Author Archives: Denis Barbov

Movie Review: Suicide Squad

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As one of my most anticipated films of 2016, it’s safe to say Suicide Squad had a lot to live up to! It seemed like it would be the stepping stone for DCEU, after the abomination of a movie that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was. The teaser trailer was spectacular. The first trailer was very good as well. Then, for some reason, Warner Bros. went in a completely different direction with the second trailer. Even though I found it alright, it wasn’t as captivating as the other two; as it seemed like the generic blockbuster. Suicide Squad was supposed to be unusual, distinctive and crazy. Unfortunately, it was none of these.

The movie follows Amanda Waller as she assembles a team of extremely dangerous prisoners because she feels the world needs to have a contingency plan if the bad version of Superman comes down to Earth. Followed by a million intros for the characters, coupled with a most obvious choice of music for each of them.Subsequently, they are sent to fight the belly-dancing Enchantress trying to destroy humanity by building ‘a machine’. That is the entire plot: a bunch of crazy, self-absorbed individuals without superpowers (most of them anyways) have to fight this extremely powerful witch and her plain-obvious CGI brother. There’s no second act or plot development.

Harley Quinn, Diablo and Deadshot are the only characters with some barely perceptible character development. Everyone else was either pointless (Boomerang, Slipknot, Katana), or contradicting in their beliefs (Waller). With Harley Quinn we get some flashbacks about how she became the way she is; but even those are equivocal and scarce, as they are too short to figure out exactly what’s happening.

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The main problem with this film is that we are supposed to believe these characters are the most dangerous people on the planet! However, throughout the film we never really get a sense of this – save for, possibly, Harley. On a number of occasions, we are told they are ominous – although we are never actually shown how.

It’s not all gloom and doom though! There are moments when the humour works, and these scenes are wonderful – if not far too negligible . The actors do their best with the lines they have. Most of the so-called villains throw one-liners, and just a few of them land. The music score (not the soundtrack) also has some curious cues, which work when put into practice. The soundtrack, on the other hand, is awful in its usage! Whenever on, it is overbearing, distracting and even unpleasant. It serves only to prevent one from becoming entirely acquainted with the characters and tells you how to feel too insistently.

The action is as memorable as the editing is abhorrent! Half the time you are lost, due to the bad geography and constant cuts. In addition, the film doesn’t flow – the chronology is all over the place and there is no consistency.

The Joker was heavily featured in the ad campaign, however, we only see fleeting glimpses of him during the film itself. Turns out it wasn’t so that we are amazed by the end result, but because there isn’t much of him in the film. He pops up every once in a while for 30 seconds in either a flashback or as a deux ex machina. On that front alone, I was truly disappointed!

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Suicide Squad is non-refutably a box-office success, for now at least. Nevertheless, due to rushed decisions, it feels like two films have collided into one; just like Fantastic Four. It is not as bad but has more flaws than strengths.

In conclusion, it’s entertaining enough that you won’t fall asleep, but do not come with high expectations, otherwise you will be let down. I am sure Warner Brother will try to fix the film for the Blu-Ray release, by including a lot of the missing scenes shown in the trailer; however, as this is the second time this year they have done so, isn’t it becoming a pattern?

Overall Rating: 4

Movie Review: Captain America: Civil War

captain-america-civil-warMarvel films used to be plain fun. That was phase one. The goofiness started disappearing as time passed and then the Russo brothers made a close to a masterpiece movie with The Winter Soldier. They don’t disappoint. Nor did I expect them to.

I still cannot understand how these guys make Captain America: Civil War work. It has dozens of characters and storylines weaved into it and yet each character got enough screen time and developed. Moreover, this is a Captain America movie, not Avengers 2.5 as one would think when counting the amount of people in it. There was so much that could have gone wrong and yet nothing did.

Perhaps, it’s because the directors have history with sitcoms. There, you need work with an ensemble cast and need each character to have their subplot, not unlike here. You have Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Ant-man, Spider-Man, Falcon, War Machine, Black Panther, and a plethora of others. They are all fleshed out.

