Movie Review: Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Endgame

Plot: After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe

After 10 incredible years of the MCU, it seems that every single moment has led up to this film. Fan or not, you have probably heard of the staggering success of this film the last weekend – 1.2 billion dollars within one weekend. It is absolutely insane, yet no one seems overly surprised. I am not. I got my ticket for the first release in South-Africa. I get grumpy with spoilers but I don’t have meltdowns, yet I suspected I would have one if someone spoiled this form me. I will keep this review as spoiler free as possible, because if you have eagerly awaited each of these films as I have, you deserve to have it unspoiled for you.

Overwhelmed, emotional, shaken, surprised. That is pretty much how I felt. It became inevitable with the lead up to this film not to ask if a major superhero would die, but which one would. I will tell you that whatever happens feels completely right for that character, like they were always written for it. It is sad, but it feels like the perfect ending.

There are two character developments which feels… weird, even for Marvel. The one I will literally never be able to unsee but the actor involved handled it with charm and comedic ability. But still. It felt like a personal attack on the most beautiful character. The other one was quite hilarious but showed good character development. I am sorry, I am not really making any sense, am I?

It is a mammoth film, with a running time of three hours and 1 minute. It is a feat that I in particular didn’t feel that the film was drawn out, it is written well enough and is entertaining enough that the film runs without ever feeling that unnecessary time was wasted.

What worked well in this film is that the focus was very much on the original 5 superheroes. The Avengers crew has become way too large over the last couple of years and Avengers: Infinity War’s ensemble cast was large enough to host a high-school reunion of a really robust year. I don’t think it is too much of a spoiler to mention that when the rest of the avengers return, it is worth it and at the exact right moment. It is also really beautiful with the focus on one character’s reaction specifically, and you will have to have been dead inside for a thousand years not to be touched by it.

I will probably return with another review once the spoilers are out everywhere. Further than that, it was good and powerful and I enjoyed it. It has been a wild ride, and a beautiful one.

Love you 3000 😉

Rating: 7.5/10

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Movie Review: Aquaman (2018)

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Plot: Arthur Curry, the human-born heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, goes on a quest to prevent a war between the worlds of ocean and land.

April is such an exciting month! Avengers Endgame AND Game of Thrones! Yup, I’ve seen the first episode, and it was good, I just can’t see myself reviewing per episode on here. Since I am SO ready for Endgame, I thought I would do a quick post on the only superhero movie I have seen that I haven’t put on here yet, Aquaman (although not even in the same universe, ha).

I saw this in the cinema in December 2018. It got some good reviews and reached the billion dollar club (The club which is not so elite anymore, but anyway). Some people thought this was a great film, and that’s okay. For me it was merely decent and while better than some of the other DC flicks, it still left much to be desired.

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I love Jason Momoa – he’s marketable, funny, beautiful and impressively big. I am not convinced he’s the best actor on the planet, but at this stage he doesn’t need to be. He chooses this big and gruff roles because it actually looks like that is who he is as a person. He does fine with Stephen Curry, and even though there are moments where he isn’t utterly convincing, he does remain one entertaining man. And even if he was terrible, you still get to see a really big and attractive man wet and built for two hours and 22 minutes. The love story between him and Mera (Amber Heard) felt really forced and unnecessary. A couple of superhero films have done really well by now without some romantic entanglement, and I think this would have survived without that as well.

Nicole Kidman plays Arthur Curry’s mom and the Queen of Atlantis. She’s named Atlanna, just so that no one gets confused who she really is. It’s a role far beneath her acting abilities and she navigates the sea without much issue. If you can believe that she mothered Momoa’s genetics, you can believe anything.

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Patrick Wilson plays Curry’s half-brother King Orm. He’s a terrible leader in this movie and also has dealing with the pirates Curry tackles in the beginning of the film. Other than Wilson’s deeply upsetting hairstyle, he does a decent (if one layered) villain. This is a nice setup for a second movie to begin with, which I am sure after a billion dollars no one will hesitate to commit to.

At the core, this origin story is nothing new. The release was well timed, in time for the relaxed holiday viewers. The last battle will leave you feeling exhausted because it is just so stupid and long. It’s really not that bad, just cheesy and silly. I definitely won’t commit to a second viewing, but that isn’t because of the quality – I rarely feel that superhero movies need to be watched twice.

Rating: 6/10

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Movie Review: A Star Is Born (2018)

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Plot: A musician helps a young singer find fame as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral

Some people are born with a whole lot of talent. Like, sickening amounts. Two such humans, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, decided to collaborate in a project we never knew we needed quite this much. They are a powerhouse combination as Ally, the down-to-earth-but-wildly-talented Italian American girl who meets Jackson Maine (Cooper), where he stumbles into a burlesque bar one night while she’s performing. Jack, a country megastar is an alcoholic and on a slow medical decline due to his ever growing hearing impairment. Ally seemingly stabilizes him for a while, and as her star continues to shine Jackson’s doesn’t really grow dimmer so much as that his out of control problems rips their life into chaos.

