Jupiter Ascending – The Good, The Bad, And Everything In Between

Do The Wachowskis manage to recreate the success they have with The Matrix in Jupiter Ascending? The short answer is no. But if you are a fan of sci-fi, this movie can be pretty entertaining and exciting to watch in parts. Somewhere in the middle though, one dude fell asleep in the cinema and snored very loudly. I don’t blame him. Luckily I had a good night sleep the day before.

Yep, it is Jupiter Ascending.

The story is very promising. Three alien siblings together they own the galaxy through capitalism. They populate the planet with species and once the planet is overpopulated, they harvest the entire local inhabitants in order to manufacture an essence that restores youth for profit. Time is the currency most sought after at the pinnacle of technology. These enterprises are to be blamed for the extinction of dinosaurs in Earth. Who am I to complain?

The mother of the siblings – the queen of the galaxy – was murdered by one of her children long, long time ago. Millenniums later, she is reincarnated as an earthling named Jupiter Jones played by Mila Kunis. One sibling sends in agents to assassinate this new queen-to-be. Another sibling sends in a hunter played by Channing Tatum to protect or capture Jupiter, depending on how you see it. The third sibling sends in agents to kidnap her. In the mist of all these chaos, Earth is due for harvesting. Can Jupiter Jones who cleans wealthy households for a living save the world?

The movie started off OK with Jupiter Jones going about with her chores, very much like Neo in The Matrix. Very soon, audience are bombarded by over the top CGI effect that is very nice to look at, but with little soul in it. There isn’t much character development at that point. And when it does, without the CGI, the drama between each siblings and the main characters seems dull and low key. Audience are on the fence waiting for the next bang to arrive.

The last part of the movie is in fact pretty good. Now that the context is established, the CGI strikes an emotional core. This movie does end in a high note.

Onto the acting, Channing Tatum is doing well (also one of the reasons why I catch this movie). It is hard to fall in love with Mila Kunis’s acting though. Side by side with Channing, Mila doesn’t seem to be at the same level. Then again, it is relatively hard to fall in love with a character that starts off cleaning houses and there isn’t really a moment in the story for her to transform into someone great. She inherits the title of the queen of galaxy in a rather unceremonious fashion. Not to mention the character doesn’t have new-found ‘power’ (they should have expanded on the bee controlling thing). Jupiter Jones suppose to be witty. But the way she foils the evil plots of the siblings is just … elemental. It doesn’t demonstrate how smart she is. So, what is there to love Jupiter Jones the character besides those big beautiful eyes?

For what it is worth, the movies does tell me one thing. Capitalism is bad, for the galaxy.

Fifty Shades of Grey: Movie Better Than The Book?

You know that odd creepy feeling whereby as the film rolls, each scene reminds you vividly pages from a book that you have read long time ago? Down to the dialogues, the expression, and everything in between? I just had that odd creepy feeling tonight. Oh, that lip biting.

Yep, that much talked about movie.

Many years ago, I was curious. So I picked up Fifty Shades and wanted to know what the hype was about. I didn’t quite enjoy it. As an erotic novel, it is not that steamy. As a literature, it is not that classy. I don’t recall being able to even finish one book.

I didn’t plan to watch Fifty Shades in cinema. I wouldn’t know of its opening if not for an article from CNN I’ve read today. Something to do with the fire department reminding the people to keep the keys handy when using handcuffs. Each ‘rescue’ costs around $500 and it could become costly to the taxpayers.

But I love the soundtrack of this movie. Ellie Goulding’s Love Me Like You Do is easily my favorite. Then there are Annie Lennox, Beyoncé, Sia, Skylar Grey, and The Rolling Stones – just to name a few. That is one of my motivation to watch this film.

I had pretty low expectation when I walked into the cinema this evening, with my wife. Many things could have gone wrong with sadomasochism. It could have been at best awkward to watch, at worst I could have been disgusted by the content. Fortunately, it is nothing of that sort.

It is artistic to me. I can sense the chemistry between Christian and Anastasia. I can also relate – or rather observe – the emotional complexity of the both. A dominant figure like Christian could invoke hate from the audience. A submissive figure like Ana could invoke disdain. But I don’t end up disliking the characters. I get why the characters are doing what they are doing. I am convinced. That is most important I guess, though I am not agreeable with the topic of sadomasochism.

I enjoy its authenticity to the book. I enjoy the film better because I can better visualize the glamour and beauty. The film also makes use of clever transition when dealing with some rather boring stuffs from the book. Like that contract.

Both main characters have great body and the filming is artistic. I have no idea how long the actors have practiced on the S&M scenes. I certainly would have no clue how to use those ‘toys’ with such fluidity. Make no mistakes though. This is not porn. If you are looking for the eroticism within, you are likely to be utterly bored.

X-Men: Days of Future Past Is Amazing

X-Men Days of the Future Past

A bunch of us who are playing this Marvel themed online game were super excited for a get together event to watch X-Men Days of Future Past. Some of us have not met each other before the show. But one passion binds us together – Marvel. So we met up. All of us were kind of surprised at how we look like in real life. For example, one best known as Iron-Man is actually pretty hilarious in person. And Dr. Strange is a lot taller than I thought. They in turn were marveled at my ‘multi-tone’ hair highlight and that I am much – shall I say – matured looking than who they think I am. What they don’t know is that my hair was having this special effect even during my younger years. It is just a matter of days of my present past. What do they think of Rocket Raccoon a.k.a. my wife? Err. OK. Next.