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The action is hands-down one of the best things about this movie. I had some gripes about it in The Winter Soldier, mainly because there were too many cuts. Anthony and Joe Russo have surely listened to some of the few criticisms people had with it. In fact, they even went out and got the directors of John Wick, David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, to help them as second unit directors. The end result is action with such phenomenal choreography and energy to it that following films, not just Infinity Wars, have to live up to. Everyone talks with great enthrallment about the 17-minute airport sequence, and for a good reason. This is the best one in a Marvel film to date. No, it’s on par with the best action scenes in the history of film.

The plot is really well thought-out and everything makes perfect sense. However, what’s refreshing is the fact that if you rip all the superhero elements away, you still have a very human and personal story that is emotionally investing and as a viewer you care about everyone.

Instead of destroying yet another city, causing damage for tens of billions of dollars, the film is built around the aftermath of such events. After Sokovia, there has been a lot of controversy as to whether superheroes should have the freedom to act whenever they like, or come under the umbrella of an international oversight panel which will decide what they do, where they’ll go, etc. Personally, I was—and still am—divided and didn’t know where I stand. Everyone has their own opinion on the matter and stands by it.

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Throwing one-liners that rarely land isn’t what the Russo brothers do; neither is creating a drab film that no entertainment value to it. What they excel at is telling a great, enticing story commingled with smart dialogue and jokes that work while having a grounded and gritty tone. The witty comments thrown around are spot-on and sound like actual lines that people would say in real life.  The directors devote enough time to have every character do something prominent (although I can never have enough of Scarlet Witch) because there are always people who have gone to see the film because they want to see their favourite, even if he or she has little screen time. This appeals to the general audience as well as to the comic-book lovers.

Captain America: Civil War is a refreshing take on the superhero movie where emotions are more conspicuous than explosions and overused tropes of the genre. It is quintessentially about guilt, agony, revenge, betrayal and friendship.

Overall Rating: 9 out of 10

Here is my video review:

This review was originally posted on The Arts Lover.

Movie Review: The Huntsman: Winter’s War

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Snow White and The Huntsman was a passable film. The script was kind of bad but what made up for it were the wonderful cinematography, visual effects and, most notably, its production design. It was also consistent. Now, four years later, we have a new film in this franchise and one less Kristen Stewart.

To be perfectly honest, The Huntsman is not as bad of a film as most critics make it out to be. It is true that there are more flaws than strengths here but if you simply switch off your analytical part of the brain, which is quite difficult, you could enjoy the film. I know I certainly didn’t hate it. However, I didn’t love it either.

Winter’s War is not only a sequel to the 2012 film but also a prequel. Meshing the two in one sounds confusing because it is. The events take place sometime after Snow White but also before as it tells a different story. I said it was confusing, right? Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as Eric/ The Huntsman and does a good job. Actually, outside of his Marvel films, he has never really has a hit. Blackhat was flat out terrible and did accordingly at the box office and In The Heart of The Sea, albeit a good film, also failed to meet expectations.

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Here he, more or less, resembles Han Solo; he is just as witty and awesome. In fact, I am wondering why nobody’s considering him for the standalone Han Solo film. He has the chops, and looks, to do great. He was the comic relief of the surprisingly dark film and the only thing he didn’t nail was the accent. It was supposed to sound Scottish but every now and then will change. This is part of the inconsistency I mentioned earlier.

Jessica Chastain is also very good here but has the same problem Hemsworth has–her accent constantly changes and takes you out of the movie. Her character is a bit flat as her motivations are not particularly clear or logical. While I loved her in Interstellar and didn’t think she did a good job in Crimson Peakquite enjoyed her portrayal of Sara.

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Emily Blunt is an odd case in this film. While I swear this woman is capable of playing anything, I don’t really believe the role of Freya was the best choice for her. Frankly, I think it would have been much better had Blunt and Chastain’s role been reversed. While the latter managed to be believable, I reckon Emily would be a better fir for a warrior as she nailed her scenes in Edge of Tomorrow and Sicario.

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Finally, the most interesting and drawing character, Charlize Theron is just made for this role. Indeed, she can also play all sorts of roles but Ravenna is where she’s really remarkable. She brings so much to the character and wearing these gorgeous gold and black dresses (gowns?) and is stealing every scene she’s in. What disappointed me was that she is not in the film nowhere near as much as the trailers suggest.

The trailers were partly the reason the film was predictable. What was supposed to be a shocking reveal in the end of the film was shown in all three trailers and barely, if at all, had any emotional impact. Also, they are a bit misleading. They led me to believe that this was more about the two sisters and less about the Huntsman, and in all fairness though, this would have made a much more enticing film.