Let’s first focus on the directorial debut of Bradley Cooper. He is a great actor, but might I say he is an even better director? There are strokes of genius moments – focusing on Jackson instead of on Ally while she performs, giving him as the actor enough time to show the feelings the character is experiencing while Ally changes some of his previous ideas. It’s beautiful and touching and inspired. The movie is also incredibly real feel to it, never shying away from the sweaty looks while artists are onstage that makes them so undeniably human – there is one particular scene where Ally is performing one of her new songs to a large crowd and she is sweaty and messy and very human. I am not too great at chatting about why I believe a director is great, but can I finally also add that the colors and use of lighting in this film is really good.

As an actor, Cooper undertook 18 months of vocal training to perfect Jackson’s gravelly country drawl. He also performs all the songs himself and sang live in all the shots in the film. Like I said, sickeningly talented. There is also a heartbreaking raw desperation to Jackson – sad and lonely and dealing with an idolization of a father who was anything but great. It’s impossible not to be touched by scenes where he describes how he was treated by the father he idolizes, and it is clear that his problems started

There is nothing particularly fresh about how the story is told, and even the ending is slightly darker than the usual route, it still remains a well visited topic. A Star Is Born is unique because, in my opinion, the following reasons:

  • Lady Gaga is not only a phenomenal performer with one of the best voices of our time. She is more than a passable actress. Cooper chose well to have her in this role and the movie couldn’t possibly have enjoyed this level of success with a less convincing performer. I will be honest and say that I never cared for her crazy theatrics on stage, but as this form? I can become a major fan.
  • The chemistry between Cooper and Gaga is off the charts. I hope they make more films together because they work seamlessly as a pair and were utterly convincing as a pair, so much so that there are STILL rumors about their off screen affair, which didn’t happen, because, ya know, maybe Bradley just isn’t the cheating type. However, it creates a tense and powerful atmosphere in this movie and the combination of the two makes you truly want it to work for Ally and Jackson
  • I had some moments rolling my eyes because the notion that only women who have poor self esteems and dress “down-to-earth” are worth noticing is played with a bit in here – let me just say that a woman can dress in a piece of meat and still be just as talented as Ally in ASIB (quite literally for Gaga), and still have the same amount of talent worth noticing.

Overall, this film definitely deserves the hype it got. and even though heartbreaking, I can commit to watching it again. It was THAT good.

Let me know if you saw it and loved it!

Rating: 8/10rev-1-ASIB-15481r_High_Res_JPEG

Movie Review: Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

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Plot: The story of the legendary rock band Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury, leading up to their famous performance at Live Aid (1985)

Wow. I went to see this in cinema in December and never got around to reviewing it. It simply needs a spot on this blog because even though I never got around to posting a top 10 films for 2018, this would have ranked high up.

Let’s focus a few seconds on the performance that made this film – Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury. Malek has always embraced oddball roles with vigor and has no trouble taking on a human legend full of eccentricity like Mercury. The two sides of Mercury is explored – his crazy media and onstage persona and him as a loner and intensely private. Malek handles both with aplomb. He switches seamlessly between the two sides of Mercury and seems truly lost in his performances on stage.  I doubt anyone else could have given such a convincing performance. He deserved his Oscar, and he deserves all the praise being thrown his way for his work.

I liked that the movie focused on the band and how they developed, grew and thrived to become one of the greatest bands of all time. It could have gone without a few fabrications, such as a breakup by the band. I know there was some uproar online about the numerous factual inaccuracies in the film, but Bohemian Rhapsody is still one of the strongest films to walk out of 2018.

The other performances are stellar as well, although I would have enjoyed more time with the other band members on screen. I still don’t accept that Gwilym Lee portrayed Brian May – he looks so much like the real deal in the film that I won’t accept that they didn’t just dye the real Brian May’s hair brown again. Anyway, he obviously does a convincing job to portray the amazing guitarist. Joseph Mazello plays John Deacon and Ben Hardy Roger Taylor, and I think the only thing that could have made the movie better was more in-band conversations. Lucy Boynton plays Mercury’s female love interest Mary Austin, and yup, you guessed it, a fine job too. Allen Leech plays a villainous manager that corrupts Mercury and derails his life, and it was quite upsetting seeing my favorite Tom Branson behaving in such a manner.

I have been a Queen fan for a big part of my life. Their music is just so alive and interesting and original. I probably sound so much older than what I am when I say that they just don’t produce music like this anymore – the originality seems to have gone down the drain in lieu for bum shorts and gangster lyrics. It was an amazing to listen to all the songs in cinema and know every single word. There is also the incredible Live Aid performance reenacted in the movie, which made me re-watch the actual performance countless times.

Freddy Mercury succumbed to aids-related illness in 1991. His death continues to be one of the greatest losses in the music industry, with such an incredible talent gone forever. With the medical advancements we currently enjoy, he could have fought the progression of the disease for many years and continued to thrive. This film manages to capture the genius and essence of who he was. If you haven’t sat down to watch this yet, I really suggest you do.

Rating: 8/10

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