen coming), but he redeemed himself, too.  I thought the more dramatic role was more impressive for him than most things I have seen him in, showing that he is more than just the man that half the globe wants to bed. Hemsworth and Brühl worked wonders alongside one another, and complemented each other every step of the way. I had myself a personal cheering moment when Hunt gave that paparazzi reporter/douche a fat smack because seriously, who do you think you are asking someone if his wife will stick around because half his face was burnt off? It seems this film appealed to a wider audience than I would have expected, and I had a good time with it. Rush was shot beautifully, and it looked really fancy. I liked the focus on the racing and the driving, and yet it was perfectly balanced by what was happening off the track. It was never solely about the guys and never solely about the cars. There were quite a few scenes where I had myself a good laugh (most notably that break down in the middle of nowhere with Lauda and Marlene), and I loved the way the racing was done – the scenes were exhilarating. The competition between Lauda and Hunt was blown totally out of proportion, and I thought it was petty and childish at the same time, and it cost them both a lot, but it also shaped them. I am sure a lot of this was dramatised and glamourised for the screen, but I found it to be a worthwhile watch. I know I have spoken a lot about the performances, but I really think they are the biggest selling points of the film, in all honesty.

Review: Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

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snow white and the huntsman poster

“Do you hear that? It’s the sound of battles fought and lives lost. It once pained me to know that I am the cause of such despair, but now their cries give me strength. Beauty is my power.”
– Queen Ravenna

Snow White (Raffey Cassidy) is born to her beautiful mother, Queen Eleanor (Liberty Ross), and father King Magnus (Noah Huntley). Her mother passes while Snow White is a young girl, and her father cannot bear to deal with her death. Soon, he fights a war against a Dark Army and a young and beautiful captive is taken in. King Magnus falls in love with Ravenna (Charlize Theron) and her absolute beauty and weds her the next day. Unceremoniously she usurps the throne when she murders her new husband and lets an army through the kingdom gates. The war she began she will now finish. The city is butchered, and Snow White does not make it out. Her best friend William (Xavier Atkins) and his father Duke Hammond (Vincent Regan) make it out, but cannot go back for her. Ravenna orders her brother Finn (Sam Spruell) to lock Snow White away in the northern tower of the castle. The Kingdom of Tabor wastes away under the cruel new queen’s rule.

queen ravenna

“I shall give this wretched world the queen it deserves.” – Queen Ravenna

Snow White (Kristen Stewart) grows into a beautiful young woman who agonizes over the incredible amounts of pain of her past. The injustice she has suffered at the hands of her stepmother Ravenna, the evil sorceress, is just terrible.  One day an opportunity presents itself when Finn comes to collect Snow White and bring her to Ravenna. Ravenna consulted her Magic Mirror and found that she is no longer the fairest of the kingdom, and that to make her immortal she will have to kill Snow White and consume her heart, or else Snow White will be Ravenna’s downfall. Snow White escapes into the Dark Forest, where she becomes lost to Ravenna’s pursuers. In a rage, Ravenna calls upon Eric the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to navigate the Dark Forest and recover Snow White. When he refuses, she promises to bring back his dead wife for whom he so desperately pines and he is quickly sold on the idea of bringing her back.

snow white and the huntsman

“I would rather die than live another day in this death!” – Snow White

He soon finds Snow White in the Forest, though she is reluctant to come with. In the argument that ensues when Eric wants to know that Ravenna will keep her word, he learns that she was going to betray him, have him killed seeing as though she is powerful, even she cannot raise the dead. In a rage he escapes with Snow White, whom he soon wants to get rid of seeing as he has no idea who she is. She soon persuades him that she is worth something and that he will be rewarded handsomely for protecting her and brining her safely to Duke Hammond. Snow White’s childhood friend William (Sam Claflin) has just learned that she is still alive, and informs his father that he will not desert her again and leaves to join Finn’s crew of bandits that are theoretically supposed to be bringing Snow White in for Ravenna.

