loco_73

IMDb member since May 2005
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Reviews

Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker
(2019)

An underwhelming conclusion to a horrible trilogy!
"The Rise Of Skywalker" is a final slap in the face of the "Star Wars" fandom ( well parts of it anyways). A parting insult, that in a way couldn't have come soon enough. Good riddance!

There had been over the past few years talk about the franchise being overexposed and of fans growing tired. But the reason "Star Wars" fatigue was (and still is to some extent) setting in is because of the moronic content and idiotic characters that flooded the franchise with the dismal Disney Trilogy.

"The Rise Of Skywalker", the latest example of that, is a horrible mixture of mediocre storytelling and subpar, underdeveloped characters, engulfed in an unrelenting cacophony of special effects and all encompassing visual onslaught, meant to distract from the barebones nature of the movie. It's a schizophrenic conclusion to one of the worst movie trilogies in recent years, one that managed to diminish and also partly destroy the original saga.

Pretending these movies don't exist is the next best and most accessible cure for all those people who have become alienated from "Star Wars" . We just have to see what the long-term solution will be... if any is even available anymore...

1 out of 10

The Witcher
(2019)

A bad Legolas wig...
"The Witcher" is basically Henry Cavill prancing around with a bad Legolas wig in what is one of the most expensive LARPs ever.

This show is what would have happened if CW got to air a wannabe fantasy series with a larger budget and less content restrictions.

An utter dreck of a show, badly written, directed and acted. Worse, it is boring as hell, dreary and hard to get through.

I really, really miss "Game Of Thrones"...

No thanks...

1 out of 10

It Chapter Two
(2019)

Uneven Chapters
Well after waiting for two years... finally saw the movie. Definitely not as good as the first one. "IT Chapter II" is quite uneven and longer than it should be. Too much filler at times, spaces that could have been better used for character building. Also the humour doesn't always hit it's mark and the ahem...cameo of a certain auteur...was really unecessary...and self-serving.

The movie doesn't establish the adult characters and their lives and how they got to where they are. The cast is uneven as well and so are the performances. The children were much more enjoyable and entertaining to watch than their adult counterparts.

And now it's clear, even more so, Amy Adams should have been cast as the grownup version of Beverly Marsh (she and Sophia Lilis has already worked together on "Sharp Objects" on HBO).

But there is still enough to like, if not enjoy, in this movie not to make it a complete failure or outright flop.

5 out of 10

NOS4A2
(2019)

A Terrific Tale
Really like this show. I went in without having read the book, which I plan to do before the second season premieres next year. As such I did not have any expectations. At first I wasn't sure if I was going to stick with it or not. But I am glad I did. I appreciate how the show took it's time to introduce the characters, the story, and steadily build everything up until the season finale. Most TV and movies these days seem to necessarily keep up a frenetic pace and rhythm as if the audiences have such short attention spans and little patience that they would move on and choose to focus on something else. And for the most part that sounds about right. But I still think that there is space for stories to be told in almost increments, with the tension and stakes/outcomes growing steadily until it all comes to a head.

Besides Joe Hill's terrific source material, the reason this show has grown on me is definitely the cast, in particular Ashleigh Cummings, who I think is just great and will be an even more terrific actress in the years ahead. Zachary Quinto, goes without saying, is a times both terrifying and disgusting and another reason this show works. Ólafur Darri Ólafsson is excellent, as are Jahkara Smith, Virginia Kull, Ebon Moss-Bachrach and the rest of the cast.

I have seen people complain that the human drama on the show was upped at the expense of the supernatural parts. But I, myself, liked that aspect of the show. Much like his dad Stephen King, Joe Hill, and thankfully the show, prove that oftentimes the really scary things, the true horror that sticks with us, comes from our everyday living, from our thoughts, words and choices we make, and how they affect us and others around. The supernatural underpinnings and interactions are just a sweet bonus and add a completely different dimension to the series. Yet both the ordinary and the extraordinary co-exist quite rightly in this show.

