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All reviews - Movies (147) - TV Shows (2) - Books (4) - Games (24)

"'71" (2014)

Posted : 2 years, 4 months ago on 21 June 2015 05:51 (A review of 71)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Superficially, this movie is a nail-biting thriller. The way it presents an atmosphere of ever-present danger is nothing short of perfect. I wasn't clear on the reason behind it all, though; you really need to know the history beforehand going into this movie. Wanting to shoot British soldiers on sight is one thing, but this group of Nationalists goes so far as to hunt him down: like, "We can't let him get away!" …Why? I guess what I'm saying is that, rather than conveying the historical situation to me effectively, it came across more as a simple manhunt story with the Northern Ireland conflict as a mere backdrop – albeit a really well executed one. I have to mention my favourite scene, though (spoiler alert here). It's when the bomb accidentally goes off in the pub. I love that scene not just because it's all done in one take and the soundtrack perfectly conveys the dazed and confused state our main character is in, but because, in the blink of an eye, the guy's back to square one.

My rating: 70%


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"The Mask of Zorro" (1998)

Posted : 2 years, 4 months ago on 21 June 2015 05:48 (A review of The Mask of Zorro)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

This was exactly what I expected from hearing Doug Walker talk about it in several of his videos. It's a tightly written, solid, fun action movie that works in the same way as Indiana Jones before it: it has dark undercurrents, but doesn't take itself seriously and has a lot of fun with its concept. Aside from the gleeful action scenes, the characters are what really hold it all together: they're presented and built up so well that you're fully invested in seeing where the story takes them. I especially love the scene where Love tests Murrieta's disguise to the extreme. Good stuff.

My rating: 75%


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"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" (2014)

Posted : 2 years, 4 months ago on 19 June 2015 10:43 (A review of The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

If you missed my reviews of the first two movies, I should point out that yes, I have deliberately held off on it until now. I didn't go to see any of the Hobbit movies in the cinema because I was so vehemently against the idea of splitting the book into three films that I refused to support the notion; I didn't want to vote yes with my wallet.
Just to recap, I thought the first movie was a surprisingly good start to a trilogy I had very little faith in, but the second one was more uneven and definitely inferior.

It's difficult to manage a movie that's almost entirely one long battle sequence, but I think this movie pulled it off pretty well. It's sort of the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 of this trilogy in that regard, in that it strikes a perfect balance between intense battle scenes and legitimate drama. That means every part of the battle feels important. The face-off with the Necromancer, the fight between Legolas and Bolg, and the final duel between Thorin and Azog were all riveting. So, I actually think all the added storylines that seemed ill-advised at first ultimately paid off, because the stakes were made perfectly clear and they culminated in a spectacular fashion. This is probably the most exciting instalment of the trilogy, and my personal favourite.

My rating: 75%

So, to conclude, on the whole, I liked this trilogy. They took a terrible idea (splitting the one book into three films) and actually pulled it off. It rarely, if ever, felt like it was dragging; there was actually enough content to sustain the extended length. So, you're free to have your own opinion, but in mine, these movies are certainly not a patch on Lord of the Rings but still pretty good.


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"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" (2013)

Posted : 2 years, 4 months ago on 19 June 2015 10:39 (A review of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

If you missed my review of the first movie, I should point out that yes, I have deliberately held off on it until now. I didn't go to see any of the Hobbit movies in the cinema because I was so vehemently against the idea of splitting the book into three films that I refused to support the notion; I didn't want to vote yes with my wallet.
Just to recap, I thought the first movie was a surprisingly good start to a trilogy I had very little faith in.

In keeping with its predecessor, some of the adaptation choices work really well, particularly expanding the Bard character's role in the story so he doesn't seem like a deus ex machina. On the other hand, I have the same complaint everyone does: the love story between Tauriel and Kili was completely unnecessary. Kili was already becoming one of my favourite characters from the first movie; he didn't need a cross-species love triangle storyline to make him stand out. On top of that, the fight scenes get a little too choreographed at times, as the characters often easily dodge attacks from behind that they couldn't possibly have seen coming. Smaug himself was just plain awesome, though. :) Overall, this is definitely far inferior to the first movie – not bad, but a mixed bag.

My rating: 60%


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"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (2012)

Posted : 2 years, 4 months ago on 19 June 2015 10:35 (A review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Now, before I start talking about this movie, I should point out that yes, I have deliberately held off on it until now. I didn't go to see any of the Hobbit movies in the cinema because I was so vehemently against the idea of splitting the book into three films that I refused to support the notion; I didn't want to vote yes with my wallet.

