Thursday, 29 June 2017

Transformers: The Last Knight Review

Transformers: The Last Knight

Release Date: 22nd June 2017 - Australia

Production Companies
Paramount Pictures
Hasbro (in association with)
Di Bonaventura Pictures
Huahua Media
Ian Bryce Productions
Amblin Entertainment (Uncredited)
Platinum Dunes (Uncredited)

Paramount Pictures Australia

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 149 minutes

Budget: $260,000,000

Box Office Gross: $605,425,157 (Worldwide)

Plot Summary
Humans are at war with the Transformers, and Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving the future lies buried in the secrets of the past and the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Now, it's up to the unlikely alliance of Cade Yeager, Bumblebee, an English lord and an Oxford professor to save the world.


The Humans
Mark Wahlberg - Cade Yeager 
Josh Duhamel - Lt. Colonel William Lennox
Laura Haddock - Vivian Wembley
Isabela Moner - Izabella 
Jerrod Carmichael - Jimmy
Anthony Hopkins - Sir Edmund Burton
Stanley Tucci - Merlin
Liam Garrrigan - Arthur
Martin McCreadie - Lancelot
Rob Witcomb - Percival
Marcus Fraser - Gawain
John Hollingworth - Tristan
Daniel Adegboyega - Saebert
Ben Webb - Hengist
John Turturro - Agent Seymour Simmons
Glenn Morshower - General Morshower
Nicola Peltz - Tessa Yeager (Voice) (Cameo)

Peter Cullen - Optimus Prime (Voice)
John Goodman - Hound (Voice)
Ken Watanabe - Drift (Voice)
John DiMaggio - Crosshairs (Voice)
Omar Sy - Hot Rod (Voice)
Jim Carter - Cogman (Voice)
Reno Wilson - Sqweeks (Voice)
Steven Barr - Topspin (Voice)
Tom Kenny - Wheelie (Voice)
Frank Welker - Canopy (Voice)
Steve Buscemi - Daytrader (Voice)
Mark Ryan - Bulldog (Voice)

Frank Welker - Megatron (Voice)
Jess Harnell - Barricade (Voice)
Reno Wilson - Mohawk (Voice)
John DiMaggio - Nitro (Voice)
Gemma Chan - Quintessa (Voice)

Executive Producer/Director - Michael Bay
Story - Akiva Goldsman
Story/Screenplay - Art Marcum, Matt Holloway and Ken Nolan
Executive Producers - Steven Spielberg, Brian Goldner and Mark Vahradian
Producers - Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Don Murphy
Co-Producers - Matthew Cohan and Michael Kase
Co-Producer/First Assistant Director - K.C. Hodenfield
Production Designer - Jeffrey Beecroft
Costume Designer - Lisa Lovaas
Director of Photography - Jonathan Sela
Stunt Coordinator: Opening Scene - Rob Inch
Supervising Stunt Coordinator - Mike Gunther
Special Effects Supervisor - John Frazier 
Visual Effects Supervisors - Scott Farrar, 
Jason Smith and Sheldon Stopsack
Visual Effects Supervisor: ILM - Julian Foddy
Animation Supervisors: ILM - Paul Kavanagh 
and Rick O'Connor
Editors - Roger Barton, Adam Gerstel, 
Debra Neil-Fisher, John Refoua, 
Mark Sanger and Calvin Wimmer
Music - Steve Jablonsky

Ten years after the beginning of the TRANSFORMERS film series tentatively nicknamed by fans as "Bayformers" because Michael Bay was behind its influence. The director unveils a fifth chapter which was his last feature with the toy-line based movie franchise before he could oversee its growth into a cinematic universe. Although Marvel, DC and Star Wars are usually one step ahead of their successes, it doesn't mean that TRANSFORMERS will continue through a change of direction in a oncoming spin-off and future movies. Though Steven Spielberg and Paramount were the ones that began this explosive series of five movies with an almost fully-capable director. Critics were hostile to the series of its increasing lengths, shaky cams, plotting and lowbrow humour but warmed to the unrealistic action, eye-popping visuals and big explosions. The fans were divided on each movie that was considered the best and the worst with the first instalment being a mild exception. 

Now there hasn't been a TRANSFORMERS feature this toxic since REVENGE OF THE FALLEN (click here) came out with a huge critical disdain. THE LAST KNIGHT is outgrowing fans' anticipation as it was a bit self-aware, disjointed, silly and formulaic in its storyline and characterisations. It devoted on the secret history subplot which has been done a few times on the previous films and shown too much screen-time on the humans than most of the Transformers. Even Optimus Prime being brainwashed into Nemesis Prime could have been necessary if it had not been brief for the whole movie. As far as it goes, Bay could be losing his touch with the latest chapter which itself was distinguished by too many writers. It probably wasn't the moment that he was expecting in his send-off for the robots in disguise.