Definitely looking forward to the second season.

8 out of 10 (for Season 1)

Once Upon a Time ...in Hollywood
(2019)

A laid-back fable
I saw the movie at an early screening and I liked it. I'd even venture to say that this is the best movie Tarantino has directed since "Kill Bill".

The best way to describe this movie would be as a laid back fable, a what if story and a bit of a word play on the title "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood".

Throw in some alternate history and a cautionary love letter to movies, actors and all the other elements which make up Hollywood, and you got yourself an entertaining film to watch.

It is also much funnier than I expected. Pitt and De Caprio are the one-two punch combo of the movie and they deliver in spades through their performances and on-screen chemistry. Margot Robbie, the movie's third focal point, has an almost ethereal presence in the movie. Not through dialogue heavy scenes, but her almost muse like appearances.

This might not be Tarantino's best movie or a masterpiece, (something many seem to expect each of his movies to be) but for me at least, it is a solid cinematic effort.

8 out of 10

Dark Phoenix
(2019)

Not a disaster...nor a triumph
"X-Men: Dark Phoenix" is nowhere as bad as it is made out to be. It is a middling, by the numbers, mediocre superhero movie. "The Last Stand" is still the weakest and most convoluted mess of the franchise. The most overhyped and biggest disappointment, for me anyways, is "Logan"

In this case, "Dark Phoenix" had a lot of potential to be a stronger concluding chapter to the Fox era "X-Men". But in the hands of an inexperienced director like Simon Kinberg, who should have stuck to producing and writing, the movie falters, is uneven and unsure of itself. Spectacle or character study? The movie cannot answer that question. And it shows.

The end is ironically the strongest part of the film. Some fairly effective action pieces contribute to making the movie watchable and more entertaining than it would otherwise have been.

The cast is competent given the material they had to work with. And Sophie Turner is fine...the quality of the movie is NOT her fault, as many seem to gleefully point out. If anybody actually bothered to pay attention to the actual trouble and problems this movie had.

6 out of 10

Captain Marvel
(2019)

Captain Marvel....oh boy...
So I saw the movie. Let's cut through the chase. It's flat, boring and really, really underwhelming. Basically a typical superhero movie. It's only advantage is that it's not too long.

Brie Larson is soo unremarkable and boring she literally puts you to sleep with one look, which I guess is a superpower. Wrong choice as a lead. I think Katee Sackhoff would have been a way better choice.

Not that the rest of the cast is anything to write home about. Sam Jackson aka "They Only Call Me Fury" ...is basically reduced to a bumbling buffoon sidekick and bad comic relief. It was good to see Phil Coulson with hair...

The 90's nostalgia was one long vintage product ad. I actually lived throughout that entire decade and it had its share of good as well as bad things. The nostalgia in this movie is understandably presented lovingly through rose coloured lenses...the reality was far from that. Not that I necessarily expected that from the movie. But it is pretty annoying when it is played soo obviously to score points with the audience.

Oh and the humour throughout is cringeworthy, badly timed and feels like a lowbrow class of improv comedy.

All the controversy about this movie having this message or that message or about what Brie Larson said or didn't say. No worries. It's all being blown out of proportion. The movie has no message, NONE. Except the usual tired drivel you get in this genre. The only virtue this movie espoused is the dollars Disney is banking through Marvel.

The whole movie feels like an extended TV episode and sadly a wasted opportunity to do something way better than this. The direction looks like amateur hour in terms of the skills of its two, read TWO, directors.

Oh...and I am not a fan of the cat...especially since it is the reason Nick Fury loses his eye, which is itself pretty ridiculous...

The end credit scenes are worthless and mean nothing to me as I've pretty much given up on superhero movies and haven't followed the MCU for about two years...so I got no skin in the game so to speak.

What I can't decide is at this time, is whether this is better or worse than "Wonder Woman" ...

