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Movie review for ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ and 2-billion box office milestone for ‘Avengers: Infinity War’.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2018 by vincentloy

Dinosaurs return to the big screen. The fifth film in the Jurassic Park film franchise, ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ opened on international markets much earlier than its debut in the US to our delight. We get to watch it two weeks earlier. The release of this latest film also coincides with the 25th anniversary of the first film that started it all. Can’t believe it has been 25 years already since the first time we are seeing the ‘kids hiding in the kitchen scene’, ‘raptor knowing how to open a door scene’, ‘T-rex saving the day at the end of the movie scene’, etc.

In this ‘Fallen Kingdom’, the story sets few years after the event in ‘Jurassic World’ whereby the theme park is now permanently closed and left abandoned. The dinosaurs roam freely until a volcanic eruption on the island occurred that will put them into extinction once again. Owen and Claire returned to the place to rescue them but were actually tricked to do so by a businessman to make profit by selling them and on the other hand creates another powerful hybrid dinosaur called Indoraptor. Another hybrid dinosaur on the limelight after the terrifying Indominus Rex that brought an end to the ‘Jurassic World’ theme park in the 2015 movie.

I think I have very high expectation before the movie and so after watching it just now, I felt a little disappointed. I have to say that 2015’s ‘Jurassic World’ is better and more exciting than this one. Well, this ‘Fallen Kingdom’ is also worthy of a praise by me mainly due to the fact that the people behind it can still creatively moving the story forward from and after the first four movies. The starting scene of this that features the Mosasaurus escaping is thrilling while there are still some heartstopping scenes after that. However, the level of intensity seems to have gone down and the supposingly climax-reaching scene in the end couldn’t hit me.

The 2015’s ‘Jurassic World’ has a great introduction scene to the opened theme park, had a great flow of story in the middle, and a jaw-dropping finale fight scene between the dinosaurs. All that is gelled into a great and an entertaining movie. This ‘Fallen Kingdom’ couldn’t reach that high standard set by its predecessor, but it is still a good effort. I like the play of light, shadow and colour in this one which delivers it into a darker tone and intended horror buildup of the story (there are still some funny moments to lighten up the mood). Besides that, I am also moved by some very sad moments involving the dinosaurs as the movie also goes deep to the emotional side.

I missed the post-credit scene unfortunately (didn’t know that Jurassic Park movies now beginning to have post-credit scene too) but I knew the details of it already and find it unimportant. Jeff Goldblum is in here but for a very unimportant cameo role who is just present to deliver some golden quotes. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ a total of 7.3. It’s still fun and nice to watch; I will never get bored of another Jurassic Park film.

This movie is expected to gross over US$ 1 billion (I’m thinking about US$ 1.3 billion) in its final box office revenue just like its predecessor. ‘Jurassic World’ in 2015 gained over US$ 1.6 billion worldwide. ‘Fallen Kingdom’ is predicted to earn lesser than that but will still easily cross the 1-billion mark. On the other hand, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is in a certain position to reach the 2-billion box office milestone by end of this weekend or latest by early next week. It will be the only fourth film in history to reach that impressive figure (after ‘Avatar’, ‘Titanic’ and ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’). Now the question is whether it will eclipse ‘Star Wars: The Force Awaken’ which earned US$ 2.068 billion back then for the third spot in the table of highest grossing films of all time (unadjusted for inflation). There is quite a high possibility for ‘Infinity War’ to do so.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

 

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‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is awesome!

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2018 by vincentloy

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is by far my most anticipated movie of the year and I’m so excited that its release has finally arrived. I have watched all the previous 18 MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) films that began 10 years ago with ‘Iron Man’. I’m thrilled and impressed by how far Marvel has gone to in the development of their films with many of them being exceptionally well executed, and them having all the stories culminate into this third Avengers movie.

I’m also amazed by the creative marketing from my country (Malaysia) in promoting this ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ such as installing a lit Avengers logo on the top of the Telekom Tower (Stark or Avengers Tower as shown in the first Avengers movie resembles a lot like the Telekom Tower) and having large visual projection of the film’s advertising on the facade of Suria KLCC mall which is directly at the base of the Petronas Twin Towers.

