Wednesday, April 30, 2014

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" MOVIE REVIEW

The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it's action-packed, drama-heavy, (one of) the best teen-rom chemistry and pure comical adventure. Put them altogether and it's quite a mess.

I must say this one of, if not, my most anticipated movie of 2014. Been waiting for this sequel since the first movie came out in 2012, but before we proceed to my review of this film, let me first discuss my thoughts on the first film.

The Amazing Spider-Man was the re-boot of the franchise that came out way back in 2012. The film had an excellent cast, a good story with a really good twist to it. I ended up enjoying the movie, thinking this is the superior Spider-Man movie. But for some reason, the film isn't staying on me on home video. I started to see the flaws of the film that bothered most of the film's naysayers. 

First off, while the film did have clever fight scenes, but none are as memorable as the ones we've seen before. The film also brings up many question we all hoped will be all answered, but most aren't, which serves its purpose to build up for future sequels. And, the film is just too gritty and dark for Spider-Man. I get that they're trying a more realistic and practical approach to Spidey and even if they delivered well, it just feels odd the more you watch it. 

Now that I have covered the first film in three paragraphs, we now proceed to the matter at hand. 

Right off the bat, let me say that this is the coolest looking movie I've seen so far this year. By any means, the film is a lot more colorful than the first one. This film feels alot more confident about being a Spider-man movie, whereas the first film tries to live under the shadow of Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy. It almost feels like a re-boot of a re-boot. It doesn't feel like a sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man at all, until someone mentions Dr. Curt Connors and the trouble he caused as Lizard. 

The film features Peter Parker, played by Andrew Garfield, who is at the prime of his career as Spider-Man. Granted, the actor never looked 19-20 years old to me or to anyone at the theater, but he has perfectly portrayed a young man who has to deal with his double life as an ordinary college kid and superhero, even if life gets more "complicated". Andrew Garfield IS THE quintessential live-action Spider-Man. This is probably one of the biggest praise I could give to this movie.

Emma Stone's Gwen Stacey is also another hit in terms of acting and as a well written character. Thank goodness she's more than a damsel in distress, and even on a few occasions she is the hero, which makes her even more likable as a leading actress and probably one of the best in all comic book movies. 

The chemistry between Peter and Gwen are actually better than ever. We're talking about some really good teen romance chemistry that has ever been put to screen. There on and off relationship might be one of the reasons this movie drags up a bit, but you just can't get enough of seeing this two together on screen. 

Jaime did a good job portraying Spider-Man's super stalker, Max Dillion. Who then falls victim to an accident which will transform him to the electrifying freak show Electro. Serving as the main antagonist of the film, Electro has showcased his power, and by that, I mean he's absurdly powerful. He has imposed a real and great threat not only to Spider-Man but to the entire island of New York. Seriously, this guy puts whatever Lizard has up against Spider-Man to shame. 

Another great performance was from Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn. He's definitely a better Harry Osborn than James Franco, seriously. And, him turning into the Green Goblin? Way different beast than William Dafoe. This guy is definitely killing it. 

The film does have some iconic fight scenes. Especially the fight scene at Times Square, were Spider-Man and Electro head on the battle of full on power and character, as both characters are portrayed perfectly in the scene and the collision was just brilliant. And, they are really colorful and brighter than ever, not like the first film where you could barely see the light. 
The film's story itself, however, feels bloated, not because it had too many characters, but it had too many plots. The film is goes into different directions, from one plot point to another, it's just all over the place. Sometimes it forgets the importance of each plot points to the point that things just fall short in terms of execution. 

Take the villains for example. This film is two hours long, and with three villains you feel like that length of time should be enough to cover the buildup of each villains. But nope, Rhino was only in the movie for like four minutes, Electro somehow completely disappears from the film in certain point in time and Venom had more screen time in Spider-Man 3 than Green Goblin did here. 

