Blade Runner 2049

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Blade Runner 2049 has been one of the most anticipated films of the year.

Why the excitement? This follow-up to the cult classic Blade Runner has been years in the making.

Released in 1982, Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott was based on the Philip K. Dick short story ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ Set in the futuristic year of 2019, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is a “Blade Runner” who is assigned to assassinate “replicants”. The replicants are androids that look like real human beings. Deckard is called out of retirement to track down and terminate four replicants who escape from an off-world colony and come to Earth.

When it first hit theatres, Blade Runner gained mixed reviews and underperformed at the box office. Over the years, it has a gained a cult following and now is regarded as a sci-fi masterpiece.

With expectations too high, is a Blade Runner 2049 a worthy sequel? Yes.

Set thirty years after the original film, the story depicts a young blade runner LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling) who discovers the remains of a once-pregnant replicant.  To avoid a potential war between replicants and humans, K is secretly tasked with finding the child and destroying all evidence related to it. His discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former blade runner who’s been missing for 30 years.

Featuring a superb cast, Ryan Gosling steals the film with his impressive performance. Gosling brings compassion to the character which makes him likeable. Harrison Ford returns as Deckard and gives a solid performance along with Ana de Armas and Robin Wright in tow.

Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario) takes over the director’s chair from Ridley Scott. With big shoes to fill, Villeneuve masterfully directs a stellar sci-fi film audiences will enjoy. In its running time of 163 minutes, Blade Runner 2049 is well paced, visually stunning and mind-bending film.

The direction is perfect, managing a well-crafted narrative with incredible cinematography by Roger Deakins and spectacular production design by Dennis Gassner. Excellent music score by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch, a worthy follow up to Vangelis’ music in the original film.

Blade Runner 2049 is a fantastic film and great successor to Blade Runner. It’s a must-see for fans of the first movie and sci-fi fans.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

 

 

 

 

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle

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In this sequel to Kingsman: The Secret Service, the members of Kingsman team up with their American counterpart, Statesman, after the world is held hostage by a new threat.

Fans of the first will love this latest installment. Like its predecessor, it’s an enjoyable film. Action-packed, terrific cast, great music with hilarious moments. The only thing negative is that typical sequel feel to it with introducing new characters and balancing the story with more characters. Overall a fantastic film.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Mother!

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Director Darren Aronofsky latest film Mother! was graded F by CinemaScore. After watching this psychological horror, it’s clear why audiences weren’t fond of the film.

The plot follows a young woman “Mother” (Jennifer Lawrence) whose tranquil life with her husband “Him” (Javier Bardem) at their country home is disrupted by the arrival of a mysterious couple (Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer).

So what’s wrong with the film? The narrative.

Aronofsky has made a project that’s a too ambitious. The filmmaker’s message is we’re hurting mother nature and no one is doing anything about it. His message isn’t clear.

Watching Mother! was like having a headache after spinning around in a circle. Everything in this film happens so fast, it’s confusing and hard to absorb what’s going on with the characters. The third act of the film leaves you disturbed and frustrated with film’s style.

One of the things positive things about Mother! is Jennifer Lawrence. Lawrence gives a solid performance and stands out in the film. Audiences will have empathy for Lawrence’s character “Mother” and find easy to relate to as she just wants to live in peace with her husband but she’s always interrupted when they have visitors leaving her tormented.

Michelle Pfeiffer is splendid to watch as one of Lawrence’s unwanted guests. Pfeiffer adds a bit of humour to the film as a nosy visitor, she reminds you of Ruth Gordan’s character Minnie Castevets in Rosemary’s Baby.

Javier Bardem gives a fine performance as “Him” but lacks chemistry with Lawrence.

The other thing good in the production is the well-made production design by Philip Messina and sublime cinematography by Matthew Libatique.

Mother! is a thought-provoking film that leaves you disturbed. Not worth watching. Fans of Darren Aronofsky will find this a disappointment.

Rating: 2/5 Stars

It (2017 film)

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Based on a book by Stephen King and a remake of 1990 TV miniseries, It tells the story of a group of kids who are terrorised by a shape shifting demon, taking the appearance of a clown (Bill Skarsgård), only to face their own personal demons in the process.

After watching this film, I can say It will scare you. Better than the TV miniseries, this version keeps you in suspense and terrifies you. The cast is well-acted. Bill Skarsgård steps into the shoes of  Tim Curry as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, the film’s villain. Skarsgård offers a fresh take on the character and makes this role his own. As the antagonist, Skarsgård steals the film and brilliantly plays Pennywise.

One of the best horror films I’ve seen. A well-paced suspense film with spectacular visual effects and great performances.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Girls Trip

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When four lifelong friends travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there’s enough dancing, drinking, brawling, and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.

A hilarious film with a terrific ensemble cast, Girls Trip is the best female comedy since 2011’s Bridesmaids. Jaw-dropping and entertaining from start to end, this film will leave you laughing in stitches.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

The Lost City of Z

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Based on the book of the same name, The Lost City of Z tells the true story of British explorer Col. Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s.

The Lost City of Z features stellar performances from the cast. Charlie Hunnam shines in the film and gives the best performance of his career. Hunnam is magnificent and delivers a character driven performance as conflicted adventurer Fawcett driven to the verge of obsession.

Hunnam is surrounded with a great supporting cast. Robert Pattinson is great as Fawcett’s fellow explorer Henry Costin. Sienna Miller gives captivating performances as Fawcett’s wife Nina. She works well with Hunnam and shares great chemistry.

Writer/director James Gray (Little Odessa, The Immigrant) produces a well-developed picture that draws you in from beginning to end during its 141 minutes run. The direction is brilliant with Gray’s achievement of a fine paced and steady narrative with superb performances from the cast.

The cinematography by Darius Khondji is visually wonderful and exquisite along with nice and smooth editing by John Axelrad and Lee Haugen. The production design and costumes are great and well detailed.

An impressive and finely crafted adventure drama, The Lost City of Z is an exceptionally made biopic. Charlie Hunnam steals the film with his masterful performance. It’s one of best films of the year.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Hitman’s Bodyguard

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Bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) who is hired to protect one of the world’s most notorious hitmen (Samuel L. Jackson) who must testify at the International Court of Justice against a ruthless Eastern European dictator (Gary Oldman). They must put their differences aside and work together to make it to the trial on time.

The cast is outstanding. Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson deliver fantastic comedic performances. Reynolds and Jackson work well together and have great chemistry. It’s one of the things that makes the film work.

Selma Hayek steals the show as Jackson’s wife with her hysterical performance that will have you laughing in stitches.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Gary Oldman who is boring as the film’s villain. Oldman who is known for playing tremendous antagonists in the past, gives a dismal performance where it seems his character underdeveloped as he plays the straight and generic bad guy with an accent.

Patrick Hughes (The Expendables 3, Red Hill) directs a fast paced, action-packed and hilarious adventure. Tom O’Connor’s script is predictable but the action and comedic scenes with Reynolds and Jackson’s banter save the film.

The cinematography by Jules O’Loughlin is remarkable with impressive camera work and editing accompanied and cool soundtrack.

Hitman’s Bodyguard is an enjoyable popcorn movie. A terrific action-packed adventure fun for moviegoers and action fans.

Rating: 4/5 Stars