Movie Review-Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

There’s a different kind of fun to be able to see a movie as a ‘phust day phust sow‘…but when the movie ends up spanning the realm of moderately entertaining to ‘how high were they when they wrote the damn script‘, you know you’d have been fine watching it after a few weeks or not at all.

For a movie that’s supposed to be slick and exciting, this particular slice of the F&F franchise lives up to neither. It’s cliched to say the least and oh-so predictable. But let’s dissect it properly shall we?

The 8th installment of Fast and Furious reunites Hobbs and Shaw with macho posturing that’s meant to turn into ‘I got yuh back brah! in the end while they save the world and manage to inject an adequate number of quips to qualify the movie as being funny as well. That they managed to insert a tourism promotion for Samoa is a nod to Johnson’s roots and his being a producer am sure.

Here’s the story- After an ex-MI6 agent gets cybergenetically enhanced and wants to bring whoop ass down on those who get in the way of his organization and his vision of a better world, Hobbs and Shaw get pulled into the action to bring their own version of whoopass to counter the whoopassery being dished out by Mr.Quasi-Android. Played by Idris Elba (hubba hubba), Brixton Lore has all the gadgets, all the cool bikes, costumes and enough internal hardware to have metal detectors going off perpetually.

Hobbs and Shaw unwillingly get drawn into the action for different reasons. Hobbs because his agency loans him out to MI6 and Shaw because his little sister is being framed for all the havoc Brixton’s been wreaking in order to get to a biologic weapon that can…wait for it…DESTROY THE WORLD!! Who saw that coming?!

Now little sister, played oh so dully by Vanessa Kirby, has injected said biologic weapon into her own bloodstream to prevent also said baddies from getting their mean, nasty paws on it. Thankfully for her, the weapon is in small capsules which are on a timer- they will get released into her body after an ‘x’ amount of time passes. Thankfully the movie makers are nice enough to keep that happening during the length of the movie and not have it spillover into another installment.

Between hobnobbing (ooh…punny me!) with Russian arms dealers to get the lowdown into where an extraction device for the virus can be accessed to tearing up the streets of London, Hobbs and Shaw build up a camaraderie that’s fooling no one. Jason Statham should have as little of a speaking role as possible. After his less than stellar turn as Jonas Taylor in The Meg, Statham should keep his roles to those of the Handsome Rob ilk where he’s not required to win people over with his diction and ability to emote beyond a point.

The Rock’s USP is his quips and mountain man muscles and he doesn’t disappoint but neither does he set the screen on fire. Both the leads seem to be straggling with a script that has them just going through the motions and doing unbelievable things while not getting a scratch on themselves or acting like it was a walk in the park. Ryan Reynolds comes in with his inimitable brand of humor and his interaction with Johnson are some of the actual fun parts of the movie.

As for the action sequences, imagine this…a car hooking a helicopter during a chase to save the damsel. The helicopter rises higher and higher and the car achieves liftoff as well but in the nick of time is saved from going over a cliff by a line of cars ahead of it playing choo-choo trains. Instead of going whoa or even oooh…the audience was laughing or saying “gimme a break”. But over the cliff they go and miraculously no one is hurt. Would a broken bone or two be so out of place when plummeting off a sharp cliff face onto a sea/beach full of jagged rocks.

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But the objective of this review isn’t to trash the movie. It’s to say that maybe this franchise is on its last legs. Gone are the days when F&F stood for cars and actual speed. Now it’s brawn, some cars, a whole lotta destruction, uber bad guys and a rather lame attempt to keep going till the next installment. Quit while you’re ahead people.

Go see it if you’ve got a lot of free time on your hands or you really like either Johnson or Statham or are a diehard fan of the series. Barring that, there’s not much to recommend this one. It’s testosterone-laden to the hilt!

