Movie Review: The Fate of the Furious (2017)

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Plot:When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of terrorism and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before.

I am quite the big fan of the Fast and Furious franchise. I reviewed the entire series a while ago, and naturally the mere mention of the return of Dominic Toretto and his family was enough to get me excited. These movies have become progressively bigger and more extreme as the series developed, and the Fate of The Furious makes no exception.

To be honest, this is the first film that I felt was overly ridiculous. It has always been very ridiculous with this franchise, but this one went very extra. The “banter” between Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham made my toes curl with embarrassment. Seriously – the testosterone these two emit in each other’s presence was nothing short of hilarious. Dwayne Johnson had some pretty funny lines as a school soccer coach, and his desperation in having his girls win the game to avoid a Tay-Tay concert was quite funny and understandable. Fast 8 tries to market Jason Statham now as one of the team, as a Shaw brother it is quite confusing as he was a main villain about fifteen seconds ago.

Dominic Toretto abandoning his family seems crazy, and that is exactly what he does. Villian Cypher (Charlize Theron) shows Dom something on a screen and it is enough to make him drop his wife Lettie (Michelle Rodriguez) and his team. What could make him do this? What does Cypher want? That’s never too clear, because I don’t think the plot is the primary point of this film, and we are left in the dark more than once.

I won’t say why Dom did what he did, but there WAS a BIG reason. Naturally Brian (Paul Walker) must be mentioned loudly at least once, and that he can’t come help because they decided he needs to be away. I don’t really agree with the decision on that, because Brian O’Connor in the Law of the Furious would never drop Dominic Toretto – however sad Paul Walker’s death may be, I think the character would have died too instead of abandoning his family.

Charlize Theron’s Cypher has a very blurry reason for the things she does. The chemistry between her and Vin Diesel is less than zero, and that kiss they share is cold and plain weird (despite Diesel’s strange comments about it). There is a lot of explosions and more bad dialogue, and when Diesel, Johnson and Statham appear together onscreen the manly manliness is almost too much to witness. The rest of the crew – Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), Megan (Nathalie Emmanuel) and  Ludacris (Tej) get laughably terrible lines. Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) is still cool AF, and he’s joined by tough guy Scott Eastwood as a new recruit. The awesome Kristofer Hiviju is Cypher’s henchman, and I still love Tormund even though he’s a baddy in here.

The last few scenes of the film is naturally very dramatic and highly unlikely, and the end is  mushy but manly-still. This formulaic fan festival of epic proportions is outrageous, crazy and very similar to the last couple of Fast films. I found it slightly less engaging with a little worse dialogue, but I’m not even fooling myself – if there is a Fast 9, I will still watch it.

Rating: 6/10

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Game of Thrones Season 7: A recap of the so far

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Me, and the majority of the world seemingly, have been following the latest Game of Thrones season. Sure there are people who still feel the need to say that “this isn’t their show” or “I’ve never watched Game of Thrones in my life”, and they are all really annoying, but for the most part people are at least really interested in what is happening in Westeros. It is probably the only show I make the effort to watch as it comes out, because people love talking about this show that you are bound to know every single detail if you don’t watch it the moment it is released.

As usual, I felt that the show started slow. It is on par with the layout of the previous seasons – the snail paced start of the first few episodes and the eruption of war and chaos everywhere a few episodes in. The first episode was a catch up of what had happened and where every character had ended up, and it felt slow but it was also a necessary aspect.

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I really do enjoy Euron Greyjoy. I’m mentioning him first of the characters because he’s my favorite new addition to this season. Sure, he’s an absolutely horrendous character, but actor Pilou Asbaek is having the time of his life portraying this mad, fearless pirate. He provided a fierce battle on the water, and the scene where he rides into King’s landing after sinking Daenerys’ fleet amused me – he is clearly having the time of his life. The death of the Sandsnakes were desperately disappointing, with their rumored excellent fighting skills just that – a rumor.

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Cersei Lannister is still the Queen of Chaos and creating havoc where she goes. Lena Headey has done a fantastic job with this role and she continues to shine. This is a petty need, but I really just wish she can get other hair now in the show – that yellow short style hurts my soul. I’m now where she told Jaime she’s pregnant and threatened him in the same breath. She’s a crazy woman and although I’m not sure if she is going to stick to the plan to tell the world that Jaime is indeed the father of her child, she certainly knew the impact it would have telling him that.

Nikolaj Waldau-Coster still plays my favorite incestuous guy in Westeros. He’s clearly conflicted and a brave, honorable man – there was something insanely courageous and telling in the way he decided to charge Drogon. I hope this show takes him more places and he doesn’t just remain Cersei’s puppet. Although gross and illegal, he truly loves her, and while I’m sure she loves him, I often feel that she looks at him like a dispensable pawn. Jaime has levels that are untapped and if one of my ten million theories about how this show can end ever pans out, he’s probably going to be the Queen-slayer as well.

