Movie Review – Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange left me feeling uncanny at the end of the show.

Telling the tale of a successful, arrogant neurosurgeon who lost the use of his hands in a car accident, the movie wasted no time in introducing us to the powers that the sorcerors at Kamar-Taj holds, with a starting action sequence that leaves you at the edge of your seat. The visual effects of the multi-dimensional buildings and conjured weapons were stunning, and will definitely leave you at the edge of your seat wanting more.

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The Ancient One modifies the dimensional forms in a city. Photo credit: YouTube

I was especially impressed with the psychedelic scenes when Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) was first projected into the colorful dimensions by the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). These scenes were not shown in the trailers and definitely threw me in for a surprise, and I enjoyed the visual presentation, vivid colors and transitions.

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Something along this line. Photo credit: vice.com

The battle scenes to me were a mixture of ups and downs. While I hold my praise for the stunning CGIs and details in the conjured spells and wormholes, the battle choreography felt a little static, as most scenes relied on fighting each other with the conjured weapons, which I felt could have been explored in a more innovative manner – most of the time, fights were carried out with blades, shields or spear-like weapons. I’m no expert in martial arts, but the idea of being limited only by your own creativity in weapon selection thrills me a lot (think Green Lantern); although Doctor Strange might not want to proceed in the humorous direction, it certain could have done better in this area.

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The climax action scene was done beautifully, sans the final confrontation. Photo credit: YouTube

The disheartening thing, however, was the failed attempt by the movie to portray the grey area in the moral compasses of the “good guys”. The questionable decisions made by the Ancient One were revealed in a non-shocking manner due to the excessive amount of foreshadowing going on; this reduced the intended off-balancing impact on the internal moral scales of the audience. Furthermore, Strange’s love interest, Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), felt a little forced into the movie’s plot – my best guess is that she was meant to be the person that Doctor Strange turned back to for help and as a means for his repentant and changed nature to surface, and that was not reflected convincingly in the storyline.

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Misplaced chemistry? Photo credit: savoringthegood.com

Overall, Doctor Strange is an enjoyable piece in the theatres due to its quaintly charming CGI that is a joy to be expertienced on the big screen – but its straightforward and simple origin story may leave the audience desiring for something better.

Featured photo credit: popcorn.sg

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Movie Reviews – October 2016

The Girl On The Train

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I must first praise Emily Blunt for her stunning performance in the show – her stunning depiction of an amnesiac on the verge of breaking down left me breathless as she carried the show through with her impressive range of emotions and demeanour. However, I felt that the incoherent presentation of the movie made the already complex plot more confusing, and I was left perplexed at the sequence of events that led to the current conclusions. (The show was not presented in order of timeline) Nevertheless, if you focus enough, the show can give you a rollercoaster ride through the psychologically terrifying twist.

Watch in cinemas? If you like twisted thrillers.
Watch when digital edition available? Yes

Sausage Party

 

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I was pleasantly surprised at how much ingenuity the writers had in conceptualizing an innovative storyline from just a supermarket alone. I don’t want to spoil it too much, but the trailer doesn’t do justice to the plot and message behind the movie, which really impressed me, as I didn’t expect such a raunchy movie to carry forward the message in a fun and light-hearted manner.

As for the things that made the show R21, let’s just say that the show is pretty explicit with the action, and while I personally enjoyed the dumbness, not everyone may be able to take the sexually suggestive jokes and events. I still recommend a watch though!

Watch in cinemas? Yes!
Watch when digital edition available? Hell yes!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

 

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In Chinese, I would describe the movie as 天馬行空 (describing something that’s out of this world), and Tim Burton successfully performs his magic to create an environment that is magical in a stranger, darker way (in contrast to say Harry Potter). The abilities that the children possess were pretty unorthodox – puppet control via zombie-like revival, dream projection, even a second monster mouth behind a little girl’s head – a pleasant departure from the usual mainstream shows about people with abilities.