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“You have eyes, Huntsman, but you do not see. You, who have been with her the longest. She is life itself. She will heal the land. She is the one. ” – Muir

A new hope seems to be spreading throughout the Kingdom of Tabor, and it all seems to be attributed to Snow White’s escape. Snow White and the Huntsman have met a group of dwarves on their way to Duke Hammond’s castle, and soon they build their own little party. One of the dwarves, Muir (Bob Hoskins), informs them that Snow White is the true Princess, and that she alone is able to end Ravenna’s dark and evil reign. Snow White will have to go head to head with Ravenna and defeat her. Will Snow White rise up and step into the role of conqueror? Will she be able to reclaim her father’s lost kingdom? Will William find Snow White and win over hear heart? Will Snow White and Eric the Huntsman make it to Duke Hammond’s castle?

A 5.5/10 for Snow White and the Huntsman. I haven’t ever really given a lot of thought to watching this movie, though I reckon it was about time to see if Kristen Stewart would change her expression once and whether Chris Hemsworth will forevermore rock that big, manly and aggressive character. So to report, nothing has changed. While Kristen Stewart is the joke at the expense of many people (yes, I am one of them), she is not a dreadful actress per se, it is just her facial expressions are majorly lacking, and sometimes that is unhelpful when attempting to convey an emotion. Like when the dwarf dies and she cries, there is no real heartbreak there, though Hemsworth gives the scene some emotion. I suppose it is a good thing then that she gets the haughty roles where she is not expected to have a vast acting range, just enough to keep the story and character going. Chris Hemsworth embraced his character’s story, and it was a sad one, too. I am not a Charlize Theron fan at all but I really think that she was excellent to play Ravenna, and kept the role interesting. I thought the way that the Mirror was done was bloody brilliant, and it just looked stunning when that gold seeped from the Mirror, flowed upward and into the Mirror Man that Ravenna held so dearly. Sam Spruell was sufficiently disgusting to play her brother, and really was absolutely nasty. I was not particularly fond of the battle fought or the ending, and how that bloody three-way relationship (that is so damn popular for whatever ridiculous reason) went down. It wasn’t precisely strongly written or sufficiently explained; it was just thrown in there and not really worked out. There was supposed to be humour in here though I missed a lot of it (yep, very hard to please), and there was drama. The fairy utopia that Snow White and her party went to was absolutely beautiful, and carried the air of beauty and utter perfection and total peace, so that was nice to check out. Not the greatest film, though definitely not so bad it deserves all the super hate it gets.

Review: The Cabin In The Woods (2011)

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The Cabin In The Woods Poster

“An army of nightmares, huh? Let’s get this party started.”
– Dana

SYNOPSIS: Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin, where they get more than they bargained for, discovering the truth behind the cabin in the woods. – via IMDB

 

I liked it, I really did. The end might have been a bit extreme, but it all makes sense if you have watched it all. Definitely not your average or stereotypical horror, though that is naturally your first impression when you see the friends, the road trip, the cabin. I mean, let’s face it, how many movies have we seen go down that very path? This, however, was very refreshing. I have got to give Marty props for the coffee cup bong, apparently weed saves lives. But on a more serious note, it was nice, it had a better twist than I have seen in a while, and all these things deserve mention and merit. I was a bit surprised to see Chris Hemsworth in a role like this, but no worries, it was not too distracting to see him this far out of what he normally does. It was also damn funny at times, and though it was predictable at places (typical horror scenes, but the plot twist was not as foreseeable)  the film was exactly what it needed to be: entertaining. The movie was only just over an hour and a half, but for some reason it felt longer to me, though not in the bad oh-my-soul-it-is-never-going-to-end kind of way. At first glance, the ending seems a bit disappointing, but in retrospect it was actually exactly how the film needed to end, wrapping everything up pretty neatly. I would recommend watching The Cabin In The Woods, a nice twist and bags of fun.

Review: The Avengers (2012) – Overhyped and underwhelming

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The following statement will be deemed heresy by the firm believers in the franchise, the fans and my friends: I was seriously underwhelmed by The Avengers.

I heard about it for months. It was everywhere. I did not see it in theatre, although many of my friends did and went back repeatedly. I was not that desperate to see it, I would wait for the DVD release, after all, The Dark Knight Rises was my extreme freak-out superhero movie for the year.