4 out of 10

True Detective
(2014)

Memories and time
This review is for the third season of "True Detective":

Now, having seen the entire third season of "True Detective", I can say that this was a solid, well acted one and a clear rebound after the second season's doldrums. The performances from the three leads, Mahersala Ali, Stephen Dorff and Carmen Ejogo were excellent and strong. I also liked the chemistry the characters had with each other in the portrayal of their relationships, Mahersala Ali with Stephen Dorff, and Mahersala Ali with Carmen Ejogo.

Never did any of the characters feel like a third wheel or dead weight, like in the show's second season...it was more like the tripod which anchored the season's storyline and plot points. The supporting cast was just as good, with a special shut-out to Scoot McNairy.

I like how the story unfolded and kept moving between the three distinct timelines. This season's themes were time, memory, space and the stories that bind all of that, the stories that define us and the people in our lives The ending was soo appropriate and cathartic...almost therapeutic.

No, this season doesn't have the hype and "wow" factor of the first, but it doesn't matter since it doesn't have to, because it can definitely stand on its own. I hope "True Detective" continues, because I think there are more compelling stories to tell in this anthology format.

8 out of 10

Monsters
(2010)

The "Monsters" are not the monsters...we are...
I know that I am several years late to the party with this review...but...

I thought and still think that it's cool how this movie inverts the roles of the "monsters" ...the actual monsters being us humans...not the aliens. I also think that the trailer for this film and how it was marketed, grossly misrepresented what the movie actually was and Gareth Edwards's vision for it.

This was never meant to be an action movie, or the typical "alien invasion" blockbuster. It is as much a metaphor for us as a species and how we react to what we consider...ahem...foreign and different, as it is a realistic take on how life would proceed if a completely alien species /race did land on this planet and not only survived, but thrived.. And yes while the obvious comparison would be "District 9", I found "Monsters" to be more thoughtful and contemplative of its subject matter.

The movie also shows glimpses of Gareth Edwards's potential, as he went on to make "Godzilla" and "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" (one of my favourite " Star Wars" movies ever). The fact that he directed, wrote, edited and took a hands on approach with the special effects on the movie...for the budget it had...is nothing short of mind boggling.

8 out of 10

Vice
(2018)

Shoot him in the face!
On its own, "Vice" is yet another one of those OK but not great movies (much like "On The Basis Of Sex)...a 6 out of 10. With Christian Bale and Amy Adams's excellent performances, it is elevated to a good movie and an 8 out of 10.

"Vice" also benefits from some solid supporting work courtesy of Sam Rockwell and Steve Carrell.

As for whether or not the movie actually provides an insight into what makes Chenney tick and thus a better idea of who he is...the question arises, do you really want all that?

To me that he was shown as mostly a blank and bland slate willing to take on any features and qualities suitable for the appropriate occasion and situation, is what makes him tick and who he is. It is also what has allowed him to operate mostly under the radar and " in the shadows" as he'd like to say.

I for one am glad not to have gotten the obligatory "origins" story which seems to be a cinematic prerequisite these days.

Dick Chenney remains one of the most enigmatic, problematic, troubling and I'll add, scary, power brokers and wielders in Washington's recent history. I get the feeling that as time passes his story will be an unfolding one with no clear end in sight.

8 out of 10

On the Basis of Sex
(2018)

Notorious RBG
I just watched the movie and like what Mimi Leder achieved here. Felicity Jones, is the heart and soul of the movie and her performance carried the film. The supporting cast is spot on.

On the whole I'd say that "On The Basis Of Sex" is a good movie but not a great one. In some places it can be a bit too obvious and blunt about its message and themes. At other times it lags and can feel like a TV movie of the week or a sitcom...too sugary and tongue-in-cheek

A solid watch nonetheless. 7 out of 10.

Mary Queen of Scots
(2018)

Mary Queen Of Scotts, The Woke Version...
Just watched the movie... and ohhhh my lord, I didn't think it was going to be that bad! With all the talent involved, I expected at least something entertaining...but nope...a stinker it is, and it stinks to high heaven!