Rating 1.5 stars

Movie Review: Annabelle Comes Home

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When is a horror movie not like a horror movie? When it fails to scare, that’s when. While the closing credits are scrolling on the screen, the only question that comes to mind is “Why the heck did Annabelle come home if she wasn’t going to cause out and out mayhem and carnage?”

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Picking up where Ed and Lorraine Warren meet the nursing students and bring Annabelle into their homes, this movie borders on the (not so) funny-ha ha and cheap theatrics and very little on the actual spook factor.

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Always referred to as a conduit through which an evil spirit tries to get its hands on a soul, Annabelle does precious little to actually acquire a soul when given the chance. Instead she unleashes a room full of malevolent spirits (literally roomful) and each one comes in, says ‘Boo’ and goes away just as easily. I have never seen a movie where the supernatural bad guy is subdued this easily. Jason had to be killed over 10 sequels, Freddy over at least 5 and even the shark from Jaws was more tenacious. This movie was truly a bah! humbug kind of a situation for those of us who like to be spooked and feel the cold, crawly fingers of fear inching around us while we sit in a darkened theater and watch the hapless preyed upon.

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Onto the players- Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are so comfortable in the role that they are cast in that they don’t seem to have to try at all to become the Warrens. But in all honesty, their time on the screen was fairly limited as well so…

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Judy, played by McKenna Grace is the surprise package. She’s sweet, vulnerable and rather believable as the child who can sense spirits and is also terrified of them. She sort of has a Haley Joel Osment-vibe going for her. One hopes she gets better movies rather than that of the Mean Girls ilk as she matures as an actress. Madison Iseman as Mary Ellen fulfills her part well enough but the introduction of Bob the teenage boy and the Hellhound chase he takes part just make for a discordant comic element which was unwittingly brought in; or was it?

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The demons that are unleashed either suffer from very little focus given to their individual characters or in the way they’re made up to look because they don’t look scary enough! The demon trying to suck out Judy soul, the dead priest who guides them to Annabelle or even the Ferryman and his passengers who all appear with coins over their eyes, artfully placed to make them look creepier; are all just sad props in a movie where the main character just didn’t do enough.

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Annabelle Comes Home doesn’t come up to scratch. The first two movies in the series were much better. One can avoid this. Even on home media. Better yet, give Ol’ Chucky another go. He was something…

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Rating: *

Freaky Friday Conversation

My son and I have no-holds barred conversations. These conversations often leave me with a gormless look on my face and at other times it’s a toss-up between laughter, crying and looking for a place to bang my head against.

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Ever since TO and a bunch of little friends sneaked a peek at some horror movies on Amazon Prime and then went and got spooked about anything that went bump in the night, I’ve reinforced the embargo on scary movies till he’s 30. My hope is that he outgrows the wish to watch them way before that deadline passes but keeping it banned till the big 3-0 makes it sufficiently important in his head. If anything’s banned for that long then the repercussions surrounding it are going to be rather elaborate and possibly ouchie-inducing too.

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I’m not too worried about him sneaking a peek again. In fact let him see Pennywise biting off a kid’s hand or pulling him into a sewer. Or Bathsheba possessing Carolyn Perron or worst of all, let him take a gander at the head turning scene in The Exorcist. Some lessons are learnt the hard way. Let’s see which way the little man’s headed..’cuse the pun!

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But getting back to the freaky conversations we’re prone to having…TO keeps asking me how the doll in Annabelle comes alive. And explaining demonic possession to an almost 10-year old isn’t something I thought I’d have to tackle. I mean the facts of life..yeah sure. But how a doll is a host of a demon or that people use the occult to channel evil spirits and what is exorcism; all this wasn’t in any of the parenting manuals my husband shoved my face into unfortunately.

