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Incredibles 2 (2018)
A Solid, Worthy Sequel
It'd be an understatement to say I've been patiently waiting for this movie for over a decade. Incredibles 2 brings us back to the world set up by its amazing predecessor from 14 years ago. This one picks up right where the last left off and away it goes into a new adventure. The Parr's are just as fun as ever and we get to see them through an even closer lens this time.
These characters are simply awesome. Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Violet, Dash, and Jack Jack are all back and better than ever. Seeing them again made me realize how much I've missed this lovely family in action and even inside the house. Jack Jack is just precious in this one. While the first film deepens the relationship between the mother and the kids, the sequel instead does so with the father, and it's just as satisfying. Frozone and Edna are back too!
What Incredibles 2 does that is so praiseworthy is that it maintains who these characters are so well. Even after all these years, our heroes feel like themselves. The way they think, talk, and conduct themselves feels so natural. Also, the action is toned way up from the first and I loved it.
Where the movie falters a bit for me is with the villain. The way the villain ultimately reveals him/herself and his/her plan is unfortunately just too predictable from the start. I thought the script could have gone in certain directions to make the antagonist more compelling but it did not. The villain, however, does end up being very formidable, just like Syndrome.
Overall, Incredibles 2 proves to be a solid sequel and another blast to watch for all families. The characters don't seem to miss a beat and the action is simply great for an animated movie. No, it is not as good as The Incredibles from 2004 but it does have just as much heart, which is what is most important.
Incredibles 2 gets an A-.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
I'm Left Speechless (in the Good Way)
Avengers: Infinity War might just be the most insane movie I've ever seen. I'm literally left speechless coming out of this movie. The Russo Brothers have once again made a great Marvel film, this time on the biggest scale in MCU history. Basically every Avenger you've seen on screen is in this movie and it's pretty awesome.
There's a lot to love here. First, it was such a joy to see all the Avengers on screen together again. The comradery between all of them is great and the interaction between characters who meet for the first time is both hilarious and powerful. Second, Thanos is officially the best villain in the MCU. Killmonger was great but Thanos takes it to a while another level. This is by far the darkest Marvel movie and Thanos is the driving force behind it. Josh Brolin gives an amazing performance as Thanos, who is much more layered than I thought. Thanos made the stakes feel real, which is often a knock on the MCU, and he made the heroes feel a sense of real desperation that honestly seemed to lack in the other Avengers movies. The movie took great risks story-wise that will leave everyone thinking hard for a long, long time. What makes Infinity War stand out is the bold new directions it goes in, and it completely pays off. The way the movie wraps up will undoubtedly cause so much craze. I'm still flustered by what I saw. Even though the movie is so dark, the humor is great (again). As always, the action scenes and music are amazing.
However, no movie is perfect. There are so many characters in Infinity War and it easily succumbs to this throughout. The Russo's handled it as well as they could have I think, but the pacing and tone are really uneven at times, especially in the first hour. The movie jumps to so many different places and tones, and it felt way too fast. Also, some of the character decisions did not make sense and left me confused.
Overall, Avengers: Infinity War is another great addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The villain Thanos is the best and his impact on the heroes is ridiculously amazing. I really have no idea where Marvel goes from here going forward in all honesty, and that's a testament to how bold this movie is in its endeavors.
Avengers: Infinity War gets an A.
Black Panther (2018)
Long Live the King
Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler, tells the story of the new King T'Challa of Wakanda who must learn to handle the responsibilities of this title. Chadwick Boseman reprises his role as the Black Panther and goes up against his nemesis Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan.
Pros: Coogler has already proven himself to be an excellent director after movies like Fruitvale Station and Creed (both starring Jordan), but he showcases his full talents in Black Panther when given a huge budget to work with. The movie looks beautiful with bright lush colors. The soundtrack and musical score are also very good. At its heart, the movie's message is very profound and relevant to real world politics.
As expected, Boseman is awesome as T'Challa. His character goes through so much and his development throughout is handled perfectly. The best scenes of this movie are when he has to look within himself to find answers when the people he always trusted let him down. The cast in general has very good chemistry. T'Challa's relationship with his sister Shuri (Letiitia Wright) is very funny and it's easy to buy them as siblings. His relationship with his love Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) is even better. It would be criminal not to mention Danai Gurira and what she gives this movie from an action standpoint. Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger is without a doubt the best villain the MCU has presented so far. His motivations are so clear and his ideology directly challenges T'Challa's. He is physically and psychologically the perfect adversary for Black Panther.
Cons: The pacing of the movie is a bit odd. It moves pretty quickly until everything comes to a head at the very end. More time should have been spent in between to flesh out the side characters and let the emotions sink in. In addition, the action scenes are not among Marvel's best. The last battle between Panther and Killmonger in particular is pretty disappointing in all honesty. The CGI felt unfinished and they could have been cut together better.
Overall, Black Panther is a triumph for the MCU and its societal connotations. This is, in my opinion, the best origin movie that Marvel has made because of its amazing hero, great cast of role characters, and truly menacing villain.
Black Panther gets an A.