I mean, I knew going in that this was supposed to be one of those re-imagined historical pics, taking creative licence, a lot of it actually, but not this freaking much?!

It tries to be both a live-action play and an historical epic...and ends up being neither.

On the meagre plus side, Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie are good, it's the movie surrounding them that sucked. Also the cinematography is beautiful. And that's it.

Think of "Mary, Queen Of Scotts" as "King Arthur Legend Of The Sword" and the recent "Robin Hood" without the action set pieces...can we please stop making these damn "woke" versions of historical movies and just try to make a good movie instead?!

4 out of 10.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
(2018)

A Step Backwards For The Potter Prequels
While I absolutely loved both the Potter novels and movies, I don't feel any such kinship with the new would-be prequel franchise "Fantastic Beasts" .

To be honest, my main attachment for these new movies is JK Rowling herself and her well earned title as a master storyteller. So it was in that spirit that I went to see the first instalment "Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them". And while the movie lacked the magic and charm of the Potter films, there was still enough in there to like and enjoy. While not up to par as it's former counterparts, it was a solid entry.

Well all that is gone with " Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald". Instead what I found was a a mediocre movie. Yes mediocrity is the best quality that could be assigned to it. There are too many characters, plots and subplots. It's as if there are several movies packed into one...neither very good on their own. It's like they decided to throw everything but the kitchen sink into it.

Right off the bat, Jude Law is the standout as a younger Dumbledore. As well, Queenie (Alice Sudol) and Kowalski (Dan Foggler) retain their charm from the first film. Johnny Depp wasn't as bad as I thought he could and thankfully he wasn't Jack Sparrow. The rest of the cast frankly I didn't care about.

"Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald" is not necessarily an awful movie, but definitely not as good as it's predecessor. Overall it represents a step backwards for this budding franchise. At this point I honestly can't see how they can add three more movies to it.

6/10

A Star Is Born
(2018)

A Star Is Reborn
Just saw the movie. As good as advertised and better. Gaga and Cooper have crazy chemistry, these two belong together...no doubt.

The cast is excellent to the last. Sam Elliott, Dave Chapelle, Andrew Dice Clay etc. No weak links here.

The amazing music ties it all, and what music it is! Well worth listening again and again.

As a director Cooper made it all flow soo naturally and without anything feeling forced and artificial.

As for Lady Gaga, the best I can say, she is transcendental in her role. She is a revelation, even though she's already been in the public eye for a decade or so. Watching this movie is like rediscovering Lady Gaga all over again. And if there ever was any doubt about her talent and range...this movie should put all that to rest. Lady Gaga is the closest we have to a modern day Renaissance woman...

I'm soo glad I saw this movie. In these dark days we are living through, "A Star Is Born" is a balm on an open wound.

10 out of 10

Mission: Impossible - Fallout
(2018)

A boring, mediocre movie...
To be honest, I've never been a huge fan of the "Mission Impossible" franchise. I've only, really ever liked Brian De Palma's instalment. Despite some of the controversy surrounding it's release at the time, I thought it was a well executed and entertaining movie.

"Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation" was alright, mostly because of Rebecca Ferguson and McQuarrie's direction .

"Mission Impossible: Fallout" is none of those things. It is an overstretched fiasco. Boring, predictable and bland. Even Rebecca Ferguson and McQuarrie can't help this one. As for Tom Cruise. It's time for him to stop doing this.

I wasted both my time and money on this one...

Justice League
(2017)

A complete stinker!
Finally saw this moronic brainfart of a movie, on TV mind you, and it is a complete waste of cinematic space, whose only saving grace seems to be Wonder Woman's ever shortening skirt...

Sicario: Day of the Soldado
(2018)

Yet another sequel...
"Sicario: Day Of The Soldado" is yet another wholly unnecessary sequel. Whatever made the first movie special, the vision, thought and its execution are gone, replaced with a by-the-numbers action movie, that tries hard to mimic its original counterpart, to no avail.

