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.

Review: Zodiac (2007)

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zodiac poster

“I… I need to stand there, I need to look him in the eye and I need to know that it’s him.”
– Robert Graysmith

SYNOPSIS: A serial killer in the San Francisco Bay Area taunts police with his letters and cryptic messages. We follow the investigators and reporters in this lightly fictionalized account of the true 1970’s case as they search for the murderer, becoming obsessed with the case. Based on Robert Graysmith’s book, the movie’s focus is the lives and careers of the detectives and newspaper people. – via IMDB

zodiac

GRADE 10This movie is absolutely brilliant. I loved it when it came out, I loved it in subsequent rewatches, and I still love it. Why? Because it is put together extremely well, the cast carrying this show is fantastic, and it looks amazing. There is really just too much to love about this and not anything to seriously complain about.

Jake Gyllenhaal never disappoints (seriously bestie, you must watch more of his work) and his Robert Graysmith is really interesting to watch, like a dog with a bone. Robert Downey Jr. is excellent as prick crime reporter Paul Avery, and showcases how he really has more talent than just Tony Stark/Iron Man. I really miss when he used to take real other roles. The final big player here is Mark Ruffalo, and I always enjoy watching the man in anything. His detective character David Toschi is also a big draw, and I really like how these three characters each had their own obsession, they all danced around one another, were all similar but completely different. I think the movie really runs home the point of obsession, and how it interacts with everyday life, which is very interesting. Not only that, the movie is obviously shot phenomenally because, well, David Fincher.

The script it also tight, laying out all the pieces of evidence you need in the case of the terrifying Zodiac killer, who freaked people out beyond anything, even though he was never caught. I think that Robert Graysmith did a great job of investigating and seriously has the strongest case stacked against Arthur Leigh Allen. Zodiac is engrossing and mesmerising and demands your attention throughout, and barrels along at such a pace that you are not left behind, but are gripped, and does not allow your attention to wander for even a moment.

You cannot miss that immense amounts of work, interest and passions that went into the film, everything from costume design to the sets that were done, and reading up on the trivia for it, all this is confirmed. I have not read Graysmith’s book, but I will most certainly be looking into it as soon as possible. If you have not seen Zodiac, it is high time you rectify that.

Rapid Review: Just Like Heaven (2005)

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just like heaven poster

“I shouldn’t be seeing a little blonde control freak.”
– David Abbott

SYNOPSIS: Elizabeth Masterson is a dedicated, workaholic doctor who is way to busy for a life. One night, she gets into a horrible car accident and becomes a spirit stuck between heaven and earth. She doesn’t know she’s dead and thinks nothing has happened until she meets David Abbott, a lonely architect, who rents her old apartment. David thinks he’s crazy by seeing Elizabeth’s spirit and tries all ways to get rid of her, but she just won’t go away. Although the two are complete opposites they somehow may just form a relationship. – via IMDB

just like heaven faintingjust like heaven kis

GRADE 6.5I don’t know why and I cannot explain it, but this is one of those little closet guilty pleasures for me once every few years. I liked this because as much as it border on cliché at times, it manages to bear itself over rather well. There were highly amusing scenes in this film, and who knew Napoleon Dynamite would graduate, talk a little more, and get involved with all things spiritual? I have a real soft spot for Mark Ruffalo, and I am always really happy when I get to see him in films, I think he is talented and underrated. He’s adorable in here, but not in that I-want-to-retch soppy, romantic crap kind of way. He was quite nice. Now, there is nothing revolutionary about this plot, but instead of this frustrating you, it is sweet and draws you in, despite your very best intentions. If you take this too seriously, you are definitely going to hate it. Just embrace the cheese, and the silly plot between the two leads, and enjoy the humour and the way it takes shape, too. I can’t remember when last I saw Reese Witherspoon in something, another one of those actresses that was in just about every other movie years ago and just slipped away (with the exception of last year’s Wild). I enjoyed her and Ruffalo in here, her incessant need to control, and his insistence on getting on her last nerve. It’s sweet and it is shameless and corny to boot, but it all comes together rather well I suppose, especially seeing how it is following a tried and tested recipe. This one just manages it better than most. I think, however, this is still really more of a chick flick than anything, but it is fun and heartwarming, and certainly not the worst movie of the genre to spend time on.

Rapid Review: Now You See Me (2013)

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now you see me poster

“What is magic? Focused deception. But deception meant to entertain.”
– Daniel Atlas

SYNOPSIS: Four magicians each answer a mysterious summons to an obscure address with secrets inside. A year later, they are the Four Horsemen, big time stage illusionists who climax their sold out Las Vegas show with a bank apparently robbed for real. This puts agents Dylan Rhodes of the FBI and Alma Dray of Interpol on the case to find out how they did it. However, this mystery proves difficult to solve even with the insights of the professional illusion exposer, Thaddeus Bradley. What follows is a bizarre investigation where nothing is what it seems with illusions, dark secrets and hidden agendas galore as all involved are reminded of a great truth in this puzzle: the closer you look, the less you see. – via IMDB

now you see me

This is pretty much how the movie went…

GRADE 4You know, reviews for this movie were really mixed. I know my other half asked me a few months ago if we had this to watch, and I put on The Prestige instead, because he had never seen it and I personally feel it’s the best movie of the sort. Naturally, he was head over heels for it. So then recently we decided to finally get to this, which came in highly recommended from people around us. I was pretty neutral on seeing it. Let me tell you, that changed soon enough after starting it. What the hell?! I cannot express to you how disappointed I was. What a ridiculously talented cast, wasted. Completely. I felt that Dave Franco was insanely underused, too, not to mention that Michael Caine was such an important character who suddenly disappeared. You would have thought that Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg coming together again would be a good thing. The holes all over this movie were terrible, it was all just not working for me. The final act is truly what killed this movie for me, in my opinion. The first bit of it is fun, nothing too serious, just alright. Albeit that there is no character development or anything like that and the prerequisite that we don’t ask questions as to how these four magicians suddenly got huge and what they have been doing for the past year. It felt too much like it was trying to be a cross between the Ocean’s movies and something from The Prestige. I love all those movies, I just didn’t like the implementation here too much. I don’t know, there was just too much wrong with this movie for me to like it a lot. I don’t hate it, the first bit was fun, the debunking of the magic, watching the tricks, all that. I liked that aspect of it, because who doesn’t love to wonder a little when all magic is said and done? But then later it just dives. There’s this plot twist that just feels clunky and silly, and illusion gives way to real magic at the end (I don’t know – the cards????). The conclusion of the movie was absolutely freaking ridiculous for me, too. In what world is that how this was going to play out?! Also, something I had a major issue with is the sudden and abrupt cuts between scenes at the best of time, leaving you feeling flustered and confused. I know that my write up is a bit harsher than the score would reflect, but I cannot say that this was good, I cannot say that this was bad. I suppose halfway is about the right place to place this.  Meh, this had the potential to be so much more, but it just fell flat.

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.