I did not like the previous X-Men movie back in 2011. But you know me. Short term memory. And I am always excited by what is to come. The story is set in the future, when the war between the mutants (and the humans that side with them) and the sentinels is almost over. Mutants are facing extinction. The future is bleak. What an incredible fight for survival these mutants have put up against the formidable foes. The amount of teamwork is amazing. Blink (Fan Bingbing) opens up portals at strategic places, Colossus goes in for the punch. Iceman and Sunspot tackle the enemies with ice and fire. Storm powers Bishop’s weapon and Bishop goes in for the kill at range. Even with such teamwork the mutants are not able to take down the sentinels. Because the sentinels manage to absorb and adapt to the mutants’ power. It is always Shadowcat (Ellen Page) sending Bishop back in time to warn the mutants so as to avert the attack (now, I had no idea that Kitty Pryde has this sort of power!). That breathtaking last moment between victory and total annihilation.

But the mutants are tired of running. Professor X and Magneto have decided to send Wolverine back into the past and prevent that one single event that led to where they are in the future – the capture of Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). Eventually her DNA was being studied and used to enhance the sentinels as the ultimate mutant killing machines.

The story is intriguing. Although it may not be considered as a true Marvel story – since it is common to have alternative realities when it comes to Marvel characters -I found the plot of Days of Future Past acceptable. It has also undone some of the unpopular movie endings in the past through time travel. So I am cool with it and am looking forward to more X-Men movies.

The casting is fantastic. Hugh Jackman is so perfect for the role as Wolverine. Both the younger versions of Professor X and Magneto have done well too. Key to the story is Mystique. I was unsure how our Hunger Game heroine Jennifer Lawrence would perform as a blue mutant. She has handled the multidimensional character well. Being someone strong but yet emotionally fragile, threading a thin line that separates the good and the evil. She has a decision to make. Can she change the future? This movie got me hooked from beginning to end.

Of Captain America The Winter Soldier And The Amazing Spider-Man 2

What a treat for Marvel fans this year. Earlier on, we have the follow-up movies for Captain America and Spider-Man. Later, we will have X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy. Some of us who are fans of the online game Marvel Heroes have already planned to meet up and watch the upcoming X-Men together.

Captain America 2 and Spider-Man 2

3 years ago, my wife and I have watched the Captain America movie. I love his personality being so close to people on the ground. 3 years later set in modern time, Captain America is on a mission with Black Widow. The plot I must admit sounded complicated initially. Had I not been introduced to the Hydra organization thanks to that online game I am playing, I would have been pretty lost because I don’t read that much comic. As far as the story goes, S.H.I.E.L.D. is infiltrated and no one can be trusted. It is up to Captain America in leading the people out of the crisis. The villain turns out to be Captain’s best friend and now called Winter Soldier. This film has plenty of action as well as good plot twists. Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson are both charming on screen. What I found missing or what I really wish to see was some romance in the story, which is none. That leads to the second movie my wife and I have watched – The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

It is hard not to love Spider-Man. He is agile and funny. And he is popular. Andrew Garfield is the perfect actor for this role. There is a vulnerable side of his. But also possess an inner strength and determination that I feel lacking in the previous incarnations. Spider-Man is a super hero after all and he has to be strong. I also happen to like Emma stone as Spider-Man’s love interest. Gwen Stacy is not portrayed as some girls who are helpless without her superhero boyfriend. Being a real life couple may have explained the amazing on-screen chemistry. Plot-wise, this movie is not as memorable as Captain America’s. But I was thoroughly entertained and enthralled by the story between Spider-Man and Gwen Stacy.

Both are good movies. I can’t wait to watch the next two!

The Pill – Love the Dialog and Drama

The Pill is a 2011 American romantic comedy film starring Rachel Boston and Noah Bean.

I chanced upon this 2011 movie while exploring movies over Netflix that have Rachel McAdams in it (somehow, Rachel Boston appears as a ‘close match’).  I was intrigued by the synopsis and since I enjoy watching romantic comedy genre, why not give it a go?  The story is incredibly straightforward.  A man (Noah Bean) and a woman (Rachel Boston) has a one-night-stand.  In the following morning, the man is concerned that the woman may become pregnant and insists that she should take a morning after pill.  At the pharmacy counter, the man discovers that one pill has to be taken immediately while another, 12 hours later.  So, he has to find a way to hang out with the woman he barely knows for half a day making sure that she will take the pill.  And she has no clue that there is a second pill to be taken.  Meanwhile, the woman just comes out of a long relationship and the man actually has a live-in girlfriend to go home to.

I like The Pill because the film focuses on the drama and the dialog.  There is plenty of acting involved while the rest like backdrop, effect, and soundtrack is kept to the minimal.  It reminds of films like Before Sunrise whereby the actors keep on talking throughout the movie.  Everything is stripped to basic excepts character development.  Love it.  It is a lighthearted sort of movie and is not as unbelievable as some of the bigger budget Hollywood romance comedy.  It simply presents the possibility of falling in love.