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When it comes to the film as a whole it feels incomplete, rushed and a bit tedious. Even though there is plenty of action, and one fight scene in particular stands out as it has only sound effects and no music, The Huntsman is a bore for people who expect more story. As I said, it is spoiled far too much in the trailers. I didn’t have high expectations of this film, but it was underwhelming.

Winter’s War is directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan who was the visual effects supervisor of the previous instalment. This is his first feature film and for a first-time director he has done a respectable job. While the film fails on script level it is simply stunning to look at; the cinematography and production design are just as phenomenal as they were in Snow White and The Huntsman. Nonetheless, I feel that this film has a reduced budget as the visual effects at times are a bit spotty when it comes to exteriors. Other than that I don’t really have a problem with them. One memorable moment is when the two queens go face to face with each other and start fighting. There are quite a few interesting and imaginative ways in which the powers of Freya and Ravenna are used.

Although The Huntsman: Winter’s War might not be as good as the previous film it has a stellar cast and, mostly, opulent visuals that almost make up for the terrible script. Moreover, some inconsistencies make the film convoluted and it is as though the director and the writers couldn’t agree on which part of the story they should focus on so what we get is an overly complicated but not exactly appealing movie.

Rating: 5 out of 10 stars

Movie Review: Deadpool

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After many years of being stuck in the movie production limbo, Ryan Reynolds and Tim Miller’s Deadpool is finally out, doing right by the character. Not only is the film extremely fun but it is also makes you care about the characters. With the impressive and ingenious marketing campaign that it has, Deadpool placed high expectations on itself, and it delivers.

Deadpool follows Wade Wilson, a mercenary that falls for a girl, who is ironically a stripper. However, he’s later diagnosed with cancer in most of his body and is contacted by a person who claims he can heal him, and do even more — give him abilities people usually don’t have. Left with no choice, he goes to a not so hygienic laboratory where he is painfully transformed into Deadpool. Nevertheless, being a superhero doesn’t come without shortcomings for him: he can regenerate faster than wolverine but his outside appearance is ‘haunting’ and there is one person who is to blame.

Ryan Reynolds grasps the very essence of the character and brings the Merc with the Mouth from the pages of the comicbook to the screen with an outstanding performance. Although he constantly tells sarcastic jokes and throws one-liners left and right, rarely is one not laughing when expected. Yet there’s more to him, a humane part that loves a certain girl and is willing to do anything to protect her.

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Vanessa is the abovementioned love interest and is played by Morena Baccarin. She was perfectly casted for the role and is great at it. After playing a more or less uninteresting character in Homeland, the actress loses herself in the role and is the reason I appreciate the producers. Every so often nowadays, we get models to play the ‘hot’ roles and rarely do they turn out to be good so going with Morena was a great choice. Her character is not a Mary Sue and is definitely not a damsel in distress.

The two make an adorable couple and form a romance that is relatable and believable. Neither is perfect, but they are wonderful together and are the biggest standout of the film apart from the sense of humour. It’s a breath of fresh air for comicbook movies where romances don’t really work well.

The antagonist is Ajax (Ed Skrein) and he’s great in his role of the ‘British bad guy’. Considering he was the only enjoyable thing in the latest Transporter, Ed delivers a believable performance.

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The plot seems a bit convoluted by the time the film finally chooses if it will continue to develop with flashbacks or continue with a linear narrative but by the end (almost) everything is crystal clear. For me, both worked ways of telling the story worked.

What appealed for me was the amount of actually funny lines and laughable jokes that are present. With most comedies lately we have things thrown in just for mere shock value that are just gross and extremely unfunny (looking at you Dirty Grandpa!).

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Deadpool is an extremely violent film that goes all the way. It really shows the maing fault with PG-13 movies. Namely, the lack of blood; when the antihero shoots someone, there is actual blood. However mind-blowing may have the first 20 minutes been, I do find that some of the action is a tad too quick-cut, especially the sequence in the car.

For all the controversy around the sex and nudity about in this film, there is not too much of that. Sure, there is a sex-montage and a few strip club scenes but is nothing too excessive or gratuitous.