Controversies Aside, This is a Great Film
Padmaavat is Bhansali's latest movie and is about Sultan Alauddin Khilji's (Ranveer Singh) lust and pursuit of Queen Padmavati (Deepika Padukone), though she is already married to King Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor). This film was littered with controversies unfortunately, causing to have to be delayed till now. However, if you go into the movie with an empty mind, then I think you will most likely enjoy it.
This movie is beautiful to look at. The sets and costumes are gorgeous, the action sequences are tense, and the music is simply amazing. From a production standpoint, this movie is as close to perfect as you can get. Much credit to Bhansali and his team for this.
The performances are equally great. Ranveer Singh delivers his best performance of his career by far. He is Heath Ledger Joker-esque with the way he carried himself in the movie, truly becoming someone else on camera. Deepika Padukone, as usual, is excellent. Acting seems so effortless to her, and she sure as hell will garner much praise once again. Shahid Kapoor wasn't perfect but he did what he needed to do and he did it well. Everyone else was also fantastic.
My only negative is the pacing. The middle part of the movie just stalls compared to the fast moving beginning and end. It was a lot of slow dialogue and slow songs without much point of interest. It got pretty boring to be blunt. And this goes on for almost 40 minutes. Thowever, it thankfully speeds up into the riveting final act which is simply jaw-dropping.
Overall, I would say Padmaavat lives up to its immense hype. Technically it is a masterpiece, but the one weak point is some of the writing in the middle. The performances were very impressive as was the music.
Padmaavat gets an A-.
Check out my video review of the movie!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lQLO1nt84Y
Justice League (2017)
A Step in the Right Direction, But Still a Far Ways to Go
Justice League picks up after Batman v Superman, in a world in which Superman no longer exists. He is mourned and Steppenwolf pounces on this new vulnerability of Earth to achieve his evil plan.
As someone who was thoroughly disappointed in Batman v Superman, I didn't really know what to expect from this movie. But I can say Justice League is an overall fun time. The most important job this movie had to fulfill was to make the viewers buy into this team, and I think it was a success. This team functions really well as a unit. I enjoyed watching them fight together throughout. The team chemistry is rocky in the beginning but gradually improves throughout, as it should. Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman are all pretty cool characters and I can't wait to see more movies with them. The tone of this movie is also rather relaxed and lighter than usual, which is a pleasant surprise.
As for negatives, there are a lot but most of them can be overlooked. First and foremost, Steppenwolf continues the trend of these new DC movies and is not just bad, but awful as a villain. Never once did I fell he was a menacing villain. No development is given for him and he just shows up whenever he wants to. It just seems like the DC movies are whiffing on their villains and hoping the heroes can make up for their shortcomings, and that better not be the case once Darkseid is involved. Second, it's so blatantly obvious how much was edited here. The first half was much of a drag for me. The setup is handled sloppily, again because of the excessive editing. The action scenes, especially the finale, look like a giant video game. Another trend in Snyder movies, there is barely any regard for civilians. Honestly, I can pick this thing apart but I know it wouldn't be right because of the struggles the crew had while filming.
What brought life into this movie is Superman. No Spoilers but his scenes are by far my favorite. This is the Superman that we all wanted to see all along, and Henry Cavill is amazing. If Superman was mishandled again, this movie would've been a disaster but thankfully that didn't happen. Everything they did with the character worked for me.
To wrap it up, Justice League is a mixed bag for me. The characters work well as a team, which at the bare minimum is all I wanted, and this definitely a step in the right direction from Batman v Superman. The movie is good enough that I want to see more, but this universe needs much more work in order to shore up the plot and tonal issues. Good villains would help too.
Justice League gets a C+.
Rogue One (2016)
This is How You Make a Star Wars Prequel!
I was so excited to see Rogue One, and wow, it was damn good. Rogue One is very entertaining and in my opinion is the way a Star Wars prequel should be made. It is for the most part very focused and clear in its direction. The performances are all around very good. Felicity Jones is excellent as the protagonist Jyn Erso, though the character is not as cool as Rey from The Force Awakens. The same can really be said about all the characters. There's nothing really special about any of them. Diego Luna is fine as well, as is the rest of the supporting cast.
The story follows how the Rebel alliance discovers the Empire's plans for the Death Star. The first half of the film honestly drag. A lot of it has to do with the surprisingly slow pacing. This part of the movie just lacked the energy that Star Wars should have. However, the last hour is completely worth the price of admission. It is so jaw dropping during the battle sequences, and the pacing and energy of the film increase. The space and land battles are extremely well shot and very exhilarating. Darth Vader also has some pretty awesome scenes and you will love them!
Now for my favorite part of the movie: The ending of the movie is soo satisfying! The way it is put together and tied to A New Hope is so ingenious and any Star Wars fan will be so excited watching this movie end. That's all I'll say without spoiling it.
Overall, Rogue One is a very good movie that I really liked, but fell just short of loving it. The movie starts out a bit too slow, and the characters lack that energy that keep the audience invested even if there's not a huge action set piece. But, the second half if the movie is so great, and the ending is simply phenomenal.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story gets a B+.