As for the movie itself, it is awesome! Marvel has accomplished it again by delivering to us an amazing movie of which almost all previously appeared Marvel superheroes assembled again to take on the villain, Thanos who finally collect the Infinity Stones by himself to power up the Infinity Gauntlet and be the most powerful being in the universe. It’s a bit sad of not seeing Hawkeye and Ant-man joining the huge group of superheroes here (I felt a bit incomplete). Anyway, the movie still has all the charm from the multiple exciting battle scenes, some humorous moments and interesting emphasis on the character development of Thanos. He is not just a bad guy who aim to wipe out half the universe and be evil for no purpose. There seems to be reasoning on his part (although I couldn’t agree on his stand) and I praise Marvel for adding this story to refine this particular character.

This makes no time for the superheroes to shine on their own (most of them only has very few lines in the movie), That is reasonable due to the huge number of superheroes involved while most of them already had their arc explained in their past individual films. The whole movie is quite straightforward except the very end which will puzzle the audiences especially those who are not a strong Marvel comic fans. I only understand some of the ending theories as explained by some people out there on the internet. Spoiler ahead; I don’t think all those who are dusted after Thanos snapped his finger from his Infinity Gauntlet complete with all the six Infinity Stones will just died like that. I believe they or some of them may appear again (maybe resurrected?) in the next Avengers movie scheduled next year. And where has Thanos went to in the end? I don’t quite get that. I think I need to research a bit more on the details of the ending. It’s an open conclusion as expected because Marvel will not just end here as there are so much more future plans ahead for MCU.

The battle scenes are fantastic and explosive till I wouldn’t even want to blink for once during those scenes. Besides that, I can really feel the intensity especially when Thanos appears with those amazing score and the CGI of Thanos’ appearance properly worked on. (it’s so cool watching the scene when Thanos used his gauntlet to pull and throw a planet onto the superheroes…and also many other scenes!) It’s actually very hard to make a movie not only about one superhero but to gather a lot of them into a single production with a great villain and plot. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ a total of 8.0. If you haven’t watch it and plan to do so, please stay till the end of the credits for a post-credit scene (typical for Marvel movies).

By the way, this movie is going to make a lot of money in worldwide box office. There is no doubt it will be the second movie of the year to gross over US$ 1 billion after ‘Black Panther’ (currently has US$ 1.3 billion in box office). I’m thinking that this ‘Infinity War’ will hit US$1.8 billion in the end.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

Drama review for TVB’s ‘Apple-Colada’.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2018 by vincentloy

‘Apple-Colada’ (果欄中的江湖大嫂) is a Hong Kong television series that centered on the life in fruit market. It starred Alice Chan as a debt-ridden retired actress who move back to Hong Kong from Malaysia to seek refuge with her niece (Eliza Sam) after her nasty divorce with ex-husband. They together run a fruit market previously owned by her deceased older brother and has been seized by a man (Tommy Wong) and his son (Raymond Wong). This drama has 30 episodes and is seen as an unrelated sequel to the 2016’s ‘My Dangerous Mafia Retirement Plan’ that saw some similar cast. The drama also starred Mat Yeung, Crystal Fung, Carlo Ng, Lau Kong, Kaman Kong, Andrew Yuen, etc.

The drama at first (its first few episodes) is quite interesting and that has successfully got me to catch up to the rest of the series. However, as the drama progresses, I find that the storyline to be draggy with nothing much particularly exciting or interesting going on. The plot is also very much predictable especially with the sudden appearance of Carlo Ng and Raymond Wong’s biological parents in the series. From there on, I already knew Carlo Ng would be the bad guy and yup, I was right. There is nothing new or anything worth mentioning from this series.

It is still a light-hearted drama with some funny scenes and warm family or romantic moments. But doing just that will make the series being easily not memorable and in average. I couldn’t pay my attention while watching it as there is no climax or cool stuff to get me engaged into the story and the characters. Alice Chan is a good actress and I’m fine with her leading the series. She also fits well to this role. On the other hand, Eliza Sam is awful in this series. I couldn’t stand her acting in this drama as she kept on forcing herself to raise her voice to suit her character in this drama which is totally unnecessary and annoying. She really needs to improve on her acting. With much lesser leading actresses in TVB now, she really has to do a lot of work. She felt very unnatural and I couldn’t avoid noticing that in almost every scene she was in. Raymond Wong is fine but his role with that wild and bad judgement makes his character unlikable.