There was one thing I am not completely sold on. The ending is a bit generic and predictable, which is not that big of a deal when taking into account there are only so many ways you can have a final showdown. Yet, something remained unsolved that, if there were not going to be a sequel, it would have been disappointing. Fortunately, we can hope that everything will be resolved whenever the sequel comes out.

With opening credits so spectacular perfectly setting the tone of the movie, there is no denying this film is made with an abundant amount of love. The on screen and behind the camera talent does a fine job adaption one of the most popular antiheroes Marvel has. With tons of comedy, intriguing romance and phenomenal soundtrack, Deadpool is a genre-bending film that is so meta it is one extravagant piece of art.

9-out-of-10

This review was originally posted The Arts Lover.

Movie Review: Steve Jobs

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Directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 127 hours) and written by award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs is an energetic, logically-split film that tries so hard to be great, it ends up being mediocre.

Starting from the acting and characters, not only is Michael Fassbender fantastic as he portrays a non-sugarcoated version of Jobs, one of whose faults is denying paternity until the very last minute, but he also manages to grasp the essence of what—according to the film—Steve was like: an unlikable perfectionist. You are never sure whether you should like him. Of all the characters in the film, he is the most developed, but as with the others, has no real character arc. Just as incredible is Kate Winslet as Joanna who is the only person Jobs actually listens to and can come to terms with; not Scully, not Hertzfeld, not Wozniak (who all deserve a pad on the back for the good work), just her. An honourable mention is Katherine Waterston who effectively plays world’s most annoying character in the role of Steve’s first “love”.

As a film, Steve Jobs is so simply structured it lacks any sophistication. Sure, it has some interesting visual cues: it’s shot with a 16 mm camera for the first act, 35 mm for the second and then goes digital in order to show Steve’s changes throughout. However, due to its structure—divided in three acts for the launches of different products, the film has no arc. An arc is a line whereas Jobs shows just three points. This also goes for the character arcs and is the reason why you cannot get emotionally invested and why it lacks a heart.

When it comes to the music score, it is very reminiscent of that in The Social Network and Steve Jobs in general feels like a David Fincher film. Sadly, it’s not.

With witty, typical Aaron Sorkin dialogue, great acting and captivating visuals, the film falls short of expectations due to its structure and lack of arcs.

This review was originally published on The Arts Lover.

Movie Review: The Revenant

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Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass

For The Revenant, director Alejandro G. Inarritu has once again coupled with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, delivering a film so spectacular and awe-inspiring it ultimately forgets it is, above all, a film and ends up being not as satisfying as there is a severe lack for one thing — storytelling.

Taking place in 1823, The Revenant is based on Michael Punke‘s book inspired by the real events in the life of Hugh Glass. He’s part of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company and on one trek, he is left for dead as his meet with a grizzly has left him with mortal wounds caused by the bear’s mauling (the scene is gut-wrenching and brutal).

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A glimpse into the bear mauling and the superb acting by DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio‘s portrayal of Glass is phenomenal. Not having seen all of the Oscar contenders, I can’t really say if he has the highest chances of winning, but it is one of his best performances to date. Moreover, he makes you relate to his character, creating a protagonist you genuinely care about and can root for.

On the other hand, Tom Hardy‘s Fitzgerald is the complete opposite of Grant in what he represents. If Hugh is strong, courageous and big-hearted, Fitzgerald is a weak coward and with no heart. Now, it might be poor character development but you never get to really understand why he does and acts the way he does. You do have some implications but nothing explicit. Some of his actions are logical, however, that’s a rare occurrence and most of his decisions make zero sense and have no real motivation behind them that we know of. Still, Hardy makes do with what he’s given even if he still mumbles a bit.

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Tom Hardy as Fitzgerald

One character specifically is mostly paper-thin. He is side-tracked from the action, only appearing when it’s convenient and are so stereotypical you can guess what each of them is going to say. We have the young, ignorant Jim who, by the end of the lengthy film, turns out to be useless to the story as he is underdeveloped and not utilised. He’s used as a filler; if you take him out of The Revenant, you won’t have removed anything integral from the plot.

For me, the main character of the film is the cinematography. Shot by Lubezki, it is a truly memorable film with scenes so delightful you can freeze almost each frame and get a gorgeous photograph on your wall. The long takes, the use of only natural light, the setting and framing — they are all topnotch. Nevertheless, one thing I could make do without are the low-angle shots. They are a bit odd and not as impactful as the pans and dutch angles.

