Category Archives: Movie Reviews

HMT MOVIE CLUB: The Last: Naruto the Movie

Naruto_the_Last,_Hinata_confirmationI am definitely in a state of mourning. As we all know, the Naruto Manga series has finally come to an end…after a weird as fuck final battle arc. We got to know who and who had the sex, and what they become in their future.

Here’s the last Naruto movie, or so they claim for now…and my body is pumped up with hormones of mixed emotions of excitement and great despair.

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HMT Movie Club: Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron

avengers ultronThis highly anticipated Avengers Sequel with record-busting production budget is finally here… And movies like these make me feel really lucky to be alive to watch it.

I’ll admit now, I am not a Marvel or comic book fan, and therefore I know shit about the original story vs. the movie. I’m just here to give my opinion on this movie, based on what I see.

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HMT Movie Club: CHAPPiE

chappie

This, is the first movie, in a damn long time, which it is actually better than its trailer and miscellaneous promotional attempts.

I was mislead into thinking that this is another iRobot flick, discussing about what it means to be ‘alive’ and ‘aware’, or one of those ‘droids gone bad’ situation, but it really isn’t.

I was pleasantly surprised that it was a lot more complex and an emotional mind-fuck.

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HMT Movie Club: Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor

Set in the Afghanistan War in 2008, a Navy SEAL team was tasked in the assassination of a Taliban leader. The humanity of SEAL Team 10, along with technical glitches, lead to a grueling battle with Taliban fighters, and Lone Survivor tells of the quest for survival for the sole surviving Team 100 member, Marcus Luttrell.

Directed by Peter Berg, Lone Survivor stars Mark Wahlberg as Marcus Luttrell, the titular character, alongside Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster and Eric Bana, and is a dramatic reenactment of the true accounts of failed Navy SEALs operation, Operation Red Wings.

SEAL Team 10, led by Lt. Murph (Taylor Kitsch) was one of the teams assigned on the mission to capture and kill Ahmad Shah, one of the leaders of the Taliban forces. Tactical factors forced Team 10 to make last minute changes, leaving them exposed to enemy forces. A streak of humanity by Team 10 – the release of three goatherds who spotted them – led to the blowing of their cover, and a brutal firefight with Taliban fighters.

Bad luck, along with technical glitches, left Team 10 alone in their fight for survival against relentless waves of Taliban forces. The heavy gunfire made it difficult for reinforcements to enter the battle zone, leaving Team 10 stranded. Outnumbered and overwhelmed, one by one, members of Team 10 were killed, leaving Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) as the sole surviving soldier. Lone Survivor tells the tale of his struggle for survival through his eyes.

Having directed movies that have failed to impress, including superhero movie Hancock and 2012’s Battleship, Lone Survivor is Peter Berg’s return to form as each moment of the movie keeps the audience constantly at the edge of their seats.

The tension and fight scenes between SEAL Team 10 and the Taliban forces are the highlight of the movie. While the buildup towards the climax was rather slow, with much of the initial moments of the movie dedicated to giving the back story of Team 10, the fight scenes are all extremely fast paced and intense. Often, Team 10 comes close to being captured by the Taliban forces, only to escape at the last moments. The many close shaves that Team 10 has with the Taliban forces leaves one constantly fearing for their lives.

At the same time, the story itself touches the hearts of the audience, with numerous heartwarming moments in the movie showing a glimpse of the benevolence of both the soldiers and the Afghans. For instance, the final moments of the movie where the American soldiers and Afghan villagers join forces to help in each other’s survival certainly helped in restoring some faith in humanity. Heart-wrenching moments are aplenty, with the painful details that were put in each of the soldier’s deaths, and especially in the flashback moments right before each of them dies.

Peter Berg has put in much emphasis in the details of the movie to ensure extreme realism on the battlefield. On top of all the blood and gore from all the very realistic gunshot and shrapnel wounds, the sound effects are also excellent, ranging from all the crossfires between Team 10 and the Taliban forces to the minor details such as the numerous falls that Team 10 would take throughout the movie. Even the portrayal of the military is extremely realistic, without the glitzy and futuristic technology of many other films of similar genre.

It is nice to see Mark Wahlberg once again attempting a more serious role after the recent light-hearted ones that he has taken on of late (such as Ted, Pain & Gain, 2 Guns), but the credits of the rest of the cast should not be discounted. The excellence of the cast can be seen in even the minor characters, such as the extreme hatred and disgust that the goatherds felt while being held captive as Team 10 decided their fate.

To some, Lone Survivor may be just another war/action flick, but the background story and the realism portrayed certainly makes for a movie that would pull the strings of many hearts of fans of historical films and military men alike.