The show shined in its silly moments of fun, such as Victor’s skeleton army battling the hollows in an amusement theme park; easily the best moment in the show. What it lacked, though, was a logical storyline, as there were many loopholes in the way the characters behaved that led me to some frustration. But if you don’t mind that and came to experience another one of Tim Burton’s worlds, you’ll definitely enjoy the splendour in this movie.

Watch in cinemas? If you like Tim Burton
Watch when digital edition available? Worth a try

Blair Witch

Halfway through the movie, I exclaimed, “The people in this movie have no logical mind!”

Somewhat major spoilers follow.

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Blair Witch tells the story of a young adult whose sister was lost 20 years ago in the Black Forest to the tales of the Blair Witch, a spirit that haunts trespassers of the forest. Together with three other friends, the group ventures with two local guides into the forest in the hopes of finding the lost sister. And the group decided to film their adventures as a documentary.

… At this point, I was already exasperated – who in their rational mind would venture into a haunted forest without professional trekking equipments? But let’s go on.

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In your face. Photo credit: traileraddict

Halfway through the exploration, the local guides decided to manually imitate acts from the Blair Witch to persuade the rest to leave the area, as they themselves did not like the idea of potentially losing their minds here. Now why did they come in the first place if they were feeling uneasy? No one knows. Then the group decided to chase the locals away (as if less people would make them less susceptible to hauntings), only to realize after a few hours that they are indeed trapped in the forest.

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Let the rituals begin

This is where things start to get interesting – strange, paranormal events involving cursed stick dolls, flying tents and a giant version of the doll, presumably the witch herself. As I did not watch the 1999 classic, I won’t be able to compare the quality of the suspense and scares; but even for someone who avoids horror films at all costs, Blair Witch felt lackluster in its portrayal of the creepiness of the forest. The movie’s reliance on the lack of light and dramatic happenings (such as the flying tent) did not keep me interested; that is further aggravated by the unconvincing premise (or the lack thereof) resulting in these occurrences.

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In your face. Photo credit: traileraddict

This is the main gripe I have with the show – the types of supernatural events were not properly justified with relation to the (vaguely explained) mythology of the Blair Witch. Honestly I did not have any idea of what the Blair Witch could do except for the stick dolls and the whole you-can’t-look-at-her-directly thing, and that made the events less scary, as the show did not properly build up the suspense towards the unnatural events actually happening. This is a waste, as I thought the found footage filming that Blair Witch employs had a lot of potential. Maybe if it was shown in a VR studio, I would’ve really freaked out.


I honestly don’t think the movie is worth watching; however, fans of the original The Blair Witch Project may want to give it a go, for their better relation to the thematic elements of the sequel. Also, there’s an intriguing fan theory (spoiler rich!) explaining the events of the show that might interest the disappointed.

Mechanic: Resurrection

Author’s note: I did not watch the trailer nor the previous instalment in the series before giving the movie a shot. Also, minor spoilers, of course!

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Photo credit: chrisstuckmann.com

Mechanic: Resurrection brings the best out of Jason Statham. His ruthlessness in taking down people and completing his job is a delight to be experienced on screen, but the lackluster, incohesive plot leaves much to be desired even towards the climax of the show.

The Mechanic

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How does one nearing his fifties look so good in a prison uniform? Photo credit: ticketon.kz

I’m sure Jason Statham is the reason many people are watching this movie, and he delivers one hell of a show to the viewers. The confidence, ability and improvisation abilities he exudes as The Mechanic makes the show much more thrilling, and his unfaltering attitude when executing difficult maneuvers to complete his task is sure to captivate the audience.

The Jobs

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In the movie, Arthur Bishop was tasked to kill three high profile, wealthy targets – and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that these people have the highest levels of security around them at all times. Furthermore, each hit has to look like an accident, eliminating the possibility of clean kills such as sniping.

To be, the main draw of the show comes not at the heated face off moments, but rather in the ingenuity Bishop designs his equipments and his spy roles, that will come in handy when he infiltrates the facilities for the kill. His unorthodox methods of getting the desired outcomes and his resolute is portrayed flawlessly by Statham.