Doctor Strange (2016)
Doctor Strange is Marvel's 14th addition to the MCU and just like most of the other 13, it is a ton of fun! Doctor Strange is a really entertaining movie and fits in very well with the rest of the MCU. The best part of the movie is that it is very different from your average comic book movie. This takes a very different approach than the other MCU movies, similar to Guardians of the Galaxy.
Just like Robert Downey Jr. with Tony Stark/Iron Man and Hugh Jackman with Wolverine, Benedict Cumberbatch suits the character of Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange perfectly. I really can't imagine any other actor playing the character. He brought the cockiness that the character has, but also the heart that makes you get behind him as a protagonist. Tilda Swinton and Chiwetel Ejiofor are fantastic as the sorcerers who train Doctor Strange. Rachel McAdams is also really good as the "sort-of-but-not-really" love interest for the Doc. Mads Mikelson is fine as the villain but underwhelming at the same time because he is not really in the movie that much.
The action sequences are the highlight of this movie because they are literally GROUNDBREAKING. I've never seen anything like this from a superhero movie and it was engrossing to watch. The sorcery and city-bending stuff was amazing, and even better in 3-D. If you want to see this movie, please see it in 3-D.
The first and second acts of the film are very strong, showing how the neurosurgeon Doctor Strange becomes the sorcerer Doctor Strange and were generally entertaining as we watch him learn to control his powers. They are serious yet also really funny. About 95% of the humor in this movie is actually really funny. However, the third act is where most of my criticisms come from. While the first 2 acts take their time to explore Strange's character and make for a compelling narrative, the third act kind of rushes through for somewhat of an underwhelming finale. The villains in Doctor Strange are not as compelling as a guy like Zemo from Captain America: Civil War and their motivations are again brushed by very quickly. I don't want to sound overly negative but those are my biggest issues with the film.
Overall, Doctor Strange is a highly enjoyable movie with all round outstanding performances, especially from Cumberbatch, and jaw- dropping visuals and action sequences. Director Scott Derrickson and the writers deserve much credit for taking a character not well known and making him an awesome and likable hero on screen. While it is not as good as the best Marvel movies like Civil War, Winter Soldier, or even The Avengers, it is still a really fun time at the theater and worth seeing. Please go out and see this movie in 3-D!
Doctor Strange gets a B+.
Mohenjo Daro (2016)
Mohenjo Daro was one of my most anticipated movies of 2016, and well, it wasn't good. This is probably the most disappointing movie I've seen all year unfortunately. Even though it's directed by the great Ashutosh Gowariker, it has so many problems that make it a very disappointing movie.
As always, I'll start with the positives. Hrithik Roshan is great in this role and by far the best part of the movie. Pooja Hegde is good as the female lead and I can see her as a future Bollywood star. A.R. Rahman's music is phenomenal and certain action scenes were done well. That's about it.
My biggest problem with the film is that it doesn't know what kind of movie it wants to be. There's so many story-lines that are left hanging by the end of the film. The plot is so muddled and somewhere in there is a good movie with a good story. Kabir Bedi as the villain is pretty disposable but his character's son is even worse. The last 30 minutes of the movie are a complete awful shoehorned in subplot trying to make Hrithik's character looking like Noah and Moses.
Overall, Mohenjo Daro is an extremely disappointing movie and wasted potential. This could have been another masterpiece for Gowariker but it is a mess of a movie.
Mohenjo Daro gets a D.
Check out my video review of the film!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5yqOrZuYBA
Suicide Squad (2016)
It's Not a Great Movie, but it is the Best from the DC Universe Movies
Suicide Squad is finally here after the huge anticipation. It is the story of a group of villains called Task Force X, a.k.a. Suicide Squad, who are sent on a mission to save the world in Midway City. The movie is similar to Batman v Superman from a critical standpoint, but the viewing experience for me was far different.
The biggest strength this movie has is the characters. Their introductions are done in a cool and funny way. Will Smith as Deadshot is very likable and funny. He brings humanity to the role and has some awesome action scenes. Margot Robbie is great as Harley Quinn and super entertaining to watch. Jay Hernandez as El Diablo, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, and Joel Kinneman as Rick Flagg are all really good too. Jared Leto's Joker is a really cool portrayal of the character and I can't wait to see him in future films. But by far the standout performance for me is Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. She is so dark and at times cruel. Watching these characters made this movie a ton of fun. Unfortunately, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and El Diablo are the only ones who are given any real depth and backstory.
The biggest weaknesses this movie has are the story and villains. The mission the Suicide Squad is sent on honestly makes no sense for the type of people they are. The story is very weak and relies only on its comedy during certain scenes. Some of the decisions made by certain characters don't make sense. I won't say who it is but the villain is by far the worst part of this movie. The villains in this movie are worse than Lex Luthor and Doomsday in Batman v Superman. Some of the songs work for the tone and others come out of nowhere.