The series concluded with a happy ending as predicted. Nothing new again. There are still some things (story arc) not completely resolved like unknown conclusion to Eliza Sam’s cousin brother who fall in love with Mat Yeung’s sister from the first time he met her, Lau Kong’s health condition after the trouble with the gangster hiding drugs in his fruit boxes, Andrew Yuen letting Alice Chan go so easily without much heartbreak, etc. There is not much effort and passion put in to make this a good drama, and that’s a waste considering I do have interest on its main story that is based on the fruit market setting. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Apple-Colada’ a total of 6.3.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Just watched my first 2018 movie. Movie review for ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2018 by vincentloy

‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ is the third and last installment of the ‘Maze Runner’ film franchise which is based on a series of novel of the same name. In the first movie ‘The Maze Runner’ released back in 2014, Thomas wakes up in a maze with a group of other boys (Newt, Minho, etc) and later a girl (Teresa) with no memory of the outside world other than dreams about an organization known as W.C.K.D. He slowly remembered his past with clues he discovered in the maze and he attempted to escape the deadly maze with the others. In the second movie ‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ released a year later in 2015, Thomas and his group (known as Gladers) continued their journey on the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with obstacles (particularly Cranks, the infected victims from the Flare virus that turned to zombie-like creatures) to find more clues about W.C.K.D.. They have uncovered their plan which is to torture the immunes and extract blood from them to be made as a cure to the virus. They have also teamed up with resistance fighters and Minho is captured in the end. Finally, in this last movie ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’, the group went into W.C.K.D. base in the Last City to rescue Minho and other captured immune kids.

With the quick recap of the whole story explained, now it’s time to move on to my review for this final film. I recommend you to re-watch the first two movies before going to this third one. This movie is quite long (over 2 hours plus) but I am engaged to it from the beginning to its end, thanks to the multiple exhilarating action-packed scenes. The movie is mostly about the mission to enter the enemy’s territory that involves a lot of guns, fights, explosions, and Cranks (the zombies). There is not a a single scene that feels draggy. From the opening scene that involves Mad Max-inspired train hijacking to encounters with Cranks in a tunnel, and then to breaking into the W.C.K.D. labyrinth-like base, everything is fast-paced and thrilling. Besides than actions, the movie also provides time for characters’ development and emotional moments. Conventional young adult films (like The Hunger Games or Divergents) would focus on romance, but this ‘Maze Runner’ series emphasized on friendship (and bromance) and that is what I’m happy about especially from this concluding film that tells a lot more on this aspect. Thomas do love Teresa but nothing much is shown in their relationship (only a quick kiss in the end…sorry for spoiler). Thomas focuses more on his mission to save his friend, Minho and he also reserves most of his emotion to Newt especially in the end when the latter turned into Crank, struggled and killed himself. This movie is doing all the right thing for Newtmas’ fans while staying true to the books. The ending of this movie is an emotional one and it provides a satisfying conclusion to the overall storyline and the friendship between Thomas and Newt.

Dylan O’Brien (as Thomas in the movie) has proven to everyone that he is a great young actor that can take on other more challenging roles from now on (evident from his previous work in ‘American Assassin’). Thomas Brodie-Sangster is perfect for the role of Newt while Ki Hong-lee is also good as Minho. Kaya Scodelario (as Teresa) is also convincing in these three movies altogether. Their chemistry is very good between one another. Although they are just mostly running around in this film series, but I still see effort from them to carry the story through with more matured performances.

The visuals are brilliant. It is obvious that a lot more money is spent on this final installment. The views of the dystopian setting the film is centered on (and views of the Last City) are breathtaking. The set design is also cool (particularly the W.C.K.D. labyrith-like base) while the score is fascinating as well to compliment the visual progression of the movie. This is a very satisfying conclusion to this film series. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ a total of 8.0. I enjoyed this movie a lot. At one point in the past, I was worried that this final installment will not get to see its release date because of a serious accident involving Dylan O’Brien during the early filming of this movie in 2016. The accident has delayed the production for around a year and filming only resumes last year. I’m glad that Dylan recovered and decided to finish the movie and I  compliment his effort in it after a tragic accident from it that almost took his life.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

‘Heart and Greed’ is a lot less stellar than its last two predecessors.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2018 by vincentloy

‘Heart and Greed’ is the third installment in the ‘Heart of Greed’ Hong Kong drama franchise. The first ‘Heart of Greed’ was released way back in 2007 with critical acclaim and the drama went on to win the most accolades at TVB Anniversary Awards that particular year. The drama has also lead to popularization of ‘golden words’ derived from some intense script in it. I enjoyed the drama a lot, particularly on the theme of inheritance-fighting, the emotional impact especially touching on the warmth of the family, and the superb performances by all the cast. It is a classic. Looking on its success, TVB decided to make a sequel entitled ‘Moonlight Resonance’ the next year (2008). Similar hype and success came in as well as the drama also become the highest rated TVB series of all time with its final episode hitting 50 points.

