Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Avengers (A Review)

Super Hero Season 2012 officially begins worldwide with the release of one of 2012’s highly anticipated The Avengers. Having been cockteased with full-length Avengers teasers (i.e. Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger) and those annoying post-credits sequences, we finally have that long awaited film that’s been hinted at for the past four years (the first Iron Man film was released 2008). So, how does it fare? Was the wait worth it (comic book fanboys have been waiting for this film for DECADES), or have we been waiting for the biggest train-wreck since the infamous 2001 menage trois namely Pearl Harbor, Lara Croft: Tomb Raiderand Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within?

The good news: I wouldn’t go so far as to describe this film as a train-wreck.

The Good

Let me begin by saying that this film is epic. It’s epic in length (we’re clocking at 2 and a half hours), epic in its action set-pieces, epic in the amount of characters, and epic in its Whedon-esque qualities. Director Joss Whedon handles the ensemble cast effectively. There might be some sluggish moments in the scenes between the action set-pieces (which caused me to uncharacteristically squirm in my seat, possibly a bad seat in the theater… hopefully) but the direction is pretty solid. Never does the film tend to favor a single Avenger in character development, most, including Agent Coulson and Maria Hill, are given effective characterization. While some might argue that the lesser S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are given less characterization time, come on: all we need to know about them is that they’re good, and they kick ass when they have to.

The acting department is great, as well. Tom Hiddleston is great as Loki (not surprised here, to be honest); Robert Downey Jr is still a dick as Tony Stark, but nevertheless bad-ass as Iron Man; Chris Evans still gives us his good-boy performance as Captain America; Chris Hemsworth is the blond thundergod, Thor (shut-up, he’s pretty good); Mark Ruffalo offers a subdued performances as Bruce Banner/the Incredible Hulk, Scarlett Johansson definitely kicks ass as the Black Widow; Jeremy Renner does a good job pulling both a badguy/good-guy role as Hawk-Eye; and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury is, well… guys come on, it’s Samuel L. Jackson, motherf*ckers!

The action set-pieces are indeed well done. It isn’t excessively flashy or anything. At best, they’re pretty straightforward but effective, and that’s a good thing. Considering the amount of characters you’re following (plus the longer than usual running time), it’s pretty much a relief to just watch straightforward action sequences without figuring out who’s who or what’s happening in the film. Don’t worry as these set-pieces are still pretty cool, and the extended third act battle of New York city is sure to rival the destruction of Chicago in Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Oh, all these above and the terrifically comedic and unpredictable screenplay by Zak Penn and Joss Whedon. We are treated at the most unexpected events and comedic moments in the film, particularly those scenes with Loki and Agent Coulson, and Loki and Hulk.

The Bad

I said earlier on that there were some scenes which were quite sluggish. These pertain to character development, small expository portions, and humor. I’m not saying that these scenes should be cut altogether, but I think it would be much better if they moved faster as they tend to bog down to pacing to an already long film to begin with.

Additionally, I saw this on standard 2D, and I would say that this film PROBABLY wouldn’t look too good on 3D. Given the post-conversion this film received, and the low-light levels on the film’s first half, I think it’s safe to say that the film would probably suffer to dim and murky images. So, for now (unless other say otherwise), 2D is the way to go on this film.

The Verdict

Overall, The Avengers is a solid and entertaining film. I’d probably go and say that this is the best film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, next to the first Iron Man film, and my personal favorite, The Incredible Hulk. This isn’t a perfect film due to a pretty standard and by-the-books origin story (of a superhero TEAM), but they are overlooked by a cast of likeable characters, effectively directed action set-pieces, and those Whedon-esque moments which Joss Whedon fans will instantly recognize.

4 stars out of 5.

P.S.-  Oh, in case you were wondering about the menage trois that is Pearl Harbor, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, the three were my “Top 3 Most Awaited Films of 2001″…

hehehe… and there I was pretending to be a high-class film critic… :))

A Couple of Things (part of which is a tease to The Avengers)

First of all, some of you loyal followers of this mediocre blog (and I continue to thank your persistence in following a wannabe film critic) will notice that Part 2 of my 3 part entry about David Fincher‘s filmography has yet to be published. The reason for this is… well, I’ve no real good reason except for the fact that I’m totally psyched for The Avengers (which will open here in the Philippines tomorrow, April 25) that I cannot write anything (much less focus on writing some actual decent film reviews and pretentious literary shit). I’d also want to add that playing Diablo 2 in my current spare time is also killing my productivity (I’m building a Necro-Summoner by the way).