Gone is Denis Villeneuve's direction, Roger Deakins's breathtaking cinematography and Johan Johansson's unsettling score. Gone is Emily Blunt and her character, who in the first movie acted as an anchor to the story and a filter through whose eyes we saw the plot unfold. She also served as a contrast to Benicio Del Toro's character, the enigmatic Alejandro, as well as Josh Brolin's Matt Graver. Her absence is noticeable indeed.

Stefano Solima is a competent director, and Taylor Sheridan (who wrote the first one) still manages to imbue some interesting, even timely ideas and commentary, in this sequel of sorts, but ends up falling short of his previous efforts.

Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin are good enough in their roles, but much of the shine of the characters they play is gone. That is especially true for Del Toro's Alejandro, whose strength as a character came from the relative mystery surrounding him, the unease and tension he could create with only his look or silence, or as we find out at the end of the first movie, his utter ruthlessness and his single-minded focus on revenge. Not this time around. All of that is missing.

What is even more disheartening is that while for the first two-thirds "Sicario: Day Of The Soldado" is fairly watchable, the last third feels out of step with the rest of the movie, while the ending seems really contrived and not befitting the tone established previously.

The fact that this movie is also clearly meant as the set-up for at least another entry into this franchise-to-be, doesn't help and does not bode well for the future.

6/10

Solo: A Star Wars Story
(2018)

Soylo: A Lowered Expectations Story
The only redeeming quality of "Solo: A Star Wars Story" is not being as awful as "The Last Jedi" was or as mind-numbingly boring and flat as "The Force Awakens". But then, it's all downhill from there.

The movie is a hodgepodge mess of mediocre proportions in so far as casting, acting, characters and character development, direction, screenwriting, shoddy special effects, and at times murky cinematography.

Alden Ehrenreich was a poor choice for the role of Han, he was quite unremarkable and bland, and worse more often than not during the movie he kind of faded into the background, not something you want to see from your leading actor. As for Donald Glover he seemed actually quite underwhelming as Lando, though in all fairness he didn't have much to do on-screen. Woody Harrelson and Paul Bethany were by far the most interesting characters and strongest performers, as much as that can be said in a movie like "Solo", yet their talents seemed quite wasted. Emilia Clarke was good as Q'ira, but her character wasn't given much depth and served mostly as window dressing for large parts of the movie. Chewie was Chewie, though after the whole porgs set-up from "The Last Jedi", they tried to make him fiercer with mixed results. Thandie Newton and the new character Rio were completely wasted as well. As for L3, well let's say, that character makes Jar Jar Binks tolerable...

Despite an adequate soundtrack/score (which was weirdly undermined by the always hovering presence of John Williams who basically tied John Powell's hands behind his back.) and some decently arranged actions set pieces, the movie meanders, sputters and at times stops through bad pacing and quite often choppy editing.

What also becomes apparent when watching, are the two different movies fighting to jump off of screen. That is exactly one of the prominent weaknesses of "Solo A Star Wars Story". When Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired, they had almost completed shooting the movie. Ron Howard was brought in to save the project. Rumour has it that he had to re-shoot almost seventy percent of it. However while watching "Solo", it seems as if the damage inflicted by Lord and Miller was too deep and Ron Howard couldn't or did not have the ability or vision, to put this cinematic mess back together and at the very least deliver a decent picture.

I wonder, had Disney/Lucasfilm pushed the release date back to sometime in December (2018) and allowed Ron Howard to re-shoot the entire movie, if the end result would have been any better?!

For my money there is no better origins story for one of the most beloved "Star Wars" characters like Han Solo, than the "The Han Solo" trilogy of novels by AC Crispin. Maybe if Disney/Lucasfilm hadn't jettisoned the Expanded Universe, sorry Legends, maybe they could have used those novels as their source material for the movie...

5/10

Beirut
(2018)

A Solid Movie That Needs To Be Actually Seen Before Being Criticized!
"Beirut" directed by Brad Armstrong and written by Tony Gilroy is an old fashioned high octane, high stakes thriller, sadly not being made anymore these days .