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The other Queen, Daenerys of the million names, is irritating me on a level that I can’t put in to words. She has evolved over the season as any character has, but that is not always a good thing. She’s pompous, power hungry and a fool most of the time, and is steering towards the direction of her father at this stage. I was sorry when she burned Dickon Tarly and his father for refusing to BEND THE FUCKING KNEE – that phrase is irritating me so much – it showed that they were obviously honorable men (though Tarly senior was definitely a mean old thing), and on the seriously low looky level the show currently has I would have enjoyed more of Dickon Tarly. I really hope the resurfacing of the now cured Jorah Mormont will stabilize her attitude. Her relationship dynamic with Jon Snow is also interesting – after them finally meeting there was definite sexual tension in the air, which is just a bit gross since they are related. Neither of them know it yet at least, so thus far that tension isn’t a Lannister thing yet.

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The combination of two of my favorite people in the show – Jon and Ser Davos – continues to keep me happy. I like Ser Davos so much – from his time where he acted as a kindly father figure to the now toasty Shireen Baratheon, Ser Davos is an honorable man who is loyal to his King. He’s proven to be a great help to Jon, though not always the most linguistically capable comrade Jon has. I also liked Davos bringing in Gendry (YAY!) again, and I hope Gendry and Jon have great adventures together. I really liked the banter shared between Jon and Gendry in Episode 5, and might I just say Gendry turned in to a fine young man while he was hiding in plain sight. There was lots of humor – the banter about Robert Baratheon’s girth and Jon not being as tall as Ned, and I particularly liked Gendry not hiding the fact that he’s a Baratheon from Jon. It’s important, because despite the many faults of Robert he and Ned were great friends and allies. Jon himself has grown – I’ve been annoyed with the character at times but he remains my favorite to be on the throne. He’s agenda is different and he’s focused on the right thing – the Night King and his frozen army. Jon had a moment where he stood up to Daenerys which I found really attractive – it is so pleasing when a righteous man puts his foot down once in a while. He’s now on his way back to capture a Zombie, and I really hope he, Tormund Giantsbane and Jorah make it back out alive. (I also wish Tormund and Brienne marry and have big, scary babies). The scene with Jon touching the dragons are obviously important, and I found the setup of the scene fantastic.

Arya has finally dropped the part where she was no-one, and after being in one of the best and most rewarding opening scenes in a series where she avenges Robb Stark, she heads back to Winterfell to reunite with her siblings. This is important as she was on her way, and would likely have succeeded, in killing Cersei. There was this awkward moment with Ed Sheeran (the internet mayhem kept me entertained for weeks), and a moment with Hot Pie that I really enjoyed, and afterwards her reunion with Sansa really didn’t have the same emotional punch as Sansa and Jon enjoyed in season six. I think it stems from the fact that the sisters were never really close at the start, and while they are probably happy to see each other they are likely still going to be competitive. Of the two sisters, Arya is my favorite. I think authority sits well on Sansa but she needs to get rid of Littlefinger – he has way too much hold on her at the moment.

I think the other last important thing to mention is Sam and Gilly. I like Gilly so much, and Sam a lot of the times, but he was just a bit annoying in the last episode. His heroics saved Jorah this season, for which we thank him, but his irritated dismissal of Gilly’s information did not endear him to me. Sam lost his temper a bit with his position at the Citadel, and has now embarked to who knows where. He had a point there at least – to provide valuable information to Jon.

I really like the scenery, the battles, the costume design (as always fantastic in this show) and how plots are falling in place – my brother in-law feels that it is too designed and easy, but I am enjoying it. The entire story is finally escalating towards massive battle scenes. Every single family has been uprooted and displaced, and the Tyrells have been completely obliterated (fantastic exiting scene from Oleynna Tyrell). If I could have a scene where Littlefinger dies, where Jon and Arya are reunited, and possibly love between Brienne and Thormund, I will consider myself a very lucky person. I think Dany and Cersei squaring off is probably only the very last season, but we can hope for that to happen soon too as it will be amazing.

What are your thoughts this far in?

Episode Review: Game of Thrones, Season 6, Episode 1

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SO I’m finally ready to review GoT Season 6. It is time, and I must say I’ve avoided it for a while because five was a bit of a waste in my opinion. I’ll do one episode per week, so if you’ve seen it, please feel free to discuss below – but if you haven’t and the internet hasn’t spoiled literally every surprise for you, note that that all of these posts contain spoilers.