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So after trying to explain the occult to him and failing, I tried to keep up with the rapid fire questions while evading the virtual helicopter shots coming off his cricket bat. I told him I didn’t know how Annabelle got out of the well or why they didn’t show Annabelle as walking and running or killing people or if he’d suddenly find Annabelle if he opened his closet door while he was home alone one day. But I told him not to worry about Annabelle at all…because I…his all-knowing mother was always watching and would ALWAYS know what he was up to. Always. Mwaaaahaaaa

Movie Review: Godzilla King Of Monsters

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There are few things people won’t do for the sake of their children. Sitting through this movie falls in that category because this is a film that shouldn’t have been made, IMHO. It’s hackneyed and the special effects not quite so special barring in a few instances and the power of good over evil is so passe.

This movie is a sequel to the 2104 flick and if that was worth a gander, for the most hard core monster movie buffs, this one pulls in an overabundance of monsters and satiates everyone till they says ‘enough’ and head for the hills.

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The problem isn’t in the direction, which is uninspired or the cinematography, which is meh but in the plot which has huge holes in it and does nothing for people of Vera Farmiga’s caliber (remember Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring or the manipulative Mrs. Bates in Bates Motel?) or basically gives Kyle Chandler even lesser to play around with than in the role in Grey’s Anatomy as the bomb squad leader.

So this is the movie in a nutshell…it’ll be a titan-sized nut albeit. Gojira aka Godzilla’s gone underground erm..undersea. No one knows exactly where he is. Emma Russell perfects a gadget that uses a creatures bioacoustics (dafuq!) to get it to heel, sit and roll over and it works on titans too! Amazeballs.

Enter an ecoterrorist who wants to let things revert to their own primal and primeval stage but has no compunctions using tech to make weapons and fly his boney behind out of areas which are under attack and near annihilation. Emma and ecoterrorist team up and release all the other hitherto unknown titans from their places of captivity under Monarch and they all converge towards the sound of The Alpha which is also lovingly referred to as Monster Zero or…wait for the drumroll….King Ghidorah!

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Amongst the smorgasbord of mythical monsters served as on the menu we have the mighty Rodan'Godzilla: King of the Monsters': Rodan, Mothra, and ...

Mothra 

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And of course the star quarterback…God…zillaaaa!!

So is this a review or a lambast? It’s essentially a piece that says that if you’re a fan you’ll find something to like. If you’re not a fan, you’ll end up playing something on your phone while waiting for the small human on the next seat to stop bouncing up and own and just shush!

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The special effects are cliched and nothing outstanding but there are times (when Mothra appears fully grown and flapping it’s wings or when Godzilla goes thermonuclear) that it seems to hit the spot but else this one is a let down. My last 2 cents? Stick to the original version of Godzilla thumping about on the roads of Japan with cardboard houses getting crushed and falling helter skelter. That was still believable and kind of funny. This one is nothing but a shoo-in for the Razzies!

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Movie Review: Murder On The Orient Express (2017)

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Remakes don’t always work. Not merely because the audience was expecting something and got something else but because the original might have captured the entire essence of the movie the first time around and not left much for the remake to work with.

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In my eyes, David Suchet is the perfect Poirot much like Jeremy Brett was the ultimate Sherlock Holmes. I didn’t like Albert Finney as Poirot in the original Murder On The Orient Express movie but the rest of the cast were aces. They brought every character that Christie wrote about, alive on screen.

The new movie released 43 years after the first one manages to capture the snow panoramic views and locales beautifully and in a way which was not as easily done in the former but the characters seem very one dimensional despite the rather exceptional cast present.

However when you have the stalwarts like Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall, Vanessa Redgrave, Anthony Perkins, Sean Connery and Michael York essaying roles that Michelle Pfeiffer, Kenneth Branagh, Josh Gad try to justice to you find yourself wanting to switch over to the older version even if the cinematography wasn’t as slick as the new one. The one exception was Johnny Depp. That guy can pull off anything, Scissorhands, Willy Wonka, Jack Sparrow and now Rachett.

Bottom line: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But if you like the old fashioned whodunits but without the relatively slow paced versions, then maybe this movie might prove to be entertaining. Some of us like an old fashioned…

The Old Fashioned

 

Oh No You Did Not!!

