Movie Review: Wonder Woman (2017)

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Plot: Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

Can you hear that sound? It sure sounds like the patriarchal system starting to crack. Since I watched Wonder Woman Friday night I haven’t been able to stop looking at photos of young girls entering the cinema in their Wonder Woman costumes looking excited and elated. Someone of their own gender entering battle and saving people! I haven’t been able to stop checking on the financial success of WW, which is helmed as a victory of super heroines and female directors. I can’t help but laugh with glee how mad all the men are about the women only screening in Texas – how dare women want to celebrate and feel strong without having to hear whisperings that Steve Trevor is the actual hero? MADNESS.

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Director Patty Jenkins was the perfect choice to direct this film. A film about a woman by a woman. If you will bear with me, I will tell you why – Diana Prince is portrayed as a strong woman who fights for herself, sees her love interest as secondary to her mission, is fierce and formidable while being beautiful and smart and adoring children at the same time. I feel like women are constantly told you can either be the soft maternal type OR the fierce business woman, and it was nice seeing a character on screen that didn’t just do it, she made it look positively easy. Gal Gadot strides on screen with her incredible face and intimidating charm and manages to be warm, pure, sweet, funny, caring and kick-ass without breaking a sweat. It is a standout performance of which she can truly be proud, and she’s truly the Wonder Woman we needed.

The opening scenes with Themyscira is certainly some of the weakest parts in the film. I enjoyed the women fighting sequences, it was beautifully choreographed. The beauty of the hidden island is a perfect contrast with the war Diana plans to enter. It did feel just a bit out of place with the strong structure of the rest of the film. The scene where Steve Trevor crash lands and brings a horde of Nazis behind him is heartbreaking to behold, and the consequences of his arrival made me very sad. The fight scenes aren’t ridiculously drawn out, something Mr. Zack Snyder just loves to do, and it is DC’s saving grace. I haven’t seen a DC movie like this ever, and it is the first I’ve able to place above many Marvel movies. If DC can take this magical formula and copy it directly over into Justice League, please note that I will buy a ticket again and be completely on board with cheering for the male heroes too – something I can do without feeling my gender threatened, hem-hem.

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Where DC usually spends their entire films being depressing and dull, Wonder Woman manages to balance the serious with banter and some light-hearted moments. That is actually where Marvel sometimes messes up – they can be too light-hearted. Steve’s insecurities that can’t help slipping out when Diana refers to him as an average man is quite funny, as well as Diana’s comments on why women should even want to tuck their tummies in had me laughing – so very well aimed at society’s double standards.

There is always the stock standard romance, and while it was present this time around, there was nothing stock nor standard about it. Steve is such an incredible guy – he has a purity that is very nearly Steve Rogers about him – morals, etiquette, the ability to see war as injustice on both sides. He allows Diana to do her thing and after only a few slips begins to understand that she will do what she wants to whether he thinks it is allowed or not. Chris Pine was a great choice as this character. He is a talented man that is finally getting some good exposure. He had good chemistry with Gal Gadot. Honestly – he looks like a wartime hero and that certainly gave him impact as well.

Did I see some of the plot reveals coming – I saw the one, but there were a few others that managed to surprise me. It made for interesting watching – and no, I’m not telling you. This movie is way too fresh out to be spoiled on my blog.

If you haven’t seen Wonder Woman yet – go right out and do it. I will need a really strong contender to even ruffle this movie’s feathers as my favorite film of 2017 going forth into the remainder of this year. It is an excellent superhero film in a time where superheroes are stock standard. Let me know if you’ve seen it, and what your thoughts were!

Rating: 8.5/10

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Movie Review: Furious 6 (2013)

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Plot: Hobbs has Dominic and Brian reassemble their crew to take down a team of mercenaries: Dominic unexpectedly gets convoluted also facing his presumed deceased girlfriend, Letty.