HMT Movie Club: Hangover Part III

Hangover Part 3Of all the recent drunken comedies, I have liked the Hangover series the most, with the first 2 instalments of the trilogy being some of the funniest and most hilarious no-brainer movies, yet having their touching moments as well. So when Hangover Part III came out, I quickly grabbed the chance to catch the movie, hoping to relive some of the funny times that were on the first 2 movies.

Perhaps my expectations were too high for the movie, because for the most part of the movie, things weren’t as funny as I seemed to recall. Stupid jokes made by Alan were aplenty, and while it may have been the entire point to make his character childish and stupid as hell, it got to a point where his character seemed overly obnoxious and not funny at all, and there were moments where he got on my nerves with his rather annoying sense of humour. And for some reason as well, Chow, one of the main things that made the first 2 movies funny was rather lacklustre this time round, with his sense of humour sinking down to Alan’s level as well.

One other main gripe is that the build up for the movie was so slow, that it bordered on being boring at times, and it felt almost like torture waiting for the movie to hit its climax (which was never really hit). Furthermore, any attempts at trying to rouse that warm, fuzzy feeling with touching moments were done rather poorly, and it felt as though this, like Iron Man 3, were just done for the sake of milking the franchise.

The only two truly noteworthy moments were when Black Sabbath’s N.I.B. was played almost in full, and the post-credits. And that should be sufficient to show how bad I thought this movie was. Oh and what kind of Hangover movie is it when none of the main characters even touched alcohol this time round?

 

HMT Movie Club: Evil Dead (2013)

If you don’t already know, Evil Dead is a remake of The Evil Dead.

One thought comes to mind when we hear of remakes, and most of the times, it is always worse than the first.

This remake, I feel, is NECESSARY, and you will be pleased to hear that this is BETTER than the original. Trust me on this. Trust us on demonic gory horror films.

I watched Iron Man 3 in the same week after this, and if you had to choose one, then watch this in the cinema.

Evil Dead (2013)

HMT Rating: ★★★★☆ 4/5 Stars

IN CINEMAS 9 MAY 2013

Rating: R21 | Consumer Advice: VIOLENCE AND GORE 血腥及暴力画面 | Running Time: 91 minutes | Chinese Title: 邪恶重生

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HMT Movie Club: CZ12

CZ12One would almost know what to expect when going for a Jackie Chan movie – action thriller, adventure mixed with some elements of comedy. Other than the Police Story series, most of Jackie Chan’s movies have been those that see him take a less serious role. Touted as the movie that boasts the most number of stunts done by one person in a movie, CZ12 got me rather excited as well (other than the fact that I am quite a fan of his movies), with the standard martial arts and high action that is shown on the trailer.

The high budget that has been put into this movie is rather obvious, with the international cast and the filming techniques and effects that are utilised. The international cast is certainly something to take note of, with Jackie Chan’s mercenary crew being made up of Jackie Chan himself, and four other members from China and South Korea. The cast also speak in their native languages (Chinese and French) in the movie, giving it a more authentic feel.

Like all other Jackie Chan movies, CZ12 is extremely fast paced. My personal favourite scene would be the opening scene where Jackie Chan goes downhill from a military base on a suit full of wheels, leaving one wanting to own a suit like that. The fight scenes are one of the main things that fans of his films look out for and they do not disappoint, where he displays his proficiency in martial arts and choreography, intertwining fighting and comedic moments, diffusing the tense situation that he might be caught in.

Of course, there is the serious side of the film as well, with the movie’s setting being one of political seriousness – the returning of a country’s artefacts from colonisers/invaders of the past.

This is definitely one of his best works so far, and Jackie Chan proves that he is one of the greatest action heroes, doing most of the stunts on the movie at this age. The movie credits as usual show the NG moments, some pretty funny while others showing the tough side of acting such movies and the aging of Jackie Chan.

 

HMT Movie Club: Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages

I first saw the trailers for Rock of Ages in some restaurant while having dinner one time, and what I saw just got me eagerly anticipating for its release. First with the obvious Guns N’ Roses references (actually, mainly the Axl Rose reference in Tom Cruise’s character), and also with the concept of fusing rock with musical, maybe not something that is particularly novel, but nevertheless interesting seeing how musicals have become tools of pop music with High School Musical and such.