Movies such as "Beirut" used to be more abundant in the 70's and 80's, think "Three Days Of The Condor", " Marathon Man" etc. Doesn't mean that "Beirut" is in the tone of those movies, but it sure echoes them and others. The last movies similar in nature I remember, were "Argo" and to some extent "Green Zone" .

A solid cast headed by Jon Hamm, deliver strong performances , with a good script and steady direction. Rosamund Pike ("Girl Gone") Shea Wigham ("Boardwalk Empire") and Mark Pellegrino (Lucifer on "Supernatural") give this movie the heft it needs. But they are hardly the only ones .

Yet this is Jon Hamm's movie. Once again he proves, but unfortunately not many seem to take notice, his range as an actor beyond just " Mad Men. He is a nuanced and versatile actor, way more talented than he gets credit for.

No, "Beirut" is not a perfect movie and it doesn't reinvent the wheel. But sitting and watching the movie, never had me checking my watch or feeling bored at any point.

As for the whole "controversial nature" of the movie, I feel that a lot of the "outrage" comes from people who didn't even bother to watch the movie, but just picked up on what trolls and bots were spewing and added their voices to the online lynch mobs that have become part and parcel of our society and the times we live in.

The movie is not meant to offer solutions or political opinions on a given subject matter. It tells a specific story, set in a specific time and place. If you are looking for more than that, you are looking in the wrong place and are upset at the wrong thing.

I for one, I think that the movie was a lot more balanced than even I expected it to be. And the portrayal of Beirut , for the scope and purpose of the movie, was surprisingly accurate, warts and all.

8/10

I, Tonya
(2017)

I, Tonya, Everybody's Favourite Punching Bag
The strength and crushing poignancy of "I, Tonya" is what lies beneath the perceived pedigree and nature of the movie. It is as much a dark comedy and fictionalized biography, as it is something else, something more, much more.

It is the sad and heartbreaking portrait of a deeply flawed and imperfect individual, who got caught in events that went way beyond her and her perceived or actual guilt.

It is the story of a human being screaming for help, in need of love and support, being ignored and overlooked at every stage of her strange, hard and often unforgiving existence. It is the story of a woman that was abused and brutalized while everyone, including the people that could and should have helped her, looked away and pretended it wasn't happening. It is the story of someone who was rejected and stepped on because she didn't fit with our idea of what a sympathetic character should be and look like.

Whatever Tonya Harding achieved in her life came through sheer will and yes, hard work. She also made mistakes, made a mess of things and failed often. What a human being should be allowed to do in life with the ramifications and consequences which come from that.

Ultimately this movie is an indictment of us as a whole, as a society, who turned on her and made her our distraction, a punchline to a sad and pathetic joke, exposing her to an unyielding torrent of cruelty and harshness. We cast the first stone and never looked back. Tonya Harding became everybody's favourite punching bag (pun intended), hung out to dry, transformed into the thing we most hate about ourselves, projected onto this one person.

All of this is wonderfully brought to life by Margot Robbie in a sublime performance, seconded most wonderfully by Alison Janney and Sebastian Stan. A well directed, acted, written and produced movie.

"I Tonya" is not perfect, but it is an eye opener and in these troubled days that is saying something.

Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi
(2017)

Luke Milks A Sea Cow, Super Leia Is Marry Poppins And Snoke Is Only Half A Man
When in 2015 I had the displeasure of watching the bland and unremarkable copy-and-paste Star Wars-like "The Force Awakens", from noted hack and serial plagiarist J J Abrams, I had a hard time imagining how the next instalment in this new, soulless trilogy could be worse.

But Rian Johnson surely took care of that....by delivering something, much, much worse in the fecal cinematic form of " The Last Jedi". One of the worst movies of 2017 and the worst "Star Wars" movie period. "The Last Jedi" is soo bad that it singlehandedly rehabilitates and redeems the Prequel Trilogy!!!!