Rating: 7/10

This movie is so big for a lot of reasons. The end finally ties in with where Tokyo drift finishes, and the sad death of our beloved Han. It is also where we say bye to beautiful Gisele who dies to (ironically) save Han’s life. It is such a useless way to go, but she couldn’t have known her boyfriend would die only months later. It is also the movie that reintroduces Lettie, which probably needed to be done. The relationship between Elena and Dom felt just way too forced, like something the writers wanted but no one really thought it through. I did find it funny how nice Elena and Lettie were to each other in the end. If Vin was my honey and his dead girlfriend pitched, man, I would not have been that smiley. I thought that Brian and Mia’s baby was expected and has been a long time coming, but I also once again had to laugh at how she basically chased him away because “family needs help”. Agent Luke Hobbs is also back in the picture, and I still think The Rock was a great addition to the cast. Luke is starting to see more of who Dominic is, and realizes that this particular criminal is quite decent under it all. (I think, and it may be too touchy feely for this franchise, that Hobbs is starting to question what he has always believed in). The best scene in the entire film has to be the square off fight between Hobbs, Toretto, (Luke Evans) and his sidekick, played by Kim Kold. The way everyone automatically aims for the guy with the same body type makes me laugh without fail. Luke Evans is probably the best villain yet. Evans does everything with a quiet, dedicated intensity that makes any role he takes on a success. Could they have fleshed out his motives more? Definitely, but this series isn’t interested in doing that. I also thought it was a generally good idea to tie the villain to the villain in 4, which made Lettie’s sudden reappearance more believable. The cars and races are as impressive as always, and grounding that plane so dramatically is as completely possible as that vault scene in 5, if ya know what I mean. I also love how Hobbs is suddenly also capable of racing muscle cars. The man’s talents knows no bounds. It was very cheesy in the end when Hobbs and Toretto finally acknowledged each others’ worth, but I loved it. There is a lot of other things I’ve come to expect and enjoy – Roman Pearce’s makes the worst jokes ever as usual, Han being all calm and collected, Ludacris being his cool self. The crew in this franchise has always been its’ strongest point, and as always brings the feeling of family across. I’m a little bit apprehensive to move on to the 7th film, because I have no idea how they addressed Paul Walker’s death in there.

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Fast & Furious 6 (2013) (L to R) Hobbs (DWAYNE JOHNSON), Dom (VIN DIESEL) and Brian (PAUL WALKER)

Movie review: Fast Five (2011) – AND THINGS THAT MOVED THE FAULT

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Plot:Dominic Toretto and his crew of street racers plan a massive heist to buy their freedom while in the sights of a powerful Brazilian drug lord and a dangerous federal agent.

Rating: 7.5/10

As we move through the franchise to approach the final (released) movie, we all know what happens – more unlikely, death defying stunts. This 2011 movie features the scene absolutely everyone remembers and absolutely everyone references when talking about the franchise – that vault crashing through Rio attached to two muscle cars by the strongest ties in the universe.

But before we come to that, let’s talk a bit about what else happens. Mia (Jordana Brewster) is pregnant, and it is a very big celebration. I would personally be quite upset being pregnant while on the run from the FBI, but she’s happy and Brian’s happy and I’m happy for them.

Dom is dealing with Lettie’s death still, being a badass and still not able to get his arms through a T-shirt. It’s a really hard life. He decides it would be a great idea to steal from the Brazilian mafia, because when last did such a plan ever go wrong?

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He calls in a crew to come and assist – Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), who is still really strange, Tej (Ludacris), who thankfully dropped the afro and is now really quite handsome, Han (Sung Kan), our favorite Asian, gorgeous Gisele(Gal Gadot), Tego (Tego Calderon) and Santos (Don Omar) the last two who still acts in their capacity of attaching moving things to other moving things. Dom’s friend Vince (Matt Schulze) from the first movie is now living in Brazil, he has a girl and a child, and is still shady as fuck and still really hates Brian.

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New on the scene is FBI special agent Luke Hobbs, who has flown to Brazil to find and imprison Toretto and his gang. We obviously hate him because how dare he wish to enforce the law? He specifically asks for Elena (Elsa Pataky) to help him with his Brazilian mission, presumably because her smile is pretty, but we eventually learn that her husband was killed while on duty and she is working to avenge his death.

So I enjoyed the film, but that is not much of a surprise – I’m a fan, I love a good dose of cheese once in a while and the last part of the franchise has been exemplary. However I’m not quite sure whether I’ve enjoyed Fast Five or Fast Four more – I was so happy that they reverted back to the old gang that I loved the fourth film.

The death defying antics start with a jail break where a bus is flipped – and no one dies. I might add that breaking your friend out and seriously endangering his life at the same time might not be the best idea.

Rio is then full of gangsters with guns, and a very smart villain who realizes that if people have something to lose, they will fight very hard to protect it. Brian decides to take on a contract for stealing vehicles and through some more gravity defying maneuvers, they escape with a car that contains a chip with the mafia’s data on. Hence the massive scheme is devised to be rich forever and hopefully being cop free for quite some time.

