Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Marvel's The Avengers (Non-Spoiler Review)

The Avengers avenges any flop Marvel has ever made. It’s that good.

One of the two most anticipated movies of 2012 (for me at least), alongside The Dark Knight Rises of course, The Avengers was well worth the wait. The little girl inside me, who woke up early on Saturday mornings just to watch cartoons like X-men and Spiderman not forgetting the DC Comics’ men, both Super and Bat, was jumping up and down throughout the entire movie, completely oblivious to the fact that I was watching a movie without snacks (the lines were way too long, plus you won’t miss it).

From the get go, you’re dropped into the heart of SHIELD (Marvel’s version of the CIA…on steroids) where they’re experimenting with the Tesseract (a source of infinite energy) which accidentally imports a vengeful Loki (Tom Hiddleston) (Thor’s adopted brother, yes…that Loki) from another world, who, big surprise, steals the Tesseract and bewitches Agent Clint Barton aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)*swoon* and Professor Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) to work with him to take over the world. Now, Nick Fury, the head of SHIELD, played beautifully by Samuel L. Jackson, believes his only hope to recovering the Tesseract and saving the world is to put together a super group of extraordinary beings, The Avengers.

The dream team includes Agent Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow, a role which I must admit Scarlett Johansson actually put effort into her acting for, I was almost proud, because as gorgeous and buxom as she is, I have to admit she’s delivered some subpar performances in her career. Another member is the insanely brilliant, rich, cocky and endlessly witty Tony Stark aka Iron Man, a role that could not be more perfect for Robert Downey Jr., for whom comedy is second nature. Writer/Director Joss Whedon, in my humble opinion, finally got it right after many have tried and failed, when he casted Mark Ruffalo as Dr. Bruce Banner aka The Hulk. Yes, you may debate Lou Ferringo or Edward Norton or even Eric Bana (‘cause he already had the name) were good too, but for me it never felt 100%, with Ruffalo though, it’s perfect; but hey, to each his own. Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (played by the very buff, Chris Evans), the very first super hero, is also a member of The Avengers, and aptly adopts the fatherly role in the bunch. Hawkeye, although his mind was hijacked by Loki, is also a member of this elite group and rightfully so, as he will amaze you with what a bow and arrows can really do (Hunger Games who?... Child’s play). To round off the team, the demigod, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) not only contributed to the eye candy in this movie but also keeps up the witty banter introduced in last year’s production of Thor.

And if these super movie stars aren’t enough for you, the film enlists a host of entertaining supporting characters, including Colbie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill (for the How I Met Your Mother fans), Clark Gregg reclaims his role as Agent Phil Coulson, Gwyneth Paltrow returns as Pepper Potts in hot pants and Paul Bettany as Jarvis.

This production was just amazing. Whedon found a way to not just link the characters and interlace their individual stories and traits, but to flow in and out of scenes seamlessly. You’d think with so many egos in one movie it couldn’t possibly work, yet oddly it does…and it works well. If you’re in the mood for an action packed movie that also makes sense, this is the one. The fight scenes were just as fantastic. If you’re accustomed to the Transformer-style-action, you will not be disappointed. From one super hero to the other you’re constantly amazed by what comes next and find yourself giddy and clapping like a seal. It’s every food you love rolled up into one perfect dinner. Just thinking about it makes my insides happy.

What’s bad about this movie? Believe it or not…I have nothing to add here; well apart from Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, but she wasn’t horrible so I’ll let it slide.

Even if The Avengers wasn’t as remarkable as it obviously is, any production that possesses this many talented actors should be seen…over and over. So go watch it! :) Oh and make sure to stay for the credits because if you're a Marvel fan you're in for a nice surprise! 

Rating: 9/10 

Thanks for reading! You can leave a comment or tweet me on twitter @kimberlybadloo
Kim :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Hunger Games (Non-Spoiler Review)

The Hunger Games is more filling than the name suggests.