So about ten years later (now), TVB decided to make yet another sequel (with the same 40-episodes span). It’s called ‘Heart and Greed’. I was very excited because of how great the first two dramas turned out in the past. I also very much enjoyed drama with the theme of family and fighting for inheritance with all sort of tactics and schemes. However, I noticed that this latest drama is no longer relating to ‘inheritance’ kind of story but rather about man who would sacrifice everything to help his friend’s dying business.  This drama brought back old cast (Ha Yu, Louise Lee, Michelle Yim, Susanna Kwan, Louis Yuen, Bosco Wong, etc) and mix it up with new people (Vincent Wong, Eliza Sam, Sharon Chan, Michael Tong, Priscilla Wong, etc).

After I saw the change of cast (disappointed for not seeing Linda Chung, Tavia Yeung, Raymond Lam, Moses Chan, Fala Chen, Chris Lai anymore in here) and the change of plot’s theme, I lowered my expectation even before I started watching the drama. And yup…I am right. The drama is no where near the quality to be called a ‘classic’ like its first two predecessors. The drama lacks the intensity and the dramas that we observed in almost every single episodes for its first two series. Besides than the boring storylines of ‘Kyle falling in love with Belle’, the plain development of ‘old Mr Wong persistently helping his old friend, Alan who had once saved him’ part, the out-of-arch segment of ‘daughter of the family making immoral advance to a married man’ and lastly the illogical and rushed plot when the ‘uncle suddenly turned bad in the end’, there is nothing much going on to make this drama a memorable one.

The veteran cast is doing well in leading the whole show. Or is it? It looks to me that Michelle Yim’s role is now so small and yet she is nominated for best leading actress in the coming TVB Anniversary Awards. She is a great actress, and yet given such unimportant character this time, which is in total contrast to her award-winning performance as Yan Hung in ‘Moonlight Resonance’. On the other hand, I find that Louise Lee had been pushing too hard to act in this drama with frequent shouting kind of tone when speaking. Her age must be weakening her performance. Susanna Kwan is good though and I am impressed with her ability to memorize long script for her part. Eliza Sam is still not doing enough to carry her role while Vincent Wong is as his usual good form. Michael Tong returns with his first drama here after many years and he is doing well. Now I wonder why he and Jacqueline Ch’ng (who portrayed as Adam’s wife) are not being nominated in supporting categories for the coming TVB Anniversary Awards. They are good in their roles here. The drama lacks a few more major characters (the main family group now lacks so many people when compared to its first two dramas) to further escalate things up, to create more tensions and climax for the story.

Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Heart and Greed’ a total of 7.4 only. I would have easily rated ‘Heart of Greed’ and ‘Moonlight Resonance’ above 8 and even nears to 9 respectively. But for this third installment, it is just not that good. It is still a solid drama with some (much lesser) warm and touching family scenes, some fun (but less exciting) conflicts in business and relationship issues. The songs in this drama are nice to listen to by the way while I can see also a lot of effort and budget has been placed on the setting (house interior) and the costumes too. The producers have been forcing themselves to create another sequel to this franchise and it turned out not working that well to my earlier projection.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Movie review for ‘Coco’ (2017). It’s certainly 2017’s best animated film.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2018 by vincentloy

I was quite excited when the screener copy for ‘Coco’ is out recently but I do recommend that the movie to be watched in cinema for its rich visual. It is my most anticipated animated movie of the year. Even before its release, many has already predicted it to be the frontrunner this year to win the Oscar. Well, they were absolutely right.

‘Coco’ is an animated film that follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel Rivera who is accidentally transported to the land of the dead, where he seeks the help of his deceased musician great-great-grandfather to return him to his family among the living. The concept of the film is based on the Mexican holiday of the Day of the Dead. It was produced by Pixar and released by Disney.