Luke Hobbs, however, really wants to catch Brian and Dominic. His passion for doing this is purely because it is his job, and I liked it. No over the top agenda or massive secret that is kept from us – he is a special agent and he likes to get done what he is paid for. I thoroughly enjoyed Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs. He was convincing and intimidating, and those muscles must be manufactured somewhere. He is so not ready to let any criminal slide, no matter what sorry excuse they think of. I really liked that, making the quick difference between him and Brian quite obvious.

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I thought Elsa Pataky was quite cool as Elena. I don’t see the necessity of making her a love interest of Dominic, who obviously still mourns for Lettie, but I could see why they would find something to bond over, having both lost partners.

The masculinity is on another level in this film, especially when Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel is on screen. The flashing red lights screaming TESTOSTERONE is ever present, and I couldn’t help but laugh when they finally fought it out. It was like GRRR everywhere.

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THINGS THAT HELPED MOVE THE CARS WITH THE VAULT ATTACHED:

  • VIN DIESEL’S MUSCLES
  • DWAYNE JOHNSON’S SWEAT
  • (AND MUSCLES)
  • BROTHERHOOD
  • MAGIC

March to May: Watched, Read, Loved

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I was all over the place with this post , claiming that I would do some monthly rundowns. I was planning to, I really was, but as you know life is a busy little bastard and all you can do sometimes is hold on for dear life and hope not to fall off the wagon.

In Cinema:

I’ve been to cinema quite a lot the last couple of months. There were a few films I wanted to watch before the internet spoiled everything, and for the most part I walked out relatively pleased.

  1. Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

The biggest problem with Batman vs. Superman? It lacked heart. Not all films should be lighthearted, but BvS had no comic relief and no passion – you need either of the two. I didn’t hate it though, but I do think that DC should have worked a little harder if they really plan to have a fighting chance in an environment so dominated by their biggest rivals.

  1. The Huntsman: Winter’s War 

I will definitely watch this again – it is easy, comfortable watching, not necessarily great but it was quite fun. It also contains my husband, and that can’t be ignored!

  1. The Jungle Book

Beautiful and charming, it impressed me with its gorgeous CGI and traditional storyline. Not my favorite Disney live action film, but it was good nonetheless. I am still the most excited for Beauty and the Beast next year. I CAN’T WAIT.

  1. Captain America: Civil War

Woohoo!! This was so great! It probably deserves a higher score from me, because on reflection I had a blast with it.

At Home:

Blindspot:

March: Love Actually – it was OKAY. Not really my favourite romantic comedy and I won’t be watching it again.

April: Home Alone – not gonna lie, I hated this. I am way too old for this shit

May: Warrior Sooo good, but not something I’d recommend as a pick me up.

Other films:

Begin Again (2013) – I really enjoyed it! It is surprising and not really as close to a romcom as it might sound, and I especially enjoyed the track.

The Fast and The Furious (2001) – This way Throw Back was the best and entertaining. I had the best time even though it is as ridiculous, gawdy, a murky story line and terrible acting. It’s all about investing in the future films, you see.

Wild Child (2008) – Wild Child is a favorite movie of 2008 for me. It has everything – the teenage drama, the love story, the gorgeous hero, friendship, everything! I had to force myself not watching it again right after!

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Series:

I’m rewatching The Vampire Diaries at the moment and having a complete and utter blast.  I stopped half way into Season two to focus on exams, but I am so onboard getting my ass to season 7 eventually! Can we just say #teamDamon all the way?!

Reading:

Last Chance Salloon (Marian Keyes) – hmmm, not my favorite Marian Keyes. It was good in some places but it took me ages to get through it – long, laborious reading.

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Me Before You (JoJo Moyes) – surprising and good, well thought out, not overly sloppy.

The Welcoming (Nora Roberts) – for the life of me I can’t write a review on this for some reason. It is very bland, definitely some of Nora’s most basic work. It isn’t bad or offensive, just pretty tame and nearly put me to sleep in some places.

I finally finished Big Magic after months of searching for it! I’d love to read it again, with a highlighter and a note pad.

Currently also reading:

Evening Class by Maeve Binchy. – this book is a real drag, to be honest. I don’t get why the author is compared to the likes of Marian Keyes – Binchy writes books that make me fall fast asleep. I thought perhaps this book was different from the other one I read by her, but it is shockingly the same – the exact same format and story if you take away all the frills.

Collaboration:

I reviewed over on T9M’s site The Help (2011) – such an awesome flick!