Mark Wahlberg returns as Cade Yeager as well as a few familiar actors like John Turturro and Josh Duhamel from the original three movies are back in this nadir. Newcomers like Isabella Moner and Laura Haddock are welcomed in the newer TRANSFORMERS movie but their acting wasn't quite up the par with Wahlberg's saving grace of his performance. The other standout player was Anthony Hopkins who was truly a distinguished gentleman whom like John Malkovich and Stanley Tucci are each of the supporting players cast in an instalment of giant robots. Hopkins gets the most fun than they've deserved as he shines in a prominent role as the keeper of the Transformers' hidden origins.

It's time for the franchise to change its gears as THE LAST KNIGHT holds no secrets of being less fun and less exciting in the year's action-packed and power-charged blockbuster. Despite its overhype and shimmering potential, it will soon be the end of TRANSFORMERS, but maybe not. In my opinion, it was subpar and the least unforgettable entry of the series. I'm sorry to say that this is not the movie what fans had wanted to see as the director has worn out of his welcome.

Star rating: (5/10) Average

Friday, 23 June 2017

The Mummy (2017) Review

The Mummy

Release Date: 8th June 2017 - Australia 

Production Companies
Universal Pictures 
Perfect World Pictures (in association with)
Secret Hideout
Conspiracy Factory
Sean Daniel Company

Universal Pictures Australia

Genre: Action/Adventure 
Rating: M

Runtime: 111 minutes

Budget: $125,000,000

Box Office Gross: $409,231,607 (Worldwide)

Plot Summary 
Thought safely entombed in a tomb deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient princess whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension.

Tom Cruise - Nick Morton
Sofia Boutella - Ahmanet
Annabelle Wallis - Jenny Halsey
Jake Johnson - Chris Vail
Courtney B. Vance - Col. Greenway
Russell Crowe - Henry Jekyll
Marwan Kenzari - Malik
Javier Botet - Set
Selva Rasalingam - King Menehptre

Screen Story/Producer/
Director - Alex Kurtzman
Screen Story - Jon Spaihts and Jenny Lumet
Screenplay - David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie and Dylan Kussman
Executive Producers - Jeb Brody and Roberto Orci
Producers - Sarah Bradshaw, Sean Daniel and Chris Morgan
Production Designers - Jon Hutman and Dominic Watkins
Special Makeup Effects Designer - David White
Director of Photography - Ben Seresin
2nd Unit Director/Stunt Coordinator - Wade Eastwood
Special Effects Supervisor - Dominic Tuhoy
Visual Effects Supervisors - Asregadoo Arundi,
Erik Nash, Darren Poe and Edson Williams
Visual Effects Supervisor: ILM - Pablo Helman
Visual Effects Supervisor: MPC - Greg Butler
Animation Supervisor: ILM - Glen McIntosh
Film Editors - Gina & Paul Hirsch and Andrew Mondshein
Music - Brian Tyler

During the 1920s to the late 1950s, Universal Studios produced most of the classic horror movies that were iconic and have nostalgic qualities for people who grew up with these movies. There were several iconic monsters in Hollywood to choose from like Hunchback, The Phantom, Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy and The Invisible Man just to name a few. Recently, Universal Studios has announced that they will be creating a line of monster movies in the form of the Dark Universe which will overlap in the sense that these characters will make appearances in the same way that happens in the universes of Marvel and DC. The Dark Universe was now created to resurrect the classic ghouls that once haunted the silver screen in their new reawakening. Unfortunately, the first of these remakes for the new franchise was 2017's THE MUMMY which has a dismal profit at the box office. 

Unlike the previous interpretations that includes the 1932 classic and the loose remake of the trilogy, it was a hollow, overblown and misguided attempt to thirdly re-embrace the titular character's origins and the supernatural themes. Audiences weren't interested in the new revitalisation of an iconic monster that was less mummified and swapped of its gender. The feature of its story is too wrapped with exposition and some of the plot points were unnecessarily added to the beginning of a newly rejuvenated universe of scary monsters by Universal.