It is an overly long, sinfully boring, painfully stupid cinematic vomitfest. The humour and attempts at levity are badly timed and cringeworthy. A malnourished story is wrapped in meaningless and idiotic plots and subplots.

The direction is shoddy, the screenplay, if you can call it that, is subpar at best, the score is terribly forgettable and the special effects are average popcorn blockbuster fare.

The cast is either completely wasted, like Andy Serkis, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, Oscar Isaac, Gwendoline Christie, Mark Hamil and worst of all Carrie Fisher...or outright underwhelming and terrible. Of special note in the terrible department is John Boyega, Kelly Marie Tran and Daisy Ridley.

With this latest instalment, my interest in the New Trilogy has pretty much evaporated. I really couldn't care less about Episode IX.

"The Last Jedi" is literally the cinematic turd in the punch bowl.

RIP Carrie Fisher

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
(2017)

Pain out of loss, love out of grief...
Amidst the oppressive noise level of heavily formed but largely empty and meaningless clunkers like the two behemoths currently bloating out the screens at multiplexes, "Thor: Ragnarok" and "Justice League" , if you look carefully, you can still find some cinematic gems here and there. Such as "Three Bilboards outside Ebbing, Missouri"

A movie born out of the pain and sorrow brought on by incomprehensible and tragic loss, seething anger at the injustice in this world and the injuries inflicted by life, wounds that never really heal, because they are not physical but exist only in the soul.

The scar-tissue which forms from that can birth something both wonderful and simultaneously terrifying.

The cast is exquisite, the story powerful and poignant and the movie as a whole is an affirmation of what it is to be human and live through it day after day.

The balance of tragedy and humour is brilliant, because they both make sense as fellow travellers. If misery loves company, then this movie also proves that it loves comedy.

Characters you think you have pegged as an overwrought and exaggerated stereotype turn out to be anything but.

Easily one of the best movies of the year.

Do yourselves a favour and forgo the fast- food, zero calories spectacles and give this movie a chance. You may be reminded that movies can have substance and stand for something, especially during these dark days we are traversing.

Blade Runner 2049
(2017)

How tedious and boring...please stop!
Saw this movie last night...and boy was it a tedious, overly long watch! This movie felt like having to do overtime at work.

Dennis Villeneuve is a terrific director, loved "Sicario" and "Arrival", but this was a misfire in every possible way.

An uninteresting story, the script is just muddled, highly convenient and disappointingly pedestrian. While the first movie retained, despite notable differences, the spirit and essence of Phillip K. Dick's amazing novel "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep", "Blade Runner 2049" is at best an outlier, the story having been diluted to nothingness.

Ryan Gosling is completely miscast in the role, as I knew he would, the guy just doesn't cut it. Harrison Ford just looked bored, bored with acting and bored having to revisit these characters he clearly doesn't want to but for the paycheque. Much like he was in "The Force Awakens".The problem is that Ford gets paid to look bored, whereas I have to pay to watch him looking bored. Maybe retirement is in order.

Jared Leto is just awful and does nothing but look menacing or foreboding, the only expressions he seems capable of, either in the movies or music videos he makes. I am not exactly sure how and why this guy continues to be cast in anything these days.

Losing Johann Johansson as the composer for the soundtrack was also big mistake. Hans Zimmer is usually a good, reliable, composer but when he misses, he misses big. The score is terrible. It's just noise...heavy, loud noise and when it isn't, it sounds like what would have happened if the soundtrack for "Inception" and Vangelis's original score for"Blade Runner" had a baby.

The use of 3D is also completely useless here and I think, it detracts from the movie and it's visual narrative. The visuals and special effects everybody seems to be applauding, were, I found, lost in an unnecessary murkiness and annoying, orange tinged twilight.

Roger Deakin is one of the best cinematographers ever, and for example there were some shots in "Sicario" which took my breath away, not so in this movie. He missed the mark here. In "Blade Runner 2049", never for a moment did I experience the feeling of awe I did, and still do, when I watched the original, especially the opening scene. (Do a search on Syd Mead and then you will know why the original "Blade Runner" looked and felt the way it did.)