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Photo credit: todaytv.vn

Unfortunately, the plot added unnecessary restrictions to the scenarios, which rendered the later hits more of a miss (ha ha), as most of the time Bishop ended up confronting the enemies head on – it’s as if the writers couldn’t come up with interesting mechanics to later infiltrations. What a waste.

Gina Thorne and The Plot

 

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Why is it that women always get objectified in shows like these? I’m pretty sure that Jessica Alba is experienced enough to play more interesting roles, but instead she was reduced to portray an unnecessary character that felt forced into the storyline to provide an excuse for Bishop to resurface from hiding. (Just look at Emily Blunt’s character in Edge of Tomorrow.) This was, to me, the worst part of the movie – even the impressive thrilling actions would feel empty, pointless without strong reasoning and plausible explanations to back them up. And most of the time Jessica Alba was really there for eye candy.


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I don’t think Mechanic: Resurrection was a sequel created from leftover material of the original film (which was a remake); rather, it’s probably one of Hollywood’s ways to make a movie based off an earlier, more impressive film, to make the audience relate based on familiarity. In that light, do lower your expectations, and I think the show is probably better off enjoyed at home after its digital versions are released, rather than in the big screen.

P/S: They really wasted Michelle Yeoh’s talents..

Feature photo credit: denofgeek.com

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV

Featured image credit: finalfantasy.wikia.com

If you liked Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, you’ll like Kingsglaive.

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Product placement much? Photo credit: paultan.org

Kingsglaive introduced me to the breathtaking world of Eos – a place paralleling our mother Earth, but with the inclusion of magic and Final Fantasy-style mechana. Captivating the audience with its realistic depiction of magic-infused battles, Kingsglaive did not disappoint in its CGI. Especially the characters’ hair. It’s like everyone came out from L’Oréal commercial. Haha!

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Photo credit: xboxachievements.com

My favourite character in terms of accurate human recreation has got to be King Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII – the amount of detail on the wrinkles on his face was impressive!

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Photo credit: Youtube

The use of magic for short range teleportation to the location of a thrown dagger was the main attraction of combat in Kingsglaive, and it really shines. The CGI was detailed beautifully in its rendered fast scenes, which kept me at the edge of my seat through the various battles with monsters or empowered humans alike.

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Photo credit: attackofthefanboy.com

One thing I really look out for in movies is its cinematography, and Square Enix lives up to the hype. Kingsglaive’s interpretation of a modern FF-inspired world combines the best elements of contemporary architecture with the freeform, slick elements of magic to construct its unique but relatable huildings, giving a unique sense of realism while establishing itself as a fantasy.

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Photo credit: Youtube

The rugged presentation of its plot, however, left me slightly disappointed, as there were times I felt characters were behaving a certain way only to advance the story. Of note is Libertus’ changing viewpoints on the empire and Lucis, which was the weakest element to me.

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The magical shields were rendered beautifully. Photo credit: Youtube

The movie also threw the audience into action immediately, using only a short narration to introduce the audience to the ongoing conflict, which wouldn’t capture our attention and appreciation for the hardships the characters have gone through, in my opinion. I would accept some sacrifices in action scene time for more development any day.

Furthermore, the twist of the story, while surprising, did not draw its intended shock from me, again largely due to the lack of empathy for the characters in question. It could definitely be handled better.

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Not enough development for Lunafreya 😦 Photo credit: nerdist.com

All in all, it’s a good watch for people who enjoy the fast-paced action that Kingsglaive offers, especially for those who have played the game. While it’s storyline leaves much to be desired, the art that Square Enix has created makes this worth a watch in my opinion.

P/S: the Lucci gods are bastards..

Suicide Squad

So.. did Suicide Squad save the DC film universe?