I also reviewed for Kim and Drew‘s 80’s blogathon – When Harry Met Sally – what a great film, definitely worthy of a classic status.

What have you been up to?

Movie Review: Batman vs. Superman (2016)

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Plot: Fearing the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the man of steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. With Batman and Superman fighting each other, a new threat, Doomsday, is created by Lex Luthor. It’s up to Superman and Batman to set aside their differences along with Wonder Woman to stop Lex Luthor and Doomsday from destroying Metropolis.

Rating: 6/10

If we could rate Batman vs. Superman solely on the thigh muscles of Henry Cavill, displayed in tight leather pants, then the most awkward attempt at block buster creation would have ended up with a much higher rating than it currently holds, especially on Rotten Tomatoes, who is leading the angry mob with a nice little 30% rating on there. I was feeling a bit meh towards the film when I walked out of cinema, but have to admit I was slightly shocked at the hate I saw online while doing my usual post-film Googling.

Is it 30% bad? No. It might be the biggest wasted potential of the decade, but it is not worth such a harsh rating. Some things worked really well. Henry Cavill is the most Superman-looking Superman that has graced our screen in a long time, and while his character is shrouded in guilt and really, let’s be honest, needing to man the hell up and stop pitying himself, Cavill is as entertaining as Superman as he was in Man of Steel. Ben Affleck is surprisingly good. Look, I enjoy Affleck very much. He’s a talented actor and comes across as a fairly decent human being. I was not convinced of his ability as Batman, because Batsie is dark and Ben Affleck just seems so nice even when he is trying to be not nice. Yet Affleck portrays Batman with underlying anger and menace that I never thought was possible. He was one of the best things in this dismal movie.

What went wrong?

Lex Luthor

Jesse Eisenberg. I called this mistake in casting he second it happened. He’s twitchy, he’s whiney, he is not marginally charming in this role. What I liked about General Zod in Man of Steel is you could root for him, understand on some level why he was doing what he was was doing. Lex Luthor in BvsS is silly, stupid and twitchy. He barely gives any reason why he is acting like he’s acting, and it constantly feels like he has a tiny-man syndrome and is angry at the chiseled looks of Clark Kent and the adoration humanity has for him.

There is no story. Seriously, the film, starting out darkly with (yet another) backstory on Bruce Wayne looked enticing but quickly developed into a mess. There are kitchen timers, wheels being beaten into submission, Lois Lane throwing the one object that can kill a Kryptonian being into some pool (that appears from nowhere). Even Batman eventually needs to check in what is going down at the end of the film.

I discovered that I dislike Zack Snyder. A man of his wealth and fame will hardly care what I have to say, but looking at the films he made up till now makes me realize that I kind of feel about him like the internet feels towards Michael Bay. Poorly written material with violent scenes seems to be his biggest thing, and it always reflects poorly. This is no different just as MoS was no different – fight scenes that takes way too long to flesh out and then falls flat. The big fight between Batman and Superman started out animatedly enough but ends up with Lois breaking it up. FFS.

Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice

Lois Lane and Martha Kent constantly needs saving. They have zero girl power. Can we have the sassy Lois Lane from Smallville, please? Amy Adams… yeah. I find her relatively decent as a rom-com character but she needs way more spunk as Lois Lane if she wants to continue in the role.

But, what worked?

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. I can’t wait for this movie.

Holly Hunter as Senator Finch. I could moan for days that she was badass but not used enough, but I won’t, because she had a hard stance when she was on screen and was girl power through and through. Go team!

The score. It is Hans Zimmer everywhere and it is dramatic, lonely and astonishingly beautiful.

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Ben Affleck as Batman. It worked, as mentioned above, surprising everyone. I wouldn’t completely be against a standalone movie here, but not sure if it would qualify as necessary.

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Henry Cavill as Superman. Good golly, yes please. He didn’t get any character development in here, and I didn’t appreciate the Christ-attributes that was given to him, but he continues to work well as the local Kryptonian.

The quick spotting of Aquaman. Does anyone fully understand my level of adoration for Jason Momoa? It’s unnatural and unhealthy. I can’t wait.

The bottom-line

I think the critics are being unnecessarily rude about this film, and their harshness is uncalled for. It might be a good plan to scrap Jesse Eisenberg and Zack Snyder and to follow a straight line of comic book back story. There are enough things that work in here to make the exhaustive time of the film slightly tolerable. Go watch it, get your own opinion and don’t let anyone tell you you’re wrong about it.