And as I have mentioned earlier, this films does drag. With all these drama, tension and build up, it's really hard to not miss Peter put on that Spidey suit and do his Spidey stuff. It would have been all good all these fillers captures our interest so we wouldn't realize that it is killing our time. But it's hard to not notice that almost have of them are repetitive. 

Would it be better if Peter and Gwen just break up in the first film and this film had Peter struggling to win Gwen back, instead of the on-and-off again route they went that is undeniable cute but repetitive? 

And with all this time killers, it's really disheartening to see the villains be underplayed. Taken, they are really good villains and they are well portrayed, but there's just not enough explorations to these characters to make us invested to their sudden twisted faith. At one point they are troubled souls and in a blink of an eye they are full on hateful super villains, no questions asked. Where's the buildup to these characters? Give us time to actually believe they have good reason to hate Spider-Man.

But with all these troubled build up do come together perfectly in the third act. The film just became more exciting during Spidey's last fight with Electro and then everyone just had chills when Green Goblin comes to take down Spider-Man. The "final fight" was thrilling, even if it was horrendously short. 

And talk about build up, we all know why certain characters that could have been in the movie, shouldn't have been in the movie are in the movie. That is their purpose was to build up for future sequels. This film also feels a bit like Iron Man 2, the film strays away from the actual story to focus on a buildup that contributes nothing to the story, as if the movie would have been better without it. That's marketing crap, you know, when you show 75% of the film in trailers? 

And yes that one scene we all knew coming. Even though we've read it in the comics, even though if it was hinted many times in the trailers, when everything came down, it still hits you hard like the first time. Especially if you're unfamiliar with the comics or trailers, I can hear people at my theater crying and I teared up a bit. Yes, this is the first time it happened in any comic book movies to me. It was a bit different, but perfectly portrayed, yet it still hits you in your gut, really hard. 

The movie is filled with iconic shots, looks like Director Marc Webb learned a thing or two from Zack Snyder. He's also very attached to soundtrack of this film. He wanted the music that would feel as contemporary and kinetic as Spider-Man, and composers Hans Zimmer and the Magnificent Six has come up with the perfect soundtrack for the film. It surely isn't Zimmer's best work compared to others, but it's definitely a step up the previous score of the first film. This film is definitely a must-see in 3D, no questions asked. 

If you're expecting a mid-credit scene, just go when the credits starts rolling. It's just another marketing crap that doesn't really make sense. 

Final Verdict 

If there's one thing we've learned about The Amazing Spider-Man 2, is that whenever you make a sequel of something, you always go bigger. But sometimes, bigger isn't always better. If you can look past its obvious short comings and its messy buildup, this film can be something truly Amazing.  

It's disappointing I couldn't give this movie an A, because it doesn't deserve an A. However, I'm relieved that this film will never get my lowest grading. Because no matter how scruffy the story is, this movie is just visually amazing and I loved every single bit of its visual extravaganza and I just can't deny that. That's why I have to give them credit for that. 

You can check out my original fan-made poster I used for this review on my DeviantART account by clicking HERE

Sunday, April 20, 2014

"Son Of Batman" MOVIE REVIEW

In celebration of Batman's 75th year Anniversary, Warner Home Video releases it's 5th Batman Animated installment, "Son of Batman". Now to the obvious question, is it any good or bad? 

The Review

To be quite honest, I couldn't really think of a better introduction for this review, and quite frankly I think there's not really much for me to say about this film. But let me say this right off the bat, I don't like this movie. But let me explain myself as we go along in my review. 

Son of Batman ventures into an unwanted escapade between Batman and his apparent son, Damien, the love child of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, and grandfather of the demon head Ra's al Ghul. Together, they must take down the assassin Slade Wilson/Deathstroke who has taken over the League of Assassins.

That looks pretty short because it is. With a running hour of more than an hour, there's not really much story to tell. The film itself is very straightforward, with almost no complexity and no plot twist at all. It did have a few minor plots that almost ended up being either lacking or pointless. I'm not really sure, which is to blame? the running time or the writer's lack of imagination.