Overall, Suicide Squad is a really fun movie. From a critical standpoint, this is equivalent to Batman v Superman, but I actually found myself enjoying this movie. I was having a ton of fun with the movie even though I could blatantly see the numerous problems the movie has. I definitely think it's a better film than Batman v Superman and a little better than Man of Steel. So for me, it is the best DC Universe film. If you're a comic book fan of these characters or the DC Universe films, I would recommend seeing it.
Suicide Squad gets a B-.
Check out my YouTube channel where I also review movies!: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOGWUFunDhIwKVcL7eNMWiQ
Sultan, the Indian Rocky
Sultan stars Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma in the lead roles and is the story of a fighter who must learn how to fight again after tragedy strikes in his life. This movie, just like Bajrangi Bhaijaan last year, really surprised me. Sultan is actually a very well made and very entertaining sports drama like I've never seen before from India. It features characters who are charming and interesting. Salman Khan delivers another terrific performance as Sultan and he really sells the physicality and more importantly the emotional depth of the character. Anushka Sharma is also really good here too.
The movie is split evenly between two stories and I thought the first half really spent too much time setting up the romance rather that the other important events that take place. The romance is a bit cheesy and it's the type which you've seen from Bollywood before many times. But after the interval, the movie takes off and doesn't stop until its conclusion. The second half feels very much like a Rocky movie, but in India, and that was really nice to see. The fight scenes are pretty well done also, and so is the music. Another tiny problem is that the movie is very clichéd and it will end almost exactly the you would think it would.
Overall, Sultan is a terrific film. It's a movie that everyone in the family can watch and enjoy. There's a strong message about never giving up and it is heartwarming to watch. There are a few flaws I had in the first half but the movie then becomes really good towards the end. Definitely check out Sultan!
Sultan gets an A-.
Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
An Incoherent and Messy Sequel
Independence Day: Resurgence comes 20 years after the first Independence Day. The story is pretty much the same as the first with aliens invading Earth. This movie starts off pretty strong and it is cool to see Earth integrating alien technology with their own. Unfortunately, the movie pretty much goes downhill from there. The battle sequences are all good for the most part and so is the CGI.
The acting is pretty bland and bad, except for Jeff Goldblum. They brought back Brent Spiner and he was so annoying. His jokes and attempts at humor are so bad. There are also so many unnecessary characters throughout. During the main battle sequence, it kept cutting back to these kids on a bus. They were just there for comedic purposes I guess, but it wasn't funny. There is more cringe- worthy romantic dialogue, and even more stupid subplots then you can count. Then there's a reveal in the third act that comes out of nowhere and is so, so dumb.
Overall, Independence Day: Resurgence is a terrible movie and not a good sequel to its memorable predecessor. This movie looks promising from the beginning but gets worse and worse as it goes. The humor is not funny and the abundance of characters take a toll on the film.
Independence Day: Resurgence gets a D+.
Central Intelligence (2016)
A Delightful Surprise!
Central Intelligence stars Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart and is about them teaming up to save the world. I'd like to say that I had zero expectations going into this but was still looking forward to it. This movie is HILARIOUS! The Rock and Kevin Hart are fantastic together and have some of the funniest jokes I've heard all year. Watching them both on screen is the best part of this movie and it was extremely funny.
The story follows both of them having reunited 20 years after high school in order to save the world. The main plot is the weakest part of this movie since there's not much emphasis put on it. I will say that there are some pretty sweet cameos in here that are awesome. The action is mostly good even though it got a bit shaky in some places.
Overall, Central Intelligence is a pleasant surprise this summer. This movie is honestly battling Deadpool for funniest movie of the year; I can't believe I just said that. This is definitely one of the better buddy-cop action comedies we've gotten in the past few years.
Central Intelligence gets a B.
Check out my Youtube channel where I review movies as well!: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOGWUFunDhIwKVcL7eNMWiQ
Finding Dory (2016)
A Fun Pixar Sequel
Finding Dory is the long awaited sequel and takes place a year after the amazing Finding Nemo. This time, Dory is the protagonist and she's pretty enjoyable to watch. The story follows Dory trying to find her estranged family and parents with the help of a ton of new characters like Hank the octopus and 2 whales named Destiny and Bailey.
This movie is a ton of fun and extremely funny throughout. The humor is funny for both adults and kids. The new characters bring a fresh breath of air to this franchise. However, the story really has no reason for including Marlin and Nemo for as long as they were in the film. They were both pretty much following Dory on her adventures the entire time. Also, the pacing and tone aren't grounded at all and it constantly switches between humor and serious drama. My last criticism is that the movie is not as emotional as it wants to be when watching it. The movie wants you to shed a tear but because of the inconsistent tone, you can't. Nonetheless, this is a fun sequel to Finding Nemo with a solid story, fun characters, and great humor.
Overall, Finding Dory is an enjoyable film for adults and kids to watch and it has a lot of great things in it. I don't think it's even close to as good as its predecessor but it is a generally entertaining movie.
Finding Dory gets a B+.