The bit towards the end with Rachel and the use of the character and employment of the technology came off as cheap and an unnecessary add-on. Something like that worked very well in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story", here it doesn't.

It is not an awful movie, or one of those "the worst I've seen" types, but it cannot hold a candle to the original on any account. It is too long, too boring for long stretches and in the end it just left me with a headache as well as mostly indifferent.

I never wanted a sequel for "Blade Runner" and "Blade Runner 2049" proves why.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
(2017)

Valerian And The City Of...Who Cares?
"Valerian And The City Of... Who Cares..." flopped because it was a jumbled mess. Crummy story, terrible script, badly edited and the so called "stunning visuals" were an incoherent cacophony of sights and sounds, that surely looked pretty at times, but added nothing to the movie, except give audiences whiplash and headaches.

But perhaps even worse were the two lead actors cast in the main roles, the people supposed to carry this movie. Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne had zero on-screen chemistry. They are terrible sub-par actors, which isn't saying much given the widespread lack of talent of the upcoming generation of artists, people who think that "trending" and being famous is the same as having talent and ability.

Watching Cara Delevingne trying to act is about as painful as being lobotomized while awake...

Wonder Woman
(2017)

Wonder Woman And The Law Of Diminshing Returns
Looking at the reviews and ratings for "Wonder Woman", gives me the sense that critics and audiences got caught in the hype and hubris of what this means and symbolizes versus what the movie actually is.

Because actually watching "Wonder Woman", what I was left with, war a rather mediocre, subpar and overly long movie, which did not escape the underwhelming cookie-cutter mould oftentimes movies of the superhero genre are subject and prisoners to. There was nothing above average about this film and worst of all and even unforgivable it was fairly boring and dour for a significant amount of time.

So where to start with this movie. I could write a whole essay about its flaws and shortcomings. But I won't. Suffices to say that problems abound in editing, pacing, cinematography, special effects, script, casting and so forth. Just to pick on a few examples, throughout the movie there were instances when the CGI was just bad, cheesy and looking completely undercooked and unfinished! Which is something you might forgive a TV series due to obvious budgetary limitations, but not a movie with a $150 million dollars budget! What did they spent the money on...catering? Actually I've seen modestly budgeted TV shows have better CGI than "Wonder Woman" had at times.

And what is with the frequent and repeated use of the slo-mo effects?!?! That special effect was innovative in 1999 when the "The Matrix" came out, by now as a tool of the trade it is played out and tiresome. The slo-mo effects have become Zach Snyder's calling card much like lens flares have become JJ Abram's. It doesn't mean other directors should emulate and copy them. Looking at you Patty Jenkins.

The cast I found rather bland and underwhelming. Edit: Actually I liked Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen in their roles, they looked and sounded the part, but had soo little screen time that they didn't have the opportunity to make a positive and lasting impact on the movie's overall quality.

Which brings me to Gal Gadot. She might look like a version of Wonder Woman, somewhat, but so do many fans in cosplay. I think casting Gal Gadot was more a matter of looks and style versus actual substance and abilities. I found her acting range to be quite limited and her on-screen presence rather stiff. I thought and still do that there are other more accomplished and versatile actresses who could have served the role and character of Wonder Woman better.

It looks like since Nolan's Batman trilogy, DC movie projects have taken an IQ dive...not that Marvel is any better...and that is in large part because Zach Snyder and co., have laid the foundation of what the DCEU looks, feels like and is. And now all subsequent additions to this cinematic and even TV universe are beholden and slaves to that vision.

Personally I would have loved to see what an unshackled Michelle McLaren could have accomplished with a movie like this.

And that is part of the overall problem. As movie audiences and critics, we've come to accept mediocrity in our entertainment (much like in many other aspects of our society), and we have been left with these increasingly higher scale, higher budget movies which deliver less and less. Whenever one even rises a bit above that line of mediocrity, we deem it a resounding success and reward it accordingly. That is the law of diminishing returns.

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