Perhaps the best characters of the film are the titular characters, Batman and Damien, the new Robin. Batman is still the dark and brooding superhero we all remember from Justice League: War. Though certain turn of events puts Batman in a position that he may be familiar with, but under new circumstances. He must become a good father figure to his son Damien, but it's different from those of Dick Grayson, Jason Todd or Tim Drake, as Damien is his biological son, this time it's for real. 

Damien, on the other hand, faces the challenges of connecting himself to his father and others and toning down his characteristics of being a cold-blooded assassin with the idealism of perfect balance to the world, which he has honed from his grandfather. All of this to become worthy as the new Boy Wonder. 

The film has a concept so intriguing that it should have been good, and it was. The decent script that was written portrays the conflict from Batman and Robin fluidly. But like the story this film was based on, the script just doesn't get you interested. Granted it has a good story to tell, but overall it became very dull and dragging. 

Not to mention the adequate fight scenes. The film has more blood squibs than War, some are choreographed excellently, but none are breathtaking or engaging by any means. That Batman vs. Deathstroke started and ended with a couple of punches, and the loser was defeated pathetically quick.

The character designs aren't that bad, but they are just not growing into me. They just look ridiculous! Batman still looks goofy, those ears are just ugly. I always wonder what's wrong with the designs we had from Justice League: Doom. Just change the suits to their New 52 designs, no need to over exaggerate muscle toning and go real far with silly to stupid character designs just for the sake of looking different.  

Final Verdict

While I still stand by my position of not liking this film, I just can't seem to hate it. Granted, the film is terribly short, limiting the script, ludicrous designs and forgettable fight scenes, it's overall not a terrible film. Maybe the concept of Batman having a biological son and the boy's characteristics just isn't getting my interest, maybe that kept me from being disappointed to this flick. This was bound to be perfectly tolerable that is if you can sit to something that makes you bored.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

TOP 5 BEST Linkin Park Music Videos

Considered as one of the finest Nu Metal band of its time? Check. Is the one and only band (so far) to reach ONE BILLION plus views on YouTube? Check. Has (so far) sold over 60 million records all over the world? Check. Internationally acclaimed? Is the top rock band on facebook with over 61+ million fans? Grammy award winning? One of, if not, the best and biggest rock band of our time? Yes, yes, yes, yes. 

Ahh... Linkin Park. With more than a decade of existence, this group never seizes to amaze their fans with their aggressive and chaotic music, that is also very easy to connect with, even if you're not an avid fan. And, with that long of time, Linkin Park has released more than 30 music videos. Today we pick the 5 of their best music videos and I yours truly, will give you the reasons why they deserve to be on the list. With that said, let's get started. 

5. Points Of Authority (Hybrid Theory, 2001) / Pts.Of.Athrty (Reanimation, 2002)

Two different interpretations, but it's still the same monster just with two different faces. Whether you prefer it to be in its classic Nu metal or it's 90s EDM remix or both (because why not choose both?), Points Of Authority will always be that one Linkin Park song you'd want to blast into your car and go drive to punch someone. 

One's live/studio footage and the other's a CGI-fest, but both videos are really good and awesome and I can't really pick one above the other. Plus we can't really have this list without a live/footage video and a CGI-fest one. So, I put them both together on the same spot, besides, they're just the same song. I'll have to let you guys decide on this one of which video is better, but for me they're both equally awesome. 

The live/footage version that came from their DVD Frat Party At The Pankake Festival.

The one made for the Reanimation version, was the only one of the two that was commercially released.

4. Lost In The Echo (Living Things, 2012)

This list won't be complete without Linkin Park's first interactive video. The video was co-directed by Jason Zada (Take This Lollipop) and Jason Nickel. Shinoda has stated that the video was made to "draw you into the world of the song".

For you to participate, you must go the official website of the music video, Lost In The Echo. You will then log into the website with your Facebook account, yes you will need one to participate. The site will then have access to your photos on your profile and use them in narrative that will concord to the storytelling of the video.  