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
A Gripping but Flawed X-Men Movie
X-Men: Apocalypse is the sequel to Days of Future Past and takes place about a decade later in the '80s. This movie entertained me from start to finish and I can't say I was ever bored. But there are a lot of things I was not satisfied with while watching. Starting off with the good, Magneto and Professor X continue to be the best parts of these movies. Michael Fassbender as Magneto is amazing and he has a really emotional scene towards the beginning which got me locked into the film. James McAvoy is also great as Xavier. The internal battles inside Xavier's head were riveting. I really liked the new cast of the younger X-Men, like Jean Grey, Storm, Nightcrawler, and Cyclops. Quicksilver has another awesome scene just like the previous movie. The action is handled very well for the most part. The first half of the movie is terrific, but the second half brings it down. Apocalypse as the villain was OK for me. Some scenes worked well and others didn't. I was always skeptical of Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse and I still don't think he was the best choice. He is just like Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor for me. Apocalypse is also a small mutant compared to the others for some reason and he's just another villain who is obsessed with destroying the world, and his motivations are thin. Jennifer Lawrence was a boring Mystique. She just seems uninspired throughout the run-time and becomes tedious since she uses the personality over and over again to play the character. Some mutants were completely wasted here with Psylocke and Angel. There's an entire sequence in a secret lab and it seemed there for only one reason: the cameo of a specific person. While it was fun to watch, it didn't do much of anything for the story in the long run. The entire thing could have been removed and the movie would have been the same. The final battle felt underwhelming with the whole global extinction. The problem is they don't show any civilians dying; it's just buildings coming apart, making it hard to care about the situation. Overall, X-Men: Apocalypse is a disappointing sequel to First Class and Days of Future Past. But it is not at all a bad movie. Magneto and Professor X are once again great, Apocalypse is a mixed bag, the pacing for the movie is all over the place, and the dull second half just brings the film down from the really good first half. X-Men: Apocalypse gets a B-.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Marvel at its Very Best
Captain America: Civil War was my most anticipated movie of the year. The MCU movies have made a great setup to this movie and Civil War was everything I wanted it to be and so much more. I had extremely high expectations and this movie even blew those away. This movie is AMAZING. Everything about the movie works and it is put together so well by the directors and writers. The story pretty much follows how the Avengers experience conflict and a rift is formed between Captain America and Iron Man.
We all know that the cast would bring their A game to this movie since we've seen them as these characters so many times by now, but I feel they brought their A+ game to Civil War. About the new characters, Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther is awesome. He is a very interesting guy and he is so entertaining during the action. Tom Holland's Peter Parker/Spiderman is very likable. The thing I liked about this Peter Parker is that you do feel sympathetic for him because you really see that he is just a kid in high school fighting among grown men. This Spiderman is terrific.
The story moves at a very fast pace and is both thrilling and vastly entertaining. Despite all that happens here, the movie is really at its core about the relationship and conflict between Captain America and Iron Man. The whole promotional things are about the teams but the movie focuses in depth on these two, and that is great writing. The teams don't really matter anymore because you will be able to see that both Captain and Stark have clear motivations for what they're doing and that they're both correct in certain ways. There really are clear motivations and reasons for why Captain America and Iron Man have to fight. As for everyone else, you also understand why they choose a certain side. The movie is so emotional because it feels as if the MCU has been building up to this.
The action in this film is phenomenal. There is so much action and it is all done so well. That airport scene from the trailers is AWESOME. The chases and fights are so exhilarating and I was just gripping the seat handles not knowing what would happen next. All the battles between Captain America and Iron Man are gritty and bloody. These guys are really fighting to kill here. I have to say my favorite action scenes were the ones with Black Panther and Spiderman.
A lot of people are complaining about the villain Zemo and saying he is "shoehorned in." I understand why they'd say that but I definitely think he was a necessary part of this plot and just like with the others, his motivations are clear. Daniel Brühl does a fairly good job in the film.
Captain America: Civil War takes everything that worked best in the previous MCU movies and builds on them. I do think this one is the best MCU film so far and the Russo brothers have proved for a second time that they know how to direct these movies effectively. I can't wait to see what they do with Infinity War. In my opinion, Captain America: Civil War is the best superhero movie besides The Dark Knight.
Captain America: Civil War gets an A+.
The Jungle Book (2016)
A Fun Journey Through the Jungle
The Jungle Book is directed by Jon Favreau and is another version of the classic story. And this is a fantastic film with so much to love. The entire film is CGI and I honestly don't understand how because the film looks so real. The animals, the jungle, everything looks so real. The voice work is also phenomenal. My favorites were Bill Murray as Baloo and Idris Elba as Shere Khan. Baloo is the comic relief while Shere Khan is the fierce and extremely menacing villain. Neel Sethi is in his first movie here as Mowgli and he's terrific. He is able to show great emotion throughout when he's not even looking at real people or things, which is remarkable.
Other voices include Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong'o, and Christopher Walken, and everyone is really good. The story is pretty straight forward and it moves at a pretty quick rate. There are barely any dull moments in the film, but when there are, they're really emotionally captivating. This brings me to my ONE problem with the movie. The scene with Mowgli and Kaa, the snake, kind of comes out of nowhere and completely slows the movie's momentum that was being built before. It was cool to watch but it felt a little misplaced in the movie. Other than that, this is an excellent film. The best aspect about The Jungle Book is its characters since they're so likable and the villain Shere Khan is very well realized and his motivations are clear.