Pixar never disappoints on creating animated movies that made people cry. Well, I have not gone to that stage yet but I do felt moved by the storyline of ‘Coco’. The revelation scene and the ending are particularly emotional. The movie has plenty of humorous scenes and emotional moments. I am amazed that the studio delivered both of these elements in such a great way. This light-hearted and fun movie also taught us on the matters of life and death, importance of family, and the vibrant Mexican culture. Besides than all that, ‘Coco’ is also filled with beautiful songs and exciting adventure that will please both the kids and the adults.

The other major compliment to the movie is definitely on its visual. The rich palette of colours topped with detailed scene designs especially of the places in the ‘Land of the Dead’ in the movie are amazing. On the other hand, the vocal performances are great too. Vocal performances are usually not being emphasized in animated films as the involved actors or actresses are not visibly seen in the movie but rather represented simply through voices of the animated characters but this movie shined in that aspect too. The fully dimensional characters also help out a lot. Out of the songs presented in the movie, ‘Remember Me’ with the multiple versions it had, stood out. Simple lyrics but with beautiful and touching melody that enhances the emotional value of ‘Coco’.

‘Coco’ is certainly the best animated movie of 2017 and also one of the best animated movies of all time in my personal opinion. It has everything, and delivered everything to the perfection. The movie is beautiful, highly entertaining, deeply affecting and I have an awesome time watching it yesterday. Pixar has been using similar formulas to churn out good and touching animated films and they are still the best at it. There is also a nice plot twist near the end (but I’m already expecting that one earlier).

Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Coco’ a total of 8.6. That grade means that ‘Coco’ is also my best reviewed film of 2017. Well, it translates similarly to the 97% rating that it has now from Rotten Tomatoes, 8.8 out of 10 from IMDB and 81% score from Metacritic. Since I find that there are no other 2017 animated films that even try to compete for the best this year, ‘Coco’ is hands down the frontrunner and the most deserving pick to win best animated feature at the upcoming Oscars and other major film awards too. It is an instant classic.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is the latest film to join 1-billion dollar club and movie review for ‘Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2018 by vincentloy

As expected, the latest film in the Star Wars film franchise, ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ has grossed over US$ 1 billion on its worldwide box office recently. The movie reached the milestone only about three weeks from its release date. As of 2nd January 2018, the film has grossed US$ 1.056 billion (US$ 533 million from US and Canada and US$ 523 million from all other markets). It is very seldom that the international intake is more than the domestic intake for a film and this ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is an example. It proves that this film franchise is intensely popular in US. On its release week, it has the second largest opening ever if I’m not mistaken.

The movie is now one of the four films in 2017 that grossed over US$ 1 billion respectively. It is currently the 22nd highest grossing film of all time but that ranking is expected to rise further as the movie still observes high attendance from all parts of the world and that it has not even released in China yet. I’m expecting that it will have a final box office intake of somewhere around US$ 1.5 billion. It will not come close to 2015’s ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ that has gained US$ 2.068 billion to become world’s 3rd highest grossing movie of all time (unadjusted for inflation). ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ will ultimately topped the chart as the highest grossing 2017 film, defeating ‘Beauty and the Beast’ that stands at US$ 1.263 billion. The conclusion is; whenever you are producing a Star Wars film, you are sure to get over 1-billion dollar box office return. I’m not a fans of this franchise and I have not watched it yet (no huge interest on it).

Now, let’s talk about another movie and I’m giving my quick review to it now. It’s ‘Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle’. I watched it two weeks ago. It’s a sequel to the first ‘Jumanji’ film in 1995(and 2005’s ‘Zathura: A Space Adventure) and has its story set 21 years after the first film. I remembered those two films and I loved both of them. The plot now follows four teenagers who are transported into the video game world of Jumanji, playing as the characters they chose, and must beat the game in order to return home. It is no longer based on a board but rather on a video game. The movie starred Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, etc.

I had a great time watching it. There was so much fun in this movie. Hilarious moments in almost every scenes, gorgeous visuals, likable cast, and great actions. This is one of the most entertaining movies that I have watched in recent years. I’m happy that Hollywood decides to remake ‘Jumanji’. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle’ a total of 7.8. I am seeing Dwayne Johnson everywhere. He is taking up so many movies (Fast and Furious franchise, San Andreas, Journey to the Mysterious Island, G.I.Joe: Retaliation, Central Intelligence, and upcoming Rampage, etc) right now, and is a much needed actor for movies that require an extreme body physique.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)