The only real reason this never got higher on the list was because of its obvious errors and the lack of the band's appearance. 

 This is the non-interactive version of the video. So you can still watch it, even if you don't have Facebook (hooray!). 

3. Leave Out All The Rest (Minutes To Midnight, 2008)

Probably the cheesiest video of the list. Why? 'cause who would have imagined Mike Shinoda in an astronaut suit? On top of that, who would have thought that the band would make a video of them embarking on a Space Odyssey? But what really made this video so interesting was the narrative story behind it, and how it reflected so much to the song.

We see in the video that the band are doing their regular protocols on running their space ship. Chester, however, is the one who is being dramatic in his duties. of course, he's the one singing, but the question is why? We see him do his work with holograms like he's Tony Stark in space, goes with some argument with his crew/band mates, hangs out alone in dark places and he sits behind a giant window so he could see the stars and their destination. In all of those situations, you can tell what Chester's feeling through his actions and his facial expressions, guilt. At the end of the video, the band reaches their destination, which would also serve as their impending doom. So what does this tell us?

"When my time comes, forget the wrong that I've done..."

Don't you see it?

Highlight the text below
Chester killed himself and his crew/band mates by directing their spaceship towards the sun. He sits behind the giant window so he could see the sun, the yellow star, that will eventually kill them. 

It's just my theory behind the whole thing, but trust me, go see it for yourself. 

2. Numb (Meteora, 2003)

There are several reasons why this is considered one of, if not, Linkin Park's most powerful songs ever made. It has very catchy alternative tune to it. Lyrically, it is one of the most compelling lyrics you'll ever hear throughout the band's entire discography. Chester's power vocals also adds up to the experience. 

This video, was just spot on to message of the song. At one point, we were all teenagers trying to find their place in the world and in doing so, we disappoint a lot of our loved ones. Families, friends, you name it. We'e just kids who's trying to create the best image we can possibly make out of ourselves, to be the person we always wanted to be. But peer pressure and expectations prevent you from becoming that person. People will always see you as the kid who have shoes to fill in, even if you don't want those shoes, they will still try to make you.  

I am maybe getting a little personal here, but it's true. This is Linkin Park's most personal video ever and it definitely earned this spot. 

If watching this doesn't hit you hard, I don't know what will. 

1. What I've Done (Minutes To Midnight, 2007)

THIS SONG/VIDEO IS BUSINESS. At the height of their career where Nu metal seems to be dying, if not, dead. Linkin Park faces the greatest question of their career that every other band of the same genre had come to face, where to go next? Korn, Slipknot and Deftones went alternative metal. Limp Bizkit was still rap metal, but their sound leaned more towards the rock side. So, what's Linkin Park going to do?

Get a new producer, change their image, change their logo, change their sound completely. Thus, Minutes To Midnight was born. Of course they still have aggressive tracks like No More Sorrow and Given Up, of course they still rap rock with Bleed It Out, but the album in its entire just sound different from their previous releases. It's almost like it's not the same band anymore, even if it is still the same band with the same band members.

But thankfully, they manage to introduce their new image with the masterpiece that is known as the first single off the album, What I've Done. Even if you don't like the album, you can't deny that this is a great song.

The song and it's video became the best way to re-introduce themselves to the world of music. With its apocalyptic themes, melodic lyrics and classic alternative structure that connects perfectly to the video that is the very meaning of the word doomsday. It showcases a really cool performance of the band, but the highlight is really the footages of the most daunting and scary real life events of mass destruction, corruption and world domination. If you could sum up the world at its darkest hour with a footage of a rock band's performance, this is that video. 

No words. Just, no words... 

So there you have it, I hope you guys enjoy this list. Be sure to stay tune for Linkin Park's TOP 5 Worst Music Videos. 

Honorable Mentions:
Breaking The Habit
Waiting For The End
Castle Of Glass

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