Warning: Mild spoilers ahead!
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A bunch of weirdos doing their thang, because the Dark Knight and the Scarlet Speedster couldn’t be bothered to help. But, logic. Photo credit: Youtube

Let’s first talk about the good stuff –

Harley Quinn

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Spectacular acting from Margot Robbie. Photo credit: collider.com

The character Harley Quinn singlehandedly brought that light-hearted and silly humour that the show very much needed, much thanks to Margot Robbie’s goofy portrayal of the Queen of Gotham. She cracks the silliest jokes like a baby girl at the most inappropriate situations (for a good laugh) to slacken the atmosphere. Definitely one of the most enjoyable aspects of the movie, but she could be less sexualized, I guess.

El Diablo

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Because fire is cool. Photo credit: superherohype.com

The only supporting cast to get his own character development, Jay Hernandez’s El Diablo transforms from being afraid of his own identity to setting foot on his path to redemption through the show. I appreciated the subplot intertwining within the main storyline, and El Diablo really felt like the X-Factor that made or broke the team. And of course, the best part is when he went full bankai – sooooo exciting!

Then for the mehhhh things –

Joker

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Jared Leto tried out a few laughs for his character, and not all of them were appropriate 😂 Photo credit: ew.com

Despite having a really large shoe to fill from the late Heath Ledger’s incarnation of the character, Jared Leto exhibited his own personality in his own rendition of the deranged clown, and I enjoyed his acting on screen. Regrettably, the Joker felt more like a convenient plot tool in this show to drive certain developments forward, and in my opinion his behaviour in the show was logically inconsistent, particularly at the points where he chose not to save Harley Quinn. It might just be me though.

And the areas for improvement,

The Objective (Enchantress)

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Cara Delevingne goes crazy in the show. Photo credit: inverse.com

If the Enchantress is really that powerful, I’m pretty sure that she could’ve found ways to gain her freedom through other means, instead of how it was portrayed in the movie. Also, the whole world domination thing is really becoming too cliche at this moment.. and how she got taken down was another disappointment, at least for me.

Script and Filming Decisions

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Killer Croc gets left out of the limelight. Credits: zap2it.com

Although the movie is said to feature an “ensemble cast”, it is obvious that Will Smith and Margot Robbie gets the most on-screen time. I felt that this was a waste as the characters of Killer Croc and Captain Boomerang deserves their own development as well, and this is definitely possible as seen in Marvel’s Avengers movie (at least the first) and the more recent Civil War. Something DC can learn from Marvel perhaps.

Furthermore, the whole film felt rather disjointed transitioning from scene to scene – seems like the reshoots and last-minute edits disrupted the film’s overall cohesiveness.


All in all, Suicide Squad was generally an enjoyable film, but definitely not of blockbuster quality. But if you’ve seen reviews (and/or read up to this point), your expectations should be lowered to a point where the movie can be fun to watch. 😂

 

Lightning Post: Nestia for Singaporean Home Living

This post is intended for readers residing in Singapore.

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Was looking for a good bus timing app when I came across Nestia.

What?

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Nestia claims to be the go-to app for home living in Singapore, and it lives up to its name by providing a variety of services from within the app, such as public transport timings, movie showtimes, and more.

Why this?

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Previously, I used three apps for bus arrival times:

  1. SG Buses: Didn’t really like it’s slightly cluttered and non-modern design.
  2. bus@sg: This app is good, but doesn’t provide an arrival alarm (notification when the bus is arriving at your stop).
  3. SG BusLeh: Intrusive with pop-ups and rating prompts in its UX.

Nesta’s bus arrival feature works well for me, albeit it can be a bit slow at times with the latest design update. I like it though!

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The one thing that Nestia really helped me with, though, is its movie showtimes & booking feature. I would even go as far to say it’s probably the best in this section. Movies are sorted in a clean list with information on synopsis, actors, as well as consolidated showtimes from all cinemas in Singapore. It just works.

Cool! Anything else I should know?

That’s only two of many features that Nestia has to offer – there’s also home rental and leasing, home services, amenities finder, and the recently introduced F&B finder. Best of all, there’s no advertisements. That alone won me over.

P/S: Nestia offers leasing and rental listings for property owners and agents!

https://www.nestia.com/ – App StoreGoogle Play