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Alejandro G. Inarritu is the director of The Revenant but also of Birdman.

Another important thing to note is the sound mixing — it’s exceptional. The way this film’s sound is mixed is just a thing my ears admire. Even in the opening credits, with the water running in the stream, you notice how much thought has been put into place with the sound. I am not particularly sure if anything else has grabbed my attention this year when it comes to sound editing.

The Revenant has it’s great qualities. But when it comes to the actual story, there is not enough of it to fill the runtime of two hours and thirty-six minutes. It feels overly long with many filler, although pretty, scenes as it protracts the main focus of the film, the revenge, for so long that when you get to the final, actual face-off, it is anticlimactic and you are left chapfallen and perplexed by the end product. Had Inarritu omitted those scenes, and thus made the film more condensed, the third act would be more stirring and riveting.

With astonishing cinematography and exceptional acting by the two main characters, Alejandro G. Inarritu’s The Revenant is like a puzzle that you can almost put together. But, even with that, the film would be missing the most important piece in the process — a good script that would give the movie a meaning. All the components for a great film are there, but the viewer is forced to look for them and add things themselves in order to make it a great film.

This post was originally posted on The Arts Lover.

Have Another Look At Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye from ‘Captain America: Civil War’

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About two weeks ago, the trailer for Captain America: Civil War was finally released and it made a good impression on most fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What’s more, we saw glimpses of Black Panther as well as some other characters.

Now, actor Jeremy Renner took to his Instagram to release a shot from the film, in which he and Elizabeth Olsen are seen. Scarlet Witch is my favourite character from Age of Ultron and I hope we get to see more of her.

Here is Renner’s photo he posted:

You can see Wanda Maximoff in her suit we barely saw in Age of Ultron and I am loving it. It looks like she came right off the comicbook page with just a few, small changes.

Hawkeye is Hawkeye. I like him for who he is, but I don’t particularly love him. Yes, he’s witty but Stark’s wittiness is just funnier. That said, I really enjoyed learning more about him in the Joss Whedon directed Age Of Ultron.

What do you think of Wanda and Hawkeye? Do you love Scarlet Witch as much as I do?

This post was originally published on Theartslover.com

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Deserves More Nominations

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It’s that time of the year again — Christmas is knocking on the door, the snow and cold start creeping in on the cities and towns all while we just accept the fact we will have to put up with the temperatures. But fear no more, folks, because Valhalla will be waiting for you (I spray my mouth chrome and go to kill and get killed)!

Okay, I may have gone a bit cray-cray but you should too. Mad Max: Fury Road was just snubbed, no exaggeration, at the Screen Actors Guild AwardsThe post-apocalyptic film is one of my personal favourites and is not getting what it deserves. After being praised by critics for its originality in both storytelling as well as cinematography and stunts, Fury Road should be included for the following reasons:

  1. Best Director & Best Filmfury20road2002Fury Road is a visual feast, no one can deny this. From that opening shot until the very last frame of the film, you see the absolute perfection when it comes to direction. The seamless blend of practical and CGI effects, the attention to detail in each shot, the scenery, and the over-saturation are all different ingredients that ultimately combined into a truly breathtaking spectacle that apart from being a piece of marvel also shows many truths about the current state in which the world is, and how it’s controlled.
    Yes, it is shown in a hyperbolic way but the problems it tackles and the ways it solves them are reminiscent even if you don’t delve deeper under the many layers this film has and just watch it for fun; you get the feeling of something similar that you may or may not have personally gone through.