Overall, The Jungle Book is an excellent adaption of the source material. It's witty, funny, entertaining, and emotional to make for an enjoyable film for audiences of all ages. The Jungle Book gets an A.
"You win, by losing."
Wazir is directed by Bejoy Nambiar and stars Amitabh Bachan and Farhan Akhtar. Of course Amitabh gives a great performance and Akhtar is also very good. Bachan plays a man restricted to a wheelchair who takes the help of Farhan Akhtar to find and kill his daughter's murderer, a welfare minister. And Farhan Akhtar is a disgraced cop who loses his daughter in a shootout and he and his wife (played by Aditi Rao Hydari) are separated now because of this tragedy. Before the accident both Akhtar and Hydari play their parts with joyful expression but after the accident, this is all changes and it is very impressive the way these two acted for the rest of the film. The scenes involving Akhtar and his wife are handled beautifully and are very emotional, and there is a nice arc with the two characters.
This is a love story and a revenge story put in one movie. And I think the writers cleverly balanced the two very well and interchangeably. The constant tone with the two stories is perfect. My only gripe is that I wish we could see more of each one by making the film a bit longer.
The action scenes are good enough for this movie even though they could have been better. This movie is extremely entertaining and interesting as there is not a single dull moment in the film. I never got bored.
Neil Nitin Mukesh plays Wazir and he is fine in the movie, but the problem is he is only in the movie for ONE scene. I was kind of disappointed because this movie could have been much better if it had more scenes with Wazir. Even when the truth about the character is revealed, I still feel this movie needed more of Wazir because it could have made it that much more of an enticing movie.
Our main villain (welfare minister), played by Manav Kaul, is kind of weak. The performance is good but the character is so underdeveloped. Also, he's not really in the movie that long either. And this leads to another problem: this movie should have been much longer. It is remarkably short for an Indian Movie at only 103 minutes but it could have been elongated to develop some of the characters some more. Lastly, this movie is full of exposition and it's a bit too much. Characters are constantly explaining what happens a lot and it gets kinda annoying.
Overall, Wazir is a fun psychological thriller and the ending definitely makes the movie even more interesting. Flaws aside, this is a very emotional and captivating picture. I'm happy to say Wazir is a movie that I can watch multiple times and still enjoy it very much. Wazir gets a B+.
So Much More Than What You Would Expect
Zootopia is Disney's latest film and it is a great film. Zootopia is not your traditional kids' movie. It is so much more and it is tons of FUN! Adults can have just as much as fun with this as kids. The story follows a cop (bunny) working with a con artist (fox) to find some missing animals in the wonderful city of Zootopia where predators and prey get along.
I was floored consistently throughout this movie because of how mature it is. This movie addresses many social issues like racism, sexism, prejudice, stereotypes, and even drugs. It goes really deep with this stuff and really tugs on your heart sometimes. I kept saying to myself, "Is this really a kids' film?" because this movie has a lot of stuff I think young kids won't understand. But it is still so much fun. The animation is beautiful, characters are written very cleverly, and this movie is extremely funny. Our two main characters are very funny and have great banter between them. The action is well done. This movie is not just a fun kids' movie; it's an entertaining political espionage/spy/conspiracy thriller. I mean this movie is an adults' action thriller but with the cute animals and animation. This could be the plot of the next Mission Impossible or James Bond movie and I really mean that!
I have one flaw with this film but it's a major spoiler so I won't say it. Something happens at the end of the movie and it is very predictable and I saw it coming a mile away. That's it.
Overall, Zootopia is a great animated film. It has a good story, funny characters, lots of emotion, and most importantly it's LOTS of fun. I think it is definitely the best animated movie since Inside Out. Zootopia gets an A.
The Revenant (2015)
A One of a Kind Cinematic Experience
The Revenant is directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and stars Leonardo Dicaprio and Tom Hardy. This is an INTENSE film. It is brutal, bloody, and grossly realistic as a film. The Revenant features probably the best cinematography I have ever seen. I don't get how they filmed half of the shots in this movie. And they only used natural light as a source of light. Almost every shot of The Revenant looks beautiful. The costumes were great and the gore and blood is vividly shown. This is an amazing achievement as a film.
This is the story of a man who is left to face nature on his own, and he must survive in order to take revenge on his son's killer. Leonardo Dicaprio once again delivers an Oscar worthy performance. He was so good here. Half of his dialogue isn't even in English. You really see this guy's pain and anger in his journey for revenge. But just as good is Tom Hardy as Leo's enemy. Hardy was also so good because it almost seems like his character isn't even human. Hardy acts his character as if he is the Devil himself. The supporting cast is also very good, especially Domhnall Gleeson and Will Poulter.
