Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Vignettes

Published at Digitally Downloaded.
I will add here that I thoroughly enjoyed this game as well as reviewing it.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Gumballs & Dungeons

Published at Digitally Downloaded.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Crimson Peak

A highly stylised, high production value horror movie featuring A class stars that tries to make a bold statement on the maddening nature of love through a tale of horror and ghosts. When you pill the visual layers off, however, what you are left with is... nothing special.
Overall: 2.5 out of 5 crabs for this Guillermo del Toro film starring Aussie Mia Wasikowska, alongside some bloody foreigners such as Jessica Chastain (some would say Chastain is reprising her Zero Dark Thirty role) and Tom Hiddleston.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Sword of Destiny

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon was an instant classic, one of the rare few movies that did change my perception of what movies can be. Naturally, I was curios when I learnt Netflix has a sequel in its archives, Sword of Destiny. Even if Ang Lee was no longer directing and Chow Yun-fat no longer starring, it was still of much interest; besides, Michelle Yeoh is still around.
One thing that’s immediately clear is that Sword of Destiny is no Hidden Dragon. For a start, it capitulates in the form of speaking English. Yeoh is at its centre, with the theme of missed love repeating itself in a story of her character’s other love (the one that turned out to be second to her love of Yun-fat’s character). So yes, we are talking classic sequel material here.
There is less of that poetic sense to the movie and quite a lot of the fighting that, by now and to these eyes, does not seem as majestic as is did more than 15 years ago. I would say the movie overall does not look as good as the original, too.
Overall: “Not as good” is the key theme here, I guess. Sword of Destiny isn’t a bad movie at all, but it is simply not as good, begging the question - why bother in the first place? 3 out of 5 crabs material that occasionally reaches higher grades.

Friday, 14 April 2017

The Handmaiden

We’ve seen stories about double crossings, quadruple crossings and what not many times before. The Handmaiden stands out in crowd because its tale is heavily erotic, seeming to pit the woman against the men. And it is also a Korean production!
Affairs involve a Korean handmaiden looking after her Japanese master, but actually acting as an insider whose aim is to ensure the elaborate plot to rob her lady master works. Love, however, has a way of derailing even the most detailed of plans.
For a movie about double crossings, I felt like I was being double crossed myself by The Handmaiden. First because the story is told in three parts, each exposing us to more and more of the truth. However, unlike other movie playing this same trick, there does not seem to be a reason for each part to expose us to its certain truths other than pure manipulation; it is not like we are only seeing what a specific character saw, limited by their own perspective. Thus the film quite manipulative.
And second, while there is nothing wrong with erotic movies, The Handmaiden does tend to feel too gray shady trash like to me. Your mileage may vary, but I felt a bit conned.
Overall: Probably worth watching due to its historical context. Also, how often did you watch a Korean movie? 3 out of 5 crabs.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Always Shine

Two friends, both young and attractive female actors (stars Mackenzie Davis and Caitlin FitzGerald). One’s career is on the rise, with lead roles albeit in movies that mainly call on her to expose her body rather than acting talents. But she has a future and a boyfriend.
The other is struggling to make ends meet, financially, or - for that matter - get any acting role at all. But she feels like she is the real thing, much better than her seemingly successful yet lying fake of a friend.
Yes, when the two head into a retreat together, they will collide. Roles will be switched. And as movies go, yes, there is potential in there for a great movie, but the end result relies too much on the physical attraction of its leads than on anything else. Despite being short, I felt Always Shine is too long.
Overall: Torn by the conflict between an interesting idea and good female leads on one side, and the film’s inability to really get me truly hooked, I will give Always Shine 2.5 out of 5 crabs.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil

Two good hearted hillbillies, Tucker and Dale, take some time off to renovate a crumbling "vacation home" of their dreams that they bought in the woods. A bunch of well off and stuck up college kids encounter them along the way and, thinking our Dale and Tucker are evil (cos they’re hillbillies), starts attacking them.
One by one our college students die in the process of said attack through freak (and terribly funny) accidents, which only convinces their remaining mates further about the evil nature of their opponents. In the process, we go through the whole checklist of horror movies list of cheap tricks.
But jokes aside, it is the college kids that turn out to be the evil ones as the hillbillies do their best to save the day for everybody.  Tucker and Dale is a comedy, but it did leave me wondering how often did the above happen in real life between nations? Say, the USA knowingly falsifying evidence of WMDs in order to wage war on Iraq?
Overall: While no breakthrough in the art of cinema making, Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil is no average horror movie but rather a lot of fun. 3.5 out of 5 crabs for so benignly raising deep questions.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Rogue One

I can argue Star Wars movie aren’t what they used to be, but why would that be any news to you? From the moment those ewoks showed up on Return of the Jedi, that careful web of magic and fantasy woven so beautifully by Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back had started shattering. One by one came the awful prequels, and last year - in an act of desperation - we got a one to one remake of Star Wars that was named The Force Awakens. Entertaining as the latter was, repeat viewing could not hide its numerous compromises; that was not the Star Wars I was looking for.
And now comes Rogue One, straying from the main story to provide us with a more gritty take on the universe from a galaxy far far away. I like the idea, especially the way it clearly indicates that the pure of heart rebels are nothing but pure; in a world where world leaders want us to think in binary terms such as “you’re either with us or against us”, it is good to point the grey out.
Yet, like everything Star Wars since Jedi, Rogue One falls into that classic trap of making a movie that is all about invoking memories of the great previous episodes without doing too much of the new. Or providing a plot that is more into the action/entertainment side than the cerebral side. The result? An hour into this two hour plus affair, we found ourselves asleep.
So yes, that says more about how exhausted we are than how bad Rogue One is, but still, this is a Star Wars movie, god damn it!
The second half is better at the entertainment department, but still… The plot is yet another tale of family intrigue. It tells us of a father forcefully recruited to design the Death Star for our beloved Empire by one Krennic (the ever so excellent Ben Mendelssohn). That reluctant father generates a compromised design, and leaves a trail of crumbs that his daughter (Felicity Jones) can follow in order to acquire the Death Star plans [so that Luke can destroy it in Star Wars].
That’s it pretty much for the plot. Other than Jones’ character, no one receives the treatment they deserve and all is too one dimensional. Every time The Force was mentioned I wanted to bang my head on the wall.
Worst scene:
In order to merge the plot with Star Wars’, Rogue One utilises digital technology to present us with the presence of the Peter Cushing, may he rest in peace, as Tarkin. Only that said technology is far from great and Tarkin looks rather grotesque.
However, as grotesque as he may look, that is nothing compared to the digital portrayal of a young Princess Leia our movie concludes with. That is outright keep you awake with nightmares material.
Overall: Star Wars is now officially a meh rated family soap opera comprised of forgettable episodes of space faring entertainment. 3 out of 5 crabs.
Let the Disney accountants rejoice!