  2. Best Production Design & Make-upkhan_mad_max_whitenessMad Max is one of the two films this year that has truly impressed me aside from Mockingjay – Part 2Director George Miller and the production design crew have done a spectacular job in every sense of the word. The world-building is so captivating to watch, especially when you take into account the costumes, vehicles, setting, make-up and hairstyles. If not else, everyone remembers the flame-throwing guitarist — he is worthy of his own scene-stealer award.mad-max-fury-road-guitar-player-doof-warrior
  3. Best (Supporting) Actressbfff6cda-25dc-43b3-8fd3-3eaed3c1562aTom Hardy is great as Mad Max, however, I do agree that Fury Road was a 60% Furiosa movie and a 40% Mad Max film. That is hardly a bad thing; watching the brilliant Charlize Theron as a bad-ass hero is refreshing and to see a bit more of such a rich character is no crime at all. In addition, she is one of my personal favourite actresses in the business today — her range goes from 0 to 100 and she can deliver on every level. Plus, her robotic hand is a nice addition to her appeal.
  4. Best Editing and Cinematography835b949d-f897-4851-b577-39c5b95b1e43Let’s face it, if it weren’t for the break-neck pacing and brilliant cuts, Mad Max: Fury Road would have not been as fascinating as it is. The editor has done a remarkable job at choosing how long and how many the cuts should be. Also, Miller’s choice to go 100% saturated shows the insanity of the world in yet another way.The hands-down, best thing about the film apart from it’s many layers and messages is the cinematography — it’s astounding, gorgeous, astonishing, spectacular. The multiple wide shots of the car-chases in the desert, the fanciful fights, the incredible stunts and the setting all result in a delightful sight for the eye.What’s also a gulp of fresh air is the fact you can see what actually happens during the action sequences. Furious 7, Terminator: Genisys, Taken 3, The Gunman and countless other films just this year have decided to opt for the high frame-rate, shaky-cam action that literally gets you headache form the constant cuts. Being actually able to mull over what you see is important, so take a note.
  5. The Stuntshekhd7g1ddmnboxclncmAs of right now, I cannot think of a film with more realistic, yet over-the-top, stunts that make your jaw hit the floor and make you dig you nails into the seat (sorry, Furious 7, the car flying though the skyscrapers is physically impossible and outright ridiculous).It’s refreshing to see something new when it comes to fights on screen. We got to gaze at some really innovative techniques used in the film as they were developed specifically for it.
  6. Best Score, Sound Editing & Mixing

    Choosing Junkie XL to score the film was a smart move on George Miller’s side. His heart-thumping score gives you goosebumps any time it is on, which is what you want when you see a film of the calibre of Fury Road. Nowadays, most action films have generic soundtrack with music so uninspired that can hardly make you feel anything save for a need to turn down the volume.And last but definitely not least, the sound editing and mixing are phenomenal. The way certain scenes are approached is unique as we clearly hear the dialogue but the surroundings are still there. There is no Fantastic Four effect where during the final battle where you can easily hear they are on a soundstage just talking with no environment around them. Hence, going practical about the location is almost always the right choice.

I could go on and on about all the magnificent aspects of the film but that would make a really, really long read and I doubt any of you would like that.

Do you agree with me? Do you think Mad Max: Fury Road deserves more recognition by the awards shows? Do you have anything to add? Make sure to let me know in the comment section.

 

 

This post was originally published on The Arts Lover.

‘Captain America: Civil War’ actor Chris Evans would love to be in ‘Iron Man 4’

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Spider-Man will also be in Captain America: Civil War.

In just a few months we are going to see Captain America: Civil War hit theatres and it has quite the line-up of actors including Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth Olsen, Sebastian Stan, Emily VanCamp, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Rudd, Anthony Mackie, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany and others.

As Civil War trailer just dropped a week ago, it has already set records in terms of views, seeing a 60+ million views in the first 24 hours of the release.

Captain America’s role has always been prominent in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is everything has been building up to his showoff with Tony Stark. Now, with the signed multi-year contracts, it is hard to feel worried either of them won’t survive Captain America: Civil War, but there are some good news about that.

Recently, Entertainment Weekly visited the set and had a chat with actor Chris Evans and as it turns out, he is eager to make an appearance in Iron Man 4 should it happen.

“It just hit me yesterday, now that we’re six weeks in, that they were actually over his shoulder coming out of the elevator, not over my shoulder watching him come out of the elevator,” Downey says during EW’s set visit.

“I was like, oh, that’s right, it’s his point of view.” Evans says he’ll happily return the favor if there’s ever an Iron Man 4: “I’d be happy to be in an Iron Man movie. We’ve been in so many movies together, the titles are almost, at this point, inconsequential. We all win!”

For me, personally, it would be great to see Chris Evans opposite of Downey Jr in Iron Man 4 because I tend to like the dynamic relationship between the two. What’s more, I would be 100% for Iron Man 4 to actually happen as the third instalment was enjoyable for me.

What do you think? Would you like to see another run between Cap and Iron Man?

Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) in front of Snow's mansion.

Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) in front of Snow’s mansion.

After two fantastic additions to The Hunger Games franchise, director Francis Lawrence is back to direct the fourth and final installment in the series. It’s an understatement to say I am glad he did.

Last year, he left us hanging, yearning, for Mockingjay – Part 2 and now that the film is finally out, it’s bittersweet. Fans like myself spent years following the journey of Katniss from a volunteer to an opponent of Snow, to a rebel — radical as the president calls her — to the symbol of the rebellion: the Mockingjay.

Throughout, Jennifer Lawrence has failed to disappoint as she embodies Katniss fully; she has been able to capture the essence of the character and has brought it to life by portraying her insecurities and internal struggles with excellence. Part 2 is no exception to this. If anything, this is her best acting to date. Here, Katniss is more broken, in pain, perplexed, and proactive than any of the previous films. This is still her show.

Another standout is Josh Hutcherson. In the original Hunger Games he was okay. Nothing to brag about. Now, however, four years later — he is fantastic. Playing the ‘hijacked’ Peeta he proves he has the acting chops necessary for the role. The subtle, and not so subtle, nuances of his performance bring his character to life, they make you form a stronger emotional connection with him. Not everyone makes it until the end.

The squad on their way to fulfill the mission.

The squad on their way to fulfill the mission.

Donald Sutherland is yet again fantastic as President Snow. The complexity of the antagonist is so multilayered and manipulative that if he is locked in a room with me, tied to a chair, with a gun to his head and he says “I am going to kill you.” I will fall for it, I will believe him. Though Snow never really lies to Katniss. He simply shows her how everything looks from his perspective, which the ‘bad’ one according to Katniss. But is it really?

The supporting cast also does a phenomenal job. Moore, Dormer, Harrelson, Banks and everyone else are really good, including Liam Hemsworth who is now actually acting.

Call it a “cash grab” all you want but it’s undeniable that both parts have room to breathe. Had it all been one movie, it would have felt rushed. In my opinion, watching both films back-to-back is the best way to enjoy them. If you can — all four. Regardless, the split is a good thing.

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Squad 451 looking at a 3D holograph of the Capitol.

There is no need to try and summarize the final installment as you are better off seeing it without having read the plot. Basically, it takes place a little while after Katniss’s strangling, you know, Peeta was brainwashed.

As a continuation it’s a great and satisfying ending. To those reviewers who said you are lost without having seen the previous entries: It’s the same with every franchise! Of course you will be lost. The film manages to tie all the loose ends and conclude the story.

The pacing is great, Part 2 feels neither rushed nor slow. Most scenes take their time and have a purpose; there are no time-fillers. The action scenes could have been a bit longer but I am by no means complaining. Every action scene makes you grip your seat, your heart race as you don’t know what to expect… if you have not read the books. Even then there are surprises. The dark and grim tone of the film fit it like Cinderella’s glass shoe as it makes the stakes feel even higher and hits you emotionally when it needs to.

There are some moments when you aren’t sure if there is a scene missing but when you think about it later on, it’s only logical some things to not make sense. As Katniss develops and changes, she discovers some big revelations and when you see the big picture, everything adds up.

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The capitol.

Last year, Part 1 was snubbed, not exaggerating, snubbed at the Oscars in terms of technical achievements. This year, the film needs to be put in not only on the tech side of things but also in some major categories such as Best Director, Actress, Cinematography. It has incredible, breathtaking production design and visual effects. Bringing the Capitol to life is times harder than putting explosions here and there or flying cars. In addition, the sets are gorgeous and the make-up artists have done their job ideally.

Some of you may wonder if the film is worth seeing in 3D. Sure, it wasn’t filmed in that format, however, some films’ conversion is better than others’ shoot with 3D cameras. There are no pop-out moments but the third dimension does add another dimension to the film, more depth, more realism. So yes, it’s worth seeing in 3D.

Mockingjay: Part 2 is an exceptional conclusion to the franchise as it provides closure and satisfies every fan of the series. It fantastically blends the action and scope of Catching Fire with the political intrigue and PTSD aspects of Part 1 into a memorable and thrilling ride that only goes up in order to bring the best YA franchise to a high-note ending with hardly making any mistakes.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is my favourite of the franchise, real or not real? Real.

Overall Rating: 9.0

Runtime: 2:17

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