Unfortunately (or rather unsurprisingly), this “rock” musical failed to live up to its hype. While featuring many classics from, erm, classic bands like Twisted SisterJourney and Poison, for the most part the performance of these tracks turned them into poppy rubbish. Not that the originals weren’t trendy, but Rock of Ages just took the rock out of the music, especially with personalities like Mary J. Blige on the cast (not exactly known to be a rocker, is she?). And this started off right from the beginning of the movie with lead character Sherrie crooning Night Ranger‘s Sister Christian. Actress Julianne Hough being of a country music background unfortunately spoiled the ballad’s powerful emotions with her bubbly singing, and this will be a major downfall of the movie as it progresses. Now I have nothing against her vocals cos she can actually sing pretty darn well as shown on later parts of the movie, but she just fails to fit into the rock image that is supposed to be portrayed, and someone with powerhouse vocals would have greatly improved the movie.

Then there is Drew Boley, Sherrie’s love interest, who also aspires to be a rock star, but at least this guy can sing pretty decently. But some scenes just fell flat on its face, like when he performed I Wanna Rock. Dude, is the guitar there as an instrument or is it just a rockstar accessory? The part where he ended up being manipulated into a boyband suited him more, to be honest.

Tom Cruise was alright though, managing to capture that rock star attitude though there are moments where these don’t really feel convincing. And if rumours are true about Tom Cruise singing all his portions, then it is really impressive, considering the difficulties of the songs that are covered, such as Paradise City and Wanted Dead or Alive. Oh and you can’t really go wrong with Russell Brand and his stupid, childish sense of humour, being one of the other reasons that made me decide to check this movie out.

Feedback from those who have watched the actual Broadway musical say that the movie’s rubbish, and even without comparisons to other “versions”, this has pretty much sucked on its own. So no, rock and musical should never be fused together again if things are gonna be further watered-down and dumbed down for the mainstream audience. If I wanna watch a movie based on classic rock, I think I’ll stick to other movies like Mark Wahlberg’s Rockstar…

HMT Movie Club: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (3D)

When I first saw the trailer around the start of this year, I felt that making another Spiderman movie this soon was stupid because I just saw some awhile ago.

Then I compared against other movie remakes, and thought about exactly how long ago was that Tobey Maguire Spiderman movie…I realised…that I have aged.

For your reference, the Tobey Maguire Spiderman movies spanned from 2002-2007. That’s 5 years ago! Well, I wouldn’t mind if this new one is better.

“It better be better than all Spiderman anything.”

So, how does this on match up???

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (3D)

Directed by Marc Webb

Starring: Andrew GarfieldEmma StoneRhys IfansDenis LearyCampbell ScottIrrfan KhanMartin SheenSally FieldChris Zylka

SYNOPSIS: The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker (Garfield), an outcast high schooler abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him  raised by his Uncle Ben (Sheen) and Aunt May (Field).  Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today.  Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets.  As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents’ disappearance – leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Ifans), his father’s former partner.  As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors’ alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.

What I like about this movie:  I think that Garfield is more handsome than Maguire, as Maguire looks too much like a goon. However, Maguire did a more charming performance. Emma Stone portraying the love interest was a ton better than Kirsten Dunst. KD was really fucking bad in Spiderman. Plus Garfield and Stone’s chemistry was really good here! I also really liked that there were more background story about Peter Parker’s tragic past and about his parents, and how these might contribute to his teenage angst. This movie also showed the more accurate technical aspects of Spiderman’s ‘technology’ which is his artificial webshooter at this point of his life (origins), and other gadgets that he was capable of creating. (Spiderman was only able to shoot organic webs in later parts) This Spiderman was also accurate to how gifted he was pre-bitten, being awesome in his academics and intellect, probably passed down from his genius father. We get to sorta know why he became an orphan under the care of Uncle Ben and Aunt May. This Spiderman feels a lot more human, being not as good in combat than the previous ones. The best of all, is the Spiderman humour which we all LOVE. This dude is damn funny. At least behind his mask.
Talking about his MASK, the COSTUME is wayyyyyybetter than the old ones. I am sure it is because our technology definitely improved, but the detailing and iridescence were top-notch. In fact, he looks like a shiny basketball. Totally fit for this age.  Plus we also had insight to his costume concept-development 🙂 Pace for the movie was definitely great. The cinematography was an extra effort. The angles and perspectives of Spiderman was really cool, it was though we were flying with him. This is worth paying for 3D and IMAX. 

What I don’t like about this movie: Well first of all, Garfield is quite the handsome dude, so I don’t get how he is a social outcast in his circle. Any girl would jump at his bones! I guess his sorrow in this movie was not as well portrayed as the Tobey one, plus at this point of time, he is still a teen and not too much of adult problems yet. But I have faith that it will be more awesome in the sequels (YES THERE IS A SEQUEL!)!!! I feel that this Uncle Ben and Aunt May didn’t have as much impact on me and Peter Parker than the past Uncle Ben and Aunt May. Definitely not the fault of the actors, but I guess the parts should be better written. I cried so bad when the old Uncle Ben got killed. Not really for this. I don’t under where he hides his backpack whenever he goes to save the world. Can’t stand it. I don’t like that his webshooter is not working underwater. Not that I didn’t find Garfield sexy, it’s just that I hate to admit the shift in the new definition of male sex appeal after the tragic production of Twilight. Look at our Garfield Spiderman…he is so much more lean than Tobey. I like them buffier (but no need to be as buff as Superman)!!!