Just before the release of The Avengers, I rewatched all the movies pertaining to what would become the crime fighting squad. I own both Iron Man movies (big time Robert Downey, Jr junkie, I love his work), and started with them. I progressed to Captain America: The First Avenger, and I was duly impressed (aside from the fact that I am still trying to reconcile Chris Evans being both Johnny Storm and Steve Rogers – I sort of expected to hear “flame on” come up somewhere) with the role that Chris Evans portrayed. He was what I would have expected for a Captain America, and he aced it. It was believable. The movie was entertaining. Then there was Thor. I really like Norse mythology, so this promised to be a treat. Not really. It was ok.

Hulk out

Superhero movies so often fall short of the mark. They are alright to a point, and sometimes are not even semi-decent. Of all the movies, I skipped The Hulk. I watched the Eric Bana one when it was released, and I was not thrilled about it, but I refuse to subject myself to watching Edward Norton do it (I respect him far too much to watch the flawed logic of a brilliant scientist go daft when he hulks out). My friends keep telling me it is not so bad, and a friend’s father, who is big into his comic books and especially the Hulk, said that Edward Norton was definitely worth seeing in that film. Aside from that, I was now ready for The Avengers.

THE PLOT (very roughly):

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), S.H.I.E.L.D. director, gathers a group of crime fighters together when Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his followers decide to invade Earth. Loki has teamed up with the Chitauri Army, and have stolen the Tesseract to open portals to Earth. Loki starts up with some mind control of a crazy different level, and S.H.I.E.L.D. soon realizes that the Avengers might be the only way to survive it all.

Thor and CoulsonThe Avengers Initiative is back on track, and Norse god Thor (Chris Hemsworth) meets with the rest of the freshly assembled team: Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is Iron Man, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) is the Hulk, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is Captain America, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johannson) is Black Widow, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) is Hawkeye. They meet to stop his stepbrother’s insane plans.

Despite all their differences and separate ways of dealing with things, the group needs to band together to stop Thor’s stepbrother Loki from taking over the world. They would be doomed should it happen. Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) is slightly overwhelmed to have the entire team together, as he is fans of most of theirs. Loki is intent on destroying Earth in the most public and humiliating way – to have the people become his slaves, and though Nick Fury has gathered them all together, the Avengers project seems dead in the water before takeoff has even been established.

Iron Man and Captain America

When the ages just don’t correspond

Loki is brought into custody, and plans go awry when Thor is convinced that he can reason with his brother, and talk him out of the disaster he is setting them all up for. Many things would (naturally) go wrong, nothing can be as simple as someone wanting to take over Earth and just quickly apprehending the traitor. A death in the unit brings the members closer, and gives them a common goal to fight for. Together they work on their strong points and try to work out the bad points, leading them to becoming a great unit of heroes.

Thor and Captain America the Avengers

Fighting for Earth

Earth has long since needed saviours such as the Avengers, but now is the time. Loki holds the key to closing the portal to ensure his defeat: his staff. Manhattan is in danger of being permanently eradicated due to Loki’s presence within it. Will the Avengers be able to stand up to him, to defeat him without bloodshed, and restore  Earth back to its calm and peaceful ways?

THE VERDICT:

Overall, I give it a 6.5/10. You know, I got home, all excited. It was time. I was going to have my mind blown. I was going to be super impressed. I was not. I was not pulled into the movie to that extreme at all. The cast was solid and phenomenal, the story was pretty much non-existent, and there were inexplicable inconsistencies with the story lines. The humour was, however, entertaining (at times, when it was not too childish), the effects were good, but that was it. It is not a dreadful movie, not by a long shot, but I cannot comprehend why people went so ballistic about it. I did, however, think that Mark Ruffalo played the best Hulk I have ever really seen on film, so well done. I don’t think I would have been as disappointed had it not been called the movie of the decade, best thing this year, blah blah blah. It was overplayed, that is all there really is to say about it. I thought The Dark Knight Rises was way better, and not just because I am a fan, but because it was way more consistent.