The action is amazing. The first 45 minutes is so riveting. I was on the edge of my seat because the movie moved at such a fast pace and there was so much action. And it was brutally violent. However, after that, the movie slows way down for the next about hour. This is really where we see Leo's journey in the wilderness. Also some subplots are introduced here and this takes away from the actual revenge plot. This was my only problem with the film. But the film gets going again by the last 45 minutes and it was a feast to watch.
The Revenant is a film with amazing cinematography, excellent acting, and brutal violence. Leo Dicaprio and Tom Hardy were fantastic and the action is relentless. The slow second act is really the only flaw this film has. Overall, The Revenant is a cinematic experience. The Revenant gets an A.
Expected a Lot More From This One
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is finally here after the many years of anticipation. I liked Man of Steel and was very much looking forward to this one. Batman v Superman follows the question of whether Superman's actions are justified and how Batman, Lex Luthor, and others react to him. So, is it a good movie? Well there are some things that are good and other things that are not so good.
Let's start with what's good first. The performances are great. Ben Affleck proved all the haters wrong and absolutely owned the role of Bruce Wayne and Batman. Batman was definitely the best part of this movie. He was very fun to watch in the action scenes and also his character is pretty well realized. Henry Cavill is once again solid as Clark Kent/Superman. He definitely gives a better performance than Man of Steel and you can really feel what he's actually going through when he's not in the suit. Gal Gadot is good as Wonder Woman in the limited time she has. Jesse Eisenburg is an interesting Lex Luthor and I guess it was decent. He didn't bother me as much as others are saying. Supporting characters were fine as well, especially Jeremy Irons as Alfred.
The visuals are very beautiful. Zack Snyder is a master in visuals and once again he creates a magnificently looking picture. The action and effects are good for the most part. Any action scene involving Batman was awesome. Ben Affleck blew me away in everything he did in this movie. The big fight between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel is very fun to watch but it was kind of pointless when you think about it afterwards. Lastly, Hans Zimmer's score was fantastic as always. That's about it for the good.
Zack Snyder makes beautiful films but struggles with pretty much everything else while making movies. And it clearly shows here. The story is a huge mess. There are just way too many stories being told in this one movie. You've got Batman vs Superman, Lex's evil plan, references to future films, and the whole controversy surrounding Superman in this one movie. It was way too much. The movie brushes by some of these stories so fast that you get this feeling of incompleteness by the end. The movie, especially in the first half, has very choppy editing. The scenes switch and cut instantly and it's sometimes hard to connect the dots between certain scenes. I won't even talk about pacing because I think the director and writers completely forgot about it. Also there are a bunch of random dream sequences thrown in there but they make no sense and show up in the most bizarre places. They're interesting and fun to watch but it doesn't make sense why they're in the movie. The references to Justice League are very abundant and really not necessary... at all. Lois Lane is literally a damsel in distress in this movie. Almost every scene she's in, she has to rescued by Superman.
If you've seen the 2nd trailer of the film, you pretty much know the entire film. I feel like this movie would be much better received by critics and fans if we hadn't seen that trailer... but we did unfortunately. Doomsday is involved in a dumb way and he looks terrible. In Man of Steel, the end battle was ridiculous and caused a lot of destruction. And this movie is about whether Superman is to be held accountable for that. Well this movie actually has way more deaths and damage than Man of Steel ironically. I really wonder if Zack Snyder knows that.
Overall, I was disappointed walking out. Batman and Superman were very entertaining to watch but the rest of the film is a huge mess. The biggest problem with the film is that everything is just so rushed. I feel like the title shouldn't have even been Batman v Superman because that was only a fraction of what the movie is about. The movie really focused much more on the Dawn of Justice aspect than Batman v Superman. Honestly I don't know what to think about the future Justice League films after watching this. I really hope they find a new director for the future DC films because Zack Snyder really has a tough time with good storytelling, character development, and balance in a movie with so many important characters in one film. This movie isn't awful but there's as much good as there is bad.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice gets a C-.
Much More Than Just a Boxing Movie
Creed is the 7th installment in the Rocky franchise but this time focuses on Adonis Creed, Apollo Creed's son. He wants to follow in his father's footsteps and is trained by Rocky Balboa himself. More than boxing, this movie really goes into the relationship between Creed and Rocky and how they both support each other when they most need it. Michael B. Jordan is fantastic as Creed. He is so energetic in the boxing scenes and he is even better when his character is being developed. Now we come to Sylvester Stallone as Rocky. In his signature role, he absolutely knocks it out of the park in what may have been his best performance in his career as an actor. He honestly deserves an Oscar for this part. He brought tears to my eyes on multiple occasions and still has the same charm from the old Rocky movies.
Creed perfectly mixes elements from past Rocky movies, especially the first, with modern culture. The amazing Rocky score is complemented by modern styles. Creed's story is told just like Rocky's and it is so beautiful to watch. The cinematography is also visually pleasing. Coogler captured the look of Philadelphia extremely well. The boxing scenes are excellent. There is a fight that is done completely in one take and I have no idea how they did it. It was amazing. This movie is a drama that tugs at your heart a lot, but at times it still manages to be quite funny as well.