(Left: Tobey Maguire, Right: Andrew Garfield.)
Picture from Spiderman Official Facebook Page

I find it quite hard to list out things I don’t like for this movie, because it far exceeds my expectation for it.

It is also interesting to note this:

“When first wearing the Spider-Man costume Garfield admitted to shedding tears and trying to imagine “a better actor in the suit”, which he described as “uncomfortable” and admitted to wearing nothing beneath it since it is skin-tight.”

Personally, I feel that it is worth the money to re-watch this Spiderman. Remember to stay for the post credits!!! I cannot wait for the sequel to launch.

Did you know that Emma Stone was biologically blonde and she dyed her usual red-head for this movie? 

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (3D) opens 3rd July 2012 (Tuesday)!!
YOU MUST CATCH IT IN THEATRES!

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HMT Movie Club: Men In Black 3

I recall when Men In Black first came out in 1997, I didn’t get to watch it in the theatres as I wasn’t that privileged.Then I got to watch it on some pirated VCD some friend lent my sis. My first impressions was that it was fucking hilarious, and that the aliens were too cute. Totally want to buy that neuralyzer. Could use it to erase my embarrassing childhood accidents.

Then came Men In Black 2. Sequels of the past were for all deserving movies, and like any great one which made our youth-hood bearable, here comes the long-awaited Men In Black 3.

The first 2 Men In Black were all light hearted and crazily funny. Then, Will Smith’s character ‘J’ was still a rookie. In this third installment, what we get to learn at the end of the movie, gives us a complete closure for the series. I hope there’s a four, but I can die without one because all questions were answered. 
There is a story behind why K recruited J, the ‘something-going-ons’ between K and O, why K is always so damn serious, the origins and operations of the MIB, old alien feuds. Mainly, it is about J going back in time to save K, and through this journey, learns so much about his partner’s past. 
K imprisoned this one alien guy called Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) and put up the whole barrier thing to prevent earth from being invaded by Boris’ kind. Boris escapes prison, travels back in time to kill K. He succeeds, and the next day, and in the whole universe, only J remembers K. We ask why, and this one guy selling time-traveling illegally reveals that it was because J was there, which initally makes completely no sense, but at the end of the film, you will understand. Just remember this 😉 
J going back in the 60s, the hippie era which the blacks still didn’t have much rights, and it was funny how ridiculous the racial discrimination was in the past. Ok, not funny, but funny because J managed it humorously. 
I feel that J is significantly more mature, albeit still manhandled by his partner K in present time. He is now a Class A agent, yet the entire senior committee still treats him like a kid, like O. J talks in a less ‘ghetto’ manner now, less ridiculous acts and replaced by deep thinking and understanding, but didn’t lose his humour and charm. We know that this film will be more deep and dark than the first 2 by the second  scene, which shows all agents of MIB, mourning for agent Z’s demise. Film starts with the serious cleavage of Nicole Sherzinger and some really disgusting alien tongue action. 
Significantly, the alien attacks are now more brutal, I guess because the modern audience can take a lot more brutality and bloodspill. 
Men In Black 3 makes me tear more than Harry Potter 7.2. It is obvious that K is like J’s father, and he is going back in time just to save him. It reveals how much love they have for each other, and they become closer than ever after the whole ordeal. 
Just in case you were wondering, the younger K is not Tommy Lee Jones in thick make-up. It is performed by a new cast Josh Brolin, who uncannily looks a lot like a younger Tommy Lee Jones. Funny mentions are the humongous sized ‘jet-packs’, super huge ‘communicator’ and the old wired neuralyzer. There were these Tron Lightcycles-like motor vehicles too. 
Sy-Fy movies should really go with a high budget or not at all. Like Will Smith said, MIB is a Sy-Fy-Action-Comedy. 
In terms of the general feeling, I think this is better than Harry Potter 7.2, slightly better than Dark Shadows, but one star lesser than The Avengers. Definitely worth a SECOND watch in the theatres. Yes, buy the 3D seats please, makes a whole load of difference.
Remember to play the “I SPOT LADY GAGA” game while watching MIB 3, opens this 24th May 2012*P.s: Don’t stay for post-credits, there is none. 

©2012 Heavy Metal Tribune | cynnedcynner | cyn@heavymetaltribune.com