Red and I impose parental controls on TO’s digital media views and mainly their content.

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It’s not so much to keep him away from profanity (he gets a dose of that when I drive) but also to keep him away from concepts that he may not be able to understand and end up getting freaked out about stuff in the process.

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A while back he and 2 of his cute little friends let it slip how they’d sneaked a peek at The Conjuring while playing unsupervised at another friend’s house. I was able to correlate that with a period of being kicked out of my own bed because someone was afraid to sleep alone in their own room. Or even when they did sleep alone, they wrapped themselves up like a mummy and gave me sleepless nights about suffocation and what not!Image result for kids watching horror movies

This morning I was telling Red over coffee that I had weird dreams last night from seeing clips from The Shining and being partly sleep-deprived and suddenly pipes up a voice from behind me, “Oh yeah, that boy with his cycle and those 2 girls who meet him in the hallway and that old guy who gives him icecream and tells him not to go in a room…that movie, right, with all the blood?”

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After internally WTFing with myself liberally I turned around to ask him how he knew about the movie which he did not have the clearance to watch. He told me very casually that he’d watched it at another friend’s house but only a little bit and he wasn’t scared of it at all!

A part of me is happy that he’s choosing good stuff to watch and not getting messed up in his head by watching things like Evil Dead or the Saw movies, but almost 10 may not be the best age to watch someone’s spiral into insanity and attacking their family with an axe. Just saying.

And while my mother let me watch horror movies when I was his age, I can honestly say I was in it for the blood and gore and she was ok with it because she knew it was a phase and I’d outgrow it. She steadily kept her hand over my eyes during the scenes with nudity though. Come to think of it, most Hollywood undead serial killers are such perverts! They wait till a person is “otherwise occupied” and choose that time to cut their heart out. But those days of cozying up with my mom on the couch, hogging on Hershey’s chocolate pudding cups and watching Jason slash through teenage bodies with his chainsaw…oh the nostalgia. Am almost choked up.

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But if this kid thinks he’s going to watch gore before he’s 35 he’s got another thing coming!

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P.S: This blog post and the others like it have been brought to you courtesy of a Macbook Pro that I was given so very thoughtfully for my birthday this year and about which I have not waxed on eloquently enough.

Disclaimer: This is not an Apple sponsored advertisement. More like Red-sponsored.

 

 

Movie Review: Deep Blue Sea-2

Verdict: Spare yourself. Seriously.

Sharks are beautiful creatures with rows of serrated teeth and soulless eyes that would scare the bejesus out of anyone who saw them up close and personal.

But they are worthy of that respect that comes with fear. They aren’t the Jason or Freddy of the scary creature movie world. They are the Damians and Michael  Meyers who stalk silently and without too much brouhaha. Because brouhaha isn’t classy. It’s massy and doesn’t have enough gravitas.

I have proved again and again I have rather low standards when choosing movies. I’ll usually watch anything once without feeling too snobby about it. But when a movie is so ridiculous that it just makes you want to throw things at your beloved telly, then there’s truly something rotten in the state of Denmark. Note: Author has no idea about the sudden and inexplicable segue into Shakespeare. Let’s put it down to the brain getting scrambled by this movie.

Back to the ranting! I usually screen whatever movie my child wants to see especially if it’s beyond a PG rating. Deep Blue Sea is something he’s not seen yet so I was wary about the part-2 since they usually go OTT trying to get people to like it as much as the previous one. But this installment of the movie is a joke. With baby bull sharks being confused about their sharky heritage and acting like a bunch of piranhas instead. Yech.

The acting is so sub-par that is doesn’t behoove me to mention it at all. With the movie copying the iconic scenes from the 1st movie you are just in a hurry to switch it off and move onto something like White Chicks to restore your faith in creature flicks.