Going into this movie, I tried to keep an open mind; I wanted to see how all the added material that wasn't in the Hobbit book would justify its presence. At first, it didn't win me over; whenever it cut back to the orcs, I rolled my eyes. But it all culminates in a pretty awesome face-off at the end, which works because you know the dwarves' history with them. In terms of adaptation, some of the changes they made are actually superior to the book, especially the lead-in to the trolls scene. My only real complaint is that this movie seems far more dependent on CGI than the Lord of the Rings trilogy; even the basic visual style looks too artificial. But on the whole, this movie was actually pretty good. I was surprised. I had very little faith in this trilogy, but this movie turned out to be a promising start.

My rating: 75%


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"Superman/Batman: Apocalypse" (2010)

Posted : 2 years, 4 months ago on 18 June 2015 08:48 (A review of Superman/Batman: Apocalypse)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The story deals with Superman's cousin Kara's arrival on Earth, and her subsequent capture by Darkseid, ruler of Apokolips. So, as well as Superman and Batman, this movie also includes a few other popular DC characters that I didn't expect, like Wonder Woman and the Amazons, who take it upon themselves to train Kara. This was even my first exposure to Big Barda, who's recruited to join the rescue operation, and she too quickly exploded into my good books. All the characters are fantastic, which fleshes out an all-around great adventure that kept me engaged from start to finish. And the climactic battle was simply nail-biting, because I'd seen from other media how ruthless Darkseid could be, so I knew the characters were in genuine danger. To sum it up, I really liked this movie; it's far more consistent than the first Superman/Batman movie.

My rating: 80%


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"Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" (2009)

Posted : 2 years, 4 months ago on 18 June 2015 08:46 (A review of Superman/Batman: Public Enemies)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Lex Luthor has been elected US President, and Batman and Superman maintain their distrust. Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly reprise their classic roles, and their banter is every bit as delightful as you'd expect. And Clancy Brown continues to be the best Lex Luthor ever. :) My favourite scenes are when Luthor arranges a meeting with Superman and surprises him by bringing Metallo along as backup ('cos I love me some Metallo!), and his claim that the approaching kryptonite meteor is affecting Superman's judgement – and the way he manipulates footage from the meeting to support that claim. God, what an evil slimeball! The climax, however, is a bit of a disappointment: whereas the first half is all about brilliant character interactions, the last act just devolves into nonstop mindless action. It's an action climax that doesn't feel earned; it feels like the movie just gave up. I enjoyed this movie on the whole, but did find it very lopsided.

My rating: 70%


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"Superman vs. the Elite" (2012)

Posted : 2 years, 4 months ago on 18 June 2015 08:43 (A review of Superman vs. the Elite)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

It's a fantastic critique of our modern society and how we're coming to expect more depravity in our media, especially how we feel our heroes should definitively deal with evil. The ending serves as a simply perfect rebuttal to this mindset, demonstrating in a spectacular way how Superman's idealism and compassion can still remain timeless. (Also, I don't mean to kick a dead horse, but watching this movie is especially poignant in the wake of Man of Steel.) I especially like how well Superman and the Elite do get along at first, even cooperating to mount a rescue operation, and doing it in a way that makes clever use of everyone's powers. The only thing I didn't like was the design of Superman himself; if the Tim Daly Superman had been in this movie, I think I would have loved it. But otherwise, this is easily one of the best Superman stories ever written, and a testament to why he's endured so well as an icon.

My rating: 80%


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"Batman & Mr Freeze: SubZero" (1998)

Posted : 2 years, 4 months ago on 18 June 2015 08:41 (A review of Batman and Mr. Freeze: SubZero)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Of all the animated Batman movies, this is probably the one I was most looking forward to seeing. So imagine my disappointment when it turned out to be far more childish than I was expecting. The premise just seemed like a typical kids' movie setup to me, and everything about the dialogue and tone just enhanced that. One of my major problems with it is that Freeze never gives any reason for choosing Barbara Gordon in particular for the organ transplant to save his wife; if they'd said she was the best match, I could get behind that, but as it stands, it just seems like he chooses her randomly from about six perfect matches for no reason at all. There's also some really distracting 3D animation; the CGI sticks out like a sore thumb. But the ending almost redeems the whole thing; it's so perfectly bittersweet. Bottom line: thoroughly mediocre movie, but great ending.

My rating: 55%


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"Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman" (2003)

Posted : 2 years, 4 months ago on 18 June 2015 08:38 (A review of Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman)

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

This is a spin-off of the classic 90s Animated Series – the last season, I'm guessing, based on the character designs and animation style. Much like with Under the Red Hood (which I watched right before this one), Batwoman makes for a great antagonist because she's much more ruthless than Batman is, less concerned with sparing her enemies' lives. The eponymous mystery is her identity. And, as a good mystery story should, it plays with your expectations a lot, challenging conclusions that seemed obvious at first. And the ultimate revelation… I have to admit, it got me; I legitimately didn't see it coming. The plot was a little too involved for me to fully grasp at first, but otherwise I enjoyed this movie.

My rating: 70%


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