The aging star Tom Cruise should be ashamed for starring in this unrelenting big-budgeted picture. He is not to blame for his large career setback and though he took the fall when it should have been
the writer/director Alex Kurtzman's. He still has a touch of charisma left from his middle-aged looks, but was unable to save a remake that is beyond worth saving. Russell Crowe was featured in the supporting cast as the mysterious Dr. Jekyll as the character was borrowed from an classic novel. Sofia Boutella delights in her acting playfulness with sheer fright and seduction as Ahnamet, the undead Princess of Egypt.

THE MUMMY has a few scares to terrify the moviegoers but not able to thrill them into the completely forgettable monster-mash. I advise viewers who have and haven't seen the campy fun of the 1999 remake see this film one time and not bother to rewatch it. Otherwise if you are looking for a good monster movie, rewatch THE MUMMY trilogy instead.

Star rating: (4/10) Below Average

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

In Memory of Adam West (1928-2017)

Adam West (1928-2017)

Hello everyone, it is with huge sadness to inform you that Adam West, the noted television and film actor known for portraying Batman in the 1960s titular campy show and movie adaptation has died in June 9th 2017 after a short battle with leukemia at the age of 88. West was appreciated by many comic book readers as the third known actor to take on the cowl of the caped crusader. Not everyone was very appreciative of his horseplay, and goofy tone of the show when the dark, gritty tone was introduced and became a integral part to the comic series in the 1980s. He definitely had a huge sensation with the Bat fandom which he will be remembered within our memories.

West's acting in television began in the late 50s in a children's show where he had not yet taken the stage name of Adam West until in 1959 when he moved to Hollywood. West's film appearances prior to Batman include supporting roles on "The Young Philadelphians' opposite Paul Newman, 'Robinson Crusoe on Mars' and 'The Outlaws Is Coming' with The Three Stooges and numerous guest appearances and a supporting roles on various classic television programs. It is then when Producer William Dozier discovered the young actor after seeing him perform in a commercial for Nestle Quik that he cast him as Bruce Wayne and his eponymous alter-ego in the campy television series that aired on American television from 1966 to 1968. In addition to his appearances as the character in television and film, West is also featured in a public service announcement telling schoolchildren to heed Lyndon B. Johnson's call for them to buy stamps of U.S. savings to support the Vietnam War. Shortly after Batman, West and few of his co-stars like Yvonne Craig and Burt Ward had fallen on hard times when they were severely typecast because of their high-profile roles. Not even his first post-Batman film 'The Girl Who Knew Too Much' tried to avoid his status with Batman and despite all of his issues, West continued acting in more films. He even did more guest spots in television programs like 'Fantasy Island', 'Bewitched', 'Bonanza', Maverick', 'The Love Boat', 'Laverne and Shirley, etc. In later years during his pop-cultural status that he appeared as himself in shows like 'NewsRadio', 'The Adventure of Pete and Pete', 'Murphy Brown', The Ben Stiller Show', 'The Drew Carey Show' and 'The Big Bang Theory' and also in the feature 'Drop Dead Gorgeous'.

Outside from his live acting, West was a professional voice actor because of his distinctive voice and did voiceovers where he did a few films like 'Chicken Little' and 'Meet the Robinsons'. Even on television where he did guest voices in shows like 'Rugrats', 'The Simpsons', 'The Critic', 'Johnny Bravo', 'Kim Possible', 'Futurama', and 'SpongeBob SquarePants'. Before that he often reprises the Batman character in Saturday morning cartoons produced by Filmation and Hanna Barbera and recently in two direct-to-DVD movies (with one forthcoming) including 'Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders' and 'Batman Vs. Two Face'. West also voiced in a episode of 'Batman: The Animated Series' as Gray Ghost in the episode 'Beware the Gray Ghost'. Rather to return as the dark-winged avenger (whose role has been taken by Kevin Conroy), he instead plays a character whomlike him is also a former actor named Simon Trent who has trouble finding work after portraying a superhero in the classic TV series of The Gray Ghost. He later had a recurring role in 'The Batman' animated series as Mayor Grange and guest-starred as Thomas Wayne in a episode of 'Batman: The Brave and the Bold'. He was also known as the voice of the eccentric mayor of Quahog in Seth MacFarlane's animated sitcom 'Family Guy' and he voices a parody of himself as portraying a cat-like superhero Catman when having a obsession with felines in Nickelodeon's 'The Fairly OddParents'.