Apart from the massive headache induced on me by the documentary-style shaking of the camera (even when not much is happening might I add, but worse when it’s a fight scene you’re trying to follow) The Hunger Games lives up to the hype. In preparation for the film I read the first two books of the trilogy earlier this week (in the middle of the third currently) they seemed good enough, pretty easy reads since they were geared for teens, so if you’re looking for some new, light reading material you should give it a try. I can’t decide if it’s better to have read them prior to seeing the movies or not though… So I guess I’ll lay down the facts and let you decide.

The film is set in the future, where America is now a place called Panem. The twelve districts of Panem, in repentance for their uprising years prior, are forced to give up two tributes each, one male one female, between the ages of 12-18 years old, to participate in a gruesome, televised battle to the death, in an arena of wilderness, until one victor arises in a pageant that shall only be known as ‘The Hunger Games’. 

From the get-go the movie drops you in the middle of the fear and anxiety felt by every teenager in District 12. When Primrose Everdeen, the much younger sister of the skilled hunter with a bow and arrow Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), is selected as the female tribute, Katniss steps up and volunteers herself in a touching scene that would bring tears to your eyes… if you cry for everything like I do. The other tribute from District 12 is Peeta Meelark, played by Josh Hutcherson (yes, he’s the big brother from Zathura, and all grown up). They both are mentored by the only previous District 12 winner of The Hunger Games, Haymitch Abernathy, a drunk, blunt yet amusing character who offered the most comic relief for the film, beautifully portrayed by Woody Harrelson. Effie Trinket is their quirky and optimistic escort played by Elizabeth Banks, while Lenny Kravitz pulls off their fabulous stylist, Cinna with ease (who knew right?). President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and the head Gamemaker, Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley) were fittingly cast as well but Stanley Tucci shines as the host of the reality show. The story gets complicated as there seems to be a budding romance between Katniss and Peeta, the irony lying in the fact that at least one of them will die in the games. Gale (Liam Hemsworth) is Katniss’s hunting partner and best friend in District 12 and we can see the typical triangle foundation forming. 

The action is immediate when the games begin. Teenagers turn into gladiators when the survival mentality kicks in and brutally chop, kick, stab and shoot their competition without thinking twice. It’s quite entertaining but sometimes hard to follow as it desperately needed more steady-camera shots (again, thanks for the headache Gary Ross).

My concerns, however, is that it lacked character development as well as scene development. If you haven’t read the books, you may have a cornucopia (*wink wink*) of unanswered questions as many explanations were ‘implied’ rather than properly conveyed. Maybe these would be addressed in the sequels. On the flip side, if you have read the books you may be wondering where some characters went and why they altered tiny bits of the storyline. Apart from these minor points it pretty much stayed true to the essence of the book.

All in all, it was a very respectable try; touching, good storyline, action packed, a bit of comedy and intriguing with just a touch of romance. Definitely not as good as the book, but it’s worth watching, so go see it! :)

Rating: 8/10

Thanks for reading! And as always comments are welcome..
Kim :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

I'm Santana The Movie (Non-Spoiler Review)

Move over Britney! He’s Santana, bitch.

Okay I’ll be frank. I did not expect much. A few cheap laughs, cursing and scandals could possibly sum up my preconceived notion. However, apart from the cursing and scandals, I was terribly wrong. It was genuinely funny; granted you’d have to be a true Trini to catch most of the subtle jokes and puns that probably still flew under the radars of some locals. This movie was filled with laughs. I particularly enjoyed the simplicity of the opening scene. Clear, direct and gave you something out of the ordinary for the previous Santana clips. The progression of the story was well thought out and I liked that Roger Alexis catered for new fans; if you haven’t seen or heard of any of the Santana short clips, you’d still be able to understand and keep up with the story… YES I know what you’re thinking there actually WAS a storyline, and not a bad one either.

The movie continues from where the last skit left off, with heartbroken or as we like to say ‘tabanca struck’ Santana haunted by the ghost of his past relationship with Janice, who has moved on with her new love interest, Pastor Stewart. Don’t worry this is a tolerable love triangle unlike other films (yes I mean you Twilight). The lovable Narine is present and is still being abused by his wife, Patsy. Some new characters are introduced while familiar faces are pulled back into the plot to create an enjoyable, dramatic, action packed, romantic comedy.