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First and foremost is the hopelessness that surrounds Jon Snow’s death. Seeing him lying there so lifelessly is quite depressing, and it truly seems at this stage like yet another Stark has perished. I’m loving Ser Davos still, he’s probably one of my favorite guys at this point. He obviously has no point what Melisandre has done to Shireen Baratheon. I hope when he finds out Melisandre will volunteer to face Ramsay’s dogs before facing his wrath. Speaking of Melisandre – how hilarious and creepy is that scene where she drops all pretenses and we see just how well she’s handled aging? I felt some vindictive pleasure in that.

I didn’t really get Ramsay mourning for Myranda and then feeding her to the dogs, but hey, it’s Ramsay here. Iwan Rheon is working his heart out in this role and he really deserves all the praise. I don’t know how I can constantly wish that he would be a decent human being, even knowing what he’s done. It’s probably that innocent face that hides such a deplorable character.

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Sophie Turner and Alfie Allen are both also doing outstanding work in this season. It really looks like they are freezing to death (I’m sure they did looking at that hopefully non-CGI weather), and they are both just so hopeless. I was exceptionally happy when Brienne and Podrick turned up, and things finally started looking better for Sansa. And yay to Theon for his bravery – atonement for his past transgressions, though I am not sure that I will ever completely like him after that Robb business.

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Cersei’s grief is still showcasing the only humane thing about her when she learns of Myrcella’s death. I liked that, as I always do, and I think that is why people aren’t quite ready yet to hate Cersei like they hated Joffrey. What I really didn’t like was the Sand Snakes – Ellaria and the Sand Snakes seem petty, bitchy and just plain unnecessary at this point. I would have liked if they could have been slightly more like Brienne – still kicking ass but not being such pains about it. I’m not sure what is planned for The Sand Snakes in the upcoming episodes, but it seems a waste of time to be in Sunspear right now.

Everyone’s other favorite Tyrion Lannister keeps his wit and personality in Mereen. He’s still teamed up with Varys, who always manages to have little birds. No one is particularly happy with Daenerys at this point, who has been captured by the Dothraki in what really is the homebrand version of Khal Drogo. I must say, Daenerys is okay, but I’m really much more interested in Castle Black and Ramsay Bolton at this point.

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To finish off the character focus, Arya is blind and begging on the streets of Braavos. I really hope the Waif dies, and soon, because I hate her. Not overly interested in this storyline right now, but Maisie Williams is also doing a fine job.

Rating: 7/10

For a season starter episode it went quite well. The characters are all over the place at this point, and there are a whole lot of story lines involved. I’m not necessarily wishing that the body count rise, but it would be more helpful if some of these characters can get to one location and reconcile a few things. I’m particularly uninterested in Ellaria and her Snakes, it was just Season three / four business and while it was cool then, it’s just a waste of screen time now.

Movie Review: Scorch Trials (2015)

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Plot: After having escaped the Maze, the Gladers now face a new set of challenges on the open roads of a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles.

Thoughts:

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Littlefinger. I somehow know that he’s going to be a villain. No hope that he has moral fiber. Aiden Gillen wasn’t the most satisfying villain. There is something about polo necks that lacks the essence of masterminded evil, and more importantly, Gillen seems unconvinced about his role.

Security doors in Scorch Trials are opened by mere handles. Seems very secure.

The scene where they are relinquishing their only weapon to their friend that is becoming a zombie – Can we just talk about how stupid this is? Shoot the guy, he’s indicated that he wants to die, and take your weapon. You know, to protect yourself.

The best thing about this film is that they found water in the very first building they entered.

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Let’s just quickly focus on these buildings – why are they looking like that? I need to know how buildings can be utterly destroyed by the sun. Windows are out, buildings have fallen over each other. There wasn’t a specific war, earthquake or tornado. Those are the things I’d think would lead to buildings being completely destroyed.

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This villain woman. Does she think she’s Gandalf the White?

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This Teresa chick. She’s irritating AF with her judgy little face. Her biggest issue is that she lost her mother due to zombitis. Well, sorry, but now every teenager must give up their enzymes??

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The new girl is at least better than Teresa. She obviously has more moral fiber than Teresa, and all in all I’d like her more to end up with beautiful Thomas. I’m appreciative that we finally have a girl in this movie that isn’t completely repulsive or evil.

Thomas Brodie-Sangster – I like him. He does a good job with being a leader and a voice of reason.

So here’s my issue with the whole Scorched world – why am I seeing green trees in this scene?

New definition for Dystopia: A story perpetuating the myth that teenagers matter.

Rating: 6/10

Both movies so far have been really lopsided. The first one is arguably better, but I am still not all that sure what the hell is going on. I think reading the books would help, but I’ve heard from reputable sources that I’d pull my hair out with the writing that is going on in there. Apparently Scorch Trials are also one of those “incredibly loosely based” adaptions, so reading the books won’t help all that much. I do know now that Thomas is planning to fetch Asian Zac Efron and save his life. And hopefully pop Teresa and Gandalf while he’s at it.