That’s basically it. Hopefully, if saving the world from the three Prime Evils doesn’t beckon me, I would be able to watch The Avengers tomorrow and finally update this blog with a long awaited film review.

It’s hot here, despite being night-time. Goodnight folks! See you around!

 

Sincerely,

Evil Dr. Bok…

A Lenten Post

*Non-believers need not read this post as it might offend your sensibilities. You have been forewarned.

Anyways, this week happens to be a very special week for Catholics as we are celebrating the Holy Week, the events leading up to Jesus’ establishment of the Holy Eucharist and his death and resurrection. In the spirit of the Holy Week, I’m giving out a list of some recommended films with themes appropriate for the feast days.

The Passion of the Christ: Mel Gibson‘s powerful and controversial account of the Way of the Cross has been standard Good Friday material ever since its release back in 2004. It shows the suffering and death of Jesus Christ for the sins of the world. Granted, the film’s extreme violence already limits the age group that could watch this film. But the film has more than enough good points than the bad. If not for the message, however, one can still enjoy this film for the visuals, the music, and the inspired performances by its cast.

Jesus of Nazareth: Prior to Mel Gibson’s Passion, Franco Zeffirelli’s epic miniseries about the ministry of Jesus was the standard Holy Week offering. Signature performances from Robert Powell as the Christ,  as well as fantastic cameos by Lawrence Olivier, James Mason, and a beautiful Olivia Hussey as the Mother Mary, as well as magnificent production values, make this mini-series the benchmark of all Jesus films to come (prior to the arrival of The Passion).

Ben-Hur: This is definitely one of the best Jesus films which isn’t about Jesus but it is (watch the film, you’ll get it!) type of movie. The immortal Charlton Heston plays Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish aristocrat whose family was sold to slavery for his refusal to cooperate with the Romans in finding the Jewish revolutionaries. Along the way, Judah meets a variety of people, culminating with the memorable Chariot Sequence in the Circus Maximus, as well as his various encounters of Jesus Christ (first when Judah was a slave, and finally during the Crucifixion).

Special Mention: The Exorcist and The Rite

If look real closely, the best exorcism films are not all about the exorcism proper but a journey made by the protagonist to regain his own faith. In both The Exorcist and The Rite, we have two priest trying to regain their faith in God. Sure, these two films may have the same subject matter, but the beauty lies in their presentation of their subject matter: while The Exorcist depicts are slow-burn type of horror, The Rite attempts a more cerebral type of horror in the depiction of the Devil.

Have a blessed Easter, everyone! :)

 

Wrath of the Titans (A Short Review)

2012 finally has its first HORRIBLE movie. For the first time in goodness knows how long, I felt guilty after inviting my dad to watch a film with me in the cinemas. Of all the films we could’ve seen, it had to be Wrath of the Titans, the uninspired and completely unnecessary sequel to the forgettable Clash of the Titans a few years back.

I call this a short review as it is what it is: a SHORT REVIEW. Thus, I won’t even bother including review staples such as the good and the bad for this one as this film is indeed garbage.

There is a generic plot. Now, I usually don’t mind generic plots as long as the other elements of the film makes up for it (yes, James CameronAvatar is nothing more than a technical exercise). However, this film is just so lazily done that, argh! My head aches just thinking of it.

The direction was uninspired. You’d think that the action sequences might save this movie but it doesn’t. The major set pieces (the chimera fight, the minotaur fight, even the Kronos and Ares fight) all look the same, especially the final encounter with Kronos (I never thought I’d say it, but the Kraken and Medusa fight in Clash looks way better than this one).

For some reason, I didn’t see the $150 million budget here. The VFX looks second-rate (seems like I’m finally getting tired of C.G.I.). The action sequences are terribly disappointing for they all involve Perseus running away or running towards a bad-guy (the fight choreography isn’t spectacular). Acting-wise, Sam Worthington shows his limited acting range (and what’s up with his goofy looking mullet?). Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, and Bill Nighy couldn’t salvage this picture despite their acting chops. Edgar Ramirez (playing Ares) has one expression all throughout. Rosamund Pike, well, is pretty to look at (though Alexa Davalos is way hotter than her).

The Verdict

How else could I describe this movie? Oh, here’s one: it was lazily produced, directed, acted, shot, and… reviewed (teehee! :P)?

Do not watch this film on Imax, it wouldn’t be worth your time and money.

Additionally, some reviewers are saying that the film had a plot structure of a videogame, wherein one involves fighting goons, a boss character, rinse and repeat. I think that that analogy is a huge disrespect to videogames in general. I’d rather play a relatively bad videogame over and over again that watch this uninspired and completely unnecessary piece of garbage.

1 star out of 5.