I’m Santana The Movie stuck to its true-to-trini humour and classic only-in-the-Caribbean comebacks and scenarios but don’t let their puppet exterior fool you, adult situations, violence and beeped out profanities mean that this isn’t one for the kiddies.

There were lots of hits and just a few misses. The rapid fire dialogue was quite entertaining and the colourful characters lit up the big screen. The music which accompanied each scene (and I mean every scene – it was almost as though Soca music was the new ‘fade in/out’ option for switching to a new scene) as much as it was, got better as the movie progressed; by the middle your ears no longer felt abused by the music but found that it started to enhance the experience. One miss that I think took away from the ‘Santana’ effect, for me at least, was when they used a little boy or a man with fake dreadlocks to portray Santana at times (see the movie poster for an example). This may not be the general consensus but for me it didn’t seem…right.

This production was jam-packed with superficial stereotypes, which can be entertaining; however, one has to wonder what happens after all have been exhausted? Where does Santana go from there? Luckily for Santana’s producers and creator, unluckily for society, new stereotypes are born every day, so this may not be an issue for some time.

All in all, if you enjoyed the previous Santana shorts, you won’t be disappointed by this production, so go see it! If you haven’t seen them, what are you waiting for? Visit Roger Alexis’s channel on youtube (rogera43) and start watching.

Rating: 8/10

Thanks for reading! Comments? Sure, post away.
Kim :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Horrible Bosses (Non-Spoiler Review)

The plot isn’t fantastic but the actors are.

Unlike “The Hangover Part II” this comedy doesn’t try hard to be funny and it doesn’t need to, because the cast is utterly perfect. I honestly could not stop laughing during this one. So if you plan on watching it as a late night movie, alert the neighbours so they won’t be alarmed by random bursts of laughter. However, be warned because this movie is rated for a reason. Raunchy scenarios, lewd behaviour and obscene language to name a few, as hilarious as they are in the movie definitely do not equal family-friendly fun.

Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis portray three best friends who are stressed out employees; overworked, tortured and even sexually harassed daily on the job. Their bosses are as entertaining as they are horrible. Kevin Spacey shines as Dave; a tyrannical, manipulative, almost schizophrenic, executive whose sole purpose is to distress and bring grief to Nick (Jason Bateman). Jennifer Aniston ventures light-years away from the innocent Rachel character that we all know and love, to play Julia; an “evil, crazy, bitch”. She’s a sex-crazed dentist who incessantly hammers her dental assistant, Dale (Charlie Day) with downright salacious comments and inappropriate behaviour. And finally, Colin Farrell lets his good looks take a backseat for this movie and instead sports a balding head with unflattering make-up and a beer gut, to successfully depict Kurt’s (Jason Sudeikis) boss’s cokehead son, Bobby. Bobby takes over the company after his father (Donald Sutherland) dies, and wreaks havoc on all the employees, especially Kurt.

On seeing that they couldn't quit, the three employees realise that their lives would be significantly easier if their bosses weren’t around and come to the unrealistic conclusion; they need to die. A conclusion every single employee with a horrible boss would indeed identify with and support. As they follow through on this idea they encounter and seek guidance from Jamie Foxx’s character, Motherf-er Jones. Yes, you read it correctly (I censored it a bit though). However, I won’t divulge how he got his name since I found that story quite interesting and I don’t wish to spoil it for you. Their journey in carrying out their master plan is chockfull of colourful characters and unexpected humour that you can’t help but let out your most scandalous and unflattering laugh.

It was refreshing to see a comedy this year which didn’t rely on the bogus ideal that more cursing equals more laughs. Don’t get me wrong, they cursed alright, but the funniest moments of this movie were solely due to the originality of the jokes and the superb deliveries. The cast worked naturally well together and no one actor sought to outshine the bunch.

This is one of the funniest films of 2011, in my opinion of course. So if you’re in the mood to laugh and don’t mind the heightened raunchiness, this one is a must-see. The film is aptly named, I must say, since the greatest impression left on you is by those horrible bosses and not the poor bastards who work for them.

Rating: 9/10

Thanks for reading! Comments are always welcome..
Happy Chinese New Year! 
Kim :)