Batsie

Movie Review: The Fast and the Furious (2013

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Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his friend, ex-cop Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) live the highlife after their successful Rio Heist. Dominic is living with Elena (Elsa Pataky) and Brian lives with Mia (Jordana Brewster) and their new born son Jack. Gisele (Gal Gadot) and Han (Sung Kang) now live in Hong Kong. The last two of the Rio heist, Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Ludacrias) live the high life.

Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) shows up again and wants Toretto and his team to help him with a specialized task. Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) is a former British Special Forces soldier who destroyed a Russian military convoy and may be looking to destroy a few other things as well. Dominic plans to refuse but Hobbs promises full amnesty to the team for their past crimes and shows Dominic a photo of Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), Dominic’s former, presumed dead girlfriend. Knowing that Lettymay be alive forces Dominic to reconsider the deal. Elena says it is okay for him to go and he and Brian sets off to meet with the rest of the crew while the women stay with the baby.

The crew arrives in London and manages to catch one of Shaw’s henchmen. He leads them to Shaw’s hideout, but Shaw has pulled one over them and his team is busy pulling a heist somewhere else. Shaw flees the scene and Dominic and his crew races after him. Letty joins the fray to help Shaw and shoots Dominic.

Hobbs tells the crew that Shaw is planning to steal components to create a Nightshade device that can disable power in the region to the highest bidder. Shaw looks into the other crew and sees that Letty used to date Toretto. She is saved from paying for it because it is obvious she is suffering from some form of amnesia from the blast that killed her.

Taj finds out that Shaw plans to attack a NATO base in Spain. Dominic’s crew interferes and destroys Shaw’s convoy. Shaw, who has Letty with him, drives in a tank and begins to destroy cars and the highway. Letty is horrified, seeing who Shaw really is. Brian and Roman flip the tank and Letty flies through the air but Dominic miraculously catches her mid-air.

Shaw is captured and he tells Brian that he has Mia captured. They are forced to release him and Riley (Gina Carano), Hobbs’ partner, reveals that she is actually working for Shaw. Letty chooses to remain with Dominic and her old crew because she doesn’t remember anything but knows they are the people that truly out care for her.

Shaw and his crew are boarding a plane when Dominic and his show up. Dominic, Letty, Brian and Hobbs manage to board and Brian rescues Mia. They escape to safety as the plane begins to board. Han, Gisele, Roman, Tej, Brian and Mia are keeping the plane from rising by tying their cars to the plane and giving it too much weight to rise. Gisele dies when she rescues Han by sacrificing herself. Letty kills Riley and she and Hobbs leave the plane but Dominic stays behind to find Shaw. Shaw is thrown from the plane and dies, and Dominic miraculously gets out alive in one of the remaining cars. He gives the chip to Hobbs, thus securing their amnesty.

Fast forwarding, the crew is able to return to the United States. Hobbs and Elena go to Dominic’s house, Elena tells him that she wants him to be with Letty and wants them happy and that she belongs in law enforcement. Hobbs confirms that they are now free. Dominic asks Letty if she remembers anything, and although she replies in the negative, she says it feels like home.

In Tokyo, Han is coping with his grief by doing what he loves, driving cars, but his car explodes and he is killed. The other driver walks away from the explosion and leaves a message on Dominic’s phone with the ominous message “You don’t know me. You’re about to”.

Rating: 7/10

The Fast and the Furious franchise is so much fun. It is fast paced and action packed with reasonably good acting and a storyline that is solid enough to keep your attention.

Luke Evans portrayed Shaw very well. He made a brilliant evil mastermind but I think if he had more show time it would probably have pushed my personal rating up.

I have to put it out there that I am not a Michelle Rodriquez fan. She just seems like the type of person I won’t get along with and I think her roles are very typecast and unoriginal. I honestly think Toretto should have stuck with Elena (because maybe then Elsa Pataky can stop pretending that she’s married to my husband, Chris Hemsworth).

Who else thinks the end where Elena tells Toretto that she accepts he should be with Letty is very, very unrealistic? That is the only part I found truly ridiculous. Here honey, go back to your ex I won’t say a word. Asseblief man.

The last big fight scene with the airplane was very long and definitely felt stretched. It was all fun to watch though and I laughed at how Hobbs went with Shaw’s big guy and Toretto went with Shaw – it was like natural selection of let’s fight someone with our own body build (okay, Vin Diesel is much more muscly than Luke Evans but The Rock is fucking terrifyingly big).

Definitely worth the watch!