I love Creed as a film. Its characters are so well realized and acted, the cinematography is gorgeous, and the boxing is glorious. Creed is definitely one of the best films of 2015. Creed gets an A.
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001)
SRK and Hrithik in the same movie!?!... and Big B as their Dad!!!
K3G is directed by Karan Johar and stars an unbeatable cast: Amithabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Sharhukh Khan, Kajol, Hrithik Roshan, and Kareena Kapoor. 6 stars should mean an awesome movie, right? Well, the answer is yes because there's stuff to love but unfortunately, also stuff that's just not that good. About the acting, out of the 6 leads, I only really liked 3 of the performances: SRK, Hrithik, and Jaya Bachchan. They really gave excellent performances, especially Hrithik Roshan. Amithabh, Kajol, and Kareena were pretty much overacting to the point of insanity for the entire movie and it got kind of irritating. I could tolerate Amithabh and Kajol's overacting, but by the time it got to Kareena Kapoor, I almost wanted to turn it off. I really mean that even though I really like this movie. Her introduction into the film was so ridiculously unnecessary and just cringe-worthy.
The story is masterful. A father and son are estranged from each other and the younger son has to bring the family back together. I think Karan Johar handled this story excellently. The songs are really well handled, my favorite being "Bole Chudiyan." But there were so many songs that it felt like there were songs almost every 10 minutes. The comedy for the most part worked. There were tears about to come to my eyes in a couple of scenes. Also the movie is way too long. A lot of unnecessary scenes could have been cut out.
I really enjoyed K3G. The 2 major problems I had with the film was the excessive overacting, especially Kareena Kapoor's, and the film's lengthy run time. That's why Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham gets a B.
Deadpool is back after X-Men Origens: Wolverine, and hopefully we all forgot about that mess. This movie blew me away! Thankfully this film is here and it was awesome. Ryan Reynolds nailed the character of Wade Wilson so well and was hysterical throughout. The opening credits were so unexpected but hilarious. This movie recognizes its place in today's film industry and plays along with it throughout with so many references to modern culture. The thing I really liked about Deadpool was how original its film making ideas were and how it was just such a totally different comic book movie in general.
The action is bloody but done in a perfect way to complement Deadpool's humor. About that humor, I was laughing my butt off almost throughout the film. Any scene with Deadpool and Colossus was hilarious. The revenge story and the love story present in the film were presented in a great way with both being extremely funny. It is also very, extremely vulgar, so be ready for it. The only legitimate problem I have with Deadpool was that some scenes are a bit too gratuitous when they honestly didn't have to be. Ed Skrein is fine as the villain but he definitely could have been more menacing.
If you didn't like the movie, that's completely fine but be able to justify that with good reason. I've read a few reviews hating on Deadpool claiming the film is "too violent" or "not appropriate for my kids." Honestly, what were those people thinking when they went in? It was clearly labeled "R" and what did they expect from the movie after watching any of the trailers? Apparently they thought this is a perfect family superhero film just because it features a Marvel character. And then they call people who liked the movie stupid...
Overall, this is a completely self-aware film that knows exactly what it is and what it needs to do to be a really fun action movie and it does it extremely well. Deadpool gets an A-.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)
A Truly Brilliant Film
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is directed by Zoya Akhtar and it was an absolute blast. I loved this movie. It stars Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol, and Farhan Akhtar as the three leads. And they were great. I knew Hrithik and Abhay Deol would do good and they certainly did, but Farhan Akhtar really blew me away with his performance. His charisma really stunned me. The three of them had great chemistry and it made it all the better. The movie's script is told in such a way that we the audience begin to think as if we are there with the characters during their trip in Spain. It is so funny and had me laughing throughout.
The story follows these three friends on a bachelor trip in Spain on which they each learn something about one another that changes their lives forever. The journey through Spain was beautiful and a lot Spanish culture is blended very well with Indian culture. There are a lot of subplots in this movie. But unlike Zoya Akhtar's latest film Dil Dhadakne Do (a film I also liked), the subplots are incorporated masterfully and don't mess up the pacing that much. The songs are also really nice. Plus the cinematography is handled excellently.
I honestly have no flaws with this film. It was directed to perfection in my opinion, and that's why Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara gets an A+.
Bridge of Spies (2015)
Spielberg's Latest Outing in Style
Bridge of Spies is directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Tom Hanks, which is the best director-actor duo in history in my opinion. Once again, Tom Hanks is so good as a lawyer who has to defend a Soviet spy during the Cold War. But probably the best performance was Mark Rylance, the man who played the Soviet spy, and he certainly deserves an Oscar nomination. The cinematography is so beautiful and Spielberg perfectly captures the world in 1957.
Most of this movie is conversations between Hanks and others during negotiations or court room scenes. A lot of people can be turned off by this, claiming it's "too boring." But if you like drama with a lot of intrigue about history, you will be engrossed in Bridge of Spies. It is a slow and long movie, so you have to be patient while watching. However, there is a fantastic scene with an airplane that brings energy into the movie.
Bridge of Spies is certainly not one of Spielberg's masterpieces, but it is still a great movie on its own. Bridge of Spies gets an A.