 

So, will TO be allowed to watch this film? NO! If he has to hurt his eyes by watching crap, I’d rather he watched Sharknado. It has the distinction of ‘being so bad it’s actually good’!

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As a reward for a decent first term report card TO was given the permission to watch The Meg. It’s a PG-13 movie for what reason I know not, but ostensibly to ward off screams from kids. That the screams maybe of joy seems to have escaped the censors.

Anyhoo, the brat turned into a proper prophet of doom with his sepulchral pronouncements of ,”They’re gonna die”, “The shark’s going to eat them all”.

 He added a chomp-chomp to emphasize the eating bit when the Meg took a while to appear on the screen.

This cheering section is totally for the shark!

Movie Review: Aquaman

Aquaman is totally worth the money because for the price of one movie, you can view a whole bunch of movies because there’s hardly anything that Aquaman hasn’t borrowed from.

Let’s start with Jason Momoa shall we? The fresh faced young man from Baywatch Hawaii

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morphed into Khal Drogo

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and then Arthur Curry/Aquaman and made having uncombed, tangled hair and a heavily tatted bod a USP.

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He doesn’t act all that convincingly but then again, beefcakes don’t need to be method actors either. They flex their pecs and go through the gamut of expressions between a frown and a smile.

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Amber Heard- someone was channeling the Little Mermaid when they got Mera to be such a blatant redhead. I mean the RED is totally out there. Barring that, Amber is just Amber. She meanders from scene to scene and tends to be vacuous pretty much all the time. 

Nicole Kidman- Looks good for her age. Fills out a body suit pretty well and that’s the extent of it.

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Patrick Wilson- the James Wan favorite isn’t chasing specters this time around. He’s the overambitious blonde haired claimant of the undersea kingdom. Possibly the only guy who seems to make sense in this whole movie. 

Willem Defoe- some men weren’t meant for manbuns.

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He is one of them. Hard to believe where he’s landed up since the days of Mississippi Burning. On the flip side, he was such a good bad guy in Spiderman that whenever he smiles, all I see is the Green Goblin! 

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Aquaman is a mishmash of the Predator, The Sword In The Stone (no excusing the pun that the lead male character is also called Arthur), Transformers, LOTR (the huge machines which show up in the Return Of The King) and every movie cliche there ever was. Momoa even channels SRK at one time with his signature move.

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With next to no chemistry between the male and female leads and the underwater scenes not being anything superlative; this movie is purely for those who want to gawk at Momoa or is an individual below 10 years of age.

As far as the DCverse goes: this one comes up short. It’ll make money because most of us have kids we have to cater to. Bring back Superman, Aquaman is all washed up!

Movie Review: Baywatch

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Unless you have a few bottles of booze handy OR are supremely bored OR just want to test the waters and see at what point you say ‘enough’, don’t watch this movie. Reasons are given below in no particular order but with a lot of feeling:

  • You will never get back those 116 minutes that the movie runs.
  • You will wonder why The Rock would pick the role of Mitch Buchanan over other roles where he can be the macho up to the gills and still not be a part of a gag reel.
  • Zac Efron has weird ears, cannot emote and has bulked up. That’s it.
  • Priyanka Chopra is sashaying her way a la Bollywood movies and ending every sentence with an “already” and trying to look seductive, alluring and femme fatalish. None of which works. She should stick to Dil Dhadakne Do-type roles.
  • Alexandra Daddario- has a perplexed look on her face the entire time and seems to be confused half the times that she’s on a beach and would actually have been perfect for the role played by Pam Anderson in the teleseries. Image result for pamela anderson baywatch gif
  • The rest of the cast kind of meanders through the movie, using the F word liberally and acting like a bunch of goofballs playing at being crime fighters. They also keep calling each other ‘brah’…as if!

If you’re ok with “junk jokes”, people looking toned, anned and botoxy lips and have no effs to give then this movie might even end up being entertaining. But hey, I watched the entire Sharknado series so who am I to be a critic?

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