Anyone who is old enough to remember Adam West will definitely miss him as long as his memory lives on.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Wonder Woman (2017) Review

Wonder Woman

Release Date: 1st June 2017 - Australia

Production Companies
Warner Bros. Pictures
Atlas Entertainment
DC Entertainment
Rat-Pac-Dune Entertainment (in association with)
Cruel & Unusual Films 
Tencent Pictures
Wanda Pictures

Roadshow Distribution

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 141 minutes

Budget: $149,000,000

Box Office Gross: $821,763,408 (Worldwide) 

Plot Summary
Diana, princess of the Amazons, has been trained to be an unconquerable warrior on her closely guarded Amazon homeland of Paradise Island. When an American plane crashes on the shores of the island and the pilot reveals there's a massive conflict taking place, Diana decides she has to step in to help.

She travels to the outside world to help stop the war to end all wars, in the process becoming the superheroine Wonder Woman.

Gal Gadot - Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
Chris Pine - Steve Trevor
Robin Wright - Antiope
Connie Nielsen - Hippolyta 
David Thewlis - Sir Patrick
Danny Huston - Ludendorff 
Lucy Davis - Etta
Ewen Bremmer - Charlie
Eugene Brave Rock - The Chief
Elena Anaya - Dr. Maru
Lilly Aspell - Young Diana (8 Years Old)
Lisa Loven Kongsli - Menalippe
Ann Wolfe - Artemis
Ann Ogbomo - Phillippus
Emily Carey - Diana (12 Years Old)
James Cosmo - Field Marshall Haig
Martin Bishop - Kaiser Wilhelm II

Director - Patty Jenkins
Creator: Wonder Woman - William Moulton Marston
Story/Producer - Zack Snyder
Story/Screenplay - Allan Heinberg
Story - Jason Fuchs
Executive Producers - Jon Berg, Wesley Coller, Geoff Johns, Stephen Jones and Rebecca Steel Roven
Producers - Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder and Richard Suckle
Co-Producer/First Assistant Director - Tommy Gormley
Co-Producer - Curt Kanemoto
Production Designer - Aline Bonetto
Costume Designer - Lindy Hemming
Director of Photography - Matthew Jensen
Second Unit Director/Stunt Coordinator - Damon Caro
Stunt Coordinators - Tim Rigby and Marcus Shakesheff
Fight Coordinators - Guillermo Grispo and Ryan Watson
Special Effects Supervisor - Mark Holt
Visual Effects Supervisors - Viktor Muller, Bill Westenhofer and Loeng Wong-Savun
Visual Effects Supervisor: Weta Digital - Keith Miller
Animation Supervisor - Ben Wiggs
Film Editor - Martin Walsh
Music - Rupert Gregson-Williams
Composers: Additional Music -
David Buckley, Tom Howe,
Andrew Kawczynski and
Paul Mounsey

When WONDER WOMAN came out recently in cinemas, I was relieved that all of the rumors about the movie not exceeding its huge expectations were put to rest. The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has finally attained its mojo when it all started with SUICIDE SQUAD (click here). This wasn't the first time that I've seen WONDER WOMAN in a standalone film as I saw the 2009 direct-to-video animated version on pay-TV. It is a wonderful privilege that this female character has her own cinematic spotlight; especially when the other female-led superhero movies that came before such as SUPERGIRL, CATWOMAN and ELEKTRA couldn't dominate the box office charts. Especially when competing against other films of the genre that were male-centered. Unlike the few previous entries from DCEU which were bad to average at best, this one does not by all means disappoint DC fanatics. 

However, the action sequencing was timed perfectly and it flowed well with the editing and detailed storyline. I have no problems about the movie whatsoever, Zack Snyder's involvement was limited as he helped to co-envision the plot and was also acting producer. WONDER WOMAN has rightfully earned its place as an uplifting, intense but pro-feminist focused film which portrays women as resourceful, skillful and strong. Where traditionally in superhero films you often see females as damsels in distress or supporting heroes (not lead actor status) and this can be a very anti-feminist perspective.

Continuing the mantle of Wonder Woman is Gal Gadot who continues her wondrous performance of the superheroine who is now transformed into a god-like figure similar to Superman. Co-starring with the lead actress is Chris Pine who magnificently portrays Steve Trevor, her soon-to-be ill-fated love interest. They both provide a sensational chemistry in professing their on-screen love and successfully convinced the audience of their unbreakable romance.

I truly can't think of anything bad to say about this movie, I think this certainly a worthy addition to be termed as one of the all-time greats to be added to the archive of DC movies. I would be very surprised if this film does not get followed up with a sequel and I can only hope that it leaves as big an impression as this wonderful movie did on me.

Star rating: (10/10) Best Movie Ever